It’s amazing the people you’ll meet through social media these days and how easy it is to connect. Meet Ashlea Bullington, a Texas gal now working out of Reno, Nevada. She has moved around a lot early in her career always looking for her next great opportunity. I had the chance to chat with Ashlea about what goes into the decision making process of making these moves and her advice for others looking for success in broadcasting.
Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who you are and what you do?
Ashlea Bullington: I am a born and raised Texan, Sports were life growing up. I played soccer at TCU and then in the WPSL. When it came time to decide what I wanted to do for a career sports broadcasting kind of fell into my lap, starting with GREAT internships and the opportunity to work in TCU’s athletic department, leading to commentating women’s soccer on Fox Sports Southwest. I specialize in multimedia, which is creating long and short form content for digital and broadcast platforms. Currently, I am a employed by SK Baseball and am working with the Reno Aces and Reno 1868 FC for the 2018 season helping develop their new video platforms and shows for TV and Web. I am proud that I am what we consider a one man band. Most people in the business are not huge fans of having to do it all, honestly though I love it! I have complete control of everything from start to finish. To me there is no better feeling that know an entire product is my own. On the other hand if something is terrible, it is my fault as well. I also produce content for a national an international show with a production company based out of Dallas (which is home). I love that I can be versatile in this business! I don’t just have to be a reporter, producer, or editor, I can be all of the above. Creating and storytelling is my passion and I get to do it every single day I grab a mic in front of a camera or stand behind it interviewing another person.
Taylor: SMG is all about networking, how has it helped your career?
Ashlea: I actually have gotten many of my jobs from networking! I took a position with the American Sports Network, now called Stadium, back in 2014. I wasn’t a fan of the job I had as a General News Reporter in Louisiana so I connected with the SID at UL for work. He would hire me to do ESPN games (nothing glamours) just running cameras or stats. That’s where I met a director who actually sent my resume to the person who would be my boss in Kansas City with ASN. I worked there for two years and met a ton of people through that as well. Many who I still stay in contact with, I have helped them and they have been so kind to help me as well.
Another was when I moved back home to Dallas. In 2016, I had to come home I looked for a job constantly around the area and just could not find anything. I was so blessed to have made some really good connections as an intern in DFW, because of that I picked up a job as an editor for Fox Sports Southwest. Then not two weeks later I was asked to work with ESPN to produce and host digital content for the Heart of Dallas Bowl and Armed Forces Bowl. The guy who hired me there also hired me to Sideline Report minor league baseball. I also was connected with a production company I produce and host for called Game Day Productions. I was trying to find freelance work and one of my old professors and play-by-play guys I do women’s soccer with connected me to a TCU alumni who worked there. Networking is key to this business. You never know who is willing to help you out or will recommend you for a job.
Side note: I have met several of my favorite people and mentors in this business by networking with them in the beginning.
Taylor: Social media plays a huge role in the industry today, what should people do online to really boost their exposure?
Ashlea: Social media is important, but even more so clean social media is important! Make sure that you don’t have cursing, provocative pictures, anything on your social that could harm your chances with future employers. I know it is a little more loose now then when I was first applying for jobs, but it is still something employers look at when going through a hiring process.
Also, look to post interesting content. Find a twist on a story that is not out there yet. I made a video of a friend of mine named Chris Martin when I was looking for a job. Chris just happened to make it to the big leagues for the next two years, then went to japan for two years, now was just signed to play with the Rangers. I had several people call me, message me, ask to quote me for a story that was produced years ago! So finding something out of the box, original is a good way to boost your exposure. Also, be yourself! When you make content you truly love it will get noticed!
Taylor: How can people stand out from the crowd when applying for media jobs, any great secrets to share?
Ashlea: It isn’t really a secret, but I am a “squeaky wheel” when applying for jobs. I make sure to send my resume directly to the person hiring or someone in the company that can get me to that person who is. Also, I have gotten comments on this, though it was just something I was raised to do. But I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS write a thank you email AND a thank you card! If someone takes time out of their day to speak with me whether it be about a potential job or just giving me advice, I make sure to tell them how appreciative I am for their time. I believe it goes a long way in showing how much you want a job. Or if it is just advice that person may think of you when something comes up because you took the time out of you day to show them the value it had for you.
Taylor: You’ve moved around a lot already in your career, with stops in Louisiana, Missouri and Florida, what goes into your decision when applying/accepting a new job?
Ashlea: It is really hard leaving a place you feel comfortable at. But I was always taught that to grow you must have to make yourself uncomfortable! For me I weigh out what the opportunity can do for me personally, career wise, and what I can bring to the company. I want to be someone who constantly breaks barriers and changes social norms. If I believe I can do that and add something to a company than I most likely will take that position. Like my current job, currently there are not any people in the MiLB that were brought onto a team to be the face of the team and create content to help grow a fan base. Most have video departments, but none like what we are doing. So though I had a really good gig freelancing and working on some personal projects back home, I couldn’t give up the opportunity to be the first at something. To change the way people look at content for MiLB baseball and the USL.
1. Pack light. The best thing I ever did was get rid of most of my stuff. (so don’t be afraid to look for fully furnished places online)
2. Get out of your comfort zone
3. Know that nothing is permanent – so many people think it is the end of the world (i did too) when they are some place they do not like, but honestly it isn’t.
4. Always do what is best for you!
One of the best things I did was break a contract 6 months into it. Do not be afraid to do so YOU believe the opportunity is worth it!
Taylor: Finally, what’s your best piece of advice for anyone looking for a career in media and broadcasting?
Ashlea: Know that you can learn from everyone around you and be kind to them. You never know who you are going to be applying for a job with and who their friends are, so you are just better off being a good person to everyone you come in contact with. You do not have to like everyone, because you wont! But always practice kindness to them!
Don’t get caught up in the comparison game, or being green with envy. Everyone has their own path in this business yours will shape you into what you are supposed to be and do! I am a very prime example of that. A lot of us glorify our jobs! What we don’t tell you is that we have to put up with sexual harassment, long days, moving so far away from our families we never see them, no holidays, terrible co workers. Never be jealous of someone in this business, because we all have some kind of complaint, but appreciate the path of that person and know you are on your own to get to the job you want. Connect with them and learn from them instead of comparing yourself or being jealous of their jobs.
You can find Ashlea on Twitter @abullington0
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