The Scranton Italian Festival, Fall 2007. Joe Callan for Milford Magazine.

The Italian Festival - Scranton, PA (2007)

an uncommon Perspective

From concept to customer

a Jack of all trades is a master of none...

I wouldn't consider myself the best illustrator, photographer, typographer, writer, layout editor, package designer, marketer, or distributor (now that's how you start a sales pitch!)--but in the publishing industry, I've played each of these roles and carried them with a sustained quality.

More to the point, I've seen how these roles work together, how they communicate, and how each role's tasks flow into the next.

but oftentimes better than a master of one.

In my time in print magazines, I've experienced taskloads and challenges from multiple perspectives--from building an editorial calendar for the upcoming year as a senior editor, to finalizing layout and signing off on proofs as an art director.

In my time with a big-four publisher, I've been a production associate archiving and versioning working production files, and a production manager working directly with vendors and editors to print thousands of modern and legacy titles. I even managed the repackaging of a New York Times bestseller as a special-edition, hot pink 12" vinyl record!

Additionally, I've been a web server administrator for over a decade, managing a domain name portfolio as well as websites for myself and my clients.

Most recently, I was the designer and production editor for RareRetro's new line of puzzles, "The American Century".

An uncommon confluence
of experience
Uptime in 10 years
of web service management
Magazines circulated
as Managing Editor
or Art Director
Books produced as
Production Manager

communication as a lifestyle

A Brief retrospective

As a student, I was engaged but unfocused. I could dig deep into an essay, a study of something that interested me, or a mastery of something that challenged me--but in youth, I did these things on my own terms. If those terms met up with the educational institution's terms, I did exceptionally. If they didn't, probably didn't get done at all.

Understandably, this didn't pave the way for an illustrious college education. Graduating from high school at sixteen, I decided to take at least a year off before diving headlong into higher education. My experiences up to that point didn't speak to my particular compatibility with typical collegiate success.

I spent a year working, and over the next I traveled cross-country, spending time in New York City, Missouri, Los Angeles, and Michigan before returning home and applying to SUNY Potsdam. The decision was less out of personal conviction than just something to try next, and the academic result showed.

Regardless of my performance on transcript, though, my perspective on my own creative capacity was changed forever. Even before my cross-country trip the year prior, the written word and my tiny Canon ELPH were my constant companions, telling the story of my adventures though reflections in essays and photographs.

My grades at Potsdam reflected two things:

  • I took the rigidity of matriculation about as seriously as I took high school;
  • there were a group of professors that inspired me to assimilate the knowledge and skills I was passionate about, and that passion became clear when I expressed myself in my best capacities.

I may have left college without a B.A. in Philosophy, but I didn't leave without a change in perspective. I started a regular photoblog in 2003, paired with essays or reflections tuned to my experiences wandering and working.

In 2005, I moved to Milford, PA. Working first as a editorial assistant helping to proofread and provide additional reporting for Milford Magazine, I was given an education in editorial calendars, deadlines, fact-checking, and sourcing freelancers. I was eventually assigned to stories in the feature well, working directly with the editor and art director to meet the style and voice of the publication. 


Staff changes soon put me in a leadership position the following year (almost certainly prematurely), and I was invited to meet new challenges and take on more roles as the production of the magazine required.

When I left Milford Magazine in 2007, I had participated in the production of twenty-five issues, serving as Managing Editor for ten of these issues.

A summer day in Upstate New York's Southern Tier.

After wintering in Myrtle Beach to regroup, editing a screenplay and working on other personal writing projects that would eventually lead to my first two completed novellas, I returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania to find a job at Domainer's Magazine, where I started as an art assistant at the bottom of a very different production ladder.

If my experiences at Milford Magazine were an education with publishing veterans living in the era bridging paste-up and desktop publishing from the editorial perspective, my experiences at Domainer's Magazine quickly became a trial-by-fire in the latter...except that I wasn't in the editorial department anymore. Now I was a production designer.

By now I was familiar with slugs and gutters, with page counts, columns and widows--but now I was introduced to the software behind the publication. Already familiar with Photoshop as a result of my time taking and editing photographs, I was now steeped in programs like Illustrator and InDesign.

My role at Domainer's magazine expanded, once again, with a staff change. With the existing Art Director moving on to other opportunities, the Co-Publishers sat me down and asked a big question: 

Was I ready to take on the task, or should they seek out a replacement?

Only through the trust I was given at Milford Magazine would I have ever had the confidence to accept the job. At Domainer's Magazine


The professional connection

experiences in production

photo and design samples

HDR photo of edifice in Scranton, PA.
Three bridges across the Ohio River in Louisville, KY.
The Scranton Italian Festival, Fall 2007. Joe Callan for Milford Magazine.
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