Why the Girl Became a Cat with Shanna Forrestall

In This Episode

What it Was Like

Shanna was a good student. Not a science or math person. It took her awhile to find her “art.” She was creative, but what about practical skills?

She played a lot. She loved creating imaginary worlds and stories.

Her family didn’t have a lot of money growing up. Her mom would give them some sheets and say, “go play in the woods and come home before dark.”

Shanna got into acting, and got into the production side of it pretty quickly.

Bottom line she’s better at the production part. She is a really good organizer, and this played into her functioning better behind the camera than in front of it. She saw the magic of what had to come together to make it all happen.

What about the idea of being alone in these imaginary worlds?

Shanna didn’t actually do it alone. She would recruit people and assign roles.

She was a producer right from the beginning.

Shanna was forced to be creative and find ways to entertain herself, because her family didn’t have the money to buy her toys and things that would have made it easy.

No formal schooling. She went to college for a little bit. But there were no scholarships then, and she couldn’t go into debt for it.

Shanna would hire people to do the things she needed and then learn from them.

Mentors to the rescue again! Even if you have to pay your mentor, it’s worth it. Shorten the learning curve, and avoid the pitfalls they’ve fallen into.

What Happened

The earliest challenges Shanna faced had to do with growing up in her time in Louisiana. The way the viewed (or didn’t view) women. She got through this by having strong female influencers. She also found that there was an advantage to being the only woman in a room with a voice! Shanna used that.

It became more and more important for Shanna to find and fight for her place.

Then as she got older she got moxy. She was able to say, “oh no, no… I am way too old for you to tell me what to do.”

She realized her own value, and that helped her stand her ground.

Over time Shanna has learned to fight not just for herself, but for any “marginalized group” that isn’t getting the treatment they deserve.

Shanna likes to hire autistic kids to help her. She took one such guy to shoot some stuff with her. These kids are diligent and hard workers. One of these kids is extremely good at animation. It links to his attention to detail which is likely tied directly to his autism.

When you give someone an opportunity, who isn’t used to being given opportunities, they will be so grateful that they will work that much harder for you.

“Matt” whom Shanna was talking about has a different way of viewing the world and this comes out in his work, and it’s beautiful.

Before getting her “moxy” Shanna handled things by leaning on mentors.

So how do you stand up to people when you need to?

Age helps.

Find a way to keep the person’s ego intact while you stand up for yourself. If you do this well you can find a way to disengage most people’s fears. There’s a balance that has to be achieved here.

The answer in my own words is something I learned from a friend and mentor of mine – make them feel safe. Help them realize that you are not a threat.

Once you do this, you will get the opportunity to prove yourself. THAT’s when opportunities start coming your way.

Another key is listen first. If you listen first then you find an opportunity to insert your ideas. When you do that, then you add value to the conversation, and then you earn your spot. You earn trust.

What It’s Like Today

Shanna is writing a children’s book right now – “Why the Girl Became a Cat.” It’s about female empowerment, about girls having a choice to become whatever they want to be.

Also working with a Brain Trauma specialist on a documentary on Autism. This is partly about the possibility of Autism recovery happening. No this doesn’t mean something is wrong with them. It means that you can take a nonverbal child and help them become verbal. The goal is to bring hope.

Shanna is working on lots of interesting projects, but her “day job” is working with businesses on their social media content. She works with both for profit and non-profit businesses.

Shanna loves capturing people’s stories (so do we).

She loves taking “non-actors” and getting them to feel comfortable in front of the camera.

Your business is your story, and your story is your business.

People are so overwhelmed by social media. How do you get that presence?

Shanna talks to them about who their target “demo” is. Who is your IDEAL client.

Shanna’s primary focus is on people who are creative, and people who are passionate. That can be someone in Real Estate, or it can be a musician.

When we talk about what are your goals and how can we get there. Shanna becomes a bit of a social media psychologist!

As a result of this process she can figure out what kind of content to put out there.

Shanan likes to ease people’s anxiousness at ease.

But you have to really want to do it.

So what do you say to someone who is scared of being in front of a camera?

Going live and looking like you don’t know what you are talking about is going to hurt your business. So you get someone to help you.

Yes. Video works, but that video can be an audio piece with images.

There are many ways to approach this.

What are you trying to do? What are you actually selling?

Identify your assets.

Then create them.

Even down to creating your “free giveaway” for your sales funnel. Shanna can help make that beautiful.


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