By Jem Bauermeister
Mistakes and Failures
I wanted to write this SCAB anyway but interestingly it comes also as a response to a mistake. That mistake was reading the SCAB rota wrong and thinking this was due today instead of yesterday. Now I have to write three SCABs instead of one. I was struggling to decide what to write about. Now I get to write about three different things.
I’m going to tell you about my biggest mistakes and failures of SCA. Failures are good. Mistakes are bad. Like mistaking Tuesday for Wednesday or hard work for smart work.
I’ve made three big mistakes at SCA. Maybe more, I’m not sure. But these are the three that I’m currently dealing with the ramifications and anxiety from.
The first one, I just mentioned. On the first day Marc raved about “hard work beats talent” as a mantra. It’s like our second school philosophy. The first one being “we sell or we die”. That’s what we are here for. Hard work beats talent is how we do it. The first brief we had was “if you were to get anything tattooed on you that you’ve learned from the school so far, what would it be?” Naturally, everyone got their Photoshop game on. I got a real tattoo. HW>T is now permanently fixed to my wrist. The tattoo wasn’t a mistake, it was fun. But obsessing over it was.
Top tip. Hard work isn’t always a good thing. Telling yourself that hard work will get you through anything isn’t helpful. Martin and I went from February to now without a single weekend off. And over the last week, we’ve felt it. It’s a real test on a partnership for one thing. “Playful child” just doesn’t show up and you end up nodding a lot instead of talking. We talk about this all the time, but here it is AGAIN. GO AND FEED YOUR BRAIN. Don’t work all the time. It’s a mistake. You’ll end up coming up with logical ideas rather than great ones. And when you do have a great one you won’t recognise it. Today it took a chat with Dusty to convince us that something we’d thought of was decent. You’re going to need harsh and honest mentors at SCA but you’re also really going to need positive and encouraging ones too sometimes. Thank you Dusty.
The second mistake was not spending much time selling ourselves. We sell stuff, we sell the work we make to sell the stuff and we’re also supposed to sell the people who make the work to sell the stuff. But we left that really late. Most people were doing book crits from the start of term two but we’re only just beginning. It means we didn’t give ourselves time to chat to the junior teams and work our way up. We’ve now sprung straight into seeing the ECDs. It could be a good thing. We have one crit tomorrow and one next week with our industry heroes. We would probably be a lot less nervous if we’d started with people who were recently in our shoes.
I think this segues nicely into mistake number three. There’s a fine line between attention to detail and perfectionism. I think the biggest mistakes look a lot like good things. That’s why they go unnoticed and mess things up. I can’t speak for Martin but I know I hate showing someone something when I can see flaws in it myself. Why ask someone else to improve something when I already know what I need to do to make it better? But that’s one of the reasons we haven’t done enough book crits. I don’t think book crits are the be all and end all if the work is great. But it’s an opportunity to make sure that what you’re making is on track with where you want to go. We love detail. Sometimes getting fixated on the tiny details of research and craft can compromise the idea.