This article appears in the October 2018 issue of 400 Life magazine.
Amy Lyle is a failure, but she’s OK with that.
The Forsyth County resident has built a following in recent years. Her first book, "The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures," routinely sits at the top of several categories on Amazon.com. A sequel – Book of Failures-Friends Edition – is on the way in November, and she recently inked a movie deal that will start shooting locally in a year.
The movie – titled #FakeMom, a comedy about New York stockbroker who marries a southern gentleman and comes to take care of his children after her husband leave town for different reasons – was the original goal nearly a decade ago when she began working on an early version of the script but the journey to make it happen has taken her a long way.
“If you only focus on one thing, like ‘I have to get a film deal,’ you’re going to be really miserable,” Lyle said. “If you enjoy the process of getting there, all this cool stuff has happened along the way. I never thought of being on television or getting in a movie or whatever, so it’s been crazy.”
Before the stand-up, books and movies, Lyle was a working mom and gone “50 percent of the time” traveling for work. That changed when she married her second, and current, husband.
With four kids in the mixed-family, there were lots of sports, appointments and schoolwork to be done, and her husband asked if she would consider being a stay-at-home mom.
“I had never stayed home before in my life,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh sure, how hard could that be?’ Disaster.”
In her free time when the kids were at school, she began acting in plays at Browns Bridge Church, later writing short children’s plays.
Around that same time, the seeds for her screenplay were planted when she went on a lake trip with several friends, half of which were stay-at-home moms and half working moms.
“With enough alcohol, the truth started coming out and it was just like all these preconceived notions about what’s happening in somebody’s life,” Lyle said.
The battle lines, she said, highlighted the issues that both go through: “Well, you’re never there for your kids because you work all the time” and “Well, at least if your child needs to go to the doctor, dentist, or orthodontist, you’re home.”
“Now that I’ve been on both sides, I just wish those groups would take one step closer to each other,” Lyle said.
Through some friends and connections, she was able to speak with an entertainment lawyer who gave her some good, if daunting, advice about getting a movie made.
“He’s like, ‘I don’t care how funny you are, I don’t care how funny your script is, you can’t just roll into Hollywood and get a movie deal,” she said.
While he said he wouldn’t represent her, he did give some advice to “get on the map” and pop up on search engines. He recommended a book or blog on something she knew.
“Literally, I hung up the phone and I had this vision,” she said. “I was like, ‘I have had a lot of failures,’ so I wrote this book called the Book of Failures.”
That book now appears on Amazon around the works of Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Kevin Hart.
To further her reach, she began doing stand-up, making weekly failure videos and being a regular guest on podcasts.
In time, she had enough responses from others’ failures for her second book.
“They were so funny, I started cutting and pasting them into a Word document,” Lyle said. “Before I knew it, I had 15,000 words of failures.”
Writing about their own failures, or others’, might not come easily to most, talking about failures has been pretty successful for Lyle
“That is kind of my style,” she said. “I’ve done stand-up comedy and it’s kind of self-deprecating, so that’s who I am. I totally exploit my kids and friends all the time.”