Why Deleting Tweets Should be Mandatory for Anyone Who Cares About Their Reputation

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Tweeticide logo. A deletion app on IOS. Deletes all tweets while keeping your account intact.

Whether because you hope to become famous one day, or maybe you just don’t want that old tweet coming back to haunt you in your job search, deleting tweets is vital to a positive social media experience.

During the 2016 election, people have gone out of their way to use Twitter’s relatively new search tool to scour Donald Trump’s nearly decade-old timeline. Despite the tweets too old to display in his feed, the tweets can still be found through this search tool. So what did people do? They’d RT an embarrassing remark. They’d use a tweet card against a current tweet to show hypocrisy on an issue. They’d revisit past controversies. The search function has been used to discredit Donald Trump in a number of ways not possible had he simply decided to delete his tweets.

He also tweets plenty of current things which discredit him as well, so maybe deletion wouldn’t save him. But it might save you…

Simply put, do you really want an easily accessible record of everything you said at a (likely) immature age? Do you really want a public timeline available to any potential employer or significant other to dig up seemingly non threatening but controversial opinions said years ago? Do you want to be taken out of context for something you said in a Twitter rant four years ago?

Of course not.

More than that, going through the process of deleting my tweets has also better informed my social media strategy.

As I went through tweets not deleted after my auto delete service maxed out at 3200 per day, I noticed a theme: I repeated a lot of the same rants and themes.

Among those themes were my subtweets aimed at a former mentor. While drafted purely with the goal of hoping he’d speak to me again, I never considered the cumulative effect. When reviewing these tweets in a custom filter (available on tweet eraser) I realized I sounded like a broken record. At the time all I could focus on was the very real hurt feelings, that I just wanted to make an impression and hope he’d speak to me again. The collective impression isn’t just that I sounded like a broken record, out of context it also looks unhinged.

Now I’m obviously not insane. Never once have I crossed a line, stalked this person or anything like that. That doesn’t matter because the collective impression over a period of time is seemingly crazy. It is behavior that as I analyze it out of context can be described in no other way, no matter how innocent its intention. If it looks crazy, that’s all it will take to earn that label whether fair, true or not.

While he’s still looked and occasionally engaged with my writing, I cannot fault him for maybe having a questionable opinion of me. I’ve spoken a lot about being on the spectrum, and even wrote about “social amnesia.” That’s what I call the foggy memory on the part of many on the spectrum which leads us to repeating ourselves. We revisit the same topic or conundrum over and over again, because we want to address or solve it — even if we can’t. We often lack a real time filter which helps us to assess how we may come across. Since we don’t readily recall our last “rant” on the topic, we certainly don’t take into consideration the collective impression.

The danger of Twitter is that similar to conversation, everything is happening in real time. The ability to just tweet your thoughts on the spot means sometimes we don’t employ the filter necessary for something which will go on the record. That’s the danger, it’s real time *on the record.*

So when my former mentor or someone else decides to search my timeline and sees my tweets about him over a period of time, some including him might say “why is she so obsessed with this person?!”

There is no asterisk implicating Aspergers. Even if there was, it doesn’t really invalidate their perspective. I’d argue I don’t think about him nearly as much as Twitter might suggest –nowhere near that. Of course I’m more likely to talk about him online, he’s my first mentor, the person who encouraged me to write and is someone who I got a lot from both advice-wise and experience-wise. Naturally since my account is largely about the industry and my experiences in it, many of my stories and words of advice are going to reflect back to him. The problem is when those tweets are added to periodic subtweets which have no reason to exist, it creates the aforementioned impression: unhinged person; crazy; obsessed.

Fair? Of course not. True? Not in the least. But perspective is reality for the person holding that POV and you do yourself no favors by reinforcing it with dumb tweets.

Nobody wants to be taken out of context. It sort of hurts writing this because I know I’m not an unhinged person and my hope is that by continuing to occasionally check in on me, my former mentor understands that too. I don’t know. All I know is that as someone on the spectrum, I have matured a lot. It takes us longer to learn socially acceptable interaction, so now at 28 I employ better filters. Even as recently as a year ago I didn’t. When all that goes on the record, it can make me look pretty bad.

Your experiences may not be as extreme as mine, but I guarantee there is something you said years ago that can be used against you. There is always someone willing to do the digging. It may be something really innocuous, but you don’t know because you can’t possibly predict someone’s motivations. Employers especially have grown increasingly savvy in navigating social media. They’ll find all those tweets about IP reform made in your early 20s and chalk it up to a pro piracy stance so you loose that development job. Sure you don’t support piracy, but again that tweet taken out of context from its original rant paints a different picture.

So delete your old tweets and then make sure you activate an app that will automatically delete tweets older than 90 days (tweetdelete.net). If you’re like me and have tens of thousands, remember that all tweet delete services, including those which cost money, can only make 3200 delete requests per day. So don’t get suckered into paying for a free service, there is no advantage. So you will have to frequently repeat the process. Also, many older tweets will be harder to access because they are archived. Similar to an onion, they will only reappear after you’ve peeled back the layer of tweets above them. So just because your timeline shows zero tweets, it doesn’t mean they’re all gone. The older ones will pop up and after you’ve exhausted the 3200 tweet delete limit, you’ll have to go through the process again.

While I made the mistake of nuking my entire recent timeline, tweet eraser — http://www.tweeteraser.com allows you to filter and delete in bulk and this service should be used over tweet delete .net, which is more a retroactive filter. This is the service I’ve been using for bulk deletion. However, it doesn’t delete all RTs which has been extremely frustrating to say the least, and that will require further digging since I can’t undo the RT manually either.

Anyways, it is worth investing the time in cleaning up your social media. Once you’ve done so, you can have piece of mind and going forward you will be more selective in what you choose to say. And PS, don’t forget about Facebook!

Over and out – MK

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You Do Not Have The Answer

For almost 50 years, people have debated the meaning of the third act in 2001: A Space Odyssey. For thousands of years, people have debated the meaning and origin of the universe. Neither has yielded many concrete results.

Perhaps this is the point. Not every question can yield a definitive answer, and this provokes a profound sense of anxiety.

After defeating HAL: 9000 on the edge of Jupiter’s orbit, Dave is sent on a journey through deep space. The monolith, the giant black tower which appears at the dawn of man seems to have some kind of power over him; or so many theories suggest. In this period of millennia, Dave is given a mass of knowledge that dates back to the Big Bang itself.

It is not merely a fantastic journey through a likely LSD inspired Stargate sequence. It is a deeply anxious mind trying to fathom our cosmic insignificance. It is so much information, so much science we cannot explain, so many trillions of galaxies and exponential numbers of stars that our brain cannot properly compute it all. It just comes out in brilliant colors moving a trillion meters per second. Dave’s face contorts and twists, and so do ours at the thought of what is happening. Then the Big Bang, the most anxiety producing of all — darkness, then light. We are all matter from anti matter. We are something out of nothing. We are particles of something which partical physics has yet to understand.

Is this making you anxious yet? It should be. The entire Stargate sequence is an elaborate mind fuck meant to imagine answers to questions we haven’t been able to shake for Millennia. How small do you feel after watching it?

So perhaps we’re all the product of star children because maybe for some that innocent thought of God is easier to fathom. The thought of an old man, viewed from his younger self through a bend in space and time, is easier to imagine. A man who sleeps in a white room with white curtains, tired eyes beneath a monolith of suggestion. Aliens, or God? This is the simplistic view. Perhaps this seems less fantastical than the science we do not understand.

The universe is frighteningly powerful. I write this on a space rock dodging cosmic hazards, spinning on its own axis at 720mph as it revolves around a ticking time bomb: our sun. This galaxy and the entire universe beyond it is held together by a physics we have barely begun to understand. It is so delicately held together by some cosmic string, that only the slightest of mishaps could send us all tumbling into mass extinction.

Are you anxious yet?

Perhaps the greatest con of this third act is that much like advanced science and the universe itself, there are no correct answers. The entire purpose of this act is to produce a mass anxiety out of not knowing. But hey, look at the star child floating to earth. I wonder if he’s Christian. Perhaps there’s an afterlife after all?

The Incredibly High Cost of Low Budget

The Independent Film community has thrived in the wake of the mid budget film collapse. It has been a place for artistic minded filmmakers to get their start in the hopes of making it big at Sundance, TIFF and on other festival circuits. Made on micro budgets or budgets under $5 million, these films have exploded in popularity for their cost-savings and their ability to explore niche topics on an affordable scale. Small, community oriented companies have sprung up in cities like New York to help shepard these projects to festivals and distribution partners. Soon a cottage industry was born; where LA has Hollywood, NYC has indie film.

Not everyone is so happy with this cottage industry, because not everyone is able to share in the spoils. That’s because indie film is often by the rich, for the rich and of the rich. While these films and the companies behind them are well intentioned, they are also highly exploitative given their lack of resources. As a result, they end up shutting out a lot of talented people without financial resources to make an impact.

While there has been plenty of criticism leveled at corporations for not paying interns, most large companies in Hollywood have reformed their internships or done away with unpaid opportunities altogether. The opposite has occurred in Indie film, where not only entry level positions are unpaid, but mid level positions are as well.

I started as a development intern in a blatantly illegal unpaid internship to gain coverage experience. I was long out of school but looking to get more coverage samples, so I begrudgingly offered to work for free. I felt like a scab, and had to work two other jobs just to afford it. I excelled in this position, and my coverage was soon used to provide feedback to working writers without the development executive even reading the script. They trusted my judgment and soon I negotiated for a paid position. Only while now I was considered a development assistant as opposed to an intern, my wages were no better than a set PA, the lowest position on the totem pole. At least as a set PA, I’d work enough hours to make a decent wage. Here I was getting short changed and had to temp as an executive assistant at an affiliate of the French consulate to make money to survive.

Eventually I just resorted to being a reader, coming into the office only occasionally. Finally, out of financial desperation, I quit a week ago. They completely understood my situation and there were no hard feelings at all.

I have nothing but good things to say about the people I worked with, but a hobby industry doesn’t pay the bills. I was actually loosing money commuting into the city for truncated hours.

That’s the chief problem with the independent film industry, it’s a hobby industry. Most of those who worked full time at this company made millions in other industry in order to set up shop making passion projects. One had a very wealthy husband, the other was already a long time member of the academy. The interns I worked with, one was the daughter of a hedge fund billionaire, the other was a student at USC whose father worked in corporate law. Here I was the daughter of a city fireman and a nurse manager; I grew up comfortable but by no means rich. My parents divorced when I was 14. I couldn’t ask my parents to financially subsidize my work experience, certainly not when they’re now looking to retire.

So many people in indie film are trust fund kids playing with others money. I struggle to recall meeting a single person who had a truly working class background. Most were art school graduates, wealthy people and folks who had wealthy spousal support. They were above anything else patrons of the arts; a long time hobby of those wealthy enough to afford to consider that among their hobbies.

When these people’s livelihoods are detached from the financial profitability of their films, that’s a loosing proposition for those who work beneath them. Too many of these indie films are never profitable. In fact, they’re often not expected to be. Most of these films are funded through crowd funding, favors, bored artsy investors and grants. They’re made to make people smile at Sundance and be forgotten. Very few seem interested in cracking the Hollywood job scene. They’re content to make artsy films for arthouse theaters, whether the film makes money or not.

This is not an industry to make money in. As a result, those working to make these people’s hobby a reality often suffer financially for it if they don’t have help. There is very little opportunity for promotion or financial gain. So most end up quitting only to be replaced by more cheap labor after they leave.

When CNBC interviewed employers about unpaid internships, they reached out to the indie film community:

Of course, for some companies, hiring interns is not about profit but about sustainability.

“I would not have survived as an independent filmmaker if it weren’t for interns,” said Nicole Franklin, president and senior producer of Epiphany, and co-founder of Midnight Media Capture in New York City. She said she habitually hires unpaid interns as part of her business model but insists there is no exploitation involved. Volunteerism and bartered labor is the lifeblood of the close-knit indie film community, she said. In exchange for work hours she offers mentorship and valuable business contacts.

“Filmmaking is our passion, and these are passion projects,” she said. “It’s natural for all of us to help each other out.”

 

No companies sustainability should be tied to free labor. If that is the case, your business model is questionable from the get-go. Just because filmmaking is your passion, and you want to make your passion project, it doesn’t give you the right to feel entitled to someone’s free labor. This industry is so filled with moronic justifications such as the one above. Nobody is volunteering to make your dreams a reality, they are hoping to be given a paid opportunity or the kind of experience and networks which will lead to a paid job. This is entitlement, pure and simple. Please don’t fall for the mentorship or contact excuse, because I’ve never seen it happen, not for me, or for anyone else I know who have been in the trenches — It is used to bait people with hope. Hope doesn’t pay the bills either.

The model is broken. You have a large amount of these “passion projects” being made and only so many can screen at Sundance. All of these artsy projects just wind up canabalizing each others audience, similar to the way big budget tentpoles being released every week have done to larger studio’s films over the past year.

Say what you want about those big budget films, at the end of the day they are seeking a profit. While I think variety, including a return to mid budget films and expanding VOD is key to continued profitability (not to mention quality!), the studios don’t want to flop. Studios are not in this business as a hobby, they are there to make money! As it is a profit-seeking industry, there is room for growth. In this system, people who start as unpaid interns can expect to grow into more important roles that pay a living wage through their hard work.

The same cannot be said of the Indie Film industry. They exist purely to produce passion projects. Their idea of profitability is taking a chance and hoping it works out. So many of the scripts they get are amateur at best. Very few of these films can even be said to be good. Most are just artistic expression films, by people who could afford NYU out of pocket. A hobby industry is not an industry that can put food on the table, and that is the incredibly high cost of low budget.

I am done volunteering for someone else’s dreams, however well intentioned and noble they may be. I encourage anyone else looking at the Indie Film industry to understand that the most you can hope for is good experience and a letter of recommendation. Get in, get out, save money in any industry you can and move to LA — because hey, at least studio and agency temp jobs are paid!

Over and out ~ MK.

Facebook is a Platform for Low Information Garbage, Racism & Hate: Why I Left.

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Facebook doesn’t want to be the platform for intelligent discourse, and that’s exactly why I left it.

I first started using the platform in college, when Facebook was only availble to those with a college email. After it was rolled out to the general population, I never added a lot of people I knew I wouldn’t talk to. I kept my friends list manageable, mostly family and friends I would see often.

Then after a few years, approaching its initial public offering, Facebook began to distort the social experience. It rolled out a feature called news feed. Instead of receiving posts from your friends in chronological order, you saw what an algorithm determined was news.

At first this wasn’t too bad because most of what was considered news were topics, people and posts you probably liked seeing. It was often populated by those you interacted with often and topics/pages you “liked” on their website. It was a healthy mix between people and pages, with minimal sponsored posts. Plus you could still switch to a chronological time line that didn’t limit how far back you could scroll.

Then advertisers began to make up a larger portion of the social networks revenue. They became crucial to their profitability. Facebook repeatedly landed in hot water for privacy practices, notably data mining and the ownership of user IP, like photos.

It was around this time Facebook started to take over control. No longer was the platform content in allowing users to determine what they wanted to see. Facebook determined what Facebook wanted you to see. It even ran a social experiment showing more sad/happy posts to gauge user reaction.

Facebooks news feed functions as a tool for data analytics. 2/3rds of my news feed quickly turned to Facebook games, public pages for brands/sports teams etc, media pages, sponsored posts and maybe only 15% would actually be people I wanted to hear from.

Concurrently, Facebook launched an update to its smart phone app that limited the chronological time line and saturated that time line with sponsored posts.

Unlike Twitter where the user can create lists to track interests and those they most want to hear from, Facebook finally removed the option for users to control anything. Twitter cares about the experience its users have. Facebook does not. Whereas Twitter allows multiple apps, giving users even more options to filter content, Facebook only has its one app. Facebook wants to be in full control.

After news feed went to shit, many friends started leaving the site. I stayed, perhaps only because it was one of the few ways I could see all of my families posts, photos etc.

Then finally those posts were less and less too. I began having to manually go to people’s pages to see what they were up to. Within the past year, news feed is largely not even text. Over 90% of what you see on Facebook are inaccurate memes, stupid viral content and tabloid headlines. Whether or not a friend posted it, that’s what you would see. Also, if I liked a story on a public page, my news feed time line would quickly be consumed by all that pages posts.

Facebook does not care that it is the low information social platform. It relishes in that because the sheep who fall for bull shit memes are exactly the kinds of people Facebooks advertising partners want to buy their junk. Uninformed, easily manipulated morons — it is easy to part a fool from his/her money.

Yet in spite of all this, what ultimately put me over the edge was a new tweak to their news feed: the garbage political posts and proliferation of racism that went unpoliced.

I have recently tested a theory that Facebook shows you content you will disagree with in order to bait you into argument. Instead of seeing things you generally agree with, like in the early news feed days, Facebook wanted to find a way to keep you on the site longer. If you see a post you agree with, at most you’ll give it a like. Maybe you’ll add a comment or two. Then that’s it. Whereas if you find a post that offends you or is just totally factually inaccurate — you’re more likely to debate with the poster. The more you debate, the more you’re opening the app to check replies.

Think about why this makes sense. The more you open the app the more advertisers can learn about you, advertise to you etc.

So Facebook finds out what you are passionate about and shows you content in that subject that you are likely to disagree with. Maybe a sports team you despise, a friend supports. A political candidate or positions you disagree with in the strongest terms.

Facebook wants people arguing because it is good for their bottom line. The more outrageous the garbage content, the more divisiveness.

Recently I reported a page posting bigoted content called “Fuck Islam.” Facebook wrote back to me saying it didn’t violate their community standards. Of course it didn’t, that’s because Facebook has no moral or philosophical standards! Only greed.

At first the refusal to ban this page shocked and appalled me. However as this kind of virulent racism and bigotry became more common on their platform, I realized Facebook was fast becoming a home to the fringe political right wing – the low information voter. The fool and his money. The reactionary sheep advertisers are so desperate to court.

As higher educated people and younger people of progressive leanings fled the platform, older socially conservative people filled the gap. Facebook quickly became like an early 90s chain mail of made up stories and factually inaccurate memes meant to reinforce toxic political beliefs.

So finally I had enough. I couldn’t take the exposure to what had become a toxic right wing environment. I could no longer stand a news feed full of racist memes, promoted pages endorsing awful views and just plain dumb crap that as an educated and well read person I’d have no interest in.

So I deleted the app, blocked the site from my MacBook and hope to never look back.

I’m sure I’ll miss friends events. I won’t get to see many of my families photos. I think that’s a small price to pay for removing awful content from my life.

Maybe one day I’ll go back to Facebook if it decides to give users more control over their experience. Perhaps one day I’ll go back if it decides to be a more inclusive place and bans pages and content that are broadly offensive to most reasonable people.

But I doubt that day will ever come. Facebook does not care about inclusiveness or what you want. It just cares about what it wants, and what it wants is to make money. It is a company which has lost all moral compass as it makes money in perhaps the most repugnant of ways; privacy invasion, manipulating people’s emotions and fostering an environment which promotes divisiveness.

Today I realize I don’t have to help them make money. I hope that if your experience is anything like mine, you shouldn’t need to help them in that endeavor either.

Common Networking Mistakes Made on Twitter

Twitter’s slogan is “yours to discover.” Unlike other social mediums, where user accounts are largely private, most content on Twitter is vastly accessible. This means, people are discovering folks in their industry, and now have the ability to start a conversation with them. With that ability comes great social responsibility. So as Twitter increasingly becomes a valuable networking tool, it can also be misused. This post is about how to avoid that based on common errors I see, as it relates to the Film/TV industries.

1. Pandering For A Job

Often when browsing your timeline, you might see folks posting available jobs. Accounts like Temp Diaries frequently post LA-based industry jobs. Others will even mention the need for someone to fill in on set last minute, or post availabilities at their company.

It is fine to click on that link and send your resume, because that is what is expected. It is also a perfectly opportune time to ask more questions about the position and introduce yourself.

What is not ok however is to ask someone for a job, especially someone you don’t know. While this may seem obvious, it happens often but usually not in a direct manner.

Very often I will see someone make a tweet “looking for work, have X experience” in the hopes their network will RT/pass it along.

This is lazy because what you are expecting is to be given a connection, or have someone else essentially head hunt for you. You need to do the networking yourself, not expect someone to RT your post and search for work for you. Make cold calls, definitely reach out to your network on Twitter. Don’t be a beggar and expect opportunities to come to you because you made a tweet.

Definitely don’t directly ask someone in the industry you don’t know for a job on Twitter if they’re not posting one.

Nobody wants to help crowdfund your job search. Many of us also are facing financial hardship in between gigs. The difference is, we don’t expect others to subsidize our struggle.

Hustle the right way.

2. Kissing Ass

This is probably the most common mistake I see.

It usually goes like this: aspiring writer connects with working writer on Twitter. Frequently the aspiring writer in question will reply to the working writers tweets, usually in a very complimentary way. Other times they will insert themselves into conversations (more on that later) they are not party to. When the writer has a movie coming out, or got an offer, the aspiring writer is there to congratulate them.

This is obviously transparent behavior. The writer wants to be noticed by those doing what s/he wants to do. Instead of developing a virtual relationship or network based on substance, they choose to go the route of flattery. So too have a thousand kids just like them. The working writer, director, manager etc. is aware of this too. Nobody likes a brown noser.

99.9% of the time these kids hope that by flattering the person they will be given an in. They hope to have their script read, or Vimeo reel pushed. Guess what? Your script is unsolicited, it won’t be read. Your reel won’t be watched. Instead, go place in a contest or get a high rating on the Blacklist. Get a job in the industry and network the right way. Produce something you can get others excited to talk about.

What you’re doing by flattering this person is using someone. You are using someone in the hopes of career advancement. This is not networking. Build real relationships instead.

3. Interjecting Yourself in the Conversation

As mentioned earlier, interjecting yourself into a known quantities conversation is just such a stupid mistake. Even if the quantity is not known, if you’re not party to the conversation, why are you interjecting?

If two talent agents or working writers were talking at a cafe, would you walk up and interrupt their conversation? If you answered yes, please consider how awkward and rude this is. If you answered no, then apply this rule to Twitter as well.

Unless the conversation is general and welcomes additional input, use your best judgment. Don’t insert yourself into people’s jokes with one another and stop acting like you’re a friend when you’re little more than someone in a mentions list. Interrupting is rude, it’s not all about you.

4. I Talked Once on Twitter, They “Know Me”

Oh yes this happens way too often and I wish I was kidding. Writers will get a single reply from someone in the business and then say they know the person in meetings or in talking to another person in the business.

Assume that when you pass off this bull shit, word will get back to that individual. When they reply with “who?” Be prepared to wipe the egg off your lying face.

Taking with someone in a thread online does not constitute knowing someone. Even if you’ve talked several times, unless they’ve given you permission to use them as a reference, you shouldn’t use them as such. This is blatantly unprofessional.

5. The Right Way

These are a few of the most common mistakes I’ve seen. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but a good starter.

To summarize this post, let me just say that there is no shortcut to success. You will have to work incredibly hard at your craft and then even harder to get it noticed.

Get a job in the industry, put yourself out there — but the right way. Enter script contests. Host on the Blacklist. Get an internship or a job, any job in the industry and work harder than anybody else.

Twitter is still a perfectly good networking tool if you use it in addition to doing all of those aforementioned things.

I’ve personally made a lot of great contacts on Twitter, but only by being genuine.

People have a nose for bull shit in this industry. They recognize when someone is just calling it in or trying to use them/someone. They know when you’re not putting in the hard work. They can tell if you’re trying to look for a short cut. Desperation is obvious as it is repulsive.

So avoid making these mistakes and you should be fine. Work hard, harder than anybody else. Talent only gets you so far, there are always people willing to outwork you. So work hard, be humble and network the right way.

Over and out – MK

Female on the Spectrum: a Life of Double Standards

Many have asked me what it is like to be a female with aspergers. So I’ve finally decided to share.

While men on the spectrum are generally celebrated for their brilliance, women are more likely considered weird for possessing the same traits.

Society has come to treat the tech bro on the spectrum like a rock star. Artists like Tim Burton are celebrated worldwide for their eccentricities. Can you name me a female savant? Can you supply me with the name of a female high functioning autistic celebrated for her odd brilliance?

Sadly, I cannot.

We believe that the traits of bold persistence, blunt talk and free-thinking unbridled creativity are uniquely male.

Particularly this is true in the case of persistence. When those on the spectrum want something, they will work harder than anyone to achieve that goal. HFA/Aspergers kids are relentless in pursuing their passions. When it is a man pursuing a career, to work for another man he looks up to in his field — this is fine because it is rewarded as flattering persistence. The same persistent behavior in females is often sexualized and mostly treated as possible insanity.

Of corse both male and female would never cross the line. Autistics recognize boundaries because they are socially awkward not mentally ill. Although we may not always successfully gauge how we may come across, we strive for self awareness. We understand our persistence and passion, though others may not.

Women are also expected to be feminine, warm and understanding. While autistics try to be deeply empathetic people, make great partners and are overall the most nonviolent people imaginable, our generosity is more likely to be taken advantage of. Autistics are more likely to be the victims of violence and abuse; male and female. So in the case of females on the spectrum, we’re ripe to be taken advantage of. After this sort of abuse, the person is likely to shut down and turn introverted. Most of all, they will probably blame themselves. Autistics are prime targets for narcissists. Since narcissism runs stronger in men, it is more likely to be a female victim.

Sexually this has deep ramifications for women too. Not always the case with people on the spectrum, but often: Many don’t like sex the way neuro-typical people do. Oftentimes folks on the spectrum see sex as demisexuals, and need to develop a relationship before we can be intimate with someone. When so many relationships today start with hookups, this makes finding a partner hard. Especially so for the women, who are expected to put out. An aspergers man on the demisexual spectrum is more in control of that urge and if anything he is more likely to find a woman willing to take it slow versus an aspergers woman finding a man to take it slow. Women usually end up giving in and then shutting out the man because they no longer feel comfortable, they feel violated.

Women are expected to behave a certain way according to societal bias, both conscious and unconscious. Autistic women violate this societal framework. Women on the spectrum are Tomboys, more often interested in the same kind of creative expression and things as men. They are more likely to have male friends. They are not especially feminine, and thus are often punished for that.

Women are not celebrated for the things they should be. Aspergers and high function autism is not a mental illness. It is a developmental delay often accompanied by savant-level IQs and intellectual ability. Not rain man, nor Jim Parsons. Rather Tim Burton, Dan Akroyd, Mozart and Warhol.

Yet if a woman were to be like any of those men, they’d be criticized. They’re not feminine enough. They’re weird and therefore because they’re a woman who is weird, they must be insane. The woman must be mentally ill.

This is why it is so much more difficult for women on the spectrum. I won’t say it’s much easier for many men, but they are not held to the same societal expectations that women are. It hurts when you admire someone deeply and want to work for them, but your persistence is questioned as possible insanity. This is not fair. As much as it’s not fair, as much as we try to be more self aware, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because society will always judge women more harshly than men. Being a woman with aspergers just makes it that much harder.

10,000 Hours or More

Malcolm Gladwell wrote his famous book detailing how it takes 10,000 hours devoted to a particular task to become good at it.

While by no means a scientifically accurate number, the point is that to get anywhere you must invest an insanely high number of hours to achieve your goal.

When it comes to working full time in the Film/TV industry, that is no exception. In fact, for most people, to truly get anywhere in this industry it will take close to ten to fifteen years.

Back in 2013, two years removed from college, I had a difficult conversation with a mentor. He was a producer who read my work and encouraged me to continue writing. When I got the words “good luck” from him, I knew that I had exhausted any opportunity with him for the time being. Yet I persisted nonetheless until he told me it takes ten to fifteen years to really break in — I didn’t want to believe it.

Here is a guy who was a CEO of a major production company by the time he was 35. How could I believe this?

Of course Malcolm Gladwell also spoke about outliers. For some it will take less time, for others it will take longer. These statistical anomalies are outside the norm.

Also, these outliers still had to put in tremendous amount of work. If you want to get technical about it, that promotion to CEO still came almost 15 years removed from college. I’m sure he had to bust ass on set for long hours. I’m sure he had to sacrifice his social life to put in extra time required to be noticed so young. He was a production manager on an international blockbuster by 30, a full producer within ten years. He didn’t get there by slacking off.

Now five years out of college, and three years removed from my conversation with him, I understand he’s right. Where am I at this stage? Only just netting interviews with companies such as Warner, NBC and HBO. Even then, those interviews are for assistant level positions. Entry level in the world of film/TV.

Provided I even move from my small production company job as a development assistant to one of the industry giants, I still have at least five years to go before I can imagine a junior executive track. Maybe even more in terms of hoping to option a script of my own.

It takes years of work experience and networking to make headway in this business.

I busted my ass on sets where I didn’t make a cent. I volunteered at film festivals and interned at companies until I proved myself good enough to be paid as an assistant. I spent countless hours writing and networking for readers. I worked two office jobs to support myself on the side. I spent five years of my life watching friends make more money, get promoted and have families. Only now am I looking at the start of a career track.

The sacrifices are immeasurable. The poverty you will endure unbearable for many without a place to stay or with financial assistance available. The lack of a social life will make you depressed at times. You will question your choices often as people tell you to give up. The feeling that you are succeeding at a slower rate than your peers who played it safe will make you feel a failure.

Before my mentor was promoted to CEO he told me of a time where he slept on a foam mattress on the floor. It is to those like him that the rewards will come to.

Regardless what happens with my next round of interviews, I am where I need to be. It took five years just to get to this point. Whether he ever calls me to work for him when he does so again, I am eternally grateful for his advice.

There is no avoiding 10,000 hours. There is no avoiding the struggle. You will get NOWHERE playing it safe. So if you have chosen the hardest industry in the world to break into, know what you’re up against. Know that it can only happen with an insane amount of sacrifice and hard work.

Best of luck to all. Keep piling on those hours.

Over and out ~ MK

When We Feel Too Much

When feelings become too much…

When you’re extremely empathetic, the weight of the world and all its sorrow sits atop your shoulders. This is not an easy weight to bear.

When you feel so strongly, emotions are tough to keep in check. Logic is replaced by reaction, impulsivity. Empathy turns to sorrow, sorrow turns to anger — anger because of hopelessness. Hopeless to do anything at all.

Then we catch our breath. Breath in and out. Distraction — find a distraction.

We pause. Think of what matters, family, friends — love. Love, that feeling so strong that when it is for someone you can never hug, or maybe someone you can never hug again, sorrow returns. You wish you could embrace someone you cannot.

Distracting yourself from sorrow, you find happier things to occupy your mind with. It works… For a little bit.

Then a truck goes down your block, then a plane flies over your house too low — a fire cracker sounds like a gun shot — and that fear, sadness sets in again.

The empathy. The heartache. The feeling that we cannot do anything to stop the violence. Political talking heads take the stage to assure us never again but the only never is knowing we will never see the dreams of Lennon’s imagination come true.

I don’t want to feel this way any more. I don’t want to feel this weight any more. I don’t want this heartbreak any more. I don’t want to feel this way any more. I cannot take this any more. My shoulders are broken…

Why Are Millennials Childish?

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While Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm the past week, not everyone is happy about it. Those who didn’t grow up with the first generation of pocket monsters in 1997 cannot understand why those in their 20s and early 30s would flock to such a “childish” game. The reason behind its success shouldn’t be surprising at all — it’s about nostalgia. More so, it’s about escapism for a generation that has largely known nothing but misery the past decade.

Millennials grew up in the 90s, arguably a time when it seemed that economic prosperity was all but guaranteed. The internet seemed poised to deliver profits through to eternity. It was a fascinating time for all technology including that which gave us handheld games like Pokémon, A&R tech which gave us a new generation of pop acts, and CGI technology which gave us memorable blockbusters of a different scale.

Our Boomer parents all but assured us that if we studied hard, we would be able to participate in this profit taking too. We were destined for success. Then, 9/11 happened and the Dotcom bubble burst. Years later, the big one: the Great Recession wiped trillions from the economy in 2008. Suddenly my generation graduating college was left with little economic prospects. The aching pain for nostalgia, a time when we still believed all was possible reigned supreme.

Before you accuse Millennials and the Buzzfeed listicles that cater to their sense of nostalgia of being childish, let’s take a trip back in time… To the 1930s.

The only generation that can truly understand the economic and emotional pain of the Millennial generation is The Depression generation. Much like the seemingly unstoppable 1990s, the 1920s too made it seem as if the gravy train would never stop. Until it did. They too were about as penniless as my own generation.

The only real difference between then and now is the modern conveniences which make it seem not as bad. We don’t have shanty towns and dust bowls — but the younger generation in both cases has very little money or wage earning potential. Both mostly live(d) at home because they cannot afford rent or property. Both sought out nostalgic forms of escapism.

Three things became very popular in the 30s: movies, radio and baseball. Since very few avenues of technology existed, these three things were the main source of escapist entertainment. People could spend an entire day in the movies for very little money. Baseball offered cheap seats, and minor league teams were also a popular attraction. If you were lucky enough to afford one, the golden age of radio was a way to escape to lands far and near — or just to listen to a favorite comedian.

The things these methods of escapism have in common is that they’re all populist. Yet, we still have these populist forms of entertainment today, so why are Millennials instead into “childish” things like PokemonGo?

Well first let’s take a look at the word childish. It assumes that what Millennials are into is made for children. But is it? Nostalgia is big business. When Niantic was doing market research for this game, they tested the waters with my generation, not 10 year olds. Why? Because they knew it was my generation that would be most interested. Nostalgia — it’s practically what turned Buzzfeed into a billion dollar enterprise. It’s what added $9billion to Nintendo’s stock price in days.

But it’s still childish you may say. But is it? Is it any more or less childish than the super hero movies coming out every few months, movies 40-somethings are also attending? Is it any more or less childish than adults who read comics? Is it any more or less childish than grown men buying up Star Wars and Marvel action figures? Is it any more or less childish than all the 80s remakes so obviously catered to Gen-X?

No it isn’t, and it’s also had a very positive impact on the generation it’s aimed at.

Millennials can’t afford many of the escapist forms of entertainment once pursued by the Depression generation. Studies continue to show Millennials aversion to dropping $15 on a single movie. Baseball and other live venues have become wholly  unaffordable to anybody not sitting in company seats. Yet we still seek out entertainment which allows us to check out from how awful things are.

PokemonGo, a free phone game, has had an incredible communal aspect. It’s brought people together from different socioeconomic backgrounds and races. It’s gotten people out of the house and walking around, exercising — like geocaching apps before it. It’s social enough to get people to befriend others they wouldn’t have before. Perhaps it’s even a possible networking tool too.

Many in Gen-X making fun of us would rather say it’s leading to robberies and data abuse. The underlying cynicism is that Millennials are not responsible enough to be treated like adults. Somehow, it’s easy to overlook that robbery, data abuse and walking into things on your phone long existed before PokemonGo and will after too. Street smarts will always evade some.

What those with economic opportunity fail to understand is that Millennials are not childish. We just need to check out sometimes. We have seen a decade of stagnant wages prevent us from fully appreciating all that adulthood offers us, things like home ownership, financial independence or starting a family. Instead of getting cynical and moping about because of that, we’ve instead chosen to invest in nostalgia.

If that nostalgia has the power to bring people together, I say that’s a good thing. So instead of criticizing people for being “childish” how about assessing your own proclivity for childishness? What things do you like which are also allegedly aimed at children? Probably a lot, because nostalgia is a happy feeling. If something makes someone happy, something that is largely benign apart from your hatred of it, why be that curmudgeon? If something appeals to multiple generations, isn’t that good?

Instead of criticizing Millennials for walking by your home hunting Pokemon, how about be grateful you can afford a home? Instead of shitting on Millennials for catching Pokemon near your workplace, be happy you have a job — one which likely pays a lot better than anything we have available to us.

The Millennial generation has a lot to be unhappy about. So too did the Depression generation. I’m just of the opinion that if something makes someone happy despite the miserable world in which we live, that’s a good thing.

Trending off Tragedy

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This widely circulated post made its way around Twitter and Facebook yesterday. It made people feel good, it was a lesson in morality. It got 11,000 shares in 11 hours on Facebook, and close to 5,000 RTs on Twitter.

And it’s totally fake.

Never mind that the story pictured above uses long block quotes, indicating the authors incredible memory — but I’m curious as to how she can ID a Romanian or a Gay man on the F Train. Did she ask them? It isn’t mentioned. Most surprising of all is that if this belligerent man did board an F Train, nobody would acknowledge him. New Yorkers encounter crazy and belligerent people all the time and make a habit of ignoring them out of concern for their own safety. I’d know, I’m writing this post from an F Train right now. Nobody would stop a train for this mans behavior.

So? What’s the big deal if it’s fake, it made people feel good.

It is a big deal for the intention of the post and posts like it. The author wanted to insert themselves into the headlines.

When people write these fake stories or create these fake memes, they’re deliberately taking advantage of a tragedy in the headlines to make their post trend. More specifically, they’re trying to make themselves trend.

As the post went viral, the author on Facebook relished in the attention from friends and family — “you’re famous” “remember us when you make it big.” She even had a fan girl moment on Twitter as MSNBC journalist Chris Hayes retweeted the screenshot of her post.

This is narcissism. If the first thing you think of after a tragedy is how to write a Facebook status or tweet that will garner attention, you’re everything that is wrong with social media.

Instead of sharing fake stories written on behalf of someone craving attention, how about sharing real feel good stories?

There are countless examples of people coming together after the horrific tragedy in Orlando to take a stand against hate. We don’t need to share fake stories when there are real profiles in courage to share and celebrate.

So think before you share a story that is obviously fake, whether it made you feel good or not. We shouldn’t be enabling someone’s narcissism. This isn’t the first fake post to trend off tragedy and it won’t be the last. But let’s make it the last time we share it.