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Diary of an Aspiring Copywriter

Chicago Portfolio School would like to introduce one of our newest bloggers, Jon Podulka – 3rd Quarter Copywriter. If this piece is any indication of how hilarious his future postings will be, I foresee us all LOL-ing throughout the Winter Quarter.

Without further adieu, here is a peak into Jon’s innermost thoughts in his piece titled, “Diary of an Aspiring Copywriter”.

Diary of an Aspiring Copywriter

End of Quarter Party

Dear Diary,

12/16/2014 - It’s me again, and boy am I nervous. CPS is throwing an end of quarter party this Thursday, and I just don’t know what to expect. Will I overdress? Will I find true love? Does true love really exist, or is romance just a human construct used to explain biochemical reactions and synaptic transmissions? Ugh, my brain hurts… I hope they have a cheese plate.

I can’t believe I’m already six months into - and halfway through - portfolio school. It seems like only yesterday that I was struggling to write a concept statement. It’s actually been over a week! Now, if I can just figure out how to push it (or even what “it” is), I think I’ll be in a pretty good place. Maybe Salt-N-Pepa were copywriters before they became songstresses.

Anyway, there are only a few classes left before the big party and everything should go smoothly. On the one hand, I hope to get a good critique before our winter break.  But really, I just hope I don’t call any of my instructors “Mom” again. Thanks for listening again Diary.


By heather : December 16, 2014

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Adam Repp

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum, Adam Repp, Copywriter at FCB Chicago.

Check out his advice below:

“Drink lots of water—like, a lot. Firstly, it’s hella good for you. Secondly, it’ll give you a chance to stretch your gams and meet some folks on your way to the lav.”

“It’s easy to get lost in the cubes at a big agency as an intern or freelancer, so it’s important to get some face time with fellow creatives. You might find out that your CD plays bass in a post-steampunk band, or that Donna in HR is a beer pong virtuoso, or maybe you’ll hear about a tasty new brief that needs help—your help. And maybe you get hired/promoted because some common interests led you to said brief. Some call it coincidence, I call it strategic hydration. Drink up”

“In closing, Hulk Hogan once said “Negativity and Hulkamania—two things that don’t go together.” I think we can say the same of advertising. So stay positive, have fun, and take your humble vitamins—after all, you’re getting paid to be creative. Bob Ross would be proud.”

Check out his awesome work here:
Follow him on Twitter: @ReppResentTK421

By heather : December 11, 2014

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What’s in my Office Thursday: John Olson

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum, John Olson, Junior Copywriter at BBDO New York.

Check out his advice below:

“I have a few pieces of advice. The first is JUST GO FOR IT. The old cliché of ‘No risk, no reward,’ absolutely applies to advertising. Don’t be afraid of moving to a new city, or meeting new people, or getting rejected. Be aggressive. Gamble on yourself. It’ll add to your inspiration, it’ll get you noticed, and it’s more fun than sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for something to happen. No one is in the business of handing you a job.”

“My second piece of advice is to always be improving. If you feel 100% satisfied with your ability, you’re not trying hard enough. The best way to improve is to keep practicing, and to do so in a variety of different forms. If you’re an art director or a designer, make sure you’re constantly working on new visual and design techniques. If you’re a writer, keep writing! Write headlines. Write scripts. Write poetry. Write Jeff a love letter.”

Check out his awesome work here:

Follow him on Twitter:

By heather : December 04, 2014

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Rose Schuchat and Ilze Lazdins

We love it when former CPS-ers get to work together! What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum Rose Schuchat (Junior Copywriter) and IIze Lazdins (Junior Art Director) who are creative partners at Energy BBDO.

Check out their advice below:

“Having an amazing book is important, but you need people to be looking at it. Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the industry, you never know where a connection might get you. And follow up, even if it’s been a few weeks and you don’t want to be a nuisance. Keep yourself on their radar.

“Whether you connect on LinkedIn, at a Portfolio Night, Tinder, who cares. Position yourself at the forefront of their minds so when they have an (most likely un-posted) opening, they call you. Make your network as big as possible!” – Rose

“Ask questions. Make connections like crazy. Be patient. Being in a partnership is like a marriage so be respectful, be honest, but be kind. Speak up. Don’t let fear get the best of you. Get that fun time in but make sure you rest on the weekends…you will need it. When interviewing: make eye contact, be polite, be prepared, know the ins and outs of the company before you show up. Oh, and be BFF’s with the tech guys, you’ll get your computer fixed faster.” – Ilze

Take a look at their portfolios:

Follow them on Twitter:


By heather : November 20, 2014

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Erin Meulbroek and Joe Nemec

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet recent CPS alums Erin Meulbroek (Copywriting Intern @ DDB) and Joe Nemec (Art Direction Intern @ DDB). The pair who finished in the same quarter together now gets to produce awesome work together!

Check out their advice below:

“Take ownership of the entire project. Don’t assume any aspect of it is ‘not your problem’. I help Joe find mood images for print assignments; he helps me write scripts for TV assignments. You’re a team, work like one.” – Erin

“Live a creative life outside your job. Go on adventures or take on a new hobby that inspires you. You never know when and where a great idea may strike.” – Joe

“Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with your classmates. When you’re working on the same assignment as someone, it’s natural to be a little competitive and hoard your ideas. But chances are they’ve taken it in a completely different direction and have a fresh idea to add to your concept.” – Erin

“Always stay curious and look at things from multiple perspectives. Innovative advertising is about taking risks and leaving behind your familiar path. You’ll be surprised at the amount of different insights you’ll acquire.” – Joe

Take a look at their sweet work here:

By heather : November 13, 2014

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Darn Good Baloney Podcast: Sean Collander

Listen to this week’s Darn Good Baloney Podcast featuring Sean Collander by 3rd Quarter Copywriters Adam Bedol and Kevin Tosi.

Sean is a CPS Alum and completed the copywriting program in Summer 2013. At his time at CPS, he was awarded Winter 2013 Best of Quarter for his Ted Baker campaign and was declared Portfolio Night 11’s All-Star for Chicago!  He is now a Copywriter at DDB and works on the Capital One team.

Check out Sean’s work here:

Follow him on Twitter: @TheSchwan

Stay tuned for more Darn Good Baloney Podcasts and listen to previous sessions here:

Keep up the awesome work, Adam and Kevin!

By heather : November 07, 2014

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Joe Wangler

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum, Joe Wangler, who must be a pretty busy guy.  Wangler is an Art Director at Havas Impact, a Professional Advisor to Columbia College Chicago’s Ad Club and a Creative Manager for Impact Music.  He’s also 1 of 6 siblings!

Check out his advice below:

“Be true to yourself. Believe in your ideas as long as they are worth fighting for. Never be afraid to fail or take risks. Always, always keep learning. One more thing… don’t ever piss anyone off. You never know when you might need them again.”

See his talented work here:

Follow him on Twitter: @jdwangl3r

By heather : November 06, 2014

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Rose’s Big Journey

It IS all about the journey. Even if your journey gets you stuck in Cleveland while a man tries to set himself on fire in the FAA building. Many would turn around and call it quits after I said Cleveland, but this was just the beginning of CPS alum, Rose Schuchat’s journey to the finals of The Big Ad Gig in NYC. Well, technically not the beginning. The beginning was her being selected as a finalist to said gig with her solution to a pretty tough brief:

Come up with a tag line for words.

The solutions this year had to come in the form of a tweet, which might seem limiting to some, but Rose found it as the perfect opportunity to flex her creative muscle.  To say that she nailed it
would be insulting to a wordsmith such as herself, but nothing else seems as apt.

See the solution here:

Rose, along with seven other finalists, travelled to NYC to present in front of big wigs of the industry in hopes of landing a one month paid internship at one of their shops. Quite an opportunity, and if it wasn’t for her supportive and Twitter loving mother, she might not have even made it out of the Cleveland debacle (I got dibs on this being my new band name). Luckily, she did make it, and although she did not win, she came out of it with some super positive insight-

“To look around that room and see some incredibly talented people that are considered your peers is a good feeling. Even coming out of it without the result I wanted, the whole experience really
reaffirmed how much I like my career.”

That might not seem like such an “A-ha” statement, but it is oh so relevant. Think of how many people you know that loathe their jobs. Realizing you are where you want to be in life is something many people never get the chance to say.

As far as advice for us on participating in competitions like The Big Ad Gig, she continues her effortless positivity-

“Say yes to everything and get yourself out there. You never know what will come from it.”

Rose is currently a copywriting intern at Plan B, but I have a feeling we will be seeing much about her in the near future. Her book is full of well-rounded campaigns that are as smart as they are funny.

Check out her book here-

Follow her on Twitter- @RoseSchuchat

Follow her mom on Twitter- @RosesMom

* Written by - Jeff Polaschek

By heather : November 05, 2014

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That’s Some Darn Good Baloney

Last week I sat down with third quarter copywriters Kevin Tosi and Adam Bedol about their new advertising podcast, “Darn Good Baloney.” “Darn Good Baloney” more or less revolves around interviews with people that work in the industry, so you could say that it was an interview… about interviews… or not. Here goes!
Me: So, first things first. Can you two tell me how you came up with the idea to start an advertising podcast?

Kevin: Don’t get me started.

Me: What?

Kevin: “Don’t Get Me Started” is the name of the advertising podcast that Creative Circus puts out.

(Creative Circus is a 2-year ad school located in Atlanta, Georgia)

Me: I see – so you were inspired.

Adam: Yeah. We basically thought it would be cool to start our OWN podcast, with the goal of spreading information about advertising to anyone that’s interested in it.

Kevin: We also just love podcasts. *laughs*

Me: Right. So why the name “Darn Good Baloney?”

Kevin: There’s an old Leo Burnett quote – “If you are writing about baloney, don’t try and make it Cornish hen, because that’s the worst kind of Baloney there is. Just make it darn good baloney.” We liked that quote; it kind of sums up this basic idea that in advertising, it’s your job to make anything look good. Seemed like “Darn Good Baloney” could make a fun name, so we just went with it.

Me: Okay, so tell me what a typical podcast looks like… or, I guess, sounds like.

Adam: We research people in the industry – you know, one portfolio leads to another, and so on… We also do a lot of research on Linkedin. We then contact people to see if they would be interesting in coming in to the school to meet with us and record.

Kevin: OR if we discover someone cool from out of town, we see if he or she would be okay with recording over Skype.

Me: So do you come in with set questions prepared?

Adam: Sort of. We go in with talking points, but we mostly try to keep it conversational.

Kevin: We also provide the link of the portfolio of whomever we are interviewing to the CPS Facebook group, and we ask CPS students if they have any questions to ask. So it becomes interactive; not just for us but for the whole school.

Me: And you aim to put out one episode a week?

Kevin: Correct.

Me: Awesome! You guys are great. For a last question – can you share with me one thing that you’ve taken away from the experience?

Adam: Yeah, last week we talked with Paul Kuzma, who has his own shop at IfNotNow Creative marketing, in Chicago. He spoke to us a lot about what he looks for in student portfolios, and it was really interesting. Something he said was – if you can change his opinion about a product, you’ve done something well.
Thank you, Kevin and Adam, for sharing! If you’re looking to listen to “Darn Good Baloney” (which – of course you are, right?!) simply go to

Written by: Amanda Burger

By heather : November 03, 2014

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Brian Smith

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet Recent CPS Alum Brian Smith, Copywriting Intern at Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Los Angeles – who just started a couple of weeks ago!

Check out his advice below:

“Don’t be afraid to be yourself and let your work be a glimpse into your personality. Find an agency you think mirrors your personality and go for it; never know what might happen.”

“Throw ideas around, laugh, and have a good time and your book will show your passion. Lastly, avoid clichés.”

Take a look at Brian’s talented work here:

By heather : October 30, 2014

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