Find out how much something will cost, and be willing to pay the price! Dream big or don’t dream at all! Winners never quit and quitters never win. Never, Never give up! ~ Winston Churchill
Recently, on a set of the family film, A Horse for Summer, I had the great pleasure of meeting and working with a truly incredible script supervisor, Towie Bixby. I was so impressed with her organizational skills and amazing attention to detail, I just knew there had to be a great story there. She was reaching for her dream in Hollywood, and her determination was paying off!
After interviewing, Towie, I was not disappointed. Her story will touch your heart especially if you have a dream to pursue. Towie is inspiring, she took the steps needed, as hard as they were to take. She also seized opportunities as they came along -- and just made things happen! Congratulations, Towie Bixby, you are awesome at what you do, and you are a Dream Catcher!
Q. What is your background and story?
A.While growing up, I had the best of both worlds. One side of my family was affluent, the other, dirt poor. There’s a lot of value to each.
My childhood years were turbulent. My divorced parents moved me all over the country, to 40 different addresses before finishing high school. My formative years were in Topeka, Ks. After that, my mother had enough and put my little sis’ and me in a non-air conditioned Volkswagen, with one box of clothes for all of us, and we headed to hot Arizona. Three years later, still shuffled back and forth, I finally moved out at 18 years old.
From there, I worked a few jobs until I took a Post Office exam and landed a job as a clerk. I stayed there for 24 years until I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to go after my dream in the movie business -- I had to go to Hollywood.
I would always tell my co-workers, I would NOT grow old selling stamps! “One year, one month, one week, one day, on the calendar, I am going to leave this place and go be a movie star!” ~ Of course they would roll their eyes.
Q. How did you get involved in entertainment specifically and why did you make it a career?
A. Here’s where it all started: With years of being put down by family I longed for admiration. When I was 14, I called the local modeling schools, just to hear them answer -- it made me feel close to the famous and successful. At 16, I worked the fast food thing and paid for my own orthodontist, car, clothes, acting classes and head shots.
At 17, I secured a talent agent after a well-prepared audition, and pursued auditions for TV commercials. I loved it so much that I never wavered, even after about 30 auditions and never getting called back.
At 23, I started the postal career and 24 years later my dream of working in the film industry came to me, right there in my hometown in Arizona. A Hollywood movie, starring Bert Reynolds and Raquel Welch, came to town to film right across the street from the Post Office where I was working.
Six weeks before filming, a person from that production came to my window to mail a movie poster! We hit it off as friends! The next thing I knew, he got me on the set, doing a recent movie-stunt I'd learned from a stuntman named Tom Proctor. Then, the director called me back for lines, as the writer had added dialogue just for me!
I met my fiancé on that picture, cinematographer, Ronald Vidor, who introduced me to the world of script supervising (we take the notes from the "takes" as the camera rolls and watch for bloopers, time the shots, etc.).
About three years later, I walked into the Post Office, I looked at the mail on the racks and I said to myself, “This is it. It’s now or never! God brought Hollywood to me! Do you want to do this until you’re old or do you want to make movies? You’re not a duck, you’re an eagle! It’s time to get out of the nest and fly!”
I walked straight to the Manager’s office, filled out my deferred retirement form, and did not give a two week notice because I NEVER WANTED TO EVER GO BACK!
I sold my home, my furniture, and came to Hollywood a month later. I took classes on script supervising by Jim Kelly Durgin. The best in the world. People came from all over the world to be trained by him! I went three times a week, four hours a day, for two years! I now have worked on feature films, TV episodic, commercials, music videos and more!
I have worked in all conditions: snow, rain, heat, with little sleep, but that’s a small price to pay to rise to the top! I have eaten cold grilled cheese sandwiches on set after working outside all day in the snow, I have had bad colds with coughs, lack of sleep and sad days that life sometimes brings -- but if I quit, then, what will I have? I gave up a secure job with top seniority and health care to soar above the clouds!
Q. What awards have you received?
A. In my life, it seems I receive "Achievement" awards, Customer Satisfaction awards, Top Sales awards, but now, even though script supervisors’ don’t get awards, I take pride that nearly all the short films I script supervised have received top awards at film festivals. In addition, my tenacity and hard work has paid off and now the richest part of life is about ready to manifest: When I see my name in the credits of an A-List movie!
I am now being recognized as: Actor/Script Supervisor/Executive Producer, and one day, Director. Some of the most awarded directors, started out as a script supervisors, which if done CORRECTLY, is more complicated than directing.
Q. Tell us about the process you’ve been through to garner attention for your work.
A. Although I am a strong networker at camera events, such as: Cinegear Expo, HD Expo, Small Biz Expo, The NAB show, and the like, I also go to private screenings and ask questions during Q. & A. I listen to the ‘Pros’ because they shed light on their way of thinking.
I rely on myself to get the word out that I am a Script Supervisor/Actor. If my mouth is closed, so is my business. So I always carry my business cards. But what speaks louder than my words, is my work. Directors and producers seem to appreciate my work ethic and skills and they actually spread the word for me. So I get a lot of referrals.
But keeping my ears tuned to the thought process of other "greats" in film, helps me think the right thoughts so my actions are directed to the positive. I also make calls to production companies who make listings of their upcoming projects, to see if they’ve crewed up yet. After finding the address in the Hollywood Directory, I take a sample of my work right into production offices (yes, sometimes sneaking past the security guards), and say to the receptionist, I am requesting to see Mr./Ms. So and So.
Q. Can you tell us about some of the people who have stepped up to support your efforts?
A. My first gratitude goes to God in Heaven.
My grandmother, Irene Bixby, was highly successful with her antique shop. She would always tell me that the way people see you and how you treat them, is what brings them back for more.
Next, my parents, even though they were not there for me, I embrace them. It made me have to struggle so much harder, but because of it, I can weather any storm.
Then, my beloved Ronald Vidor. My fiancé, A-List cinematographer who introduced me to script supervising. He kicked my butt, made me cry and want to quit, but wouldn’t let me. He’s put the most wind under my wings.
I have to thank the wonderful teachers and mentors: Jim Kelly Durgin, may he rest in peace, Kristine Greco, Commercial Script Supervisor, may she rest in peace, Anthony Pettine, for his instruction with his script supervisor’s software: ScriptE, Karen Mattingly, Top script supervisor in Arizona, for without her I wouldn’t even know how to use a computer, and Trudy Ramirez who pumps me up when I goof!
George Stankovich who lends a shoulder to cry on and takes me shopping for some retail therapy, complete with a 2 hour massage in Beverly Hills.
Tom and Margie Proctor & Bj & Julia Davis who are directors, stuntmen, writers, producers, actors. They frost my cake with confidence.
And, last but not least, to my son, Jordan Palazzetti, who always tells me, "You've raised me, now go get your dream, mom!"
Q. What do you see developing in the future? Any further dreams?
A. My dream is to script supervise an Academy Award-winning picture. Then, take that experience and go out and direct my own true, untold story about my Native American Indian Tribe, in Oklahoma.
I intend to continue pursuing my production company, Towie’s Tribe Production Company. I would also like to continue my acting!
Q. How can people learn more about what you’re doing? Website?
A. They can see my website: Towiebixby.com
If they look up my resume on IMDB. please click the ‘View Resume’ as there is a lot that IMDB can’t credit since they were produced before IMDB existed. Towie on IMDB.com
Q. Do you have some advice or encouragement for “Dream Catchers” in the entertainment industry?
A. I would like to say that it’s not about what people say about you. It’s what you think about yourself. Looking back, those folks aren’t in my life any more, so why did I let them hurt me with the things they said? Typically, I find they don’t have it in them to do what I have done. You don’t need others to believe in you. You only need yourself, you know why? Because nobody can go out and do it like you can. Only YOU know YOUR DREAM. So, you can either dream about your dream, or go get it. Find out what the price is, and be willing to pay that price!
Go MEET the people in your field of dream. Someone has the key to open your door, to the next door, to the person who has the next key. Don’t stop going though doors. If you want the key that unlocks the final door to your destination, even if the door was slammed in your face, it will only be opened if you get over the way the slammed door made you feel. Feelings change, don’t let feelings stop your success! Change your thinking, change your life!
Q. Do you know of organizations “Dream Catchers” could utilize to further their careers?
A. Women Helping Women, Women in Film. Check out any organization that is pertinent to your dream. Check them all out! And meet people!
DREAM CATCHER, Towie Bixby