Graduated & Looking for Book Crits & Placements

A recently graduated creative team asked me for “brutally direct feedback” on their portfolio.

They're braver than I am.

If you're in the market for some some of this feedback I can perhaps give you one piece of advice that I’ve learned from people much better at advertising than myself.

You have some good ideas and you’ve obviously enthusiastic about this business of communication but I suspect you’re missing a rather fundamental part of the process.

Your storytelling needs better crafting.

The advice I have given every single student in recent years is to stand out from the crowd of your classmates. You all got the same projects and had the same amount of time to do them. You all seem to make the same poor design choices as well. When I look at your portfolio I have no idea why you’re different and how you believe a story should be told.

Now that you have the time you should go back to your portfolio and make sure that everyone who sees an idea you’ve dreamed up gets some sense of how you imagined it should look and sound. Pick the tone of voice, write a better social post, create a better image, think about the logic and explain the magic of the idea with some interest. 

At the moment it’s all rather dry. I believe that as soon as your personalities and storytelling skills start to show themselves you’ll find yourself getting more attention from agencies for placements.

Good luck

Advice to get into the Creative Industries

I thought I'd share a rather long-winded e-mail reply I sent to a young person who's quite good at making things like film and is interested in getting into the ad industry but doesn't know where to start. If you resemble this person you may find this useful.

Hi J,

I think it’ll help if you know how I got into the industry. It may give a hint at the journey you could start.

At the age of 15 I decided I was going to be a comic book artist. When I finished high school at 17 I sat down and created a graphic novel with a friend of mine. The longest comic I had made before this was 8 pages. This was 108 pages. I learned a lot and I also created characters for other projects that I shopped around at small educational comic book studios (this was South Africa in the 90’s so this was the only kind of professional work you could do in this field).

It then dawned on me that I didn’t know very much about anything. 

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