By Benedict Tatham
Who am I?” Do I really have to answer that?
I have to admit I do dread the time when it’s my turn to do a SCAB.
I think it’s something about sharing ones thoughts and emotions, it just cringes me out a little.
But that’s not to say I’m cringed out by other people opening up. In fact I admire all of you for doing so, it’s not easy.
And it’s a major part of the course. We are constantly asked to evaluate who we are as a person.
Do you look at yourself every morning in the mirror and ask yourself what kind of person you are?
Are you driven and willing to sacrifice friends and girlfriends etc to succeed?
Do you have what it takes to be the best?
Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
To be honest with you, I found all of this focus upon, “I” pretty exhausting leading up to the start of term.
First, it was the interview days, the close examination of what sort of person or “plant” we were.
Then the scholarship titles were all focused upon ourselves, “create an altar ego”, “A movie trailer of your life”, “Do something bad for a good reason.”
Then I nearly threw one of the books from the reading list at the wall (God that sounds tame) when we had to make a video entitled, “This is me.”
I thought, “this is so patronizing and immature.”
I started to imagine SCA to be like one of those awful summer retreats that some parents make their kids go on, where you have to do group bonding exercises and organized fun to find out “Who you really are….” aaahhhhh shoot me now!
Then, glad to have got those bits over and done with, my heart sank even more when the Dan Wallace scholarship title came up as, “Who the fuck are you?!”
You can imagine my reaction, ‘Thinking Fast and slow” took a battering.
I felt the title was crass and counterintuitive.
I massively respect who Dan was and what he had done but, I felt that we were being asked to prove that we were like him, and that wasn’t true to who “I” was.
Suddenly the whole “Who am I?” thing became more of, “Who do they want me to be?”
We have all been subject to a new way of thinking about ourselves at SCA and told how we have to be in order to succeed in this business.
However, we must not get preoccupied with thinking that we need to be the person Marc or the mentors wish us to be.
Once we start doing that, we are in danger of producing work that we “think” they will be impressed by or like.
That is when we start to make vanilla advertising.
I think we are all a bit guilty at times of trying to produce work that we think will be liked by the mentors or Marc.
But it is not about what, “They” like it is about producing work that speaks to who you are.
And I guess this perhaps why I am starting to come to terms with why there has been so much focus on the the big question of “Who am I?”
Asking myself this question is definitely something that I have been too scared to do in the past, mainly because of three things:
1. I have never taken myself too seriously in fear of loosing my sense of humour
2. Because I haven’t stopped to slap myself in the face and say, “you only live this life once so you need to work out who you are and what you want to be”
3. You never hear your friends saying these sorts of things….at least not openly anyway.
But, as I said before I am now coming to terms with challenging myself, and focusing on what “I” want.
Because at the end of the day, making these decisions now might dramatically affect where I will be in thirty years time.
And going back to what I was saying earlier, if you feel that the work you produce was made to please someone else then I think you do need to ask yourself “Does this really represent me?”
Because as Marc rightly points, your work needs to represent who you are and what you stand for.
Because when it does, that’s when people will relate to it and it will truly communicate the message you are trying to make.
So ask yourself “Who am I?” It might help you produce good work.
That’s interesting…once you open up it seems you have rather a lot to say. In fact I’ve found this quite therapeutic.