A bunch of failures – By HUSH, The SCA Intake of 2018/19

By HUSH – The SCA Intake of 2018/19

A bunch of failures


This week a bunch of us went to a talk called “Failure, and How to Learn From It”. Ran by Creative Review and hosted at D&Ad HQ, it featured people from the industry being open and honest about their failures and the insights they took from them. Inspired by this talk, we’ve decided to write a blog where we each list one thing we’ve failed at either inside or outside of SCA. Here goes.


Charles: English literature and language were the only subjects I was good enough to get As in at GCSE. So imagine how I felt when I found out I’d failed my Eng Lit AS level so catastrophically that the paper went ungraded.

I was so scared of what my mum would say that I forged my results letter with slightly more palatable, but still quite disappointing, results to show her (she won’t ever read this, don’t worry).


I ended up having to repeat a whole year of AS English Lit without anyone in my family ever knowing what was going on – they still don’t know I only have two actual A Levels in Media and Film (B and a C) and an AS in Eng Lit (A, this time round). I’d like to say I’d learned from that experience, but almost the exact same thing happened during my first year of university, forged marks, repeat year and all.


If SCA doesn’t pan out, I reckon I’ve got a decent future as a con-man.


Joe R: I failed my AS English Lit just like Charles! My biggest failure, however, was working incredibly hard and securing an offer to Oxford for AAA and absolutely fucking it at the last hurdle. I had full marks on my french speaking going into the writing part of the exam, and I misunderstood a very very poorly worded question (“qu’est qu’il passe l’action dans l’oeuvre?”), basically wrote a brilliant answer that the mark scheme did not cater for and ended up with A*AB as a result. On the bright side, I learned to not take everything so seriously and to not keep prioritising boring academia, and now I’m here!


Maddy: Most of my existence thus far has been a catastrophic failure


Alysha: Similar exam woes to the above. Got told at my stupidly academic school that I had to drop either Maths or French for A level and do 3 A levels instead of 4 because i was heading for a B (gasp!) in both of them. Got really really mad, threw a tantrum, dropped Maths and vowed that I would do the Maths A level in my own time during my gap year, get an A* and post my certificate to the witch of a head of senior school that made me feel like shit.


Got a B in French, a year later got a B in maths, retook the French and got a B again, cried a lot, walked off into the sunset tail between my legs, and realised in the end that none of that crap matters and loads of my peers are in boring office jobs that pay loads of money but make them miserable, whilst I’m happy as larry making ads and the only letters that matter any more are SCA.


Ruby: I failed my driving test four times, eventually passing on the fifth attempt. I had driven a little and figured I could just take a few lessons and breeze through. I thought that I just messed up on the day, not that that I didn’t know how to drive. Technically I was right; I could drive, but I hadn’t learnt how to pass the test. It took a while to wise up to my arrogance and I couldn’t bear the whole “I didn’t pass”, “aah you’re joking, right… right?” scene with my mum replaying again, so booked a proper course of lessons.


Karolina: I also failed my driving test four times, and passed on the last attempt, (they even made me visit their psychologist before the test, a really creepy woman, who asked me to pick between photos of psychopaths one I could sympathise with… But I still don’t drive.
And I failed my application to SCA , but today, I made it!


Vic: Remembering faces is a real struggle in my life. There is something about how we all have eyes, ears, hair, a mouth and nose that makes it really hard to recognise someone with certainty. It has led me to a number of embarrassing situations – apparently, people start to get offended after the third or fourth time you introduce yourself. But there’s no way out of it, even when you realise you know them, you still can’t place them. It feels rude to ask them who they are and attempting to winging it only makes it worse (it’s only worked for me a couple of times, mostly it brings back embarrassing memories).  


Andy: I have gone through life as a big fish. As a kid I was picked for all the sports teams, I did well in my tests and I always got the main part in the school plays. I got the Once In Royal David’s City solo three nativities in a row. That’s unheard of.

At uni I spent my time not studying, but honing my skills as an actor so that I could get into drama school. It worked. I got in, got all the good parts and got the best agent out of my year.

In my first week as a professional actor I was sent to meet Nicholas Hytner, the then artistic director of The National. The doors this agent was opening up were unbelievable. I was getting about three auditions a week.

Three auditions a week and it took me a year to land my first job.

It took me three years to land my second. By then the auditions were getting thinner on the ground.

When I look back on how colossally I wasted my chances I am really ashamed. I have so many friends who would kill for the opportunities I had, and yet I would go into auditions having not


learned lines, not practiced enough, not researched the company. My life had taught me to wing it. I would always land on my feet.

I’m not willing to say I’ve failed at acting. I failed to make the most of my opportunities, yes, but I still had some success. Not nearly enough though. And not enough for me to say I’m done with acting. I’m not ready to let go yet. I fully intend to go back to it when I’m eighty. There’ll be a lot less competition then so much more chance of me landing on my be-slippered feet.

For now, though, I’m going through an evolution. My life of winging it got me so far but it’s time for some serious sleeve rolling. I’ll put my complacency on the shelf for when I’m done with advertising.

I still reckon I’m a big fish, but the little pond just turned into an ocean.


Alex: Search ‘alex taylor stand up comedy’ on youtube.


Zoe: Seriously guys has anyone seen my keys?


Mary: I believed that if I slept with my biology book under my pillow all the knowledge would seep in. It didn’t. Also I am proud to say that my school created the first C set for Latin just for me and we got to just do Classics instead. A year later they made a D set and just allowed me to draw pictures. We would be graded weekly A being top academically and 1 being the highest effort. I always got D1s which my sister said was really sad – I was trying really hard and not getting anywhere….


Sophie: Winning the love and admiration of my peers


Lauren: I have never really failed in education or tests i was always a solid average at a B or C so maybe not being great has been my failure. Although I would probably say I have failed more in my personal life in dating and maintaining any sort of relationship. A rock probably has a better relationship history than me.   


Coco: Following things through – I like to start lots of things, not so good and finishing them


Patxi: Directionally challenged. My body compass fails me everytime.


Forrest: I spent my life being swilled about in the bottom set of practically every subject that was broken into sets. Maths, French, Latin… the list goes on. I became that guy whereby if you were in my class for anything it just wasn’t a good sign.


I also got fired from my first ever job. And dumped by my first ever girlfriend.


Leonore: I fail a lot at changing my habits as well as continuing new habits for a longer period.


Jacob: Anything that involves any kind of exam.


Josie: At the end of tennis camp when I was younger I always got the award for ‘best behaved’ which speaks volumes about my sporting ability.


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