Retooling and Loving Your (Current) Career


Nora De is a producer, new media strategist, and GA Digital Marketing graduate. Some of her recent projects include forming a crowdsourcing educational foundation, a web-series on tech-dating, and creating strategic video for a recently released social app. This blog post examines ways to thrive in your current career while exploring the possibilities in a new one. The article that inspired this post is here.

In 2013 I applied for a job with Refinery29 using a video cover letter. The “cover letter” I created was thoughtful and specific to my prospective employer: It mimicked some elements of Refinery29’s look, it showed I had knowledge of stop motion and how to edit video– all things they were looking for in a creative content maker. 4 hours after sending it to them, I was called to interview.

A couple of weeks later, the popular filmmaking blog NoFilmSchool asked if I wanted to write an article on my video– “my approach to the demo reel.” That was awesome, but I found it difficult to synthesize all I felt about it. “Demo reels are too long. Demo reels all look the same. What is a demo reel? Should we take issue with the fact that reels are presented digitally, even though their name and origins point to the slow, expensive film process? Let’s bring applying for jobs into 2014. Why are we calling it filmmaking anyway, because it’s video?” I wrote and rewrote that article for about 10 months, on and off.

I enrolled in GA’s Digital Marketing course that 10th month, weary of film and seeking a new career– what, I didn’t know.  I liked the technical aspect of filmmaking, so taking a class that focused on new technologies and marketing those was a great fit. Attending the first and second class finished that article.

When I started writing the final draft of my article, I had a limited view of what it meant to “brand.” I knew branding was signage– a company’s “look”, right? But being taught the intricacies of branding in that first Digital Marketing class, I had an amazing revelation: Marketing yourself in the digital film world requires the same insight as working in marketing at a company. Personal branding as a filmmaker is crucial in having your demo reel (or resume, for that matter) come up for prospective employers. That formed the thesis of my article for NoFilmSchool. I wouldn’t have made the connection without being in the course.

Each class after that, I shaped the article I was writing, and my new career. The possibilities were crazy. We had classes on user experience, marketing analytics, “developing great content”, storytelling– these all applied to filmmaking, and I started creating new possibilities for my job doing video.

I asked the Teaching Assistants for help proofreading and for feedback on the article. They did, and it made the article really strong. Around the same time, they connected me to HBO’s Marketing department to interview for a job as a producer.They led me through all stages of the interview process, successfully.

In the class on social media and advertising I was talking to a classmate and realized, “I really want to help define cool products by producing video for the companies that make them.” This led to my current relationship with my classmates (now clients) who I’m producing video for.

The coolest thing about the class was that it opened my eyes to new career options I didn’t know I had– that I never knew were there. It inspired me to think and work bigger. And it provided much more than insight on Marketing in the digital age. Besides learning hard skills for digital marketing within a company, I was able to narrow my life’s focus. By being there, I developed relationships with people striving to do bigger, better things too.

My video and article “How Rethinking Your Demo Reel Could Help You Land a Dream Job” garnered 12k plays, a super awesome job at a leading creative company, 400 likes, 100 tweets, 60 comments, like- 200 Twitter and Vimeo followers, 4 reposts, work offers, and tons of praise.

The best thing? My parents were proud. And– I was hired by a startup that also helps people find their career footing.

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