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Happy New Year!




I’m Andrea Griffith, a.k.a. AG, a TV Exec and writer based in the chilly north in a wonderfully multicultural city called Toronto. This newsletter is my creative playground. I share how producing helps me every day in hopes that something I write will help you.


I know how full a calendar can get, especially as we’re getting back into routine, so I deeply appreciate you upping your screen time with me. Happy New Year!


If you celebrated Hannukah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, I hope it was a wonderful time. We had a brilliant Christmas (now fondly referred to as Chillmas) even with the complication of two and half days without proper plumbing. Blocked city water pipe. Sewage in the basement. Blecchh.


Once we handled the yuck, we moved on to the yum, and pulled off our delicious Switzerland x Guyana mashup - chocolate fondue, sorrel, ginger beer, pepper pot, fresh bread. Let me dust my shoulders off here – FRESH bread. Kneaded. By. Hand. There are two days in December where I don’t take an apron off, and it’s totally worth it.


It was calm, cozy, balanced, joyful, familiar, delicious, and we got our water back on Christmas Day. Cue the confetti!


Last year was a toughie. I’m not sad to see it go. It was my angel year so I thought 22 would be full of fairy dust and yellow brick roads. I was playing the wrong trailer.


I’m working on how I walk into each day. I’m learning how to pace myself and not run so hard for so long. I don’t want to catch my breath anymore; I want to always have it with me.


It's a new year! I’m jazzed to find out what it has in store, what good I can do, what I can dream and manifest.


By the looks of it, it’s going to be an extra busy year. I upped my cardio for it. Okay, maybe I still run a bit hard.


As my punchy eight-year-old said at midnight:


Bring on 2023! Gimme all ya got!


Here’s the rundown of what I’m going to cover in this post. Skip ahead, scroll, follow the sequence – whatever you fancy.


  • 1 Idea – Look Back Often

  • 2 Yescessaries - Two Tips on How I Get My Sugar Together

  • 3 All my yeses – Links to What I’m Saying “Yes” to Right Now

First up, a strategy that I borrowed from #TV life – taking a beat to look over my shoulder before moving forward.


1 IDEA – Look Back Often

I’m rolling up last year like a sleeping bag. Shaking it out, laying it flat, starting with a tight roll, keeping it as even as I can. I’m taking my time putting it away. There was deep learning in 2022 that I’ll need in 2023 (and beyond). Once the bag is rolled, I will hitch it to my pack and bring it with me.


There’s mongo pressure at the start of the year to proclaim, to change. I’m not about new, new, new. I’ve got a lot of rings in my trunk. I don’t want to be different or do differently. Improve - yes. Explore - yes. Dream – yes. Change - hell nah.


Here’s what I’ve been working on for my wind down:

  • I like deciding what I’m going to do less of and what I want to do more of.

  • Less PRESSURE (I inflict this on myself), more LEADING, WRITING and SWIMMING.

  • I’m a massive fan of Devi Brown and love her 2023 mantras.

  • I’m trying a nudge word and it’s taken me a while. Build? Reset? Odyssey? I’ve landed on Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious partly to be mischievous, partly to take up space (only one word?) and partly as a nod to my former self who got it right on Mrs. Meek’s grade five spelling test.

  • My sis sent this Celtic practice of the 12 Omens after Christmas. I love the idea of the 12 day lead up and the 12 day reflection. And you can start at any time. I’ve been looking for omens and clues. I’m convinced I saw one in my bathmat. It was late.

  • I started a bucket list (this is new!) of a few fun things. I used to be part of an African dance troupe in university and I want to try it again. Also, going to mess up my kitchen with these DIY conditioners.

Last post, I pulled back the tinsel curtain and showed you my Christmas notebook. The essential red book where I detail all the things that we liked, what we want to repeat, what we’d do differently so that I have a guide for next year’s holidays.


Before I started my Christmas notebook, I’d I have to look at photos to remember where we were or who we celebrated with – and it’s our favorite time of the year.


It bothered me when we didn’t hold on to the joy of the holidays. We kept moving forward and before we knew it, it was a meteoric re-entry back into the grind.


It felt like we were missing a step.


So, we added one.


Post-mortems are an integral part of my producing practice. Our team’s big goal is to make a hit show thoughtfully and efficiently. To me, engaging in constructive reflection helps us achieve that goal.


I usually do post-mortems at two key intervals. The first, after the first shoot or block of shooting, and the last, close to when post wraps. There may be more, depending on the production, but those two are the biggies.


It’s not easy to press pause when production is roaring ahead, but we do it. We sprint for a bit and then pause to look back at how we’ve been working, scheduling, prioritizing, staffing. We tee up the next season with smart, achievable recommendations on what we’d do the same, what we’d do differently. There’s always takeaway that can be applied to other productions.


That said, there’s one thing I deeply dislike about post-mortems – the NAME. It’s an exercise, not an autopsy! The project is not dead.


If anything, we’re giving a meaningful milestone or series more life by breathing into it with attention, energy, and insight.


Sidebar – could be the rings in the trunk talking, but I’ve become hyperaware of phrases that treat death lightly. Idioms like “Over my dead body” or hyperbolic death phrases, “Literally, dying over here.” I’m working on saying what I really mean.


The word post-mortem is dead to me. I’m dying to find another word.


What does that leave? Retrospective sounds too ancient. Debrief, too legal. Review, too academic. Look backs? I’m opting for look backs moving forward. Who’s with me?


Look backs are a crucial step on how I lead teams, make shows, and create environments that talented people want to be a part of and ideally, come back to.


At home, we were skipping this step. We didn’t press pause after major milestones or events. We charged ahead without honest reflection. And surprise, surprise, we’d end up falling into the wheel of repeating what we didn’t want to repeat.


‘Tis the season of looking back, but what I’m sharing in this post is that we realized that pausing to reflect after key events during the year has been great for communication, inclusion, excitement, and celebration. Me and the brood have been working on adding look backs throughout the year. Not just in January.


We’re a team. Why not use a tool that teams use?


Our first family look back happened after the holidays some years ago, and because it worked so well, we do them a few times a year at these intervals:

  • After birthday parties

  • After Christmas holidays

  • After family vacations

  • After the summer season

  • After the winter season

  • Before bed

Yes. Daily.


Every night, I have a “chat” with each kid for a few minutes. In quotes because that’s what they stage whisper after they’ve brushed their teeth; “Mom, I’m ready for our chat!”


We use the "Rose, Thorn, Bud" reflection technique – best part of your day, worst part of your day, and what you’re looking forward to. It’s a simple structure that keeps our convo effective and short. It makes mindful reflection easy, familiar, and part of the fabric of our kids’ day. Plus, it ups my slang game. I learned about pulling, cappin, and apparently my dinners are bussin. Thanks to chats, I don’t need Google translate to speak my kids’ language.


Our post-event look backs (after holidays, trips, seasons) are supa chill. Short. Fun. I’m not looking for more meetings in my life (my outlook is sunny, but jammed!), but I do love getting feedback, recognizing effort, and celebrating wins.


After big events, we take a few at dinner time to ask questions like:

  • Hey, how did that go?

  • Did you dig it?

  • What did you like?

  • What was your favourite part?

  • What didn’t you like?

  • What could we do differently?

  • What could we do better?

  • What did we spend too much time on?

  • What could we spend more time on?

  • Who did we miss seeing?

  • How did our schedule feel?

Most importantly, we want our kids’ perspective. It makes total sense (to me) to have them at the table adding ideas, thinking critically, using their imagination. They’re learning to process. We all are.


When we process, we take full control of our experiences.


We don’t always get juice. Some look backs are more fruitful than others. And that’s ok. My son said playing Lego was his best part of Christmas. Two days in the kitchen, y’all. Fine by me.


Even if we get nothing, the exercise of pausing to reflect is just good practice for us. It gives closure, acknowledges that we made it happen, encourages big gulps of gratitude, and teaches us all it is ok to relive joy.


We give a bit of time (a few days to week), so that the experience is fresh, but we still give some distance for perspective.


We’re busy people. Our look backs are loose. They are maybe five minutes long. Sometimes, one-on-one, sometimes we chat as a fam. Chill. I don’t even really keep notes unless there is something significant.


The way I see it, we imagined the event. That birthday party or holiday season was by our design. If we imagined that event/season and it worked for us, then we manifested it. I know that word is buzzy, but I’m all about it. We used the power of our mind to build our reality. If we manifested it, then we should pause, reflect, and recognize that win. We did that? Yes, yes, y’all! Praise.


And if it didn’t go as planned, as it rarely does, (no water for 2.5 days!) we still found a way to make it work well enough. High fives, Team.


Our look backs remind us that we can put into action what we imagine or that we can think on our feet when things go sideways. They reinforce our agency and accountability. They empower us. They help us remember.


We’ve made a habit of post-event look backs at our house – breezy, fun, pointed reflections to mark moments, indulge in joy, and bank beautiful memories - whether it be in January or beyond.


Back to rolling that sleeping bag!


2 YECESSARIES – Two tips on how I get my sugar together

This is the section where I share what’s in my Idea Log. I’ve been keeping track of what works for me and my family for years and I’m ready to share.


BUY AN LBD OR SUIT ON SALE


I’ve made a commitment to myself and Mama Earth to consume less this year. And every year. That said, there are opportunities I don’t want to miss.


January, blessed January, is when things like fancy clothes are remarkably cheap. All those holiday shimmy shakes and any occasion little black dresses are 50-70 percent off.


Friends, you have my permission to shop the sales.


This month of markdowns is when you score another classic LBD or a suit if you need it. I’ve hooked myself up with a new LBD for the last two years and have rocked those dresses several times.


I buy in January and age those numbers like good wine. Anything to avoid the “What am I wearing?” meltdown before an event. I’m always ready for the next parhhh-ty.


KEEP THE HOUSE PRETTY


Holiday greenery and twinkles bring me joy like nothing else. I’m sure this is the start of some cheesy ballad, but that light is love to me. But when the calendar flips, all that pretty comes down early January.


I still have no idea how to pronounce it, but I do know that hygge is still hot. It’s hipster, but I’m down with the Danish prescription for chillaxing – hanging with your peeps, eating well, keeping cozy.


We Northerners fight the darkness of winter with skating sessions, way too early hockey practices, maybe a hit of scotch to warm them cockles. One thing I’ve added to my pursuit of hygge is beefing up the beauty.


Last year I decided to “hygge it hard” and keep the pretty. Instead of putting all the holiday lights away, I kept some up. After the tree came down, I put eucalyptus and greenery in a vase in the bathroom. I lit scented candles in the kitchen and in the washroom even when there were no guests. I kept up some lights. The little bit of extra effort inside really helped me combat the blahs of winter. A little pretty goes a long way.


3 ALL MY YESES – AKA Linkapalooza or What I’m Saying “Yes” to Right Now


  1. I’m halfway through this powerful manifesto on taking breathers. I’m sipping it slowly because it seems fitting.

  2. I ate way too much of this butter with the Dutch Baby pancakes my SIL made on New Year’s Day. Brilliant.

  3. Came across this writing tracker and I’m using it. Eek.

  4. I am obsessed with okras. Obsessed. I’ve discovered this snack and crushed Bhindi Masala with this bang on recipe.

  5. Eclipses, meteor showers, maybe a comet? Why not keep an eye out? I added this solar system tracker to my calendar.

  6. More on the celestial. Excited that there are two full moons in my birthday month, the second is referred to as a blue moon. The Marcels version is in my head now.

  7. I rejoined my city library and my alumni library in November and it’s been the BEST thing. Libraries are my happy place. I spent most of my Christmas vacation in a cubicle. I know. I do me. I encourage you to support your public library!

  8. Still figuring out how to rock this oversized vest, but I dig a fashion challenge.

  9. It was a great recco and I inhaled this series from Abby Ajayi. Fabulous Black people, doing fabulous and sometime nefarious things, all while looking fabulous.


That’s it for now. I hope that something in my musings was helpful or interesting, or maybe getting a peek into our party of four is enough.


Happy New Year! I hope this year is full of exquisite moments, long hugs, gorgeous adventures, and vivid memories.


I’m excited by what I have planned for Yescessary this year. Watch meh with meh content calendar! Not messin’ around in ‘23.


I’m deeply grateful for this space and that you’re so generous with your time. Thank you so much for supporting me by reading this newsletter. You help keep my fingers on the keyboard!


Until, xoAG

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