I joined Instant Brands as a Content Strategist and Senior Copywriter. The company was experiencing growing pains as they worked on expanding their product line from the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker into the Instant family of appliances, with dozens of new products scheduled for release in under 6 months.
I helped by creating a content style guide and by writing all manner of copy: website, communications, social media, technical manuals, product information sheets, etc.
- Instant Vortex™ Plus Air Fryer Oven – website copy deck. One of the many new products for which I had to write copy. The mandate for web copy was to be approachable, customer-friendly, and light on the technical side while still positioning the product as a technical innovation.
- Dinner in an Instant – Newsletter. I was responsible for publishing a weekly newsletter sent out to the 60,000 subscribed members. We experimented with a number of formats, one of which was to focus on a specific recipe that illustrated essential techniques for cooking in the Instant Pot.
- Dinner in an Instant – Blog. For a period of time, I was also responsible for maintaining a blog. This blog entry works in parallel with the Dinner in an Instant newsletter.
- Content Style Guide. I created several versions of a content style guide for the company. This is the 2-pager meant to convey the key elements to staff across various teams.
- 1 Hour YouTube Blurbs. I was called upon to write all manner of blurbs for various purposes. For example, Instant Brands posts a lot of videos to their YouTube page, and each one needs a short description of its content. Often, the writing of these blurbs was squeezed between other tasks. This particular document was hammered out in 1 hour.
- Alexa Skill Store Content. I helped create the Instant Cook Skill for Amazon Alexa, which allows you to use your voice to control a specific model of WiFi-enabled Instant Pot. This is the copy deck for submitting the Skill to the Alexa Store.
- Alexa Video Script. I wrote the script for several instructional videos, following a prescribed format. This one shows how to use the Alexa Skill.
Madcap is a company I helped start in partnership with pedagogy experts and filmmakers that focused on creating interactive educational tools. Funded by Pearson Education and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we developed a prototype of the Madcap Learning Adventure that included two modules in grade 5 math and two modules in grade 8 history. In addition to leading the digital team and architecting the interactive elements of the experience, I also researched and wrote all of the content for the two history modules, which were about the American Civil War.
Here are copy decks for two parts of the history modules that were used by the designers and developers:
- Underground Railroad. This activity was an interactive timeline about the life of Harriet Tubman to provide context to the function of the Underground Railroad. The timeline included different layers of information that could be toggled on and off.
- Young Soldiers. This activity allowed the student to select different options for creating a character based on young soldiers. As the student made selections based on location, education, motivation, and occupation, a customized image and story about the character’s life story was revealed.
Alongside the content modules, the Madcap experience included a supporting website, for which I also created the architecture and provided the copy. Naturally, this included some simple Q&A help:
After the prototype, we applied to the Canada Media Fund to develop a series of mobile apps. The executive summary for the funding application to demonstrates the ability to boil complicated ideas down into succinct nuggets of copy:
In 2011 I partnered with a production company on a television series concept I created called Breaking News. We got thiiiiiiis close to a development deal with the CBC. It was a risky idea, and timing being everything, it was a time when risk was not something broadcasters in Canada were comfortable with. It was also a drama about the news, also a tough sell. Within 12 months, Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom appeared on HBO.
Here is the short treatment for the series:
Decksi was a startup company that used the collectible trading card idea to create a digital marketing experience. In my role as a producer for the company, I wrote the copy for a number of decks including one for the television series Glee. The deck included a connection game where you could earn bonus cards by figuring out how to combine regular cards:
Canadian Screen Training Centre
Several years ago, shortly before shutting down due to funding cuts, the Ottawa-based CSTC hired me to consult on the content strategy for a new website. It was a very small contract and the resulting report was very brief:
Conspiracy of Ages
In my work I develop a lot of games. Unfortunately, the design documents for those are owned by my clients and cannot be shared. Fortunately, I also design a lot of games for my own pleasure. One of them is a collectible card game:
Creative Writing: Kinderex®
This is a short story I wrote about a young girl who sees people as monsters unless she takes her medicine. However, Hannah has other ideas about how her prescription ought to be used to improve her life.
Creative Writing: Mexico, 2012
One of my creative alter-egos is Mark Hand, procurer of unique and esoteric objects and part-time saviour of the world. In this story, I track down a very special mask which leads the discovery of why the Mayan calendar ended in the year 2012. And spoiler alert: yes, you do have me to thank for why the world did not end on December 21, 2012.