“I’m an Ivy League thug”: getting your foot in the door
Roger Ebert's love letter to his wife
An awesome audition tale from my friend Bryan, currently starring as Marvin Gaye in Motown: The Musical:
Every time I went in to play a thug, robber or general bad guy, I would be asked to read a good guy role instead. That was problematic because most of the guys reading the lawyers, cops and good guys were so much older than myself.
I realized it was because I would enter the casting office as my warm, nice, happy self, and then I would transform into the character. They didn’t want that. I had a theory that they just wanted to believe I was that person and not acting.
I had this great audition for a guest star on “CSI: NY” coming up and I wanted to test my theory, so when I got to the casting office I was already in character. Pants saggin’! Voice deep and raspy! Mean look in my eyes! Barely acknowledged anyone! After I read I slowly walked out of the room, gave the director a threatening glance, and slammed the door.
I booked it! The first day on set the director called me over and said, “Bryan, you fooled me! You are no thug! You went to Yale!” I laughed and said, “I’m an Ivy League thug.”
And This Is One of the Reasons I Got Out of the Technology Field
I’d read this last year, but upon Ebert’s death (RIP), it’s making the rounds again, and it’s still incredibly beautiful. Well worth the read.
This is sad. It would be a shame if women interested in tech decided to abandon the field because of sexism. Denying that there’s a problem is bad for the field as a whole.
"When girls like to read and write, people think it means that they are “nice” or “good,” not that they are smart, intellectual, brilliant…. So I just thought I was a nice girl."
Rose-colored lenses, media edition
“There’s nothing tawdry about offering your wares on the street. It’s how magazines and newspapers started. It is a model where the people decide and no one is in charge of the velvet rope deciding who gets to write or who gets the big writing contract or not. In some ways we’re breaking up cartels and creating a true kind of journalistic capitalism.”
Andrew Sullivan is doing some real wishful thinking here. The reason he has enough readers to even consider going it alone is that he came up through those traditional velvet-roped media, with the support of big writing contracts. The importance of traditional platforms is true for other supposedly “game changing” funding models, too: The Tomorrow crew was able to get our Kickstarter funded so quickly because we were all known for our work at a traditional media outlet. If we were a group of unaffiliated writers and designers who banded together, I’m confident we wouldn’t have made as much money. (And what we made wasn’t even enough to pay ourselves fairly.) I’d love to live in a world where all readers supported their favorite journalists directly. But the truth is they still have to find out about those journalists. And those journalists still have to hone their skills. Right now, traditional media structures are pretty crucial to both of those things.
And the same is true for music. Kickstarter et al. are great, but they’re not going to finance a long-term career.
"Some of those hits, I look at some of that—that’s football. It’s a dangerous sport. We signed up for it. They don’t pay us $5.95 an hour. They pay you quite a bit to go out there and take chances, and in that sense, that’s really what the game is about."
Michael Strahan, in an interview with Ad Age
"It would have been easy at any point in this journey to rationalize my limited success, and accept being a small cog in a bigger wheel, at likely much better pay and much less stress. But I was still hoping I had a little fire in the belly, and maybe some gas left in the tank to make something more of myself, before I ended up with just a broken spirit and a comfortable life."
It's hard out here for an aspiring magazine staffer
So a former intern at Harper’s Bazaar is suing Hearst for not paying her. It’s unclear from the reports whether she accepted the internship knowing she wouldn’t be compensated; I would expect so, since unpaid internships are pretty common in magazine publishing.
Regardless, I feel her pain. I knew from high school that I wanted to work at a magazine and was determined to do whatever it took to make that happen. I soon realized that would mean taking on unpaid work. (I was in college just before social media became ubiquitous and enabled recruiting stories like this one. When I started a paid internship after college, Twitter was still relatively obscure.) Fortunately, I was able to do so, because my family was able to swing the costs, and my internships, overall, were worthwhile experiences.
But now, I would advise college students against doing unpaid internships, especially if they will create a financial burden. In my relatively brief experience in the industry, I’ve found that a portfolio of clips/layouts/photos is far more valuable than a resume listing, and that can be gotten by joining (or starting!) a campus publication and working for local publications during the academic year. And, I must note, there are publications that do pay interns: Inc. (my employer) is one.
"We’re kind of living in a bilingual nation, at least among educated elites—English and some form of programming…"