Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 25 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2011 with majors in Film Scoring and Composition. Principal instrument: piano.
Position: Advertising Copywriter for Cineplex, Canada’s largest entertainment company with over 150 movie theaters, many of which feature video arcades, recreation rooms, and other forms of entertainment. The company’s one full-time copywriter, Angela writes the words for its advertising as well as gives context for how those words are presented. Most ads are about the services Cineplex offers that can make the experience better; for example, an option to buy a movie after seeing it, or promoting a VIP lounge and its new menu. She also writes the email newsletter to subscribers.
Overview: Finishing Berklee in the summer of 2011 after nine straight semesters, Angela was feeling burned out. She moved in with her father in Toronto, figuring at least she’d get free health care, and started networking and looking for film scoring work. She got plenty of offers to work for free, and not much else. After a couple of months she broadened her job search to arts/culture in general, applied, and got a job as a receptionist/administrative assistant at a communications firm. Feeling creatively stifled, Angela started writing memos in verse and soon their copywriter unofficially took her under his wing, and she found the work very enjoyable. By the summer of 2013 she was offered a promotion to a higher level administrative position, but Angela chose instead to enroll in a one-year Certificate in Advertising Copywriting Program at Humber College in Toronto and phased out her work with this company.
Angela did well in school, being part of a team that won an advertising competition, but finding a job afterward was a struggle–she spent the next year doing two low-paid internships at small agencies followed by a 7-month job and another layoff, followed by another job which ended up being more community relations than copywriting. Angela also realized after a year that she was being paid considerably less than her colleagues and she started to reach out to recruiters in search of new opportunities. One of them connected her with Cineplex, which was looking to hire its first full-time copywriter. Angela got her current job in August, 2017.
Choice Quotes: “My job is not just being a writer. It’s everything from brainstorming to big-picture thinking. I’ll art direct when words have nothing to do with it. What’s cool about working for Cineplex is there are so many different branches and products that it feels like being an agency.”
“I just really love to get to play with words–that’s my job. I’ve always been a writer–deviated into writing music a bit. I love being able to try to find way to say things in a new, fresh way, and to try to create an emotional response in people. I also love the independence in my job.”
“A lot of our work goes to the top and Cineplex is a large, publicly-traded company. We have to treat our clients like ‘real’ clients, even though we all work for the same company. Only sending one option to a client is a worst-case scenario. If it’s something really important I’ll sent up to ten.”
“At my Opening Day at Berklee, President Roger Brown asked folks who was there to network, then when hands went up he said that that was the wrong answer–you’re there to make friends, not just ‘network’. Friends are the people you can call and ask a favor of. I don’t know what other school would’ve taught networking so well. You also just meet people at Berklee and end up chatting or working with them. Those skills really helped me with my career.”
“The worst thing you can do is get stuck in a career you’re not that passionate about. Listen to your heart. Also, know your value and don’t settle. Make sure you’re getting paid what you deserve and check in with colleagues. Don’t tolerate a boss that isn’t good to you. You have to live your life and you don’t owe a bad workplace anything.”
Angela during her Berklee days. “Writing is writing. My Composition and Film Scoring classes really pushed us. John Meyer said to us at a clinic, ‘You have to write a lot of crap to write something good.’ and that holds true in advertising. At Berklee I learned to push, fight, dig, keep going until you have the gem.”
Angela’s current job sometimes still involves recording. Here she’s in a studio to direct a commercial she wrote. “Berklee costs a lot of money, but don’t think that just because you poured so much into it that music is what you have to do for the rest of your life. You can do something else and still be successful, rewarded, and happy. You’re still using your Berklee degree, finding ways you never realized that it can serve you.”
See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.