Launching “How I Made It”

Yesterday I launched a new series for my job (job? yes–I have a job! more on it later—I’m too busy working). It is called “How I Made It” and it profiles Black women who have made it in the fashion and beauty industry. Our first episode features Mikki Taylor, former Beauty & Cover Editor for ESSENCE Magazine. Mikki is a pretty awesome lady. Shooting this was the first time I have experienced her in the flesh, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

This is the third series I’ve launched for the job so far. Each project is special to me for one reason or another, and every new series is my new favorite. I am pretty proud of this piece, which is saying a lot–I am hardly ever proud of my work for longer than 10 seconds immediately following launching. The team I put together to pull all of this off was amazing. From the makeup artist to the motion graphics team to the director, editor and DP, to the producer, the musician who created the music and of course our regular staff who had lots of input. I think this may have been the first piece we’ve done that I couldn’t stop watching over and over again. I think my favorite part of this whole thing is I got it done right under budget, ha!

I really enjoy producing video content for the web. It’s happening for me really quickly, but being able to tell visual stories that you can’t find in mainstream media–especially those about and for Black people is kinda….cool. I am loving the opportunity to be able to do this.

Watch the video below. Continue reading “Launching “How I Made It””

I Quit

Today is my last day of work. I resigned from my job several weeks ago, and the day has finally come for me to say goodbye.

No, I am not sick of my job. No, I am not sick of the people  who work here. No, I didn’t get a new job with another company. I absolutely loved the work I did at KCET New Media, and  working with the people there has been pretty awesome. I used to get clowned in elementary school for watching so much PBS
(KCET, specifically), and so I sincerely have a soft place in my heart
for this station due to my childhood allegiance (haha). This place has a very fun work environment where I’ve had the freedom to come up with as many ideas as I could muster, and then see them through. I am often held in high regard as an expert on social media, blogging, all the stuff that makes me warm and fuzzy inside.  I also love the flexible dress code. Jeans and sneakers are very important to me. No, really.

Everything was great for me at KCET. Until one day I realized I have been coasting through life for the past few years. You see, I have been supposedly carving my way through life since I left Boston (and my job at WGBH–again I love PBS!) three years ago. However, I haven’t been proactive at much of anything. Yes, I completed graduate school, but I wasn’t initially looking to go to grad school. MIT was the most difficult thing I had ever been through–I was scarred for life academically. Grad school was the last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t research grad programs, and apply to different schools and go through a selection process. I worked at USC, heard about this program my co-workers were all in and signed up. Luckily, a program for online communities was just starting, so I hopped on board because it was perfect for me. This job at KCET? I wasn’t looking for a job. I was perfectly happy at my last job, with an awesome boss and free tuition. But KCET came along and created a position for me, gave me the salary I asked for–it was an open and shut case. The last four months I have been close to losing my mind because I have been consulting on the side, and working on starting up my own web properties. I am also the CTO of a startup. Again, these opportunities came to me with little to no effort on my end.

I didn’t ask or solicit for any of these things, but they have all been awesome experiences to add to my life path. I am thankful that these things have come to me when they did. But it still remains: I have been coasting through life. If I can happen  upon these great opportunities just by being fabulous me, what could happen if I actually put myself out there and took a risk? What could happen if I actually created some goals and planned for them?

I have to say, it feels enthralling to plan for something and see it through. I used to be a planner. One of those four year planners.  I planned my way into MIT. Freshman year of high school  I just woke up one day and decided I was going to plan my way into a top tier university. Nobody in my family has been to a top tier school and only one person (my grandmother) has actually  finished college. Nobody was pressuring me to go to a top tier school, especially at age 14. Truthfully, I didn’t even know what the top schools were, but I knew that’s where I needed to be. I had some nerve back then, thinking I could get really far, given the cards I had been dealt (un-rich, minority, female, single-parent household turned domestically abusive household). I was getting Ds and Fs in middle school, and had a shoplifting habit. I had every excuse to fall back and coast through life, but I made the decision to be proactive about my future and plan myself into a better, happier solution. The day I received my MIT acceptance letter felt so good because it was a long time coming. I had worked so hard for it, and it took a lot of risk and commitment on my end to think it was something I could accomplish. What ever happened to the 14 year old Liz who took a little bit of risk, thought outside of her given circumstances, did some planning and adjusted things along the way? That Liz sure had some guts and imagination. She didn’t know it at the time–and she didn’t broadcast it–but she had some audacity. I need to get that Liz back.

Anyway enough of my Only In America story. I am quitting my job in the middle of a recession so I can start my own new media company. I will be consulting as well as launching my own web properties. I have shelved too many projects over the last three years. It’s time I plan and put real effort into them. I am too fabulous to sit by and coast through life like this. I have some awesome clients I consult, and I enjoy the flexibility and the projects I am working on. I am at the point where I can’t manage both my fulltime job at KCET, my consulting work, and get my shelved projects off the ground. The money has been great (though I am too busy to spend it, thus I’ve been accidentally saving more money than I’ve ever had), but my sanity and health has been suffering. I have been flaking out on people and projects–and I hate flakes. So, the job had to go. I will miss my job and colleagues, but I am confident this is what’s best for me right now. In fact, it’s perfect timing. 

I admit, it’s a little scary. But the worst thing that could happen is I have to go back on the job market. That’s not a bad worst case scenario, if you ask me. Even though we are in a recession, there is no shortage of head hunters contacting me out of the blue about new opportunities. So, I’ll be aight. Trust.

Wish me luck.