HOW SCA 2.0 CHANGED MY LIFE, by @tomhouser

Tom Houser

By Tom Houser

(First published 25/5/12. Tom is now back from working in USA and is pumping out great campaigns for VCCP. Here is a link to his website.)




Flashback to December 2010, I’m working at the Apple store in Covent Garden.

I knew when I took this job that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, but it pays the bills.

Whilst working I think about the offer I have to study at a new advertising school in Vauxhall. It’s going to cost money, which I don’t have, and means studying again; between you, me and the student loans company that doesn’t make much financial sense. But in the end, with a push from my friends and family I take the plunge.

I hand write long letters  begging for support, which come to nothing. I learn to be humble and accept help from people I love, who offer to take a massive gamble on my future career. I sublet my bedroom and move onto the sofa  in my kitchen, building a curtain around it for some privacy.

Then in January I start school and for the next year manage somehow to keep it together.

It isn’t easy, intensive learning 9-5 Monday to Friday, the workload is punishing and whilst there are amazing highs,  many more days are spent in the doldrums.

To keep costs down I walk to Vauxhall every day, 3 miles there and 3 miles back. I start cleaning the school on the weekends to help pay off my fees.

The walking and the cleaning give me plenty of time to worry about whether this whole thing was a good idea.

Back to the present, 26th May 2012 at 7:29AM. Propped up in bed,  it’s too hot, I can’t sleep.

Yesterday morning I went for coffee with my mate Dan and our new boss Jason. We’d never met him before, only through Skype. He was fired up, telling us about his plans for the agency he’s CCO of.

That’s why we’re here, in Chicago.

For the next 6 months we’ll be working in his creative department at EURO RSCG CHI, shaking things up and learning everything we can from him and his team. Which is pretty mad.

Slightly more mad than the first job I had after leaving SCA., as one half of the lead creative team at MySpace UK. For 5 months I got to work with one of my best friends, the talented art director Laura Walpole, who I met at the school.

I wanted to write this post because I think SCA 2.0 has changed my life. Typically when people say that about something it reeks of insincerity, which is why I started this post off recounting last year.

Funnily it’s only now that i’ve had time to sit and think about what’s happened.

‘LIFECHANGING EXPERIENCE’ DISCLAIMER This isn’t a course run by educational alchemists, they can’t magically turn your cash into a career,  it’s up to you to do that. I learnt, and am still learning, that there is no right answer in creativity, no ‘proper’ way of doing things.

By exposing yourself to the ideas and opinions of so many teachers, professionals and mentors from all walks of life, you stand to gain a real flexibility of thought.

In just 18 months friends, family, teachers, mentors and fellow students have all helped me get where I am now, 4000 miles from home.

There isn’t a way for me to thank them all enough and I’ll happily admit that when I started writing the first draft of this, thinking about it made me burst into tears. I can’t tell you if I’m any good at this advertising game yet, I have too much to learn.

Regardless, I know my life has changed for the better, so I just wanted to say, thank you for everything SCA 2.0.

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