By Ludo Thomas
Refresh and Assess
Half term has been lovely, and to be honest it came at the perfect time. I was feeling tired before the break and as much as I love our course and London, both are absolutely draining so it’s been wonderful to get out of the city for the week and find some brain space.
One of the best things about living in Wales and particularly my surrounding area around the Black Mountains, is the expanse. The sparse mountainous landscape goes on for miles, there is nothing about, which makes it the perfect detox from the hectic urban assault of Brixton.
Throughout the week I was able to reflect on the first half of this course, the good and the bad, and begin to think about what I can do to improve and most importantly, what I can do to get the most out of our remaining four and a half months.
I like having goals, I’ve always used them in sport as a way to drive myself on. But they rarely make it off the pitch and into my academic life. Therefore I’ve decided to set myself some goals, six things to keep me motivated during our final months:
- Follow the processes.
This may be obvious as we’ve been told it from the start, but I’ll hold my hand up and admit that I haven’t been sticking to them as much as I should’ve. Much of the time I have been struggling to pluck an idea out of thin air, we get it ingrained into us we are creative and I’ve been guilty of trying to use this as a means to a great idea. It doesn’t work. Creativity takes hard work and controlled thinking. You must ask the right questions and focus on all the techniques we’ve been given.
- Start working smart.
Time management – the bane of my life. I will master it by the end. Setting daily goals will help, and eat that frog in the morning. I started to keep an hour-by-hour plan just before the half term break and it definitely made my day more structured, but I need to be more ruthless at jumping between projects, if I hit a wall with one, take a break and focus on another. No more wasted hours circling the same problem like a dog chasing its tail.
- Find three agencies that I really, really want to go to.
At the moment this is up in the air, we all hear the same names banded around but this is something extremely difficult to nail down and something that probably won’t be solved until I’ve been on placements. There are lot’s of great agencies, and yes you can base your preferences on the work these agencies put out (this will be the way I initially create my definitive list) but realistically you can never really know what an agency is like until you have been a part of it and experienced it’s culture.
- Know the creatives from my chosen three agencies and build relationships.
People buy people, this was one of the first things we learned at SCA and Peter Souter told us, when he’s hiring he thinks straight away, ‘would I like to have a drink with this person?’ I’m going to start building relationships with the creatives at the three agencies I want to go to. This will begin with book crits; keep going back, iteration after iteration, and by the time portfolio day comes around there will hopefully be some substance to our relationships.
- Start thinking properly about partners.
This is and isn’t important, everyone says you need to be in a partnership, and don’t get me wrong, working with a partner is great, it’s something I love most about this job, but who knows what’s going to happen? Who knows what your partner may or may not do with his or her career, whether they move abroad, or decide they want to go down a different path? It’s quite scary to think that 50% of my career is dependent on someone I’ve only known for six months. Obviously it would be a great feeling to settle with someone I really click with, but actually the way this industry is going – its gradual shift away from the traditional form where copy writer and art director ruled supreme, shows that as a modern day creative you need to be able to work with everyone within an agency because ideas go far beyond the print, TV and radio media channels that the old art /copy pairing was based on.
- Craft, craft, craft.
My weakest side of the coin and something that will be getting a lot of focus. If this means I have to invest in adobe and crack on with hours of YouTube tutorials, while constantly annoying Ian, then so be it, but it’s an area I drastically want to improve and therefore I will.