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Susan Cokas (SusanCokas)

Joined 4 years ago from North Carolina

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From Second City, to movie extra to advertising copywriter, the journey continues...

It's been a fun ride! Who would've thought a girl from Chapel Hill who once, low on funds, took a job being a California Raisin would move to the big city and find her calling? It all started when a savvy guidance couselor at UNC asked me what I planned on doing with an English major the beginning of my junior year. Good question! What the heck was I going to do other than maybe eat a whole lot of Ramen unless I found a career path. I signed up for a bunch of journalism classes since I was good at writing and then discovered my first of many advertising classes. So I can be funny, write creative lines and get paid so I can then pay rent? That seemed like a winner to me. Wish I remembered that guy's name so I could go back and thank him.

Knowing almost nobody in Chicago, I got my first job at the Chicago Sun-Times and worked down the hall from Roger Ebert. I got free tickets to Bulls games, Blackhawk games and Broadway shows, which was great because I could barely afford to buy lunch on my newspaper worker wages. (We really do deserve that press pass!) I met so many unique people and was asked to interview for my first of many advertising agencies. I loved it! Even the many late hours. My art directors became my Chicago family and we remain close to this day.

Chicago also offered so much more than the small town in which I grew up. I took acting classes, was an extra in many movies including Home Alone 2 and The Fugitive. I tried to write myself into a scene alone with Harrison Ford but was told to "please go back to one." Then, after casting Steve Carell in a television spot I wrote and helped produce, he returned the favor by introducing me to the world of Improv with a few free classes he was teaching. I spent two years taking classes and finally performing in my graduation show on the second stage of Second City. Never made main stage, but acting was also second to writing for me. It also prepared me to do a whole lot of improv acting during client pitching when the idea we thought was awesome at 11 pm the night before was tanking.

I moved back to lovely North Carolina and continued to receive freelance gigs from former bosses and partners in Chi-Town as well as have great steady clients here in Raleigh. In my downtime I play tennis, something the Windy City weather did not really lend itself to, and head west yearly to ski. I also am able to go see my beloved Tar Heel basketball team in person finally instead of begging midwestern pubs to change the channel from a Big Ten conference game to see a North Carolina team play, good luck with that! I love meeting new people and learning new things so I am hoping this adventure continues no matter where I go from here.

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