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11:32 PM

Written by Jesus Figueroa

I was fortunate enough to always have a creative outlook on life and never really care about negativity.

I guess most people would say I was bullied in high school, not paid attention to and maybe even ignored, but for someone who didn't care about the rest of the class and who was just concentrating on getting out of high school, nothing really bothered me.

I enjoyed writing, I enjoyed creating and I became good at bringing out concepts in filmmaking. I took 4 years of film, TV and radio production classes, so I got plenty of practice.

It wasn't until years later stepping into a college journalism classroom that I really focused in on what I wanted to do.

I had seen many things out there in the world, experienced some hardships and heartbreak and even after all that I wanted to share it all with the world so people could learn from what I've gone through.

Then it felt difficult to go into reporting. I had storytelling down, but how to do it with facts and the words others told me.

It took a while, but with constructive comments from my professor Jean Stapleton at East Los Angeles College, I quickly began to grasp the concept.

It wasn't enough just to write factual. To me I wanted to do it more in my voice, in a genuine way.

I searched for a way to do that. So I used the ever wonderful Internet to help. I stumbled on and Mike "The Movie Guy." Mike didn't write like a journalist. His voice was prominent in what he wrote, the grammar didn't matter and the spelling was more centered on voice than correct wording, slang was ok. I wanted to mix my journalistic writing, my storytelling and the voice into something I could call my own genuine way to report. That's how Thisfunktional got a voice. It's a bit of many things, but genuine in its own way.

For I year I turned out stories for the college news paper, wrote event coverage for Mike "The Movie Guy" and started to see what felt right. With all this Mike threw in video interviews, which were a shock at first and time-after-time I'd get feedback on what I'm doing right, what seems weird and how to improve. The serious aspect to it never went away, but the free flow was more established. I went from being nervous before during and after and interview to being only nervous before and after.

The opportunity to do more and more presented itself as it became easier to do things and Thisfunktional's voice became more distinct. Co-hosting a podcast came next, building up my actual voice was probably the most difficult. There were many moments Mike pushed me to speak louder, speak more, voice out my ideas and stop being in the background.

Thisfunktional became whole with the help, advice and inspiration from these two sources and many more along the way.

If there are any questions please leave them in the comments section or send them in through the contact us on the right sidebar.

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