Before the portfolio. Before the internships. Before you step one foot into the professional world. As a student, you need to remember a single thing:
Lose the ego.
Oh, I know, you're probably thinking, "Hey, I'm humble. I'm like, the most humble person in the world. There's nobody with more humility than me. Yep, call me the baker because I'm cookin' up humble pie every day."
But the truth is, you have no idea what you're headed for. But that's not your fault. It's ours. The industry's. Your teachers'.
What You Think You'll Do
When you're working on your student portfolio, you think about the whole campaign. You're being trained to think about everything from concept to execution on every piece of the pie.
That's good. That's what you need to learn.
You need to learn how to articulate that mush in your head into a cohesive idea. Then, how to bring that idea to life in whatever form fits it best. So, your instructors are doing the right thing. They're showing you how to make all that happen.
But the problem is, when you're taught that's how it works in school, you think that's how it works in the real world. That, from the beginning, you'll work on everything from A to Z.
And when you're taught to think that, you get entitled.
Because first, you're gonna eat shit.
What You'll Really Do
I mean, eventually you'll work on some really cool stuff, if you get through all the crap. But as with all things, you've gotta start from the bottom.
That means you'll work on the things nobody wants to do. The stuff that people don't want to waste their time on. The projects that have to be done, but nobody expects to amount to anything.
And that's where you get to blow up those expectations.
What You Should Do
See, I've worked on TV, print, radio, social content, influencer projects, digital video, banners, point of sale, brochures...I've done it all. And the ironic thing is, in today's ad industry, the stuff that people don't like to work on is the same stuff that give the most creative freedom.
It's the stuff with low expectations. The stuff nobody expects to be cool. And I love taking that stuff and making it cool. And so should you.
As a student, an intern, a junior, you have the power to change the way you look at these types of projects. Others may see them as afterthoughts, wastes of time, or projects with no potential. But to you, they should be proving grounds.
Take every opportunity you have and make it proof that you're a creative that solves problems. No matter what size, what scope, or what expectations others have of them.
Make the Opportunities You Aren't Given
And it all comes back to ego. That's what makes people think that something is beneath them. Not worth their time. Not deserving of their full creative gifts.
They phone those projects in, when they should be seeing them as opportunity for true creativity.
Lose the ego and you'll find that those opportunities are all around you.