Friday, June 24, 2011

The Big Day!

So last Friday was the big day! Eight hours of presentations while all ten groups gave not-so-brief overviews of their magazine proposals, including cover, content, business model, advertising plans, website, facebook, twitter feed, etc. And these are all projects that we put together in only three weeks. Wowzers. A lot of them were very strong overall, and there were some elements of specific pitches that were really genius. But there could be only three winners (apparently), and my magazine was unfortunately not among them. We were told by the judges that they loved our funny content, but they couldn't see how we were going to make any money through advertising. "Perhaps," they suggested, "this would be a great product to launch as a stand-alone book." (Ironic, considering the next section of the course is one labeled - "book publishing.") But this time around, it was all about magazines, so we were sorta forced by the definition of the course to work on a magazine.

However, I am very excited to get to the book section. Book publishing has been my main focus and interest since I first thought of this career change, so I'm looking forward to meeting the people for this second section. Also, I've been assigned the role of publisher for our next set of group projects, which I think is going to be an excellent thing to talk about in my future cover letters for job applications. The publisher is essentially the book company's executive producer, in charge of making sure that all of the teams work together and all the pieces come together in the end. I'm also pretty sure that the publisher is the major spokesperson for the brand, so I think I'll be doing a lot of presenting in front of people. I'll have to balance this project workload with the job hunting and networking that I need to do while I'm here, in order to stay in NYC after the program is over.

But putting aside anything like that, and on a material-for-future-posts note, I'm seeing X-Men: First Class tonight. A review will follow in the next few days.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

(The Night Before) The Big Day

It's hard to believe that I've been here for three weeks already. Three weeks of lectures, classes, stress, homework, and projects. And I feel a little behind the eight-ball that I've only applied for two jobs, but the book section is coming up next, and I'm ready to dive into that one full-tilt. These first three magazine weeks have been a warm-up for the program that I'm really interested in, and it makes me wonder what the curriculum is like at the University of Denver. I have actually really enjoyed working on this pseudo-magazine launch, and after our project got the green light for launch at the end of the first week, it has been an interesting ride.

For the launch, I worked as the advertising sales director, which meant that I was in charge of figuring out how we were going to get companies to buy advertisements in our magazine. We're doing a magazine that makes it a little hard for those sorts of things, but we came up with some good angles and some good sales pitches, and I feel confident about my part in the magazine. And even more than that, I'm really excited about our overall product. We had some amazingly talented people working on this project, and I am literally awed by some of their talent.

Anyway, we present our work to the panel of judges tomorrow, and they will be evaluating our project based on the reports we turn in and our answers to their questions. There are prizes given out, awards to be issued, but I don't think that any of them come with big cash advances or job offers. Sadly. But I will try to post another entry tomorrow after the presentation day and before I go to see "X-Men: First Class" this weekend. And you better believe that I'll be blogging about that one!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Week Two, although a little late

This posting comes in a few days late, as we ended our second week of classes up here last week. And during a media talk last week, essentially a big networking event for the students to meet as many industry professionals as we could, one of our industry advisers made a comment that filled me both with hope and anxiety. He said that every one of us will have a job within a year, maybe a year and a half. But the challenge is to find the job that we will enjoy. That is the sort of thing that makes me feel a little better about what I'm doing right now. After all, he's the one who has been speaking to the program for six years, so he is in a good position to speak to the graduation rates.

I go back and forth on how I feel about ending this program and entering the work force. Some days, I am completely psyched up and chomping at the bit to apply for jobs at book publishers and rock out the job as an editorial assistant. And on other days, I'm hit with waves of panic about being 30 and trying to break into a completely new industry where I have little experience and only very loose connections. And in moments like that, I wonder if I made a mistake by leaving my city and abandoning my career. When the panic from these moments subsides, I try to reexamine the decisions that led me to this point. Do I wish I could go back to my former life? In some ways, yes. But do I have faith that my new life is going to be more satisfying? In many ways, yes. And that faith is the scariest part, since I have no actual evidence that things will be any different on the other side of this program. All I can do is do the best I can, and have faith that things will work out in my favor. I try to maintain that confidence, and it is only in small ways that I lose that faith.

So I remember to breathe, I listen to the music from Superman, and I try to make the next day even more productive. I have faith, and I have confidence, and I'll bring them both forward with me. One step at a time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week One

Okay, so I know that I am a few days to really make this one even seem to be "on time," but this last weekend marked the end of my first week in New York City at NYU. And I do apologize for that. Lots of exciting, terrible, and frustrating things have been going on, but one thing is for sure: it's been one heck of a busy week. Monday and Tuesday were easily 13 hour days, and I felt as if I wasn't going to have any time for anything other than class, work, and sleep. But after the crazy schedules calmed down a bit (and we got our final project approved by our course administrator), those days shortened to only 11 hours and we managed to find time to enjoy the city and find some drinking spots near our dorm. And we found a lot of drinking spots.

Our typical day involves getting down to our school building around 8:30 or 9am, and then we sit in panel discussions and hear lecture presentations until 5pm. Then we are expected to work in our 10-person groups on our group project, preparing to launch a new magazine upon the unsuspecting world. We went through about a dozen ideas before one of them was approved by our instructor, and we were sorta at our wit's end when it came to ideas. A half-assed joke turned into a full-fledged idea, and now we're working out way through the business plan and the advertising strategy for a bi-monthly magazine. We've been challenged so far by the assignments, and our judges for the presentations have been a whole slew of industry professionals. We've met some people who are literally rock stars in their profession, and they have been very willing to "open their brains" to us and give us all the advice that we can ask for. It's been a lot of fun to work on this project, but it has also been a lot of work.

In the coming weeks, I'll try to keep the postings up-to-date. I'll also try to get some New York photos to share with those playing along at home. They are keeping us quite busy here; so much so that even when we have a night with nothing due the next day, we're all sitting at our computers wondering if there is something else we are supposed to be doing. It's a sickness.