Where are all the Junior Creative Directors?
As a ‘junior’ in the advertising industry, I have always wondered about the question above. Now, I personally don’t believe a good creative is by definition a great director, but I do believe that a good director is by definition a great creative.
“Hey junior, what’s up junior?” How does this make you feel? A bit patronized, I presume. You might even bring up a memory of your dad, roughly petting your little head while he says it. If you’re like most of us, which means not a professional footballer or a child of Che Guevara, you’ve probably been brought up to connect this word with incomprehension, incompetence and incapableness.
Now it might not be true all the time, but I’m sure we’ve all felt at least one of those things at one point in our lives, while our ridiculous prepubescent haircuts were tossed into oblivion. I’m also not saying that’s a bad thing necessarily, but it gets problematic once we cling a certain expectation to a word or status like that. I bet you right here, right now, that at least 8/10 professionals would defer from using it in their title on LinkedIn or whatever other social addiction tickles their fancy. Why? Well I’ve got insider information, I’m one of the 8. The desire to be more than you are is not unhealthy to me, far from it. But the problem still remains entangled in the root.
I’m not here to drag the word junior through the mud. Far from it actually. I’m here to pick it up and see if we can put it back where it belongs: written in italics right under your name on that business card nobody uses anymore. But how do we go about it? Well, that’s where we come back to the question I’ve been building up to answer: Where are all the Junior Creative Directors? They’re here, reading this while you are. Hell, you might even be one. Have you checked? All it takes is some natural God-given talent for directing, a social pulse and just enough organically sourced arrogance to put it out there. Because in case you haven’t figured it out yet, the position is vacant everywhere, ready to be occupied. The advertising trade is as old as selling itself, yet it’s begging for an intrinsic, revolution-like overhaul.
But all those Creative Directors who’ve come before us, both written with a capital letter — They had to start somewhere, right? They didn’t just wake up one day and creatively directed themselves into a six figure job. No, somewhere, sometime, someplace, they made that leap. Maybe they are the ones who can help set this ‘new wheel’ into motion too. Because there where people leaped, many must’ve fallen. If you find yourself among the ones that reached the other end, it would be helpful to throw a rope to the other side. If a couple of ropes reach the other side, you’ll soon have one of those wiggly, creaking sky bridges. Now that might metaphorically be all nice and well, but like anything else in life, it will always be a two-way street, or bridge in this case.
I’m thinking being a junior doesn’t just mean underestimated or under-qualified, it means whatever you put behind it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that being Copywriter or Art Director, but it would be nice if another option became available, a slightly more audacious one. An option that prepares you for a job you’re not at all ready to do yet. An option called: Junior Creative Director. Before we know it, even before our juniors grow into well established, lion winning douches, we’ll have directed the new creative revolution.