Internship Blog: One Must Fall

Around three months ago, and quite on a lark, I sent our friendly neighborhood community manager Ethan a PM after seeing a post for a Whiskey Media internship on his Twitter feed. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it since I lacked experience (in video editing, specifically), I wasn’t in college (I’d already graduated) and I figured I’d be too old (none of your damn business!), but he PMed me back and set up an interview that led to an audition, that led to a second audition, that led to me getting a two month, full-time internship. Two months have passed and I’ve met people in the industry I’ve admired for over a decade, I’ve worked the journalist side of E3, and I’ve non-launch partied with a major development team. Hell, I even met a reallife Kingtern and trained a newbie. But let’s focus for a moment on that sweet, sweet, insane, gray-hair-giving conference known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

The biggest roller coaster content-wise

When I realized that my internship would intersect with E3’s schedule, I immediately asked Ryan if I would be going with them and if I should be preparing to spend a week in LA. Ten minutes later, after he stopped laughing, he assured me that I wouldn’t, but that I’d be holding the fort at the office with the other intern (Ben had yet to burst onto the scene) and Kessler, who would be in charge. This was probably for the better, I’d only been with the company for a little over a month and E3 was the last place for a neophyte intern to be not only screwing up, but constantly asking questions. The decision was a good one as even being in the office turned out to be absolute pandemonium for the first day. Trailers had to be posted every few seconds, and remember that we need to write decks for them, find screenshots to represent them, fill in various bits of info about them, and keep our eyes on the conferences. After a twelve hour workday on Monday, things settled down considerably and we were able to commiserate about the various announcements. It was an arduous and absolutely insane experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And that kind of defines the internship itself.

I will cling like a symbiote to this site!

I’ve been in the job market for a long time now and I’ve been fortunate enough to have one other job that I actually enjoyed, though I was too young to fully appreciate it at the time. Since then, it’s been miserable drudgery that’s been a means to an end. Having a job that I’ve actually cared about is, in some ways, more stressful since working the others. If I didn’t do well here, not only did it actually get noticed, but I’m letting down a company that I myself respect. And I learned that waking up early is still kinda crappy, even if it’s for a job that you love. At the end of the day, though, and at the end of the job, it was some of the best two months of my life and I will miss it terribly. Until I show up on Friday for the Comic Vine podcast. That’s right, you should have killed me when you had the chance! Cause I’m sticking around as a freelancer for Comic Vine and also continuing in their weekly podcast! Getting paid to write has always been a dream of mine, but I’m not going to call Whiskey Media some kind of magical dream factory...because if I did, I’d have to give up the Dream Formula, and no one wants that. Now to get a little indulgent: thanks to the community for the support and well-wishing. Ethan: thanks for believing in me enough to hire me, Tony: thanks for giving me a chance to get paid to write. Nick: good luck, you'll NEVER want to leave this job if you do well enough (which you will). And Ben, Kessler, and Lemon: thanks for helping me fill some of my professional blanks (and I had to train one of you embarrassingly for me) A transition like this is always easier with a lot of great people backing you up. I’m not done by a longshot, so keep your eyes on this blog, and my articles.

7 Comments

Internship Blog 2: Rise of the Interns!

Look at him...confused by our simple box technology.

Two weeks later and already a ton has changed. By now you've all been introduced to Ben (or GlenTennis as you probably know him better as), who arrived two weeks ago (kinda. More like a week and a half). He's assumed many of my previous responsibilities, including the AnimeVice trailer updating, and I had to train him. He's also tall like a tree, so training him was an effort, I had to get a bullhorn and stand on a footladder to communicate on even the most basic level. And the most basic level is all he understands, so I need to make simple hand gestures and symbols. This week will also see the return of Matthew Kessler Bodega the Third, Esq. to the Whiskey Media family of sites, so I'm learning from the master now. At least that's what he tells me. He's also promising/threatening to integrate me and Ben into his future video features, which has a vaguely sinister tinge to it, doesn't it?

Speaking of learning, my job's become a great deal more complicated what with posting trailers for Giant Bomb, which has vastly more stringent standards of formatting both on the internal naming and what appears on the site. There have been stumbling blocks, some more glaring than others, but overall it's been a great way to learn about aesthetically pleasing formats. On that topic: have you seen the Giant Bomb Facebook page? Cause it's pretty great...and I'm not just saying that because I'm the one who posts most of the links on there. The other Whiskey Media sites have Facebook pages too, but you'll have to look at that OTHER guy's blog to get those links, cause let's face it, you came here, you want to hear about me.

Return of the Kingtern

And hey, SPEAKING of the other Whiskey Sites, you may have heard your friendly neighborhood intern on Comic Vine's podcast over the last few weeks, which has been great for a few reasons, most notably I didn't ask for it. Ethan essentially wanted to know if I'd like being on the Comic Vine podcast and I had to think about all the various ways I'd like to say "yes." I wasn't nearly boisterous enough my first time and was encouraged to cut loose and be a bit more of a presence in the future 'casts. I've apparently been doing a fine job and I've been learning a lot about professional-level podcasting, which is great for me since I've always wondered what goes into one of these things and actively participating in one really is the best way to find out. I've also been talking about comic books for free for YEARS, I had no idea I could get paid for it.

But wait! There's more! Whiskey Media quests are hot like the surface of the sun and I've been writing most of them across the board. So if you've liked them, that was ME and if you didn't...those parts were all Daniel's fault. I tried to talk him out of them, but he refuses to listen to reason and then he gets all knifey. Writing these quests has been a great way to express myself creatively in small bite-sized chunks. Writing's always been one of my passions but it's been tough to find time to do any in my freetime, so it's nice to find time in my professional life. Of course they're pretty limited in their subject matter, but it's much better practice to have to write with limitations than total freedom.

Editor's Row buzzes with activity

Apart from that, we're all gearing up for E3 (yeah, even the non-Giant Bomb Whiskey Media folks are, in their own ways, since it will probably touch every facet of the sites) and I'm limbering up my trailer header/deck typin' fingers to be inundated. I've actually had a few people ask me if us interns are going to E3, and the answer to that is HEEEEEEEEEEEELL no. They wouldn't let me anywhere near that event, and with good reason. As much as I've learned and as far as I've come, I don't even know what I'd be doing there as I'm not anywhere near the level of professionally writing about the biggest event in videogames of the year. Still, I'll be making my own contributions and lightening the workload and isn't that what's REALLY important? Aren't I the REAL hero in this story? Yes, and yes.

4 Comments

Internship: Month 1 (It's a Long 'un!)

Holy Magilla Gorilla, has it already been a month? It seems that way, but my journey to this internship began a whole month and a half ago. HUGE difference. I started following Ethan (resident community manager) on Twitter a few months back and I saw an update on his for an internship at the Whiskey Media Offices. Now, I'd applied for such an internship when it got posted on the actual forums a few months ago, but had heard nothing back. I figured "Oh well, it was a longshot anyway" and promptly forgot about it. Until I saw that Twitter post and sent Ethan a PM. Thus did the ball begin to roll and an interview was scheduled. I wore the only tie that I own and suited up to make the best impression I possibly could. I also borrowed my roommate's peacoat because the nicest coat I own is a leather jacket.

Editor's Row

The interview went exceptionally well, though I only knew that in retrospect because HEY! Here I am. It started with Ethan asking me a few questions about certain things I'd do if I got hired, what my interest in the Whiskey Sites was, how long I'd been a fan, etc. I had a hard time with that "stuff I'd do if I got hired" part, but the interview continued. Phase 1 done with, I then met Whiskey Media marketing mastermind Daniel, who was certainly more...casual, I'll say, in his approach. His approach was more of a "Hey! How are ya? Who are ya?" He was accompanied by ComicVine maven Tony and Screened senior puppy correspondent Rorie, the latter of whom I'd actually met outside the office a couple of times. They ran me through a gauntlet of some of the best, most strange, interview questions I've ever been asked. It was also ridiculously stressful because I've been in the workforce for about a decade now, and I'm really, really good at job interviews because they're mostly the same thing regardless of where you go. A job interview at most places amounts to "how well can you answer these questions that we got out of a management book that was written twenty years ago for use in high-rise office buildings?" This wasn't like that at aaaaaaall. These were questions that were so well integrated into the interview I wasn't sure if I was just shooting the breeze, or if I was actually being interviewed anymore. I'm still not entirely sure which was what. There was also a tour of the whole office sectioned out in the interview, and I was asked to stick around and meet the office dog Chloe, who is adorable as long as you approach her the right way. I also got to watch Tested record a segment, and it’s crazy to watch those crazy videos actually get filmed. Again, it’s not like what my preconceived notions were like at all, it takes a lot of professionalism to look that casual and funny. In any event, I was called in to moderate a TNT chat (MKvsDCU) and apparently I did well enough to earn a job offer. Which was met with utter jubilation on my part, of course.

My workspace complete with coffee.

Day 1 was pretty standard first day stuff, except that I was suddenly surrounded by people I’ve watched and respected for close to a decade, but they were all pretty laid-back, which was good because I was a powder keg of nervous energy. My primary go-to people were still Ethan, Daniel and Melissa, who handles a lot of the logistics for the office and control room, because here's something that a lot of people may not get just by perusing the sites: the Whiskey Media editors and engineers are BASICALLY working constantly. I’ve never been so surrounded by people who start working the moment they come in and don’t stop until they leave. Don’t get me wrong, they still chat and whatnot, but it’s almost always WHILE they’re sitting at their computers typing away. Or filming. Or playing a videogame FOR filming or reviews. Day 1 concluded with a massive impromptu staff party in the fabled Bar Area that pretty much had me intermittently gushing like a fanboy and remaining completely silent for large stretches to listen to crazy-insider stories about the various industries that everyone had worked in.

Days 2 & 3 were the infamous Whiskeyocalypse, so that was certainly a baptism of fire. It went from me struggling to find stuff to post to me struggling to parcel out my time so that I could do everything that was required of me and STILL moderate all the new chats that were suddenly springing up due to all the livestreams. I also found time to make it into the semi-finals of the Mortal Kombat: Scrub League invitational and blurted out “Full of win” loudly and proudly on-camera to over 7,000 people. My internship was going amazingly. Things settled down from there, and I’ve fallen into a pretty decent groove of updating AnimeVice (described accurately as my first trial), getting food, sending out mail, creating quests...you know, intern stuff. I’ve also become a regular on the ComicVine podcast, which is amazingly fun and very informative, and am posting trailers on Giant Bomb which has, hilariously, resulted in more followers than all my chat hosting combined.

He stalks your dreams.

There are two things that really stand out to me so far: one is that I answer the phone, which is usually just someone wanting to be let into the building, but almost every day there is at least one call from someone who has no idea who we are and is either trying to get walkthrough help or tech support, TECH. SUPPORT. on a videogame. These are particularly hilarious when they somehow don’t believe me when I tell them we don’t provide those services and try to convince me to help them. The other was Whiskey's nomadic son Alex Navarro. We wished him farewell to him on Friday (Saturday for some, but I was too in my cup to make it to that) and I have to say that I feel sorry for the interns who are coming in after me because Alex stood out as extremely approachable and extraordinarily helpful. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the editorial staff have been helpful, particularly since I've become more acclimated, but Alex specifically came off as more laid-back, and, again, approachable right off the bat. I'll conclude by saying that it's interesting that I’m it, too which is kinda cool because I feel like I’m learning at an increased rate and getting a more personalized experience. Apparently there’s going to be a deluge of new talent coming in, and I’m about to become KING INTERN! Only to be slain by my son and he by his and on and on like some grand, Greek tragedy. Keep tuned into this blog for more updates.

6 Comments