Get to Know VidMob with Creative Director Tracie Roberson
By Camille Hayward
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your role at VidMob, what office were you located in, and how long have you been at the company?
Heyyy, I’m Tracie Roberson (everyone calls me Tracie Mae), I’m a Creative Director out of the Chicago office and I’ve been at VidMob for a little over a year now. I’m originally from Jackson, Mississippi and, before going to ad school at The Creative Circus, I got two degrees in Broadcasting because I wanted to be the next Oprah Winfrey (spoiler alert: that didn’t happen).
What sparked your interest in production and the creative industry? Is it something you’ve always wanted to pursue, or did you discover it later in your life?
Well, my mom told me that when I was little I would point to the TV and say, “I want to be in there.” So I guess I’ve always been interested in production and the creative ins and outs of it all. But I didn’t actually get much experience in it until I started my career in advertising back in 2009.
What’s it like being a female Creative Director in a generally male-dominated role?
You know what? I don’t even think much about it being a male-dominated role. I’m more proud of the fact that I’m a black, female, Creative Director because I never had one in my entire 11-year career in advertising. Not one black, female, creative director. Not one. So I’m super proud to be the thing that I never saw coming up in this business.
What advice would you give to other women interested in becoming a Creative Director?
I have always been really good at studying people. I like to see what people actually do and how they deliver. Unfortunately, a lot of women have to unlearn some things because they’ve been learning under CDs who…uh…let’s just say…aren’t the best. Learning from a lack of teaching isn’t the best way to learn in my opinion, no one ever says, “Here’s how to NOT solve 2 + 2.” They show you HOW to solve it. So, don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and figure stuff out on your own. Be the creative director you wish you had.
You have your own show called the Tracie Mae Show on Instagram. Can you tell us a little about it? What was your inspiration behind it? Do you have others that help you produce it?
Well, it started because I also have a web series called uneverything on YouTube. And I’d been struggling to find an editor (within my budget) who really understood my vision AND was able to make it happen. So, I started The Tracie Mae Show on IGTV just to force myself to be creative every week and practice my editing skills. I do everything myself, the concepting, the shooting, the editing, everything. It’s fun, but man, the editing has been a journey. I give much respect to our motion graphics editors at VidMob, to do it well is such a major talent. I’ve gotten much better and have started editing episode 3 of my web series, but I definitely wouldn’t put “editing” on my LinkedIn skills just yet. LOL.
What do you enjoy the most about working with the members of the VidMob Creator Community?
I love when I mentally jive with a creator, like, my idea may not be fully fleshed out, but it’s almost like they climb INSIDE MY BRAIN and make it happen. Sometimes I’ll even say, “Hey, this idea is not my best…help meeee!” And boom, they add that good ol’ razzle dazzle and the draft ends up being amazing. Everyone is so talented, so it’s always a good time.
Being a Creative Director requires incredible imagination and conception- how have you adjusted to working from home during COVID-19? Do you have any advice for other post-production artists?
At first, I was thriving, I consider myself to be an extroverted introvert, so home was my happy place for the first couple of months. Now that we’re moving into month 6 of working from home, I’ve had to adjust how I do some things. I made a dedicated workspace, so that when I shut down and walk away, my workday is done. I started taking vitamin D pills because I’m definitely not getting the sun I used to get. And I chat randomly with my coworkers (about non-work related stuff) just to make sure we’re all staying connected and close. As far as advice goes, I like to tell myself that as a creative person, I will never run out of ideas. Like, NEVER. Once you get that stuck in your head, you don’t struggle with concepting because you know the idea is in there somewhere, you just have to find it. My WFH advice for everyone is to set boundaries, keep your work-life balance in order, and shut down when you need a break.