I don’t mind questions at all!
First off check out this incredible Award School final portfolio from my friend Phil Harkness, he came second out of the top ten this year (top ten out of 100):
The biggest mistake I made with Award School was not being prepared to actually go into advertising afterward, I went because a lot of people told me it would be good for me, and I needed a jolt of some kind of inspiration because all my work was feeling stale to me at the time. I wanted to learn how good ideas worked, the difference between a good idea and a bad idea, and how to come up with them, etc. and for that Award School was amazing.
It’s rigorous, you need to complete a test to get in, NSW only take 100 people a year, and even if you’re on of those 100 it doesn’t even mean anything because you really get put through the ringer during the course.
It’s two nights a week, one with a lecture, and one with a tutorial. Lectures are there for inspiration and context to that week’s project/medium, but the tutorials are where you do the work.
You get two sets of tutors over the two semesters, based at two different advertising agencies, and they are your lifeblood, I squandered a lot of the help that my tutors offered because I was um-ing and ah-ing my way through the whole course. Regretfully I should have given it more, but my heart just wasn’t in it sometimes. You get a week to complete each project and you should be handing in 20-40 responses to each brief, but more often than not you do it the day before your tutorial and hand in 10, which is fucked. Another thing you don’t realise at first is that sitting around coming up with ideas is not quantifiable with time. You know that two hours of solid drawing will produce a certain amount of work, but two hours of ‘thinking’ and you might still come up with nothing great. This is the toughest part.
The thing with Award School as well is that it’s a contained perfect universe where your ideas can go wild, where there are no clients to tell you to water it down, in this environment you can become quite inspired, but the real world isn’t like this, and only some agencies are forward thinking.
I was interning at the same time at one of these said forward thinking agencies and it was exactly how free and amazing I thought it would be, but at the end of the day I just didn’t care much for advertising.
Award School do everything they possibly can to give you the best start, after lectures everyone is told to go to the pub and talk to that week’s lecturer, more often than not though we’d all go but no one would talk to the lecturer, on the off occasion that one of my friends did, the lecturer maintained contact with her and helped her through the course.
The tutors are the same, all they want to do is help, and if you’re good enough you’ll most likely get some kind of trial position in that advertising company you tutor at.
It really all comes down to how bad you actually want to be in advertising. After watching documentaries like Art & Copy I thought it was the next step for me, but as I said, I couldn’t bring myself to care as much.
Feel free to email me if you have more questions!