The year is 2020 and the world is on fire.
Well, Australia is on fire specifically, but the rest of the planet isn’t doing too great, either. Between (understandable) riots and protests in the streets over the #BlackLivesMatter movement and most of the world in isolation due to COVID-19, it’s easy to have those introspective moments of: how the hell did I get to this point in my life?
Looking through my blog entries and portfolio work from the past couple of years on this site has helped me answer that question. So here’s an updated About Me for anyone who cares enough to read it.
My name is Alanna. This is me a few years ago in Queen Anne, a little buzzed and very tired and just happy to be eating a burger. This is one of my favorite and most honest photos of me that exist.
When I was 7 years old, my Dad brought home Final Fantasy VII from the local rental store. The opening cut scene struck a chord in me: I pointed at it and said “I want to do that!”
From there, my passion for interactive storytelling and video games only grew. Originally I wanted to be an animator. Then, as high school neared and my art skills were not something I was super proud of, I decided I wanted to be a game “designer” without much thought as to what that really meant.
Designer evolved more specifically into “Producer” and I attended the University of Central Florida with the full intent of applying for the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy. Four years later, I applied and got in!
But I was burned out. I couldn’t take an 18-month intensive course. I knew that if I pushed myself any harder, I’d come to hate what I loved so much.
FIEA was gracious enough to keep the doors open for me for a year. They were even willing to halve my tuition! But ultimately I decided to decline. It was the hardest decision in my life to make, because up until then that had been my entire motivation. Now what?
I didn’t want to give up my game designer dreams. I just didn’t want to go to school anymore. So instead I worked for a year babysitting and substitute teaching, saving up money to move with a friend to Seattle. It wasn’t California, which had been my goal, but it was close enough and there were tons of game companies there!
I wanted to work at an indie company. Something smaller and less likely to result in 80 hour work weeks. I got a job working at the local Disney Store and applied everywhere I could to every company I could find.
It didn’t pan out. I had a couple of interviews, but nobody called me back. I didn’t even get a rejection — just silence.
One night at around 2 in the morning, in a spiral panic and stress, I went onto Craigslist to look for jobs. The Disney store was OK, but I couldn’t handle the “acting” part of it on top of regular retail. I applied to everything I could find, even if I was afraid it was all sketchy. One of those jobs was looking for a social media manager, which I had very minimal experience in; but I wrote my sob story of how I’d learn everything and work hard, that I just needed someone just gave me a chance.
That is when I met Jason Yormark, my mentor who had put the ad out. He needed assistance with his one-man local marketing agency, and after chatting with me on the phone he knew he wanted to hire me. That was how I started my career in digital marketing — not via a fancy diploma or courses, but a stroke of pure luck and persistence.
My resume is pretty crazy now and I’ve had an opportunity to work with a number of HUGE brands, not just in America but all over the world. I’ve managed trade shows and run social campaigns for tech giants and built the foundation for new training initiatives. Life is absolutely unpredictable and I have no idea where I’ll end up next.
But even if I didn’t plan for my life to go this way, I think it’s still been pretty decent. I’ve accomplished a lot that I tend to forget about, and I’ve grown a lot through therapy and supportive relationships but often lose sight of where I came from.
Looking back through this blog recently reminded me of that and I want to get back into writing about my life and more importantly, my ideas — even if they never become a physical, real thing. I can’t say for sure that I’ll write consistently, but I want to try!