Ten years ago, Mark Fenske did something nice for me. I'd just presented an ad to him. He looked at it for a second and then asked me if I wanted to know how to make it better. I said, "Yes." He ripped it up and threw it across the room.
Fenske could have flipped past that ad. He could've shrugged, "It's not my favorite thing in your book." Or changed the subject. "How about them Atlanta Braves?" Instead, he liberated me from my baggage and dared me to dig deeper.
There are some twenty-somethings in Denver who think their student books are swell. There are those who believe that their struggle ended the day they landed their first jobs. And there are a few who are just too lazy or self-absorbed to bother thinking about their careers after the clock strikes 4:20.
I hope they enjoy long and happy careers. I suspect they won't.
If you're in that other category - the category of people who want to create work that knocks people onto the floor through the force of sheer awesomeness - you owe it to yourself to apply for Next, a portfolio program from the New Denver Ad Club. Over the course of eight weeks, you'll get new work for your book and the chance to sit down with people like Norm Shearer, Gregg Bergan, Jonathan Schoenberg and Mike Sukle. (And if you live in Denver and don't know who those people are, your first assignment is to wake up.)
Here's what you need to apply for Next. An NDAC membership and a few samples from your current book.
Here's another thing you need. Courage. The program is only accepting eight writers and eight art directors. So you might not get in and rejection sucks. Or you might get in and sit down in front of one of the aforementioned folks and have to hear them tell you that you need to go back to the drawing board.
That's not criticism. It's an opportunity. One you shouldn't miss. You have 48 hours to get your application in.