By Dominic Barlow
When is a SCAB not a SCAB?
A brief story of my journey and what it’s like being thrown in at the deep end of SCA.
June 14, Marc tweeted out saying he had some singles who he wanted to partner up before the end of their journey and, if things worked out, we’d be able to join our partners at portfolio day (think speed dating with some of the biggest agencies in London) and possibly get some placements off the back of it. An incredible opportunity.
My book was one that I’d put together as a solo over the last four years. I’d graduated from Bucks Ad School in 2015 but having fallen in and out of the ad world (mostly out) since finishing my course, I was doubtful of my selection at best.
I remember scrambling to make some last-minute adjustments before my shift started at 5 and in my email I selfishly named dropped an old tutor from my time at uni, Lynette, who I knew Marc would have worked with as she’d spent some time at SCA.
4.45, email sent.
11.05, I finished my shift, a response from Marc.
“Come in as soon as you can and I look forward to meeting you” was the gist of the email, he seemed nice. I’d heard him speak before, at a DMA Book Crit event, I knew he was smart, I knew how good SCA was.
I don’t really know what Marc saw in my work to invite me to SCA for the last month of the course, I didn’t ask. I just tried to get on with it as best I could.
I started the following Wednesday and it was quite overwhelming in the beginning, the self-doubt crept back in. I even messaged Lynette saying I wasn’t sure I could do it. The bubble of SCA seemed to be moving at 200 miles an hour and I felt like I was crawling along, getting back into gear, everywhere you looked there were teams frantically perfecting their portfolios at a pace I wasn’t used to, even at uni we’d never worked like this. I struggled mentally and physically for the first week.
Lynette replied. She had experienced both Bucks & SCA and she said to stick at it and have confidence in myself, she likened SCA to a machine operating at incredible speed and to just embrace the opportunity and the challenge and be myself.
But being yourself is hard when you’re more on the introvert side and my work commitments made it hard to join everyone for drinks after school on Friday. I went twice, it really helped. Always go to the pub when you can. Obviously, as the new kids (another girl, Maria, was in the same situation as me, thrown in at the deep end) on the block, you want to get to know everyone but it felt like there wasn’t enough time for that. They had work to do, we had work to do. We being me and Antonio, my new partner.
I’ll fast forward until the end because the bit in the middle went a little like this; work, work, work, work some more, work harder, work smarter, work when you can’t work anymore, stop working and recharge, work again, work, work, work.
Then it was all over, in a flash and a blur.
We’d finished, two portfolio days and many crits later it was all over, well, really now everything just begins but SCA has put me in a much better position than I ever thought I’d be in again. So to everyone starting in the new cohort, even when it seems hard you just have to believe in yourselves and your work, Marc has picked you for a reason. One day he might tell you what that reason is.
But even if he doesn’t, just enjoy the ride, I’m envious that you get to do the full course, I’m envious of the people who I spent the last 6 weeks with. Even though I may not have started with them at the beginning, and I couldn’t tell you what the rest of the course was like, we all crossed this small finish line together and I feel I’m a better creative for it. All in all my month-long crash course at SCA was an incredible journey, meeting some fascinatingly creative, genuinely welcoming, wonderful people, and together we’re gonna take over the world, just like you will.