First things first, if you don’t want to waste your time reading this – this post likely will not help you get involved with Team 10 in any way shape or form. This is just an articulation of how I’ve been able to place myself in the position that I have.
The funniest thing about all of this is, I ignored the crap out of Team 10 at first. 2016, for me (and a lot of the world I feel like), was awful. I very abruptly left my last job because after so many years, I finally caved and couldn’t deal with my former employer anymore. Aside from small freelance projects, I went 10 months without work last year. I was just applying to any social media related job that I could. When I was 21, I had promised myself that once I quit my job at Target selling cell phones, that would be my last retail job. Up to that point, I already had more work experience than most new college grads a year or two older than me.
So, when I first got a response from my now coworker and COO of Team 10, Nick – I looked at the address and just immediate ignored the email. It was only a mile and a half from where my last job was, and for my entire professional life up until maybe 7 weeks ago – I had been driving 2 hours up to LA to get to work. A few days later, Nick emailed me again – and again I ignored it. (To be fair, I was also having some crazy family stuff going on – I’m not THAT rude.) It wasn’t until Nick found my twitter and tweeted me asking if I got his email, that I saw he was two years younger than me that I set up a meeting to come in and see what this job was about. The only person I knew about in this house was Jake Paul, only because his show on the Disney Channel is I think one of two Disney shows with an Asian lead. (Asian visibility in entertainment is my cause of choice.) The rest is history as they say.
All of this so far sounds like a very “lucky” situation, but I really struggle with the concept of luck. Because yes, maybe it was lucky that I just happened to apply to their job listing – but I can only assume that it was my resumé up to that point that made Nick so relentless about getting me in for a meeting. It’s not lost on me that I’ve really hit the lottery in terms of finding a job that lets me use the skills I already have, as well as learn new ones – and that is actually doing well. I’m eternally grateful for that, but I also get messages from fans all the time more or less asking for an in at the company. I’ve never gotten anywhere in this industry on handouts, so I don’t reward those asking for one.
Before I got my first internship with the Fine Brothers, I was making my own content online. You can’t find any of those videos now, but I was out there doing the things I wanted to do. So many people ask how to be an influencer (which I’m not one, I just work with them), but that don’t have ANY content out. Why would anyone take you or your career aspirations seriously? From there I took that one name that was now on my resumé and name dropped them anywhere I could. Eventually I landed internships with one of my favorite new media outlets (at the time) and with someone who I still consider one of the best managers in digital. I’m honestly usually a pretty reserved and sheepish person to start, but I’ve never not been extremely proactive about my career.
If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, then I’m sure it looks like I’m working all the time. I am, but so is everyone else I work with. If it seems like I don’t take breaks, there’s a reason behind that. It’s not something anyone else I work with will understand ever, but the reason I’m working all the time. (I’m literally going to Disneyland today, and still woke up at 6AM to get an edit done for tomorrow.) is due to what I like to call First Generation Guilt.
Not to bring stereotypes into things, but a lot of first generation Asian kids are pressured into certain career paths because to a lot of Asian families – success is equivalent to money. I was never that kid though. I got mediocre grades in high school because I spent all my time volunteering for the Red Cross and running all my Red Cross Club’s PR efforts. I was real weird, y’all. Basically though, I did everything wrong. So this whole “entertainment business” thing HAS TO WORK OUT. So I do EVERYTHING I can to ensure it does. Think about it, I’m a 24 year old college drop out trying to work in one of the most notoriously fickle industries around. For me, it’s all or nothing. If working for a couple weeks straight without a day off gets me there, I don’t care – that’s what I’ll do. Plus, my job is f*cking rad…so I really wouldn’t mind anyway.
So yeah, this is basically another generic “work hard, it’ll pay off” post. I’m not saying it’ll always work out. Also, this sounds arrogant as all hell – but if you don’t have the same sense of survival and drive as I do..STAY IN SCHOOL.Yes, I’ve worked with many AMAZING people, but only because I’ve taken calculated risks and have positioned myself well enough to work with them. Same thing with people I’m just fans of, I’ve always operated under the guise of “I’d rather be their friend or colleague” as opposed to just being a fan. I’ve been able to befriend so many people I’ve looked up to for years, and it’s all just been through learning as much as I can and working as much as I can.
Now I’m in a position to work and partner with people I never thought I’d even get the chance to meet, so that’s pretty cool.
****Sidenote for all the kids I get DMs from about how stoked they are to see an Asian person in whoever’s vlogs or videos. Hold onto that. We are still the most under represented group mainstream media, and in certain sectors of digital. If any of you want to get into this business, use that as your driving factor. I don’t know a single Asian person that doesn’t remember the first time they saw another Asian face on TV or in a movie…and I guess now internet content. I still remember Randall Park’s first cell phone commercial, and now he’s the lead on a wildly successful network television show. Let that fuel your drive.