By Kimari Rennis
It’s one thing to write about someone in The Roundup, and it’s another thing when you get to meet that person afterward. For me, the feeling is strange yet whimsical. One of my projects as an intern for the NYVGCC is to read the recent reviews, articles, and posts written by the other Circle members. I also make a record of the games they have been playing. This is a task I quite enjoy. I learn about all of these networks and writing styles just by reading and it’s kind of mind-blowing once you experience it.
A simple visit to various Circle member’s workplaces became something so much more meaningful and influential. I had the opportunity to meet both Sherri L. Smith from Tom’s Guide and Dan Ackerman from CNET as they did their respective jobs. I learned lessons and got tips better than my research could ever find.
Riding from the lobby all the way to the 9th floor at Tom’s Guide, I was pretty excited. A tidy modern lobby turned into a long room filled with desks that held everyone’s Macbook, PC, and trinkets that hinted at their personalities (just like Sherri’s vibrant desk adornments).
Then, there was the room where all the magic happens. Technology was everywhere. I could picture my room looking like this in a couple of years. From both Jorge Jimenez, and Sherri L. Smith, I learned the process of receiving products for review by companies, having a set amount of time to review the specifications, testing, writing, the editing process, and finally sending the product back. It was so extensive, yet intriguing.
The tour was coming to an end too soon. Me, my mother, and Sherri all sat down together and simply talked. If I keep following road I’m on with my passion for technology in mind, I’ll reach success, Sherri said. Networking and keeping in touch with people will lead to opportunities and jobs all because of someone remembering who you are and what you were known for. It takes time to reach the level of work you want to do and comes in stages you need to be open to. These are the lessons I’ve learned during my visit with Sherri. It was advice I’ll never neglect or forget.
The only time I ever came face to face with the CBS Interactive building was in my dreams. However this time, I didn’t feel like I was walking on air and cut short from entering. When I finally reached the 10th floor, I stepped into a world full of media production, hardware, and tech testing labs.
After a tour of the sets used for videos, and rooms for streaming and interviewing, we settled down on office chairs in a warehouse of tech and boxes. Circle member Scott Stein, who covers a lot of Apple press conferences, was also able to relax and chime into our lengthy conversation which could have easily lasted longer if we weren’t all on a time schedule. From Scott Stein and Dan Ackerman, I learned about their college pathways. An interest turned into a class, a class turned into an opportunity, an opportunity turned into a job, a job into a career, and a career became a career they loved.
I learned right off the bat that you have to work your way up the ladder in order to write – whether it’s freelance or full time. You have a set task, then as time goes on, your work morphs and that task shifts. Scott Stein and Dan Ackerman didn’t start off working at CNET with CBS. I now know that when you start off smaller, your passion and commitment will help you grow.
Writing isn’t always about books, and technology isn’t always about the next “Next Gen” console. From Sherri L. Smith, I learned that there are companies out in the world developing phones with enhanced augmented reality and software. Through Dan Ackerman, I handled one of the latest AI devices used in homes to make life easier. And I checked out the Vive, as you’ll see below.
Dan Ackerman let me try the HTC Vive to play Fruit Ninja and this is my first Vive VR experience. I guess I have no more hesitation in getting my own headset now.
All in all, I would describe this entire experience as an in-depth look and journey into the world of technology. It opened my eyes to see that people do change their minds on what they will do as a career or what subject they will focus on. Although I may be a 15-year-old intern, these visits have inspired me to take Creative Writing in college. There is more to the game industry than just developing and programming games. Good ideas can be found in any medium and can be brought to the kinds of entertainment dominating the world today. Even as I look over this story, I’m stunned by the fact that I got to meet creative professionals in the field of work I love, yet haven’t fully explored.
Thank you, Harold Goldberg, Sherri L. Smith, Dan Ackerman, Scott Stein, Jorge Jimenez and everyone in the Critics Circle. Thank you all for letting my passion for writing grow.
Kimari Rennis is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern, part of our ongoing partnership with Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.