Over the years, I have been given the opportunity to write various content in branded voice, which I absolutely loved. Being able to get in the mindset of a different person or company was a really fun, creative challenge. One of my favorite assignments was writing copy for Jem, a DJ based in Chicago, IL. I was brought on to help build his online presence. I was in charge of writing daily tweets and posts for Facebook, in addition to writing short press releases for EDM blogs and newsletters for his fan mailers. Below is a press release I wrote for one of Jem’s releases, as well as copy for a fan mailer.
As a writer, I enjoy being able to author a variety of different styles. While narrative writing allows for my voice to wholly shine through, I enjoy being able to challenge myself by writing from a more objective viewpoint. Press Releases, whether formal or informal, allow me to do just that. I have been given the task of writing press releases many times, but the two I had the most fun doing are listed below. The first press release is one I wrote for an event at my alma matter, hosted by Chicago Bauhaus and Beyond (who I freelanced with for a few months). The event was a talk by Charles Phoenix, a performer, author and self- proclaimed “retro daddy,” who tours the country every December with his Big Retro Slide Show. We wanted the press release to exude the same humorous, kitschy tone that Charles himself presents, as to convey to others the personality of the performer they were going to see. The second (shown as a hyperlink) is a formal press release I wrote for my old dance company, Modet Dance Collective, based in Chicago, IL. This show was our first recital as a company, so I really took the time to make sure it properly conveyed who we were as a collective.
Beyond excited to finally see these guys in a few weeks. When I first began listening to TV On the Radio, I immediately liked every song I listened to, but this one really stuck out. I often listen to and memorize a song’s melody lines long before its lyrics, but here the lyrics are front and center with the a cappella arrangement they’ve chosen. And they’re hauntingly beautiful. It’s a song that sticks with you long after the initial listen, and one that personally reminds me to focus in on the written words of a song in addition to the musical aspects.
….I’m leaving in three months!
That’s right, y’all. Come the end of my lease, I will be packing whatever I can fit in two suitcases and moving to New York City. I will have no job lined up and will hopefully be living in a furnished sublet apartment for a few weeks (or perhaps on various couches). Some say it’s brave, others say it’s stupid. I say it’s necessary.
I never really planned on moving anywhere after Chicago. I was hoping I’d be able to make a life for myself here after graduation. But here I am, almost a year later, with countless amounts of resumes sent, and no job. It’s a bummer, and it starts to really weigh on you. I promised myself that if I still had no job a year after I got my degree, I would relocate, either to a larger, more music-friendly city, or overseas, to teach English. As the year mark loomed closer, I knew it was time to make a decision, but was having a very hard time deciding what I should do next.
It all became very clear to me, however, after attending South By Southwest last month. For those unfamiliar, South By Southwest (commonly abbreviated SXSW) is a ten-day long conference/large party held yearly in Austin, Texas. The conferences relate to either film, music or technology, and you must have a badge to attend. I have dreamed of going to SXSW ever since I was introduced to it nine years ago via The Real World: Austin, so I was incredibly happy that my friend and I were able to make it happen this year.
I decided to sign up to volunteer as a production assistant. This way, I would not only get a free music badge (valued at around $800 and granting me access into all music events), I would hopefully gain some valuable production experience. Luckily, both happened.
If you volunteer with production, you are assigned to one of the many venues being utilized for music showcases for the entire weekend. I was assigned to Maggie Mae’s Rooftop, which is an awesome venue that I highly recommend anyone go see a show at if you’re in Austin. The staff there was super friendly, but even more so was our stage manager, who we answered to.
On the first night, he noticed me checking out all of the equipment as the musicians were setting up. I told him I have always had an interest in live sound production, so he made sure that for a good majority of the three days I was upstairs, helping him with gear set up and strike, answering any questions I had along the way. He also introduced me to the lead sound engineer, who also was incredibly kind and encouraged me to ask him any sort of questions as the night went on.
I had the time of my life those three days, even though I believe I got about 10 hours of sleep over the course of 72 hours. I was not only able to once again do what I love, but was able to discover that I really do enjoy live sound and want to learn more about it over the next few months. I came back from Austin feeling like I could conquer the world again, which was a good feeling to have back.
Before I even crossed back into Illinois State lines, I knew that I needed to go somewhere else to make my career work while I’m young, with no ties to any specific place (I’ll get to traveling the world later on). The only question now was: New York or Los Angeles? After speaking to many friends who had moved to either L.A. or New York after graduation, the consensus was that New York is the better starting point. I don’t know what’s going to happen there, but hopefully some really great things will come out of my time there, however long that may be.
I don’t regret my decision to stay in Chicago for a year after graduation, as I’ve had some great experiences and have met people I now consider my best friends. But there ultimately comes a time where you need to just take a chance and start over in a new city. And I am ready to give it everything I’ve got and start fresh in a city I’ve wanted to live in for at least 1o years.
To end this entry, I leave you all with one of my favorite quotes, one that I will be repeating quite heavily to myself over the next few months: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” To all those thinking about making a big life change, please remember this. It could be the best thing you’ve ever done.
I’m back for a third time (I always said three was a magic number). This time, it’s for good. I’m feeling re-inspired and reinvigorated after a recent trip. So now I will be posting at least twice a week. It won’t always be a lengthy, deep piece (which you all can see I tend to gravitate towards), but it will be better than not being active on here for months on end. Posting so infrequently is unfair not only to you, and all those who follow this blog, but to myself. Irregular posting means I am undermining my thoughts, ideas and current projects, and that stops now.
So to kick this off, I give you a semi-recent interview I did with the blog Chicago Flag Tattoos, which can be found here: http://chicagoflagtattoos.com/interviews/cassie-brucci.html. CFT is run by a friend’s husband, who started it after moving to Chicago and noticing just how many people had tattoos relating to this city (loyalty runs deep here, deeper than deep dish pizza. I’m done with the jokes). When they saw my tattoo, they asked if I would be interested in being interviewed for the website, to which I replied with an overenthusiastic yes! While some are not, many tattoos are very personal, and the first question I usually ask people about theirs is what inspired them to get said tattoo. I really enjoy hearing the story behind them; it gives you a deeper insight into that person’s personality and life story. Let me know what you think! Do you guys have any stories behind your tattoos? I’d love to hear them.
See ya in two weeks!
Hello, WordPress world. It’s been awhile.
I didn’t plan on not writing for three months. To be honest, I guess I felt like I had nothing valid to write about.
Not that my summer, which seemed to go by in almost literally the blink of an eye, wasn’t eventful and full of good writing material. Since we last left off, I attended three more music festivals (Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and Riot Fest), moved into a wonderful new apartment with new roommates (2 female, 1 feline), ended my summer internship, met some of my best friends and just generally had some great Chicago days and nights with people I care about.
Yet I still felt a bit empty. During the end of August, what with many talking of going back to school, my anxiety kicked into full effect. I knew this would happen, but it didn’t hit me until then that I was truly done with school. I no longer had that safety blanket there to comfort me when I didn’t have any solidified plans for the future. I kind of felt like a failure. Even with all the accolades and praise I had received from my colleagues over the years, or the fact that just about everyone I know truly believes in my abilities to one day succeed, I began to highly doubt that because I didn’t have a job lined up after graduation. While everyone went back to school, I went back to my same part-time job I’ve held since I was 16, only now going close to 40 hours per week instead of the usual 20. It didn’t feel good.
Uncertainty has never looked good on me. Planning is my middle name, and I have always felt strange if I didn’t have a blueprint for the future. Getting older, however, has made me realize that uncertainty is just going to be a part of life at times. I guess I need to learn to cope with it more. I am a firm believer that the universe has a plan for everyone, so as long as you’re working hard towards a goal, something will come along, and it will be a perfect fit.
Case in point: After applying for numerous jobs and getting rejected, I received an interview offer from The Windish Agency. If you are unaware, they are a highly successful band booking agency founded in Chicago and are a company I greatly admire/would love to work for. I honestly didn’t think my application would merit a response, as I had applied to different job postings prior, yet never heard back. But this time, they saw something that gave them reason to think I may be worthy of working there. And just knowing that is enough to get me out of my rut.
My interview is on Friday, and while I obviously hope I get the position, the fact that they even want to interview me has greatly boosted my confidence. If I don’t get this position, I can at least know that they saw potential in me, so other companies will probably see something similar. I know a great career path will present itself to me, with Windish or elsewhere.
In the meantime, I’ll continue with my mini marathons of Breaking Bad (really late on the bandwagon, but better late than never, right?).
About two weeks ago, I went to Bonnaroo for the first time. For those unfamiliar, Bonnaroo is a large music and arts festival in Manchester, Tennessee, with over 250 musical performances, comedy shows and interactive workshops spanning four days.
Going to Bonnaroo has been a dream of mine for many years. When I first came up with said dream, however, money wasn’t anything I had to worry about. Now it is. So, my small group of friends and I decided to sign up for The C’roo, Bonnaroo’s brand-new in-house volunteer program. It works likes this: you pay a deposit of $300. You are then assigned to a certain C’roo, with whom you work with three out of four festival days for six hours. If you complete all shifts, you get your deposit back. So essentially you get to go to Bonnaroo for free. Major perk. But aside from that, I felt volunteering was definitely a worthwhile experience. I was given a sneak peek into all the behind-the-scenes action I wouldn’t have been granted access to as a general admission ticket holder, and I felt good giving back to something that brought me much enjoyment.
Even though we hit a few rough spots in our trip (namely losing our car keys and having to wait almost 48 hours to have a replacement made), Bonnaroo was one of the best weeks I’ve experienced in recent memory. It was about more than the music. It was about taking a kick-ass road trip with my friends. About proving how resilient we are when life throws obstacles our way. About connecting with music lovers from around the world, and hearing their stories. I came home that following Tuesday with a fresh outlook on life and memories I won’t soon forget (in addition to a great tan and a hygiene level not suitable for the real world).
Obviously, though, the music was the best part. One of the most diverse lineups of all the summer 2013 festivals, this year saw the likes of music veterans sharing the stage with new artists, with just about every genre of music you could think of being in representation. The only downside to volunteering is you’re going to miss some acts you want to see. Luckily for me, one of my shifts got cancelled, and the other two let out early, so I got to see most everyone I wanted to (to a certain degree). Here are my picks for top 5 sets*, with honorable mentions. I’ve also made a playlist with all my favorite artists that performed this year. Enjoy!
*For fairness purposes, I’m leaving Paul McCartney out of this list, as no one could even compare with him. Hard to compete with a Beatle. By far the best two and a half hours of my life, short of the other time I saw him play back home in Arizona for close to three hours.
In no particular order:
2. The National
3. David Byrne & St. Vincent
4. Empire of the Sun
5. Rock n’ Soul Dance Party Superjam feat. Jim James, John Oates, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes) and others
Honorable mentions: Wilco, Tom Petty, Django Django, Wu Tang Clan, R. Kelly
“Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
I originally named my blog “Busy, Busy, Busy” because I believe Mr. Vonnegut was spot-on with his commentary on how life operates. In a more literal sense, I find it to accurately sum up my life 90% of the time.
I started this blog a few weeks ago as a method of cathartic release. Ever since I can remember, expressing my feelings verbally proved challenging for me. Be it out of fear of judgement, or the fact that I need to process what I say carefully in my mind before being comfortable saying it out loud, writing has proved time and time again to be a much smarter method for me when needing to express myself in a serious manner. This seemed like the natural solution to my often pent-up feelings, as well as a great place for me to share the things I find most meaningful with whoever was interested. But alas, being busy took over. Finals, graduation, family visits and beginning a new internship, among other things, “forced” me to put this blog on the back burner (I use quotation marks because nothing really forced me to. No one put a gun to my head and told me not to start writing. Rather, I had to lower it on my list of priorities).
I have led what most would call a busy life ever since I could hold a “busy life.” When I was younger, I did gymnastics, took swim lessons, went to dance camps, and just generally did things that struck my fancy. I was busy, but in a good sense: I was enhancing my learning and my life by doing things that I wanted to.
The transition into being busy in the exhausting sense came probably around high school. Faced with a growing pressure to get into a “good” college (I again use quotations here, as defining a good school is pretty subjective), I started being busy with activities that I didn’t really want to do. I bombarded myself with extra AP classes and extracurriculars sure to look good on a college application. I didn’t have much free time to engage in things I found interesting.
That chain broke about two years ago when I stumbled upon Columbia College Chicago. Before I came to visit the campus, I was pretty lost: I was almost two years done with my general education courses at the local community college, putting any free time I had into more activities I heard would look good to the average college admissions board and my retail job. I had a general sense of what I wanted to do, but didn’t know what major would work best for the dream job I couldn’t yet determine.
Touring Columbia was a major game changer: I had never personally seen a school that saw potential in a student from more than their grade point average and how many organizations they volunteered with. I had also never seen a school with a program that taught students how to book, present and manage live entertainment. Suddenly, I had a clear sense of direction: I had finally found a program I knew would be absolutely beneficial to the career path I could now clearly identify, where all my classes would contribute to my understanding of and growth in the live events industry.
I could write a love sonnet to how much I love Chicago and what it has given me (that’s saying a lot, considering I am not what you would consider a sappy person). The biggest thing it has given me is a purpose: I have been incredibly busy during my time here, but with the things I have always wanted to do. Suddenly, my coursework didn’t seem meaningless, and I actually enjoyed doing my homework. My free time was spent doing things I’ve always had interest in: visiting art museums, listening to free concerts in the park, and just generally exploring all this beautiful city has to offer. While these may sound like frivolous activites, I’ve learned more about myself and have expanded my general knowledge on various subjects more than at any moment prior in my life.
Being busy isn’t a bad thing, as long as its filled up with things you find worthwhile. There is a big difference between being busy doing things that matter to you that will enrich your learning and/or personal growth in some way, or being busy with empty activities because society seems to positively correlate less free time with a more meaningful life. If I’ve learned anything during my transition into being a young adult, it’s that life is too short not to live it how you want.
Now that I have completed the great majority of my undergraduate education (damn you final summer class!), I have slightly more free time than before. I want to continue being busy, but with things I want to do, and read, and see, and generally be a part of. So to you, the blessed few that actually finished reading this, I make a few vows. I vow to write in this blog on a regular basis. I vow to take up photography more often. I vow to read a new book of my choosing at least once a month. And, most importantly, I vow to keep busy enriching my mind and personal development, so that I can go through life being the best I can be.