This was our fifth speaking engagement with our workshop "How to Turn Your Passion Into a Career", which took place on on Saturday, August 20th 2016 at 2:30pm. There were over 85 people in attendance at this workshop with a robust Q&A.
Moderated by our podcast host Mark Beers, the panel included a group of professional geeks from various and diverse backgrounds. Below you’ll find their names and a highlighted topic by each panelist from the live event.
Marz is an entertainer who has worked as the in-arena host of the Chicago Bulls, is the voice of Jax in the modern Mortal Kombat games, and is in an upcoming Netflix series coming out this September, "Easy". Marz's biggest piece of advice: have a short memory when you make mistakes. If you make one, apologize and move on, because nothing good comes from wallowing in the past.
Wesley believes that a barrier for getting into any industry is being able to be paid when you're green. As the Communications Director at a company that Wesley owns with his brother Brad Sun, it has been important to him to provide paid internships, but when you run a small business sometimes it's hard to come up with the funds. Wesley spent time researching and finding grants for internships for students that supplement the cost and allow him to mentor the next generation of comics creators.
Keisha started Sugar Gamers as an advocacy group for underrepresented groups in gaming. Keisha has become a micro-celebrity in the geeky landscape, being featured on SyFy Channel in various live events, web series, and websites, and through her work has had the opportunity to meet with Stan Lee, George Lucas, and other big creators... but it she doesn't consider herself to be a natural extrovert. She has had to work hard to put herself in the position of success, but she believes that when it comes to being a professional, mind over matter is the only way to get where you want to be.
Carlyn manages the blog at Threadless, where she edits contributor work and generates her own content. She also has written for HelloGiggles, The Mary Sue, and other sites. Her biggest tip: consistency is key! Have a unique, identifiable handle across all of your social media platforms and have a consistent voice in your content.
Devin’s key piece of advice was that, although he believes in being paid for work being done, you never know when one favor to someone may open a door to something else. Devin does not believe in being paid with "exposure", but he does believe that offering your unique skill set to a project with other equally-passionate and serious individuals can help you get other opportunities. Networking is more than showing up: it's a willingness to help.
Blaire has had an amazing journey in a career as a content creator, but it hasn't always been fun and games. Her biggest takeaway from being a professional is to always read the fine print... Because you never know what someone will tuck into or omit from a contract that will end up hurting you.