So you wanna be a Creative Director?

Me: So what are you? What do you want to do?
Creative Wannabe: A creative director.
Me: *face palm* 

Here's the thing my loves, you don't start off as a creative director. All creative directors started as a copywriter or an art director then they make it to CD and manage teams of copywriters and art directors under them. 

You saying you want to be a creative director only shows your lack of understanding about advertising and agency life and honestly hurts you more than it helps you.

Get ready for some Creative Wannabe Tough Love. 

Stop telling people you want to be a creative director when you haven't even had one job in an agency. Creative Director isn't an entry level position. It takes people years and/or several awards to become a creative director. You can't just walk in with that title. You have to earn it.

Pick a side. Be an art director or a copywriter. You can have both skills, but when it all comes down to it, someone needs to open Word every day and someone else needs to open Photoshop. Which one do you prefer using? Pick a program and then get good at it.

Copywriting isn't "easier." I cringe when people say this. It's not easy. Not everybody can write. Not everybody can craft. Not everybody can think strategically. Nike's tagline could've been "You keep saying you're going to do it, so why not go ahead and do it." But no. It's "Just do it." Adidas had a line a few years back that was "Impossible is nothing."  Loved it. Crafting strategic, creative and compelling copy - whether 150 words for body copy or 50 characters for a banner headline - requires time, effort and skill. And not everyone can do it.

Learn how an agency works. Take a class. Read a book. Google. Wikipedia. Ask people. Get an internship. You need to know the different departments, what they do and how they work together. Find out how the process works from brief to execution. No one is going to walk you through this on your first day. You'll need to hit the ground running. So start training now.

Create a portfolio. A real portfolio. Of fake ads. With concepts and strategic thinking that show you understand the craft, the business and the process. While you don't have a real budget or client doesn't mean you should operate like it's a free for all. Advertising is a business. We're here to sell. You're not going to get hired to produce work no one but your partner will see. Agencies want to see that you know how to think, you know how to execute and you know how to sell. Use your book to show that you get it. 

Get a website. For Oprah's sake. There's Cargo Collective, Carbonmade, Posterous and so many others out there that you can use for free, or for a small fee. Get your work on the Internet. It's 2012 for crying out loud.

You can't get a job doing something you don't understand in a company you don't understand in a industry you don't understand. 

Do the research.

Do the work.

Get it together.

Shout outs to C. Gorman who covered this creative director garbage in her blog a while back. (Just want to prove that I'm not just saying this to be mean, it's the truth. I love you and want you to be great, so seriously... get it together.)