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December 4, 2002
Hungry Anyone?

As a small agency located in Orlando, we don't exactly have the multimillion dollar budgets everyone dreams of. Heck, if we get a budget that has seven digits in it we get all giddy. TV shoots for less the 50K? Oh yeah, we've done them. Photo shoots for $2k a day? 'Til the cows come home. While this may seem like a hard way to grind out a living and build an agency, it's taught us how to manage incredibly tight budgets. And in today's environment, that's not exactly a bad thing.

Yeah, we've grown up frugal. But that doesn't mean we don't have expensive tastes and unmet cravings. We've just figured out ways to get around the budget and stick to what matters most: the idea.g

While hundreds of production companies, photographers, illustrators, writers, art directors, producers and other craftsmen and women in our industry are hungry for work, we are only interested in those that are hungry for the idea and we've seen them come in all shapes and sizes. They've been one of the hot humor production companies giving us a break on a series of spots because they believed in the idea. The DP who shoots only one 16mm job a year, and yes, it's ours. The photographer whose normal day rate is ten grand and we get him for three. Or the copywriter who came from a bigger market with bigger clients for smaller pay. These are the true believers in our industry: the ones that can make an average ad great, the dollar stretch further and the creative product the best it can be. Not because they have to, but because they want to.

It's not easy finding them, however. Between reps looking for work and ad people looking for, you got it: work, we get hundreds of phone calls, letters, e-mails and mailings a month. "Got any new projects? Need any copywriters? Hey, I saw you got a new account, I'd love to help you guys out." That's all well and good, but selfishly we're looking for a little more than that.

When we started the agency six years ago, we began doing the recruitment advertising for a very large theme park here in Orlando. At the height of it all, we were generating 6,000, 8,000 phone calls a week to their jobline. And this was for people making $5.95 an hour. Now this wasn't two weeks ago. This wasn't two months ago. This was three years ago, when unemployment was at 2.5% and you could find a job anywhere, probably two, for whatever pay you wanted. But that didn't matter to these people. What mattered more than the $5.95 per hour they made was the magic they got to feel and create. This was more than a job to them, it was their dream job.

I believe that this is what is so important today, even in the middle of all the crap we're going through. Find your dream job. Get hungry. Get real hungry. Find out what it's like to crave something. To desire it so much you physically feel pain when you don't get it. And I'm not talking about a paycheck, either. I'm talking about the opportunity to do something great. The opportunity to chow down on great ideas, great strategies, great advertising. It might be a freelance gig. It might be a one-day shoot. It might be as the Creative Director of an agency. But the only way you're going to get the satisfaction of achievement is if you see it as more than a job.

I know there are thousands of people out there looking for jobs. And we're talking great people with loads of experience and talent. People with a lot more experience and talent than I'll ever have. But I've seen the ones who are different. The ones who are the true believers. They are the ones that are always looking for ways to better themselves, their ideas and their craft. I admire the heck out of them, because believe me, they are the ones who will never go hungry.

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John Ludwig is hungry. Partner and creative director at PUSH, a small agency with large ambitions located in Orlando, Florida, John and his team are doing their best to push the envelope and produce great work day in, day out. 

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