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Meet Sue Smith of CopyCat in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sue Smith.

Sue, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
A year after relocating to Los Angeles from New York, I’m still in culture shock. Everything is different. I moved to New York from a small town in Pennsylvania when I was 18 to become a writer, performer, and general bohemian. (I was heavily influenced by the hit musical, Rent.)

After college, I started working for VICE, freelance writing and taking classes at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre. I met my husband, Austin Rodrigues while studying there in 2009.

We both come from working-class families so we’ve always had to be incredibly bootstrappy in order to support ourselves with pursuing our creative projects. Many times, this meant working three jobs just to pay rent on an apartment where we brushed our teeth in the kitchen sink. (New York City is simply charming.)

I left VICE and waited tables, babysat, and was a freelance writer for about five years. I hated waiting tables, mainly because I have trouble being fake nice (which is detrimental to life in LA). Also, it was just gross. Whenever I left my orthopedic shoes at the cafe in SoHo where I worked, I would have to dump the cockroach carcasses out of them the next day before my shift.

I felt like I had no way out and constantly asked the universe for creative success. One day, after a few years of begging the heavens, a friend came into the cafe with her bosses. Their ad agency had just landed a big account and was looking for a copywriter. She persuaded them to hire me and I ended up working there for four years. The 88, which later became Annex88 when it was bought by Havas, was a wonderful professional training ground for me. It sharpened my skills as a writer and, also, as a grownup.

The team at The 88 always encouraged my comedic pursuits, realizing that nurturing my creativity would enhance the work I did for them. While there, I was able to pursue my comedy at full-speed. I did a standup album, started a podcast, shot countless web videos, and even did a few TV shows.

Then, Austin and I realized that we were tapped out. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “New York is a sucked orange.” Over a decade in New York had left us completely exhausted, empty orange husks. A year ago, we moved to Los Angeles and haven’t looked back. I still can’t believe people live like this! I’m in awe that the cashiers are friendly, the streets are (mostly) clean, and even that the public pools have waterslides! You would never see that in New York.

It’s almost like New York City held me captive throughout my young adulthood and I’m just now unthawing into the person who I was meant to be.

After we moved, we decided to focus our creative energy on launching our business. Together, Austin and I run CopyCat, which is a service that creates funny, engaging, human-sounding copy for brands. We’ve written for chatbots, social media platforms, product websites, pitches, and even text message storytelling.

The past year has been transformative. One thing I’ve learned is that I have to create: if I’m not creating, then I get itchy. Literally, my insides start itching. That’s why I co-host a weekly podcast called ScamWow, go on auditions, and am working on a book proposal for a mental health memoir.

It’s with the energy of a thousand filthy subways at rush hour that I’m approaching my new sun-drenched life here in Los Angeles.

Don’t Slow Down
Matt & Kim

Locked Knees, No keys
Brooklyn, Grand Street
Four Flights, Late nights
Black Socks, White Dice
Ten pounds loud sounds
Turn up, tied and bound

Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down

Fire escape sunny
(Don’t slow down)
Butter and honey
(don’t slow down)
Iron and money

Don’t slow down

Pen Versus Pencil
(Don’t slow down)
I don’t make the rules
( Don’t slow down)
Physical Mental
Don’t Slow down

Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down

Gardens and trash cans
Hoodie and Chuck-T’s
Arm, Fingers, and Hands

Don’t slow down

I’m Feeling Restless
(Don’t slow down)
Summons and Sentence
(Don’t slow down)
We’ve made some messes
(don’t slow down)

Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down

Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down
Don’t slow down

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think any creative pursuit is a bumpy road, especially if you come from a working-class family. The American Dream is, generally speaking, a myth. Though we preach this dogma, there is truly no cultural infrastructure in place to help people to work hard and gain the success their parents had hoped for when they emigrated to this country.

For me, years have been eaten up by the need to merely survive. I feel grateful that I’m generally able to support myself with my creative pursuits now, but I know that nothing lasts forever so I try to sync my lifestyle to this knowledge.

“What is it about art anyway that we give it so much importance? Artists are respected by the poor because what they do is an honest way to get out of the slum using one’s sheer self as the medium. The money earned, proof, pure and simple, of the value of that individual, the artist.” — Rene Ricard/”Basquiat”

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about CopyCat – what should we know?
CopyCat is a full-service creative studio specializing in television, tech, social media, and advertising copywriting. Austin Rodrigues and I are comedians who stumbled into the world of copywriting. One day we were acting like anthropomorphic jars of spaghetti sauce on the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre’s stage and then the next day we were writing copy for brands like Bloomingdale’s and Microsoft. Life is weird!

Whether you need 50 characters for social media, strings of dialogue to keep your chatbot users engaged, or a podcast ad for your mattress store/mail-order dentist/home security company, CopyCat can help you out. Contact us today and we’ll show you all the ways that hilarious writing can give your brand a paw up on the competition.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Hard work. I come from a family of Hungarian farmers, so I literally never stop working.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Sandy Honig, Lena Nicholson, Thais Aquino, Mindy Tucker

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