Santa Fe Independent Film Festival - Retirement Planning

Rachel Happy SFIFF jpeg copy.jpg


A short comedy.  It's pure magic when an intergalactic social worker arrives at a retirement planning office.

Interview with Writer/Director Jody McNicholas

Main image - Rachel (Rachel Michaela) as the intergalactic social worker


Congratulations! Why did you make your film? 

“Retirement Planning” was my first attempt at writing comedy. Moving away from my mainstay genre of documentary. My husband, Beau, is a retirement planner. I wanted to write something that explored Beau’s work and mine together and it just happened to come out as a comedy.

Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?

There is an underlying theme that life is so much more than meets the eye. Retirement Planning explores a deep-rooted belief around aging and retirement and also has some fun along the way.  This film invites you to think about your own dreams and how you want to live your life.

 Retirement Planning - Inter-dimensional radio

Retirement Planning - Inter-dimensional radio

How do personal and universal themes work in your film?

It’s about an intergalactic social worker so it’s pretty much directed to a very wide audience! I believe every person makes an impact on this planet and beyond.  Every act is connected to the greater whole. Many of us have lost our magic or the willingness to dream.  This film plays with this idea and the excuses we sometimes make not to dream. 

How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?

Retirement Planning started out as a class project. It was shot in 45 minutes, I didn’t think it would make it to festivals but as I started editing the film I thought...this is pretty sweet.  What if I brought in a sound designer and hired someone to add special effects and I just kept building the movie after it was edited and after the class was over.

What type of feedback have you received so far?

It’s been a blast hearing the feedback. It was my first exploration outside of the documentary world so I really didn’t know what to expect. Retirement Planning received the "Merit Award" by the “Awareness Film Festival” and has its “World Premiere” at the “Santa Fe Independent Film Festival” this month! 

What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on

It’s easy to get stuck as we get older and have our dreams fade. I work with at-risk middle-schoolers teaching substance abuse prevention and art. I LOVE my work. I do not focus on drugs and alcohol. I focus on joy for life and following dreams. As the wise mythologist, Joseph Campbell said “Follow your bliss”. This film is to remind us adults to do the same. I want our youth to know that getting older is not a’s an adventure.  It’s back to the ripple we show up in the world is impacting our children.  They are looking for joyful role models and guidance.

 Retirement Planning - Chuck (Kelly Ruble) at the retirement planning office

Retirement Planning - Chuck (Kelly Ruble) at the retirement planning office

Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message? 

All of the above.

What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?

How are you following your bliss?

What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now? I’m working on a short film narrative film to lower DWI’s.  There will be a UFO and some galactic tough love involved!


Interview: October 2017


We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us?  More info: Carmela



Retirement Planning A short comedy.

It's pure magic when an intergalactic social worker arrives at a retirement planning office.

Length: 5 minutes

Director:  Jody McNicholas


Writer: Jody McNicholas

About the writer, director and producer:

Owner of Walk-In-Productions based in Taos, New Mexico has been producing and directing inspirational forward thinking films since 2004. 

Key cast: Rachel Michaela and Kelly Ruble

Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Yes

Social media handles:



Where can I see it in the next month? Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.  October 20th and 22nd.