In the spirit of Halloween, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about the more frightening aspects of SCA. As a student, its all about practise, we have to practise how to present ourselves and present our work. In both cases I’ve learnt what scares me, but also how to deal with it.
At school, we’ve learnt what is expected of us by the industry, one of the obvious conditions being punctuality. Theres no excuse for not behaving professionally or being late, and at school this is drummed into us from day one. If any student doesn’t meet this simple requirement, aversive punishment will have to be enforced. At SCA punishment takes the form of ‘Twerking’, or any kind of humiliating dance that the Mentors decide on.
After watching a few unlucky people perform on stage, I can honestly say I’ve never been late to school. I’ve had the occasional nightmare imagining myself rolling around on the floor or prancing around in front of my class mates before they’ve even had time to swallow their first sips of coffee… and its been an ugly sight. I don’t know how many advertising agencies enforce this rule upon their creatives, but the thought of doing it is terrifying. Yet, what I have eventually come to realise is that if you’re afraid of making a fool of yourself, you’re probably doing the wrong job. So much of what we do is about relating to human insight and nature, how would you ever be able to do that if you were without a sense of humour? This is all about people and their psychology too, nobody wants to deal with someone thats afraid of being themselves.
Secondly, Pitching. I used to hate the idea of standing in front of people and selling them my ideas, their judging eyes watching my every move, staring at me in silence. Before my time at SCA, I used to cringe at the thought of myself standing on stage, with my awkward stance and T-Rex hands dangling down in front of me. Thankfully with plenty of practise it’s actually become something I really enjoy. I was never worried about what people thought of me, it was more the fear of people hating my idea’s. Idea’s that I genuinely thought were the answer and had invested so much time and energy into, only to find that they were in fact failures. I guess what I forgot to remember, is that creativity is subjective, you’re never going to be able to please everyone.
Just like the majority of creative students, I’ve had a few horror stories. I remember a time when I could not crack a brief for Ginger Beer, every day leading up to the monday morning pitch I killed yet another idea, I simply could not settle on an angle to run with, and ended up showing something I hated. It felt like the end of the world at the time, and I gave an awful presentation too I’m sure, but what it did teach me is that you need to pick your battles and that if you’re going to fail, fail spectacularly instead of being so precious and serious with ideas.
Im almost certain everyone feels this same fear too, and of course it’s good to fail, those failures lead to bigger wins eventually. I also don’t think that fear before presenting an idea will ever go away, the more important the pitch, the more intense the fear. However, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, without it where would the drive be? Fear is a motivator after all, and it definitely helps me keep my goals in sight.