By Joe Colquhoun
Life’s all about balance. Ying and Yang, you know the drill.
Mads and I were reminded of this humbling lesson over the course of last week.
Monday we were off to a strong start. We’d sorted out our portfolio to some extent, for our crit at Uncommon. They’d liked some work we did the previous week, so we were looking forward to showing them what we’d done.
Nick and Joe were great, they went through our book in a pretty laid back, conversational way, and for the most part liked our work. They gave us a ton of tips and thoughts on how we could improve which we also really appreciated.
*Quick note, if you go for a crit with them, ask Joe about his theory on white space. Mads and I both wrote WHITE SPACE in our notebooks but have no idea what it means.
Obviously, our portfolio isn’t perfect yet, and we still have a long way to go but we were feeling pretty spicy. Also, Mads did her best not to say anything too bizarre, which was thoughtful of her.
Two days later and still in good spirits we had another crit at TBWA. Now these guys, Ben and Johnny, I was more nervous for. I’d done work experience with them a month or so before SCA so weirdly, I felt there was something to prove.
During a crit, one of two things will happen. You’ll either talk your way through your work, or you’ll sit in uncomfortable, sweaty silence as your book is flipped through. This crit was not like the first.
Mads and I made weird small talk for around twenty minutes before they’d got to the final page.
To say they hated it would be an exaggeration. They definitely liked some of the stuff in there but the reaction was not the one we’d anticipated. The briefs we’d been working on at school were too specific.
Why talk about Virgin Quadplay when you can talk about Virgin? Who cares about the little details? Do all that when you have a job.
You have the opportunity now to talk about anything. Create big, world-changing ideas, show us what you’re passionate about. There were two or three campaigns in our book that were to this scale, the rest of them… meh.
The parts they liked?
Our prenuptial agreement, our ideas for business cards, anything in our book that wasn’t work, the stuff that made our portfolio specifically ‘us’. So that’s what we’re focusing on now.
Despite the tough love it was great to go see them again. The advice they’ve given us is invaluable and we’d recommend anyone to go and see them. We left the offices feeling hot, feet firmly back on earth, reminded of the important lesson which applies to all of SCA.
You’ll only ever feel good about yourself for around two days, at which point you’ll get bitch slapped back to reality and realise how far off you really are.