Hello, Storytellers, Changemakers, and Future-Weavers!
Below is a collection of organizations and initiatives I've created or take part in, articles I've written, talks I've given, and other content in which I share what I've learned about how we might collectively unlock a kinder, more nourishing, and more sustainable way to tell and share stories.
It is my belief that by dreaming wildly, experimenting boldly, and sharing with radical transparency everything we learn along the way, we will build our own bridge to the future we long to create.
If you'd like to hear my ongoing thoughts, be in conversation with me about this, and join a community of folks also on this exploration, you can join my Patreon community HERE.
Avalon: Story is a center of practice, based in Idaho and founded by Naomi McDougall Jones, designed to incubate and birth a new media ecosystem born out of two questions:
What does Story need to be to build us a bridge to a more beautiful future?
What are the business structures of Story that can serve as vehicles for the same?
In the Fall of 2021, Avalon: Story brought 6 of today's most pioneering cinematic storytellers to The Big Lost Campus outside Ketchum, Idaho, for a week-long retreat during which they explored and innovated around the question, "What does Story need to be to build us a bridge to a more beautiful future? "
REGENERATIVE CREATION COHORT
Naomi has partnered with Indigenous impact producer and storyteller Charlene San Jenko to launch ReGen Media, North America's only Indigenous-owned + female-led inclusive innovation media fund. ReGen finances and activates regenerative media, and reconciliation breathes into each and every aspect of our work.
As part of that initiative, Naomi is co-facilitating the Regenerative Creation Cohort, designed to lead 10 storytellers and creators a year into a regenerative model of financing, creation, and distribution.
The inaugural Avalon: Story program was Constellation Incubator, which, over the summer of 2021, brought together 60 filmmakers to participate in an 8-week incubator designed to scale innovation within the independent film industry and apply design thinking to re-imagine a more equitable and sustainable ecosystem - from development, film finance, production, to marketing and distribution.
Naomi co-founded this initiative alongside Abeni Bloodworth, Angela Harmon, and Liz Manashil. The final presentations from the participants of the incubator - 12 fully redesigned independent film ecosystems can be found on YouTube.
REVENUE DATA: The Numbers Don't Lie
In 2023, filmmaker and distribution consultant Liz Manashil and I co-wrote an article for Filmmaker Magazine, in which we aggregated and analyzed the detailed revenue data from104 truly independent films (free-range films).
We drew some eye-opening and important conclusions about the current state of independent film and what it can tell us about how we should think about making our movies going forward.
THE JOYFUL VAMPIRE TOUR OF AMERICA
In the summer of 2019, I took my second feature film, BITE ME, on a 51-screening, 40-city, 3-month Joyful Vampire Tour of America in a radical experiment of a new self-distribution model.
What we learned about distribution, community, the purpose of story, the state of the US, and the people who live there could fill several books. Luckily the entire thing was captured on film and turned into a wildly fun, entertaining, and informative 12-episode docu-series by the amazing Kiwi Callahan and you can see the whole thing on YouTube.
TEDx TALK: HOW TO BECOME A TRUE AGENT OF CHANGE
What will it take to finally dismantle white supremacy and patriarchy? Sarah Springer and Naomi McDougall Jones have each spent over a decade trying to dismantle those forces in Hollywood. But, after a failed attempt to bring movement leaders together to create foundational change, the two were forced to confront a more uncomfortable question: "Is it possible that even when what we think what we want is change, that our conditioning is leading us to uphold the existing power structures?" The devastating conclusion they arrived at was, "Yes. Because we were all shaped by this society." That prompted Sarah and Naomi to embark on more than two years of conversations, research, and digging - sharing and dissecting their own very different experiences, but also discovering their surprisingly similar journeys of transformation. In this talk, the two share their gained understanding of the deeper work that we must each do individually and collectively to finally wake up from the nightmare of white supremacy and patriarchy and at last build a dream of our own.
THE LIGHT AHEAD
In 2020, Naomi co-created, Executive Produced, and served as showrunner for a scripted fictional podcast exploring the question "What would 2030 look like if the USA had an economy that truly worked and cared for everyone?"
In the way that Star Trek inspired a generation of scientists, investors, and techies to grow up and create technologies that seemed impossible only decades ago, The Light Ahead offers listeners visionary ideas for a kinder, more inclusive, economic future.
Each episode is a short piece of scripted fiction set in 2030 and informed by the visions of activists and justice activists.
The series is now available wherever you get your podcasts.
Naomi served as the Book Doula and Editor for the ground-breaking book Beloved Economies.
Based on extensive research with organizations and companies that are boldly breaking out of business as usual, Beloved Economies offers readers an imagination-expanding vision of what work could be.
Authors Jess Rimington and Joanna L. Cea explore possibilities for how we work, learning with more than sixty people from a wide array of enterprises. What these groups have in common is that they are generating forms of success that audaciously prioritize well-being, meaning, connection, and resilience—alongside conventional metrics like quality and financial success.
Beloved Economies offers readers seven specific practices as a springboard for changing how we work. As the book reveals, it’s not only what we do, but how we do it that can be a powerful lever to move us into economies that all of us can love.