My Experience: GSD&M Job Shadow


“At the end of the day, what we do is sell products, but we might as well do it in a fun and creative way” – Scott Chalkly (Paraphrased)

I remember getting my first taste of GDS&M at the Youth Media Project Award Show. The spacious lobby was truly a sight to see, the natural light gave this professional environment a warm welcome.

My job shadow was led by Scott Chalkly, a Copywriter at GDS&M. As he showed me to his office, I felt a bit odd, I wasn’t sure what questions I should be asking, I guess this was our one-to-one time, but it didn’t seem like we were going to get anywhere, so Scott decided to take me on a tour around the building. The tour gave me a better perspective of the company. Before this shadow program an advertising agency seemed like all business, and money. Which I have a hard time being comfortable with. But with every section that I was shown and the people that I met, I became more and more comfortable. The people are all friendly and charming. Taking a look at the editing room was a real treat, seeing more monitors that I’d know what to do with, sound dampening material all around the room, and dim lighting, all of this made me think of how this would be a perfect environment for me to work/play in. And although I was given the opportunity to ask some of the in-house editors questions, I was left speechless for some reason. I later found out that little of the actual production is done at GSD&M, which disappointed me a bit. I was still very impressed with the scale of the editing team. As we walked around, Scott told me how meetings and blackboards went hand in hand. The black board process of pining your work and discussing it seemed to me like the perfect process for me personally, and I had a lot of fun exploring the many conference rooms/hallways. After that, I found walking on a bridge with a most beautiful sight. Racks and racks of servers, blinking and humming before me, I regret not being able to talk to the IT crew of GSD&M, but I know that I would’ve had quite a bit of fun. After looking at another conference room or two (there are a lot of conference rooms) I found myself coming full circle, back into the lobby.

After going back to Scott’s office, I was more comfortable and finally started asking questions. I wondered how Scott’s work flow was day-to-day, I quickly found out that it was a hard question to answer. As every day has different tasks, you’re not always sure how a particular day will play out. I also helped Scott take a look at directors that could tackle a Radioshack commercial that Scott had created (which I hope to see in the near future). Critiquing video is something that I’m already used to doing, so I found myself enjoying the experience. As our session was coming to a close, and Scott had to prepare for a Radioshack meeting, we went to get a drink. We also decided to re-visit the lounge and catch some of the world cup (in which I still have no idea what’s going on). This I believe was the strongest part of the session. The two of us started asking each other questions, about my pursuits, our experiences in school, his experience in a sweat-shop ad agency, and how to talk to managers about schedules and commitments. I didn’t just get tips on how to get into an ad agency, or what to do to make my resume look good, I’ve been told this many times. But I was given knowledge on how to manage my personal life, my personal/other dedications outside of work, and to schedule all of these things(as well as possible, anyways). After finishing a drink and meeting another video editor, we went back to wrap things up, and I got to show Scott some of my work, which he found impressive. As Scott had to get ready, he walked me out, and I ended the day with a whole new perspective of the the ad agency.

I came out of the lounge not only knowing more about GDS&M as a company, but also as a mini-community, and Scott not only as a professional, but also as a person.

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