East Lyme resident Sara Connolly currently works for Temple Media, in marketing and advertising. She uses her creativity skills to assist in her work, but also explores her artistic passion through volunteer work at the Hygienic Gallery, and has even illustrated a children’s book. The Viking Saga sat down with Ms. Connolly recently to learn more about her cool job and unique talent.
VS: What is your favorite aspect of marketing?
SC: I love negotiating media buys – trying to get the best deals for my clients, but I also like the creative end. You can do the commercials, which involves picking the music beds, what type of voiceover, and the design elements of the commercials, like the text and graphics. I made a really funny one for an oil change company that I love. I wish I got to make more.
VS: What goes into making a commercial? Why do you love them?
SC: I love the creativity, like figuring out ‘what’s going to be a really attractive shot?’ thinking about angles and close ups and design, like what colors do I want. It’s very much an art, really, between making it really look good and pushing a message that will make the viewer purchase, pick up the phone, or go to the website. There’s usually a shoot, which is normally about six hours or so. You shoot a bunch of small shots – 30 seconds here, a minute there – and you storyboard it first because you need to have a plan. Then you have to sit down and watch through them all. What I do is I write down what clips I like and I have an editing software and mark up what I want to do before sending it off to my editing team.
VS: What advice do have to students looking to go down the marketing track?
SC: It’s a great field. It’s all about digital marketing now, so learn as much as you can about – digital advertising, marketing, programmatic buying, that’s what I would recommend. It’s interesting because it’s like ‘how do you even keep up with it,’ especially with the digital part. By the time you teach it and [the students] are out, it’s already old. It’s important to have a basic understanding and then you keep learning.
VS: It’s obvious you are a very creative person and I know you have worked with the Hygienic Gallery for several years now. How did you first get into that?
SC: When I was a stay-at-home mom I needed to have some adults to speak to. I thought about where I could volunteer that looks like fun, so I had gone there [the hygienic] and started gallery sitting one day a week or when they needed me. I really liked it and started doing it more regularly. After a few years I had an idea for a photo show and started a photo-scavenger hunt around New London. Two years ago, they asked me to be secretary of the board, so I am on the board-of-directors there. I help with governance, which is basically how we run the gallery and maintain it. I love the hygienic in the sense that I don’t think that it’s just a gallery or performance space. It’s like a community place where everybody comes and everybody is accepted. You can come up with weird ideas and nobody will judge you. It’s a second home.