I Just Watched a 3 Minute Short Film. And It Blew Me Away.

I had no intention of writing a post today.  It’s a Saturday and I’m making jam and getting ready for a birthday party later tonight, just enjoying being away from the computer for a bit. And then I watched a remarkable video and I had to make sure you saw it too.

Liv McNeil

Actually, I first saw this video yesterday and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. You know something is good when it remains with you. Whether it’s a book, a movie or a quote.  Granted, sometimes radishes will remain with you, or as my father would say “repeat on you”, and that’s not quite as good but I know you understand what I’m talking about.

When I was a television host and writer (you can read a bit about my former career here) I did a few shows with a producer named Scott McNeil. He’s fun, talented, smart and very into music. Yesterday on Instagram he posted about a short film his daughter made for a class project.

She’s 14.

I knew she was creative just by following the glimpses into her adventures and life on Scott’s Instagram feed. But I didn’t know she was a creative genius.

I don’t say that flippantly.

Liv (that’s her name) was given a class project by her teacher.  The teacher’s prompt was a project based on these words:  “I used to be, but now I am, and someday I hope to be.” Or something like that she says. She decided to make a short film about isolation and the effects on mental health during Covid-19. 

Over the course of 3 weeks she made this 3 minute video.


I have no idea if Liv wants to continue to work in television, film or the arts. Based on this piece of work I think she could do anything she wants.  She’s astonishing.

I have two pieces of advice for Liv and anyone else wanting to make a living in the arts.

  1. Making a profit isn’t selling out. Don’t let anyone convince you that it is.  The world often deems artistic work as frivolous. It isn’t. Art has the ability to transform someone’s mood, outlook on life and the world around them. Accepting money for art doesn’t make you a sell out, it affirms your value.
  2. Don’t ever create anything you aren’t proud of or that goes against your instincts just because someone is paying you. If someone asks you to create or do something that makes you uneasy – don’t do it. Back out. Leave the room. Do what YOU do. It’s why they valued you and your work in the first place.
  3. Always steal the mini chocolate bars from the craft services table. You will be happy you did when you find them in your bag a week later.

Good luck Liv. You’re brilliant.

Between starting this post and now, I’ve actually gone to the birthday party, returned home after having eaten WAY too much and I’m about to descend into the last couple of episodes of Anne with an E.

I may have to walk around the block a dozen times to help facilitate a little digestion because I feel like I’ve eaten an entire live goat.

When in fact, I barely made my way through the torso.

Just kidding.

I ate the whole live goat. With sauce.

Just kidding.

Saucing live goat is for amateurs. 

One last thing before I go! I’m taking a quick 1 hour canning class and I think some of you might like to take it too.

Ashley English is an Internet friend of mine and has been for over a decade (wow). She’s written 10 or 11 books all having to do with entertaining, homesteading, canning, chicken keeping and that sort of hippie, back to the earth crap that we all love. I have 6 of her books. 

Ashley normally holds live, in person, classes at her home in the hills of North Carolina in the summer but because of Covid-19 she can’t do that, SO she’s taking her classes online and is offering a different canning class every Saturday morning for the rest of the summer.



They’re $20 per class and you can take one, or take them all. They last for about an hour every Saturday morning and I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT.

I’ll be joining her on the morning of August 15th to learn how to make and can sweet relish!! It’s a Zoom online class, so if you sign up, I’ll see you there.  For information on all her canning classes (cleverly called Slow Jams) you can take a look at her Eventbrite page right here.  There’s jam, chutney, jellies, dilly beans, whole fruits and of course the relish class I’m taking, as well as a whack more.

I hope you liked the video as much as I did, I hope you get the chance to take a class this summer (because seriously you have to do something fun this summer!) and I hope you have a good remainder of your weekend.




  1. Gary Boutin says:

    Hi Karen,
    With all the Covid stuff around the world I must admit I forgot about the children, that have lost their graduation ceremonies, and their friends. That have to do home schooling and do it alone. I thought this was a good video and I thought that Liv is an excellent videographer. As for making money for works created on YouTube I am penny rich and I do not feel that bad about a few bucks I get from Google. Thanks Gary

  2. Jill says:

    “Accepting money for art doesn’t make you a sell out, it affirms your value.”
    Best quote I’ve read in a long time and something every artist, young and old, should read and reread. I may need to print that out and hang it on my fridge. 😉

    The video was intense and moving. Children and teens feel so deeply. It is easy to forget that big issues effect them directly, often in even more intense ways. If isolation is hard for an adult, you can bet it’s even harder for someone who is less equipped to deal with these heavy emotions. Wonderful that this assignment has given her an outlet to share some of what she is feeling. It was brilliant.

  3. kim says:

    Very powerful video. thanks for sharing!

  4. Jess says:

    I loved it much!
    Have happily lurked around since your cleaver caught my eye a few months ago but thought I’d join the fray today.

  5. Donna says:

    Wow! Powerful message right there. Hank you for sharing. Liv is a very talented young lady and your advice is spot on.

  6. Laura Bee says:

    Brilliant, beautiful and mighty powerful. I saw this awhile ago and was amazed, maybe you shared it on fb or IG? I have a 9 year old daughter and trying to help her with her work and keep her motivated and support her emotionally while continuing to work through this, get a mortgage and move my mom in at the end of March when shit hit the fan left me so drained I declared school out at the start of June. Auugghhhh!
    Run-on-sentence! Eek!

  7. susan labrie says:

    Amazing and heart wrenching!! My daughter also struggled with on line schooling. She did poorly her second semester of freshman year of college because of Covid. Students need to be in the class room as soon as it is safe!

    Also, Ann with an E……..loved and cried so many times watching that beautiful show. We need more shows like this, it has sad moments but it is such a feel good show!

  8. Cindy McCammon says:

    Wow. Just wow. So compelling and such a thoughtful filmmaker! My mother died 3 days ago and this cracked that shell I was layering up around my heart.

  9. Ledena Brooke says:

    It made me cry! So affecting. Great job

  10. Cindy lou who says:

    Thank you for all you share, this video would have been me if I was a teen in the COVID era! These kids are struggling…and I do appreciate Liv’s depiction of what they are going through with the isolation. She has some serious skills! Beautifully done!
    This needs to be over!! ASAP-COVID go AWAY!!!

  11. Gwen H. says:

    Wow – loved the video. She is a very talented young woman. I am sure we will be hearing from her in the future.

  12. Jan Robles says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Liv’s video was pretty awesome. The teachers assignment was, too.

  13. Lida says:

    I wept and wanted to scream with you. To allow me to walk in your shoes was an honor and thank you for helping me to understand.

  14. Scout says:

    Brilliant video. Video haiku. Concept…editing….follow through……..just brilliant. Would love to see what else she’s gotta say.

  15. Jan says:

    Wow. Thanks for sharing that. I, in turn, have shared with my group. Kind of takes your breath away.

  16. Annie Young says:

    Wow that was very, very good. So good that my daughter, who has 2 teenage girls (almost 15 and just turned 13) sent that video to the schools admin to consider whilst preparing for the re-opening of classes in the fall. She told me about the movie but I forgot to check it out… thank you for linking to it. Her girls have experienced EXACTLY that. The grade 9er had 4 subjects while the grade 8er had 8!!! The emails from the teachers was so true to what’s been going on. It was too much! And so they melted down a few times. I bawled like a baby knowing my granddaughters are feeling such things. ❤️

  17. Sandra Zelinsky says:

    That was amazing!! Such talent. I’m sure she will go far in life no matter which path she chooses. A very creative mind to have put that together, and so fitting for the current times. Way to go Liv!!

  18. DeenaMac says:

    I’m a school nurse at a high school. All I can say is, Liv….DAMN this is powerful!!!

  19. Jan in Waterdown says:

    14??? Wow. Just wow. And a few tears.

  20. Christina Contri says:

    Liv’s video literally brought me to tears. Her angst is so… palpable. My own daughter was in 1st grade, but being home-schooled for kindergarten, the time spent alone at home wasn’t as traumatic for her. Teenagers are so much more social creatures than other age group that I can’t even imagine how devastating this has been for them. Thank you Liv for sharing! I hate to sound cliche, but hang in there; this won’t last forever.

  21. Pearl says:

    I cannot imagine being that age with your blood boiling and all you can do is text. She should be with her friends, swimming, throwing bottle rockets at each other, practicing makeup, eating Cheetos late at night and discussing deep thoughts.

  22. Jane Parsons says:

    Amazing video. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Cynthia George says:

    Wow. All of the sudden my eyes welled up with tears. I had no idea THAT was going to happen. Very powerful video.

  24. Mary W says:

    WOW Fully loaded blog today – and you weren’t going to make one! I’m canning my fig preserves this am after making it last night after burning a whole batch but what else can I do – they are fig preserves with a capital FPYUM.

  25. Charlene says:

    Tank you for sharing this video. To have some understanding of how the attenuation of our lives by this virus impacts the kids around me is powerful. And you are right that Liv is an incredibly gifted human being.

  26. Lori Hope says:

    That video made me cry. Amazing.

  27. Joline says:

    WOW, the 3 min video by Lib almost brought tears! That was extraordinary! It reminded me of what my daughter in law and my grandson went through about a month ago. Lib is very creative and I hope she continues to do what I thought was extraordinary.
    Thanks for sharing and BTW where in NC is this online course from? I live in Burnsville,NC close to Asheville!

  28. Frank Gregg says:

    Liv’s technical skills are amazing! I’ve done a little video editing and it’s challenging, but to see what she did and the incredible transitioning… wow! She basically created a “live stop action” video. I’ve seen very little else that even comes close.
    And all that’s over and above the emotional impact.

  29. ED says:

    Timely post – well done Liv.
    Your advice brought something to mind, I know an artist (painter) and her husband who is a photographer. When people ask for a discount his response is “my kids can’t eat a discount”.

  30. Jenny Dunlop says:

    Loved the video by young Liv. She did a wonderful job of showing how incredibly isolating and frustrating this pandemic has been for young people. Beautifully done! Hang in there, Liv!

  31. Shannon says:

    That was so powerful. Liv is amazing, and I was stunned to be crying at the end. I think we all feel somewhat the same, and she expressed it perfectly. Just the editing and the setup of the shots daily to show a specific action, and then tying them together. Not easy stuff. Good technically and emotionally. Yeah, she’s got a great life ahead I hope.

  32. Jennie M. Burt says:

    Really Amazing….thank you for sharing.

  33. Barb says:

    Being on the other end of the “age spectrum” myself, this is a powerful reminder of the challenges that some of our younger people are having. I know many are having these feelings (including myself at times) and this talented young lady expressed it so well. Thank you for sharing.

  34. Linda in Illinois says:

    Liv short film was really deep. Loved it. She needs to Pursue that career.

  35. Robyn says:

    I have been at home with 2 teens. 💔
    That was powerful.

  36. Linda J Howes-Smyth says:

    Speechless, thanks for sharing.

  37. Edie Marie says:

    Amazing! Liv is sooo talented to create a video that expresses how we’re all feeling inside. It reminds us we’re not alone. We are the video she created. Thanks for sharing Karen.

  38. Sandi Remedios says:

    That was a very moving and thought provoking video. Thank you for sharing this Karen, and thanks to Liv. She is indeed a very talented young lady. I expect to see more from her in the coming years.

  39. Ella says:

    Buy the Canadian book “Put a Lid on It” which is all about canning and preserving. It will teach you everything you need to know and is a great launching pad into the world of canning and preserving in small batches…so you can make 4-6 jars of something instead of 20 jars. Excellent recipes and methodology for BWB (Boiling water bath) canning.

    • Karen says:

      I already know how to can Ella. :) I’ve never made relish however, and I think there’s a basic need right now for being with people, even if it’s on Zoom. ~ karen!

  40. Jenny W says:

    WoW! What a powerful film! Well done Liv!
    The circumstances that our youth are struggling with during this time of Covid are life changing. Anxiety & depression must continue to be addressed. My 21 year old daughter started a Distance Education Class from a B.C. college in January to be a Cardiac Technologist, and did not bat an eye about on line learning, Zoom Classes etc. What she did struggle with was the Social Isolation when Emergency Measures closed everything down and actually getting together with her friends & boyfriend was not allowed. I realize that our youth, (and yes even us older folks) spend a great deal of time on line, but NOTHING comes close to being physically present with out friends & family.

  41. g Sharon Jones says:

    Liv you ARE brillant. Your video touched my soul & gave me hope for our future. With more young people like you my faith is restored in the future of human kind, thank you & Blessings.
    Karen thank you. I needed to see/feel Liv’s video. I didn’t even know how desperately I needed her view. Blessings to us all.

  42. Grammy says:

    Thanks for sharing young Liv’s brilliant film. My grandson begins middle school whenever (and however) school begins this year, and no matter how much his parents try to “normalize” life for him, it’s not normal. She has portrayed the isolation and frustration superbly.

    We old folks are stir-crazy, but our general lives before the pandemic had slowed down and we were already spending more time at home doing things by ourselves. But we remember being young and feeling like we couldn’t survive without our closest friends with us every day, as much as possible. Liv and my grandson and all the other kids deserve as much, but life is playing tricks on them right now. Let’s hope we pull out of this soon and are able to let them grow as they should — being in their whole world again.

  43. Dana Studer says:

    Wow. She is a talented girl. Thanks for posting it. So much said without words. I really think this will have an effect on kids’mental health.
    I feel for all the kids who haven’t had birthday parties and attended graduation, etc. There’s no way to make it all up to them either.
    My daughter is 11 and really wants to get back to school.

  44. Susan Clay says:

    Short but with a big impact – well done, Liv. I am delighted that she attends a school for the arts. Victoria School of Fine Arts in Edmonton, AB was an absolute godsend for our family – we need more schools of this type to support all of our young creative geniuses.

  45. Susan T Blake says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    About Liv. Not the goat.

  46. Gina Walsh says:

    Liv is an extremely talented young lady! I am speechless after watching her video!

  47. Wendi says:

    HOLY SHIT BALLS, KAREN! You were not kidding about that short film. It was so good that it made me cry AND made my heart beat faster at the same time! Unbelievable creativity and talent.

  48. Lois says:

    There was a piece on NPR about a Japanese amusement park reopening. They have signs at the rollercoaster saying “Please, scream in your heart.” This wonderful video put me in mind of that. Thanks for sharing.

  49. TucsonPatty says:

    Wow, you are correct, Karen. That young lady has serious skills!
    A great-niece told her Gramma this last February that there was going to be a need for so much counseling among the young kids, because of the isolation. They are not able to handle it as well as some of us old timers. (67 here)
    That was brilliant and I’m going to send it to that g-niece. She has struggled with motivation for community college, as has her two sisters, (going to be a Senior and an 8th grader.)
    Everyone wants to just scream. Liv showed it beautifully!
    Thanks for sharing her video.

  50. Paula says:

    I will watch it right now!

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