Extra extra read all about it! By @MattJDKennedy

Matthew Kennedy

By Matthew Kennedy


Extra extra read all about it!


Here is a SCAB that wasn’t on the rota*.  I guess it is kind another absolute classic bit of advice for next year.  But also maybe a reflection on what I wish I had known or believed before I started.


  1. Painting cups – The first term you might find slow.  I was painting cups.  I’m 30.  I didn’t want to paint cups.  I wanted to make press ads.  But just paint the fecking cup. Come term three you’ll wish you were paint cups again. OK not true. I never want to paint cups again.
  2. Strategies – If you think you might want to make press ads, start writing strategies sooner rather than later.  Just so you understand what they are.  You might not write any good ones but it takes a while just to figure out what the point of them is.  If you want a head start drop me an email and I’ll send you an explanation someone in industry sent me which was really good.
  3. Mess finding – Problems. Just write them down.  I wouldn’t even worry about solving them yet.  But it would be cool to have a whole book of problems that you could work through and try to solve when you have a few spare hours.  Especially in the last few weeks of term when you just want to add another idea quickly.
  4. Read – Everything and anything. Know what is going on.  I wish I had found time to do it more routinely.  I have at points gone without knowing anything about what is going on in the world and that’s just a road to stupidness right.
  5. D&AD – Be careful.  Rightly or wrongly I came into school wanting to win a pencil but I spent so much time on D&AD my portfolio didn’t change for 4 weeks.  And man do I wish I had 4 weeks to spend on my portfolio now.  So just be careful.  A banging book will beat an average book with a pencil.
  6. Partners – Probably one of my biggest fears before starting the course was finding a partner.   And again one of my biggest fears 5 weeks before the end was finding a partner.  So take solace in the fact that everyone that wanted a partner now has one.  Even those who broke up late in the game.  All those people also have great books and placements.  So if it happens to you, stress out for  a day but then wake up and get on with it.  Also don’t clinge on.  Larry and I lost 2 weeks (Marc says more like 5) to marriage counselling. But fact is if it doesn’t feel right, even if the work is good, it probably isn’t right.  Split up.  Then focus on being the best you can be and you can’t do anything more.   And no, your parents will never understand that you get hired and fired as a two.
  7. Week plan – Make a week plan.  What you want to achieve and then split that into the five days.  Sounds anal but is essential especially towards the end.
  8. Gut – I think I’ve found my gut, all extra half stone of it.  But no seriously, I struggled to separate my head from my gut before this course.  Marc and Becky were always saying what does your gut say?  I had no idea.  I’ve got to think what my gut says, but then I’m thinking and that means it’s my head not my gut.  So if you also struggle with this, when someone says go with your gut, it means don’t over think things. You can still think about it, just don’t start over questioning. This applies equally to your work as it does finding the right partner.  It’s weird as naturally you want to interrogate your work to make sure it’s right.  But do it too soon and you could just kill a winning idea.  We have all killed or had killed ideas that would have gone on to be great.  So if you believe in it, follow your gut and do it.  Don’t kill it before doing it.  Unless it is quite clearly really really shite.
  9. Exercise – I was ‘lucky’ living an hour cycle from Brixton meant everyday I got 2 hours of exercise.  It cleared my mind and gave me ideas.  I’ve had no ideas in the shower.  So try and work some exercise into your commute or something.
  10. Your clock – reset it.  Get up early you lazy f*ck.
  11. Crits – Go out early. My first book crit was January I think.  Go then.  Even if you don’t have a partner and your book is shit. Learn what it is all about, start learning what agencies you want to work at.  Come portfolio day do you think your dream agency will offer you a placement or the team they have already seen for 5 book crits? Also if you are wondering what SCA has over Watford, Bucks, Falmouth etc.  Well one thing is location. So use it!
  12. Self doubt – If you are anything like me you are probably already full of self doubt pre-course.  It won’t go.  Sozza. I remember seeing Marc sometime in January/February and saying I wasn’t sure I could be an Art Director and numerous other times I’ve felt I can’t do it.  So you will have ebs and flows of confidence.  Times when you feel you can do it and times when you feel you can’t.  Just try and remember the times you did, because if you have done something once, you can do it again.
  13. PMA – I hope you have another Katy in the year to come.  Katy doesn’t walk, she bounces.  She has taught me to remain positive.  And if you do this, your work will be better.
  14. Chill out – I think it’s good to chill out.  I’m not sure.  But I think it is. Just not too much.  You do only have 10 months right? But yeah do chill out. I’ve never been so ill as I have this year and that might have been from not taking time off.  Then again. A day off feels much more special when you don’t take them very often.  It’s like the whole holding your wee in thing. Maybe there’s an idea in that…could be…anyway…CHILL OUT.
  15. Absorb – Esp for Art Directors if you don’t already, look at arty stuff and all that daily.  You might already do that, I didn’t so much.  I previously found my inspiration from spreadsheets and cracks.
  16. Side projects – Do them now.  Our ad campaigns often go down mixed.  Side projects always go down well.
  17. The next day – Katsu Curry always tastes better the next day.  As does spag bol right? Your ideas probably won’t though. Sozza again. So write them down and give them the overnight test before you waste too much of that precious time thing!
  18. Stay humble and respectful – No matter what you think of Marc, the mentors, judges at award shows, people on crits etc etc.  The fact is, they probably know more than you.  It doesn’t mean they are always right, esp when it comes to awards as we’ve seen some great ideas miss out but it does mean you have to respect their opinion and in turn they will respect yours.


Good luck frenemies.


*Marc can we have some extra beer monies please.

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