Raise your hand if you’ve never heard of one of those jobs? We’re not talking about the person who copyrights your protected work, we’re talking advertising -sexy Mad Men style. Lindsey makes ads that sell products to you and has worked with such hot-shots as Fisher Price, Eucerin, Dr. Scholl’s, Diet Coke, Kraft, Nabisco, Keri, Valtrex and more.
What’s voice-over work? Oh just a little side job for Lindsey that does a great job bringing in the cash as the voice for awesome ads by Kraft, Oscar Meyer, Ask.com, Match.com, Lunchables, and Zoosk.com.
Though a native of San Antonio, Texas, Lindsey can officially call New York City (Nolita, to be exact) home -since she’s lived there now ten years. And ten years can give a self-proclaimed “problem solver” all the experience she needs to be a succesful Ad (wo)Man.
Here is our interview, for you:
01. When did you first get involved in advertising?
I was in school at the University of Texas at Austin and I thought I wanted to be a Psych major but then my best friend found out about advertising and I decided to be an Ad major. The second year of school you could try out to get into this creative sequence to develop your portfolio. A lot of my friends in my business went to trade school in addition to college so I was lucky to get it done in 4 yrs.
02. Was school tough?
Yes. The first year, you had to draw everything by hand and worked solo. But it really helped me -though it was limiting to have these ideas and not be able to execute them. I had to convince my teacher to “promote” me to the second year because I couldn’t draw, but I new I could do really well once I could use the computer.
03. At that point, were you sold on advertising as a career?
I wasn’t really sold on advertising yet, so.. my Senior year I interviewed to be a “Hot Dogger” for Oscar Meyer. (A group of students who drive around the Oscar Meyer WeinerMobile for PR purposes). I was chosen as a finalist out of 1000 students and was flown to Madison, WI and got to test drive the Oscar Meyer WeinerMobile. It’s ironic now because I just booked the voice of Oscar Meyer!
04. What was your first job?
Well, I did an unpaid internship first with GSD&M -and they are probably the most well-known (and definitely the coolest) creative shop in Austin. I did a lot of grunt work, but we also got a lot of opportunities to work on client jobs. N: Is it typical to have unpaid internships today?
I think so. People are hungry for these jobs so they’ll do anything. But, they also provide the jumpstart to your career. Typically with the creative thing, it is not about your grades, it’s about what’s in your portfolio -what you have done. You are your work. My first job was at FCB in New York City and I was hired as a Junior Copywriter and now I work as Senior Copywriter for EuroRSCG NY.
05. Explain what a copywriter is.
I tell people, “I’m a writer for an advertising agency. I make ads.”
06. I love the show Mad Men. What character on the show best describes you and your job?
As far as positions, I would be Peggy. She is a copywriter! If going by personality and big booty, I’d be Joan. Advertising really is a boys club so for Don Draper to take a chance on Peggy was really a big deal. I hear about ad men in the 80s and it was very much the same way -a boys club. Today, it has changed a lot, but I love the show and we all watch it. After all, we are the ones sending all these messages to you a million times a day telling you how you should look and feel.
07. How do you decide if a product is going to be successful?
We run focus groups which are usually a random sampling of people who meet a certain criteria. For example, at Kraft, we would have a sampling of moms. These people are recruited and show up at a research facility where we watch from behind a two-way mirror while the mediator presents the work and asks lots of questions. A lot of it may be inaccurate because it’s a fishbowl situation. A product lives and dies in testing. We will think we have a great product but it may not test well. And if it doesn’t test well, it’s back to the drawing boards.
08. Tell us what process an ad takes before we get to see it.
The account people come to us wth a creative brief, then we sit down and brainstorm and start concepting. It goes through so many layers –like playing a video game. (How many lives do we have?) I work with an Art Director and it can be stressful because we may have 3 weeks or just 3 days to put something something together. We’ll take the idea to my Creative Director to approve it. (Taking in consideration their mood that day. ) Sometimes they might change it. We go back and revise and make changes then take it to the Accounts Dept who might change the idea based on what the client wants –then it goes to the client. And even then, we might have to start over. If approved, we move onto the actual shoot and I always attend the shoots because I want to make sure my work is being presented the right way. Then it goes into the post-production process and that’s how I became voice-over talent! We usually have someone stand in for the voice-over (scratch tracks) and since that was usually me, my editor found I have a talent for it and said, “I’m going to get you a real job. I think you’re really good.” It’s the most random talent. Although, I think it helps being a writer and being around ads because I know how it should sound.
09. What was your first voice-over job?
My first job was for Kraft and it was three words: Kraft Your Salad. I kept getting more Kraft jobs and it was amazing! I saw that there was money potential, so I started looking for an agent. They say my voice is raw –meaning imperfect. So the jobs I get now are less “announcer” so it’s perfect for my voice.
FYI: Lindsey’s Voice Over name is Lindsey Walters
10. Do you do anything special to get your voice ready for recording?
I drink this tea that tastes pretty disgusting, but my voice is raspy is it depends how I was using it the night before.
11. What is the pay range for voice-over work?
It’s really hard to determine because checks just come in the mail in random amounts and they are all for different lengths of time depending on how long they run. You get a session fee for every time you’re in the booth (usually about an hour) then everytime that spot airs, you get money. National spots pay the most. (Nicole here.. I’m not going to list her average annual income, but let’s just say this side job pays like a full-time job! Lucky girl!)
12. How do you pull off both jobs?
It’s very hard. I make sure my real job is my priority because it is a job that I can use my brain. I don’t think I would personally be fulfilled just doing voice-over work. But when it rains, it pours. Whenever I get a lot of ad work, the auditions are also pouring in.
Lindsey’s Copywriting Reel (She’s also the voice-over for two of the commercials!)
13. What’s your favorite voice to do?
I like the sultry or flirty voices because it amuses me. I don’t love being super perky because it doesn’t feel natural. I love being the sarcastic girlfriend.
Thank you so much for the interview, Lindsey! I certainly loved peeking into your double-life! Hey Readers, did you? Leave a comment for Lindsey here!