How I left MuggleNet and escaped the depths of life crisis to find a startup company doing something amazing, a hilarious web series, and my way back home (to MuggleNet)
Hey, guys! My name is Noah Fried, and this past summer after graduating from college I left MuggleNet to pursue a career in New York City.
And now I’m back.
To be honest, I really had no intention of coming back to the site. Don’t get me wrong – I had a blast working at MuggleNet for six years and was proud of the experience. But as fate would have it, a series of events and successes would slowly bring me back…
Let me take you back to the beginning of this story.
It all started when I hit a very dark place this past summer. I had just graduated from college and had no clue what I wanted to do with my life.
Basically, I was a mess.
I sank to a place so dark I was sure even Harry Potter couldn’t save me.
What did that look like? Picture a dude lying in his bed in the middle of the day with the window blinds shut tight, endlessly queuing episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix, all while shoving copious amounts of cheese doodles and pretzels into his gaping mouth.
Yeah, that was me.
Without magic and my old college friends in my life, my brain sort of went haywire. I had a rabbit for company, it’s true, but she ran in fear whenever I got close, possibly because the pet shop we bought her from didn’t treat her right as a baby.
Truth is she didn’t say much, and I preferred it that way.
But then I started paying closer attention to Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. Enterprise, I thought to myself. Business. It occurred to me that Picard was a brilliant leader because he ran his Galaxy class starship just like a small business, making sure that each member of his crew not only utilized his or her unique skills to the maximum but also was prepared to work together with other officers to complete difficult missions.
And after days of bearing witness to the talents, resourcefulness, and sheer tenacity of the entire Enterprise crew, something quite remarkable happened.
Maybe it was because I was malnourished, dehydrated, and sleeping very little, but you see, one fateful morning, I suddenly envisioned Picard himself stepping out of the television! He came to stand before me, looking very regal in his Starfleet uniform.
He said nothing, Picard. Just gave me a look. You can do better, his face said. Then his bald head gleamed, and we knew it was time for him to return to the television.
And after this encounter something changed inside me. I was finally motivated to roll out of bed and open the blinds so that the sun could come in.
Another thing that Star Trek reminded me of was the importance of great writing. I realized how a great show or book can change your brain.
And then I remembered I still nurtured dreams of one day writing something awesome myself.
It was time to turn my thoughts into action.
I started searching for creative writing jobs and internships in the city and soon stumbled upon Books That Grow. After seeing this video animation about what they uniquely do, I realized I needed to email them immediately about getting involved:
As a book lover myself, *Snape’s voice* obviously, I immediately found work in the office editing books for their app and working with professional writers to “level” their own stories, making sure that the creative content of their narratives came across in every level, even if the exact diction and syntax were changing.
So far I’ve really enjoyed working there, and contributing to the larger cause of putting more books into the hands of children feels excellent.
While I have you, by the way, I should mention that Books That Grow is currently running a Kickstarter campaign and only needs a little bit more to help them reach their goal. If you would consider giving us a small donation I would be incredibly grateful.
But back to my story, I have always been interested in writing, especially comedy. Fans of Alohomora! know that I run several Harry Potter-themed Twitter accounts, where I digitally cosplay several characters, one of them being the infamous Marty the Mandrake, leader of the Mandrake Liberation Front.
But since Harry Potter was only slowly beginning to come back into my life this past fall, I decided to see what it would be like to join the production crew for a real comedy series. I jumped on as script supervisor for Marlene Rhein’s My Parents Are Crazier Than Yours and joined the team that would film Episodes 2 and 3 of her series.
The story follows a woman who loses her job in New York City and is forced to move back in with her crazy parents in suburban Long Island, New York.
Episode 2 has just been released, and you can watch it below. It has a cute dog in it, so you should watch it for that reason if nothing else.
Did you see my name when the credits rolled? I’m quite proud of that.
So what am I doing now? At the moment, my plan is to stick with Books That Grow and Marlene for a while and see where I can help take them. But as these other projects move forward, I have made a new commitment to my work at this website. Though the fandom is changing, I believe MuggleNet.com remains the superior hub for Harry Potter news and other content online and will continue to grow and change alongside its loyal readership.
Indeed, life after college was very rocky for me. But now through joining several other professional teams (and rejoining my first major one), I’ve found myself surrounded by a batch of bright new colleagues and a newfound faith in myself and in my abilities.
And now that I’ve re-opened the Dumbledore – there’s no stoppin’ me.