Thursday, March 3, 2011

Starting out.

When I was in my early twenties I was having a hell of a time breaking into the advertising industry. Maybe the economy sucked. Maybe my book wasn't that great. Maybe I was just to shy too make calls and nudge people.

Whatever the case, somehow my book made its way to a pretty famous creative director called Shep Kurnit. He was the "K" of a well-regarded agency called Delehanty Kurnit & Geller or DKG. He had a good reputation in the industry and was kind enough to send out four letters for me to prominent creative directors. None of whom hired me, but eventually Shep's fondness for me did help me get a job working for a guy who used to work for Shep. It was my first agency job.

It's 30 years later now, and I'm still thankful to Shep. Shep died just before my father did in 2001, but I still think about him and how he helped me.

He never taught me this but he might as well have. When a bright, young, eager person finds you and asks for help, help them. Introduce them to people, criticize them constructively. It's the least you can do for the help you got along the way.


Jeff said...

As someone in the process of breaking in I can say your sentiments still ring true. Most people in the industry seem very willing to help as long as they are approached with respect. It's helped me enormously to just talk to people and have them critique my work.

The constructive criticism you mention is the most important aspect of the whole process. Youngins need to seek it out and accept it if they want any chance in the biz. Hopefully your post inspires people to seek/give help. There's tons of jrs out there who need it.


Tore Claesson said...

Many years ago I ran out of gas while driving on a small country road. My car was a piece of junk. None of the instruments worked. I was very far from the nearest town where there would be a gas station. It was late at night. It was rainy and cold. I was young, long haired, and scruffy looking. It was far between cars. Nobody stopped. So I decided to walk. After about half an hour a car stopped. The guy had noticed the abandoned car and figured I might belong to it and in need of a ride. He drove me to an open gas station where I picked up a gas can. He even drove me back to my car. When I wanted to pay, when I insisted to pay him, he said "don't pay me, pay back by helping someone in a similar situation".

sheriffshooter said...

im curious to know what book you'd written. i started off looking for a job as a copywriter too, armed with a book that i was and am still proud of. nothing came of it, and today i'm an account planner well over his dreams of being a copywriter.