Author and writer MacKenzie Cadenhead ‘98 talked to us about her work in comics and her journey from Haverford to Marvel—and everywhere in between! Here are five tips that she shared from her talk:
- Informational interviews are important!: MacKenzie stressed how much she learned from going to interviews with various people in the publishing industry. Her tips to make them most effective: always be open to suggestions (even if they don’t sound like what you are interested), and come willing and ready to ask questions. In addition, make sure to follow up on leads that are given to you within the interview, as you never know when one might produce a new job or opportunity.
- Learn how you best work: One thing that MacKenzie learned is that she works best when she has some deadlines to follow in the writing and editing process. Thus, she sought out work with established companies like Marvel and Nickelodeon that would allow her to have consistent timelines, while also working on her independent projects at the same time. It is important to learn how you work best, and then adapt to that when looking into careers.
- Networking is super important: It is important to network and get to know people in your field. MacKenzie also stressed that this might not look like what we typically think of networking—for instance, she has met a lot of new people at events like Comic-Con and other comic conventions. Learn where the players in your field go to meet up and connect, and see if you can seek out opportunities there.
- “Fake it till you make it:” When asked about having confidence in her work, MacKenzie said that is difficult to be confident, especially when you are first starting out. Therefore, she said to just fake it at first, and earn confidence over time. Look for opportunities to build your confidence, whether that be reaching out to others for advice—don’t be afraid of failure!—or taking an internship to learn some more about your field.
- Always be willing to learn: When going into comics, MacKenzie did not know everything about the industry, and how it is different than her previous field of theater. She said that you should come into the first day of a new job realizing that everyone there knows more than you do, and being willing and excited to learn from them. Ask lots of questions, and soon you will get a feel for your new situation. But remember, the learning never stops.
-Trevor Larner ’19