By Joe Sare
12 pieces of advice for the 2018 intake
We were asked to make a video reflection about the advice we’d give to next year’s intake. Ours wasn’t great. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to write a scab about it (also, Marc clocked that I owe bare scabs so I need to fill out this quota). I’m not sure I’m the best person to give advice because my opinions aren’t always in line with the school’s principles. But as Marc said, you’ve got to first learn the rules in order to break them.
If you can write quickly, sell scabs. My god I’m dreadfully hungover and I’m sitting here in the sweltering heat writing. I’d pay for someone to do this for me. If you don’t have the money to buy them, just stock them up and send em when they’re due.
Pick your battles. Don’t do everything, it’s not just physically demanding, it’s stupid. Do the things you want to put in your book. Or that you enjoy. Or get you noticed. Or you need practice on. Marc will undoubtedly set you some long-winded and pointless briefs. If you need to practice your Art Direction or Copy, get an idea quick and just practice and execute that element of the brief. Christ knows I should’ve done more of that at the beginning.
Don’t like the feedback? You don’t have to take it. This industry is full of some really fucking inspiring people. People who’re looking forward to the next act. And there are some dinosaurs. There are people who will like the sort of work you make, and people who won’t. So if they’re telling you your campaign to get homeless people off the street needs to be more instagrammable, just smile and pretend to take notes.
Put something in your book you hate. For me and Nick, it was a good gauge on early crits as to the sorts of agencies and teams who liked our work. If they thought the boring posters in the middle were the best bit, we tended not to go back.
If you’ve got a similar campaign in your book to another team, either blow it out the fucking water or drop it. Because so many teams split and joined towards the end, there was some cross-fertilization of ideas and mediums in a few books. And if your execution isn’t as good as another team, no matter who did it ‘first’, you’ll look like a worse team than them. So if they’ve photoshopped it together, go do it for real and photograph it. Get images of the public looking and reading your work. Write a better line. Find stronger blurred lines. It’s happened where we’ve dropped an element of a campaign because another team has done it better.
Football’s coming home. Not a piece of advice, but just had to put it in.
Get properly pissed. Edward De Bono was the originator of the five hats theory. Nick and Joe added two more hats; the orange and purple hats. I think orange was ‘is it actually just shit’. The purple hat was inspired by the Persian court system; a system of debate divided into two parts. the first was a normal debate, often lead by the more politically astute members. The second part was to get blind drunk, to the point all social barriers were dropped, and vote again. If an idea was passed both times, it was decided. If either the sober side or drunk side was downvoted, it was a shit idea.
D&AD isn’t shit and it’s worth doing more campaigns than you physically can. I didn’t win a pencil, but Nick did. But since deadline day, I haven’t really felt stressed. A lot of people say you get busier and busier, but in all honesty, I feel more relaxed than ever. D&AD gives you an understanding of what pressure is.
Don’t fucking worry what anyone else in the room is doing. Look at their work and share ideas, but don’t get too centered in it. You’re not just competing with other teams for the job you want, you’re competing with other schools, other teams in the industry, other people in culture. You can be as good as you want in the eyes of Marc and the mentors, but they aren’t giving you a job at the end of the day. Compete with the people who have the jobs.
Listen to Marc. Not that controversial, but in all honesty, he’s someone I have a shitload of respect for. If you feel he’s mean or demanding or unfair, take a step back and look at where you are. You’ve come here to be broken. You’re in boot camp. There’s method. And you’re most likely just being a whiney little fuck.
Speak to other intakes. When you come here, it’s under the understanding we’re in a big family. SCA helps SCA. Talk to people. Build your relationships early, you’ll be remembered.
And yeah I don’t think this was 12 lessons, because it’s long enough already and I’m hungover from the football. But have a mad year.