SCA Spotlight on…Elliot Harris, Global ECD, Havas
1. Hi Elliott! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Impeccable taste. Energetic Experience. Quiet Revolutionary. Young Talent Nurturer. Let’s the ball do the work.
Ello! I’m the ‘Creative Dad’ or ‘Global Executive Creative Director’ for Havas London’s creative dept alongside Vicki Maguire. I’ve been in advertising for 25 years winning a few Pencils and Lions along the way. My other full-time job is being married with 5 daughters and a Doberman. My lifelong love of architecture resulted in me building an Eco house in the Essex countryside which has been featured by Grand Designs Magazine and appeared on Channel4 show ‘Building the Dream’. Any precious spare time is spent at SCA and nurturing young talent at Havas London having established the agencies first internship scheme ‘Platform’.
2. How did you start out and how did you get to where you are now?
I think everyone is born creative, we play, we’re curious. Then we get to school and the word ‘no’ starts being fired at us. Just read the book, do the homework, sit the test. If you asked questions you were often obstructive. I’m lucky my upbringing at home embraced creativity and music, I thank my parents for the entrepreneurialism and showing me there is always a different way. I never went to college or uni, found myself in London aged 19. And purely by luck I got a job with D&AD. That was my creative apprenticeship.
3. How long have you been a mentor at SCA?
I’ve mentored at SCA for 6 years because the energy rubs off both ways. I’m learning stuff about myself and my approach by constantly staying close to the unfiltered passion and thinking that every cohort (and the faculty!) bring. I always leave Brixton feeling uplifted I’m not sure I can say the same for the way I feel leaving ‘work’ each day. If SCA had been my schooling I never would have wanted to leave!
4. What’s your favourite thing about mentoring at SCA?
Constantly being surprised by the humans that come through this special school every year. Seeing how they think and watching them mature their approach to creativity on that very steep curve between September and July.
5. Recommended Reading for a student preparing for life at the school.
Book- I have a complete set of D&AD annuals. I still look at them everyday and never got bored. But if not that then this – ‘The contortionists handbook’ by Craig Clevenger
Podcast – Matt Follows ‘Pressure Proof Creative’. how to de bullshit your sub conscious and make your brain match fit to be a creative athlete.
Don’t watch any box set until you’ve watched The Sopranos in its entirety. All of life’s lessons can be found in David Chase’s incredible writing. I will not accept there has been a greater TV show written since.
6. What skills do you think someone needs to be a ‘creative’?
Creativity exists in every part of life. If you’re open, curious and like to solve problems then for me this is the most important skillset to have. Plus appetite. You can teach everything else but you can’t place hunger inside people.
7. Why do you think SCA students are so successful?
Simple, the faculty and mentors make SCA unique. No where else in the world will you be taught by practitioners of each of the crafts, plus have all the amazing industry contact and workshops this course provides. It has the results to back that, just look at any student award show and you’ll see SCA at the top. Better still, look around London’s best agencies and you’ll find SCA alumni everywhere.
8. Top tips to succeed in the creative industry.
Find your own version of creativity, be brave enough to leave a little layer of yourself across your work, that’s what will make it distinct and own-able. Your own brand of creativity is unique to you. Don’t spend time imitating others.
9. How should students approach life at SCA to really benefit from everything it has to offer?
Please please please don’t waste a second of being here. That doesn’t have to mean first in last home, just use the time to your advantage, don’t waste time acting cool, fucking about. It’s like a pregnancy, you get the most incredible gift at the end of 9 months if you’ve looked after and nurtured your time there you’ll be in love forever.
10. Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Being able to listen well is a superpower.