Know your craft first. Your time will come later.

09Sep11

Here are excerpts of job descriptions I’ve seen recently:

“Creative Director should have at least 5 years experience…”

“Wanted: Associate Creative Director with 3-4 years experience…”

“Hiring Creative Director. Have 5+ years working on brands…”

And we wonder why creative is so universally poor these days?

Five years of experience should barely be a mid-level creative. At that point in your career – I don’t care how good you think you are – you’re still learning (or SHOULD be learning) your specific craft. How can you possibly be expected to not only know you own job, but be able to give feedback and direct creatives with specialties that you don’t even do?

I don’t want to sound like an old man on his porch yelling at the kids to get off his lawn, but these days I see so many creatives expect to be hired at (for example) copywriter level, work for a couple years, get promoted to sr. copywriter, work for a couple more years and then get promoted to ACD.

In reality, it probably takes 2 years to move from jr. writer to writer, another 5 to go from writer to sr. writer and another 3 or 4 years to move to ACD. Of course that varies depending on talent, but not much.

Unfortunately I know way too many creative who get promoted because “Well, they’ve tried hard for a few years” or because the think they’re ready when they’re not. But that’s why we end up with sr. art directors who don’t understand the basics of leading or kerning and writers who can’t write a 20-word sentence in less than 45 words – let alone creatives who can come up with big, original ideas.

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2 Responses to “Know your craft first. Your time will come later.”

  1. Unfortunately, same goes for the account side these days.

  2. Come, let me pull up my rocker and we can chat about the state of the business….The scenario you describe is not only rampant in agency-life but in all levels of production as well. If I was a “blamer”; I’d say technology has a lot to do with it. No need for on-set corrections, “we can fix it all in post”.

    It’s great that we have options. Is it better for a budget? Maybe. Has it compromised and devalued the craft, yes. And that’s where we are today, EVERYONE is creative, 4th place participants get awards and we indulge in pedestrian creations and act as if they are noteworthy.

    Maybe it’s true that we “can have it all now”, generally, isn’t very good.
    As a postscript, no diss to the technophiles, amazing images and campaigns have been created because of available tools, but like cooking; taste, then salt.



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