#MemberSpotlight on conceptual creative and speechwriter Doug Crossley

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How did you get into the industry?

I started out as a writer performer. Then when I began writing TV treatments I hustled my way into the creative industries on charm and by cutting my teeth on some tough briefs with some sharp words and very steep learning curves.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I’m a conceptual creative and copywriter, specialising in script and speechwriting. I work for big brands and even better causes and balance a portfolio of original projects alongside them.

Recent original project commissions include Sky Comedy and Audible, and recent commercial writing clients include War Child, Scope, Crocs, TikTok, Alpro, C4 First Dates and more.

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?


I am the kind of creative who would be generating projects wherever you put me down in the world. That said, I have an active interest in depth psychotherapy and trauma-informed mental health practices, so perhaps I’d be a psychotherapist.

Can you explain your creative process? What makes it unique?

I’m first and foremost a scriptwriter. I started out studying classical theatre, playwriting, and performance. So, my focus has always been stories, and their relationship to their audiences was very direct.

As I moved into digital work, in advertising, and with brands and causes, it remained rooted in that original practice. Now my process, wherever I am, is about characters, stories, and worlds created around them.

How would you describe your style?


I like to say that I’m drawn to work that makes you laugh and makes you feel something. So, as you browse my portfolio you’ll find a combination of left-field quirky responses to already eccentric briefs.

And you’ll see that I don’t shy away from complex topics. Instead, I’ll be digging around in there trying to find the levity and heart. So, my style? Heartfelt, eccentric, and with gut punch where possible.

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

I like anyone who takes an unorthodox path and explores ways to create that don’t necessarily have an already establish pathway. I’m too shy to name names. 

What tips would you give to aspiring creatives looking for work?


Find the person who is hiring and try to talk to them directly. Write to people who are making work that you want to make and ask them if they’ll meet with you. Be cheeky, don’t be bound by your so-called rank in the pecking order.

And have an open mind. Some of the most exciting jobs that have come to me have done so from the most unexpected source. Oh, and be nice. It always pays off.  

What tips would you give to other professionals to get more clients?

Ask for referrals. If you’re unusual or have a non-traditional skillset it’s often easiest to prove you can deliver by getting someone you’ve delivered for to vouch for you.

Seems obvious, but whenever I finish a job, I ask people if there’s anyone in their network they know that might be able to make use of me, and then I write to them. And, always follow up. I’ve followed up repeatedly (with adequate space between contact) and it has led to wonderful things.

I so often feel like a loser when I write to someone and they don’t write back but it is so rarely about you, they’re just busy with their own work-life balance. So, give them a minute, then write a cheeky little follow up.

What kind of tools/kit/software could you not do without?


Final Draft, my Macbook and Ipad Pro (and pencil!). I love Procreate too, it’s a great asset for visualising or exploring ideas beyond the notepad. I’ve been deep into Google Colab of late too, exploring Ai Art making practices and testing whether I can incorporate them into my work. I’m a restless seeker of novelty, so this list will likely change again soon.

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Rest. It’s so deeply unfashionable. But do it. It helps. If you’re on deadline and it seems impossible, just take as much time to recouperate as you can (remind me of this when I’m at the peak of a project).

But when you’re self-generating, writing, producing, or whatever, it’s exhausting. Don’t be afraid to take breaks from projects. Put them down, leave them for a few months, return to them fresh. I’ve found great benefits in thrashing out drafts of projects, and when I get bored of them I move on temporarily and when the inspiration strikes I go back again.

Also, therapy (if you can afford it). Don’t take it all out on the work, sometimes it’s the one doing the work that isn’t quite in working order.

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?


I wrote and performed a solo show about grief, trauma, and suicide, and did a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I learned to play the piano to do it too. Commercially, it was easily the least lucrative project I’ve ever done but it was an absolute baptism of fire and opened enough lessons about my life to keep me busy for a decade.

I will do it again one day. But I’m taking my own advice and resting until the idea emerges for the time being.

What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

The cultural focus and pressure to have a singular area of expertise. I believe it’s borne of a dominant neurotypical cultural, and lots of brains are simply not wired that way.

I’d like to inspire people to be a specialist, but also explore multiple specialisms, and blend your working practice with creative skills from across a spectrum of practices. It’s a longer run way to take off, but the view is nice.

Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?


I recently discovered Fabula storytelling cards. They’re great. They also have a Miro Board option for developing your story work. Very useful for scriptwriting. I love the book “Into the Woods” by John Yorke, and “The No Rules Handbook for Writers” by Lisa Goldman.

Oh, and read “The Body Keeps the Score” for your mind and body, it should be taught in schools in my humble opinion.


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