Spotlight on Demand with Reina Glenn

ReiReiLet’s get the basics nailed down first. Who are you and what do you do here? *Bonus points if you write in third-person!  

Challenge accepted…

Reina Glenn is the Associate Editor working in the Studio. She has a degree in English from UCLA, and is consequently a certified bookworm. She (not so sarcastically) calls herself a grandma, because she loves to bake and falls asleep far earlier than is acceptable for her age. Fun facts: she spent most of her adolescence onstage dancing and singing, she has a cat named Big Red, and she can beat box. Continue reading

How Adding Voice & Having Fun Can Make the Mundane Entertaining

We asked one of our editors (Betsy Brooks) to provide an example of how a little bit of voice can drastically improve a potentially boring topic. “Sure thing,” she said. The topic she chose? McDonald’s ketchup.

datoneEveryone knows McDonald’s ketchup is fantastic. F a n t a s t i c. Don’t trust anyone who tells you otherwise. As a kid, I always assumed McDonald’s served Heinz, mostly because they really are the household name in ketchup, and also because I was a kid and didn’t yet know how to spot a Heinz imposter. Turns out, most people think that McDonald’s serves Heinz – to the layman condiment consumer, they taste virtually the same. As the years passed, though, I became a budding condimenteur, and I began to notice the subtle differences: the extra hint of vinegar in the Fancy Ketchup at McDonald’s; the smoother texture and richer red delivered by Heinz; the saltier aftertaste of the FK at McD’s…  Also, the label on the ketchup at McDonald’s says “Fancy Ketchup,” and not “Heinz.” That probably should have been the first clue. Continue reading

DMS Content: Enriching Lives, Ruining My Favorite Flicks

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Plot narratives – unless highly cerebral or well… boring, hinge upon conflict. Conflicts big and small are what entertain and watching characters resolve aforementioned conflicts is what bonds us to them. Some of my very favorite films and characters go through substantial messiness to conquer their unique breed of conflict: Harry and Sally realize that, despite their best efforts, men and women can’t be just friends – oh and that they love each other in When Harry Met Sally; Entrepreneur, John Hammond learns that bringing prehistoric creatures back to life, to live in a theme park was one of his less responsible business ventures in Jurassic Park; Jerry Lundegaard, poor guy, realizes that he not only can’t sell cars, but is unable to execute the fake kidnapping of his own wife in Fargo. Conflict – this is the stuff. It’s the same stuff that keeps sites like LIVESTRONG.COM and eHow in business. After all, we’re answering questions and providing solutions to life’s conflicts.

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Moving Off the Block

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Sitting here, staring at a blank page, filled with dread, the switchblades slicing my innards. They’ve demanded a blog, and I have no idea what to write. Not a clue.

To help writers find inspiration, Gabriele Rico, author of “Writing the Natural Way,” recommends an exercise in which you compose a paragraph in the style of some famous author. Then, immediately afterward, you write your own original prose, and the creative start the exercise provides should free your head, heart and hand.

I like that idea. Merely reading a fine novel often spurs my creativity. Perhaps one of those writers, peering down from the bookcase shelves hovering above my desk, could assist me. Continue reading

6 Ways to Find Time to Write for Yourself

calvinI was 12-years-old when I decided I was going to be a writer. Once that decision was made, I wrote constantly. I scribbled lines of (truly terrible) poetry on scraps of paper and filled journals with short stories. I was going to be a writer and if my writing professors and Ernest Hemingway were to be believed, the best way to be a writer was to write every day. So I did. And it was good. It was satisfying just to put pen to paper, even if I was the only one who would ever read the words.

But then real life starts. And real life is busy. Who has the time and motivation to write for themselves when there’s the cooking and cleaning, the kids and the myriad of other tasks and relationships that fill up the free time in our days? Writing for yourself is especially hard if you spend all day writing or editing for a living. I miss it though. I have all sorts of ideas and I think about it all of the time, but actually sitting down and writing something completely for my own enjoyment doesn’t come easy. Continue reading

10 Ways to Tell You Were Meant to be a Professional Wordsmith

Some people can pursue a career that pays the bills – even if they’re not in love with what they do. I, on the other hand, need to be absolutely passionate about my 9-to-5 gig in order to thrive in it. The good thing about writing and editing is that I can build upon my skillset anywhere – whether it’s glancing at a newspaper and subconsciously noticing typos or feeling that must-need-to-know-now urge to Google a word that I don’t know. Even if my paycheck isn’t as high as a doctor’s, I wouldn’t trade my career for the world. Why? Because I live and breathe editing.

As a nod to what all of us – in-house editors and freelance contributors alike – do at Demand, I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to tell we were destined to pursue our careers in writing and editing: Continue reading

Stuck in a Creative Rut? Here’s what I do!

cynA common condition afflicting (steadily working) creative people is the feeling that they’re stuck doing the same thing day in and day out. That’s particularly an issue when they work at a volume similar to the amount we do at Demand Studios. Now, there are any number of tricks and exercises we’ve all picked up in our various creative writing or journalism classes to help us with the technical problems. But I’m focusing on what I do to regain my mental edge when I’m worn out from work that’s begun to feel repetitive. Continue reading

Lucky Break — How I Became an Editor

timBy: Tim Edmundson

Demand Media Studios – a place I’ve called home for nearly four years. But, I’ve been associated with the Demand Media brand for over five years. That’s right, I started with the company in a much different capacity – I was an office admin. Well technically I wasn’t an office admin; my title was Facilities Coordinator but no one actually knows what that is (I learned this when telling people what it was I did for a living) so I just started saying office admin. Continue reading

Spotlight on Demand with Rachel Grice

spotlightonDemIt’s time for another edition of Spotlight on Demand, a feature wherein we ask the tough questions to members of our own team here at Demand Studios. This time around it’s Rachel Grice, the Science and Titling Editor. Let’s find out what makes her smile!

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Spotlight on Demand with the lovable Tim Edmundson

Timothy Edmundson: resident funny man, overall good guy, and hardest working stiff I know finally took some time to help produce our ongoing Editorial Feature: Spotlight on Demand, where we interview our very own in-house team and ask them funny/embarrassing/important questions. Let’s get to know Tim a little better, shall we?

tim-photoWhere’d you go to School? Cal State Long Beach
Degree? Creative Writing
Years at studio: 3? 4?
Sections: Fitness, Nutrition, Sports & Recreation (coming soon), Hobbies & Games (coming soon)

Alright, Tim first test: Your fantastical life summarized in a Tweet (140 characters):

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With 86 characters to spare, nonetheless. You DO like to rock and roll, and/or party every day. Thrasher!

Speaking of Rock’n’Roll, you recently got back from vacationing in Sin City. How much money did you lose? I don’t see it so much as losing as it is donating to the fine community of Las Vegas.

No judgment…What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Who is your favorite Super Hero from the Marvel Universe? I saw a trailer for a Marvel film with a talking raccoon. My favorite Marvel super hero is that talking raccoon.

That would be Rocket Raccoon, who is voiced by Bradley Cooper. Oh, and the movie/comic is Guardians of the Galaxy. So, what would your Super Hero powers be if you were one? Talking to animals would be pretty cool. “Hey dog, what’s up!” “Nothing, Tim!” Great stuff!

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Also looking forward to Guardians. By the way, what’s your favorite ‘Dude/Bro’ movie from the 80’s or 90’s? Platoon, but I don’t think it really fits the classic mold for “Dude/Bro” movie so I’ll go with Predator, which is like Platoon but with an alien.

Fair enough. What’s the “best” meal of the day? Breakfast food is the best, because you can also eat it for dinner. It’s got it all!

Hey nutritional expert, is gluten-free a myth? I have a friend who has a medical issue with gluten and have seen first-hand what it can do to someone with her condition. It’s not a lot of fun! Everyone else, though, just eat the gluten…it’s not going to kill you.

What’s your caffeine intake like? Too much caffeine – two cups of coffee and a red bull a day is pretty normal for me. I’ve recently decided to cut back though so I don’t die.

Tim, please don’t overdose…

Favorite team-based sport? Tottenham Hotspur – they’re an English soccer team with a funny name and I love them to death.
Favorite solo sport? I played golf once; I was terrible but I also had a lot of fun.

Last video you watched on YouTube? The last thing I watched was a compilation of Russian dash cam footage. Russia is an insane place.

OK, because this is a blog about Writing, what software taught you to type?  Computer games taught me how to type – Everquest to be specific. It was a high action multiplayer game that required a lot of teamwork, and the only way to communicate was to type messages to other players. I learned to type quick and concise out of necessity. Who says video games don’t teach you anything?

The part you struggle most when writing/editing? I’ll type and retype a sentence until I get it just the right way – I want anything I write to flow.

As always, let’s finish with This or That — *Tim’s answers are the bold picks.
Garfield or Odie?
• Bagels or Donuts?
Disneyland or California Adventure?
• Sony or Microsoft?
Whiskey or Vodka?
• Birthday or Christmas?
Reading or Writing?