Exclusive: Meet The Top Five AWARD School Students For 2018

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The top AWARD School students from Australia’s five mainland states have been announced, and now it’s time to find out who will be given the title of top dog.

But before an overall winner is crowned tonight at Facebook’s headquarters in Sydney, B&T caught up with the top student from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia to talk about their 12-week AWARD School experience.

The five talented students also share their favourite piece of from their AWARD School book, and their advice for others wanting to get involved next year.

Lucas Fowler (NSW)

Favourite work:

Mum Jokes (Lucas Fowler)

What was the highlight of your AWARD School experience?

It may play like a broken record, but it was certainly the lectures. The speakers’ enthusiasm for great work and their golden advice always gave me inspiration to push my ideas further. This is only matched by the comradery with fellow students to try and impress our tutors. When the tutors look at an idea you make and say, ‘damn, that’s actually pretty cool’, you try and hold back the tears.

How will the experience help your career?

Coming from a job of making the best (truly, the best) coffee in Newcastle, the exposure that AWARD School has given me is transformational. It has provided me connections in Sydney that may see me working the dream – as a struggling creative. More importantly though, in coming up with ideas, the experience has taught me to always dig deeper, stay on prop, and base everything off human truth.

What advice would you give to others considering getting involved?

Pardon the slogan, but ‘Just do it’. I came from Newcastle and did my three-hour travels in and back each day, the lectures and tutorials would always be worth it. Over the duration of the 12 weeks, you go from doubting every decent idea you have to submitting a finished portfolio with pride. It’s an emotionally draining experience that gives back double what it takes away.

Phoebe Sloane (Victoria)

Favourite work:

#sorrymum (Phoebe Sloane)

What was the highlight of your AWARD School experience?

I loved the weekly tutorials. My group was a really special bunch of people, ranging from chefs to lawyers, which kept conversations diverse and ideas original. Each week, our tutors (who were sensational) fostered a fun environment (featuring lots of great banter) and we all became great mates. We weren’t precious about sharing ideas and we kept each other motivated up until the end.

How will the experience help your career?

AWARD School has taught me the significance of being able to evaluate an idea and distil the best option. As the weeks progressed, I became more critical of the ideas I brought to the table. Learning the difference between a lukewarm and shit hot idea will make me a better creative.

What advice would you give to others considering getting involved?

Anyone who is passionate about advertising will get something out of this course. You are guaranteed to gain a quality perspective of the industry, while enjoying the company of other like-minded creatives. If you’ve got a strong work ethic, then you’re already half-way there. Give yourself the chance to see where your brain (and heart) will take you.

Edward King (Queensland)

Featured work:

Bose Comfort Kits (Edward King)

What was the highlight of your AWARD School experience?

When I wasn’t having a mental breakdown (jokes). In all honesty, it was great to be surrounded by like-minded people who are passionate about ideas – both students and tutors. AWARD School was a truly unique opportunity to be mentored by creatives with such diverse backgrounds with so much to give.

How will the experience help your career?

AWARD School opened my eyes to the many other realms of creative thinking, particularly the importance of having a strong insight behind an idea. It was cool to learn how the power of an insight can help you connect with your audience on the same level.

What advice would you give to others considering getting involved?

Don’t get too attached to a single idea. This is something I wished I had grasped earlier. The sooner you are able to let go and push on, you’ll be open to exploring new territories and finding a solution. This experience was challenging, but it’s definitely worth it.

Elizabeth Graydon (Western Australia)

Favourite work:

Apprentice Proof (Elizabeth Graydon)

What was the highlight of your AWARD School experience?

That moment when you pitch an idea and you get the exact response you want. Whether that be an ‘aww’, a laugh or just a ‘hmm, that’s neat’, those moments are far and few between, but I was fortunate to have one of those moments in week eight of the course. It was that week when everything just clicked, and I suddenly knew how to create an idea in order to elicit a specific response. That’s a fantastic feeling.

How will the experience help your career?

For me, it’s not only a foot in the door, but it’s my foot, my legs and even an arm in the door. Having only just graduated from university, I took this opportunity to expand my knowledge of the industry and challenge my boring old way of thinking. My career now looks brighter than ever, and even though I don’t know where it’s going to take me, I can tell you one thing: it’s not going to be old or boring.

What advice would you give to others considering getting involved?

My answer is aimed at all the people who are interested in AWARD School, but think they aren’t ‘creative enough’. That was me. If you are at all interested in the course, then apply. What have you got to lose? Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes, and from all different backgrounds. My advice to others would be just keep going. Keep pushing yourself. It’s tough, but worth it.

Shaun McFarlane (South Australia)

Favourite work:

Arnold and Einstein (Shaun McFarlane)

What was the highlight of your AWARD School experience?

Being exposed to so many great creative minds in such a short period of time. Not one tutor or lecturer was the same; each had their own advice and unique style. AWARD taught me there is no ‘how to’ guide or step-by-step process you can follow. Instead, you are pushed to develop your own way of thinking.

How will the experience help your career?

AWARD School has confirmed that this is the direction I want to head in my career. It has taught me how to approach a brief, develop an idea and then strip it back to its simplest form.  After just 12 weeks, I now think of ideas in a completely new way.

What advice would you give to others considering getting involved?

That there is no downside – just do it. Believe all that you hear about the amounting pressure (it’s real and it hits hard), but don’t let this deter you. Listen to your tutors’ advice but learn when to trust your gut. Take lots of showers (it’s where all the good ideas live) and keep a pen and paper on your bedside table. Most of all enjoy it, AWARD is such an incredible opportunity, so make the most of it.

 

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