Podcast Interview with Billy Fray

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About Billy:

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Billy Fray and his wife, Lorelei, and two girls, Avery (6) and Lily ( 3) are originally from Lexington, KY. They lived in London England from 2011-2016 where Billy was re-branding a coffeehouse and creative space called Husk Coffee. During that time he was constantly interacting with creatives of all types–and it sparked the desire to tell a story through the medium of film. Billy is the writer, producer and director of the short film, “Bluebells.”

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Where to Find Billy:

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Billy’s Instagram

Bluebells Film

Bluebells Film Go Fund Me Page

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Links We Talked About:

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Book:

Mags (find at a local store):

Motorcycle Weekly

Gearheads

Podcasts:

My Favorite Murder

Other Links:

Finally learn to knit – Knitting Class

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Fun Quotes from Podcast:

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Everything that’s on the other side of that, the things that your fears keep you from doing but then on the other side of them, when you plow through those fears or go around them, you have relationships that last a lifetime.

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All that stuff it is a point where it’s like either people talk about their whole lives or they do it.

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Nothing ever turns out as you think and that’s okay.

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Transcript of Podcast:

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Sandi: Well hey everybody this is Sandi Savage. Welcome to the podcast. With me today, I’m super excited, I have got a great friend of mine, Billy Fray. I’m going to ask him a few questions and talk about what he’s doing in his life right now. I’m going to jump right in. Billy, hey, how are you doing?

Billy: Good. Espresso has got me on my toes.

Sandi: Got you on your toes, good to go. I was doing some math, Billy, and I don’t know if you realize it. We have known each other 17 years.

Billy: That’s a long time.

Sandi: Seventeen years. Can you believe that?

Billy: No. I think I have one pair of socks that’s about the same age. That’s pretty amazing.

Sandi: Seventeen years. I was really excited to get you on here and talk about a little bit about what you’ve been doing lately. But first, tell us about yourself. Tell me about what you’re doing, what you’re in the middle of right now, who you are.

Billy: Okay, I’ll try to keep it short and to the point. One of my favorite words these days is “transition” because it’s kind of gray and you don’t have to nail anything particularly down. It’s been a transitional couple of years. The short version is living overseas and then coming back to Lexington which is where my wife Lorelei and I are from and we’ve got two small kids, age six and almost three. She’ll turn three next week, but she claims it now. The transition of my wife works full-time as a nurse at Central Baptist Hospital and I’ve been full-on daddy daycare. I’m learning what that actually means and spending time with them but also trying to pursue things- not saying I’m not passionate about being a dad because I am- but trying to follow things that I’m passionate about like film and writing. Transitioning into that and trying to do things well. That’s been a stretch.

Sandi: You were overseas for a bit. Where were you?

Billy: For about five years we were living in London, England. Just sort of moved from rebranding a coffeehouse to working with London City Mission and trying to marry those two things together like faith and business and relationships. Navigating what it’s like to live in a different culture but also live out the life that you feel like you’re making a difference. Also feeling like you’re not making a difference all at the same time of taking risks or taking the right risks. Everything that’s on the other side of that, the things that your fears keep you from doing but then on the other side of them, when you plow through those fears or go around them, you have relationships that last a lifetime. Things that you look back on and go, “Oh, it was absolutely worth it.” It’s not all a bowl of cherries, but we loved living there. We moved back here for a season. We don’t know how long. We want to be fully present however long we are back in the bluegrass. We want to do what we’re supposed to be doing.

Sandi: Tell me about your current project. You’re there, you’re in London, you’re back. You’ve been in this period of transition so what are you in the middle of right now?

Billy: This coffeehouse called Husk Coffee in London, it was sort of part coffee shop, part art gallery and part creative acting studio. There was also a bakery involved as well for women coming out of trafficking situations and teaching skills so that they can find gainful employment coming out of that life. All this is happening and being around so many creative people it touched a part of me. In my twenties, I had done some acting, mostly stage acting, and I kept wanting to dabble in writing. I’d sit in on the writing workshops that they’d have and yet I could seem to find the time to fully write something. I would write part of things and put it on the shelf. I must have had like fifty or a hundred. Just get something on paper. I would have characters and I’m like, “Ooh I’d love for that to become something” and then I would short-circuit it just say, “Somebody’s already done it” or for whatever reason I would put it on the shelf. Then when we moved back here in this transition, I was thinking, “Well, if now’s not the time to try something, I don’t know when would be.” I kept finding reasons not to. An opportunity came up to use someone’s really nice camera. The Canon 300 Mark 2 which to me I was like, “I don’t know what that means” but it’s really nice and the guy offered so I’m going to take him up on it. Some other pieces fell into place, some acting friends, and just decided, “Hey, let’s go for this film project.” We’re going to try to make a short film and through connections we have in London, we’re going to try to get it into some film festivals over there and see what happens. This project, the rumblings started for the last couple of years. The actual writing and film process happened in March. It went from an idea in the head to writing it to getting all the pieces in place within a few weeks. And again, I don’t know if that’s just me. I felt like if I didn’t do something with that momentum it would get put back on a shelf again and I’d still be sitting here without this on or maybe it’s on and talking about, “You know, someday I should actually try that.”

Sandi: I think a lot of ideas that people have, especially creative ideas, that’s where they end up. “Oh well, I’m going to get to that at some point.” But you just plowed through and you went, “We’re going to do this.”

Billy: I think I mentioned to you at some point, I’m by no means an expert at either risk-taking or writing or filmmaking or anything for that matter. Dadding, not an expert. All that stuff it is a point where it’s like either people talk about their whole lives or they do it. People are still approaching me now as if I’m a coffee expert, like coffee house. I’m not, really, but I’ve pulled enough experts in the field of barista and coffee making, whether it was roasting, I’ve pulled them all together. They’re experts. I think the fact that I pushed it all through and made something happen doesn’t make me an expert, but it is to some degree. I guess I’ve gotten okay at pulling the trigger on something and just saying, “Let’s try it.” I think becoming more comfortable with failing and that can be in small projects. I just wrecked a home project the other day. I hate to admit that. I’m never satisfied with an older house and it’s like in this transition. I’ve got everything from a café bike that I’m building. Took out my thumb nail the other day trying to fix it. I’m watching YouTube videos trying to figure out how to do this thing.

Sandi: It’s how I know everything.

Billy: Our front columns are those- some people, forgive me if you love these metal columns on the front of the house like circa 1950’s. I typically don’t even see them. It’s like something you don’t see because it’s there all the time and then one day, you just see it and it’s like, “That’s got to go.” I hear my old man in my head, “You measure twice, cut once.” I measured it. I knew the boards I need to make these faux columns around it to make it look like wooden columns. I get to Home Depot and I go in. I measure it out. “Yep, these are the boards I need” and then I glance over and see these pressure-treated boards that I think, “Oh, those would be better outside.” I forget to measure them and they’re an inch and a half shorter than what I need. I load up, have them cut it, take it home, put it up and I’m like, “What?” It’s the wrong boards and newsflash, they don’t take cut boards back at Home Depot so it’s like, “Oh man.”

Sandi: You need to bring it in here and build something.

Billy: My daughter has already got me like, “Can you build me a sandbox for my American Doll?” I’m like, “Yes, I can, but know I have to stare at these metal posts.” We don’t have the income to do it straightaway. I’m going to raise money to do this again.

Sandi: I went to Lowes or Home Depot a few weeks ago and I was walking down the aisle. I stopped at the wood and I was like, “You know, I think I could make a six-foot loom.” I think I could figure it out. I was standing there looking at it and a guy walked by me and said, “You do not look happy.” I said, “Oh no, I’m just trying to figure out something.” But that wood, it’s in my garage. I’ll build something out of it one of these days.

Billy: It’s important to have project-specific, at least that’s my experience. If you go into one of those type of stores, if you don’t have a laser-beam focus, you’ll come out with a bunch of crap you don’t or pieces of projects that you never get the project done.

Sandi: I never get a project done. Exactly. When you were going into the film, did you have a laser focus of what you wanted to outcome to be?

Billy: I think it became laser focused because I don’t particularly think of myself as a creative person although I’ve changed that over time. I think I’m a creative person, but I can never sort of lump it in with- you know, I’m musically inclined. I can play guitar and some stuff. Or I’m an actor. I’m an okay actor. It is the typical sort of jack-of-all-things, master of none. I am creative but one of the things I either learned or picked up along the way, to be a finisher. How does a project go from A to B and you actually finish it? It doesn’t mean you can’t have projects that are partly done, and you come back to. I think that’s all part of a process but are you ever going to actually get it done? With this film project, I think it started out with pieces of and then I realized quick I needed to be the one. If I don’t finish this, it’s not going to happen. Even though this is a smaller film project, the cost was real to me as far as, do I skimp on sound? Do I skimp on actors? Is there anywhere that this is going to fall short because part of the creative process was how do you get creative if you don’t have a million-dollar budget? You don’t want to skimp on quality. Where is that going to happen? You’re either going to jump in and help it out along the way or get creative to where it just doesn’t bite. That’s a very real part of this.

Sandi: Now that you’re on the other side of it, is there something that you wish knew starting out with it? That you learned along the way that you said, “Oh my gosh, this next creative project I do, I’m for sure going to do this.”

Billy: I guess. This might not the most satisfying answer but it’s a very real answer. I think it can be applied to life. Nothing ever turns out as you think and that’s okay. If you have an idea in your mind, it may mostly come out like that, but the reality is going to be that nothing comes- my experience and a lot of people I’ve spoken to- nothing tends to come out easy. You don’t just go to your corner shop and buy it and it’s done perfect, that’s exactly what you’re after. Here is an example. In one of the scenes in this short film, it’s like I had relationally negotiated time to shoot in this church. Somehow it got lost in translation that the window of time to be able to shoot in this church and side note- use the monk-in-training’s outfit for the priest in this shot- I thought it was kind of open-ended, we’d have a few hours there. Well, it turns out we had 45 minutes. We lost the outfit half-way through the shoot because the monk-in-training had to leave. I’ve got a hair and makeup lady, I’m like, “I paid you some money. You asked about blood and gore. We’re not having that in this film. Can you make a priest collar?” That’s a little behind the scenes look. In the scene, the priest collar is actually toilet paper. I don’t know. That’s our movie magic. She was like, “I guess I can use that.”

Sandi: I can fashion something out of paper products.

Billy: Post-edit, the guy was asking me, “What’s sticking out of his collar there? What’s going on with his collar?” I was like, “Just Photoshop it. Can we do that?” “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” The lesson is nothing ever seems to come out and that’s okay. Just go anyway.

Sandi: Were there any other obstacles that you were like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know this was going to be an obstacle”? And how did you get through it?

Billy: Film specific?

Sandi: Yes.

Billy: Oh my gosh, I’ve got a little notebook of pitfall things that I was just like, “What? This takes this long?” Anything from how long it takes to move the filming company. The company itself to get a shot of pouring an espresso or a cup of tea, it was baffling to me like how long and how many shots it would take. I was just like, “Just pour the tea! Just pour it. Next shot.” Move it along. Move it along, you know. You, as the director of the thing and if you’re working as the producer/director, you’re moving the whole team down the field and know where you need to get and then this thing, it was a one-day shoot. You’re tallying all the costs involved so I’ve got this Excel sheet in my head going, “Well you know, I can’t afford pick-up shots.” To get all the actors back for another day, that’s another grand. Not to mention the domino effect of that, you need the actors, you need the camera back, and then you the DP. You need all these different pieces, the props, not to mention the weather and the overcast day. As things were moving, it was just like none of these things matter and you’re the only one carrying that at that point. Everyone else doesn’t care, they’re out having a sandwich break. You’re like, “Where’s my supporting crew? Where’s the cast? Where’d the actors go?”

Sandi: Where did everybody run off to?

Billy: Isn’t there usually somebody that does that? Oh, it’s you, you do that. There’s a lot of sweat equity that went into this project, this film, that is all fine. The next project, which there will be one once I recover. The stress that’s on a marriage. Once we get through that, then we’ll look at the next one. I’m going to go through this notebook and I think one of the other big ones is top to bottom, now knowing what I know- the different roles in play from the crew to the cast to the post-edit- I will have those things as much in place as possible. Because again, true to form, nothing is going to go off without a hitch. There are some things you can kind of shore up and have in mind or in place ahead of time that make the project go more smoothly. What’s that old Mike Tyson quote? “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” You can plan the heck out it, but that punch is still going to come. It’s still going to come somewhere but you can- all these random quotes are coming into my head right now. Mark Wahlberg, he said he was never afraid of a project, but he was always afraid of not being prepared enough. He was never scared of stepping into it but not being prepared. We all know what that feels like and I think being prepared takes some of the fear out of it. You know something’s not going to go right, but you jump in.

Sandi: You plow ahead anyway.

Billy: That could be the theme of this podcast.

Sandi: Just plow ahead. Drink espressos and plow on. What advice would you give someone if they said, “Okay, I want to step into this creative realm of directing and writing and getting short or a full feature film out there.” What would you tell them?

Billy: Again, this will expose how “non-expert” I am in this, but you see these things. For my own sanity I unplugged from Facebook as a whole but I’ll keep the Messenger on so I can get messages from friends on Facebook. To some degree, I’ll stay connected to Instagram and what you’re getting is a filtered version of people’s lives. In some ways that can be a little bit depressing. The political aspects and stuff so for my own peace of mind and my own whatever, I sort of unplugged from that a bit. The reason I bring that up is because I think if you’re taking in information from Facebook or wherever. Before I unplugged, master class stuff would pop up on acting and directing. One of them, James Cameron I think, said, “You pick up a camera, you’re a filmmaker.” And I’m like, “Okay. I know there’s a little bit more to it than that.” Another guy told me to read a book called The Peregrine, which I did, I went and bought it. This is the only actual book. You don’t need to read Sigfield and all these movie-making books which I had read from people coming through these writing workshops. Just an idea of screenwriting and how it differs from book writing and what have you. All those were little helpful things which play into this. The reason I read The Peregrine it was really about passion. It’s about someone who’s filming these two birds of prey in England over a ten-year span. You read it and you’re going, “You’re really passionate about these birds.” It kind of makes me passionate about wanting to learn a little bit about that. It may not be across the board but to some degree, when I meet somebody that’s passionate about anything, I mean, on your walls is macramé but somebody that’s passionate about it, I’ll give it a listen. Like, “Why do you like that so much?” I remember my sisters making owl tank tops growing up. It’s a little off topic. My point would be if you take in those information trails and then if an opportunity comes up like in my case it was the use of a camera or just why not? Why not me? Just try it. I’m not trying to be the next Scorsese. I’m not looking to be rich or famous. This, to me, was something that was inside and wanted to come out. Am I do it? Am I going to do it and hopefully do it well? The equipping you had along the way, if nothing else, I feel like I’ve learned a ton. To me, that’s part of just evolving. If you’re willing to grow and learn which hopefully, we all are all the time. My advice would be to not sit back and wait for it to happen. You could sit back but keep an eye open for an opportunity because the timing may or may not ever be right. You could have some discernment in there to determine what’s right for you to do it. There is always a cost involved too and that’s where it’s weighing out the when. I don’t think it should be paralyzing. Even if it’s a small opportunity, take the first step. Why not take that first step and see if it opens up a door to another step? Then that’s an unplugged point of maybe not now but I’ve got that piece in there to try the next. That’s my answer.

Sandi: I love that. You talked about a couple books that you’re reading. Do you have any books that you suggest to anybody or any podcasts that you listen to?

Billy: I do. I don’t know how helpful they are though.

Sandi: What are you reading? What do you listen to?

Billy: You mentioned normal earlier and I was like, “I don’t really know what normal is.” I find out more and more that I’m maybe not normal, what I thought was normal? I don’t know. Lorelei, my wife, tells me how not normal I am every day. You be the judge. Listening audience, viewing audience, you guys can be the judge of it. I tend to try to take in as much information as I can. I don’t know if I heard that somewhere growing up or living life, that you should read outside of what your interests are to not try to become an expert in it, but it may actually expand your view and knowledge of what you are interested in. Whether I’m in an airport going to a bookstore there, I’ll always grab- I may grab a book on macramé or something or Motorcycle Weekly or Gearheads or something that doesn’t always apply to what I’m interested in, but it will like, “Huh, interesting thought.” Recently, in an airport, I picked up Astrophysics for People in a Hurry which is a good read by Neil deGrasse Tyson and it’s a firehose of astrophysics and astronomy. I think the preface in it says, “Who among us hasn’t, at some point, looked up at the night sky and wondered what it’s all about or how does it work and what’s my place in the universe?” It then flushes it out in very layman terms of what’s a black hole? And then spells it out. I think some recent stuff came to light about his character but whatever. The book is a good read and you may enjoy it. It’s an easy read. You read it in 48, 72 hours. It’s a good read.
Podcast-wise, I guess you can say this, My Favorite Murder. Some friends of mine on a holiday pointed me in a direction of that. Some of it, I enjoy the banter. I actually enjoy the side stories a lot of times. As far as the murder and our fascination with that as people, they’re pretty respectful to it. That’s the interest of the podcast but then the off-shoot information they get, is interesting to me. They discovered a 400-year-old shark off the coast of Greenland. That sort of information comes in and I’m like, “Wow, what’s that like?” It’s one of the grossest- I don’t have anything against cussing- but one of them cusses so much it seems like the IQ levels come down. Man, you could just edit that out a little bit, I’d be way more into it. I just find it kind of entertaining.

Sandi: We’ll link all that, y’all, so it will be linked in the show notes of actual podcast. I have a question for you. What question do you wish people would ask you?

Billy: I thought about that. What gym do I belong to?

Sandi: That’s a good one.

Billy: Nobody seems to be asking me that question, I don’t know why. I think one of my favorite things since starting this film project, which is funny to me on the one side that people approach me as if I am this new expert in the field “budding filmmaker.” “Nah, dude, I just made something.” I think it’s actually a good film, I’d watch it, but again, you see it with a different lens. See what I did there? You see it differently because I see all the things that didn’t work out right or the things potentially failing. I’m sure that’s common. I think it’s happened a handful of times so far and this has been since March and we’re in May. In three months span, five people- I’m not a math guy but the percentage of that seems pretty high- come up to me and said they had heard or seen something about this on Facebook or what-have-you and it’s inspired them to actually try something new. That question, or somebody coming up to me and ask me, “Hey, do you think I ought to try this?” If it’s a complete bonehead idea, I may weigh in on it. I may have an opinion but in general, I really like that question. If somebody’s genuine about it, like “Hey I’m really passionate about this” and then asks some practical questions, I’m down to listen all day long. I love pointing people in that direction. I think it brings life. I think maybe the world would be a better place if people pursued more of what they are passionate about versus kind of- I mean, sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve go to do- I think it would be a more interesting place anyway.

Sandi: I totally agree. Just to see something ignited and sparked in people where they go, “Oh I really could try. I’ve had this idea in the back of my head forever. What do you think about that? Should I do it?” I would always say yes. Again, unless it was a bonehead thing where you go, “I mean, you probably shouldn’t do that.”

Billy: I don’t want to poo-poo on anybody’s dream because it may or may not be boneheaded because there are people out there that- I’m a little ADD, I apologize to the audience. There’s this little shop on Lower Marsh in Waterloo, London and I’d come off the tube every day and walk past this place. Not every day, but quite a bit and it was- I don’t want to offend anybody out there because I was more fascinated by it- but like, knitting groups are on the wise like crazy. I would walk by this little shop on Lower Marsh just walking past, and it’d be like crammed with people with their needles.

Sandi: Yes, their knitting needles.

Billy: Everybody ‘tick-a tick’a tick’ I almost joined.

Sandi: Yes. Go take a knitting class. I could teach you to knit in one hour.

Billy: I could make my own clothes.

Sandi: It’s sustainable. How to make your own stuff. I could absolutely teach you how to knit in one hour.

Billy: Okay, you heard it folks. One-hour knitting.

Sandi: Watch out, scarves everybody for Christmas.

Billy: I’m going to have my own needle set in a box. My daughter, I picked her up from school, and they had this little postcard for taekwondo. She handed it to me and she’s like, “Daddy, I want to go to ninja school this summer.” I’m so sending her to ninja- my daughter is a ninja.

Sandi: Yes! She absolutely should. That would be hilarious. I want to see some posts about that. I want to see a picture of your daughter in ninja school.

Billy: Billy.baroo that’s my Instagram.

Sandi: Is that where people can find you? Tell us all your spaces we can find you.

Billy: That’s pretty much it. Billy.baroo on Instagram. I had some friends make a website for this film bluebellsfilm.com and it’s live, it’s up. I think we’ll utilize that some more project-wise and projects to come we will utilize that some more. Those two spots are typically. I’ll use technology and what-not but there’s some measure of- I think I connected Instagram to Twitter but if you press me right now, Twitter might be billy.fray but I couldn’t tell you. I’m not verified for a reason.

Sandi: Can you give us a little bit of a synopsis of the film? You mentioned a website. Not to give anything away in your film-

Billy: No spoilers.

Sandi: No spoilers. But can you give us just a brief snapshot of what it is?

Billy: It seems a little silly to me in some ways to have a trailer for an eleven-minute film.

Sandi: Not silly at all.

Billy: I know but again, not a math guy, but it seems like that’s a third of the film if you do a trailer. We’re going to do it so that will be on the website. Essentially, it is a ghost story. I’ve been saying Amish-ish because it’s not full-on Amish but It’s an Amish woman-ish that’s encountering paranormal activity with a ghost in her home. The storyline is about this ghost trying to find peace and this woman trying to help and interact like, “What’s going on in my world and what do I do? What does this ghost want?” That’s the storyline as it unfolds. I guess it falls in the thriller realm because it’s got that vibe to it. Sort of The Sixth Sense or The Village, that sort of feel.

Sandi: It’s going to freak me out.

Billy: It depends what you like. I realized when I put my kids to bed last night and they were asking to see it and I was thinking, “I don’t know.” I probably would. My oldest one has got a darker, sort of side to her. She would dig it. I enjoy films that call out- it seems simple but there’s layers to it just what ifs. You find yourself thinking about it later, “What could that mean or what does that mean?” If you’ve ever had a fascination on some level with spiritual realms or ghosts. I don’t particularly like movies that just make me so jumpy and I have to keep the light on or something bloody and gory that it’s just like, “What was that for?” People dig it, that particular movie, that’s fine. This is not that. I think this fits more in the what if realm. I like melancholy, creepy vibes so it’s in that. You’ll see as it’s shot. It’s shot in the cadence of it.

Sandi: When do you think it’s going to be out?

Billy: It should be in the can by the end of this week so we’ll have a screening some time in June I would imagine. Free so where that pops up, you guys can come. One of the women that’s in the film, she’s going to do the press kit and the promotion stuff so we’re hoping that will get it into some film festivals. The Raindance Film Festival in London, if we make it into it, they’ll let us know by August so that would happen this fall or autumn for you overseas listeners. We’re going to try South by Southwest in the spring out of Austin and Sundance out in Utah and maybe Cannes. Those are the ones we’re trying to get in festival-wise but we’re hoping to have some screenings, whether it’s Kentucky Theater or someplace in Louisville or even some friends and cast and what-have-you. I think the deal is you just can’t charge money which benefits everyone. We’ll provide food and drink and have ten minutes of amazing film-watching. Some hanging out and hopefully some creative inspiration happening where people say, “I can do that” or “I can do better” or do something else that’s in the realm of creativity.

Sandi: Spark something for people.

Billy: Yeah, that’s the hope. We’ll see.

Sandi: There’s a couple of questions that I ask everybody that come on to the podcast. This is kind of heady and it can be serious, it could be light. Both of these questions so just whatever you’re feeling. What do think people in the world need right now?

Billy: That springs to mind, I heard somebody say the other day, “The world needs more fighting.” I actually liked it like in the sense, fighting for one another like instead of fighting one another. I don’t have to look too far for myself to answer that, like in my own relationships. I guess my response would be kindness because whenever I’m not the best version of myself, I’m not particularly kind whether it’s to my kids or my wife or just people in general in traffic especially. When am I looking out for people? I mentioned Home Depot. I was there and I saw a lady, but I was so self-hyphenated in what I was doing, I was going to offer to help. I saw she had a big bag of something. It wasn’t a sexist thing like, “Argh, I’m going to help you because you can’t lift it.” But I was so about getting my stuff done I walked by and as I walked past, I saw her wrestling the bag and I realized she had a newborn baby in a carrier. I was like, “Gosh.” Those are the opportunities on a small scale of just being kind. I could have helped in that moment. I think on a global scale you blow that up to bigger things. When people have their own agendas or beliefs or are radical about something, that tends to be when things start falling apart and bombs start going off and guns and harming one another and being more about your self-interests than another person’s interests. Looking at where there is so much brokenness in the world. There’s not clean water for kids or people are being harmed or abused. Where’s the justice? I think beyond kindness there’s a measure of responsibility. How many times do we say empty words like “I’ll pray for you”? Where’s the action on the other side? Praying is important for people but where somebody’s lost someone important to them. It doesn’t have to be a family member, maybe a friend or even a pet that’s lost. Cook them a meal. Be the hands and feet of what you’re praying for instead of just putting it out there of, like, “So sorry.” That may be true and it’s good. What would you want as a person to feel cared for? I think for so much hurt in the world I don’t know that’s it’s really going to come back. It may just be on a downward spiral but in that spiral, where’s the decency in humanity and the love that is actually put in action to change things? That’s my opinion. Can’t go wrong with kindness, right?

Sandi: You cannot go wrong with kindness. You absolutely cannot.

Billy: It’s almost like people don’t know what to do with it, I’ve discovered. When I’ve been kind, minus the woman with the baby and the big sack that she had, I’ve had people in traffic- moving back, it’s been like reverse culture shock. I’ve been yelled at a few times, but I don’t know what I’ve done, and I don’t what to say because it’s just such a new experience. Not that you can’t get yelled at in other places but coming back. My choice has been to extend kindness or like, “My bad.” I’ve found that people don’t know what to do with it, especially in traffic. It’s like they’re looking for a fight or an argument and if you meet with this “Oh my bad, dude, I was trying to get over. I’ve got to get my kid to school” they’re just like, “You!” and then they lock up. It just happened this morning. He was trying to get through traffic and I’m trying to drop my kid off to school. He was making a lane for himself. He pulled up with this scowl on his face. I looked over and smiled at him. He had a great smile. He came back from this furrowed brow to this big grin. It was kind of a bro moment.

Sandi: A bro moment. A big smiley bro moment.

Billy: We were both trying to get our kids to school. It was kind of funny.

Sandi: I just had the picture in my head right now of you having this bro moment and that’s bringing me a lot of joy. That made me happy. Last question. What is bringing you joy right now?

Billy: This is at the risk of sounding a little bit hokey. Never undervalue a good night’s sleep. That is just- it’s like Buddy the Elf, “If I can get a full 45 minutes” but if I can get seven hours. That’s the most spiritual thing I think you can do. Just be well-rested. Occasionally, if I can slow down eating the leftover Pop Tarts and feed my kids, just start eating right and feel better in general. Is that the question?

Sandi: What’s bringing you joy? Sleep always brings me joy.

Billy: The hokey part of it is my kids. A six-year-old and almost three-year-old, the wonder that they have is truly joy-bringing. I can take them to the arboretum and every flower they see is an amazing creation like, “How did this happen?” It’s like, “What? This isn’t a real flower.” The joy and the wonder that they have just feeds me. I’m excited to be around that. We take so much for granted and the simplicity of a child is so joyful. I love it when they pile on me. I don’t know if it’s the papa bear in me or something, I never knew was there. When they pile on me and they’re my ones. I love kids in general now which I never knew. When they pile on me and coupled with that joy. Don’t get me wrong, they can be monsters. What’s the opposite of joy? Joy-sucking? We’ll go with that.

Sandi: Vampires.

Billy: They’re very vampiric. I’ve wanted to use that word somewhere and I’m glad I got to use it here. You can look it up. A lot of people don’t know it’s a word.

Sandi: It is a word.

Billy: Exsanguination. Vampiric. These are the vocabulary words of the day.

Sandi: That will be the title of your next short.

Billy: I’ve got an idea for another one. Just got it. You can send money to… [laughter]

Sandi: We will start putting up GoFundMe links.

Billy: That would be another earlier question. The budget I set for Bluebells doubled.

Sandi: You can still go to the GoFundMe. We will put a link on the show notes.

Billy: Any amount. Even if it’s 29 cents. What can I get for that? Can you pour a little Pepsi in my hand? I’m getting a little batty.

Sandi: It’s all the espresso.

Billy: It’s the espresso and these velvet chairs. They’re nice.

Sandi: The green velvet chairs we love.

Billy: That should be your- does this show have a name?

Sandi: The show is The Sandi Savage Show.

Billy: You should change it to The Green Velvet Chairs.

Sandi: I really thought about changing it to The Velvet Chair.

Billy: The Velvet Elvis. You teach me how to knit, I’ll make a velvet shirt. We’ve hemorrhaged, we’ve got to go.

Sandi: Thank you so much, Billy.

Billy: Joy to be here. Man just keep serving up these George Clooney espressos.

Sandi: Thank you, guys. Thanks for listening.

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