Monday, December 15, 2014

My annual thank you list

Getting an actual job is about putting your resume in a box and hoping someone in HR picks it up. What I do (journalism/blogging/public relations) involves the help of a lot of other people hiring me, inspiring me, collaborating with me, and pointing me in the right direction and the least I can do is devote a blog post to them every year.

So my annual thank you edition starts with a guy named Noel Murray. He’s a TV critic and writer who I spontaneously messaged on Facebook four years wondering how I might go about becoming a TV critic from him. He was nice enough to point me I the right direction and give me some guidance for a while. I know that seems small but my high school graduation speaker (true story: Thisguy writes for Jimmy Kimmel now. Don’t ask me how he pulled off that career trajectory) once said never underestimate the potential impact of a single kind at, and I contacted Noel at a juncture in my career where I had no idea what I wanted to do next so who knows what would have happened if he didn’t pull me in that direction.
So as previously mentioned, I first applied to be a TV critic in October 2010. It took until November 2014 until I got hired as one. That’s right kids, it will take exactly 4 years, 1 months to accomplish your dreams so be prepared for the wait. Speaking of which, I’d like to give a big thanks to the person who eventually hired me. Her name is Carissa, she’s pretty tough on me, but in all fairness, she’s done two wonderful things for me: 1) Hire me and 2) Not fire me (at least not as of yet), so thanks Carissa.

Which brings me to the part where I thank everyone who's published me over the past 12 months: Scott and Neil at Film School Rejects, Scott at InsideNova, Jenny at Arlington Mag, the guy who hired me several years ago at where I just resumed my column, Erin at Mental Floss Magazine, Steve at Nostalgia Digest, Brendan at CBS TV, Haley at CollegeHumor, the folks at Cracked, and Lynn at Northern Virginia Magazine.  Thank you for taking a chance on me. I’d also like to thank anyone who gave me money to do anything for honoring me with your money, because I’ve come to learn over the years that having money is better than not having money. And remember folks, if you or someone you know is spending an inordinate amount of time writing about movies or TV, chances are that person is poor too, so remember to give them money as well.
I also have to thank someone named Liz Shannon Miller from Indiewire, who did not accept my submissions but gave me all I could ever ask for: A couple lines of advice on how to improve my pitches and left the door open for some day in the future. That makes a big deal and 95% of editors don't do that, so big props to the 5% of editors who do something that nice. which in this case is Liz.

Similarly, I’d like to thank all the people who cooperated with me in writing stories by being interviewed and the people who gave me credentials for events. There was a showrunner in Hollywood who was very cooperative on an interview with me and his entire family cooperated with me. The lovely Emily Jefffers, who I've now known for something like 20 years (wow), eventually let herself be interviewed (or rather, eventually let the interview go to press). Also, thanks to the people at Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Maryland, for example, gave me all kinds of swag and a seat next to some of the most prestigious journalists I’ve ever met. I never watched the Spelling Bee before and  would have never guessed it was interesting but I'm totally hooked.

I’d like to thank James Madison University’s School of Media Arts for inviting me to appear on a journalism panel. That was one of the highlights of my year and allowed me to briefly feel  important. I also went to that school and it hit me as I was back there: Hey, my alma mata isn’t that bad of a place!
From that conference, I met someone named Taylor Hudson who partnered up with me in my PR business and I’d like to thank her for having the confidence in me that I could somehow get her work (I did get work but after she already found another job) and I’d recommend her for a job if anyone actually listens to me for that stuff.

I’d also like to thank a guy named Dennis Perkins who is a TV critic and works at a video store (in Dennis’ own words “Shut up!”) He helped me through my creative lows a couple times this year and I’m happy he’s finally doing his thing with the AV Club.
Cory Barker deserves a shout-out for inviting me to participate on his TV roundtables. I used to read his blog quite frequently and thought it was one of the better things out there and he can now be read at, and now I’m part of the cool kids club.

My friend Adam Spektor deserves a big shout-out for running the DC Cinema Lounge in DC that meets to discuss films. It's a great time and it wouldn't happen if he didn't facilitate it. I get a lot of inspiration for my writings at those meetings.

I have an acquaintance on twitter named Christy Admiral who I once contacted when I was feeling down about my writing and she gave an opinion on my blog when I asked her. The thing is that she did this late last December so I've been waiting for 350-something days to include her in my next annual issue and I finally can get that big thank you out. See Christy doing her thing on twitter right here.

I have to give credit to all the people who are big in the world of TV criticism who treat the little people like me as equals and discuss stuff with us like Kenny Herzog, Emily Nussbaum and Matt Zoller Seitz. Nussbaum in particular is like a tweeting superhero.

As always, Christine Becker deserves special mention for looking out for all the little people (I suppose, technically, the big people benefit from her too, but let's call that an unintended consequence) in the world of TV film criticism. Christine can be found at @crsbecker and her News for TV Majors site can be found at---don't be lazy, check your twitter feeds.

There's also a guy named Jim Ciscell who  co-wrote an article with me at Cracked a while ago and is a great tipster and sounding board. @jimCiscell.   Speaking of Cracked writers, Eddie Rodriguez helped me get back in Cracked's good graces and there's a moderator there named The Pendant who is the only moderator there who's ever gone out of their way to be nice to me. I don't really  know a single thing about that person and I'd love to plug them but I have nothing to work with.

There’s also Will Harris who at this point is the MVP of my career this year. He has spent countless hours guiding me through the business and being a bouncer off of advice.  I can't possibly thank him enough or pay forward  everything he's done. Witness Will's generosity in person at the twitter handle @nonstoppop

The other MVP is a friend of mine who I've also known a gazillion years since middle school named William Marlow (it's funny because I know him as Brian) and I have no idea how he did it but he's always been pretty bright (come to think of it, literally everyone I went to high school with was ridiculously bright, it was highly annoying) and started his own company where he does big things for people. I can't even understand how big these things are, but he's been kind enough to let me in his great big world a little so I could learn, and I'm eternally greatful. Check him out

Lastly, I’d like to thank my lovely sister Yasmine for deciding two years ago she would no longer read my blog. That is wonderful news as I am no longer obligated to read her blog which is really boring. No, but in all seriousness, thanks for the support Yasmine.

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