For creatives one of the best ways to prove talent is by winning awards; no secret here. And while if working for an agency you will have the budget for award shows, it's tougher to get to these shows if you're a student, an intern or freelancer because of the expense involved.
But there are many shows out there that offer free or very low entry fees for students and young creatives. You'll probably not manage to enter all of them, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. There's also a fair chance you won't win anything from the first run, but as long as you follow your own award calendar and enter every year, you ought to win something.
Of course, creatives dream big -- of being the next Cannes Grand Prix winner, for example. My advice? Try keeping it real and start your way there from your early student or agency days. When I joined advertising I promised myself that if by the time I was 25 I had no award on my CV, I would change my job. I'm not 25 yet and I have won a couple of awards, so now I should raise the bar. That will take much sweat, many sleepless nights and a fair amount of being extremely wrong. But hey, if you're afraid of being wrong then you shouldn't be a creative.
So last year, I started to make a wish list of all the festivals I should try to attend for free or with my own money, to pimp my CV and portfolio. In the list I've included not only advertising awards but also film festivals, because I believe any copywriter should have at least one movie script in his/her portfolio or at least one book. This kept me focused on personal priorities each month, besides agency work.
This year I tried to do the list a bit earlier to share it with you guys. This is a list with both student and young-creative categories in international award shows with no entry or very low fees. It includes the name of award shows, deadline (if announced) and the category you can enter. I'd really appreciate your contribution to it if there's anything else we shouldn't miss.
|YoungGuns International Award||Monthly||Young Gun of the Month|
|Art Directors Club Awards||January 29||Student Briefs|
|New York Festivals Awards||January 11||Student Competition|
|John Caples International Awards||January 22||Caples Student Campaign of the Year -- Open Brief|
|The One Club||February 19||College Competition|
|Golden Award of Montreaux||March 15||Talent Award|
|D&AD||March 19||Student Awards|
|BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition||March||International Radio Playwriting Competition|
|Cannes Lions||May||Future Lions
Young Lions Competition*
|Art Directors Club of Europe||May 7||Student*
|Brussels International Independent Film Festival||June||Film Story Competition|
|Spikes Asia||July||Young Spikes*|
|Golden Drum Awards||September||Open Brief Competition|
|European Film Festival||September||Scriptwriting Categories|
|London Young Film Festival||September||Feature Screenplay|
|Cristal Awards||October||Poster Competition
|MENA Cristal Awards||October||Poster Competition
|The International ANDY Awards||November||Student Competition|
|Young Guns Awards||November||Open Brief
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR|
Ioana Filip joined the internship program of JWT Bucharest in 2006 as a student and was few months later hired as a copywriter. Still in JWT she's now working on the agency's international brands on all mediums. A graduate of communication and PR with a major in advertising and media in 2008, she's also a passionate screenwriter and a social-media addict, writing regularly about it on her blog, ioanafilip.wordpress.com.