Crit me (with your rhythm stick) – By @Alfie60428342

By Alfie Hardman

Crit me (with your rhythm stick)


It’s been a frustrating week. We’ve been working hard to polish our portfolio and have finally gotten to a point where we’re almost slightly happy with it (dare I say). We’ve been agonizing over single words, umming over commas and tearing hair out over layout. Of course, this should be the case, even if we were to have sussed a placement by now. The work is never done. It’s been tough but learning to never be satisfied, I feel, comes naturally to us now.


The problem now lies in getting ECDs to look at our work. Don’t worry, this won’t be a dribbling moan about how unfair it all is. It’s not. We are surplus to requirements at the moment because we didn’t do enough to make those connections early on. We’re at a school that has a fantastic web of alumni, scattered across not just London but the world. Yes, even Namibia. Having book crits with them have been some of the best learning experiences at SCA. The knowledge you pick up about the course and placements is so valuable. 


The difficulty is getting an audience with ECDs and those that run placements. I’m not too sure how many emails I’ve sent this week alone without getting a response but it’s well into the double figures. This is the way it is. You pester and pester till someone answers. Why should they take the time to see you anyway? We were hearing of how some don’t even have much time to spend with the creatives they employ. 


Nonetheless here are a few tips that have stood me well(ish). 


  1. ALWAYS have a chat with an ECD after they have given a talk at the school, whatever their agency. It’s so important to build those connections early. Your work might seem really pressing but this could be the first step in getting hired. 


  1. Don’t just email, send a card or something more meaningful. Or if you do at least try to make the subject title different from the usual “Thanks, please can we have a book crit” tone. Bit obvious but be yourself and write how you speak. Don’t send a generic email, send one you’d click on. 


  1. Take their agency moto and make a poster to send to them. It goes a long way and shows them you understand their culture.   


  1. Look at all of their work. Read some interviews they gave to get an understanding of what they’re like if you’re emailing straight off the bat. People hire people is an expression that gets thrown around a lot, people hire people they like so you’d be a fool not to do your research. 


  1. Be creative in how you can get noticed. We heard tell of someone breaking into an advertising event, they latched onto all the ECDs airdrop and sent them their portfolio. Genius.   


The title of this references a hero of mine, Ian Dury. He was 35 before anyone knew who he was. He went on to be the face of punk and new era rock for a while and he didn’t do it by pretending to be someone else. Embrace who you are and stand out that way. Eventually (I hope) the ECDs will come fishing.

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