New Kind is delighted to welcome writer Craig Carter to our team. Craig was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Exercise and Sport Science with a concentration in Sport Administration. I had a chance to sit down with Craig recently and ask him a few questions about himself.
So how did a guy with a degree in Sports Management wind up as a writer?
I have always been a writer. I have loved writing and telling stories since I was a child. When I started college, I thought I might be interested in journalism, but I didn’t want to commit to a major without not knowing exactly what I wanted to do. In my first year of college I tried being a photographer with The Daily Tar Heel, the campus newspaper. It didn’t take me very long to realize that I wasn’t very good at photography, so I moved over to the sports desk as a writer.
I found that assignment difficult, because I couldn’t enjoy the sporting events as a fan. I didn’t like being completely objective. I wanted to be a fan and enjoy the moment instead of being an impartial observer. I realized that this hobby that I had, sports, wasn’t there anymore. So, I said, how can I work in sports, but not be in sports journalism? I noticed there were people all around the field who were not athletes. So, I landed a job as manager for the Carolina Men’s JV basketball team and later the Women’s Lacrosse Team.
When I graduated, I started working for a minor league hockey team as an intern in the marketing department. This experience introduced me to the world of social media marketing. Then when it was time for me to find a real job, my love of writing and marketing experience helped me land my first copywriting job.
Do you consider yourself to be a “creative” person?
Yes, I do. Not so much artistically, in terms of drawing and painting, but I definitely feel like I am good at thinking outside of the box. I guess I am creative in the sense that I try to push the limits as much as possible. I try to come up with ideas that are weird. Sometimes I get a bit (or a lot) of pushback from clients, but that is a good thing. I like to test the limits. When you’re not testing the limits, then you’re probably writing something that is bland and boring.
What brought you to New Kind?
I really like the feel of a smaller agency. I have worked for a large agency. While I enjoyed it, I got the feeling that if I left, would anyone care or notice? When I learned that New Kind was doing really creative work but also had the small company feel, the two aligned perfectly for me.
As a writer, in what area do you consider yourself a specialist?
I have a lot of experience with social copywriting. It requires a different style. Being a social copywriter forces me to focus on my economy of words.
How do you see the field of writing changing?
People are expecting you to say a lot with very little. It places lots of pressure on brevity, but I believe in the idea that art thrives on limitations.
How would you describe yourself in a few words?
I would say I am funny, intelligent, thoughtful, particular, and neurotic.
What do you mean by neurotic?
I am very self-critical. I am in my head a lot, trying not to overthink things too much (key word being “trying”). It’s a constant battle, but I always try to live in the present and find those special moments.
What would surprise me about you?
I model for portrait classes. As I mentioned before, I’m a terrible artist, but I wanted to be a part of the artistic process in some way and classes and studios always need models. It is very interesting to get up during the breaks and see how other people perceive me. It makes me feel really appreciated for who I am. If you’re self-conscious about your looks, I recommend modeling for an art class.
A little birdie told me that you might be spotted from time to time on the stage at comedy clubs around our state. Any truth to this rumor?
Yes, I can confirm that rumor. Mostly one venue in particular, DSI (the Dirty South Improv Comedy Theater) in Chapel Hill, but I have performed around the state and in NYC a couple times. I identify myself as an improviser and a standup comedian.
As an improviser and writer, what do you consider most important, creating the content that you use during your show, or delivering that content?
I would say delivery is the most important, because it can be the funniest joke, but if you can’t deliver it with enthusiasm and perfect timing, it will not succeed. Creating the content is important, but I’ve seen people go on stage and talk about nothing, or nothing that is particularly brilliant, but they do it with such verve that you can’t help but laugh.
So how important is someone’s physical appearance in comedy?
It is definitely a factor for sure. People are superficial beings and appearance factors into almost everything.
Do you ever make fun of yourself?
Yes, I almost always make fun of myself, but I don’t expect or want the audience to sympathize with me. I only want them to feel that when life throws us curveballs, such as in my case, my height (or lack thereof), there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to make fun of them and laugh.
Does being an improviser enhance your skill set as a creative person?
Yes, I believe so. One of the key elements of improv is “yes…and.” You agree with what someone said and add to it. One of the big things I’ve noticed working in the marketing industry is how it is critical to always support ideas. Keeping momentum alive is crucial to generating creative ideas.
How do you know when you have been successful with an audience?
Laughter helps. That’s a good indication. Applause is good as well. Recently, I had a show that I felt really good about, but something special happened. I was with my team after the show, and a group of people from the audience came up to us and told us about how much fun they had. That meant a lot.
What is your greatest passion?
I would probably say comedy. That is the thing I enjoy most. It is the thing that has helped me to make my best friends and build the best social circle that I’ve ever had. Comedy is a great hobby that makes me very happy.
What kind of music do you enjoy most?
I love classic jazz. My father was a DJ and amassed a collection of thousands of albums. One time I asked him if I could look at his albums. He said that I was welcome to but I might not enjoy them because most were disco. I figured I might as well take a look. In the first box I pulled out of storage was a collection of classic jazz albums. I listened to them all and took my favorites.
What are you most proud of in your life?
I am most proud of the fact that I have published work as a writer. Even though it’s not a novel, to have work online that people have read and shared is pretty neat.
Could you give an example or one or two people who have made a difference in your life?
My freshman English teacher in college was the person who hammered in the importance of concision and the economy of words. That clicked with me as a writer and that skillset is invaluable to me today. And, of course, my parents who gave me every opportunity to succeed and supported me in whatever I wanted to do.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
It’s not one thing. I am inspired by my peers, both professionally and in comedy. I’m also inspired by art. I’m also inspired by science and new discoveries. Just learning new things inspires me.
What defines success for you?
I would say mastery of my craft, respect amongst my peers, and the ability to live comfortably.
What do you hope to accomplish at NK?
I want to be able to do something, whether it be a campaign or promotion or something entirely different, that gets a ton of attention. I would also like to get to the point where I am requested to speak at events, because of my opinion, my knowledge, and my connection to New Kind.
Thanks Craig! I’m sure you will have that speaking opportunity one of these days. We’re excited that you have joined our team and particularly excited about adding your writing skills to the New Kind portfolio of services for our clients.