Howdy from the USA. If you haven’t heard, things are really great here. Some might say “awesome.” Our government is respected, our citizens healthy, and we are all getting along fabulously. So although there is no reason why I should want to escape the daily news to write an article about myself, I feel it is my duty to the American gods of self-promotion to do so anyway.
I started my career in the theater/theatre. I was a stage manager and then worked on Broadway, then moved to London for a few years working on large West End shows and shows in rooms above pubs and shows in tunnels underneath Waterloo station.
When I moved back to New York, I found myself wanting more steady income and wishing I could do more writing, so I declared myself a freelance copywriter. One of my first clients was Google, so people took me seriously when they shouldn’t have. That led to some work with agencies who had Google as a client and thought I was perfect for their projects. The Brooklyn agency Big Spaceship thought I must know about the tech industry, so they asked me to pitch for a tech client and we won, making Big Spaceship the social media agency of record for Samsung Mobile.
Big Spaceship convinced me to go full-time and we made great, innovative work that won awards and helped make them Agency of the Year. R/GA took notice of my work and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. But after some years full-time in agencies, I realized that the delicate dance of internal politics was a weak spot for me; I just wanted to be a nice person who came up with great ideas and executed them flawlessly. How naive I was. So I decided to give freelance a try.
It was a perfect union if a perfect union is a high functioning open marriage. In 2016, after saying goodbye to my R/GA colleagues, I walked out the door at 5 pm (first time that ever happened!) and took an hour-long walk downtown to get briefed at 6 pm by my first freelance client. Since then, I have been able to freelance at agencies like McCann, BBH, R/GA, and Giant Spoon, on clients ranging from HBO and Apple to Nissan, Adidas, and UNICEF. Lately, I’ve been diversifying my agency clients with direct brand clients – I enjoy the direct relationship with a client, working together to get to an idea that feels perfect to both of us.
If you’re thinking I’m betraying my Yankee capitalist birthright with a touch too much faux humbleness, just wait. I’ve won awards from the Cannes Lion, Clios, D&AD, Art Directors Club, and more. The project I did with HBO and Giant Spoon, SXSWestworld, was called “one of the best publicity stunts of the 21st century” and it was a chance to apply knowledge of immersive theatre from my London days to a marketing project.
Like SXSWestworld, a lot of my work now isn’t even “advertising” in the traditional sense. I helped create a podcast with the founder of Reddit, a music video made with GIFs for Samsung, and a fashion line that helps you feel better for Mucinex.
They all require writing and headlines, but most of the “print” I write now is for the campaign around something larger I’ve helped to create for a brand, something that becomes part of the popular culture.
Now. Was that American enough for you?