Ten Creative Commandments, by @maxisamuggle


By Max Maclean

(First published 27/5/13.  Max is now working at Ogilvy.)


Dear (Future) Students,


End of each Friday, Marc will sit everyone down and ask for your ‘reflections’. To be honest, I’ve always found this process perfectly tedious.


It’s not because reflections are pointless – they aren’t. It’s because the week usually leaves my brain so over-used, abused and confused that it just… stops.


After everyone’s finished spouting a round of profound and refined reflections, my contribution is usually something like: ‘Scamping is helpful’, ‘Mentors are nice’ or ‘the woodland pheasant has no agenda.’ Sometimes I colour in my teeth with sharpies, or just sit there gurning and rubbing my shins.


Despite my brain-melts, I’ve learned loads. And on reflection (it’s not a Friday), there are 10 things I wish I’d UNDERSTOOD (not ‘known’, you can ‘know’ something and pay no attention to it – the female orgasm for example) before I’d started at the SCA.


            By themselves, they won’t make you into a good creative (if you find the formula for that – please let me know). But if you ‘understand’ them… these 10 Creative Commandments will guide you towards the attitude you need to make the most of your time at the SCA.


            Break a leg dickheads.





   <- email me about anything (within reason)




1.   Marc is (not) God


Marc radiates competence, but he can be (and often is) wrong.


Fortunately, he likes nothing better than being proved wrong. So if you really believe in something – go for it.


 2.   Thou shalt have no (many) other Gods


A new idea is nothing more than a fresh combination.


Don’t believe me? Here’s what inspired this SCAB:

     httpv:// – Scroobius Pip

     httpv:// – Christopher Hitchens


So, the more plentiful and organised your mental library of facts, tidbits, theories – the better your potential for ideas is. Learn something new. Every. Single. Day.


3.   No (Lots of) graven images and likenesses


If you can physically make/do something – an app, a comic, a radio ad, a chemical experiment – do it. 


Remember to have fun while you’re at it!


 4.  Do not take the Lord’s name in vain


Literally if you like (That Jesus eh? what a twonk!). But I mean the establishment.


You can’t be an abruptive (i.e. great) creative if you always follow the rules and respect the advertising greats.


 5.   Remember (What is) the Sabbath day (?)


Being a creative is the 6th best job in the world – after Rockstar, Jedi Knight, Arabian Dictator, Professional Skier and International Culture Reviewer.


So if every day doesn’t feel like a Sunday, then you’re doing something wrong. Love your work, because if you don’t, no one else will.


 6.   Thou shalt not covet


When David and Martins (Davetini) were awarded D&AD Best of Year, I thought they were going to kill themselves. David still might. That attitude is perfect. 


The best Creatives in my year (or any year) are those that really, really, really, really fucking want it. 


7.   Honour thy mentors and thy mentoresses


For three reasons:

  1. 1.     They don’t have to be there (they do it for you, show some gratitude).
  2. 2.     They’re a whetstone for your work (use them to sharpen ideas, copy, art).
  3. 3.     They’re your ticket to a job (people buy people more than portfolios).


Also, I’d reconsider honouring them like I did.

No comment.


8.   Love thy Neighbour


More than any other sector, the Creative industries have a ubiquitous ‘No Dickhead’ policy. Here, nice guys finish first.


Send ‘thank you’ emails. Buy someone a drink. Always be smiley and interested. Be FUN! No one wants to speak to a rude, stingy, frowny, bored and boring person – no matter how ‘cool’ they think they are.


It also makes you more attractive as a partner (I definitely wasn’t at one point).


 9.  Thou shalt not steal


Be a creative magpie. Steal whatever shiny things catch your eye. Become a thief of creative directors’ time. Pick your colleagues brains and swindle their skills.


But whatever you do, definitely ‘don’t’ steal software, ‘don’t’ torrent movies, and ‘don’t’ steal bottles of wine at awards dos.



 10.  Thou shalt not ALWAYS Kill


Get accustomed to (metaphorical please) murder. Take a Spartan approach to your babies (ideas) – kill the deformed ones at birth, cultivate the ones that show promise, and then make the creative environment so singularly harsh that only the strongest survive.


Finally, remember what victory looks like – the mass massacre-by-portfolio of every rival creative team on the planet. That’s it! Go fuck ‘em up.


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