By Nicole Raymond
Rebekah McKendry is the Director of Marketing, Fangoria Entertainment, located in New York City, New York.
Rebekah did not begin her career at Fangoria Entertainment. Her work experience is varied compared to the “traditional” route of a technical communicator. She had a full-time position as a public school teacher. “I taught film and English at a high school just outside of Washington, D.C.,” Rebekah said. “I loved teaching, but did not like all the paperwork, meetings, and regulations that went into public teaching.”
She worked for a special effects makeup company in New York City, where she started at Fangoria Entertainment as an intern for the radio show. “That was almost six year ago, and I’m now the director of marketing,” Rebekah said.
Rebekah has earned several degrees in the arts and media fields:
- Bachelor’s degree of arts in Film (Virginia Tech)
- Master’s degree in Media Education (VA Tech)
- Master’s degree in Film (City University of New York)
- PhD in Media and Film (Virginia Commonwealth University) [Anticipated]
At Fangoria Entertainment, Rebekah works as the Director of Marketing and as a contributing writer on the website and in the monthly magazine. Her writing is incredibly varied with her positions, ranging from a contract for an advertisement, a review on a comic book, to a feature piece on the importance of zombie films in a single day. “My actual writing tasks shift greatly and require me to be able to transition seamlessly between writing formats,” Rebekah said.
Obstacles in Technical Communication
To Rebekah, the technical side of writing has always flustered her. “My regular journalistic writing is jam-packed full of voice, tone, mood, emotion, and more free-thinking stuff that is nixed in most technical writing,” Rebekah said. “When writing technical items like press packs, employee manuals, or contracts, I always feel very limited and boxed in by the restrictions.”
Moments in Technical Communication
Rebekah will never rely on spell check to proof anything ever again. She was working on article once, focusing on the anniversary of an Alfred Hitchcock film. “Somewhere in the article I wrote, in reference to him shooting the film, ‘During this decade, Hitchcock shot pure brilliance’ meaning his films from this time period were amazing,” Rebekah said.
“However, thanks to my clumsy typing, what I actually wrote was ‘Hitchcock shit pure brilliance,’” Rebekah said. No one caught the mistake, not spell check, not her, not even her editor. The article went to print with the misspelling. “Though hilarious to look back at now, at the time I was mortified! Always proof and double proof,” Rebekah said.
A Day in the Life
According to Rebekah, there is rarely a “typical” day at Fangoria Entertainment. Daily routines vary greatly based on the projects that everyone is working on at the time, and currently, everyone is getting ready for the Fangoria Trinity of Terrors Convention scheduled this Halloween (2009) in Las Vegas. “This means I’m spending a lot of time calling businesses that will be setting up vendor booths at the convention,” Rebekah said. “Plus, we have a surge of films to review for the website as Halloween is the biggest release season.”
“No two days are the same, and as soon as one project ends, three more will begin,” Rebekah said.
Advice for Aspiring Technical Communicators
“Though you may be focused on technical writing, learn to be very fluid and proficient in all styles,” Rebekah said. “Very few jobs require you to only use one form of communication.”
According to Rebekah, a good writer is someone who can work simultaneously on multiple projects with a variety of different styles and formats and that writer is much more valuable. “Variety is key, and never lose your voice,” Rebekah said.