By Jem Bauermeister
We aren’t lucky
I don’t believe in luck. I never have done. My parents always used to tell us off for using the word, which is weird. Come to think of it, it’s a very weird word to be prohibited in the family home. But we were brought up with the understanding that nothing was ever a happy or even unhappy accident. Without realising it at the time my siblings and I were being trained to recognise opportunities.
One of the school’s favourite mantras is OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE. Which is pretty much the same thing. Whether it’s nowhere or now here is all down to perception.
A lot of our mentors say they’ve been lucky. They’ve had a lot of right-time-right-place moments. There’s a popular opinion that some successful individuals are such because they’ve had a run of lucky breaks. But really they’re just “luckier” than others because when they were in the right place at the right time, they saw it and they used it. Luck loves to greedily take all the credit for what should actually be attributed to hard work and hustle.
The biggest brief we’ve been given all year came from Marc in term one. Under the guidance of our mentors Rob, Vikki and Steve Harrison, we were to create a documentary about a legend within the advertising industry. At times it’s been quite a frustrating project. It’s a lot of work. And the main bulk of the work is fairly repetitive. Interviewing, transcribing, editing, writing. We’ve definitely spent some time questioning if and how this is ever going to help our careers. But Marc insisted that what looked like a lot of work was actually a golden key.
Right now, our team is on the final stretch of finishing the film and it’s time to reflect on the incredible opportunities this brief has given us.
Firstly and most obviously, it was an opportunity to meet and talk to some genuine legends. Even if they never remember us, hours of researching, interviewing, listening to, transcribing and organising their incredible wisdom has taught us a lot. Our documentary is about the rockstar planner, MT Rainey. We’ve been inspired by her approach to work, her bravery, her creativity, her confidence and the way she has always grabbed opportunities. MT wasn’t the only one though, we got to include and learn from Jim Kelly, Mark Roalfe, Lee Clow, Alison Copus, Helen Weavers, James Murphy, Andy Nairn and David Abraham as well.
Interestingly, a lot of very successful and exciting agencies were founded by people who cut their teeth in the industry working for MT. Lucky Generals, adam&eveDDB, St Luke’s and Uncommon to name but a few. Is that luck? Was she extremely good at recognising talent or did her hunger for opportunity rub off on them?
Another opportunity this project gave us was finding a partner. Martin and I learned how we worked together, spending weekends and evenings juggling cameras, hard-drives and reduced co-op sandwiches in order to meet the various deadlines we’ve had. If it wasn’t for our bonding time over Premiere Pro we might never have paired up to tackle D&AD together.
But the third and possibly most important opportunity this film has given us starts in two days. Right at the beginning of the project, MT put us in touch with Nils Leonard. Even
though we didn’t manage to organise an interview with him, a couple of weeks ago we used the introduction to ask if he’d like to look at our portfolio.
Amazingly, the answer was yes. And now as we finish up the final cut of the film, we’re also preparing to spend our half term at Uncommon, one of our favourite agencies in the world.
So Marc was right, we’ve been holding a golden key. If my grubby shared house suddenly burned down and took all of our hard work on this film with it, it would still all be worth it. But hopefully it doesn’t because that would be sad. And it would be pretty great to share what we’ve learned and see what opportunities a finished film under our belts might bring us in the future.
So thank you Marc and Vikki for this brief. Among many other things, it’s taught us that opportunity is most certainly fucking here.