This article was first published on Medium.
Anyone that knows me knows that I enjoy entertaining people by making them laugh. I would not say I’m a comedian but I do believe that I am a funny human being.
I believe this is one of the reasons I enjoyed taking dance classes growing up. For a few years of my life, I did modern, tap, jazz and some ballet (first position, second position…that was my life!) Though I cried before every recital, I loved it. The chance to perform an original piece in front of an audience was enthralling.
Fast forward a few years and in 8th grade I joined a traveling play. It was my first time doing real acting, one that I was paid for. It was such a rush connecting with the audience.
If you haven’t heard of BuzzFeed then you must be living under a rock. Their content is shared up and down Facebook timelines, in emails, on Twitter and garners millions of views on YouTube.
If you don’t know…I got a job at BuzzFeed making those same videos that we all share.
I didn’t know this when I applied but the odds of getting an interview at BuzzFeed is slim. In fact you have a better chance of getting accepted into Harvard then getting an interview at BuzzFeed. I’m not even talking about landing a job…this is just getting an email to come interview!
So, how did a kid who has no prior video experience land this position? It’s a matter of a little bit of “luck,” diligence and opportunity cost.
Until about four months ago I had never really heard about BuzzFeed. One day like magic, I started seeing their videos posted on my Facebook feed. Slowly but surely I began watching them and realized I enjoyed them.
After watching many of the videos I thought to myself this seems like a cool job, I should apply and so I did!
I filled out the application and was all ready to go, the final step before submitting your the application is to make a BuzzFeed style video.
I panicked. This was more than I bargained for. I don’t own any camera equipment, I don’t own mic equipment, shit I don’t even have any editing software. After pacing around the house I said you know what, “What do I have to lose.” I propped my computer up on a empty storage bin, grabbed ten water bottles from around the house and filmed a water bottle taste test video.
I edited the footage, built a customized website for BuzzFeed to send along with my application and hit submit. This process happened in less then a day in November 2014.
A month went past and I honestly forgot all about it until on a Wednesday, two weeks before Christmas, I randomly got an email from someone at BuzzFeed asking if I could come in for an interview the following Tuesday.
I starred at the email in disbelief. I quickly began leaping around the room with joy butthen fear set in. “Shit, can I come into the office next Tuesday?” I’m in Philly and the interview is in LA!!! That means I have less than a week to buy my ticket.
I jumped on all the cheap flight websites I knew and it was not looking good, roundtrip tickets were almost $500 to fly out on such short notice. I also didn’t have anywhere to stay or enough money to eat if I were to make this move. After pacing around the room I said to myself once again, “Well, what do I have to lose!”
I called my parents, my brother and my sister to tell them the good news and then booked my ticket!
I now have a ticket but nowhere to stay…what in the world am I gonna do!
Once again fear sank in. I can’t cancel my flight, I already told BuzzFeed I was coming, I can’t back out now. I searched on every hotel deal site known to man but everything was out of my budget! I jumped on Airbnb and found a room, or so I thought.
The next morning, I headed to the Philly airport unsure of my housing situation, how I was gonna eat during my trip and if I was even making the right decision to go in the first place.
I slept the whole six hours on the plane and woke up to a text stating my room reservation on Airbnb was canceled. I sat in the airport defeated. Once again, I checked every single hotel deal site I knew of but found nothing that I could get for the night in my budget on such short notice…until I saw a banner ad for a special at a motel. I jumped on it!
When I pull up to the spot, the first thing I see is a big sign that reads…no prostitution allowed.
Dear lord what did I get myself into!
Tired and just wanting to sleep, I walk to my room. I open the door and stare in disbelief, the bed and bathroom look like roaches had a party before I arrived.
The walls were so thin I could hear the couple next door making love and someone else shouting out for help a few doors down.
For a moment I really wanted to cry. I spent over $700, damn near everything I had to my name at the moment to get here and this is what life came down to…sitting in a shitty motel, surrounded by madness.
I starred at the walls until they turned into scenes of what I envisioned for myself in the near future. I soon fell asleep and awoke feeling refreshed and alive.
The next day I bummed it around Hollywood, posting up in Starbucks for internet and to charge my phone and to grab a few z’s since I was completely out of money.
Two days later I did the interview and flew back home. The first week of January, I got the news that I had gotten the job and that I started in a week in a half.
With only a duffle bag and my laptop, I set out to LA to start a new chapter in my life.
So how in the world did I land the job at BuzzFeed? Some may say it was luck, others may say it was God.
I say it was because I believed in myself enough to take a chance on me. I created a story that was worth listening to and went above and beyond to make sure I stood out amongst those who have the technical video skills and experience.
I have lofty goals for this year and I’m not going to let anything or anyone stop me. This is just the beginning and with a little bit of “luck”, diligence and opportunity cost I’ll make it to heights I’ve never imagined.