Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Watch out Donald Draper!

Yesterday, before frantically running into a meeting, I shot off an email to someone that had posted an ad looking for a girl like me + a bit of advertising savvy. The ad had humor, for which I am Queen, and was far from the average ordinary snoozefest one typically finds when looking for a job. I was intrigued. I couldn't resist. I didn't have time. What the hell, we'll be quick and to the point and we will forgo the traditional professional jargon most cover letters are drowning in (and for which I've gotten no replies). "Good afternoon, I would love a chance to talk about how awesome I am..." and so it began. It was short, sassy (I know, shocking), and to the point. I had a response within the hour.

The email was long(ish) as it explained the potential position and was actually quite interesting. It was the very beginning, though, that had me gobsmacked (a word I personally feel more people should incorporate into their day-to-day conversations). He basically explained that he usually doesn't give recent grads a shot in hell (albeit much more eloquently put), but that there was something about me and the bits of work he saw that made him wonder if I might be something special. I emailed back complimenting his obvious good taste and agreed to meet for coffee. We exchanged a few more emails and during this bout of witty repartee he informed me that I don't write like a designer...I write like a creative director and he was intrigued. He said that he would meet me at my "oh-so-hip coop studio" at a time of my choosing. At my what? Hmmm, it seems that someone was doing research on me while I was doing research on them. Well played, Sir. Well played.

Today we met. It was...fabulous. This might sound strange considering I'm not actually getting the job, but it really was great. You see, I didn't expect to get the job. I don't have the advertising experience it would take for this super crazy action packed 10 weeks. What I did get was so much more valuable. I got someone in the industry, that doesn't know me, telling me I'm talented. I love all of you friends, family and instructors that have suggested it, but this is different. And while I do believe I'm pretty darn good at this stuff, this seems to be the sort of validation I'd been craving.

A lot was said in that hour(ish) long meeting. We exchanged histories that seemed oddly parallel and talked of what I wanted in this crazy industry. He told me that I should go back to school for advertising. He said there are a lot of great designers that can't write copy and a lot of great copywriters that can't design, but that it's rare to find someone good at both. He said I could go a really long way...that I could be an Art Director. Say what? He told me that he didn't think he'd use me for this particular job just because of the intensity of it all, but that he would certainly be sending work my way. He complimented me...a lot. He gave me advice. He gave me things to think about. I thought it might be inappropriate to hug him so I opted for an exchanging of business cards and a handshake.

Hmmm...go back to school for advertising you say...

Taken Under Consideration

Around the time of graduation I submitted my Lexi rebranding project to Brand New Classroom on Under Consideration's website. A classmate had done the same thing and I wanted to give it a shot myself. It's a scary thing. First you have to get them to say it's ok and that they like your stuff enough to show the masses. Then you submit everything you have on it from sketches to photos of the end result. Then you wait.

Finally your turn arrives and you end up vulnerable and exposed as your baby sits out there in cyber space to be critiqued by anyone feeling the urge. They also grade it. I didn't know mine was up yet until I got an email from someone telling me that they don't usually do this, but...they wanted to take the time to tell me how much they enjoyed my work. Really? You like me? You really like me?

I jumped online to take a look and began to read the comments. It takes thick skin to survive in this industry. Not everyone is going to love your work. Heck, you might even be considered mediocre. But there will be some that love your work. People that giggle at something you've done or are actually moved by a piece. There will be people that see something of yours and just have to show someone else, who will show someone else, who will contact you and want you do do work for them. Those are the moments that make this crazy career worth it. Combine that with the satisfaction and the rush of simply doing something you love and you can easily tell the nine people that gave you an F on Brand New Classroom to BEEP the BEEP BEEP.

Here's my overall grade...

And here is a link to my entry.