In one week's time, I'm giving the opening lecture at Award School, where Australia's aspiring copywriters and art directors go for training.
I'll probably be doing the same presentation I've given for the last two years - 'How To Have Ideas', which isn't original at all, but based on a theory I adapted from Scottish philospher David Hume.
There are actually lots of things I'd want to say to young creatives, but it's better if a lecture sticks to one theme. A 'Top Ten Tips' of wildly disparate content doesn't work as a talk.
But it can work as a blog post!
I've been writing tips for a few years, on various ad-related topics - here's the full collection.
But I've never done an overall Top Ten.
So, wildly disparate though it may turn out, here goes - my Top Ten Tips for young creatives.
1. To be a successful creative you need more than just talent, Converse trainers, and the hide of a bullet-proofed rhinoceros. You also need knowledge. Not a lot. But some. And the most important knowledge you need is a comprehensive knowledge of what has already been done. Why? So you know what not to do.
2. Our work is often autobiographical, so we take rejection of our work as rejection of ourselves. But this is silly. The team/client have no clue of your autobiographical inspiration, they're purely rejecting the pieces of paper they see in front of them. You're a valid person! It's just the work they have a problem with.
A Certain Ratio were a band from Manchester,
and are tangentially related to this blog post
3. Advertising is subjective - there's no certainty that your idea is good. So when you are presenting it, people will be looking at you, and judging how much you seem to rate it. Therefore, the more confidently (and energetically) you present, the more people are likely to think it's good.
4. Very often, when you're writing an idea, you come up with something great, that you love... but you know in your heart of hearts there's one tiny thing wrong with it. Someone once said that "the problem with a hidden flaw is it never remains hidden." They were right.
5. Don't write TV ads that depict a normal or everyday situation, with a twist at the end. It has to be a helluva twist to compensate the viewer for the previous 25 seconds of boredom. You are much better off creating a commercial that is funny all the way through.
6. Make your work extreme. If it's dialogue-based, double the amount of dialogue and cut out everything else. If it's visual, make it very visual. If it's logical, make it very logical. If it's emotional, make it very emotional. In short, be very.
7. To do good work, tell the truth about the product. Yes, obviously, you'll be exaggerating it, or dramatising it, but base what you do on a truth about the product, not on anything extraneous or made-up.
8. If you're a young creative, the most important factor in deciding where to work is a certain ratio - 'Awards Per Head.'
9. When working with collaborators - like directors, illustrators, web designers etc - never be afraid to tell them how you want your idea executed, even if they're a world-famous photographer, and you're a 22 year-old. Remember, it's your idea.
10. If you've done some good work in the last year, don't sit there stewing because your boss hasn't given you a pay rise. They never will. You have to ask.
P.S. If you think these tips are rubbish, let me know. If you have better ones, let me know.