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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Diary of a Copywriter: Drama queen. Sort of.

Diary of a Copywriter: Drama queen. Sort of.

Posted on December 13, 2011 and read 5,839 times

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lindsay Diary of a Copywriter: Drama queen. Sort of.  Lindsay Smith

I was a bit dramatic in my twenties. I have several former roommates from university who could confirm this.

20-page paper due tomorrow and I haven’t started it? OMG FULL ON PANIC. Didn’t register in time for my required class? THE WORLD IS OVER. Run into that dude I made out with at the bar last night? RUN AWAY AND HIDE BEHIND THIS HERE OTHER DUDE.

I remember my very first job interview at my very first agency. The creative director asked if I could work under pressure. With some experience as a reporter under my belt, obviously I was one of those people who thrived under pressure. Bring it.

And he did. And I brung it right back. Brought it. Whatever. I thought I was pretty hot shit with my web banners and my landing pages. This advertising stuff was easy peasy.

Until “the project.”

I know you know what I’m talking about. The one that derails your self-esteem and makes you think you must be the shittiest creative on the planet and you should probably just go get a job where you don’t need to know how to do long division.

We were mandated with making a website for a major cosmetics brand, to launch one of their new line of products. I was assigned to the project, along with a more senior writer. To chaperone me. Even though I’d been in advertising a whole nine months and clearly I knew what I was doing. Geesh.

We worked with a fancy pants studio that was going to create an underground world entirely out of 3D. I wrote scripts, web copy and casting specs. I rewrote scripts, web copy and casting specs. My partner designed and redesigned and redesigned the website. We had a bazillion meetings with the studio and the clients. And then with the studio and the clients together. And then with just the studio again to apologize for how annoyingly long the project had become. You know how it goes.

It went on for months.

Finally, however, shoot day was approaching. Our five girls had been cast. One for each product. Our scripts were finally approved. The web designs were still not approved. The studio had set up their super expensive computer controlled green screen 3D camera that had to be programmed a week in advance. Or something.


Then there was the crisis.

The night before we were going into the recording studio with our actors, our client decided that the already approved scripts were, in fact, not approved. And one of our clients took it upon herself to not only send more comments at 7:30 pm, but to rewrite all the scripts.

Well. This was new.

And a far cry from my fluffy web banners and landing pages I had previously mastered. Obviously it was time to lose my shit.

And I lost my shit quite impressively.

I sat staring at my computer screen, holding my head and reading the email from the client and repeating “No. No. No.” I printed up the email, and the rewritten scripts and brought them over to my chaperone/senior writer. I handed her the sheets of paper from my sweaty hand and crumpled onto the floor into a teary-eyed mess.

“WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO!?” I sniffed. “I can’t deal. I CAN’T DEAL!”

“Calm down,” she told me. “It’s not that bad.”


Up until then, I’d given my chaperone attitude. Obviously. But at that moment, I was extremely thankful for her seniority, which came with a side of calm and cool and not a crying mess. She broke down the changes the client asked for, calmed me down, and sent me back to my desk with a mission. I made all the changes and sent everything off.

The next morning I headed straight to the recording studio, confident that our scripts were, once again, approved and ready to be recorded.


While our actors were waiting patiently to get into the booth, I rewrote our scripts for the one hundred and twelfth time while our four clients looked over my shoulder discussing the use of each and every word, comma and preposition I chose. I may or may not have been chastised by my creative director for being snarky with our clients.

Worst. Ever.

The website got made. Miraculously. To the regular consumer, it was a very pretty website. To the agency, however, it was marked with blood and tears and not enough sleep for six months. Which is not pretty at all.

And I never had a freak out over work at quite the same level of desperation. So, maybe it was like a rite of passage. Like when you join a sorority or something. Which I would never do. Because those girls are probably super dramatic and cry all the time. Lame.

And now that I’m ancient, stuff like that no longer phases me. I mean, it’s the business we work in. Everything is due yesterday and there are always revisions. Sometimes three. Sometimes 17. Sometimes I complain. We all do. But mostly you learn to pick your battles and you learn to handle everything professionally. Translate a whole campaign in a day? SURESIES. Fly to Mexico tomorrow for a client presentation? NO HAY PROBLEMA. Work for the next 8 weekends on a pitch? OKEY DOKEY.

Wait, what? No. I don’t work weekends. That makes me cry.




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