By Owen Hunter Jenkins
SCAB – How To Survive the Lewis Regime
If you’re starting the SCA regime this year you will want Marc to like you. But this is easier said than done. I think everyone, past and present, has said at some point said: “I don’t think Marc likes me”. And believe me, you’ll destroy yourself trying to figure out if he does or not.
But in short, he doesn’t. If lucky, he will like your work and attitude.
So to help you, here’s a cheat sheet:
- Go The Extra Mile. There’s a fella who (in my eyes) should win the scholarship. His idea was good, but ideas are subjective – they don’t guarantee success. But he did go the extra mile. His idea ‘trended’, it got coverage and people were talking about it. Marc’s an ad man. He loves publicity for his students and the school. It’s hard to argue with an idea that has already had thousands of people talking about it. If nothing else, it proves that it works in the real world and not just in a scholarship competition. Ask ‘will people talk about this’.
- Help People. SCA is a driven place, everyone is in there to succeed and beat everyone around them. But that can also be a problem. Our year was a little too self-centred. Most of us care about beating the person next to us. We’ve been criticised for not helping others, and this breeds a bad atmosphere. Go and help another person/team, they’ll return the favour when you need it. Ideas aren’t yours, there everyone’s. The sooner you can let this go, the better you’ll be.
- Have An Opinion. Marc has seen thousands of student books. But he hasn’t seen every type of person. He wants to know who you are in your work. So make sure you can inject what you’re about onto the paper. If you’re a joker, fuck it, answer a brief with humour. If you love telling stories, make every case study script good enough to read. If you stand for something it makes your work a lot easier to argue for.
- Scare Him. Marc is a maverick, he likes to fuck with the system – he’d rather you get arrested for an idea, than get hired for doing the same thing that he’s seen hundred of times before.
- Suggest Things. The school is great, but everything can be better. We have a suggestion box in school, so fill it with ideas to better him, and the school. He might not agree with your suggestion, but will admire your tenacity.
- Approach Him. Like every dictator, he’s difficult to approach. But that’s really all in your head. He won’t come to you. You need to come to him. He can be short, sharp and doesn’t mince his words. So be ready with something to show him. Less “Marc I’ve had this thought” and more “Marc I had this thought, so did this and now this happened, how can I make it better?”.
- More Than What’s Expected. This is easier said than done. The workload at SCA is tough, and gets tougher. But if you can always do more than what he expects, this will stand you in great stead. My boys have just won white pencil for their D&AD Amnesty brief. For their supporting material, they included photos of them in Calais talking to migrants. The photos they took were nothing short of amazing.
- Try to Win. Marc is a numbers man. He rates us, our work and puts us into league tables. I don’t like this, and not a lot of us do. But show that you care about winning. He wants fighters, not coasters.
- Every Brief (even the ones that you haven’t got time for)
- Ask For Help. Despite what many think, he has a massive heart. He knows when to put an arm round you when you really need it.
- Topical Ads – There are adverts that are relevant to things going on now. An ad about for Eurostar using Brexit before it happened. An ad for miracle grow just after Wales got through the Euro semi-finals. Don’t do it, polish it, wait and then show him. Because by this time it’s probably too late. Make loads. Most of them will be shit – but one could work. Deconstruct it, ask Marc why it worked then try and do it again.
- Be Late. He used to make us dance in front of everyone when we were late. He stopped doing that later in the year, but instead, he took a mental note. In many ways, this is worse. It’s almost like he just puts you down in his mental ‘uncommitted list’.
- Miss Scabs. (Blog posts) He will send you a rota at the start of the year. Put your dates in your calendar, set an alert the day before, and write about something meaningful.
- Miss a Deadline. I really think this is the biggest mistake you could ever do on the course. Sometimes your work will be shit, but better to get something in than nothing at all.
- Bribe Him. One team bought him a coffee and a croissant (and gave him a fucking great topical print campaign) at the start of the year. He didn’t take the gifts. He can only be bought with great work.
- Try and Be His Mate. He’s much rather chat to you about something interesting you’ve seen done, watched, made than that mad party you went to last night (I’ve never actually talked to him about house parties, so feel free to give this a punt if it was a good party)
- Give Excuses. He’ll accept them, but your reputation is probably in tatters.
HOWEVER, Marc is one man, with one opinion. You won’t always agree with what he does or says. But that’s what dictators do, they dictate. So don’t beat yourself up if you do a ‘don’t’, we all have. Just make sure that at the end of the year, you’ve done more ‘dos’.
But please, never forget that you are your own person. You have you own dreams, hopes and ambitions. Leave liking yourself, not searching to be liked by others.
Best of luck, I’m sure you all won’t need it.