Mary Higgins Consultancy

Words, Video, Social Media. Together at last.

90 years of Abbotsford News plus: new partnership in progress

Abbotsford News 90 years celebration cake

Abbotsford News 90 years celebration cake (photo by Mary Higgins)

90 years of local reporting
Last weekend Abbotsford News celebrated 90 years of publishing with a special event at their offices. We headed down there in the hot sun and took part in the festivities. There were classic cars, entertainments, dancing, food and, of course, celebration cake. The Fire Service and Police Department were there along with some well known mascots from our favourite local teams.

We were fortunate enough to get the real inside story about Abbotsford News during one of the three tours of the building. It was fascinating to see how the paper is produced from finding the local news, writing the stories, setting them within the advertising spaces, creating the plates for each page and then printing. I was impressed also with how much video is used, something I hadn’t really appreciated before. It definitely made me want to find out more.

Congratulations to all concerned and a hearty thank you for a great day out. You can see more information about the day on the Abbotsford News website, and more of my pictures from my Flickr account:

New partnership
Over the last few weeks we have been working on a new partnership that will be coming to fruition over the summer of 2012. I can’t give too many details at the moment but I can tell you that it involves three of my great passions: story telling, education and technology. It is a video-based project and I will be posting about it more soon.

Social Media, Small Business and 2012

bird splat by Paul Higgins

Where are you focusing on? Picture by P Higgins

What are your goals for 2012? Get rich? Get fit? Retire young? Do you even have any goals? Setting goals in the New Year can be effective, but simply thinking about them is not going to get you any where. NOT setting goals for the year, or month, or any discrete unit of time means you will never get what you want.

Is Social Media for you and your business?

This is a hard question to answer because there are many factors to consider, not least whether you, or a trusted member of your staff, is comfortable using the tools needed to run your Social Media campaign. If you check your email only weekly, never update your Facebook account (or don’t have one at all) then adopting new practices are going to be more challenging. But it can be done.

take the plunge

Are you sure it's safe? Picture by M Higgins

Catching the wave

Knowing where to start is often the stumbling block to any new enterprise. You are interested in a new technology/product/line/idea, find out enough to start getting excited and then begin to founder as you struggle to fit it into what you are already doing. Your days are busy enough without adding another Big Thing To Be Done, and so your enthusiasm wanes and the wave passes you by.

Try something new

Do one new thing this week and see what it does for you. Check your email more (or less). Join Twitter or Google +, and start following some interesting people*. Add some new people on Facebook. Write down what the results are in real terms – did you get more email, more leads, more interaction? Did it take up some valuable time that could have been spent doing something else? Did you enjoy it overall? The only way you’ll know if something is going to work is to try it, monitor it and then work out what your experiment told you. Anything else is just spitting in the wind.

jump or be pushed

Sitting still is not an option. Photo by M Higgins

* I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and pretty much everywhere else. If you just want businessy/social media-type interactions then add my ‘officially official’ accounts:

Google +
Twitter: @MaryHConsult
Facebook: Mary R Higgins

If you want a fuller picture of me then try my long-standing, less filtered version that has lots of writing/video/creative/fun stuff added in.

Google +
Twitter: @worldofhiglet
Facebook: Worldofhiglet

Ackernon and HigletFilms at VCON 36

Angela Aro as Petrina in Border Guardians of Ackernon at VCON 36

Angela Aro as Petrina from 'Border Guardians of Ackernon', at VCON 36

What an exciting weekend! For the second year running we attended VCON, Vancouver’s premier science fiction and fantasy convention, but this time not only did we have a stall on Artist’s Alley, we ran three panels AND started filming for a new documentary about webseries we are producing with Wolf’s Head Productions. Border Guardians of Ackernon was well represented with Paul Best and Angela Aro in attendance. Angela won first place in the ‘Media’ category of the Cosplay Masquerade with her stunning ‘Petrina’ costume, so congratulations to Angela and Laura Olsen, costume designer.

Warren Freyburg – @freyburg: videographer, journalist, geek – has posted a video of the webseries panel at VCON – (thank you for posting it so quickly, Warren):

The panel, from left to right, was:

Vanessa Driveness (Associate Producer/Costume Designer/Marketing & PR Manger, Standard Action)
Joanna Gaskell (Writer/Creator/Actor, Standard Action)
Mary Higgins (Writer/Creator/Actor, Mind My Brains, Darling! & Marketing, Border Guardians of Ackernon)
Josephine Hoy (Producer, Glitch)
Ralph Fontaine (Assistant Director/Producer, Causality)
Anna Julia (Assistant Director/Producer, Causality)
Paul Best (Writer/Director, Border Guardians of Ackernon)
Angela Aro (Actor, Border Guardians of Ackernon)

Thanks to the whole panel who really showed the passion, creativity and professionalism that abounds in the webseries world. And thanks also to the audience, who asked some probing questions. One big surprise was the number of people who watched webseries – a very encouraging response from the audience.

This weekend we are in Seattle for Geek Girl Con, where we will be filming more for our webseries documentary and enjoying some serious geek time. On Saturday I will be taking part in the ‘Women in Webseries’ panel and I’m very happy to announce that Jane Espenson will be joining the panel to talk about her new webseries, Husbands. More on that soon!

Season 1 Launch and Awards ceremony for ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon’

Border Guardians of Ackernon new poster

New poster for ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon’

This weekend Paul Best and Laura Olsen will be in Las Vegas to accept the Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas Film Festival for the 2010 DVD release of ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon: This Ain’t Kansas’. This is the second award the DVD has won, having won the Accolade Award for Merit in 2010.


Ackernon street scene

A street scene from ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon’

Following the success of the DVD release, they decided to film more of their epic story in the form of a webseries, and ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon: The University’ will be be released weekly startingJuly 19th. We have been working hard on the website and you will find a huge amount about the series, the people behind it and the production. There is also a competition where you can win a signed copy of their award-winning DVD. The Season 1 trailer is below:



Set in Ackernon, a mythical kingdom protected by magical wards, this fantasy webseries follows the lives, loves and battles of Mistress Galiene and her students at the University as they defend against Ackernon’s ancient foe The Pert, and struggle with new threats to the kingdom. The story is epic and is classic fantasy filled with strong characters, a richly-imagined empire and breath-taking fight scenes.

Tavern fight in Ackernon

Tavern fight from ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon’

Find out more:


On Facebook:

On Twitter:!/ackernon


Launching the new ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon’ website

Border Guardians of Ackernon webseries‘Border Guardians of Ackenon’ is a new fantasy webseries set to be released in July 2011

It is with great pleasure I would like to introduce our latest client, the exciting new fantasy webseries, ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon: The University‘.

I met producer Paul Best in Vancouver last year. He was at VCON with actor Danielle Golden for the premiere screening of his TV pilot, ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon’. We were promoting our webseries, ‘Mind My Brains, Darling!’ and had just launched our funding campaign on Indiegogo.

It became apparent very quickly that we both had lots to learn from each other. I attended the screening and the show was very well received. The story, production values and potential were clear, and so I was drawn into the world of Ackernon. Paul has years of experience in theatre and film and was very generous with his thoughts and advice. He was also fascinated by the idea of internet video and what we were doing with our ‘Bodyline’ filming technique.

After VCON we kept in contact. I knew Paul had a huge story arc for Ackernon planned, and was interested in the idea of filming a companion series for the internet. We spoke about what that meant and how it could be done. I suggested webseries to watch and Paul did his research well. ‘Border Guardians of Ackernon: The University’, webseries, is now in production and will be released in July 2011.

lessons at the Ackernon University

Written and directed by Paul Best, it takes us into the heart of Ackernon, a world on the cusp, and follows the adventures of the people in and around the famed University. Magic, swords, battles and intrigue, this series packs a powerful punch.

Find out more on the Ackernon website, follow them on Twitter and join in the conversation on Facebook. You can also take part in the live Q&A with the cast on Sunday, May 15th on the Ackernon Ustream channel.