By nature, I tend to be pretty risk-allergic, always playing it safe and rarely giving peril a chance. But over the last year or so, I’ve been slowly cultivating a resistance to caution and embracing danger and uncertainty more and more.
And this new mindset has infected the way I apply for jobs now.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve applied for over a dozen jobs and haven’t made much progress. Among the factors holding me back, I think a lackluster cover letter is chief among them. The cover letters I’ve written have been too plain, too predictable, too…safe.
I decided to unleash some fury in my cover letter for a writing position at a shitty little pop culture website called Film Daily. As a cinema snob with a creative writing and blogging background, as well as plenty of content marketing experience, I thought I’d be an ideal fit for the role, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let Film Daily get away with not being force-fed my perfection.
I haven’t heard back from them yet.
But maybe my cover letter will encourage job-seekers out there to try to make themselves stand out from the pack a bit when applying for jobs.
I couldn’t help but notice that Film Daily seems to be suffering from a terrible bout of mediocrity and creative bankruptcy.
This may seem like a cheap insult, but I write it because I care deeply about film and the entertainment industry, and I want to see you guys aspire to something greater than a Buzzfeedian content mill that caters to dull-minded millennials, recently-graduated film school snobs,…and apparently no one else.
Quiz, quote, and ranked articles are fine to keep traffic up on slow days or to capitalize on popular keywords, but at some point you need to look at yourselves in the mirror and wonder why in the hell you’re little more than a low-rent Screen Rant knockoff. Don’t you think it’s time to swing for the fences and do something big and wild already?
Below is a brief and angry list of some, but not all, of the defects that plague your website like teenage acne:
- The writing is subpar. Here’s the opening line from your article, “World Cinema Antwerp: A film festival you need to know about”: “Antwerp is only a few miles from the Brussels international airport, World Cinema Antwerp is a unique film and unproduced script event that is celebrating the best and most popular independent and studio films from the global film industry, and has wonderful opportunities for the business of film.” It’s clunky, lazy, demonstrates a tenuous understanding of the comma, and does nothing to get me, an American film-lover, excited about a film festival in Belgium. This is what opens the article, for Christ’s sake! Suck me in or I click away to better and greener pastures.
- There aren’t any comments on your articles, probably because the quality of your content isn’t enough to incite someone to chime in with their thoughts. Hell, even negative comments would give some life to Film Daily. If people get into arguments in the comments section of an article, that means that they CARE. But at the moment, your comments sections are ghost towns, and deservedly so.
- Excessive use of the phrase “need to know”. Not only have you manslaughtered that expression with vomitous overkill, you don’t even back it up, what with your repetitive journalistic swill. Plus it’s just bad salesmanship; stop telling me that I need to know about something, and instead make me feel like I’ll hate myself for not clicking on an article. Strive to induce desperation in your readers, or just shut Film Daily down permanently and scrub its filthy essence from the internet with an industrial strength cleaner potent enough to cleanse a crime scene of bloody meat bits and dried sperm puddles.
- Your story angles are ordinary and predictable. With titles like “Melora Walters interview: Director of the movie ‘Waterlily Jaguar’”, “Director Justin Foia on his new movie ‘Point Defiance’”, and “Tiffany Rhodes: Everything you need to know about her rise in Hollywood”, among many others, you’re doing a terrible job highlighting the uniqueness and importance of your subjects. These poor filmmakers struggle and sweat to get their work into the world, and yet you do nothing to command the attention of an audience that’s thirsty for freshness.
- Your social media presence requires a page one rewrite. You’re in the business of nerd culture — a community that’s known for devouring the content of its favorite franchises like a pack of rabid wolverines — and yet other than a few likes, you have almost no engagement whatsoever. Get the conversation moving; it’s not hard to get geeks talking about stuff they love.
- I’m pretty sure you have a concrete parking barrier in charge of the quality control of your content. Why the hell has a rash of “Karen” articles broken out on a website about TV & film? “Is Karen your neighbour? These Nextdoor app posts say yes”. “Please don’t call our manager: All the best Karen memes”. “These Karen memes yelled at us for an hour about expired coupons”. “The best Karen memes: These will inspire you to talk to the manager”. I know that freelance writers, recent grads, and greenhorn interns are a fun and easy lot to exploit for cheap labor, but you don’t have to publish EVERYTHING they write. If you don’t fire your senior editor, then at least give them a proper verbal thrashing, but only if local laws prohibit you from chaining them to the nearest post and flogging them in public.
Right. Enough haughty bitching. (Reminder: I did this out of love. And plenty of frustration. But mostly love.)
I won’t bore you with the details of my professional experience; that’s what the attached resume is for. But what I will do is serenade you with how I created relevant, engaging content to increase my previous company’s monthly blog traffic from 13,000 visitors to over 400,000 visitors, and increased the newsletter subscribers from 6,000 to over 50,000, during my time there; and how I’ve cultivated more than 5,000 average monthly Medium views, 650+ Medium followers, and more than 1,000 Twitter followers with my content alone in just over a year. Not bad for a music major without a marketing budget.
Look. Film Daily has the potential to become a necessary part of a film lover’s reading diet, a one-stop resource for aspiring filmmakers, and become THE publication that’s always just ahead of the times instead of lagging behind, struggling to keep up, and running out of breath. You’ve got some serious problems to fix, but luckily for you, because of the light-speed momentum of digital content, today’s audiences have just enough useful amnesia to forget that you tried to pass yourselves off as a film & TV site while force-feeding them “Karen” memes. No forgiveness will be necessary.
Are you ready to get sober up and put out some real content that provokes, attracts, and engages? Or are you going to stay on the sidelines of the entertainment industry while some other publication goes for victory laps?
Are you eager to set up a throne at the top of the cultural commentariat crag with content that dazzles and originality that frightens? Or are you going to keep doing what you’re doing?
Are you going to hire on an eager, experienced, and reckless mind that will be yours to unleash on an unsuspecting audience? Or are you going to “look at other applicants”?
Don’t blow it.
Ars gratia artis.
Can you believe they haven’t gotten back to me yet?