A couple weekends ago, I ran into one of the those (to invoke the cliche term) “interesting” moments of life. At the end of a shift at the bar/restaurant where I clock some hours, a large video production team began rolling into the club for an all-night shoot. With every new arrival, it was obvious that this was a Webster University cast and crew; every other body through the door, it seemed, was a former student, too. At the time, it was a bit mortifying. (Not true: it was a lot mortifying.) The nightly closure of a restaurant is nothing that ordinary people need to, or want to see; to call on another cliche, it’s like the creation of laws or the making of sausages. It’s a process that involves a bunch of physical labor, usually accompanied by shift drinks, raids of the potato chip containers and the necessary off-load of the night’s frustrations through pointed, off-color monologues. The desired company’s a loud stereo, not a group of fresh-faced filmmakers.
For the most part, then, it’s not the kind of scene where you want to run into a bunch of your recent students. One month you’re teaching them how to write, or how to become “successful” in communications. The next month you’re swinging a mop in their company. Maybe there’s a teaching moment there, somewhere, but in that moment, no one really wants to give it, or receive it. “So, kid, you wanna be a media producer? And you wanna do it on your terms? Well, here’s a broom, a dustpan and few thoughts…”
A life in media content creation can prove a weird, difficult, hard-to-organize beast. I wish the young well, but wish myself well a lot more.
Right now, I’m in something of a feast cycle, through it’s not such a rich life that I’m quitting the night job, yet. The most recent addition to the lineup’s possibly the most unusual resume stocking-stuffer to date. And it’s potentially the most fun, for the short term: yes, thanks, it’s true, I’m the press contact for a Presidential candidate.
Blake Ashby is a St. Louis businessman, launcher of websites and software companies, restaurant owner and avid political blogger. Maybe I can relate to his lifestyle because his days are also hard to pin down; there’s a pretty good-to-really good chance that both of us will wind up at Meshuggah on the same afternoon, chasing varied dreams via laptops. For his part, during the past two election cycles, Blake’s run for President. As in President of The United States of America. This electoral season, he’s decided to throw his name into a new ring, eschewing the Republican Party (where he ran in 2004) and the independent candidacy route, too (ala his path in 2008).
This time out, he’s entered the digital election cycle created by Americans Elect, an online movement that’s heavily invested in reaching voters through social media. The idea, in the broadest sense, is to tamp down the corrosive nature of party politics, allowing average Americans the chance to either draft their desired candidates, or to throw their support behind self-nominating candidates who’d not get a full hearing in the mainstream. Blake’s approach this time out to help move the needle on issues important to him, while setting the scene for a longer-term push in 2016. And to help accomplish all that, he’s bringing on a small amount of help in the field of media direction.
So we are are, keeping life “interesting,” through both planning and happenstance.
More to come…