Tell them a story

So cover letters…

Everyone hates them; the people who write them, the people who have to read them, EVERYBODY.

I have written so many cover letters in the last year but it didn’t help me get to a place where I even enjoyed reading my own cover letter, let alone getting me a job somewhere I want to work.

So writing one tonight, I realized that I didn’t give one piece of interesting information about myself in my cover letter.

I went through my educational background, my skills and training, the places I worked and volunteered but I never gave them very little about me.

Then I realized:

You want to become a storyteller, tell them a story.

So this time, I started off with a bit of a story. I talked about walking past the building and knowing I wanted to work there, the affect the organization has had on me over the years, this dream I’ve always had to work with the organization. It gave the cover letter somewhere on a map to begin. I hope someone reads that and sees the wide eyed women starring through the window and dreaming about being one of them.

They say someone who is looking to hire you looks spends 10 seconds reading your cover letter. If you don’t give them something of value, your cover letter won’t last past the average time and will put tossed aside into the mountain of other people who are fighting you for that position.

Give more of yourself. Maybe they will like who they meet.

Dancers and Journalists

From top to bottom: Georgia, Sara, Olivia, Vivika. Thanks so much for helping me out.
From top to bottom: Georgia, Sara, Olivia, Vivika. Thanks so much for helping me out. Photo by: Becky Zimmer

My latest freelance endeavour was an amazing one.

I got to talk with the amazing dancers from Mocean Dance Company’s Emerge program in Halifax. Mocean chose four Atlantic based dancers for a five week paid internship to collectively create a piece. These dancers, Olivia Aubrecht, Sara Hopkin, Georgia Skinner and Vivika Ballard, along with their mentor, Sara Coffin, graciously allowed me their time and energy so I could practice my own craft.

It was amazing seeing the similarities between what these women were going through as freshly minted dancer graduates and me as a newly graduated freelance journalist.

Everything they said resonated with me. The negative connotation with going home, like you failed somehow. The trouble with finding work in your field. Having to work a separate job to fund what you really want to do. For everything they said, I would nod away enthusiastically thinking, “wow, I’m going through that too. I know exactly what they mean.”

I quote the Ivany report in the piece because it is very relevant for young grads in Nova Scotia trying to make a life for themselves. Some professional fields just don’t have the paid capacity for the grads now trying to find jobs. Creating your own opportunities, like a lot of these dancers are doing, is becoming a better alternative.

The article can be found here: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/story/economy-dance/33155 and I want to congratulate Mocean and the Emerge dancers on an amazing show last night. Their performance was brilliant.

Join the party in Toronto on January 9th

If you are in the GTA on January 9th, be sure to check out the YOUeffect webseries launch party. Kelly Lovell and team have been working hard for the past 6 months to bring uplifting and inspirational posts to the blogosphere with YOU Effect.

Now we are launching a webseries to bring you videos about how people are making the world better. Be there to see how it all starts on Friday night.

Get your tickets and check out the YOUeffect blog.

Here is a sneak peak of the #awesomeness the #emulatorpro is bringing to the party. #DJofthefuture seems fitting for our event.

http://t.co/M7MnbMnBEs

Don’t forget to reserve your tickets! http://www.youeffect.eventbrite.ca

Fat characters without fat are still characters

Get a better premise

So this post comes from two different things; one, the book/movie Relative Happiness, and two, the Big Girls Do It book series.

In both, the main adjective of these kick ass female characters is that they are fat. Fat is their premise.

This is the thing that the authors choose to define them as a character.

Why is this such a focus?

What if we wrote a “fat” character without acknowledging the fact that they have extra weight or using that to define the character.

What if we wrote a fat character like any other female protagonist in a romcom?

In most romcoms with a skinny protagonist, heartbreak happens because of some personality flaw. In a romcom with a fat protagonist, it is because of her weight.

Here is Relative Happiness’s IMDB summary:

Plus sized and 30 years old, LEXIE IVY is a feisty Bed and Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sisters wedding. In small town Nova Scotia, that’s no easy task, especially when the most eligible bachelor is Joss, the rough handyman fixing her roof. When Adrian, a handsome and charming guest, arrives and seems to take an interest in Lexie, she thinks all her problems are solved. But she misreads the situation and is soon reeling, believing her romantic dream has slipped away, maybe forever. After a series of hilarious mishaps and a reality check or two, Lexie opens her heart and eyes to see that love may be a lot closer than she thought. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3269932/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl)

So let’s try taking out the fact that Lexie is “plus sized”:

Thirty year old LEXIE IVY is a feisty Bed and Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sisters wedding. In small town Nova Scotia, that’s no easy task, especially when the most eligible bachelor is Joss, the rough handyman fixing her roof. When Adrian, a handsome and charming guest, arrives and seems to take an interest in Lexie, she thinks all her problems are solved. But she misreads the situation and is soon reeling, believing her romantic dream has slipped away, maybe forever. After a series of hilarious mishaps and a reality check or two, Lexie opens her heart and eyes to see that love may be a lot closer than she thought.

Does this make Lexie any less of an interesting character? Does the story seem any less believable since it is a “plus sized” woman going through the situation?

Let’s try it with the Big Girls series:

Gorgeous, rock-star guys like Chase Delany don’t go for girls like me. They go for supermodels and actresses, skinny-girls who never eat and spend all day working out. I’m not that girl. So when he locked his fiery brown eyes on me for the first time, I couldn’t quite believe it was really happening to me.

It was the second night I spent with him that I’ll never forget.

A little difficult but insecurity happens whether it is because of weight or personality:

Gorgeous, rock-star guys like Chase Delany don’t go for girls like me. They go for supermodels and actresses. I’m not that girl. So when he locked his fiery brown eyes on me for the first time, I couldn’t quite believe it was really happening to me.

It was the second night I spent with him that I’ll never forget.

Wow, not that hard at all.

Same questions; how does this change the story? How does it change how the audience sees the character?

The reason weight is such a big deal is that we make it a big deal.

What the synopsis of Relative Happiness and Big Girls is really saying is “despite being fat, this character is still awesome.”

What if we just said, “hey, there is this awesome character and she is going through shit.”

What if the audience focused on a strong, confident, amazing character instead of how the character is hideously over weight.

Related Content: Rachel Wiley’s “10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRFOTqTicvY

Rebel Wilson & Melissa McCarthy Vow To NOT Lose Weight? http://perezhilton.com/fitperez/2013-12-17-melissa-mccarthy-rebel-wilson-weight-loss-pact#.VJ9g-M8BA

Lest we Forget

This past year, Canada Post came out with the “Wait for Me, Daddy” stamp, the famous photograph from World War 2 of the little boy reaching for his father’s hand as he marches with his unit in British Columbia in 1942.

Working in a post office, I promote the various stamps that we have.

An older lady didn’t want to buy them because she didn’t want something that promoted war.

What do people think when they celebrate Remembrance Day in Canada? Do they support sending soldiers to die? Do they support violence and suffering of both soldiers and civilians on foreign and home soils?

We don’t support war with Remembrance Day, we celebrate the lives of men and women who made a choice to protect their country. These people saw the strife and suffering of others in far off lands and knew they needed to do something to help.

These soldiers still exist and still die far from home because they believe they are fighting for peace.

We can celebrate Remembrance Day without promoting war and violence. We can celebrate Remembrance Day without accepting the plights and horrors that plague our veterans when they return home. We can remember the lives of those who sacrificed so much for their country.

We remember those who die, we do not support the deaths of others.