Friday, November 03, 2006

The Quest

Getting a job in advertising is hard.

Getting a permanent job at a 4As agency in Hong Kong with a junior book, a little money and not knowing anyone, or any Cantonese at all is a crazy challenge.

So far, I’m close. I think. I’m up for renewal on Monday and I have been getting calls from headhunters with offers that make my head spin. I am glad I have documented this. I hope it will give people who are interested in working in advertising some perspective of the work involved and the rewards as well.

I have several people writing me asking for advice on what to do when you are first getting started. I have decided I need to write a book about this one day (once I'm actually successful that is).

There is a saying that goes ‘It is smart to learn from your mistakes, and even smarter to learn from other people’s mistakes.’

When I was first getting started, I thought a great way to put a reel together would be by starting my own agency. When Kristian and I started PDP in Australia we made every mistake in the book, but it only took us nine months to make six ads and by the end of it we were shooting on 16mm film out of speedboats with a media buy across every TV Channel on the Coast. Our last ad helped the Runaway Bay Marina get so filled on the day of the Expo we had to park half a mile down the road and walk through hundreds of parked cars to check it out. Things were going very well. But then, we lost one pitch and it was the end of the world, and we gave up. If only I knew then what I do now.

I went back to Vancouver. We saved the ads online as .wmv files and I gave out business cards as a portfolio. It took me two years to realize that you can’t watch a .wmv file on a mac, which is what every creative director in the city used.

Ah, the things you learn in this crazy business.