Well this is a bit exciting. Today I bring you a blogterview with my fav copy writer. She was part of the team that brought you one of the most awarded campaigns of all time “Best job in the World” (Tourism QLD). She’s been described to me as having one of the most creative ‘lady brains’ in the business (by one of the most creative, Creative Directors). She’s lived the writer in NYC dream and let me sleep on her couch for a week. She taught me the power of the coffee cup and 10am alcoholism. She inspired me to take the leap into the creative department. She’s always in heels. She delights in unicorns, kittens and fine wine. She can pole dance like no other and pool table dance just as well. She’s witty, and oh so smart. Best of all she’s about to touch down back in her home town (Brisbane)… (drum roll) she’s the one the only Merrin McCormick.
Merrin McCormick aka Miss Merrin or Mez.
I’m Associate Creative Director at Campfire in New York. We do projects
for TV, films, games, books and brands. Our campaigns cross the
physical, social and digital realms, sometimes that means making ads,
When I was really little, I wanted to be a horticulturalist or an actress. I
started writing stories before I could technically ‘write’ (with help from my
older brothers) and decided I wanted to be an author.
‘The procrastinator’ or ‘The over-analyser’…hmmm, that sounds pretty
neurotic. Could I just be Wonder Woman? I’ve always liked her red boots
and invisible jet.
The people I work with. I love being surrounded by sharp, creative people
with different strengths and passions. I’m also inspired by conversations I
eavesdrop on, ridiculous stories in the news, and pictures of cute animals I
find on BuzzFeed. Those little critters help get me through long days when
my mind is fried.
At uni I studied Advertising and Media Studies, then I went back and
completed a Grad Dip in Creative Writing. I was really fascinated by the
different ways people consumed and used media in their lives, so I toyed
with the idea of being a professional academic. If I got in the ad industry, I
knew that I wanted to be a copywriter. It took me a while to commit myself
and pursue it. But, once I’d decided on advertising I got the opportunity to
work at an agency (as a receptionist/executive assistant).
From the start, I tried to learn as much as I could about the business and
generally prove myself. I ended up working as a production co-ordinator,
traffic manager and account executive before I finally charmed my way into
the creative department (that process took about 9 months). I owe a lot to
my Creative Directors for teaching me so much and giving me so many
opportunities when I was starting out. And I’ve learned important lessons
from every creative partnership I’ve been in.
After I reached a level of success in the industry, I wanted to move
overseas and try to adapt to a new market. I came to New York and found
Campfire. I was attracted to their storytelling pedigree and the integrity of
their work. I thought I’d be stretched and challenged and learn new things,
and I haven’t been disappointed.
It’s a piece of advice from Sesame Street (http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=fhbsb_tkGL0): “Sing, sing a song. Make it simple to last your whole life
long. Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Sing,
sing a song.”
I apply this advice to my personal projects: don’t worry about the outcome
too much, just enjoy being inspired and making things. The most important
thing is to make stuff.
I’m a major procrastinator and that comes from a place of anxiety and
asking myself stupid questions like: What if I’m wasting my time? What if
people don’t ‘get it’? What if I’m disappointed by the outcome? Blah, blah,
I’m always going to want to be better than I am, so I say ‘fuck it’.
Enjoy creating stuff. Don’t just turn up to parties and tell people you’re
creative…talk less, do more. The more I create, the better I feel – I’m sure
that’s true for all creative people.
The second lesson to be learned from that song is: if you don’t know the
words, sing ‘la la la la la’ really loud and people won’t notice that you’re not
quite sure what you’re doing.
Sometimes I have to live with a piece of work that just doesn’t meet my
expectations. The process of going through client feedback, budgetary
realities and time limitations can distort a concept. Things rarely turn out
exactly as I’d planned. Every time there’s a set back I try to turn it into an
opportunity to make things better. (But, I still swear a lot…and do a lot of
I love the creative process, I love researching a subject, immersing myself
in a problem and getting a little bit lost. Whenever I start feeling frustrated
I know I’m getting close to an idea. I’ve learned to really enjoy the ‘not
knowing’ almost as much as I enjoy finding an answer. And it just feels like
magic when you’re working with someone in a similar state of mind – you
can’t go wrong.
My current fave piece is a campaign we did for Season One of American
Horror Story. It was an extremely challenging project from start to finish,
but I learned a lot. I wanted to create an experience that would build the
mythology of American Horror Story and give horror fans the opportunity
to have a richer viewing experience. AHS is basically a weird, twisted
haunted house story, so we invented horrific events that happened over
the house’s history and made artifacts that would help fans piece together
the history in the lead up to the show’s premiere. We sent out physical
artifacts to fans who then ‘uploaded’ them to the digital house (http://
http://www.youregoingtodieinthere.com/). So as fans received their piece of the
puzzle they were revealing something for everyone to see and speculate
I loved experimenting with lots of different ways to tell stories (and I got to
make a bondage snuff video set in the 80s). It was gratifying to see fans of
the show discover the experience months after we launched, they’re still
saying some really nice things in the Twitterverse.
I vastly overestimated the amount of stuff that would fit in my suitcases – what I
need is a Mary Poppins bag!
I’m about to relocate back to Australia, but first I’m doing a little travel
around Europe, so a Mary Poppins bag would come in really handy…and
one of her flying umbrellas would’ve cut down on my travel costs, too.
Oscar Wilde. We’d go to a crowded restaurant, eavesdrop on
conversations and have some world-class banter. (I’m a sucker for good