Reasons Why You Need To Watch Cheer – By @lucyannp_

By Lucy Pennock


Reasons Why You Need To Watch Cheer


I’ve just finished watching Netflix’s Cheer and I’m surprisingly shook. Not just because this nail-biting show is an exceptional masterpiece in storytelling but because it reminded me so much of my time at SCA last year. And has subsequently inspired me to write a SCAB about it. 

For those of you in a hole (Hi KRAK), it’s a six-part documentary series following one of the best cheerleading teams in the world as they prepare for the biggest competition of their careers/lives. Cue American accent—NATIONALS. The camera focuses, refreshingly, on the graft not the glamour of cheerleading. Everything boils down to a few fleeting minutes when the collegiate teams go head to head at the national championships in Florida. We see them compress a year’s exhaustive hard work, tears and torture into one slick 2-minute routine and then BOOM it’s over. They graduate. 

In my weird little mind, I kept making links between this show and my time at SCA last year. Nationals is Portfolio Day/Cream. Monica is Marc (lol). Navarro cheerleaders are SCA students. The gym is the studio. Et cetera. Et cetera. You see where I’m going with this. Even though I can’t touch my toes let alone perform a triple backflip, the comparisons between these cheerleaders and SCA students are endless. Don’t get me wrong, what they do is far more admirable and impressive but the practice, dedication, and commitment they put in every day reminds me of the incredulous work ethic you’re taught and pick up at SCA. 

So here are my five top tips if you wanna smash the year and come out winning. 

Coach Knows Best

Like Monica, the coach of the Navarro squad, Marc puts his heart and soul into the school and his students. He lives and breathes it. He is your teacher, mentor, friend and enemy all in one. He will train you, scold you and nurture you into the best creative and more importantly ‘person’ he thinks you can possibly be because if you’re not striving to be the best, you wouldn’t be at SCA. You are one of his creative flower children. Alumni are like an extended family. He represents you as much as you represent him. He’s giving his best, as much as he expects you to give the school your best. He can spot potential from a mile off and will hold you accountable for your actions if you mess-up. So…well, don’t! Trust what he says (90% of the time) and listen to his advice. 

Practice Makes Perfect

SMPs, the STICKY test, 6 hat thinking, scamping, iteration, push craft, “PUSH CRAFT”. The techniques and methods Marc drills into you from Term 1 are exhaustive but they’re there for a reason. It’s because practice makes perfect and preparation is key. If you wanna get the best portfolio at the end of the year my number one rule would be to get up early and go to bed early. My second rule would be to practice writing and sharing your list of SMPs and SCAMP every frickin’ day. Coming up with good ideas is our craft. No one is born a Black Pencil winner. Just like no one is born somersaulting through the air. You need to practice over and over again. The more you keep making and remaking your portfolio and going on crits the better your book will be. I can’t stress that enough. 

You Can’t Do It Alone

This is super important. Like the cheerleaders, you’re part of a squad. You as a creative can’t do it alone. You need to lean on one another and equally support each other. There’s this incredible stunt they do towards the end of their routine called ‘The pyramid’. It’s the most complex, dangerous and spectacular part of the entire routine. The grand finale. If they nail it, they ALL win. Yes, you’re being judged individually but when it comes to portfolio day you’re being judged as a collective body of books. Look out for your course mates. Hold your year accountable. You’re in this weird experience together. You’ll walk away with friends for life and relationships built on trust and respect. Even if you want to be a single, you can’t do this job alone. Ideas are meant for sharing. 

Injuries Are Inevitable

Holy shit if you do end up watching this show you’ll be on the edge of your seat. Injuries happen left right and centre. It’s inevitable, part of the job. Just like the cheerleaders you and your ideas will be thrown around, bashed and bruised relentlessly. You need to be prepared for hiccups and forks in the road. You’ll have down days, days you feel like giving up, giving in. It doesn’t matter if you fail or in their case fall, it’s how you pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Partnerships will break. Tears will be shed. Just remember it’s all part of the process and as cliché as it sounds, the struggles will make you stronger. Keep going, never give up. Expect injuries! Be resilient. 

Winning Is (not) Everything

Last but not least, this is the most important I think out of all of them and something I’ve recently learnt stepping away from school and being on placement. Winning matters. It does. But it’s not everything. Aim to win, and if you don’t…so what? I won’t spoil the ending for you because I know you’re all gonna watch it now but don’t let gold accolades or shiny pencils distract you from achieving your end goal. Getting a job. If you want to win D&AD and get into Cream, great. Go for it! It will help you get placements 1000%. But you need to be motivated for the right reasons. Don’t do it to prove something to someone, don’t do it just to make Marc happy and don’t do it unless you’re doing it for yourself. After school ends and those mentors disappear from your life, you’ll be left with you, yourself and I. You have to motivate yourself and be doing this job for you. No one else. If you feel disheartened because you’re not the best in the class, just remember that it’s the ones who keep going (and keep cheerleading for the context of this entire SCAB) that end up fulfilled. Don’t do a Lexi is all I can say. I’ll leave it at that. 

Watch the show, work hard, keep your head down and do it ALL for you and no one else and you’ll smash it. I know you will. Go get ‘em Krak. 

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