10 things I wish I knew before starting SCA – By @maryjohansen_

By Marianne Wathne Johansen


10 things I wish I knew before starting SCA


Last week, our reflection theme was telling ourselves something we wish we knew before starting SCA. If you’re lucky enough to have been accepted to next year’s intake, you’ll see all our videos. But I didn’t think 90 seconds was enough to share everything, so I’ll write it all down. Here we go:

1. Reflection is key.

You’ll learn so much, and everything has value, so take time to digest it properly. If not, it will go in one ear and right out another. After all, a masterclass can lead to your next big idea, even if it’s months down the line.

2. Never be late.

I’ve never been late during my time at SCA, and that’s for a very good reason. If you are, Marc puts on the most ridiculous song he can think of and makes you dance to it in front of everyone. I can’t dance at all, so thank god I never had to.

3. Do more than what’s expected.

Answering briefs isn’t enough; you have to do more than what’s expected of you to make your mark. Be it topical ads, helping other students or taking on extra briefs, it will be worth it. Trust me – energy can take you anywhere. Laziness won’t.

4. Make the most of it.

Don’t wait until term 3 to give the course all your energy. Success comes to those who, no, not wait – to those who are willing to work their asses off for the entire time. If you don’t give a fudge in term 1, you won’t learn strategy, and all your work onwards will be shit. The same applies to term 2; if you don’t bother learning craft, your portfolio will look like it’s been made in Paint.

5. Work until the minute before deadline.

It’s never too late to have a great idea. My partner and I submitted two D&AD entries; one we spent three weeks polishing, the other one we came up with, wrote and made a case study video for in 24 hours. The latter won, the first one didn’t. This doesn’t just apply to D&AD briefs though – there’s always a better idea out there, and sometimes it comes to you right before the deadline.

6. Use the network.

We get great mentors in every single day. Some of the biggest names in the industry have critted our work. Yes, it can be scary having your entire portfolio torn apart by someone so talented, but it will only make your work better. Also, knowing who they are, where they work and what they’ve done is important. Do your research, or you may end up looking like an idiot.

7. Decide who to listen to.

You can’t listen to everyone. In fact, doing so may ruin your work. Every mentor will have a different opinion, and you won’t agree with all of them. So choose your mentors wisely, work closely with them and apply their feedback.

8. It’s never too early to go on a book crit.

Get out there as early as possible. It doesn’t matter if your work isn’t great. No matter how creative you are, you need advice. There are so many incredibly smart people in the industry that would be happy to help you, so go find them.

9. Don’t just do advertising.

You’ll be busy, but it’s incredibly important to have hobbies and a life outside advertising. If all you see, talk, think and dream about is advertising, it will be hard to think of something original, let alone something that doesn’t look like an ad. You’ll also probably burn out, so please learn from my mistakes.

10. Take care of your mental health.

The busier it gets, the more important it becomes to take care of your mind. After all, it’s your main tool on this course. So don’t forget to breathe, laugh and do whatever it is that keeps you sane. A wise man once said: ‘You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.’

That’s all I can think of for now. Good luck x

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