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Jul 2008 - Lisa Moody



Lisa Moody JulyMoxyW_Moody.jpg

Emmy Award-Winning Producer
Writer- Screen, Music, Literary
Musician, Singer

"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire,
you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will"
– George Bernard Shaw

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Dare to feel the fire inside...

By:  Jean Harper

 

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Lisa Moody is most comfortable behind the camera instead of out in front of it.  She doesn't have many photos of herself, but some beautiful photos line the walls of her very colorful home.  Lisa is a woman whom many people know, however few know how much she has accomplished in her life, and some of her friends don't really know what she does for a living.  This is because she doesn't seem to have that big of an ego; she is just doing what she loves and being who she has always been.  When you meet her you have no idea of her profundity.  She comes across as soft-spoken, seemingly a bit shy at first, but behind that persona is a woman of great strength, motivation, talent, ability, and just the right amount of sensitivity and compassion to create a beautiful mixture of a remarkable woman.  A Moxy Woman for sure, Lisa Moody, I predict, is entering the next chapter of her life, where she will be more in front of the camera than perhaps she may be comfortable.  With a list of accomplishments behind her and a focused task list going forward, Lisa Moody is sure to be the subject of interest for many as she continues doing what she must -- creating music, stories, and films for all of us to enjoy.

Ludwig van Beethoven said "I carry my thoughts about with me for a long time, often for a very long time, before writing them down... I change many things, discard others, and try again and again until I am satisfied; then, in my head, I begin to elaborate the work in its breadth, its narrowness, its height, its depth... I hear and see the image in front of me from every angle, as if it had been cast (like a sculpture), and only the labor of writing it down remains."  This description helps me with the words to describe and how I wish to impart to you my interpretation of Lisa Moody.  When the interview commenced, I asked her if I could take some photographs for the article.  She agreed and I asked her to sit in front of her piano for a few shots.  She sat down and began playing immediately.  The piece was beautiful and I asked her the name of the composition.  She said, "I just made it up as I went along."  Lisa plays the piano by ear, therefore the music is in her head and in her head is where she began creating music, poetry, and maybe even film, as a young girl during visits to her influential grandmother at her farmhouse in Michigan. 

 

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Photo Above- Lisa Moody- at home with her piano...
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Photo Above- the beginning of a song....

 

Lisa describes her grandmother, Lena, as amazing, with beautiful skin that was flawless and soft and with beautiful, cornflower blue eyes. A strong woman, yet remarkably feminine with long hair falling down below her waist, that most times she wore twisted up in a bun, letting it down occasionally for Lisa to brush.  She had severe varicose veins in her legs, but what Lisa saw was beautiful colors and asked her grandmother if she would have all of those colors in her legs someday.  Her grandmother was gentle and affectionate and would often stroke Lisa's hair.  Lisa felt free to sing and her grandmother would tell her that she had a beautiful voice.  For Lisa, her grandmother was a symbol of strength.  She lived alone on agrandmothercr.jpg six acre farm in Michigan, after becoming a widow at the age of sixty.  Lena never learned to drive a car.  She spent the day sewing, tending to her vegetables and berries, and making preserves, and also worked the night shift from 3-11PM in a nursing home, which was within walking distance of her farm.  Lisa could not wait for visits to the farm and would spend every possible moment in this place, surrounded by her grandmother's energy.  She recalls sitting by the pond - writing poetry, and being free to create for hours.  On one occasion, as she sat by the pond, she recalls seeing hundreds of dragonflies that appeared and surrounded her, creating a magical experience and a memorable moment that still brings her pleasure when she relives the event.  After sharing tea together, Lena would read her tea leaves, gifting her with a positive message and she sensed unconditional love emanating from this woman.  Even with all of her responsibilities with the farm and with her job, Lisa's grandmother was never too busy to stop and play with Lisa.  However being at the farm also gave Lisa the opportunity to spend a lot of time playing alone.  The farm was cluttered with all sorts of things that her grandmother had collected during her life.  Items that some would consider "junk" were scattered about and there were sheds full of old china and other collectibles.  This was heaven for this imaginative, creative, young girl.  As Lisa described this experience she seemed transported there and I along with her, could sense her excitement and feelings of complete bliss.  When Lisa was 16, her grandmother died, but still lives on in Lisa as the memory of her is still vivid.  As she summarized the loss of her grandmother as one of the most painful events of her life- she recalled the feeling of her unconditional love and I felt a sense of her grandmother's energy entering the room.  We fell silent for a moment, out of respect for this remarkable woman, before continuing with the interview.

Growing up in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lisa describes herself as ultra-sensitive.  She listened to the words that people used and took things quite literally.  She recalls her mother once saying to her, as she was intently observing her mother in the kitchen while making dinner, "Lisa, stop being such a pest and get out from under my feet."  Lisa proceeded to go upstairs, get out the Yellow Pages, and look up the word "pest".  She re-entered the kitchen with the book and, pointing to a "pest control" business, she said, "Look here Mom, these people take care of pests and will come and get me if you want."

Lisa describes her mother as a great mom, fiercely independent, a fighter, and another example of an amazing woman.  She was a stay-at-home mom and Lisa never saw her without make-up.  The house was flawless, she was encouraging to her kids and when they came home from school every afternoon, they were greeted with homemade cookies.  She likens her childhood experience to the "Donna Reed Show" -- growing up perfect.  Her mother currently lives a busy and fulfilling life at the age of 73 in Longboat Key, Florida, playing tennis everyday and running a caretaker business. 

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Lisa is instinctively creative; playing make-believe as a child and putting on shows with her friends.  At the age of five she entered a talent show with one of her friends and they sang, "Oh You Beautiful Doll" and won.  Lisa was a tomboy; hanging out with the neighborhood boys and playing football until after dark.  In high school she was a cheerleader and participated in tennis, volleyball, and track and as would be expected of Lisa, that did not interfere with her work in her school theatre - participating in plays and singing.  True to form, and at only 16 years of age, she also worked in a nursing home, starting out as a janitor, then a cook, and then on to nursing assistant, activities director, and by 17 years she was a supervisor. Wearing a lot of hats would prove to be routine for Lisa Moody.

When it was time to go to college, Lisa wanted to enter the entertainment industry but her parents told her that she needed to get a "real" job first and keep entertainment as a hobby.  In exploring her possible options, she recognized her interest in psychology.  This interest was born from her work in the nursing home while in high school.  Her plan was to get her Bachelor's degree in psychology, a Masters in gerontology and a PhD in clinical psychology, ultimately opening a private practice in Michigan.  A chain of events would take place to change all that.  When Lisa was 22, Michigan was experiencing the highest rate of unemployment in the nation, and that winter while driving around seeing nothing but gray skies, feeling the cold and without desirable opportunities she decided to move someplace that would offer her better employment opportunities and a warmer climate.  She opened up a map with her girlfriend by her side and closing her eyes she then pointed to the map.  She pointed to Wilmington, NC.  When she checked out the job opportunities the only available position was in a 14 bed psych ward in a general hospital.  This was not was she was looking for so she pulled out the map again, closed her eyes and pointed to St. Petersburg, FL.  This time she located the job she wanted in a multi-discipline psychiatric hospital and soon she was soaking up the sun in Florida.

After spending all of those years in psychology, Lisa decided that the time for a change was due and she began working with her father.  Lisa was always close with her father.  She describes him as "free-spirited" and someone that loved to have fun and she jokingly remarked, "a little too much fun."  She said that he loved to party but then quickly went on to say that he was a great provider for the family.  He was a big teaser and often used soft sarcasm, as she describes it.  When he was mad he withdrew and sometimes for quite a while.  She learned to walk on "egg shells" to keep from upsetting him. 

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Working with her father gave Lisa the opportunity to experience the entrepreneurial side of business and it would be a life changing experience for her.  She worked as a lumber broker- learning the business from all angles; sales and marketing, management and the chance to wear, once again, a lot of hats!  The experience of making it on her own, as an entrepreneur, gave her the confidence to remain on her own, and she has never looked back.

Photo Left- Lisa in the lumber business

At the age of 32, Lisa could no longer deny her passion to "create" on a full time basis.  She started writing and her first year yielded an income of only $12,000.  She was determined to put aside her desire for money to continue pursuing her life's passion while adjusting her lifestyle to allow for it.

In 1994 she started her company, TinWoman, Inc.  When I asked her the meaning of the name she gave me two interpretations.  The first meaning which was developed for public relations describes putting the heart back in business. The real meaning of this name however symbolizes becoming "unfrozen" -- recalling how the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz was frozen, but able to move after oil was used in his joints.  Lisa had experienced some health issues which left her feeling frozen at times and she even wrote a poem about this painful period.

TinWoman encompasses all of Lisa's production services; freelance writing, producing, and her work as an independent contractor for Spectrum Productions in Tampa, where she served as Director of Creative Services for two years and has continued a relationship as an independent contractor for over 10 years.  In her role as Executive Producer, she collaborates with anywhere from 4 to 50 people and is responsible for overseeing everything in a project from research for her writing, budget, pulling the film crew together, production co-ordination, acting as the liaison between the client, crew and the network; and finally, in editing and post production.

Photo below- Lisa with Beluga Whale
Origin of this photo is best described in Lisa's own words below:
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"This was taken while I was filming a series I've worked on for over 10 years and is now called Saving a Species.  We were shooting at SeaWorld San Antonio and I LOVE beluga whales. We were shooting a bumper on animal interactions so I casted myself to do the beluga interaction program.  I rarely go in front of the camera, but in this case, I didn't mind!  Anything to get this close to a beluga. You can tell, huh"? ~ Lisa
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With Spectrum, Lisa has written and produced for national television, as well as produced and directed many commercials.  Even though Lisa has pulled back a bit, to focus on her own projects, she still works with them quite a bit.  Her work at Spectrum resulted in Emmy nominations in 2005 and again in 2007 for work with their "Saving a Species" series. In 2007, Lisa received her first Emmy as Executive Producer and writer for "Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue."  This documentary was shot in Africa following an oil spill.  SeaWorld- Anheuser-Busch sponsored the trip to Africa to film and document the penguins.  Others receiving awards for this show were, Jim Rapsas, Executive Producer, Discovery Networks and Guy Nickerson, Executive Producer for Spectrum Productions.  Lisa considers Guy to be one of her mentors and has deep respect for his photography and videography talents.

The documentary and the resulting Emmy yield bittersweet memories for Lisa.  There were 40,000 people that volunteered to help with the penguin rescue -- a combination of blacks and whites.  It was a moving experience and everyone worked together in the rescue efforts.  During her time away in Africa, documenting the story, her father was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  He told her not to worry and not to change her plans and reassured her to keep with the project and that he would be just fine.  While she was writing the story she was overcome with thoughts of her dad and she remembered thinking, "this is going to win an Emmy."  She felt his presence and his influence in making this a great story.  After the tumor was removed, her father lived only 10 days; she had to fly home and as his healthcare surrogate, she had to make the decision to remove him from life support.  The night that she received the award, it was surreal for her, she was a bit numb, but not really surprised.  She felt him that night and believes that he knew she would win. 

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Photo Above- Close-up of Emmy Award

In addition to her Emmy, Lisa has received several important awards for her work.  Her first award was the Broadcast Designers Award for score that was written for a segment on AIDS. Three Telly Awards were lined also up next to her Emmy on the top of her piano.  The Telly Awards "recognize distinction in creative work, honoring outstanding local and regional television commercials and productions, as well as non-broadcast video productions. In addition, Lisa has received ADDY AWARDS. The ADDY Awards is the world's largest advertising competition, with over 50,000 entries each year.  The ADDYs recognize creative excellence in Lisa Awards.jpgall forms of advertising, from media of all types, and creation by agenciesLisa Emmy.jpg of all sizes.  The ADDYs were established in Florida in 1960, and later adopted by the American Advertising Federation, a not-for-profit industry association, as a national competition in 1968.  It is the only creative awards program administered by the advertising industry for the industry.  The few awards displayed were just some of the many awards she has received; the others were packed away in boxes in other parts of her home.

Photo Above- Broadcast Designers Award (front)

Telly Awards (rear)

Photo Right- Emmy

 

 

In addition to TinWoman, Lisa is the President of The Paper Airplanes Project, Inc. which she opened in 2005.  This business is a non-profit for children with cancer.  Utilizing her creative skills and her expertise in psychology, the business develops tools that help kids and their families deal with the emotional aspects of living with cancer; such as dealing with the fear of being in the hospital, anxiety of being away from their families, isolation from friends and many other psychosocial themes.  She has developed an impressive Board of Directors and Advisory Board for Paper Airplanes.  I encourage you to visit her website at www.paperairplanesproject.org/ to learn more -- view the video, music, and story that she has produced. This is sure to change your life and speaks volumes about the Moxy Woman behind this project.

In addition to the above, Lisa is co-owner with her brother, Erick Moody, in Moving Target, Inc.  Moving Target is the parent corporation for Dyne TV- www.dynetv.com/, a  live, interactive TV program on the web where you can watch six women friends, as they gather and share dinner for the world to view and interact with them in real time.  There is no script, and the material is unedited and uncensored.  Lisa Lisa DyneLogocr.jpgdescribes her brother as a genius.  Erick worked on the development of  High Definition television systems at Philips and has a lot of experience in the video industry.  He has created and developed a unique and revolutionary interactive interface which is utilized at Dyne TV in their first-ever live streaming video series available on the web.  There are several ways to interact with the "dyners," including asking questions from your computer, voting on who should do the dishes, and participating in surveys.  The shows are broadcast over the web on Sunday evenings at 8PM with Season 2 starting up in October.

 

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Photo Above- Erick Moody foreground- pictured right & rear- Lisa
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Photo Above- Lisa (center) and cast of DyneTV

There is another hat in Lisa Moody's closet -- DittyZoo (aka, ZooToonz), a line of kids' music that she wrote and produced.  You can view some samples of this music online at www.dittyzoo.com/.  You must check this out!  In all, she has produced 28 DittyZoo songs including artwork, coloring books, and sheet music.  The songs are fun as well as educational. 

Her music compositions don't stop with film scores and kids' music, she has also written numerous other songs.  I have included one of her fun songs below for your listening pleasure.  Click Below to Listen.

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Lisa and friend.jpgLisa was involved with women before marrying her only husband, Mark, at the age of 36.  The marriage lasted only a few years and he moved away to the West Coast to be close to his aging mother.  Lisa is now enjoying her life with her beautiful partner, Loretta, whom she describes as also creative and a successful business woman.  I met Loretta as she left for work on the day of our interview and I sensed a close and committed connection between the two.

Her best friend in Florida, Amy Mandell, describes Lisa as brilliant, saying she is "borderline genius."  She said, "She's worked long and hard at everything she has done and if anyone deserves to be famous, she does."  She also describes Lisa as even-tempered, but wearing her emotions on her sleeve.  The two have been friends for 20 years. Amy owns several sporting good stores in the area and has used Lisa to help her with advertising and marketing and commented that her work is timeless and effective.

Lisa smile.jpgI wasn't sure how to capture all of Lisa Moody in one short interview, but let me end with saying that the hours went by quickly for me and I found her extremely interesting.  When I first learned that she had a background in mental health, I just didn't see the fit, but after learning how she spends so much time inside her own mind, as she creates, it seemed natural for her to be interested in the psychology of the mind.  What a puzzle of a woman she is; starting as a young girl creating stories and practicing make-believe, going on to study the intricacies of the mind, moving into the realm of business and bringing all of this knowledge, full circle, to do what she was meant to do; make a difference in the world.  Filling our sense of sight through video, sound with her music and feeling her heartfelt message through her writing in projects such as her Paper Airplanes Project and The Great Penguin Rescue documentary.

Listen to this beautiful song below written by Lisa- the melody and lyrics say it all...

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I asked Lisa- "What's next"?  She plans to continue with her projects, but hopes to someday have a place like that of her grandmother, Lena.  A farm perhaps, and the opportunity to do some of those things they did together, like making jam.  She wants to get to a place where she can focus on just one thing at a time and perhaps wear just one hat at a time.

Lisa's advice to us is "Take the plunge, live your life doing what matters to you, be happy and live in the moment."  She goes on to say that "If you don't think that you can live without taking that risk - then do it.  I went broke three times doing what I love, but that will not stop me."

Lisa, thank you for taking the plunge and leaving your mark on the world!  Namaste...

See below poem that Lisa wrote and inspiration for her TinWoman, Inc.

 

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The TinWoman

Frozen in time,
I am locked inside myself
as light years stream by.

Metal skin reflects the sun,
repels the rain
and nothing penetrates my nothingness.
I wear my eyes inside out
and see only the darkness within
while I fight and scratch and claw to lift one eyelid.
And a million conscious synapses
cannot complete the task.
Birdsong resonates and echoes inside my head,
blurring sound and time.
I can only, clearly hear the drip dripping
of rusty tears falling inward.

Can anyone please hand me the oil can
so I can unhinge my jaw
loosen my aching joints
and open my nose to breathe one inhalation of life back into this tin mummy?

Slowly,
so slowly
a small pinpoint of light might seep in
and, slowly, so painfully slow
could my insides begin to thaw
and I would feel daylight tingle through my veins.

 

If you want to keep up with Lisa, her MySpace is under construction at:  www.myspace.com/lisamoodymusic



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