Sunday, March 08, 2015

Living The Dream Is Actually Shit

There's a perception that advertising Creatives would really rather be doing something else.

That we are people who failed at writing novels or screenplays, or didn't have the stomach to pursue the uncertainties of life as an artist.

That a career in advertising is a creative compromise.

It's certainly true that, back in the day, every Creative was writing a novel. Then it was screenplays. Now I hear of quite a few Creatives developing apps or games.

But I get the sense it's happening less.

Even though advertising's glamour rating has been on the slide since about 1987, I get the impression we're all more dedicated to it.

Am I right?

Or are you still hankering for something else? If so, what? Let us know, in the poll below.

What Is Your Dream Job?

Ad Creative
None of the abvoe
Poll Maker
P.S. I have what I think is good news. My own alternative occupation was always 'Writer'. But when I did actually have six months off and wrote a book, I didn't really enjoy the experience.

I was sitting at home (well, mostly lying in bed) writing all day. And it was just a bit, well... lonely. Sure, you can go out to a cafe, but you're still not interacting with people.

If you're someone that loves the stimulation of agency life, as I do, you may find that 'living the dream' is actually shit, as I did.

The fact is, many creative professions are solitary. Artists, writers, composers, actors (when not working), directors (when not working), and musicians (when not working) are all just sitting at home on their own.

If you're the sort of person that craves solitude, then it's fine. But most people who work in ad agencies are not that sort of person.

So would you really rather be doing your dream job, or are you happy doing what you're doing?


Anonymous said...

I think what I'm finding tiresome is ad agency's expecting you to come up with product ideas and solutions for clients in the name of awards that the client then makes a stack of cash off or the agency wins shiny trinkets from.

Their comes a point when you just get tired of making money for other people. Why not just develop it for yourself?

Anonymous said...

I think it's important for writers to write outside of advertising, be it books or screenplays and so on. I see so many junior copywriters who don't have the skills to venture beyond a headline. Having another writing passion develops your skill as a writer in ways that working solely in the style of advertising can't.

That, and reading. Too many young copywriters devour ad annuals and nothing else. That doesn't teach you how to write. It shows you what a good ad is, and is an example of craft, but it doesn't teach you much beyond that.

Read more. Write more. Get better.

-K said...

Deadlines used to be three weeks, then two, now one. And there's always the 'need it tomorrow' briefs each week. At the end of the day/night, there just isn't time or energy if you're a competitive creative.

If you're not trying to compete in your advertising work, you can probably find a gig working on non-creative advertising which let's you leave at about six each night. Then you can afford to be creative in your spare time, or maybe just have a social life and go to the gym each day.

It's a choice. And a balance I question often. Particularly when I see artists/cultural provocateurs doing projects that I've already come up with but didn't make the time to create.

Unknown said...

If you don't like to work from home you don't have to. Join a tech company / a startup. You'll use the same skills as in your agency job, you'll still be stimulated by smart people around you and enjoy office / corporate perks. But you get to create something that will last longer that 30 seconds.

Anonymous said...

Anything you HAVE to do will from time to time be shit.

Mastery + Autonomy + Purpose = Dream

Therefore you have to be ridiculously good to be able to charge enough to pick your projects, or hit it lucky, so you're rich enough to do what you want.

Or you have to not care about money, in which case you wouldn't be in advertising in the first place.

In reality, we're lucky if we meet one of those three.