How did you get started in the advertising industry?
I studied communication design in college and then got an internship @ GSD&M (and never left).

Remember that dumb meme that was going around for a while, the ‘what you do’, ‘what your mom thinks you do’, “what society thinks you do” thing? Well, what do you do? What are the primary responsibilities for an art producer at GSD&M?
I recently went to Palm Springs to teach a business of photography class. Afterwards, I wrote this blog post which I think helps explain what I do.

Or here’s the short and sweet version: Art Producers handle all business issues that relate to photography, illustration and storyboards. We assist the Art Directors in finding photographers, illustrators and storyboard artists that are appropriate for each project. We handle all stock photography. We are responsible for estimating and negotiating all photography and illustration costs.

In addition, we help coordinate the schedule for photo shoots and final artwork due dates with the Art Director, Account Service, Print Production and the photographer or illustrator to meet production deadlines.

What’s the collaborative process like at GSD&M? Let’s say the agency lands a new account. What happens between that and when you start pulling ideas for photography?
When you pitch an account you sometimes start to think about who you want to shoot with. At times, we’ll ask a photographer to do spec work for pitches. It also helps if we win, because we can use it for future use (for a fee).  If not, I get with the creatives to get an idea of what they’re thinking and make suggestions until they’re happy with a few and we go from there. We do keep budgets in mind but if the idea is great, we can usually get photographers to work with us.

You have to be really good, unique, inventive. be cautious on how you market yourself and don’t give up.

Breaking into commercial photography is notoriously difficult. Why is that?
You have to be really good, unique, inventive, be cautious on how you market yourself and don’t give up. Also, helps if you get personal with the Agency. Meaning, try to meet with the Creatives or Art Producers in person. If you have a good personality and personable, then most often we’ll remember you and your work. Offer to do spec work or help out on pitches.

What can a photographer do these days when you are so inundated with promotions and tweets and what not? How can they rise above the chatter and be noticed?
Personalize their emails, tweets, etc. Make time to meet with potential clients in person. Create well designed promotional pieces. I often wonder what made a photographer pick a certain image for their promotions/emails.

What projects did you work on last year?
ACE Hardware’s Soul Paint campaign was a big hit and we’re still traveling with the “Soul Paint”.

We photographed 3 ads, 10 painted talent on seamless and shot video of each 10 within 2 days. It was one big integrated production that we produced internally. We did hire photographer Dave Mead to shoot the print ads. We’ve gone so far as hiring the talent to attend ACE conventions in character.
Also, the Caesars Laurels art directed by Mike Ferrer and photographed by Adam Voorhes.

What’s the most challenging this about being an art buyer?
Cost Consultants. Tight budgets + tight timelines.

What’s the most fun thing?
Making challenging projects successful, doing great work and working with talented photographers.

What advice do you have for someone who is interested in working on the creative side of an ad agency?
Depends on what you want to do. I started with an internship so I would have to say, intern. Also. had I proceeded with being an art director, I would have gone to ad school. There’s a lot of young talent out there; therefore, we like to hire right out of school. . If school is not an option, try teaming up with a fellow art director/writer and put a book together.

You must travel a lot for work right?
It’s up and down. We have so many great photographers in Austin that we’re able to shoot a lot locally. Although, there are times I’m gone a few days at a time once a month or I used to travel to Germany and I would spend about 2 weeks on each trip 2-3/year.

We have so many great photographers in Austin that we’re able to shoot a lot locally

When you’ve been away from Austin for a while, what’s something you want to do as soon as you get back?
Eat MEXICAN food. I found out I was pregnant while on a shoot in Germany and the first thing I did when I got home was go eat Mexican food…. A LOT OF IT! If it’s the summer time, taking a dip in Barton Springs is nice…..and cold.

Favorite breakfast taco: Tacodeli or Torchy’s
Favorite libation: Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka with Topo Chico and a squeeze of lemon
Favorite BBQ: Cooper’s
Favorite weekend getaway spot: Wimberley

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