Zachary was born in Houston and went to school in Austin, before finally abandoning Texas in favor of seeing the rest of the world. He kindly answered a few questions about his creative passions, his history in the industry, and his dog, Rufus, the “best dog in New York.”
What drew you to a career in copywriting?
This is roundabout, but my earliest passion was comedy, which I pursued after college. I moved to Chicago, worked at the Second City, traveled a bit – all before discovering that I had the most fun while writing comedy, as opposed to performing it. Writing jokes turned into writing other things, and I found work that developed my craft and that I was inspired by.
What brands inspire you as a copywriter?
One of my favorite brands is Cards Against Humanity, which positions itself as kind of a rebel brand with a strong political consciousness. I love their willingness to go all out to make a statement, like buying land near the proposed border wall, or donating revenue from products sold in states that have banned abortions to pro-abortion organizations. Plus, they have great staff writers that are truly weird and disgusting and hilarious.
Do you have any good writing advice you can share?
My biggest lesson as a writer has always been about self-editing. I used to be very precious about jokes I had written, sometimes deforming whole scripts just so I could keep a joke that should have been cut in the second draft. Now I feel confident enough in my ability that I know I can always write more jokes, but the piece I’m working on needs to come first.
What are your hobbies?
I love sci-fi, videogames, D&D, pétanque (it’s like the French version of bocce ball), climbing, hanging out with my partner Cami, and taking our dog all over the city. He’s so popular and beloved everywhere he goes, it’s nice to borrow a little bit of that for myself. Seriously, Rufus is the best dog in New York. I’ll send you a picture.
What are your favorite pieces of writing?
In the world of marketing, I think my favorite ever piece of writing was the slogan for Timex: “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” It continues to be hilarious and memorable, even 70 years later. For everything else, I love Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars trilogy. It’s a perfectly realized piece of hard science fiction about humans, colonization, love, betrayal, pursuing lost causes, and most of all, Mars. Highly recommended.