Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Looking for Replies

One of the first questions I ask students when starting a new class is "Why did you pick this school?"

I always get a variety of answers: it was close to my house; I went online and found it: one of my friends goes here. With so many ad schools and colleges to choose from, how do students narrow down their choices and then ultimately pick which one to go to? Is it location? Reputation? Tuition?

I would love to hear from any student out there either currently at an ad school or those long graduated. Please reply and tell me how you decided to go there in particular. If you had to choose again, would you make the same choice?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yes, but are you happy?

I was part of a creative panel last night, presented as part of CSUF's Comm Week. Students had the opportunity to ask questions of industry professionals about how to navigate a career in advertising. The panelists were me, a CD copywriter, an Art Director and an Interactive Designer.

We got the usual lot of questions: what do you do on a typical day? how did you start in this business? who is the person who's had the most influence on your career? what is the typical starting junior salary? Standard for this type of event.

Then came one question that caught us all off guard. "It sounds like you have all had great careers and have gone far within the industry," asks Dustin, an aspiring creative. "But, are you happy?"

We instantly laughed. Yet I noticed it was that nervous kind of laughter when something hits a chord. Are we happy? After all this, a long and fun career in advertising, are we where we thought we'd be? Is this what we thought we'd be doing? Ahhhh, Dustin, you've asked the million dollar question.

A question everyone should be asking themselves. Not after a 20-year career. Not after 10 years in. But now. Are you happy now? In this job, at this agency, doing this work, every week? Yes? No?

I know my answer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cite Right

Two things that I would love to have in every portfolio and for some reason tend not to see very much:

1) Citing your partner(s) name. It gives me an insight into their work as well as yours. And is just the right thing to do. Wouldn't you want to be called out in someone else's book?

2) Citing every contribution you personally made to the piece. If you took the photography, say so. If you are an art director and wrote the headline yourself, say so. Knowing the extent of your skills is so helpful, it gives me a deeper perspective on what you bring to the table.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A little bit scared

A student told me the other day that he is scared going into each of his advertising classes. Not scared like is the boogey man hiding under my desk. More like scared that if he didn't show up and perform his best in each class he'd miss something crucial to his career.

I was impressed. Feeling a bit scared is good for everyone. Think about it. Being scared heightens your senses. As a student, you'd listen more intently and try a little harder. If you attend each class believing you know everything, you probably miss out on a lot of content. But, if you go into each class believing you don't know everything and being scared you might miss something, you'd act like a sponge, trying to soak every piece of information in.

I always go back to the competition thing. That every other student in your ad classes is your competition. Look around, do you see any one in there scared? You'd know them because they're the ones who never miss a class and participate as fully as they can. And those guys are your competition once you graduate.

A dose of fear is a good thing. It keeps overconfidence in check. I can tell you every single person working in advertising is a bit scared right now too. Scared of being out of a job. And the ones who take that fear seriously become more present and engaged in their careers.