What Your Portfolio Says About You


Sure, you’re talented, creative and hardworking. Sure, you’re an amazing copywriter/art director and should be hired immediately and paid a whole lot of money. Sure, you’re awesome and all that good stuff.

But what does your portfolio say?

I came out of portfolio school feeling like my book didn’t fully show just how great I was. That if only people met me, or gave me an assignment, they’d see what I could really do.

However, that’s not how it works.

The reason you create a portfolio is to show people just how talented you are. You put together this collection of fake ads to show future employers that you know how to think strategically and engage people. This is where you show that you know about crafting and putting together campaigns. This is where you show off your sense of humor, your creativity and your ability to push the boundaries of advertising.

This is where you sell yourself.

Your portfolio is the trailer and you are the full-length film. No one is going to pay money to sit through a questionable story or invest hours of their time to see what might happen.

If your portfolio needs work, work on it.
Don’t send it out and try to entice people with a half-baked plot. You’re selling yourself short and wasting their time.

If you don’t have a partner, get one. Use craigslist, behance, your social networks, your school’s networks, bribery. Do whatever you it takes to make sure your book is well put together.

If you don’t have enough campaigns, do more.
Give yourself assignments. Look at work you hate or products you love and create new ads for them. Check out student competitions and enter them. Use their briefs to beef up your book.

If you have anything in your book that’s kinda goodish, take it out. Only put in your best work. One weak campaign can ruin the whole batch.

If you can’t see any of the campaigns you have in your book running in real life, start over. Your book should show that you have some understanding of how things work in the real world. If you have ads that a brand would never produce, whether it’s because they don’t look good or because they’re just too ridiculous, then you’re failing.

No one is going to hire you if you look like you don’t get it. They’re not going to call you in if your book looks amateurish and incomplete. No agency is going to spend time trying to help you figure out how things work and how to make ads. They want you to come in and hit the ground running.

If your book doesn’t present you as capable and creative, then it doesn’t matter how great you think you are – you won’t get interviews. You won’t get hired.

The proof is in the portfolio.

Your first assignment is selling yourself. So make sure your portfolio is saying the right things about you.


(Originally published in The One Club's online magazine.)

Friday Treat: Your Parents Had Sex

And now you can find out what they may have listened to when they made you.

You know you want to know.

The Byrds and The Bee Gees is a site that lets you enter your birthday and calculates the day of your conception. It looks at the music that was popular at that time and makes you a weirdly intriguing playlist - the same playlist that your parents may or may not have bumped and grinded (ground?) to that let to you!

Enjoy!

Happy Friday

Here's mine:


Fear of Failure

One of my former students is deathly afraid of failure. Sadly, this stunts her creative growth and keeps her from being great.

Fail. Eff up. Guess. Make shit up.

There are no wrong answers. And there are a whole bunch of right answers.

Never be afraid to try, to make a mistake, to mess up.

That's how you'll grow and get better as a creative. That's how you'll learn.

Plus, if you're in portfolio school, this is your time to make a damn fool out of yourself. This is your time to fail and to be wrong. This is your time to fall flat on your face.

It's not like they can fire you.

One of my personal mottoes is "What doesn't kill me will strengthen me. And this won't kill me."

So if the only real failure is death, and if this (whatever it is you're afraid of) isn't going to kill you then what do you have to lose?

Related reading
Fail Big
Don't "I don't know" me
What if
Make it Up
Dealing With Death

Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

I've mentioned finding a mentor before. Here's a related article I wanted to share.
Do you have a mentor?
Do you feel supported and encouraged?

From Applied Arts Mag


Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

By Suzanne Pope

Without anyone to look after the next generation of ad people, they are doomed to roam agency halls like feral children, all wild eyes and matted hair

When I was a little girl, my father worked in the creative department of Ronalds-Reynolds, a Toronto ad agency that has long since disappeared in the fog of a global merger. He was copywriter and AD on retail ads for clients such as Toyota, Goodyear, Timex and Air Canada.

I remember standing at a distance and watching him as he worked at home in the evenings. He would apply LePage’s Rubber Cement with a brush to the backs of his linears of Corollas and Coronas, and then stick them into his layout amid the greeked-in copy and price points. I thought that was pretty cool but, really, it was nothing. The big moment would come a couple of days later when the ad appeared in the newspaper. Somehow, on my father’s say-so, all those scribbles and greek price points became real typography and photography in a full page of professional salesmanship. I would open the paper and, for a moment, forget to breathe. Something of great import occurred to me, something along the lines of: Behold the power of the advertising man.

I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but this was a Teaching Moment—a moment of mentorship that was natural and effortless for student and teacher.

It’s fitting that this memory is four decades old, because real mentorship in our business is also a distant memory. Ogilvy & Mather was once legendary for its Magic Lantern training modules. By the time I started working there, in 1993, no one could remember where they were stored. And today? Interns and juniors roam agency halls like feral children, all wild eyes and matted hair, grabbing bagels off boardroom tables and retreating fearfully to their corners to gnaw.

Who is looking out for this next generation of ad people? And, more to the point, why does almost nobody care? Seriously, we can talk about this. It’s just you, me and this copy of Applied Arts Magazine, which probably isn’t yours anyway. Let’s talk about all the reasons we drop young people in the middle of the ocean and feel oddly ambivalent when they manage to make it back to shore.

“We have no money for training.” Maybe not. But I’m pretty sure you have senior creatives, people who know how to convey meaning in just a few well-chosen words. Years ago, I reported to the brilliant copywriter Gary Lennox. At the time, we were both working at SMW, another Toronto agency that has long since disappeared. I had just finished writing a radio “donut,” which is a changeable piece of announcer copy that gets dropped into an existing radio spot. Gary didn’t trouble himself with giving me a lengthy critique of my script. He didn’t need to. He just grunted and said, “Your donut is turning into a Bundt cake.” I don’t think there’s any training program in the world that could stay with me longer than those eight words have.

“Why should I train people who are just going to leave and take that knowledge to my competition?” Oh, dear. Imagine if we applied that thinking to our personal lives. I’d treat you more considerately, darling, but let’s face it: That boost in self-esteem is only going to attract your next lover sooner. Yes, talented juniors eventually leave you, and it’s disappointing when they do. But while you have them, you will want the best they can give. And it may be that your loyalty to them will make them a bit more loyal to you.

“Yeah, well, I’ve got my own work and career to think about.” I’m glad you’re so frank about that, because it brings us to the most humbling truth of all. For generations, advertising mentorship was kind of a one-way street. Sure, the mentor would get warm feelings and good karma, but the practical teachings all went from the older to the younger. This, as you might have noticed, has changed. Nobody really knows what an ad is anymore. Nobody. I see brilliant things in portfolios, and I’m not sure what to call them. But they attract my attention and involve me in a message, and so I must call them ads. There’s no way for most of us to mimic that thinking. Spending 10 hours a day on 4chan won’t help. I know this because I’ve tried.

Enter those whom we’re forcing to be self-taught. They cannot remember a time before illegal downloads and Subservient Chicken. Calling these people digital natives does not begin to explain advertising’s new authorial voice. It would be like trying to explain Hemingway by pointing to his typewriter. This new voice would never waste its time on anything as inefficient as an essay. Instead, it commonly posts a few words in all-caps Impact Outline as a caption to the meme of the moment. Thus, it manages to distill complex feelings to a single small image file. If young ad people are that concise with their deepest emotions, can we really expect them to be more loquacious when it comes to selling tires?

We can still show juniors how to make ideas simple and crisp—and, indeed, we must do this. However, when it comes to knowing where to take those ideas, we’re going to have to ask for help. And if we ask politely enough, the juniors in our midst just might be willing to take us on as their apprentices.


Freelance copywriter and creative director Suzanne Pope is the founder of AdTeachings.com, a Website devoted to the training of young creatives.


This column appeared orginaly in the March/April 2012 issue of Applied Arts Magazine. To subscribe, click here.

Go here: Creative Interns Conference

Super Saturday: Finding and Following Your Passion
 Guest post written by Simeon Coker



Change your plans this Saturday (April 21st), you have the rest of your life to sleep and drink mimosas. NY Creative Interns is hosting an event at the School of Visual Arts, “Finding and Following Your Passion”. The event will be a full day of panels, discussions, hands on workshops, networking, and fun. The purpose of the event is to provide you with inspiration, new ideas, collaborators, mentors and essential tools that will help you on your journey.

“Finding and Following Your Passion” will:

§ Expose you to a wealth of traditional and non-traditional career paths

§ Give you tools to pursue your dream career

§ Bring together young creatives from differing fields to collaborate on future projects



It’s not free, but the next best things in life are never free. http://nycreativeinterns.com/conference/  Seize the moment, if you can.

Win all these: Competition Run down

 I've mentioned a lot of competitions - here is a run down. Challenge yourself with something new and maybe win an award along the way.

Get to work! 
 

Madison's Browne Fellowship Rebrand 
Due April 16th, enter for free on your own
http://creativewannabes.blogspot.com/2012/04/win-this-mbf-rebrand-contest.html
……………………………………………………………………………..
Future Lions
Due by April 24th, enter for free on your own
Please email futurelions@akqa.com if you have any questions.
……………………………………………………………………………..
Firefox Flicks Contest
$10,000 prize, FREE ENTRY, enter on your own
Less than 2 minute video stories/ads
 Due Tuesday May 1st
…………………………………………….
Radio Mercury Awards
Due: March 31 or July 9th

Get entry code info from Jerrod@miamiadschool.com
………………………………………………………………………
Adobe Awards
Due by June 22nd
Free Entry, enter on your own 
Categories:
…………………………………………………..
Porsche International Student Advertising Film award 2012
Due by Friday July 13
……………………………………………..
Check out Online Video Contests
Speed Stick Power Handle It Video Project
$12,000 Prize
……………………………………………………………………………..
Siemens Your Earth, Your Dream, Your Action Contest
$10,000 Prize
……………………………………………………………………………..
Cannes 2012: Chevrotet  Video Contest
$8000 Prize
……………………………………………………………………………..
Cannes 2012: Unilever Video Contest
$8000 Prize

…………………………………………..
Zooppa Video Contests –
……………………………………………………………………..
MOFILM Video Competitions
CANNES LIONS Competitions
……………………………………………………………………
 Graphic Design Competitions
………………………………………………………………………………..
D&AD WHITE PENCIL – NEW Competition!
Due September 3 2012
Why the White Pencil?
The 2012 Brief
Realise your response to The White Pencil 2012 Brief anytime up to and including 21 September 2012. This means doing whatever it takes to get your idea out into the big wide world on some scale, no matter how small.
To enter your work into The White Pencil you will need to submit a short film explaining your response. Entry will be via this site and will be open from 3 September 2012 to 24 October 2012.
………………………………………………………………………
Entering Lurzers Archive – Free
Enter posters or print
submissions can be made through our website at:
…………………………………………………………………..
  
Film contests
 

The Art of Storytelling in Advertising

cave drawing: the original art of story telling
Who doesn't love a well-written ad and a well-told story? I'm a bit of a word nerd and a story snob (I avoid most movies and TV shows because they usually underwhelm and disappoint me. Also I have the attention span of a 3 ye Ooh look! Pretzels!)

These Halftime in America Chrysler ads are great examples of how you can fit a story in :30 seconds. They are compelling, relevant and one of them almost made me cry a little.

Check them out and start thinking about how you can craft stories and move people through advertising.








10 Quick Creativity Hacks

Everybody and their uncle has advice on how to be creative or tips on increasing creativity. 
And I love every bit of it. 
You have to try different things to figure out what works for you. Find new ways to solve old problems. Come up with alternate routes to get to a solution. 
 I took a class my first quarter in portfolio school that I called Finger Painting 101. I thought it was kind of dumb at the time. We wrote stories, did exquisite corpses, collages, mind maps, drawings where you couldn't look at the paper or lift the pen up. It was random, fun and seemingly useless.  But I still have that book. And I use some of those techniques in brainstorming. Or just doodling. And it helps. 
Moral of the story: There are many ways to be creative, try them all at least once. Oh, and finger paint.
This post is taken from this weekend's Wall Street Journal article on How To Be Creative.
10 Quick Creativity Hacks
1. Color Me Blue
A 2009 study found that subjects solved twice as many insight puzzles when surrounded by the color blue, since it leads to more relaxed and associative thinking. Red, on other hand, makes people more alert and aware, so it is a better backdrop for solving analytic problems.
2. Get Groggy
According to a study published last month, people at their least alert time of day—think of a night person early in the morning—performed far better on various creative puzzles, sometimes improving their success rate by 50%. Grogginess has creative perks.

CREATIVEJmp1
3. Daydream Away

Research led by Jonathan Schooler at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has found that people who daydream more score higher on various tests of creativity.
4. Think Like A Child
When subjects are told to imagine themselves as 7-year-olds, they score significantly higher on tests of divergent thinking, such as trying to invent alternative uses for an old car tire.
5. Laugh It Up
CREATIVEJmp2
When people are exposed to a short video of stand-up comedy, they solve about 20% more insight puzzles.
When people are exposed to a short video of stand-up comedy, they solve about 20% more insight puzzles.
6. Imagine That You Are Far Away
Research conducted at Indiana University found that people were much better at solving insight puzzles when they were told that the puzzles came from Greece or California, and not from a local lab.
7. Keep It Generic
One way to increase problem-solving ability is to change the verbs used to describe the problem. When the verbs are extremely specific, people think in narrow terms. In contrast, the use of more generic verbs—say, "moving" instead of "driving"—can lead to dramatic increases in the number of problems solved.

CREATIVEJmp3
According to a new study, volunteers performed significantly better on a standard test of creativity when they were seated outside a 5-footsquare workspace, perhaps because they internalized the metaphor of thinking outside the box. The lesson? Your cubicle is holding you back.
8. Work Outside the Box
According to new study, volunteers performed significantly better on a standard test of creativity when they were seated outside a 5-foot-square workspace, perhaps because they internalized the metaphor of thinking outside the box. The lesson? Your cubicle is holding you back.
9. See the World
According to research led by Adam Galinsky, students who have lived abroad were much more likely to solve a classic insight puzzle. Their experience of another culture endowed them with a valuable open-mindedness. This effect also applies to professionals: Fashion-house directors who have lived in many countries produce clothing that their peers rate as far more creative.
10. Move to a Metropolis
Physicists at the Santa Fe Institute have found that moving from a small city to one that is twice as large leads inventors to produce, on average, about 15% more patents.
—Jonah Lehrer
 
A version of this article appeared Mar. 10, 2012, on page C1 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: How to Be CreativeHow To Be Creative.

Win This: MBF Rebrand Contest

Sorry I'm posting this late. It's due on April 16th but roll your sleeves up and get right in there. I believe in you!

The Re-brand the Madison's Browne's Fellowship Competition 

Who: Art Directors and Designers

What: Redesign the visual identity

Rules: Stay true to the mission put forth by the MBF committee and remember that community interaction is very important to us.

Restrictions: None

Elements: Logo, T-Shirt design, Letter head, Business Card, etc

Deadline: April 16th

Prize: A ticket for you and a guest to attend a top industry event during Creative Week NYC (awesome networking opportunity!!)

For more details about the competition and how to enter, email madisonsbrowne@gmail.com with the subject line: Rebrand Competition

About Madison's Browne Fellowship
The Madison's Browne Fellowship is a non-profit organization with the goal of connecting professionals in the advertising, and other intersecting industries, through various monthly events, including intimate conversations with top-level executives, casual networking events, exhibitions showcasing our members' work and informational workshops.


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