{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m looking at changing careers from screenwriting to copywriting. How likely am I to get an internship/job at a good company without going to portfolio school? Or is portfolio school 100% necessary in order to land at the upper echelon agencies?", "post_id": "5f53be5d21f806001a4734b1", "reply_count": 19, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "58f8078ac1ca28001625cfd6", "bowl_name": "Junior Creatives" }

I’m looking at changing careers from screenwriting to copywriting. How likely am I to get an internship/job at a good company without going to portfolio school? Or is portfolio school 100% necessary in order to land at the upper echelon agencies?

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While school is not required I still recommend taking a night class. With Covid you don’t even need to be in NYC to take an Adhouse or SVA night class. It’s around 500 bucks and it’s basically 1-2 CDs guiding you on different projects, with the goal of having starters for your portfolio, which is ultimately what is required even for an internship. It also helps you know some industry specific things and to see of this industry is really for you.

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Agencies will love your background — they’re always impressed with people who have worked in legitimate entertainment. But at the end of the day, they’re gonna want to see that you can do what they need — so a portfolio is a must. If you can make enough spec work on your own that shows big idea concepting skill, stories that are campaignable, and clever headline writing ability, then go for it. But if you can’t, then portfolio school is the way to go. Check us out (obviously), but there are also shorter programs like Bookshop LA, Adhouse NYC, Portfolio MasterClass, as well as Chicago Portfolio School which is a longer and more expensive program. Good luck!

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Writing is only half of the copywriting job. While craft skill is essential and very in demand, your first job will be coming up with ideas. Big, organising thoughts that reframe or define the direction of a brand / entire company. You won’t need portfolio school, but you will need a portfolio. Peppering your spec ads with your screenwriting work is a great way to stand out and get noticed. Unconventional backgrounds always seem to be welcome.

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Wish I had your job! Wanna switch?

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Great perspective OP! Thanks for sharing your side to it all

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Portfolio school isn’t a must (even though it’ll make things easier) but to get in at a good agency you’ll definitely need a portfolio with spec ads. Without one you could still maybe land a gig in community management type roles but making that jump is hard. Screenwriting experience should help. Good luck.

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It’s possible to build a portfolio without going to school for it and landing internships/jobs. You already have screenwriting background which is honestly a huge advantage, you do have to learn how to think in an advertising conceptual way though. I would loveee to know how you landed a gig at Adult Swim and how it is there.

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AD2 I can’t dm you but I’m interested.

I didn’t go to portfolio school and some would say I’m having a pretty good career so far. I did take two Adhouse classes when I moved to NY though. Good to at least take a class or two so you know what’s going on. And try to take one with a teacher who works at a great agency

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Also, a lot of agencies have production studios. Can you find a way to get into an agency that way? Then if you can learn/create a portfolio while working and make it know that you want to do copywriting. I know that a lot of people having success moving within an agency from one department to another. You have skills that would be very useful for a copywriter, especially when shooting a commercial.

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In the past two years I transitioned from a music/songwriting career (actually had some music in Adult Swim bumps) to copywriting with zero portfolio other than spec work I made in my free time. Started with an internship and am now partnered with an ACD. I think more and more agencies like out of the box candidates. Offer creative projects that show you have a wide range of ideas, tones, ways in to a problem. And also stuff that shows you have a strong and consistent voice when necessary.

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