No Permission Slip Needed
The little yellow half sheet of paper was always one of my favorite forms to see land on my desk as an elementary school student. It was the Field Trip Parent Permission slip and when we received it, there was a field trip in the works. I love the experiential learning that came with a good field trip, it opened my eyes to new things and broadened my understandings. I remember one particular field trip perhaps better than all others, it has stuck with me for more than forty years and the lessons I learned that day come rushing back to me anytime I eat a really great meal or even go on a trip to the grocery store.
Where did I go that would have such a lasting impact on my entire life? Well, a farm of course! You see as mostly a city kid, I’d never really been to a working farm. I knew we had eggs and milk delivered (yes I’m that old) from a farmer, but I had zero understanding of how the items ended up in his little refrigerated truck...maybe it was a magic truck? I knew of course that eggs came from chickens and milk from cows, but the transfer process was largely a black box to me. To be honest, I was a kid and I didn’t care much. If my cereal had milk and there were eggs and bacon on Saturday, I could stay blissfully ignorant about food supply chains.
But I loved getting on the school bus, riding with my friends and experiencing whatever a field trip had to offer. So when the permission slip for Hershey Farm went out, I made sure it found its way home immediately and was signed post haste...that very night even. When the trip came around a few weeks later, I was giddy loading up on the bus to head out to the farm. Would I get to drive the tractor? I hoped. Could I pet a sheep or two? Undoubtedly. Would the farmer's wife have freshly made cookies and milk waiting for us? I could already taste them. None of these things happened and instead I was hit with the stark reality that being a farmer is hard! You have to wake up early, work doing back breaking labor and in the end you made very little money for all your toil! That day and the little yellow form that set it in motion forever made me appreciate the work that conjured the food on my plate at dinner. I could never crack an egg or pour a glass of milk without seeing the old couple that ran that farm and that tiredness that lined their faces. They weren’t unhappy and the experience was in fact quite fun, but what stuck with me was the work!
Many years later, I got to take my own field trips of sorts when I worked for Netflix. In very much the same way as my youth I liked the experiential learning that went with going to foriegn markets to get them prepared to launch Netflix. I always learned a lot both about the business dynamics and the culture in which we aspired to be successful. Of course one of the vendor groups that was essential to any foriegn launch was our localization partners. Of which we had many outstanding ones (many EGA members). But beneath almost any partner was an army of freelancers which provide services to those vendors. So in its rawest form, localization is a large group of individual contributors, often freelance. While on these launch trips I used to like to meet these freelancers and get their perspective on the industry, their language and challenges. Typically I’d do this by inviting them to breakfast and asking tons of questions. Like the trip to Hershey Farm, it was eye opening and I learned a great deal about subtitling/adapting, dub directing and sound engineering. Like the farmers, I learned it’s not an easy career...but loved by those who choose it. I was constantly reminded of the intelligent, passionate people that decided to be localization professionals with every meeting.
When EGA was formed, one of the most important elements of it was the inclusion of all professionals in this space. Multinational corporations, family owned locals and individual professionals should all see EGA as their association. One that’s elevating their contribution to global storytelling. It’s hard to feel that way when you’re not right in Hollywood and not directly connected to the association or even with the companies with whom you work. That’s why I’m particularly proud of the EGA Fellowship program. This completely sponsored (2021 Class sponsored by Iyuno Media Group) experience will give some of our individual members a unique learning/professional development opportunity. One that will hopefully have the same life changing elements that I had all those years ago on the farm. And even better, they will be encouraged to also deepen the LA participant’s understanding of their work. I believe that being an EGA Fellow will be something meaningful, life changing and industry strengthening for localization...and you don’t even need a parental permission slip to do it!