thinking about agency models, my future, collaboration + orchestras

Part A:  I suspect I am joining a number of soon-to-be college grads in my quest to figure out what the heck I will be / desire to be doing with my future.

Part B: The recent trip I just took to New York with the ad. program for the one show helped me reach a number of conclusions regarding my future career.  At least for now – I’m sure plans / ideas / mentalities will change with time.

Part C:  Both my high school orchestra and choir recently won their respective state competitions. best of the northwest. the overall program won a grammy signature school title. again. freaking awesome.

So, adding all these parts together, I’ve been thinking of where I want to end up post-school and why I want to be there.

The wonderful thing about choir/orchestra, was that we were all there around a common idea: music. Not competition, but making music because that was our passion. Coincidentally…or I’m fairly confident, not so coincidentally at all, the reason the Sprague music program is so strong is because it’s not based around winning, it’s based around a community and a passion for the “work” aka, creating music.

Reading all the articles in the paper of the recent successes, it’s interesting to note the quotations of the students – this is a huge window into the core structure of the program:

“He [Mr. C, choir director] told us this morning to make it our goal not to impress but to inspire.”

“”Mr. C’s” advice: “Make the audience feel something.”

Possible one of my favorite cheesy (or maybe “feel good” is a better term?) Mr. C quotations – but honestly so entirely true – not just for music, but for life: “The voice is located halfway between the brain and the heart. Use them both.”

Of course the Sprague music program is competitive; however, competition was never and appears to still not be the primary motive of what they’re doing.  Mr. C and Mr. Nelson always said – we’re not in this to compete, and if that’s the case, we’re doing this for the wrong reasons. HOWEVER, if we are in this competition – we’re going to compete to win.

Huge. Huge. Huge. Doing things for the right reasons. Having a purpose. Common goal. Camaraderie. This stuff can’t be found in many places.

…so…transferring this to my current life…the struggle I have with working in an agency is that it’s very competitive…but not necessarily around that common core point like I spoke of above (categorizing all agencies together, I know there are a million various agency models, I know agencies w this structure exist).

Not to say this is bad. Just maybe not for me, at least at this point. I want to collaborate with a team around a common shared goal/idea/passion…such as in an orchestra or choir.  Of course there are commonalities in agencies…clearly.  But it’s not the same. Clients/accounts are consistently changing…I’m not sure I could work for an agency on an account I wasn’t passionate about.

And maybe this means I need to look into client side work…or maybe I really need to join an orchestra for awhile. Or maybe this is all just food for thought.

…while I’m lauding my past high school’s music program, check out this year’s Camerata at State:

3 thoughts on “thinking about agency models, my future, collaboration + orchestras

  1. Kim, have you read “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This”? In addition to being a brilliant source of inspiration and clarity on the dos & donts of good ads, the author provides some great anecdotes & insight into work at an advertising agency, and the life of a ad creative professional. Worth a read if you enjoy humorous tales & great advice.

  2. With agency life, it was definitely how much work a ad creative does that never sees the light of day in any public medium. He has a lot of advice around this, and a pretty hilarious rundown of different types of clients and how to handle them.

    Good/bad advertising it’s hard to narrow down just one takeaway; it’s really a compilation of great advice for a bunch of different mediums, with examples of what’s worked, what hasn’t, and why.

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