The Trials and Tribulations of a Working Copywriter

Keeping Busy

You know, for all my complaints about work, things have actually been pretty interesting lately. It’s nice to know that even though my title is officially Copywriter, I get to do more than just write marketing copy. Most of my opportunities are still writing related, mind you, like working with SQL server to update the Web site’s database or proofreading some technical documents, but at least it breaks up the monotony of the daily rigmarole. And at the end of the day, that’s all I really need to get me through.

Currently, we’re working on some video shoots. Typically, I’d be excited, but the project manager isn’t someone I have a lot of faith in, so the less involvement I have, the better. Unfortunately, the project manager is behind, as usual, and our mutual boss has pulled me in to pick up the slack. So, for the last couple of days, I’ve been writing the scripts and creating shot lists. I can’t help but be a little stoked about this, because it’s pretty similar to writing a screenplay. On the left column, I have the shot, which describes what’s seen as succinctly as possible. On the right, I write out what the narrator is going to say. The difference here is that I have control over the camera through the script. I’m free to call shots that are TIGHT, CLOSE-UP, WIDE ANGLE, etc., which are typically within the No Writer’s Land of the director. So I did my best to evoke a little scene, but there’s not much you can do with barbecue equipment and product demonstrations.

“In a world where one man stands alone…”

As I said, there’s going to be a narrator and since I play video games, I’ve always been impressed by voice actors and wondered what the job was like. I even fancied that I might be able to hack it as voice talent. Now that I think about it, that’s a really strange sentiment, considering that I’m the first to admit that my voice sounds like an electric razor. Nevertheless, the voice is only the first part of voice acting and I’ve always been told that I’m a solid actor. So, as I said a couple of posts ago, I got together with some friends and recorded some demos so that the powers that be could consider me for the spot of the narrator. I slyly slipped them into the pool of prospective professional narrators.

So here are my demos. The first one is more of an announcer type and the second one is more conversational, which my very good friend, Megan, suggested I record. I’m glad she did, because it’s the one everyone liked.

[audio:Announcer_Demo_2.mp3] [audio:Conversational_Demo_1.mp3]

Anyway, I kept the recordings anonymous in case they couldn’t tell it was me. After I listened to the professionals, I didn’t think I stood a chance with their recording studio engineered recordings and perfect enunciation. Not to mention years of experience. At the end of the day, my manager narrowed it down to two selections, a woman and yours truly! We just had to go through one final round of judging with the Executive Vice President. Thankfully, I’d already made my case to her and to sweeten the pot, I told her I’d do it for free while the other voice talent charged up to $1,500. Not bad for talking about spas and barbecues for a few minutes.

So I went home that night and took the scripts home with me to edit them. And since I was potentially going to be the voice of my company, I made sure that the lines were speakable. I was up til midnight writing and rehearsing, but it was still a fun time. 🙂

The following day my manager sent out a department-wide email announcing the narrator.

It wasn’t me.

Alas. I know I shouldn’t be as disappointed as I am, but I can’t help it. I guess it’s the narcissist in me wishing I could be immortalized on looped video in specialty stores around the world. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Yesterday, I was assigned another script that the professional would be reading. Just between you and me, I’m lacing it with tongue twisters that would make Mary Poppins blanch.