The Power Of the Email
How one happenstance email landed me as an apprentice at Dustlight Productions and working with Obama.
It was May 2020 I had just started listening to podcasts like The Daily with Michael Barbaro. Not because I had some unquenchable curiosity but it was new and I was bored, and I consider myself a journalist and this was a new kind of journalism for me.
Listening to audio didn’t demand attention like reading did and my attention span was shortening. But the journalism was equally as awesome as the writing, in some ways it felt more enhanced than the writing I was reading.
It made me wonder if I could make a podcast. So I started looking up “How to become a freelance writer and podcaster.” At the top of the search results was this link to Khan Academy — Freelance Journalist and Podcaster — What I do and how much I make.
In it, Misha Euceph discussed how she made it as a freelance journalist and podcaster. I thought she was so cool that I emailed her. And she wrote back, landing me a paid for spot in a PRX workshop on Voicing and a paid apprenticeship at Dustlight Productions, the production company she founded and is CEO of, working on an incredible project.
Less than a year later, the project was released: Renegades: Born in the USA, an eight-episode podcast that’s a series of conversations between Former President Barack Obama and musician Bruce Springsteen on Spotify.
One of the greatest things working at Dustlight was the fact that they were supportive of me as a person not just the work I did like when they gave me a shout out on Twitter after my The New York Times article published in September.
This is not just a story of how Dustlight Productions changed my life for the better, but a story about how important a single email can be. I’m from New York, Misha and Dustlight are based in California. There were time zone differences and a reasonable amount of other hurdles to go through. I’m in high school, Misha does this full time. She knew I couldn’t contribute as much to the project as I wanted because of school. Yet, she still believed in me enough to bring me onto an awesome, well-paying opportunity like this apprenticeship.
Less than a year after sending the email, I’ve had a huge jumpstart to my audio career that I could’ve never imagined and that's all thanks to an email.