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Can a director who has made ads become an agency creative?


Dear Jancy: Am I going about my job hunt the right way?
A little background on myself first though. After finishing school (undergrad in English Lit & Business then post-grad in Film) I found myself working as a cinematographer for a video game developer. What I was really doing was directing the cut scenes for next generation games. Wanting to get back into film though I ended up writing and directing a spec commercial for Reebok. Reebok ends up seeing it, liking it, and hiring me to write and direct four spots for them in Boston this summer.
Now to clarify I’m definitely still interested in directing, but the experience of writing these spots has pushed me to also pursue work at the agency level. I figured the experience of convincing a multi-national company such as Reebok to let me write and direct for them would give me a pretty good foot in the door to an agency. However after sending out my stuff to countless agencies I don’t seem to be getting anywhere. One agency(large agency with worldwide offices) brought me in to talk and told me that being a “jack of all trades” was perhaps not the best way to get a job. I figured being able to take a job from concept to completion would be a boon, but this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this.
Have I overestimated what it meant to land these spots? Is it simply a bad time to be looking for work? Should I just stick with directing?

intro Can a director who has made ads become an agency creative?Sounds like you are a very talented person, and the kind of well rounded creative that many smart agencies would appreciate. It’s easy enough to cross paths with more traditional places that still value art directors and writers who have traditional backgrounds and do traditional work. It is hard in general to get a writing job without a portfolio, but your Reebok experience should speak volumes to the right creative director. Keep going for those interviews with creative directors, at places where you admire the work. With frank appraisal from people who are doing great work, you should get a grasp of where you really stand as a potential hire. You may hear that you’d get further by going to school. In any case it sounds like it’s worth exploring more before giving up on a possible future in an agency.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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