Pt. I: Jumping the bureaucratic loopholes
There are many things to say about my move to Chile. Hell, take me out for drinks (this can mean [good] Coffee--a luxury here…more on that later) and I will charm you for a whole 50 minutes while telling you all about it. Essentially I refused to spend another summer working at Macy’s in downtown Los Angeles. I wanted out. The battle was between Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Santiago.
I looked for jobs doing anything in Mexico or Buenos Aires. Then I found out about a small magazine in Santiago trying to cover the art scene for the English speakers. It was run by a very dedicated director and had a quirky staff. Pushing aside the similarities to Shimer I took a long shot and applied having never considered working as a journalist. End of April and I was on my merry way serenading the Shire with death metal and wrapping up my 4th semester when I got word that Robert, my soon to be Editor-in-Chief wanted me in Chile.
After filling out the paperwork (more hoots) I got my money and my gig. Mondays I have a meeting with my editors from 4:30 to around 7:30. We meet in the office for about an hour then head over to a corner restaurant about 2 blocks out into the bohemian neighborhood of Santiago. There, over pitchers of beer and empanadas the entire staff discusses the week’s agenda’s. We receive updates about posted articles and hear suggestions for future articles. The friendly affair always ends too quickly.
A lot of my work is done in the TV room of the colonial house/mansion/hostel where I live. Many an afternoon is spent networking, looking up potential shows, and completing management duties for the website. I am in charge of finding out 10 events per week to post on the website’s agenda. I am also responsible for cranking out an article a week and providing suggestions to the staff on Mondays. Although understandably not a 40-hour workweek, the process of breaking into the art scenes in a new continent poses its challenges.
One of the hardest things I have to do is obtain press credentials. For those out of the loop of the music biz, a production company usually coordinates a tour. This company takes care of the venue booking, security, ticket sale organization, catering etc for a concert. They are the ones that provide the most direct access for VIP passes because they’re the ones that write the “list”.
The problem is that production companies are not usually advertised with the concert. They are behind the scenes industry workers. This means I have to make a lot of phone calls and write a lot of emails and generally do a lot of snooping around online.
Once I have contact it’s all about keeping in touch and receiving confirmation for the writer (Me!) and a photographer.
The rest of that kind of assignment is easy. Usually there is no problem getting in once I flash my Press ID. Once inside the name of the game is Escudo, the national beer.
The secret is to enjoy the show as a fan (despite obvious VIP privileges). Afterward usually I speak to my contact at the show be it the manager, band, bartender, owner, sound engineer and chat to fish out quotes for the article.
The same process applies whether I am covering a band, reviewing a bar, covering a Film Festival inauguration or anything else I am currently covering.
Articles are due Sunday at midnight. Thereafter it is an exchange of emails with my editors over the story and 1 to 2 weeks later I get my byline published!
First Published byline exclusively here!
Check out the Magazine at www.revolver-magazine.com
I am in the About section and said article. I also take care of a lot of the items in the Calendar section and have several translations of press releases up as Preview Events.