Member Spotlight: Laurie-Anne Vazquez

It’s my pleasure to welcome CMA’s public relations point woman and newest blogger to the Member Spotlight chair.  Laurie-Anne has quite the diversified media background–she’s done everything from television development to covering ComicCon for a gaming blog.  Thinking about freelancing?  Laurie-Anne offers a nugget of wisdom below.

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Can you tell us a little about your professional background and what drew you to children’s media?

I’ve worked in LOTS of other media – television development, gaming, PopSci, Disney (3 times!). I’m currently the project manager for a startup science toy company AND a freelance writer, in addition to writing blog posts and press copy for CMA.

Batman: the Animated Series is what drew me to children’s media. It was the first show I remember watching that not only didn’t speak down to me, but trusted and engaged me with difficult material at an age where I thrived on it. It opened my eyes to a whole other world of stories and storytelling.

All I’ve wanted to do since is write a show that does the same for another kid.

I got to write a sample episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!GX while I was at NYU, but it didn’t turn into a job and I was crushed. I spent 8 years feeling like a failure, working jobs outside of children’s media because I was too scared to fail again, until a bout of unemployment made me see how sick I was of carrying that fear. Here I am, ready and eager to make up for lost time!

You are a freelance writer. What kind of projects have you worked on in the past and please tell us about any future ventures you’re excited about.  Also, do you have any tips for those looking to transition into the freelance market? 

I’ve worked on LOTS of projects – email marketing articles for Microsoft-funded startups, ComicCon coverage for a gaming blog (mom was so proud!), grants and sponsorship letters for non-profits in East New York. As long as I get to learn cool things, tell a story, and engage an audience, I’m in.

I might be writing a pitch bible for an animated series. It’s treading new ground in the space, and since I’ll have a hand in crafting that story for a new audience, I’m psyched. That project’s still in the early stages, though so fingers crossed!

I’m happy to chat in more detail with anyone looking to jump into freelancing, but the most helpful tip I can share here is that there are people who will help you. You might feel alone in trying to figure everything out, but there’s no shame in asking for help. Lots of people have done this before. And they want to help!

What would you say are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?

Working SOLELY on projects I love is easily the most rewarding part. It is such a blessing to not have to slog through something boring to get to something fun, and even when I get to something boring it’s easier to bear because of the fun stuff.

That said, managing the constant workflow of projects/potential projects/ searching for projects/networking/LIFE is the biggest challenge. Just when I’m sure I’ve got the pace down it all changes. Aargh! I need to get back into boxing and take out some of that frustration on the bag.

What emerging trend in children’s media are you most excited about now? 

I am hugely biased in saying this, but I’m excited to see sophisticated, well-designed toys that utilize play to learn STEM curriculum. LittleBits and GoldieBlox are long overdue and desperately needed… and there’s more groundbreaking stuff on the way! (hint hint!)

If you could live in any TV program, game, or book, what would it be?

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It’s the happiest, sweetest, most profoundly encouraging world I’ve ever seen (and Sterling Holloway’s Pooh is supremely huggable). Plus, when I was last at Disney, I was voted the company-wide embodiment of Piglet. Clearly, I belong in The Hundred Acre Wood!

Complete this sentence: My media guilty pleasure is

Cake Mania. I’m a sucker for time management games. Even though (speaking as a former gaming blogger) they’re lame.