While driving home from a paintball excursion I was asked by my friend and creative director Sherina Florence if I would come do a talk at Miami ad school in Brooklyn. After 1.6 seconds of considering it I said, “name a date”. We decided our only opening was the next day. So with a paintball blister on my forehead where I was shot the day before I showed up to speak about how dealing with and understanding vendors will help creatives in advertising. I didn’t treat it as a show and tell of my work rather used examples to illustrate different aspects of successes and failures between photographer and agency. The questions from advertising students were very well thought out and on topic…which was a breathe of fresh air. Not one asked what camera I shoot with. I like Miami Ad School students.
As anyone who has met me knows I like to talk. And when Hallmark Institute of photography in Turner Falls, MA invited me to speak to the entire school, talk I did. The night before Lisa Robinson and David Turner made sure I felt welcome with duck confit, plenty of laughs and a few insights on the crowd. Turner advised, “sometimes it is hard to keep the student’s attention span past an hour and 1/2 without a coffee or bathroom break”. I responded with, “they can bring wide mouth Gatorade bottles if they need to piss. Don’t want to break the momentum”.
There was a good turnout of about 300 students and faculty. I shared experiences of mine while finding my way into photography, assisting and eventually going off on my own as a photographer. Matching the content to your audience is the key to any public speaking. For students jumping into photography we covered expectations of parents, taxes, promoting work, shooting in foreign markets, appearance and running a business. 3 hours later with no break we wrapped up with the holy grail advice all future photographers need to know: DON’T BE A DICK…which is a common theme in most of my talks. I think only 4 people got up to pee during the talk.