Mark Graham: How to Develop Passions In and Out of Work

In Chapter 17 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, digital media executive Mark Graham answers "How Are You Learning to Apply Your Passions in New Ways?"  Graham notes that he is fortunate to spend most of his professional life pursuing his passions in his personal life such as television, music, film, and books.  He notes that as he gets more experience, he learns to separate work time from "me time" and enjoy the personal experiences instead of constantly chronicling them.  In the office, Graham puts a short-term priority on learning video editing skills such as Final Cut Pro so he may be more engaged with the video production teams working at VH1. 

Mark Graham is currently a managing editor at VH1, an MTV Networks company. Previously Graham worked in editing and writing roles at New York Magazine and Gawker Media.  He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English.


Erik Michielsen: How are you learning to apply your passions in new ways?

Mark Graham: I’ve got a lot of different passions. I’m a pop culture fiend. I love movies. I love music. I love TV. I love reading. Fortunately I’m in a position where I spend most of my professional life actively pursuing passions that I have in my personal life, which is really cool. I think one of the things that I’ve learned over—particularly over the last year and so, is that you do need to make time to create a little barrier between things that you’re passionate about and things that you do professionally, and by that I mean every time I used to go to a concert for example, I would always take notes during concerts and always write about things like that and I’ve sort of learned to pick things that are going to work for work and things that are more just sort of for “me time” to lay back, kick back, you know, drink a couple of root beers, enjoy the experience rather than sort of constantly chronicling it. I’m sending out tweets and Instagrams and taking notes and things like that, so I’ve really tried to focus this year on making sure that I do allow some sort of personal time for me in that way. 

And so the ways that I’m trying to apply passions in a new direction, you know, one of the things that I’m really trying to focus on over the course of the next year and some change, I haven’t gotten started on this yet but it’s one of the things that’s on my list of things to do this summer, I like to start learning how to do video editing. I think that that’s a skill set that is very important to someone who’s in my particular space, if you’re—the more trades that you can sort of do, the more relevant and useful you are to an organization. And also ways that you can help give better feedback and direction to people that you are working with. So as I’m spending more time working with video, with people who are operating cameras, and people who are sitting in editing base, and editing on Final Cut. You know, helping to understand their language, and the way that they work and the ways that we can help create a good product, end-product for a consumer, helping them get to that place is something that I’d definitely like to spend more time learning and developing.