By Robyn Frost
Dear future intakes
You might be starting SCA with some ‘wants’.
You might want to be a copywriter, or an art director, or both.
I imagine you want to smash your year at the school.
At SCA you’ll pick up more skills and be presented with more opportunities than you ever imagined.
Think you’ve got goals now? Just wait until you sit down with that Journal in your first term and envision where you’ll be a year from now.
You’ll start wanting so many more things. Wanting to go to certain agencies (which will likely have changed by the end of the year, but it’s cool), wanting to work with a particular person, and wanting to just ‘get out there’ and get cracking agency-side.
The want is your driver, your ambition, and the thing that keeps you awake at night dreaming up ideas when all you want to do is sleep.
Don’t lose sight of what got you a place at SCA.
The gut feeling of knowing SCA was right for you, and you were going to fight for your right to be there.
You’re in. Keep fanning the flames.
I wanted to ‘win’ my year at SCA.
There are numerous blog posts from alumni that will suggest how.
Marc says there are three things you need to suss: you, your book, and your network.
Stick with them and you’ll win.
It took me a long time to figure out how to manage them, and at times I let other things get in my way, but I’ve also got them right.
So I wanted to share some words on each one – what I’ve done and learnt along the way.
It might look like a mega long list, but I’ve done several sessions of cutting the crap and we’re left with the good bits.
Like everything at SCA, you can pick and choose what you’d like to listen to and what you’d like to ignore. And I’ve subcategorised in list form, because SCA also taught me the value of systems and structure. Thanks y’all.
– This first one’s easy: be a nice person.
- Let your guard down a bit more than you feel comfortable doing. It’s worth it.
- Listen to your partner and your mentors.
- Don’t feel you always have to agree with your partner and your mentors.
- Feed your mind with trips to galleries, exhibitions, the cinema – you know, everything you’ve got access to in London. Most of it’s free as well.
- Go for walks and you’ll get ideas.
- Practice gratitude.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Find your thing and have confidence in it. You’ll earn respect too.
- Listen to your gut. 99% of decisions I make now are based on intuition and it’s working out pretty damn well.
- Never underestimate humility.
- Don’t say yes when all you want to say is ‘it’s a no’.
- Always ask ‘why?’
- Speak up and stand up. Don’t be afraid to fight for what you believe in – an idea, a project, or an opinion. Trust me.
- Speaking of standing up – go to Comedy School when Marc signs you up/asks if you want to go. You’ll learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.
- If it’s a bit audacious you’re looking in the right direction.
- Listen to Marc and your mentors. You’re so lucky to be able to spend a year with them. Question, learn, laugh and get drunk together.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Get famous.
– Give less of a fuck about things that aren’t worth your time, energy or money. You’ll be way happier, and you’ll have a better chance of making work that’s a) good, and b) you like. Win.
- Write everything down.
- Exploit your craft mentors (in a legal way, obviously). Particularly in term two.
- Spend as much time with Alexandra Taylor as is humanly possible without a restraining order.
- Review goals daily.
- Don’t make any fucking typos. SCA encourages failure, unless it’s grammatical.
- Keep experimenting, learning and exploring.
- Visit agencies as early as possible (start of term two). Even if you think your book is a bit rubbish. Good news – it’s only going to get better. The person you’re going to see for a crit has definitely seen worse. They’ll help you. If you get a rogue critter who doesn’t, screw them, you don’t want to work for them anyway. Be on your way.
- Keep in mind not everyone will like your work, or like you. You don’t have to like them either. Life would be terribly boring if we were all into the same things.
- Take responsibility.
- Once you’ve gone as far as you think you can go, push for more. You’ll feel amazing and you’ll see the results.
- Never put work in your book that you don’t like or you don’t feel is representative of who you are and where you want to go. I made a new book a week before Portfolio Day (and put a new project in at 2am on the day) and I have zero regrets.
- Have fun – it’ll show!
- Do extra.
- This is where the ‘get famous’ bit from section one gets going.
- Get on Twitter. Unless you’re trying to reach an influencer whose account is controlled by their management, you can reach anyone you like directly. Spend 20 mins a day on here building your network – you’ve got time.
- Speak to everyone.
- Go to where the opportunities are.
- Go to events. Meet everyone.
- Ask for things. Hustle. But remember, don’t take the piss – be nice, respectful of people’s time, and stay humble.
- Earn a great reputation in industry.
- Nervous of going to an event by yourself? Don’t be. You’ll be one step ahead of the people who couldn’t be bothered to go, or who said they had ‘just too much work’. Fact: there’s always time.
- Think long term – who do you know now that you could start building a connection with? Could they potentially give you a job in a year’s time? Could you hire them one day? Get on it.
- Always ask yourself if something’s mutually beneficial. If someone helps you out and won’t get results that directly benefit them, is there another way of returning the favour?
- You may not think it now but SCABs are one of the best ways of getting the attention of people in the industry. They’re great reflection tools, but you’re sharing too. Use the platform. Get the contacts. Meet the people. Drink the drinks. You get me.
- Don’t take no for an answer.
Hopefully you’ll find these helpful (I’m sure I’ll think of plenty more once I hit ‘send’).
Get out there, work hard and play harder. You’ll smash your year.
Enjoy the ride!
And Tweet me anytime, obvs: @robynhfrost