That’s exactly what James, Vince, Jeremy and I experienced and I have to say I got as much out of it as (I hope) the students did. It all started at The Rust Belt Market in Ferndale, where we along with CDs from a half dozen other Detroit shops got to meet students from CCS, MSU, UofM and quite a few other schools. All courtesy of Adcraft and Doner. Tables were set up cafeteria-style. Creative directors got an assigned seat and the interviewees jumped from table to table in a 15 minute shot-gun opportunity to shine. They had to quickly show off their ideas and personalities, as well as make some connections and get some good advice.

It was a truly energizing night and the format had a ton to do with it. It was “Hi, here’s my work, thanks for the advice” over and over again.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat. x 12.

With such a short amount of time to make an assessment, I threw out my normal, “Let’s look at every page and discuss” and replaced it with asking the students to show me the piece that they either put the most of themselves into or said the most about them. I was looking for why they chose the product, why they chose the typeface, the photography and on and on. It was fun to watch their expressions – they weren’t ready for it, and I got some fresh responses. Each student I met was motivated, excited and enthusiastic. I resisted temptation to tell them to remember this time and how it feels…

In the end, the guys and I all agree it was a great night. We each met some great people, saw some interesting, though-provoking work and came away with a list of students to keep our eye on. Who knows? We could have met our future bosses…

Portfolio Nigh


Portfolio/Interviewing  – What We’re Looking for…

Ideas. You can try to dress ’em up all you want with apps, micro-sites and coding magic, but if the idea isn’t there, we’ll see it right away. So before you start thinking 360 or cross-media, or social/mobile/local, make sure the idea holds water (and maybe even some whisky).

You. Make sure you’re represented in your ideas. Your blood, sweat and the salt of your tears went into your work, so make sure we see You in it. It’ll make it easier to answer why you did what you did.

Don’t show anything you truly don’t believe in. This is where it gets dangerous. If you find yourself presenting a piece saying “my boss/teacher/mother made me change it to this” then you know you should rip it right out of your book. It’s amazing how cathartic it can be to just tear something you don’t love out of your book. Metaphorically rip it out if you’ve gone all digital (I don’t want to get any bills for broken tablets.)

There’s a ton more, but they only give me so much space. Mostly – try to have fun. If you’re not having any fun putting your book together, you should reconsider getting into the agency life. We look forward to seeing work you love.