Challenge Journal, On Next Steps

Before I delve into my project woes, I’ll explain: my project will come to form as a zine (self-published magazine) that tackles the question of how women can thrive in the entertainment industry. Straying somewhat from the current conversation of sexual harassment, my zine will comprise of research (via interviews, books, news sources, etc.) on how women in entertainment are impacted by occupying a male-dominated work environment. In my proposal, I planned to create this zine that will encompass a personal reflection on what drove me to this topic; advice, stories, tips, and strategies for women entering and/or currently inhabiting the business; as well as perspective for men to understand that which they do not experience.

Currently, I’m all in on the research phase of my project. I’ve conducted one interview (with a couple more scheduled), I’m almost done the book Winning in a Man’s World, and I’m trying to understand the ins and outs of a zine. However, in the midst of all my research I’m finding more and more that I don’t know what I want my final product to be. While the initial idea of a zine was captivating, I’m finding myself lost in the various genres I could pursue: fiction, magazine-style interview, children’s book, video essay, the list goes on and on.

In my Communications capstone course last semester, we conducted semester long projects on the industry of our choice. One assignment was a paper and presentation on the history of the digital transition in that industry. When working on this project I faced a similar dilemma: while I had a wealth of resources and research, I struggled so much with digesting and presenting that information. In the end, I miraculously found a focal/turning point that made everything else fall into place. It turned out that one piece of information I stumbled across on YouTube put my entire project into perspective and put all the rest of my research efforts in line.

Although my current problem is a little different, in both cases I had information but didn’t know what to do with it or how to organize it. Obviously I can’t sit waiting for a fateful moment to make everything fall into place. But although this experience was a happy accident, it does reassure my current process for this project. Moving forward, as I continue researching, one of my primary focuses will be exploring how I can insert my topic into another genre. While this idea has floated around in my mind for a bit, concretely talking about it in this journal entry has sparked my need to put this desire into action. My hope is that in researching different genres, something will light that fire under my feet and invigorate my project.

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