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Conversations with Carol Badaracco Padgett

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carol Badaracco Padgett.

Hi Carol, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up in a chaotic household of five with pets and music always present. My big brother, Tommy, was a guitar player and songwriter. Although a leftie, my parents bought him a regular flat top guitar which he learned to play right-handed, and he was quite accomplished at it by the time he hit 11 years old. My big sister, Jeanne, and I idolized him. And we pretty much grew up watching the bands practice in our basement, singing, and I learned to play the drums. This experience, plus the literature I was introduced to at school and at home (mom and dad are avid readers), became the foundation for the things I enjoy most and have the most fun with today.

For college, the University of Missouri School of Journalism was right down the road in Columbia, Missouri, about 45 minutes from my 12,000-people hometown of Mexico, Missouri. So I was set. I studied in the Broadcast sequence, graduated, and then went straight into the College of Arts & Science for a Master’s in Radio, TV, Film. Writing was always my thing–plays, stories, short stories, news copy, ad copy, anything really. I got into a band then, too, as a bassist, singer and songwriter.

My family was always encouraging about my writing, and my sister said one day, which I’ll never forget: “You should be a writer.” I thought, huh, can people make a living at that? As I’ve found out over the course of my life, the answer is yes–as long as you’re willing to be an editor too and a copywriter and a hustler for jobs and areas of coverage. It’s fun. I love it.

Anyhow, after college I moved to ATL in 1989 and got onboard with a sports equipment manufacturer affiliated with Nike. And I started scripting videos and writing marketing and ad copy. It was a dream job because I’m a physical activity buff and an athlete (played tennis for the University of Missouri Tigers Women’s Tennis Team while there). At that first ATL job, at lunchtime, we’d go to the open-air parking deck on top of the Platinum Tower, which is called something else now, and we’d rollerblade. I was in heaven.

Next up, I started as a copywriter at Matlock and Associates, two doors down from the High Museum in Midtown. I. Loved. It. And about three years later, I had my daughter, Sophia. She is smart, funny, beautiful, brilliant, actually. She’s 22 now and working in metro Atlanta, and she’s just an amazing young woman and very well-rounded. She’ll probably wind up running a company someday, starting her own, who knows. She’s so naturally gifted, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mom, that there’s really no limit to what she’ll do.

Anyhow, so I freelanced from the time Sophia was born in 2000 until about 2007, and then I went on staff with a small publishing company client in Raleigh during the years she was in school, and I supplemented with freelance toward the end of that period. So once she’d graduated from Kennesaw State University, I went back out on my own, and the small publishing company in Raleigh is now one of my clients. Before the pandemic, I found my old love of storytelling combined with film and TV. And now that the film industry here in ATL is a $4.4 billion industry, I’ve put the two loves together and made it my business as a writer, editor, and “other” creative. I’m working on a screenplay, too, which I’ll sell on spec one day in the next few years.

That’s my story in a nutshell. Life is good.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
A smooth road? Sometimes, but then it has been messy and unexpected at others. I try to just go with it. I have an abundance of optimism, which I inherited from my dad. And I think it must be hardwired into our DNA.

Some of the struggles have been a laser focus that precludes all else when I’m into something I’m working on–which can be both good and bad. I sometimes struggle to find and maintain a good work/life balance in my busy day-to-day life.

I’ve found that the down times don’t have to keep you down. I trust in something greater than myself, and it always comes through. It’s never-failing, and life is good. My life is a bit unconventional from what I look around and see, but I’m happy and ATL suits me. It’s a diverse and very creative place to call home.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a writer and an editor, essentially, and a newborn screenwriter. I have clients like publishing companies, and magazines (right now, I’m managing editor of Georgia Hollywood Review and I contribute a lot of stories there), and I’ve just gotten onboard to write for ArtsATL. The film industry is my top area of coverage, but there’s also architecture and environmental sustainability, AVL technology, even the auto industry. In all these areas, I get to talk to a lot of fascinating people around the world. It’s never boring.

I think maybe what sets me apart is that I like to find people’s spark and tell their stories. No matter what they do, they’ll be of interest to me. People are interesting, fascinating, and so willing to talk and open up if you’ll do a bit of the same with them.

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Being healthy and having love in my life, being fulfilled and appreciating what I have, those are big elements in how I define success. Stuff will always go wrong, but I weather it and learn from it. I’ve figured out what I love to do—and I’ve pursued it full-steam ahead with success and a great deal of passion.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @badaraccopadgettwriting

Image Credits
Georgia Hollywood Review

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