By Ludo Thomas
Partner hopping is a strange one. I would say it’s a bit like eating a bag of pick ‘n mix blindfolded, just to clarify, I’ve never done this, but I imagine it’s similar. During the spell, there’s an anticipatory nervousness before each plunge, a wondering of what will be next? You know you won’t hate it because actually you put all the sweets in the bag in the first place, but sometimes it’s a shock because you weren’t expecting a fizzy cola bottle straight after your cube of fudge. Although the change and difference is refreshing, for it certainly keeps you on your toes, there comes a time when you begin to realise you have a favourite type, something you wouldn’t mind having a whole bag of.
Here’s where I’m parking the sweet analogy because it’s pretty weird, and you get the point. After all the different combinations I’ve finally started to make a book with just one person, perhaps something I should have done weeks, if not months ago, because you only have to look at the teams doing well and it’s mostly the ones who have been with each other for a while. The decision to put together a book is an exciting one because immediately you start to feel much more settled. Book crits have been difficult to organise previously but now we’ve got a list of our favourite agencies and a couple crits lined up in the coming weeks so things are starting to move more naturally.
What’s nice is the ability to take criticism and then act on it knowing what’s in your portfolio isn’t going to drastically change as partners jump around. I’ve been told more than once rhythm is important when it comes to making a book, that the best books have an interesting tempo, for instance you may have a bigger campaign stretching over a few pages, so to follow this it’s good to include a short, snappy idea which is understood instantly just to breaks things up. So by having a long term
partner you start having a much clearer idea of the structure and rhythm of your book, you know what’s good, what needs to be cut and the types of ideas which are missing, a guider automatically appears pointing you towards your next campaign.
It’s funny, apparently the fat penguin intake is unusual in that we’ve been slow to pair up. At AMV today we were told one team paired up in October, admittedly they are no longer together so it sort of ruins my point, but from my perspective fat penguin are still very much enjoying Marc’s early suggestions that we should be frivolous and sleep our way around the studio. And for me this has been the best thing, it’s been great trying out different people, and the fact it’s moved organically has been important, however if there was one thing I’d do differently it would be to agree to put a book together with one person while still trying out others. Here you get the best of both worlds, a fairly stable portfolio which you can take to agencies, while you are still able to learn about yourself and others in your search for the one. Finding out we narrowly missed the opportunity of an Easter placement was a tough pill to swallow and perhaps one more week with my book partner would have made all the difference, even so, the disappointment makes you hungrier and allows me to pass on a small piece of advice. Do try as many partners as you can no matter how long it takes, but be weary of your portfolio, and while you sleep around nail down a book partner to get the ball rolling. That’s what I would have done differently.