Kt McBratney describes herself as “storyteller, brand marketer, knot untangler.” She is Head of Product Marketing at Seed&Spark, a platform for supporting film projects and streaming unique works.
BS: What are you working on now?
KM: One of the initiatives at Seed&Spark I’m most excited and passionate about right now is our 100 Days of Diversity campaign that kicks off on Inauguration Day. It’s a rallying of the film community (including the audience!) to combat the rhetoric of the new administration by celebrating the beauty and power of our diverse nation through film. It’s 14 weeks of inclusive films and crowdfunding campaigns, with participation from so many amazing independent filmmakers, organizations and minds.
Outside of Seed&Spark, I’m working on the third act of my novel (a Western with a dash of the supernatural), a series of essays about heroes and Hey Seymour (weekly Tinyletter of article recommendations).
BS: Do you have a work ritual?
KM: I start the day checking on what’s going on the broader world before opening my email. This helps me stay grounded in the wonderful chaos of the startup world. I also arrive at the office at least 10-15 minutes early so I can get set for the day, including making a list for the day. Rather than the simply listing my to-dos, I break it out into tasks and strategic work, so I can block and tackle as the day unfurls. There’s a loveliness to being able to cross something off in a role where most things are never truly done-done.
BS: Who are your collaborators and co-conspirators, and how do they influence you?
KM: I work with some incredible talents, most closely with Emily Best, Max Silverman and the incredibly delightful Julie Keck at Seed&Spark. Like the best collaborators and co-conspirators, they listen, challenge, inspire and make me (and our work) better. We’re a very “Yes, and” team instead of working in an “either or” mindset. That additive philosophy flows over into all of my work, from negotiation emails with ad reps to planning a party for Sundance, and results in stronger relationships and better results. There’s power in realizing you’re all on the same side.
My creative endeavors are so fueled by my conversations with my best friend Erin Standley and partner-in-life-love-trouble Jason Bejot. They’re often the testing ground for my most out there ideas and the biggest advocates to go against the flow. Creatively, there are few things as valuable as people who remind you to challenge your perceived limits, follow your obsessions and let your weird into the world.
BS: What surprises you?
KM: It’s surprising to me that so many people — myself included — can so easily forget that everything is mutable. We all have the power for change; if you don’t like your current situation, you’re in the best position to make it different!
I’m also constantly surprised by little things: that hummingbirds chirp when they feed, that scrunchies have made a style comeback, that every cuisine has its own take on the dumpling. Life’s full of curiosities, and I love being surprised by the ones that tend to go unnoticed.
BS: What are the risks you take with your work?
KM: In my marketing work, I take risks every day in assessing what message to convey to whom, where and at times for how much. But the bigger risk right now is working for a company that isn’t afraid to stand for something in a time where most brands play the safe, comfortable middle. Making a strong statement, adhering to a mission…that’s become a risk but one I am proud to take.
In writing, it’s risky to be vulnerable. My non-fiction (mostly essays and poetry) is mined from my experiences and feelings, and putting that in black and white risks judgment not just of grammar, syntax and storytelling but of my perspective and emotions. As a freelancer, you’re risking (and almost always getting) rejection with every pitch…and that’s all before the risk of being read by the masses.
Straddling the two worlds is a risk in itself, too: in trying to fulfill both passions and skills in one day/week/life, I risk failing at one or both. And sometimes I do. But the reward of working hard to live a life I love makes it easier to get back up when I do.
BS: Tell me about your first big break.
KM: I don’t feel like I’ve had it yet, to be honest, and I think that’s a reflection of the current state of work: for the vast majority, we chip away at the continuum of success with a series of small breaks and medium-sized personal victories. I’m appreciative of everyone who has taken a chance on me, for sure, but I played a role in those accomplishments just as much. There are fewer truly “big” breaks out there to be had by anyone, and that’s amazing in the way it forces each of us to look at careers and life without some mental Mount Everest. If that was the case, what would happen once you reached the top?
Check out Kt’s Twitter feed and newsletter Hey Seymour.
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