By Andy Burrell
Crit me baby one more time
Mary and I had our first crit on Thursday. And we didn’t die.
I was not ready to share my work with anyone who might be in a position to offer me a job.
My background as an actor has set me up to walk into a room with my product perfected and brilliant. If I’d gone into an audition with a ropey rendition of ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’ where I forgot the words halfway through and then failed to hit the money-note at the end I would not only have not got the job, I would have put my chances of ever getting back in front of that casting director at risk.
So I’m still struggling to wrap my head around the idea that the advertising industry actually seems to nurture talent – not expect it to arrive fully formed.
Stu at Creature might have been utterly turned off by our work, but instead of politely smiling and then showing us the door, he patiently took us through every piece of work, told us what he liked, what he didn’t and why.
And that ‘why’ is huge.
As an actor, I could absolutely nail an audition, have the director in tears or the assistant falling off their chair laughing and then I’d just not hear from them. There was no guidance on why they had chosen someone else for a role, no feedback on what I did wrong or explanation of why I wasn’t right for the part. It was a cattle market and if they didn’t pick you for the job you were irrelevant.
So to have someone not only take the time to go through a load of work that is nowhere near the standard it needs to be but to then give guidance on how to improve it and offer to see us several more times to see how we’re progressing seems so alien to me. Nice, but weird.
It will take a lot of getting used to as a cynical, weather-beaten actor but people in this industry do seem to look out for each other. Maybe I’m saying that from the comfort of a student bubble where everyone looks out for you and every mentor wants you to succeed. If you’re reading this out there in the real world, please feel free to give me a reality check, but I’ve just got a dirty feeling that this industry might be pretty lovely.