Malaika: Advance Your Career From Home!

A few of my favorite websites for career development and opportunities

Stuck in my childhood bedroom, I was running out of things to do a week into quarantine. My wake-up, snack, Netflix, class, more Netflix, more snacks, then nap  routine was getting increasingly boring day-by-day. I’m a learner and a do-er, so I thrive on keeping my mind going constantly, but spending hours on Zoom wasn’t cutting it for me. 

One weekend, a friend of mine put out a PSA on Linkedin. “No job prospects? Internships cancelled? Here are opportunities to advance your career from home.” I read the post, intrigued, and fell into a rabbit hole of external learning sites that build a network for young professionals entering into the workforce. My friends and I spent the Summer connecting with a number of them, and I wanted to share some of the resources we’ve found to help advance our careers from a distance!

Connect the Writers

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Connect the Writers works to eliminate barriers for BIPOC creatives by connecting young professionals with industry vets for mentorship. This Summer, I got to speak with an executive producer from FOX’s Empire who offered me great advice on breaking into my dream career. Overall, their network is incredible (a few of my friends had mentors from Netflix and ABC). Additionally, CTW offers free online writing seminars at no cost, and sends out job opportunities for major networks. 

Sundance Co//ab

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Sundance Co//ab is a platform that offers hours of educational videos – masterclasses, interviews, or tutorials – on topics like directing, journalism interviewing, producing… etc.  You can also enter your work in monthly challenges for the opportunity to receive a subscription and one-on-one feedback on your work from a Sundance mentor. 

The Daily Logo Challenge

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Ad majors, art directors and graphic designers, this is the challenge for you! For 50 days, The Daily Logo Challenge sends you a brief for a fictitious company with a name and/or an idea to design for. In your downtime, improve your skills and expand your logofolio! 

Adobe Max

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Advice to creators: surround yourself with other creators! Adobe Max is one opportunity to do so! Adobe Max is a three day virtual creativity conference in late october – FREE this year!  You can build your schedule with luminary speakers, celebrity appearances and musical performances. You can also learn new skills in a number of beginning-to-intermediate design, editing, or video classes from Adobe instructors and global artists. 

Inbound 2020

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Another online event for those in PR, Journalism and Ad is Inbound 2020, now offering a FREE 2-day virtual pass! Inbound is an industry-forward event connecting professionals with trailblazers in the field. This year’s keynote speakers include Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger, CNN Host Van Jones, and Comedian Fortune Feimster! 

Journalist’s Toolbox

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From the Society of Professional Journalists, the Journalist’s Toolbox is a comprehensive list of resources. This site includes links to databases, fact-checking sites, experts, e-newsletters, archives and tips for covering stories. If you don’t already know this site exists, prepare to bookmark it! 

These are just a few of many sites that exist to further your career development from home! I’m excited to find and interact with more virtual networks as we Learn from Anywhere this semester. 

Happy learning, 

CA Malaika

Malaika – My Current Obsession, The Masked Singer

With my increasingly busy schedule, it’s rare I find time to sit down, grab a snack and watch actual TV (sans Netflix or Hulu). But every Wednesday night, I rush home to catch the latest episode of The Masked Singer, a “who-sung-it” competition show where celebrities anonymously battle each other by singing. It’s my new favorite show, and here’s why I’m so obsessed with it:

  • It’s FUN!

 

At first glance, The Masked Singer is car crash tv: “so disturbing, you can’t look away.” Liken this up to a bunch of unknowns in over-the-top costumes, hopping around on stage. Your first time watching the show you have no clue what’s happening. All you know is that there’s a celebrity under the mask, an all-star panel of judges, and oh – Nick Cannon is hosting again. But what’s better than your favorite stars American-Idoling in elaborate Halloween costumes? It’s a sight to see. 

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  • Celebrities show their true selves (without actually showing their true selves)! 

 

The point of the show is that celebrities have a chance to reinvent themselves. In an industry where you can easily be typecast, “canceled,” or become irrelevant, many stars feel as though they’re misunderstood. When they come on the show, they have a chance to explain their story – and they do, tears and all. Every single person who has been voted out has said it’s the “best experience ever,” and has allowed for them to show their talent without their name preceding them. I’m not going to spoil the Season 1 and Season 2 winners, but if you ever watch – they will make you a bit teary-eyed. For once, celebrities are relatable. 

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  • You’re the detective! 

 

A huge part of the show is guessing who the celebrity under the mask is. Every week, they give you a clue package – full of mysterious, little known or well-hidden facts about the singer. By doing so, the audience gets as involved as the judges. When I watch with my friends, we pull out little clues here and there to make our guesses. That being said, it’s easy to find a spoiler. If you don’t know who the celebrity is, everything seems cryptic. If you do know the celebrity under the mask, it’s glaringly obvious once you see their clue packages and everyone wants you to know what they know. The fun is in the guessing process for me, so this season I’ve decided to be spoiler-free. I don’t want anybody watching with me to google anything, and if I ever see a Masked Singer headline, I cover my screen immediately! 

Aside from all the fun of the show, what I love most about it is that it forces me to take time for myself. With homework, projects, and internships, an hour spent watching TV can seem wasteful. But in my commitment to have a spoiler-free season, I’m dedicated to watching each episode’s premieres so that the surprise isn’t ruined for me the next day. It’s a little time I take for myself to have fun – my Wednesday nights now belong to The Masked Singer.

Watch it, you’ll be obsessed too! 

Malaika: Riddle Me This

Be honest, how many times have you been stuck in a car playing the alphabet game with your family or friends?

Sure, it’s fun the first few rounds, but once you pass “m,” the game becomes a vicious race to the finish line. Who saw what word first? Who’s going to call out the cheater? What do you do when everyone gets pouty over losing?

See, the alphabet game was my favorite as a kid. Long car rides became a vocabulary “I spy” competition (my apologies to those who left their glasses back at home), but over time the game started to lose its appeal. That’s when my mom decided to bring out her riddle book:

Grandma likes cookies, but she doesn’t like milk. She likes puppies, but she doesn’t like dogs. She likes kittens, but she doesn’t like cats. What does Grandma like?

Riddles stump us. They challenge us. They make us giddy when we finally figure out the answer. I thought I would leave my riddles behind when I left for college, but the truth is riddles have been my best ice-breaker since arriving at Boston University. Whenever I’m sitting in a group of strangers or waiting with my friends, I bust out a riddle.

Jack and Judy were lying on the floor dead. There was a puddle of water and broken glass on the floor. How did they die?

This year, my New Year’s resolution is to challenge myself intellectually; I want to sharpen my brain in a new and exciting way. As you can probably guess, I do so by figuring out the answer to a riddle everyday. Do I always guess correctly? No, but I have a ton of fun trying.

I wanted to share this because riddles are often overlooked. Don’t underestimate the power of a good brain-teaser. It’s the crowd pleaser that keeps on giving. Here’s a little riddle relevant to BU. See if you can figure it out; the answers to all three are below. No peeking!

BToEsRtRoInE!R

Happy riddling,

CA Malaika

(from top to bottom) Grandma likes things with double letters, Jack and Judy were goldfish; they dies because their bowl broke, Terrier in Boston!

Malaika: Made in Massachusetts- 5 Film & Television Inspired Adventures to Experience While Living in Boston

Storytelling. It’s our brand, our livelihoods, and the basis of our education. Beyond the mediums of print, television, film, etc., the best stories transcend words on a page or images on a screen. They engulf our thoughts, and pull at our heart strings.

Massachusetts, and more specifically Boston, is the location of thousands of movie and television scenes. It is home to centuries of history, love, triumph, and wisdom; a true calling ground for narratives of every design. So while you’re living here in Boston, why not sightsee the inspiration behind some of film and television’s most iconic scenes?

Here are my 5 recommendations to experience Hollywood magic in the City of Champions:

  1. Boston Public Garden Bench – “Good Will Hunting”

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Who doesn’t love a classic Boston movie? The Good Will Hunting bench at the Boston Public Garden was home to Matt Damon and Robin Williams’ famous conversation scene (pictured above) in the 1997 Oscar-winning film.

Visit on a sunny day, sit on the bench, and watch the swans float by as you ponder life. “Your move, Chief.”

2. Bull and Finch Pub “Cheers” 

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The Bull and Finch Pub, an iconic Boston landmark, was the inspiration behind NBC’s Cheers (1982-1993). Located directly across from the Boston Public Garden on Beacon Street, the bar’s exterior was used in the television series’ exterior shots. Fans may also visit an exact replica of the set, as well as the Cheers gift shop at Faneuil Hall.

Stop by and snap a picture of the place where “everyone knows your name” (and check out their Norm Burger Challenge).

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4. The Castle “Ghostbusters (2016)”

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The castle from the opening scene of Ghostbusters (2016) may seem a little familiar to you… in fact it should, because it was filmed at Boston University’s very own Dahod Family Alumni Center, aka “the Castle.”

On your way to class, stop by to tour the newly renovated space, and later, for dinner, go to Kaze Shabu Shabu, a restaurant in Chinatown, to see the inspiration behind the Ghostbusters’ headquarters.

5. 4 Ocean Avenue, Salem, MA – “Hocus Pocus

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Since it’s the month of  October, take a day trip to Salem and visit this quaint beachfront home, Max and Dani’s house, in the Halloween classic, “Hocus Pocus”.

Happy Exploring,
CA Malaika

 

Malaika: Advice from My Mentor

At sixteen, I, like most people my age, had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. For a long time I believed I was destined to be a constitutional lawyer. Heck, I even had a concrete plan: read, study, get a history degree, go to law school, then finally make a difference. Yet no matter how much I tried to convince myself otherwise, I couldn’t imagine a future with my nose buried in volumes of case books and legal dictionaries. Nope, not me (a girl who can barely finish a Netflix series).

In all honestly, I only wanted to be a lawyer because Drop Dead Diva made it look cool (yup, that’s right, I chose my career based on a Lifetime Network television show. YIKES!). After some much needed soul searching, I decided I would never pursue a job I didn’t feel passionate about. As it turns out, the thing I was most passionate about was television shows themselves, not just the lawyer characters within them. I love TV. I love consuming it. I LOVE talking about it.

To get a feel for the entertainment industry, I flew out to New York to participate in a film, journalism, and digital media program. Although I was nervous to travel across the country for this, it ended up being one of the best and most life-changing experiences. Why? Because I met Mariana, a BU COM alumni.

Mariana is not your run-of-the-mill person. She’s all encompassing with a magnet personality. Anyone who speaks to her for even one second would walk away with a giant smile on her face. She convinced me that life is best lived when you can say you have no regrets. At a time when I needed guidance, she was there to support me in every way possible. After leaving New York, her and I kept in touch. When my college application process began, I reached out to her for advice. Her response to me is ultimately what solidified my decision to apply and enroll at BU.  She convinced me to come to this great school and pursue a degree in Film and Television instead of History.

Now, with one semester in my pocket, I couldn’t be more grateful for her influence. It’s crazy how a few nuggets of wisdom from a mentor can alter your goals. For anyone reading this in need of some sound advice, here are some thoughts from Mariana on her experience at COM:

College is over before you know it. Your grades will (likely) not matter. Your work ethic is what lasts. How you do one thing is how you do everything. You need to work hard to make things happen. If you’re proactive, you’ll be fine. If you’re not, you better start. That was such a big thing everyone at COM said, if you want something, you’re going to need to work for it and achieve it, handouts are slim and the industry is tough. Best believe I was the first one grabbing those c-stands and kino flos. I also thought that because I didn’t “know” anyone in film or because my parents weren’t in “the biz,” I’d have a disadvantage. But the best connections are those around you, your classmates. I am still helping out BU peers and friends on sets and projects, have gotten job interviews because of them, and know I can turn to them for any advice.

I meet BU alum EVERYWHERE. You’re coming up together, you’re going to be each other’s’ best support system and encyclopedia. Concerning internships, I got my first two internships by compiling a list of production companies in my area (NYC at the time) and emailing them all asking if they needed an intern for the summer. This may not seem feasible to all depending on your financial situation or your proximity to a city, but I negotiated a travel stipend, worked the rest of my days, and gained invaluable experience from doing so.

My cinematography professor left me with this parting advice before I went off to Los Angeles: “Tenacity Trumps Talent.” Stick it out because odds are, you’ll make it longer and further than those that had more talent than you but got unmotivated or defeated. A tried and true way to life as well: “FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT.” Most first jobs and internships will be more impressed by a hard worker with an eagerness to learn than someone who has all the “right” credentials. Do you have a vague idea of how to do a job? Then go for it! If you can make an employer feel confident in your abilities when they give you a task, they will be more likely to give you interesting work. As long as you put in the time and keep on learning, one day you’ll know enough to teach others!

I hope her advice will appeal to you, as much as it does to me.

Best,

CA Malaika