Archie + Ed = an ollie

The old adage is that you’ll learn just as much from the students around you as you will from tutors. Despite hearing this phrase mentioned throughout my life, I was always somewhat skeptical until I joined SCA 2.0. I spent a large proportion of the early evening today watching a man try and learn to ollie on a skateboard on the SCA’s first floor in Pop Brixton. The floor was astroturfed, the skateboard borrowed, and his previous experience minimal. The success of Ed’s attempt was somewhat immaterial. What stuck with me more was the desire of the people around him, like Archie and earlier Clarissa, to help them achieve a goal he’d set himself. You might look at such a goal and scoff that it was puerile or that people helped because they were looking to procrastinate. However, if you did, I’d say you don’t really understand how the SCA and BOAT, the 2021 intake, really works. People’s willingness to help, no matter how small or large your problem may be, makes solving SCA’s complex daily challenges not only achievable but consistently enjoyable. Furthermore, I learnt that Archie+Ed= an ollie.

The approach demonstrated by BOAT was mirrored in a conversation I had today with an alumnus of the school called Soren Birk.  We were sitting in the SCA’s entrance chatting about agencies and briefs when I asked him, given his experience freelancing, how you should go about looking for agencies you would drop anything to work for. I’m paraphrasing his response, but the essence remains the same. He took a moment and pointed out something that had clearly been staring me in the face since I started at the SCA; something that I’d clearly missed. He noted that, at the end of the day, 90% of your ideas aren’t going to make it through the creative shredder that will get them to production “so why would you work anywhere that you don’t enjoy the process?” Watching Archie and Clarissa help Ed attempt an ollie later on in the day, the quote came back to me and seemed to ring as true of the SCA as it did of prospective agencies. Why wouldn’t you want to study or work anywhere where, no matter how stressful the day, you still enjoyed the process?

A quote, I’m still unable to source, stuck with me when it noted that “a moral has no substance unless it’s cost you something”. You might argue that holding someone’s hand as they practice placing their feet during a skateboard trick or taking five minutes to help someone find something in an obscure Adobe menu doesn’t really cost you anything. However, given the way briefs stack up during the days here, I would argue that time is, in a very real sense, a form of currency. Choosing to invest it in the people around you, as they do likewise, in the spirit of reciprocity is ultimately a key part of what makes the SCA a pleasure to attend. Even when brief deadlines stack up against the windows like snowdrifts, people will still be willing to help record voiceover dialogue, help you reformat a poster, or give feedback on a hurried change to an endline. It will of course get harder and our spare time may continue to shrink as we approach the crunch time of D&AD submissions and portfolio days, but I have every confidence that Archie + Ed = an ollie will still ring as true then as it does now.


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