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Tom Carter, advertising student, Falmouth University

5 min, 45 sec read
11:15 AM | 10 October 2014
by Jim Compton-hall
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Tom Carter has just started his second second year studying creative advertising at Falmouth. Previous to that he studied film production at college for two years, then studied photography at art school for another two years and had one year adventuring. While studying he managed to bag himself placements at music based agency Frukt, Golin PR and a digital agency called Holler. He's still yet to find his place in advertising so he's always hunting for new experience. Any branding or content creation agencies out there should definitely look him up.

What made you want to go into creative advertising?

During my time at Plymouth College of Art I found myself in a lecture led by a teacher from Bucks New Uni, she was eccentric, energetic and she spoke about the creative advertising degree she taught in such an invigorating and exciting way that there and then I decided that this is what I want to study.

“I would advise anyone to study abroad if they get the chance.”

She described advertising as "creative problem solving". This resonated with me so much at the time as I felt like I was just ticking the boxes to pass Photography. I loved the idea of having new challenges everyday and having an outlet to vent my creative interests.

As well as Bucks, you’ve studied abroad. Tell us about that. Was it a useful experience given your goal of being a creative?

The highlight of my two year stint at Bucks was actually six months away from the place studying in Copenhagen. What a cool fucking city. Loved every second of it. My class at DMJX were amazing and a constant inspiration. The lifestyle there just made everyday a pleasure – riding my bike everyday to school, rye bread and great beer, beautiful architecture, Scandinavian design, wild nights out, hyggeligt nights in, such a myriad of cultural goings on in such a small city was just nuts. I lapped it up. It was a crazy six months being taught by really great teachers – Clare McNally & Katrine Granholm. I felt like I learned a great deal. I would advise anyone to study abroad if they get the chance.

And now you're studying at Falmouth!

So yeah I jacked in my degree at Bucks New Uni and transferred to Falmouth, why? Because I’m still trying to work out where in advertising I want to be. An extra year of headspace somewhere new, surrounded by creative people, is going to do a lot of good. I was a little disappointed with the lack of support I had while at Bucks and I figured that I have an opportunity to change my circumstances, so I did. I’m really looking forward to starting fresh and having more of an idea of what I enjoy creating so eventually I can get a job in a place that suits me.

How do you go about getting a placement or an internship?

So I bagged my first placement at Frukt through uni which I was ecstatic about, my classmates had been saying for weeks that Frukt is a place where I’d fit in after they had visited their offices in New York. George and I didn’t want to be average interns so we created mix cd’s to hand out to our new agency pals, quite apt considering they are a music based advertising agency.

“I like the reassurance aspect of working in an agency environment.”

After having our time at Frukt extended we asked head honcho Jack if he could let other agencies know that we were hungry for experience. A few emails later and we had meetings with three agencies about setting up placements. We were lucky.

How do you find being on placement?

I have found that my placements have been far less stressful than being at uni. I'm not sure if it's just my sporadic work ethic but I feel a lot of pressure at uni. At an agency on the other hand you get a lot of support, the thorough briefings with planners really help clear up any questions you get after receiving a brief and they seem to value any ideas or thoughts you have had where as at uni you're on a solo mission. 

I appreciate that at uni you're there to explore and make mistakes so both have positive points, perhaps I like the reassurance aspect of working in an agency environment. My time at Holler was interesting as they seem to deal with digital aspects of an already existing idea, where as I'd been use to coming up with the big ideas and channelling them into whatever medium works best. It was a bit frustrating at times but it really helped pick apart our execution ideas to make them better suited.

How did you meet your creative partner? We’re guessing he’s not the real George Michael?

I met George at uni. We are pals first, partners second. We ended up working together because everyone else was partnered up already. After knowing him for two years now I think I have milked the George Michael thing, I’m on to bigger and better beef now.

“After knowing him for two years now I think I have milked the George Michael thing. I’m on to bigger and better beef now.”

One of the best things I have seen him do was on a trip to Florence in Italy, we befriended these gnarly art students and spent the night street drinking cheap red wine and smoking ourselves into a stupor. On the way back we crossed one of the many bridges of which George ran up to and leapt off the edge, seemingly throwing himself into the river Arno. It made these punk guys scream their little arty pants off. (George was safe and sound on a ledge below.) We're going to be on a little hiatus while I’m in Falmouth but who knows what's going to happen in the next two years!

Are there any projects you want to explore in the future?

I have recently started a blog that aims to tie together culture and advertising. I wish to showcase advertising that contributes to culture rather than imposes on it, such as content driven work like "The Creators Project" by Intel.

“ I wish to showcase advertising that contributes to culture rather than imposes on it.”

I hope it will make me see more work, find cool agencies and help me work out what I want to do myself. I implore people to throw their two cents in, advice or criticism on this project would be really appreciated. I plan to release a few photographic zines in the next academic year too, put on some great bands in some weird venues in Falmouth and start/finish a load of other projects I have up in my brain.

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