Full story: I’m a Copywriter in the advertising industry. I work with clients to help develop their brand identity, tone, and image. Taking into consideration their audience and where the future of the brand is headed will tell us where to start. If the brand is young, maybe we’ll first need to name the products, their colors, designate some memorable taglines, or write a manifesto that embodies what the company stands for. If the brand already has a following, it might need a fresh campaign to evoke new interest.
I’m behind the curtains telling the story, but stepping out in front to make sure we’re connecting with our audience and that everything is consistent.Copywriting is not only writing – it’s conceptually directing, editing, and coming up with lots of ideas about the life of our brand. Though it all gets billed under the title “Copywriter.”
Outside of advertising, I’m more of a Creative Writer. I’m allowed freedom to turn my personal experiences into whatever moves me without guidelines – usually in the form of short stories, poems, and songs.
Across all mediums, I’m a storyteller.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I’ve been writing my whole life. But I didn’t realize it wasn’t something everyone did until college when I encouraged a friend to get her emotions out on paper. I began to find my voice more at that time as well and wanted to do something that combined art with words. I was a senior at Otis College of Art and Design in the Advertising department when I decided to pursue copywriting over art direction.
After graduation, I got a job as a Copywriter at an entertainment ad agency where I learned a lot. After being there for a few years, I was looking to cross over into brand advertising. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside some great creative minds on everything from global Apple campaigns to mom and pop start-ups. From tech talk to puns. From video to social. I feel very fortunate for the chances I’ve been given that have allowed me to grow and to be able to continue growing.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
Hmmm, I’ve been told that I stand out as a Copywriter for coming at an idea from a multitude of perspectives. There are a thousand ways to tell a story. I have to be working on a project for many rounds before I feel like all viable options have been exhausted.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I’ve opted to go freelance for now to have more flexibility as a Senior Copywriter and for passion projects like creative writing and music.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
My ongoing project, Outside of Yonkers, probably represents me pretty well. It started years ago as a creative outlet while I played with my new camera and taught myself how to edit videos. It’s where I share experiences that intrigue me – at home or while traveling. Someone can probably get a sense of how I see the world through it. While copywriting is always my mind’s output, it’s in the voice of the brand. Yonkers is me when I’m free to be Michelle.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I’d like to focus more on creative free writing. Goals change, but I’d like to publish a book of short stories one day. More time for collaborating with other music makers would be nice too.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
The balancing act. I’m a curious person with many interests and trying to pursue and master them all…it can become stressful. Process is everything. Thinking, researching, learning, practicing, scrapping an idea and starting over. It all takes time. I have to actively remind myself that even if I feel like I didn’t accomplish much today, it was a necessary step I had to take in order to take the next one tomorrow.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HOUR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Oh man, I could use help with life’s administrative tasks to free up time for creative play. Cooking homemade meals. Buying deodorant. Clapping the fruit flies. Any takers?
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
Let’s turn it back to Otis days – 4th floor digital labs – 4am. Look at these kids. Everyone is so driven and competitive. Not with each other, but with themselves. Barely sleeping, working feverishly to prove their worth for this thing on a pedestal they haven’t met yet.
There’s young Michelle. Dark circles. Hole-y jeans. I hand her a greasy bag of Chipotle chips and guac. “Here. Pass it around.” I can’t whistle so I ask a dude in a Thrasher hoodie to do it for me. “Thanks. Hey! I’m…that’s not important. You just gotta trust me. You’re all going to be great. You’ll land a job and learn as you go. You’ll have your own room, even your own place one day! Just focus on the projects that are fun for you right now. Enjoy this time of creative freedom and chill the eff out.” Then I drop the mic, but not really. Those things are expensive. We all hug.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
It’s natural for me to approach a project (or anything in life, really) with a "what if?" mentality. When a client or team shares in this perspective the days are fun, the work is marked with undeniable passion, and we probably just made something we're proud to put out into the world with our names on.
If there’s a way I can spread my wings creatively and combine a few of my passions – writing, art direction, photography, singing, songwriting – major score.
But basically if someone’s working on something fresh, artsy fartsy, conceptual. Something with personality and wit. Maybe something altruistic that helps people in some way - I'd love to hear about it. If it's a fit, let's save the world. Or at least our sanity.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Shoot me an email. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell me a little about the project, your vision, and your budget. Where you’ve been and where you want to go. Seriously, if you’re reading this and interested – drop me a line. I’d love to hear what you’re up to. Let’s make something cool.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Be social. Explore. Retreat. Decompress. Create.
This member profile was originally published in September 2016.