Tips for Young Advertisers #1

Our university starts again this week, and for those that are new or want a refresh, read this below by Russell Davies (whom you often see in Campaign). Basically this will keep you ticking over. I wouldn't say you had to do everything, but do atleast 1. I do point 1, 2 and 3 obsessively and have blogged about point 7

1• Take at least one picture everyday.
Post it to flickr. You should carry a camera with you. A phonecam will do. The act of carrying a camera and always keeping an eye out for a picture to take changes the way you look at the world. It makes you notice more things. It keeps you tuned in.

Posting it to flickr (or other photosharing sites) means that you’re sharing it. It’s in public. This will make you think a little harder about what you shoot, and it might draw you into conversation about your pictures.

2 • Start a blog.
Write at least one sentence every week. It’s easy to knock blogging as a kind of journalism of the banal, but in some ways that’s its strength. Bloggers don’t go out and investigate things (mostly); they’re not in exciting or glamorous places; they’re not given a story but have to build one out of the everyday lives they lead. And this makes them good at noticing things, things that others might not have seen. Being a blogger and feeling the need to write about stuff makes you pay attention to more things, makes you go out and see more stuff, makes you carry a notebook, keeps you tuned in to the world.

3 • Keep a scrapbook.
I’ve talked about this before. It’s good. Do it.

4 • Every week, read a magazine you’ve never read before.
Interesting people are interested in all sorts of things. That means they explore all kinds of worlds; they go places they wouldn’t expect to like and work out what’s good and interesting there. An easy way to do this is with magazines. Specialist magazines let you explore the solar system of human activities from your armchair. Try it; it’s fantastic.

5 • Once a month interview someone for 20 minutes.
Work out how to make them interesting. Podcast it. Again, being interesting is about being interested. Interviewing is about making the other person the star and finding out what they know or think that’s interesting. Could be anyone: a friend, a colleague, a stranger, anyone. Find out what’s compelling about them. Interviewing stops you butting in too much and forces you to listen. Good thing to practice. (And it’s worth noticing the people who are good at it.) Podcasting is sharing. Sharing is something you must get used to.

6 • Collect something.
It could be anything. It could be pictures of things. But become an expert in something unexpected and unregarded. Develop a passion. Learn how to communicate that to other people without scaring them off. Find the other few people who share your interest. Learn how to be useful in that community.

7 • Once a week sit in a coffee-shop or cafe for an hour and listen to other people’s conversations.
Take notes. Blog about it. (Carefully). Take little dips in other people’s lives. Listen to their speech patterns and their concerns. Try and get them down on paper. (Don’t let them see. Try not to get beaten up.) Don’t force it; don’t hop from table to table in search of better eavesdropping, just bask in the conversations that come your way.

8 • Every month write 50 words about one piece of visual art, one piece of writing, one piece of music, and one piece of film or TV.
Do other art forms if you can. Blog about it.

If you want to work in a creative business (and before long most businesses will be creative businesses), you’ll have to get used to having a point of view on artistic stuff. Even if it’s not very artistic. You’ll have to be comfortable with expressing an opinion on things you don’t know how to make or do, like music or writing. You get better at that through practice. And through sharing what you’ve written.

9 • Make something.
Do something with your hands. Create something from nothing. It could be knots; it could be whittling, Lego, cake or knitting. Take some time to get outside your head. Ideally, make something you have no idea how to do. People love people who can make things. Making’s the new thinking. Share your things on your blog, or, if you’re brilliant, maybe you can share them on

10 • Read.
Great places to start:
Understanding Comics
by Scott McCloud
The Mezzanine
by Nicholson Baker
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
by Edward Tufte

All these books are good for their own reasons, but they’re also good examples of people who are really interested in stuff that others think of as banal and who explain it in a way that makes you share their passion. That’s good.

And that’s it.