Student Azul Sanchez-Macias Combines Pop-Culture Fandom with Professional Aspirations
San Francisco State University senior Azul Sanchez-Macias is serious about her career goals. The Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) major is dead-set on both working in the entertainment industry in event production and promotion and supporting initiatives in Hollywood that increase diversity. But she also has a lighter side — one that involves cosplay (the practice of dressing up as a character from a comic book, movie or video game).
Last week she combined both passions as the social media marketing intern for the California State University Entertainment Alliance (CSUEA), an organization housed at SF State that supports the professional goals of students from the 23 CSU campuses seeking careers in the entertainment industry.
Sanchez-Macias documented her experience at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, one of the biggest annual events in pop culture, on CSUEA’s social media accounts. And yes, she donned a few costumes for portions of the four-day convention, including dressing as the mystical superhero Raven from the comic book and cartoon Teen Titans.
She attended panels about diversity in the entertainment industry and listened for advice and career tips from industry professionals. “I feel very inspired. ... There were a lot of panels featuring women. That was a game-changer for me because I was used to seeing male-led panels,” Sanchez-Macias said. “Being a woman in media is challenging. Even if you get those coveted positions, you have to continuously prove yourself, but it’s not impossible. One woman panelist said, ‘We’re facing challenges now so that the next generation doesn’t have to.’ That makes me hopeful.”
A San Diego native, Sanchez-Macias has been attending Comic-Con for the past seven years. She has hopes of working in event production, so the famous comic book convention is the perfect training ground.
“People don’t understand the effort that goes into the production of this type of event. That’s something I eventually want to do professionally. So going to Comic-Con is my training,” she said.
Sanchez-Macias also took to heart advice urging the importance of applying to every promising opportunity. “It doesn’t matter if you have no experience — just fake it until you make it,” she said. “I used to think people in these ‘dream jobs’ were unnaturally talented, but panelists kept saying ‘I had no idea how to do this…’ or ‘I had no idea what a spec script was, I just Googled it and wrote one and I got accepted.’”
Being a current BECA student and a longtime Comic-Con attendee made Sanchez-Macias the perfect social media representative for the event, says Simone Nelson, CSUEA’s managing director. Sanchez-Macias’ Comic-Con coverage helped her build a key skill that’s necessary for surviving in the entertainment industry: networking.
“Networking is not often taught in college entertainment studies programs. Azul connected with celebrities and SF State alumnus Ricardo Padilla, co-founder of the Latino Comics Expo. She talked to him about the possibility of speaking to SF State students on campus,” Nelson said. “Networking in the entertainment industry is so important, and is a big way to develop relationships with industry leaders and professionals who can offer advice, keep you in mind for future opportunities or connect you to other potential employers.”
— Jamie Oppenheim
- California State University Entertainment Alliance
- Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department
Azul Sanchez-Macias dressed as a female version of Rick from the popular Cartoon Network show Rick and Morty during last year’s Comic-Con in San Diego.