Ass Kissing – By @TarunChandy
By Tarun Chandy
So, it’s my last SCAB. Kind of a big deal. But we’ve been dealing with a lot of lasts recently. And there’s something about feeling like it’s your final chance to rant about anything that makes you think long and hard about what you want to say. I decided I wanted to use mine to express my gratitude to some of our mentors individually. Now, I want to stress that I am not normally one to do things like this. The idea of thanking my teachers would ordinarily make me feel like a kiss ass and I’d have stopped myself. But I think anyone reading this can agree that SCA tends to defy the standard teacher-student relationship. The bottom line is I felt I owed a few people a thank you and I was unlikely to properly express it any other way. So here goes.
Caz : There have been so many times when everyone I ask will tell me that the headlines I have in mind are perfectly good, and Caz will explain to me exactly why they aren’t working. She’s led me to push ‘just okay’ work into writing that excites me. And on the day of Dean’s protest, I think everyone who attended was amazed by how much she did to keep us going. We’d never have made it to the Houses of Parliament without her.
Ian: My first encounters with Ian involved falling asleep in three of his masterclasses in a row. Clearly, I gave him no reason to think fondly of me. I was remarkably bad at Art Direction and often made the mistake of just not trying hard enough. I suppose this one is turning into more of an apology than a thank you. So I suppose what I mean to thank him for is simply tolerating me and still patiently giving me feedback, as many times as he might’ve given it before.
Mike: I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Mike is like a voice of hope that everyone needs all too often at SCA. That can mean finding the value in an idea you’d lost all hope in, or just reminding you of your options and setting your head straight when you’re absolutely lost. He was the first person to help me believe that Rachel and I needed to stay partners. And his love for the weirdest and funniest shit out there has made him a fantastic influence.
Vikki: Do you know that feeling when someone gives you a complement and you’re not sure if you believe them yet but you really really want to believe them. Well, Vikki was the first person to tell me I was a great copywriter. And since it came from her that might’ve been the first time I allowed myself to believe it. It was because of her that a part of me felt vaguely proud of my D&AD entry despite what a train wreck it became. I wish we could’ve had her in more towards the end.
Uri: I don’t know if Uri remembers this but during his first masterclass with us, I answered one of his questions and he pointed at me and declared that I was meant to be a strategist. Little did he know that months later I’d be struggling to break past a 6.5 on his book score. But as much as his harsh scores have bothered me, I have to admit that his feedback has often been right on the money and led us in the right direction. His random bursts of wittiness are also generally enjoyed.
Chris: I still remember a line Chris told us about in one of his first masterclasses. “It’s what it’s not that makes it what it is.” The universal strap line. I was in awe when I first heard it. Chris’s comedic influence has made my lines sharper and punchier, simplifying it all down to the perfect degree. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the conversational tangents I’ve gone on while trying to get down to the core of an idea with him.
Pete: They say your real friends are the ones who can be brutally honest with you and tell you the things you don’t want to hear, when you absolutely need to hear them. Pete obviously had his reputation for being the baby-killer early on in the year. But the reason we all remain so close to him is because he doesn’t just shit on your work and walk away. He ensures you get it right and appears visibly annoyed when you’re willing settle for anything less. And the lengths he goes to see every person on his list and to stick around for the late nights at the pub prove how much he cares. There is no feeling worse than disappointing Pete.
Rob Mac: Rob Mac has provided us with some of the most engaging and informative masterclasses this year. How? Because he’s a storyteller. And maybe it’s just me but when a conversation shifts from advertising to mysterious plane crashes, I tend to sit up and pay attention. I thank him for going the extra mile on every presentation he ever made to us, and for all his other crucial bits of criticism that have elevated many of my campaigns.
Dusty: My biggest lesson from Dusty came during Term 1. I was working with Alex B. and we were having an argument about how to convey a proposition strategically. She wanted to say it positively, in a manner that highlighted its benefits to the audience and I wanted to say it negatively, to make the audience fear the very thought of not buying our product. I was so sure that negativity was the answer and Dusty told me I was wrong and that whenever possible, to try and take the positive route. Despite my mind still defaulting to the negative a lot of the time, I do my best to keep his advice in mind.
Marc: Again, I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the things I’ve learnt from Marc this year. Apart from everything he’s taught us about advertising and creativity, he’s also led me to discover and add about 20-30 songs to my playlist just off his morning Town Hall calls. I’ve changed a lot this year, mostly for the better. I’ve become more ambitious, more confident in my capabilities, and as a result more comfortable just being who I am. This course was more beneficial to my mental health than all the therapy in the world, simply because of the culture Marc has built. And I cannot imagine what my life would’ve been like today if he’d simply dismissed me on interview day.
A special shout-out to Max, Marcia, Amy, Liz, Michael, Deanna, Alex Taylor, Paul, John Jessup, Joel Jessup, Olly and all the other mentors and staff members I might’ve missed. I will of course thank you all in person, but this SCAB was just getting way too long. I hope you understand. I guess thus ends my last SCAB ever. I have to say, as much of an annoyance as these have been at various points of the year, I’m kind of disappointed it’s all over.