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SO YOU WANT TO BE A STAR?

Posted on October 24, 2002 and read 526 times

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Cannes calls. The Clios are old hat. Marketing Awards passé. And as for the One Show, well you’ve been there, done that. And are definitely on your way to something better. You’ve got your passport. Portfolio. Reel. Collection of clichés, along with this year’s designer names. The salon tan. And just the right kind of kissy-face approach. This is your year. Your time to shine.brown SO YOU WANT TO BE A STAR?Jennifer Brown is the Director of “The Right Words”. She is a gifted copywriter and an outstanding advertising professor in her spare time.

Cannes calls. The Clios are old hat. Marketing Awards passé. And as for the One Show, well you’ve been there, done that. And are definitely on your way to something better. You’ve got your passport. Portfolio. Reel. Collection of clichés, along with this year’s designer names. The salon tan. And just the right kind of kissy-face approach. This is your year. Your time to shine.

Well, maybe. But remember, as the Bible says: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” And for every advertising “star”, there are those who labour in the field for years. The foot soldiers of the industry. Unheralded and unsung. Except by the faithful clients and colleagues who know exactly what they’re worth.

Don’t ever lose sight of the dream. But do lose the attitude. There’ll be plenty of time for that later. When you’ve paid your dues. But, you’ve gotta get started. Which means getting back to basics. And they would be: talent, of course, but there’s quite a bit of that around. You’re gonna need more. Passion, certainly. Coupled with insatiable curiosity. Passion for perfection, that drives you to create, and recreate, then start all over again. Until what you’re working on meets your standards. Passion that never permits you to get “stale” or take the easy way out. Curiosity that teaches you to dig deep. To look beyond the brief. To find out for yourself what makes a product or service work. To keep on digging until you know everything there is to know about the people who would buy it. Curiosity that’s not confined to the task at hand, but takes you around town, and around the world, always ready for the new experience, the next adventure. Curiosity that treats everyone you meet as an amazing opportunity. To learn. To enjoy. To absorb. Curiosity that fires and inspires your work. Discipline that drives you to beat, not just meet, the deadline. Each and every time. Guts. The kind that let you take a licking and keep on ticking, as the old ad insisted. And, when all is said and done, it’s probably guts that will get you the glory!

All this, of course, is innate. So, now must get an education. Back in the “good old days” you could actually learn your craft on the job. But this is an industry that’s been known to eat its young. So, now you need credentials. A degree or diploma, preferably from a school that specializes in the field. One that will teach you the tricks and techniques you’ll need to succeed, along with the tactics that will help you survive.

Nothing you experience in school will prepare you for a client’s wholesale condemnation of the campaign you’ve spent months working on. Your instructors and fellow students will never be as brutal as the members of a focus group – who’ll trash your best creative – right before your eyes – and are actually paid to do so. The Creative Director who hires you for your talent, and then takes all the credit for your work. The “dream job” that evaporates overnight – when the account goes south. But at least you’ll get a taste of what’s to come, in a relatively protected environment!

Survive all this … and you’re really in the game. A game that’s full of heady stuff. What could ever beat the adrenaline high of pulling a series of all-nighters on a real-risk campaign that the client actually buys into? Working with Art Directors, Creative Directors, Writers and even Suits who really “get” what you’re trying to do. The chance to meet and mingle with the great and near-great. The “name’ directors and photographers. The famous faces. The shoots in exotic places. Anywhere from Mississauga to Mississippi. Thompson to Tibet. The opportunity to earn some “real” money. Serious greenstuff that makes life seem even sweeter. Sharing days and weeks and years with people who are driven, disciplined and dedicated. People full of passion, curiosity and guts, who talk a lot about balance and lead lives that include anything but! People who may be more than slightly insane; and do just about everything to excess. People who are great to work and play with. Who become your friends. People just like you.

Ah, Advertising. It’s a great life. If you’ve got what it takes! Talent, wit, tenacity and an insatiable appetite for the near-death experience!






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