Selection Day Advice from Fat Penguin

Fat Penguin were our class of 2016, so while it was a while since their Selection Day – the sentiment remains the same. No longer are we in a church, since Covid we’ve hosted our Selection Days online but they’re still as daunting, but exhilarating and exciting as they always were. Read on for top tips from an intake that are now fully fledged creatives. They were, where you are once upon a time and have lived to tell the tale…

When I applied I didn’t take said offer/was too scared to do it. The presentations I saw, were in my eyes a thousand times better than anything I had brought with me. After the second one I let my nerves get the better of me and left the building. Just bite the bullet and get it over with. You’ll set the bar and won’t have to sit there worrying what yours may be like whilst watching others. Believe me you’ll feel much better for it. Thankfully I was invited back a second time. I asked to go first and nailed it.

Tell stories. Ask gritty questions – we like grit. Be so well-rehearsed you don’t have to look at your presentation on the big screen. Don’t let the nerves affect your self-belief. If you walk into the school and get ‘that feeling’ and think (know) it’s the place for you, bloody tell someone, preferably Marc or another mentor. Most importantly – enjoy it! Get in touch if you have any questions or want a chit-chat: @robynhfrost

Say ‘YES AND’, don’t say ‘no, but’. The school is all about people who are ready to collaborate with each other and listen to suggestions. Also, hard work beats talent so show you’re not afraid of the graft.

It’s easier said than done but really don’t be nervous, everyone watching wants you to do well. Make your presentation very personal to you and make sure you include anything interesting and different about yourself – it makes for good viewing.

Lastly, go big or go home.

Give the best account of yourself. If you’re naturally shy, it’s ok to present a more measured schtick. If you’re loud and a bundle of energy, show that. Personality, in any form, shines through. Don’t think you have to be weird either to come across as ‘creative’. It’s cool if you think you’re normal. (You’re probably a freak anyway.) And remember everyone in the room wants you to do well. Finally, prepare some questions to ask about the school. Darker the better. Have a beer at the end of the day too.

Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, hope that you fail. Celebrate your failures. Do something you’ve never done before. Do something so terrifying you’ll have an out of body experience. Or share something that means a lot to you. Do something valuable and worthwhile in and of itself, that challenges you. Don’t worry about being a certain way or playing up to some idea of who you think Marc wants you to be – he’s building a choir of different characters. Just be you. Tell us your story. Stay calm. If you walk in and you feel like there’s nowhere else you’d rather be, tell Marc, talk to the mentors. If you don’t get in the first time but you think SCA is for you, try again. Do something to get Marc’s attention. It’s as much about passion as it is about talent. Half the battle is turning up. Be honest and true to yourself and we’ll invariably love you. Involve us and we’ll love you even more. Don’t be too shy to get in touch beforehand for pointers if you need to. Be collaborative, be open to new ideas. Don’t be intimidated. Ask yourself: what do you want people to be saying about you when you leave the room?

If you think it’s wrong, it’s probably the right thing to do.

If you have an idea for your presentation that you think is totally crazy, and might go horribly wrong, THEN DO IT! Spectacular failure almost always works better than playing it safe. Crash and burn in style, we will remember you, and in this industry, there is nothing worse than being wallpaper.

Make sure you get across who you are as a person more than anything. Don’t worry about fucking up your presentation, if you do, take a deep breath and start again. Everybody wants nothing more than for you to smash the interview day. Love you xx

Don’t take things too seriously. Like don’t overthink it. Break the damn rules

Do anything that interests you, don’t try to please anyone. Remember, the school chooses you but also you choose the school.

Remember everyone in the room wants you to do well. If you muck up, do it again. It’s relaxed. People buy people, so be yourself. Show us what you want us to remember. Be nice. Marc will tell you incredible stories about the best interview days, don’t let them intimidate you – let them inspire you. What can you show us about yourself which makes you you? You will be presenting on a big screen which is behind you. Don’t look at the screen. Know your slides. The story you want to tell. Sell it to us.

The best advice I can give is not to worry. Remember that this could well be the start of your SCA journey, it’s worth enjoying it! I wish I’d been more confident, but looking back at it, it was one of my favourite days in the studio. Also remember that Marc knows his stuff. If he says no to you, there’s a reason. Maybe he thinks you need time to think and have another crack, maybe he doesn’t think you’d fit that particular year, maybe you’re just not right for it. Also ask questions. All the time, and think of juicy ones to ask the students.

A fancy slideshow or portfolio will get you absolutely nowhere. This school is about character. It’s about showing off the very best and worst of who you are, not only as a creative, but as a person. We want to know what makes you tick, what makes you think and what makes you, well, you. Show your vulnerabilities, tell us your secrets, connect with our hearts and minds, but mostly, just relax and feel at home. Treat Marc like your dad, Ian as that one uncle who’s really good at very specific things. Heck, If Pete is there, just banter with him. Caroline will grill you like your mother-in-law, but it’s well intentioned and she only wants the best for her babies. You are about to be welcomed into a brand new family, with weird quirks, strange trousers and most of all, loving arms. Embrace it and be yourself.

Don’t do a presentation about advertising. We want to know about you, not how good you are at making ads. After all, you’re applying to a top ad school for a reason – to make better ads.

Even when you’re not being watched, you’re being watched. Your interview starts before interview day and carries on after so be a presence online and on the day just be a tryer and show that you’re a team player.

I’m sure reading these you’ll have a major bout of butterflies. But don’t be anxious or scared. It’s a great atmosphere. Be yourself. Don’t try and be who you think they want to see. Believe you can and you will. Most of all ENJOY IT.

Firstly, congratulations. You have something. Something Marc wants. So don’t panic. I spent a good 7 minutes pre-interview pipetting rescue remedy onto my tongue and really needn’t have. So long as you show off your you-ness, you’ll be fine. And just remember, a ‘no’ is not a ‘no’ until you internalise it as such. So keep trying. You can do it. You know you can.

Arthur Harry
Don’t over think it. In fact I wouldn’t even prepare a whole intro, three part and conclusion presentation. Instead leave space for improvisation and fluidity. Challenge yourself and rehearse only a few hours before. You’re right for the school or it isn’t for you. Simply show the faculty why they need you. Be weird, unique, and disruptive. Finally remember that whatever you express it’s all about teamwork, you can’t achieve great things on your own. Peace.

Related SCABs

Go back

Student Application

  • Fill out the Application Form below to be a part of our next Award-Winning intake.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY