I spend most of my time trying to explain to people what it is that I actually I do. It usually starts with “Are you the Munro in Law?” to which I follow with.. “No, I’m the creative one.”
Does anyone else feel the pain, that once you have stated that you are a “creative” there is no way out? You are stuck trying to explain that you want your future career to involve a shit load of daydreaming, where you doodle a shit load of shit ideas, have weekly existential crises about the amount of shit that you are producing, fall in love with an idea that your sleep deprived brain has convinced you that it is in fact.. da shit. Which is then followed by having to go pitch your idea, to then be told that it is.. in fact.. shit, and to go away to produce something that.. is not… quite so.. shit.
So to sidestep the… interestedly blunt truth, I usually go with “Oh, I want to work in a London advertising agency” … Much more acceptable.
If you’ve been to an advertising agency, you will agree that they are on another level of crazy. They are a place where adults don’t have to pretend that they aren’t still children. There is usually a dog running around, a football table, there’s actually always a weird chair that you will fight over, and crying creatives with MacBooks and coffee in every corner.
The most helpful thing that I have learned, that has given me the courage to walk into agencies, is that everyone in the creative world wants to help you. They want you to succeed, they want to hear your ideas. We are the young generation that is bringing new perspectives and innovative ideas, that they might never have thought of before.
Yes, they might say your idea is shit, but they might say that it’s shit with potential. It’s that potential that they are looking for, they know we’re not perfect and that we’re not going to be walking in, being ready to win a Cannes Lion award. But what they can see, is that we love what we do and that maybe one day we could win one.
Successful creatives in these agencies might seem daunting, and yes I won’t lie to you, I have wanted to run a million miles away before a presentation. But if you are like me, I was incredibly taken aback when I met these “big scary creatives”, they are just like us, they’re not sat in suits, they do have tattoos, they are a little barmy, but what’s most important to remember is that they’re not allowed to shoot you for a shit idea.
They might tear apart your idea or portfolio, and you might want to cry about it. However they’re not doing it to be mean, there’s just no point in letting you create something that’s not the best of your ability.
Expect them to be blunt. My lectures who have previously been high up in the creative world taught me that nothing good comes of being babied. Yes, it is easier to hear and you don’t feel like you’re failing, but when it comes down to the real world you will be knocked down, you just have to get back up and keep fighting. The rewards are so worth the meltdowns.
Anything can and will happen in this bizarre career. One day you might be just sat thinking, presenting to a big client, being carted off to a film shoot. Or even finding yourself being interviewed for Campaign, being asked about what it takes to be a creative advertiser. Honestly, it happened and it was hard to explain that we are all just big kids, who are just… kinda.. winging it.
I’m just here to tell you that if you’re thinking about taking the plunge, or if you’re currently doubting your skills – Do it. Because you have what it takes.
Also. Here are the weird chairs and dogs I was talking about, its all about the ambiance.