Friday, August 28, 2009

Rule of 5

Remember to follow The Rule of 5 when hearing feedback on your creative work. I'm kind of tweaking the intent, but I'm sure you all have heard a similar rule.

When you hear less-than-flattering feedback, think this: will this feedback matter in 5 hours? So if it is something you disagree with or it really hurt your feelings, ask yourself if, in 5 hours, whether the comment will still be off base or still be bothering you. Yes? No?

Then ask yourself if the feedback will matter in 5 days. Same thing. Ask yourself if, in 5 days, whether the comment will still be off base or still be bothering you. Yes? No? A few days can take the edge off most comments and allow us time to reflect and consider what's been said.

5 months? Your ego will certainly have repaired itself 5 months later (hopefully). So consider if the feedback was really, truly off base. Often with a little time, we come around to see another's point of view. And then we can actually consider it.

Lastly, 5 years. Will you remember feeling bad over someone not liking one of your concepts or picking apart a layout or two? My guess is I highly doubt it. What we tend to remember 5 years later are all the positive things people say to us. All the things that help shape us into better people, better creatives. The not-so-good things, well, they may be hard to get over but they're certainly worth trying to forget.

Keeping a bit of perspective on the words and advice (and opinions) about your book surely helps. Take the good things to heart and give yourself time to take any worthwhile advice into consideration.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Last week I met with a junior team about to graduate from Creative Circus. Allison and Angelle spent a few days between San Francisco and Los Angeles doing a series of informational interviews.

When I agreed to meet them, I missed the part that they were still in school. Once they arrived at my office and we started chatting I understood that they still had a month to go before graduation. In an instant I added up the cost of the trip in my head: airplane tickets, hotel rooms, rental car, food. No cheap I imagine. As I coming to a dollar figure, I realized that it really didn't matter how much that trip cost these young woman. Their decision to get their faces out in the industry a month ahead of everyone else was worth more than the money they spent.

I will say again that recruiting young creatives from out of state is a challenge. Even if they have solid books, I would have a super hard time getting someone to approve the money to fly them out for an interview (although there were those 2 random times when I wanted to hire juniors without meeting them, their work was that good!). So having them travel to me during their interview junket solves that big ol' problem right there.

And, although I currently don't have open jobs for them, having met them in person ahead of time gives me some hiring perspective when those jobs do in fact open up.

Setting up a trip to meet a slew of agencies is pretty smart. Setting up said trip before you even graduate is even smarter.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Total Gush

I am about to do some world-class gushing, be warned.

Maybe I live under a rock and all you folks out there know this man and the work he does, but oh. my. goodness. He rocked my world yesterday. Sir Ken Robinson. He gave a TED conference speech asking if schools kill creativity.

First off, he is an incredible public speaker. I am super jealous of that. His cadence, humor and openness are enviable. Second, he makes outstanding points. Please take the time to watch it. What he is saying is so important to the creative industry we work in.

His main point is all children have creative talent and the education system tends to squash it. He references Picasso who said all children are born artists, the problem is to remain artists as they grow up. Sir Robinson argues that there is a hierarchy in education where the most useful subjects (ones aimed at getting you a job) are up at the top and the less useful subjects (music, art) are at the bottom. As a result, highly talented, creative children think the thing they were in good in at school isn't valued and often quit pursuing it.

He concludes that in order to move into a future where innovation and creativity reign as problem solving forces, we need to radically rethink our definition of intelligence. And the school system that currently defines it.

After being totally in awe listening to his speech, I was even more amazed at his contribution to a huge number of organizations that foster creativity in education. This man has spent his career concerning himself with teaching, mentoring, growing, helping people all in the name of creativity.

When I grow up, I want to be Sir Ken Robinson.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Big Ad Gig

It was bound to happen sooner or later. An American Idol-like contest where the prize is a 30-day freelance gig at an ad agency. All you have to do is create a video declaring "I deserve a big ad gig" out in a public space (a little embarrassment never hurt anyone).

Your video submission in conjunction with the quality of your portfolio could land you at CP +B, Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness or Atmosphere Proximity for 30 days. Oh yea, and it's paid.

The harder it gets to find a junior job, the more daring you have to be to land one.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This may sound pessimistic, but I'm really only curious. Yesterday on LinkedIn, I noticed an intern we had a couple of years ago had "Instructor" listed as their current title, teaching at an area art school. How, may I ask, does an intern go from recent graduate to art school instructor in that short of time?

Again, just totally and completely curious. Curious what class he's teaching. Curious if the students know he is fresh out of school. Curious how he got the job and where he has worked between graduation and this teaching post.

I am on the fence about how I feel about this. On one hand, maybe the guy is a wizard at some mad skill (flash or photoshop or the like) making him totally competent. On the other hand, he was a student less than three years ago and I wonder what the heck he is qualified to teach.

This is along the lines of people who are teaching at ad schools and became a teacher straight out of college. I wonder about that too. Listen, I am by no means an expert on the education front. I teach because I love, love inciting passion in students about this great industry. I am not qualified to judge the reasons or qualifications of other instructors.

I just kinda wonder.