Archive for August, 2013

So one of my dearest friends Scourge (not real name..duh) texted me a link over the weekend.

I was so furious reading the article that I actually slept on it before I dared say anything over here.

Mydearpeabody wrote a very…interesting Op-ed piece which you can read here. Based off an interview with The New Republic and Writer/Producer Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted) which you can read here.

While I agree with alot of the sentiment and points expressed in Mydearpeabody’s blog post, i don’t want to sit here and re-hash a lot of negativity.

When Scourge saw me later on and asked my two cents about the article I told him this: “I love comics, but it feels like the industry as a whole doesn’t know what to do with us fanchicks. It’s almost like grade school- the boys that like me pull my ponytail and throw stuff at me”.

There have been a number of great female writers and artists over the years, but the industry is still a boy’s club. Yes. yes, I know that the head of the DCU entertainment side is a woman, and you have people like Gail Simone, Ann Nocenti et al who are just brilliant woman in general.

There are problems everywhere in the industry- publishers, Local Comic Book Shops (LCS) and even at conventions.

Back in 2003/2004 I was invited to do a lecture at my college’s Gender Conference (1 of 3 students to do so!) My lecture actually covered the comic book industry and the portrayal of woman in it… and guess what? All the characters I used were created by… men.

So, instead of criticizing more, let us celebrate some great female characters that really need to have their day in the spotlight outside of comic books.

Let me get the most “obvious” character out of the way first. Wonder Woman.

  • Wonder Woman

She’s been around for what seems like forever. Yes I know she had a tv show- yay Lynda Carter- but it was camp (much like the Adam West/Burt Ward Batman TV Show) . Then there was the horribly failed pilot that had stills circulating around the net last fall. Yes, WW became a symbol of Woman Power every where- but why is Warner Brothers/DC Entertainment not using her correctly?

If anyone over at DCU happens to read this: I beg you, on behalf of readers everywhere, please give Diana her due- spend the money on her and give her a feature film with good casting, VFX that is actually believable and cast Lynda Carter as Hippolyta. Wonder Woman is part of the “holy trinity” of DC (with Batman and Superman)- you have spent billions of dollars over the years to make film after film of these two… spend a little on Diana.

Wonder Woman by Alex Ross

I can tell you that doing a Smallville like TV Show with Diana would not do her any justice. This is a character that is legendary… a demi god… tied to both the Greek and Roman Pantheon of Gods.  She isn’t a “Tricky” character Chief Entertainment Ms. Nelson (as you said here in your interview with THR)

Ms. Nelson with all due respect: “She doesn’t have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes”. Does that matter at this point? The latter half of Gen Y and younger have no clue about the Lynda Carter run.  Warner Brothers *loves* telling (and re-telling) origin stories in their films- you need to start with the Origin story and then go there.

No one knew Thor outside of the random Norse mythology- but look how much that made at the box office!

  • Terry Moore’s “Strangers in Paradise” 

This really needs to be made into a TV show.  The “elevator pitch” (thank you Wikipedia) ” The story primarily concerns the difficult relationship between two women, Helen Francine Peters (known simply as Francine) and Katina Marie (“Katchoo”) Choovanski, and their friend David Qin. Francine considers Katchoo her best friend; Katchoo is in love with Francine. David is in love with Katchoo (a relationship which Katchoo herself is deeply confused about).”

SIP Cast

One of the reasons I loved this book is that a) not only is it a huge female cast but b) it deals with best friends and c) it deals with issues of sexuality in a great manner and d) THEY LOOK LIKE NORMAL WOMAN.

Can’t stress that part enough. I was tired of seeing female characters with huge breasts and itty bitty waists. Barbie dolls on crack.  That’s not a good role model for ANYONE.

Plus the book is very funny and quirky. Go read. Now.

  • David Mack’s “Kabuki”

How does one explain Kabuki? The pitch (again from Wikipedia) “Set in an alternate near-future Japan, the protagonist of the story, a young woman codenamed “Kabuki”, acts as an agent and television law-enforcement personality for a clandestine government body known as “The Noh”.”

That in no way shape or form can actually explain David’s work on this book. Yes, there is that plotline (and learning about Kabuki’s history, lots of awesome violence that actually is needed- not forced/shoehorned into the book) but a majority of the book is very….philosophical.

Those who hear not the music think the dancers mad.– Kabuki: Metamorphosis #4

Your environment reflects your internal disposition. — Kabuki: Metamorphosis #6

I have been a fan of David’s for years- ever since I read “Daredevil: Echo Parts of a hole” (see next bit). Once I got my hands on Kabuki, I almost literally had a brain meltdown.  The art work… this should be hanging in fine art galleries, not a comic book!

Kabuki: Metamorphosis #9

I do apologize if that picture looks a bit large- but I wanted to show the detail in Mack’s work.

  • The woman of “Daredevil” 

As you can tell by my handle name (@murdocksgirl), I am a *huge* Daredevil fan.  One of the many reasons is that Matt Murdock’s social/love life is quite interesting.

Karen Page/Daredevil- “Guardian Devil” Daredevil Vol. 2 art by Joe Quesada

a) Karen Page- Out of all the woman in Matt’s life, she is probably the “weakest”.  She becomes a druggie, sells Matt’s secret Identity for a fix, leaves him (multiple times) however…. when push came to shove, she really stepped in and took one. (Spoiler Alert: She takes a billy club to the heart sent by Bullseye).

b) Echo- Wow oh wow, another reason why I love David Mack.  A deaf girl (half Native American, Half Latina) who loses her family and has the ability to mimic anything she watches. So she loses her dad and since she is mute- was labeled as “special needs” until someone realized that she is really the exact opposite.  Unlike a lot of the woman in Murdock/Daredevil’s life- she is one of the few that doesn’t get killed/go crazy. She left Matt to go “Find herself” on a Vision Quest and eventually works with the Avengers for awhile.

Echo by David MackNative

c) Black Widow- Yes I know she was in Iron Man 2 and in Avengers.  As a diehard “hornhead” I am slightly ticked off that she was introduced into the mainstream media in Iron Man 2 and the fact that she was very weak in the film- I mean she is totally Nick Fury’s lapdog  (which does coincide with the books- a tiny bit), but she was nowhere near as kick butt as I would have liked her to be.  A special Thank You has to go out to Joss Whedon for actually giving her some sort of background in Avengers.                                                             (Now can we please see what in god’s name happened in

Black Widow by Alex Maleev

Budapest with her and Hawkeye??). However she still feels… off then what I know from the comic books.  She first appeared in Tales of Suspense #52 and then made her way over to Daredevil (for a long time on the book it was “Daredevil and Black Widow” instead of “Daredevil: The Man Without Fear”) . Her and Daredevil where partners in more than just one sense of the word. She is the other woman, besides Echo, to not go off the deep end or get killed.

d) Millia Donovan- Created by Brian Michael Bendis- Millia was Matt’s wife (yes he did get married!!). Millia was slightly stronger of a character than Karen Page, but she also was a “civilian”. While Karen understood why Matt wore the costume and did what he did, Millia had a tendency to worry a bit too much. Grant it, she is blind, and nearly suffered the same fate as Karen Page, but unfortunately for Matt Millia can’t emotionally/mentally deal with Matt’s costume life- in part because of the costume and everything that comes with it.

Millia Donovan by Alex Maleev

e) Elektra- saved the most well known one for last. Yes. I know Fox made a movie with her in the lead. I have heard people say over the years that the reason why this movie didn’t perform well at the box office is because that people don’t want to go to a movie with a female superhero in the lead. I call bullshit on that. The reason why this film (and in, my humble opinion, Catwoman also) didn’t do well is because- frankly I don’t know what movie I watched, but it wasn’t Elektra. A chunk of that film is actually part of Daredevil’s origin story.  Don’t believe me? Take a look at the credit list- Frank Miller (who created her back in the day) received credit for comic book characters and Mark Steve Johnson (who wrote and directed the Daredevil film) received credit for motion picture characters…. um. really?

Elektra By David Mack

I am hoping that Fox gets it right (or the rights revert back soon to Marvel). However, Elektra in the comics is a different story all together. My favorite story line is “Scorpio Key” (again- another Brian Michael Bendis story line)- in that books, after dealing with a billion things, she visits her own grave stone. How strong of a character is she if she can go to her own grave and KNOW that her body is six feet under but she is still standing there (thanks to some mythical/ninja stuff)???

Last but certainly not least:

  • Deena in “Powers”

Oh I was lucky one day and didn’t realize that on my commute home from the day job that I actually saw the actress playing Deena in the FX pilot of the show when they were shooting here in Chicago.  FX- let me just say, if you can get that actress back for reshoots, please do. She was EXACTLY how I pictured Deena in real-life!

Keep in mind, I come from a security/police/military family so I am a stickler when it comes to police procedural type of shows/books.

Hands down, Powers is the ONE COP BOOK I love.  The whole premise is that its about Homicide cops investigating the deaths of superheros/villains.  Deena starts off as a lowly rookie cop who purposefully transferred into the “Powers” Division.  If you get rid of the super hero element, by itself it would be a great police-noir book. In part because of Mike Oeming’s artwork.

Deena? Wow.. just wow. Here you have a woman who is totally stuck in the boy’s club of 1st response (because, sad to say, as far as we have come as a society 1st responders/military are still damn boys clubs).  Instead of taking shit from the other guys and say, sucking it up and going home, she dishes it right back.  Deena, unlike other female cops I have seen depicted over the years, doesn’t do anything under handed to get ahead of the boys.  She just does her job and does it damn well.

It also doesn’t hurt that she swears pretty much like me. 🙂  The below image pretty much sums up how awesomely relatable Deena is.

Deena in Powers: Bureau Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Michael Oeming

What about you readers? Any comments/concerns/ideas/suggestions?

Respond below!

Hello Everyone.
So I got laid off July 30th.
I have applied to 92 jobs.
Had two interviews.
4 auto reject emails…….SO FAR.

For more tips on job hunting go here to part 1

But I know there are lots of people out there job hunting either because they are in a similar situation or because they are tired of their jobs.

To spare a lot of recruiters misery- and to make yourself happy- follow this rule:

*ONLY* Apply to jobs that you are qualified for. If you are looking at the qualifications for the position that the company is looking for and say, you are off by one- that’s ok. However, if you are say, a copywriter… and that’s all you have ever done, you shouldn’t apply for a chief engineer’s position.

I hated when I got a resume and I am looking at it… and the first thought I had was “What was this person smoking?”

One of my former co-workers asked how I was able to apply to so many jobs in 2 weeks. Well I did follow a lot of Ellie Sully’s recommendations (make a job out of job hunting!), however I told my friend the following:

On paper I have a very eclectic background. I have had a few people tell me that it looks like I am living two lives between recruiting and producing- and I like it! It gives me a chance on how to explain how one position helps the other.

Don’t know where to begin? Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What do you like doing all day long?
  2. What are some of your favorite companies?

Then reverse engineer!!!

  • See what’s available already.

Go to sites like Linkedin.com, Indeed.com etc. See what the market is positing in your area. If you don’t see anything that fits your qualifications- DO NOT FREAK OUT. It could be that companies are not willing to pay for postings out to various sites because that particular skill set you have is not high on their priority list at the moment- but what they are posting is more of an immediate need.

  • Look at companies that you like and/or use yourself.

Yes. If you say, are a huge fan of Victorinox Luggage (like I am) go to the Victorinox website. Also look at companies that you use on a daily basis. Have T-mobile as a carrier? Then go check T-mobile (actually I recommend this in general as they are very nice with their comp plans for their employees).  One of the perks of working for a company that you already use- you know the product/service (and more than likely… you will probably get an employee discount on top of it.

  • Research Research Research

I cannot express this enough. There are a lot of scam companies out there. Or they portray themselves in which you can make a lot of money quickly, but there’s a lot of loopholes (I am thinking of marketing companies in the Chicagoland area really).

If you stumble across a job posting and you have never heard of the company- go straight to THEIR website. In this day and age of technology, its very rare for a company of any sort not to have a website. If you can’t find their website- be careful going forward.

Check out RipoffReport.com. People will talk about a company on this website from the consumer side of things. If they have a billion negative reviews… do you really want to work there? How would they treat their employees?

Which leads to another website- glassdoor.com. This one is pretty good and allows people to anonymously post reviews of their current or former companies (it also has a job search section!!!) . Just make sure to look at the dates of the reviews. Any negative reviews between 2007 and 2010 should be taken with a grain of salt due to the recession.

  • Google is your friend.

Google lists. Live in San Diego? Google “Top companies to work for in San Diego”.  Are you a web designer? Google “Top companies for Web designers in X” (x being wherever you live).

Go to reputatble sites such as Forbes.com and look at their rankings section like this one.

There have been a number of times I would look at a list like that and go “How could I forget a company like…X??? I use that product/service every day/week/month”

  • Network Network Network

If you leave a company X on your own accord to go to company Y, keep in contact with the people you enjoyed working with at company X. You NEVER know when you might need a recommendation letter, someone to vouch you worked there (esp. if the company closed) or maybe you need to fill a position at your new company. Wouldn’t you want to work with good hardworking people that you already know?

Great example: I have a supervisor, I will refer to him as Captain (because that was my nickname for him… as in Captain Picard but that’s a long story) who was just…. awesome. I adore this guy. Shortly after I left company X, I found out from him he got laid off. In the ensuing months,  whenever I had a moment, I would skim linkedin etc and send him postings that I thought would work for him. He did eventually start another position. When I got laid off, I had a quick turn around before an interview (4 days). Captain was one of the first people I texted telling him that Ellie Sully and I were laid off. 2 days later I get scheduled for this interview. I told Captain and the next day when we met up for coffee, he had a recommendation letter for me.

So basically- treat other people how you want to be treated. It will come back to you in spades- both good and bad!

A lot of people ask me what a producer does.  To borrow from Captain Picard… Producer’s just “Make it So”.

Side note, one of my favorite professors on the face of the planet- JG- once  made a VERY valid point while helping me on a project that was a bit out of my league. I was complaining to him that I was bored. JG said “As a producer you want to be bored”.

If that’s not the truth. Producing- whether its movies, events, ad campaigns (anything creative really) is part babysitting, therapist, logistics, HR manager, accountant, scheduler, wrangler, caterer, recruiter, contract manager and paperwork nazi.

I will admit, I haven’t had the chance to work on a major production like Avengers but my imagination is running rampant just multiplying to the nth degree based off the short films etc that I have worked on.

You know you have a great production if all you have to worry about is making some coffee- like on the project that JG made his point.

My good friend Ellie Sully (go read her blog here ) Can vouch a lot of the following as she has been my go-to production designer/actress/storyboard artist and makeup person for years now.

Productions are effing nuts.

Producers so don’t get enough credit. They really don’t. Not only do you have to report to whoever is financing your project (unless, you have the money to do it yourself) but you got to make sure of the following in no order):

1. You have a story.

  • Can’t emphasize this enough. There are alot of so called producers out there (I am looking at a majority of youtube) that don’t even have a story. There is no beginning/middle/end let alone something complex like… oh wow.. character development.
  • What’s sad, is that Ellie Sully’s kid- True Story- at the age of like 4 was given a piece of paper and crayons and told by me to go “write a movie” so I could get him out of the way of us setting up some lights to do a pick up shot. He came back with something that looked more like a treasure map. He sat down and showed me a story about how their dog became a zombie, was trying to get away from the scribble he did (the “ball of death”) and that me and his mom had to go to Lake Michigan to get water to wash away the “zombieness” so the dog could play outside. Beginning/middle/end AND character development- AT THE AGE OF 4.

2. Hire Production Heads and make sure they hire good subordinates- not their friends.

  • Here’s where my day job as a recruiter for the last 3/4 years has come in very handy.  It’s better to hire someone that is REALLY good at one or two things but decent at another few.
  • It’s even better if you can hire someone that is REALLY awesome at one thing but certified in something that is the opposite extreme.
  • Why? You never know what’s going to happen and who can step in and fill a role at the last second.
  • Great Example: Ellie Sully- I mean, she is just a creative soul to begin with. However she has such an eclectic background to this day she amazes me. I have seen her (true story) on a project, with a busted ankle, stapling fabric all over the place to create a “black box” room for us to film in. You know what she did when she was done? Sat down, took still photos for us to use for whatever and attempted to help me script supervise (that’s a long story).
  • Another great example- my good friend Danny Boy (not real name) Engineer by day, photographer by night. One of the projects he was shooting photos for, we were building an elaborate rig to fake out a car accident. Guess who pointed out the weak spots in the rig and prevented people from getting hurt?
  • Yes I  said, don’t hire friends. Ellie Sully and I actually worked together as recruiters before film stuff and Danny Boy was a mutual friend/ mall co-worker before he came on to any of my sets. Hire friends? As a producer? You are asking for problems (favoritism, favors from those friends etc)

3. Feed and Water your people.

  • You are required to by labor law and union regs.
  • Here’s where you can win a lot of hearts- HAVE GOOD STUFF. I don’t care if its you and your buds shooting a music video. Pizza Hut and Subway are no-gos. If you can’t pay people in cash, spend the money you do have on good food.
  • Avoid Alcohol of any kind on your set. What people do after they leave your set is up to them, but avoid this at all costs. If you have a scene that requires your actors to drink- use apple juice etc to fake it out. Do not even think of bringing liquor on the set- it will backfire on you.

4. Safety Safety Safety

  • If you are thinking of doing any sort of stunt involving fire, firecrackers, stunt people, animals (trained or not),  YOU MUST have emergency response professionals on standby. This could be the matter of life or death.
  • Make sure that everyone knows where the closet hospital. police department, and fire station are. If you can include it with the daily schedule (esp. if you move locations) with map/phone numbers even better.
  • For smaller productions: If you can afford it or have someone you know that is CERTIFIED for 1st response and CPR, ask a favor for them to hang out on your set- make sure they get the awesome food!
  • Example: I won’t say the name of the school. But a very large film school (not in the midwest) had a “producer” (ugh.. I am cringing typing that) trying to do a project here in Chicago. They came to CCC to get assistance from local students. My go to casting director, Valley Girl (that’s my nickname for her, but its not what you are thinking, she’s a SMART cookie) got looped into helping cast this disaster waiting to happen.  She referred me as the VFX Supervisor. I got a hold of the script and got half way through the first page before I called Valley Girl. There were problems with the story versus casting (see next bit). Not only that, but the “producer” who I will refer to as Suzie (not real name) told me her requirements for sets and other things- an abandoned warehouse, minors playing with firecrackers and also…a duck. Not kidding she needed a bunch of ducks and didn’t want them digital.
  • Valley Girl and I tirelessly and in every shape and form tried telling Suize that she would a) Have to get 1st response standby b) would have to cast non minors (again see next point) c) do digital ducks and d) whatever “abandoned house” she found would have to get cleared by engineer to use so there wouldn’t be a fire/etc. She wouldn’t listen, so as a last resort, since there could have been liability issues with OUR school, we told people “upstairs” what was going on. As far as I know, the film never got made (at least not in Chicago) 
  • Post Note to that story (and there’s a reason why that story was told) A year or so after I graduated, I got an email update from a member of my department trying to remind everyone “safety first”. I read the story attached to the email and found out that Suzie was on another project, out in the middle of nowhereville in like some southern state acting as a line producer. Long story short, someone didn’t do their homework, and a student DIED on the set.

5. Casting

  • The Academy of Arts and Sciences- you know the guys that do the Oscars?- just announced a few days ago that they will be having an extension of casting added. So there will eventually be a Casting Oscar. About Damn time. I was a casting director for one film… ONE… and never again. This position is the most under appreciated position in the industry.
  • As producer you need to follow all labor laws and union regs- and it gets tricky when it comes to casting. So if you have a producer or casting director tell you “no” 99.999% of the time there is a valid reason .
  • Example: one of the problems with Suzie above that we were having was that the story involved a girl that was under the age of 18. Some of the actions (including revealing certain body parts and an innuendo to possible incest) definitely required someone above the age of 18 to play. This is doable- there are alot of actors that are a good decade older than what they look. Why was was Suize upset by Valley Girl refusing to cast a minor? Suize couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that there are some states (Georgia comes to mind) that even though this project was purely artistic, it could get classified as obscene or pornographic material- almost automatically if a minor is involved. Since every state is different with their obscenity statues and defines minors differently, you could see why Valley Girl was adamant about casting.

Stay tuned for part 2!

D23 is this weekend and I am super excited.

Why?

Well since Marvel came under the banner of the Disney Family (and of course Star Wars) I am hoping that there are going to be same major announcements in regards to these properties. (Ahem.. are we finally going to know who voices Rocket Racoon already?)

But this nice little article over at Comicbookmovie  has an interview with Marvel President Kevin Feige who drops this bomb shell:

 “I could arguably say what we’re planning for the year 2021,” Feige tells the site. “Will that happen? I don’t know. But what we planned for 2015 in 2006 is happening.”

I really don’t think that people outside of the industry realize how much Marvel has just gone to Hollywood “screw the system. we are doing it the Marvel way” 

I mean, fans know over on the East Coast side of the company (the land of comics) they plan storylines years in advance ever since Joe Quesada was eek (Editor in Chief). If you sit down and look at what the East coast has been doing for DECADES, you see the same thing on the West Coast side of things.

East Coast Example: I have lost count how many times Spider-man has shown up in the Daredevil comic book. Or Ben Urich showing up in both Daredevil and Spider-man. Which led to a very interesting dilemma when Matt’s identity got released and Peter didn’t know that Ben knew and vice versa. Or what about the time that Murdock repped the FF in a lawsuit? or the FF was in a war in space with one of the various Avengers Teams? (I could go on and on)

West Coast Example:

Well to spare a VERY long post, for all the details take a look at the Aside of Marvel here

Ok when you look at that right there, that’s insane. In a good way.

From a producing aspect, I do not envy Mr. Feige et al in anyway shape or form. It has to be a logistical nightmare to figure out- especially with multiple locations (everywhere from LA, Albuquerque, Cleveland, London). Not only that, but with the exceptions of Terrance Howard and Ed Norton being replaced (for whatever reason), there hasn’t been a ton of recasting.

I mean, look at Samuel L. Jackson- who is also a comic book fan if you didn’t know- 4 films already. That’s not including anything else. Plus Marvel- in all their infinite wisdom and glory- got Jackson to sign a 10 picture deal to play Fury. TEN moth^(#)Q#^( ing pictures.  Even if you go back to the old Studio System days where studios owned actors lock stock and barrel, that has never been done.

Oh, but there is more.

I am not kidding.

If you feel like reading more- go to part 2!

 

So.

I love all types of things.

Marvel Comics.

Film Noir

Books. All types of books.

Victorinox Luggage/Bags/Clothes/Watches (ok.. pretty much anything they make)

Star Trek (Just Next Generation)

What cracks me up nearly on a daily basis is how many people are shocked that I am a geek.

Well folks I have been like this for years. As a kid, I much rather read books on the playground of the Catholic school that I went to then playing kick ball or four square***

*** I am going to date myself a bit. That was an actual game. Not a social media platform. It involved four squares drawn on the playground. I don’t remember all the rules, but I do remember that I thought it was stupid at the time and went back to reading “Gone With the Wind” in 6th grade.

I blame a few professors (PG and JT and Teresa for encouraging me! ) and a forensics coach ( that’s you MB) back in the day for getting me hooked on comics. I mean- for all things that are good in the world, I won a state medal in Communication Analysis with a speech about Aaron McGruder’s “Boondock” comic script mashed against a communication theory about how comic strips (and by default comic books) are persuasive forms of media.

When it comes to comics- the movies and the sci fi come later on (but not much later). I totally came through to the geek/nerdom via the educational side of things. Yes I can read say…. Daredevil (which, hands down is my favorite superhero) and enjoy all the witty comments, gritty stories and beautiful drawings. At the same time. my brain is processing things on a slightly different “level” for the lack of a better word.

Don’t believe me? I have a professor that can vouch I wrote TWO- not one but TWO different papers on Daredevil. One was about the cover to issue #20 and the other was to the second story arch in the book about Echo that was written/drawn by Mack (along with issue 20 cover) .

Of course, the same professor also let me write a paper on Mark Millar’s MK4 launch. That one involved gender theory and long story short… I can prove that the Fantastic Four are representations of sexual deviancy. That’s not to discredit anyone who has ever worked on the FF book, or Stan Lee for creating the characters that he did, its just a different way of looking at things. Also- for some- supporting arguments.

That whole idea carried through a chunk of my life. When I went to Columbia College Chicago (CCC) I had to take this science class.. I don’t remember exactly what the name of the class was but it had to deal with Sex/Reproduction etc. (It was one of those semesters I was screwed on my picks for classes).

Even in that class- our final assignment had to take one of the things that we learned and apply it to the field that we were studying. So for example, a lot of the fashion kids talked about how clothes and colors pre-determine our association with gender (I completely disagree). Me? Well, I was a film major.. and producing… and a comic book geek.

I also have a number of dear friends and co-workers that are members of the GLBT community. So I did another representation thing…

Seriously go and try this.

Go pick up ANY X-men comic book, cartoon or movie. Any time you see/hear the word “mutant” substitute a minority class- race, gender, sexual orientation…. and guess what? The story still holds.

Pretty neat huh?

Oh for another class- “Legal Aspect of the Arts” (Brilliant class) I got to write a whole nice paper on the CBLDF and Gordon Lee  (may he rest in peace)  (Which, as a member of the CBLDF- i am happy to support them for cases as shocking as this one… read it here )

So am I a total nerd/geek/fanchick?

Hells Yes!

I mean- come on- there is a whole show about us geeks… but it needs more fan chicks on it (ahem.. Chuck Lorre… you listening?)

 

So a number of a good friends including my right hand EllieSully and myself got laid off yesterday.

It stinks. Each of us have major life events going on (family medical or legal issues, securing a new place to live etc) just now to add “Job Hunting” to list of things to worry about.

However, Ellie Sully in her wonderful quirky fashion posted this: “For the Love of Unemployment, or the lack there of” (Which you can read over here )

Well guess what? As recruiters (myself and Ellie Sully) you would think that this should be a easy thing for us to do- job hunt and secure a better job. I mean we know what recruiters are looking for right?

But to all my other co-workers, past and present, and to anyone who is in a funk looking for a job in this weird economy here are some handy dandy survival tips.

1. Go read the link above. Seriously. Hilarious as the post is- Ellie Sully was dead on point about a few things.

When you sit down and start job hunting here are some rules to remember:

1. Keep track of what you are applying for. Write this down in a journal, post it notes on your kid’s head or keep a workbook in Excel. Keep it updated. If you have filed for unemployment more than likely they are going to ask for some sort of records of what you have been doing. Save yourself some time. Any correspondence (Email or regular mail) keep in a folder for safe keeping.

That and as a recruiter, you have NO CLUE how annoying it is to get someone on the phone and they are clueless as to who you are  or what company you are calling from. Keep track. Save the sanity (and time)  of the HR person, recruiter, babysitter or whoever it is that can say “Yes you can move past GO and collect $200”

2. Make your resume/cover letter short,sweet and to the point. No matter where you are applying, someone is going through a number of applicants and judging people on paper.  Resumes should be- AT THE MAX- 2 pages.

Now there are some exceptions to this – scholarly professionals, directors of clinical studies etc. If you have been published somewhere- AWESOME. As a recruiter I do not need a 35 page resume chronicling your entire life as a fry cook at McDonald’s when you were 16 through another 20 years of work history (The sad thing… That wasn’t a joke. I actually got that once)

No. Most companies want to know what you have been doing for the last 7-10 years of your life. Not since birth.

3. Recruiters/HR Business Partners (et. al) are gatekeepers, do NOT tick them off. Ever see the movie “Waiting”? If not- watch it.  Much like why you don’t want to upset people who handle your food, you don’t want to upset one that could potentially give you a job.  This is a lot easier said then done, for all you know, the Recruiter you are talking too could have had bad sushi and is hallucinating pink unicorns running through their office.  Follow the KISS principle (much like your resume)- Keep it Simple …. Silly.  Do not hound recruiters every thirty seconds for an update. If they tell you they will get back to you on X day or time, and they don’t then you can check in.

Recruiters and Producers have one great similar trait. They talk to each other. If you are an awesome person, but for whatever reason that company/department can’t use you- and you are professional and nice- don’t be surprised if a co-worker or other company calls out of the blue.  But if you are bad… watch out.

There are some candidates that I have spoken with 2-3 years ago that are SO BAD that we use their names as a Litmus test….to this day. “Oh how was that candidate?” “They were worse then John Doe”**

**Apologies to any John Doe out there. That was not in reference to YOU specifically.

4. Don’t trash former employers. NO MATTER WHAT.  Your boss could have been Hitler reborn, the company could have totally ripped you off on your paycheck, they could have asked you to do things that were illegal. Don’t talk about it. If there was a legal reason why you left a company (i.e. you filed workman’s comp and they tried laying you off for it. You were asked to do things like cooking the books and you felt that was wrong), you need to tread carefully when talking to a new employer.

If there is a legal reason, tell a recruiter that you left for reasons that could potentially lead to legal problems for the company and it made you feel uncomfortable. If there was a life change (i.e. you got married, relocated, had a kid etc) use that as an excuse all together. Recruiters much rather hear “I left my last job because we relocated to X for my spouse’s job” then “I decided to leave my last company because my boss was an evil dark lord that asked me to sacrifice virgin puppies after business hours”.

Not only that, but as much as you want to display your ethics/integrity you can put a recruiter in to a rock and hard place trying to explain this to the hiring manager. If you trash a former employer- guess what- your rating on professionalism just tanked.  That and it just makes people wonder what you will say about them.

5. It doesn’t matter the job- wear a suit to an interview. This piece of advice came from an former boss. Suit dress, shirt/tie no open toed shoes. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for a fry cook or a Vice President position. If you are wondering about this- double check with your contact before you go to the face to face interview. AND LISTEN TO THEM.

Great example. I use to work for a clinical company. We constantly told candidates when they were going to go onsite for an interview that they should dress business professional- dark suit (grey, blue or black) and a dress shirt. We got feedback from one of the hiring managers that someone showed up for a C-level position interview in khakis, open toed heals, a neon cobalt blue blouse and a leather bomber jacket.

Guess who didn’t get hired?

6. Don’t have other people call for you about a job. One of my old gigs I worked in an RPO (3rd party recruiting…sigh) and constantly would have wives and mothers applying for positions online for their kids/spouses and calling in pretending to be John Doe***. I mean really folks, Recruiters spend all day on the phone- do you really think we can’t figure this out? Not only does it make YOU look lazy, but depending on the position/company (esp. if there is any sort of licensing/security issues tied to the position/company) you just automatically got disqualified.

*** Again- any John Doe’s reading this, I am not referring to you.

7.Don’t ask recruiters a billion questions. You don’t know if you are talking to a in-house recruiter (someone that actually works at the company you are applying to) or if they are 3rd party pretending to be the company you are applying too. In either case, recruiters don’t know every tiny detail of the position that you are applying for- in most cases they are probably juggling multiple (10+) positions at once. They have to remember A LOT of things for each position.

They are not going to know if your potential boss is a Blackhawks fan. (A candidate asked me this once, and when I told them I wasn’t sure, he told me that he didn’t want to work with anyone that isn’t a Blackhawks fan- guess what I did with this candidate?) General questions about the company (not what the current Fiscal Forecast is for the next 2 years), benefits and culture are alright. Even asking them what they like about the company is cool!

I probably have more tips forth coming and I know alot of my recruiting friends will read this and chime in… so stayed tune!

MG