Go here: Summer Series Mixer: New to NY

You should go here. Oh, and read this.
New to the Biz, Now What - 4 surefire ways to get out, meet people and make connections.
8 Ways To Network - written to interns but relevant to anyone

Go here: New To New York
presented by NY Creative Interns

Date: Thursday, June 27th
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Location: Wix Lounge, 235 West 23rd Street – New York, NY 10011, 8th Floor
Pizza will be served.
Each summer New York City is filled with new graduates, new interns, and new opportunities for any young, ambitious creative. Join us for our Summer Mixer Series at Wix: three events that will bring together creative interns, recent grads, and young professionals for a night of mingling, new friends, and connections. Each event will feature a short and inspiring keynote from an established creative professional speaking to a different theme.
Our first topic: New to New York
new york city buildings
Whether you’ve been here two weeks or two years, there are lots of adjustments you have to make when you live in the best city on earth. How do you navigate public transportation without looking silly? What neighborhood will be best for you? How long does it take to get used to living in a tiny apartment on a tiny budget? What’s the best way to find the best coffee shop by the office? Hear from a creative who’s navigated the transition to the big apple personally and get insider tips on tackling the city that never sleeps.
We make meeting other creatives and finding professional opportunities and mentors fun, because it should be.

How it Feels to Job Hunt as a Recent Grad

June is all about Dads and Grads according to advertising. (Not gonna lie, I sometimes forget about holidays until an ad tells me I should send my mother flowers.) 

The great part of graduating college is that you did it! You made it through four years of education, tests, trials, life lessons and hangovers. You're older, smarter, wiser and and a little chubbier than your younger self.

However, when it comes to looking for a job - you are not so savvy. And you realise you're on the bottom of the totem pole, starting over in whatever position is the lower version of a freshman in the professional world.

Good luck!

Here's a post of 8 of the Common Job Search Mistakes Recent Grads Make - the one that really stood out to me and that I wish I knew was "Not helping employers understand how your experience relates to their needs."  

And below is a fun gif series by NY Creative Interns (check out their job board and sign up for their newsletter for weekly opportunities, networking events in NY and online.)  

How it Feels to Job Hunt as a Recent Grad

You’ve just completed your college degree and you’re ready to take over the world!
You’ve heard that the job market isn’t so good, but you’re not worried at all.
First, you hunt for some entry level job postings online:
You quickly learn that entry level can actually mean 1-3 years experience.
But no worries! That’s what those college internships were for, right?
After finding a few decent job prospects, you get to work polishing up that resume:
Once your resume is up to par, it’s time to work on crafting the perfect cover letter. Let this company know just how thrilled you’d be to work there. 
Once those are both done, it’s time to send out your applications!
 Now it’s just time to sit back and wait for the job offers to roll in.
Errr…Fast forward a few weeks. You’ve filled out a few more applications but still haven’t heard anything back.
So you hunt for more jobs:
Write more cover letters:
And send out more applications:
You start to feel bad for yourself.
 george michael bluth falls down
 You may even become a bit cranky.
ron swanson i hate everything
The worst is when friends and relatives start asking if you’ve gotten a job yet.
You don’t know what else you can do.
But then, one day you come across the NY Creative Interns website:
It has a highly curated list of entry level jobs and internships in creative fields.
It also has helpful blog posts with tips for building your network, acing an interview, improving your resume, and more.


As well as a Weekly Opportunities Newsletter emailed every Monday!


Best of all, there are lots of in person and virtual events where you can gain insight and advice from creative professionals, build your network, and meet awesome new people.
Remember, you’re not alone. Finding a job out of school can be tough. But with the help of NY Creative Interns, you can make the best of this learning experience.


Thursday Tune Up

The week's almost over -- but it's no time to slack off. Keep pushing, working hard and being amazing. It'll make you feel like you earned all the great times you're going to have this weekend. 

Inspiration: Become a hunter and a thief

Largely, your job as a creative is to hunt and to steal. Advertising is mostly built on merging, molding and melting together things that already exist into something new and wonderful.

Of, course there are innovative and groundbreaking things out there carved from thin air and imagination.

But for the most part, it's about finding the right mixture of seemingly unrelated things and making them connect in a creative and impactful way.

Being able to hunt inspiration and steal like an artist are special skills. Hacks just copy. Liars plagerize.

But creatives, they seek out new information, stimulus and experiences. They reimagine, not recreate. They build, not bite.

They are conceptual magicians, pulling rabbits out of top hats worn by balloon dogs driving a clown car. Constantly soaking up things the past, present and future of every little thing in life.

Sounds like a lot because it is. Your valve needs to always be set on intake mode. Every life experience, every adventure, every disappointment, every trip, conversation, poster, song, exhibit, dream, movie trailer, YouTube video, tweet, doodle... every little thing around you, is all working together to make you a great creative.

The more you expose yourself to, the better your work will be.

(Read: Go Inspiration Hunting and Steal Inspiration, Not Ideas)

Take these examples of 4 Successful Hunters & Thieves 

1. Kehinde Wiley's art merges contemporary and traditional, urban and Victorian, photos and portraits, African American and European, textures and colours, grandeur and the ordinary.

2. Kanye West is also known for merging styles - old school with autotone, punk with hip hop, etc. He is notorious for using a million samples in the tracks he produces. For example, his  song Mercy samples 5 different songs (including an old school reggae fav of mine on the chorus)

MercyMercy (2012) sampled
 Tony's Theme by Giorgio Moroder (1983) Dust a Sound Boy by Super Beagle (1986) Cuh Oonu by Reggie Stepper (1993) Lambo by YB (2011) Dance (A$$) by Earlly Mac and SayItAintTone (2011)
(Via WhoSampled.com

3. The Johnny Cash Project is a stunning example of how you can build on something that already exists, and create something completely original.

4. Dodge Ram's God Made A Farmer ad from this year's Super Bowl. The copy is an excerpt from a Paul Harvey speech and the visuals are the work of ten different photographers.


My question to you is: 
What are you going to merge/mold/reimagine/make? 

The Epic Portfolio Post

Whenever people ask me "Where to start?" my eyes get really big. *audible gulp.* It's not
that I don't know the answer - it's that there are soooooooo many answers, and the answers themselves lead to more questions... and even more answers.

The quick and easy answer is - To get a job as a creative (copywriter, art director or designer) in advertising, you need a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and understanding of the industry.

Yeah, that wasn't so quick was it?

So now we get to a whole bunch of follow up questions: What is a portfolio? Then, how do you get a portfolio? Then, what do you do once you have a portfolio? How do you get a job? How do you keep a job? (Thankfully, there are blogs like this that are here to help. Whew.) 

Here's a collection of just about everything I've ever written about portfolios. (1. Holy crap I've written a lot. 2. Holy crap there's so much I haven't mentioned yet.) 

(Just About) Everything You Need to Know About Your Portfolio

1. First things first:

Watch the movie Art & Copy and this video Pursuit of Passion.

2. Things to know before you get started: 

What is a Creative? Quick overview of what a creative is and does.

So You Wanna Be A Creative Director?: Tough love and 6 things you need to do right now.

Tips For Aspiring Copywriter & Art Directors: Basic explanation of the whos and hows of working in an agency, plus 5 tips to get hired at one.

3. What is a portfolio? (aka "Book") 

Your Portfolio: General tips about what your portfolio should look like and contain.

What Exactly Do You Mean By "Portfolio"?: Breakdown of what a portfolio/book is and what to put in it.

Tips On Putting Your Portfolio Together: Tips for copywriters, art directors and developers

What Your Portfolio Says About You: 5 things to do to make sure your portfolio is top notch.

4. What To Put In Your Portfolio:

What I Look For In A Book: 3 Things this blogger looks for in a book.

Make Somebody Cry: Why you should make people react.

Beef Up Your Book: Why you should have a non-advertising section on your site

Make Something People Need: Come up with an idea that solves a problem

New Ads for old things: Do a campaign for an old product

Make a PSA Today: Create a public service announcement

Change The World or a Law: Advertise for/against a cause or law 

5. What Not To Put In Your Portfolio: 

What Not To Put In Your Book: Quick answer: Anything you can't say "I came up with this" or "I wrote/art directed that" about.

Don't Benetton Your Book: Why you should be very, very cautious about using edgy humour

Sex Sells:  Don't put anything sexual or tawdry in your book.

Nike Doesn't Need More Ads: Why you should create ads for brands that create amazing ads and ways you can show your talent by the brands you have in your book.

Things to Stop Doing. Immediately: A few things to take out (never put in) your portfolio.

6. Notes On Your Portfolio 

Is Your Campaign Awesome or Awful? Flowchart (and checklist) to help you judge whether your idea is good and has all the elements of a campaign.

Here's an Idea - Keep It Simple: You should be able to explain your idea in 140 characters or less.

How To Train Ideas: E-book about brainstorming with tips, examples and advice.

Is Your Idea Big Enough: An example of a big idea.

Respect the Brand: Show you understand a brand's personality, tone and image.

Using Pop Culture In Your Book: Tips and examples of how/when to use pop culture references in your work.

What the big wigs think about your book: Some of the things young creatives do & don't do

Common Portfolio Review Mistakes: 5 mistakes juniors make when having their book reviewed.

Your Book Will Never Be Finished: 5 Tips about getting through the never-ending creative cycle

7. What are Portfolio Schools (aka Ad School) & Should You Go?

Where For Art Thou Portfolio: Pros & Cons

Portfolio School, Fool: List of a few schools

Portfolio School or Not to Portfolio School? 8 Reasons you should go to portfolio school

What is Portfolio School Like?: 10 things you'll do in portfolio school

How to Apply to Portfolio School: Interview of 3 admission staff at 3 different portfolio schools.

Two Creatives On Portfolio School: Interview of two creatives who did go to portfolio school

Creatives Who Made Their Own Way: Interview of two creatives that didn't go to portfolio school share their journey

What You Won't Learn In Ad School: 6 things they didn't tell you in school

School vs Work: What I Learned My 1st Year Out: 5 things she didn't learn in school and 5 things she did.

8. And lastly, don't say I didn't warn you 

But Are You Really Ready To Work?: It's going to take a lot of hard work

Don't Get A Job In Advertising: Some of the most difficult parts of working in advertising

What is a Creative?

So you want to be a creative? Not "be creative" but actually "be a creative." There's a difference.

For the most part, I meet a lot of people who know they want to make ads. Many of them, however, don't know exactly what that means, much less where to start.

Here is a little breakdown via The One Club - it's a helpful starting point for anyone, whether you're a high school student curious about getting into advertising or a media person wanting to switch.

Feel free to print out, rewrite, underline and circle as you see fit. Or just commit the entire thing to memory.

This is also helpful for anyone who is already a creative and would like to explain to their family what the hell they do. (Most of my family thinks I'm in marketing or I sell ad space. Sigh.) 

What is a Creative?

Advertising as a whole is made up of very creative and innovative people, but our focus now is on the individuals who have it written into their job title. 

When people think of advertising, they usually think of the actual ads they’ve seen. And while a lot goes into making this finished product, it’s usually the creatives who get the glory. 

So, here’s to the people who steer culture and build empires by thinking up and executing advertising and branding ideas on a daily basis.

Here’s to the people who go boldly where others do not, taking risks and asking, “What if?”

Here’s to the creatives!

History of the Advertising Creative 

Back in the day, Copywriters wrote and Art Directors designed and visualized, with no mingling between the two departments. They worked separately and didn’t talk much even when working on the same client’s account. Until a young creative named Bill Bernbach reinvented how creatives work by unifying the art director and copywriter to form a creative team. Learning from his own experiences, he knew that the best ideas were produced when creatives worked together to solve problems. He is considered an advertising hero for changing the way the industry approached the idea of creating ads. 

Positions in the Creative Department

Junior Copywriters and Art Directors
This is the entry-level position in the creative department. Juniors work very closely with the Copywriters and Art Directors, but have less responsibility. This is the opportunity to prove yourself and through hard work and good ideas, over time, a Junior will get promoted.

Generally speaking, a designer (or graphic designer) works closely with the Art Director to execute the Art Director’s visual ideas. Often the designer will help with layouts, create logos and other small pieces of the overall design that the Art Director will then pull together into a finished product. Like the Art Director, a Designer should have an excellent eye for design and superior drafting and computer skills. Most designers aren’t “people persons” and they prefer being left alone to create beautiful and precise art. 

A Copywriter is responsible for coming up with ideas and writing any words used in those ads. This includes: ads in magazines and newspapers, on websites, radio ads, TV commercials, posters, packaging and even slogans and jingles. If you’re the kind of person who knows how to use words to express an idea, Copywriting could be for you. It doesn’t really matter what you write—blogs, poetry, songs, stories, film ideas, jokes, endless lists of names for the awesome band that will rocket you to stardom—as long as you love writing you may be able to turn that love into a career as a Copywriter. 

Art Director
Like a Copywriter, the Artistic Director is responsible for coming up with ideas. Once an idea is in place, the Art Director takes responsibility for the entire visual look of the ad. This includes the layout – the way the ad is going to look. Future Art Directors spend a lot of their time drawing, painting, sculpting, designing, looking at art, and thinking about how things like color and light and shapes can influence how people feel and think and act. Sometimes they wonder why
something as unnecessary as dialogue was ever added to movies. 

Creative Director
A Creative Director oversees the work of the Copywriter/Art Director teams, making sure their work is strong, delivered on time, and to the client’s specifications. This person has usually risen to their position after five or more years in the creative department as either a Copywriter or Art Director. A Creative Director must have excellent management skills and a keen, critical eye for both copywriting and art direction. After years of success as a Creative Director one may move up to the position of Executive Creative Director, and finally Chief Creative Officer, to oversee an agency’s entire creative department.

What Happens in A Creative Department? 

The Creative Department is the core of the agency. This is where the ads you see everyday are created. A creative department is made up of teams of Copywriters and Art Directors. The way these relationships work varies widely from agency to agency and team to team, but traditionally, the team works together to come up with as many ideas as possible. Sometimes, there are several teams working on one project and they separate to come up with ideas then get together to present to their creative director. 

In advertising, everything begins with the “BIG IDEA” and grows from there. The creative director gives feedback and critiques and then picks one or two directions to develop. The teams then goes back to turn these ideas into campaigns view an example of an award-winning campaign). The Art Director goes off and takes care of the visuals while the Copywriter writes the copy. Together they will come up with examples of the look and feel of what the real ads will be. 

Then they take these ideas and present to the client, explaining why this campaign will deliver the response they want. The client gives their feedback – they may love it, or hate it or just want minor changes. The creatives then come back together and edit and polishing the ideas until they are ready to be produced and seen by the public. 

Basics of a creative brief
A typical creative project timeline generally goes like this: 

Brief by Account Team ---> Concepting  ---> Present to Creative Director  --->  Edit   --->  Present to Account Team   --->  Edit   ---> Present to Client  --->  Edit   --->  Client Approval  --->  Produce

Skittles Owns Me

It takes a special brand (and/or awesome advertising) to make someone love your product even

though they don't actually like/use your product.

A great example is my relationship with Skittles. I don't like Skittles. I don't eat Skittles. But I love rainbows. And randomness.

So every time I see a Skittles ad, I do two things: Smile and Share with a friend. (Who probably hates their teeth and will go eat Skittles immediately after watching)

I fall right into their subliminal-advertising-mind-control trap. Skittles pretty much owns me right now.

Check out this "interactive" video that lets you break this guy's grandmother's stuff.
(You click, he smashes, he gets blamed. Perfect crime.)

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

I often write notes to myself. Not because I'm insane (Well...partially because of that) but mostly because writing things down helps me remember  and seeing words in all caps is like a silent yell from my inner self. And it's really hard to ignore my inner self.

I have a few around my desk, "It's only impossible until it's not." and "Complaining doesn't change anything. Action does." 
In February I added "Perfection is the enemy of done." 

And as much as that note yells at me, it’s been a tough lesson to live. 

Confession: I have a thing for Perfection. Or better yet, my personal idea of Perfection. I want things to be as buttoned up, as impactful, and as shiny as possible. If it's a representation of me, it has to be quality. Like Barney's level quality.

However, my problem is that I go miles past Kmart in to Nordstrom territory - which is a very, very good place to be -  but keep pushing, fighting, stressing and obsessing to get to Barney's. And I wear myself the eff out getting there or beat myself up for having not made it all the way. 

And those times I do get there, I’m not sure the store windows are clean enough, or the AC is at the right temp. What if someone thinks the revolving door is completely idiotic? (These are just metaphors of course. I’m talking about work – creating an ad or writing a headline and all that jazz, not building a department store.)

It's not that I'm scared of failing. (Read Mistakes Won't Kill You) And I totally believe in trying as many options as you can and doing multiple versions, and editing and re-editing(Read Edit, then Edit Again

My issue is that I have a really hard time with things not being just right. Even if it’s at 98.9% right – I want that last 1.1%. So I often overthink, overedit, overanalyse, overwrite and pretty much drive myself mad.

Perfection is the enemy.

When you have an 8 a.m. deadline, Perfection will have you up all night, drinking unhealthy amounts of 5 Hour Energy and ignoring your body’s pleas for basic things like sleep and bathroom breaks.

When you need to present 3 versions of an ad, but the 2nd one isn’t just right, Perfection will have you staring at a screen until your eyes twitch. Perfection will make you have 4 browser tabs open, all on Thesaurus.com, combing through lists and lists of ways to say the same damn thing, agonizing over every little detail. Perfection will leave you with one really great version, one good version and one red-headed-step-child version.

Perfection will make you look bad in front of your boss and coworkers.
Perfection will make you late for meetings.
Perfection will leave you with stupid, amateurish mistakes (like its/it's.)
Perfection will make you doubt yourself, your abilities and your entire purpose in life.
Perfection will wear you supermarket-plastic-bag thin.
Perfection will keep you from actually getting shit done.
I’m not at all saying just focus on just getting to the finish line, whether or not it’s any good. I’m saying if you’re aiming for exceptional and end up with great – be thankful for great and move on. It's better to have something complete to show than something half-baked but beautiful. (Or worse, a very shiny turd.)

There will be time to edit and re-edit. Trust me, your boss, project managers, account people and client will find always something wrong with what you did, no matter how perfect you thought it was.

You’ll have time to go back and make it better. To Barneyfy it. And you’ll come to realize that sometimes, Nordstrom’s is exactly what they wanted. Or that your Nordstrom’s is someone else’s Barney’s.

What you never want to do is mis-manage your time, miss deadlines, drop the ball on things, burn yourself out or sacrifice your health in chasing this ideal of Perfection.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.

No one expects you to be perfect. No one expects you to have Barney’s quality all the time. Or to never make a mistake. 

But  everyone expects you to deliver. To actually get shit done. And to do it well. (Whether at work or in school.)

If it's a good idea, that will show. Even if it's written on a napkin. It's better to finish it and have something to show, instead of spending hours polishing what turns out to be a very pretty Dollar General idea and realise you stressed yourself out for nothing. 

Focus on completing first, then get to finessing and polishing. Everyone is going to have feedback on what you do anyway. And you’re probably going to look back in a month and see how you can make it better. (Read Your Book WillNever Be Done.)

I’m going to take my own advice and finish this post. It’s a good post. And it doesn’t have to be perfect. (Read Be A Mess)

Wait. Let me just pull out my thesaurus and red pen and read it one more time.

No. I won't do it. I'm done.

Hi, my name is Neisha and I'm dangerously Virgo and an insatiable perfectionist. And I'm working on getting over myself.

Here's some notes you can write to yourself to help you get over yourself too.