Saturday, April 30, 2011

SPJ Conference, San Diego, 4.30.2011

One of the great things about technology is that I can type this post at 3:04 a.m. and set it to post at exactly the same time I'm on a panel at the Society of Professional Journalists (Region 11) taking place right now at Humphrey's. The event is sold out and while I appreciate the invitation to speak, it is a stretch to call me either a journalist or professional. This is the description of the panel I'm on (and in the amazing company of George Varga of the Union-Tribune/Sign On San Diego and Angela Carone of KPBS/Culture Lust):
Does reviewing concerts and movies, interviewing artists and celebrities, and covering the arts world sound like a dream job?
Learn what it really takes to cover the arts at this session. Arts reporters and bloggers will give you the behind-the-scenes story on accepting free tickets, the research they put in before reviewing a performance or arts event, tips and interesting tidbits about interviewing artists, developing the right writing style, controversies in the arts critic world, career options, and how one goes about becoming an arts reporter/critic.
If you really must know, I just got out of the shower and am wrapped in a towel, sitting on my couch next to my dog who, at the moment, won't stop chomping at her tail. I think this is important to say because I suppose the point of the panel is not the "dream job" part of that description, but more of the "(learning) what it really takes" part of the equation. I can't speak for my fellow panelists, but I was just at an amazing show with three great bands and I would've missed them had I not been willing to stay out until 2 a.m. and put my other responsibilities on the backburner for a few hours. This also means instead of going to sleep, I might be lucky to squeeze a nap in before the event. The girl before you is not a well-rested woman. Hopefully I'm not making an ass of myself in a microphone right now, and if you're at the conference and took the time to check out my site (or if you're a regular reader and always wondered how I've learned to do what I do), here are just a few resources I've found for inspiration over time:
  • This guy probably pissed off a lot of band managers and publicists by putting power back into the hands of musicians, but you have to read "Time Management For Bands".
  • For marketing inspiration and advice, I subscribe to Seth Godin.
  • For crazy rants, analysis, and general music analysis, I subscribe to the Lefsetz Letter.
  • For digital marketing, PR, and publicity information, I subscribe to The Future Buzz.
  • To manage multiple social media accounts, I use Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. (mobile apps, too!)
  • I'm a big fan of Twitter search and Google Alerts for instantaneous information.

The other day I was writing about some bands I work with that made me proud. It's not about me, but rather the shared accomplishments of people I've been fortunate to work with. I have a degree in Multimedia Communications and the path to where I am is quite jagged. I've worn many hats: media assistant, media buyer, media planner, administrative assistant, talent buyer, social media community manager, consultant, stage producer, merch girl, door girl, band manager, band momager, band babysitter, publicist, content manager, people connectress, and most of the time I pretend I'm a photographer and videographer. I am not a professional journalist, yet writing was my back door entry into this world. A better writer will make her words generate income. My words are merely a connection to all of the other things that feed my ultimate passion for my city and my music scene.

Everyday I navigate this path. It's challenging and it is around the clock, but I've never been happier and more fulfilled than I am right now. Hopefully the doom and gloom of the future or journalism, the arts, and the perceived destruction of the music industry isn't enough to scare you away from finding your own success in this world. Ultimately it's hard and will kick your teeth in many times, but man, when it works, it is really fucking cool. As I tweeted last night, "This is what happens when you don't know what you wanna do when you grow up."

If you arrived at this article from #SPJ or #SPJSD, shoot us a tweet. @GeorgeVarga, @CultureLust, and @sddialedin. Huge thanks to @jcleesattle for the invitation to participate in SPJ.

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