Queen City Slicker

  • Categories:

    Agency Life

  • Date:

    April 06, 2015

Queen City Slicker

Agency Life

After launching a successful career Down South, Charlotte native Katie Moore took her talents to New York City, where she honed her craft as a writer/producer for MTV.

Charlotte doesn’t have Broadway or the subway, but three years and many life experiences later, Katie wanted a fresh start and returned to her roots, joining our creative team as a writer.

We’re glad you came home, Katie. Thanks for chronicling your first five days at Wray Ward.

Day One: Weirdo for Hire

I walked into Wray Ward this morning fighting a fury of first-day jitters. I’d left New York just days earlier, still buzzing with the energy of 8.5 million people who live to create. As a writer/producer for MTV, I’d grown accustomed to personalities so eccentric they’d make Miley Cyrus blush. My sense of normal was, well…weird.

Today however, I was starting fresh in my hometown. Swapping late-night falafel for family dinners, and Snooki for Sunbrella.

I knew I’d forget names. I knew I’d be challenged. I knew I was entering the creative powerhouse that put a star next to Charlotte on the map.

But will they be weird? I wondered.

The answer is a resounding hallelujah of a yes.

Beyond the glass case of national awards is a look into the unique beauty of the individual lives that move this place. Kids’ drawings hang next to priceless art, photography next to Phish posters, and briefs next to beer glasses.

In just one day at Wray Ward, it’s clear that the work is personal. This team doesn’t work to live. They live their work.

As a Charlottean, I’m proud. As a creative, I feel right at home.

Day Two: No, I don’t want bacon.

If good parents are good providers, then mine deserve a key to the city, a 12-piece dining room set and the Holy Grail. But if they ask me if I want bacon one more time, I’m reporting them to child services.

I left the luxury comfort privacy of my studio apartment in New York for my old room at my parents’ house. The apartment may have been a whopping 300 square feet at roughly $5 billion per month, but it was mine. I could blare My Bloody Valentine and sketch at 2 a.m. without a care. Now it’s more like Charlie Rose and a bathrobe at 8 p.m.

I love my parents. And I love bacon. But it’s become increasingly clear that in order to do my job well, and to live well, I need my own space. And fast.

I don’t need much. Just a place to draw, write and get inspired. Or binge-watch Netflix and get chocolate on the bedspread without fear of judgment.

So today, when a friend offered to rent her charming, old Myers Park apartment, I took it on the spot. Time to turn up the music and let the chocolate flow like wine. (Reminder: buy wine.) I’m free from pork fat at last.

Day Three: Morning Glory

It’s important to start every day feeling inspired. Oprah probably already told you that, but let’s pretend you heard it here first. Contrary to what you might think, I sometimes had to dig a little deeper to find inspiration in New York. Yes, there’s a different Broadway show to see every night. Yes, I spent a small fortune on rock shows. And yes, it’s home to some of the best museums in the world. But the daily grind in New York paints a less than idyllic picture. Daydreaming above that Egg and Wet Dog sandwich smell on the subway everyday wasn’t always easy. Mornings were often less about inspiration and more about escaping. With headphones on full blast, I’d squint my eyes and watch the underground lights streak past in neon brushstrokes of blue, red and blinding white. It was all I could do to defend myself against the subway dancer’s foot just inches from my face while drowning out the screeching tracks and crying babies.

Charlotte couldn’t be more different. Maybe it’s spring. Maybe it’s the thrill of starting anew. But it’s amazing how much more vast the world feels outside its biggest city. Without the incessant chaos, I have limitless headspace to entertain.

I’ve learned that the simplest things are sometimes most worthy of our attention, and it’s Charlotte’s modest, uncomplicated beauty that inspires me now. With bursts of purple and white filling the horizon like a swarm of confetti, the landscape alone feels like a daydream. There’s nothing to squint past in a city in full bloom.

Day Four: Home Homey Homies

Today I gave my first client presentation. It was over the phone, so thankfully my fluttering nerves could go unnoticed. With the help of an inimitable creative director and account lead, I presented a list of original names for a new product. My last naming project was for the “Real World” franchise, so needless to say, this was a thrilling introduction to a completely new process and content. There were no hostile roommates smashing glasses in an urban loft, but this client is badass, bold and designed to make an impact. The tone of the work we presented fit right into my wheelhouse.

The work, however, wasn’t the most noteworthy part of the presentation. And it certainly wasn’t my nerves (let’s just pretend like those never happened). It was the relationship between the client and the seasoned Wray Ward staffers leading the charge. They shared a dedication to advancing the brand, but with the raucous rapport of old college buddies.

Wray Ward is an undeniable leader in the home market, but it’s also a second home to so many. It’s a place of comfort and creative nourishment for its staff and, as I learned today, its clients. It goes beyond standard professionalism into decades-long personal friendships. This is where the home market meets the feeling of Home.

Day Five: Pocket Change

Today I found a note from an old co-worker in my pocket. If I say it was crumpled you’ll know that I wash my clothes. So I found a crumpled note.


The story behind this note is our dream of forging an earth-shattering lyrical warfare between legendary painter/childhood idol Bob Ross and rapper Rick Ross, the Teflon Don. Although this plan is several years in the making, I’ve only written one exchange between the Misters Ross.

The note is a significant reminder of what happens to unexplored ideas.

Remember when your teacher told you there are no bad ideas? Well, she was wrong. Some ideas are terrible, and you should keep them to yourself. What I think she meant was, there is no idea that can’t be made better with a little help.

I’m always fascinated by the shape an idea can take when brought to a group. It could be life-changing, or it might just make you laugh. However ridiculous Bob-Rick Ross may be, it was born with pride cast aside in the spirit of true collaboration.

One of Wray Ward’s brand pillars is fearlessness. What would happen if we found the courage to share all of our ideas out loud? Even the embarrassing ones?

My biggest goal during this transition is to live more fearlessly. I didn’t move to Charlotte to slow down. The hunger doesn’t stop when I settle into the daily grind. Every day is a chance to be bold. Of course I want everything I make here to be the greatest thing since Betty White, but I know that won’t always be the case. Thankfully I’ve joined a team of award-winning creatives who can help mold the worst stick figure concepts into a work of art. If I’m this inspired after just five days, who knows what the next 500 will bring? If I fail miserably, you’re all invited to my first rap battle.

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