REMEMBERING iCR8 BOOTCAMP 2020
A Recollection of Afternoon Agency Memories & Moments
Written by Brandon Castelo
August 13, 2020
With the end of an incredible bootcamp experience, hosted by the Marcus Graham Project, the Afternoon agency calls for a moment of recollection. Complete strangers met virtually for the first time on May 11, 2020. That moment has reverberated throughout the Advertising and Marketing industry with the launch of the virtual pop-up agency: Afternoon.
Guided under one vision: to illuminate real stories and set fire to the status quo, the Afternoon Agency has created moments that will stay with us forever, from their experiences with clients, agency tours, mentorship, and even internally. Members from the agency on their weekly podcast reflected on this experience, and covered the most challenging moments to the most rewarding moments.
“I think that I definitely had a deeper appreciation for agency life after this summer. Especially after meeting different agencies and learning about the roles at these agencies. Even in my Principles of Advertising class, we may have briefly discussed what a creative brief was, or what the process was, but I think for students to come from lower socio-economic backgrounds, a big part that is missing from the college curriculum is exposure to the roles in the industry that you want to work with, work in, or work for. I think that this summer, the Marcus Graham Project and Afternoon Agency has definitely given me that exposure so I’m very grateful for that,” - Ryon Henderson, Strategist and Director of Cultural Anthropology, said.
“I feel prepared after this bootcamp in the sense that I have a better understanding as to what agency roles are, but I think the most important thing for me is that I feel inspired. We've been able to meet so many people who are black and brown within this industry, and them being in their roles makes it possible for us. This program has reminded me that this is the industry that I am passionate about and the industry I am needed in,” Karl Blevins, Brand Manager, said.
“I've learned so much about flexibility, and how to use my resources well. Like, how to be quick on your feet and all those different kinds of things. Just being in a space where everything was moving quickly, I would agree that MGP was an accelerated program. We got to jump in headfirst and create a foundation for ourselves, and then be able to act on it,” Rasheed Owens, Brand Manager, said.
“Reflecting on the 2020 iCR8 bootcamp has been hard, because it is a very bittersweet thing for it to end. But nonetheless, it is clear to myself and my peers that I have grown significantly as a person and a creative through this experience. I knew I had the talent to achieve whatever I yearned for, but what I didn’t know was how to work collaboratively. Which, it’s pretty ironic to say because the Advertising and Marketing Industry is extremely reliant on collaboration. But the point stems from the fact that we were all strangers meeting digitally to tackle huge projects and clients. We either had to sink or swim, and I am so happy to say we actually just built a boat and propelled ourselves through the bootcamp with an amazing communication system that was built upon sweat and tears,” Brandon Castelo, Art Director, said.
CHALLENGES FROM THE BOOTCAMP
“I would definitely say for me the toughest part of this summer had nothing to do with the client work because I think once we got into a Groove, knew our systems, and how we were operating, the client work came easy. For me I was coming into this knowing that it was going to be a bootcamp and it was going to be an accelerator, so the client work wasn't that difficult for me. The biggest obstacle I had to overcome, especially in the beginning, was the fact that I'm meeting 12 strangers from around the United States and across the world. I thrive off energy, so to try to understand what their personalities are, and the way they like to receive and give constructive feedback was difficult for me. I really felt like we had to create an environment where we could be as personal as possible,” Ryon said.
“Being more confident in myself and my way of doing things. That was my biggest challenge, but this program showed me that I didn’t have a reason to feel that way. I am definitely walking away feeling like a different woman” Jackie Torto, Project Manager, said.
There were many challenges, and I'm not going to paint it as if it was a breeze to create a virtual pop up agency. But I'm reminded by my favorite country singer Kenny Rogers and what I've learned that there are times where you want to speak your mind and then there are times when you just need to be quiet. Balancing an understanding when that time is, like an imperative to the success of your team. So it's really important that when we speak, we speak with things that are actually valuable and contributing something new to conversation,” Karl said.
“For me, the most challenging aspect of the bootcamp was that our cohort was filled with such strong leaders with stalwart beliefs. It is safe to say that moving into the future, we really are the leaders of tomorrow, but how does an agency operate when everyone wants to lead? It was from this realization that I learned to take steps back, and that it is okay to not always be in control and follow others. Which in itself taught me a lot about trusting the people you work with,” Brandon said.
MOST REWARDING MOMENTS
“For me, the final Apple presentation was something that I've never experienced before. Being in a space of professionals who I look up to that work for a brand that I really admire, and for them to say that our work was smart, for them to say it all made sense, and for them to say that the line of thinking, the strategy, the creative, was all really smart made me as a brand manager want to hug all of my team,” Rasheed said.
“It is definitely seeing the results. Seeing the progress and the journey from conception to execution, which has been amazing. And also the people and networking. I was looking for a home, or a place to lay my nest and this was the place. We had the chance to meet such amazing people with such beautiful minds,” Jackie said.
“For me, we were allowed to be ourselves and I don’t take that for granted. We have been encouraged to use our differences and to pour it into the work and the creative that we produce.
Whether that we be in networking sessions, or agency tours, and to listen to people saying their personal Twitter is bootynoodles123, there was a need to just take a piece of you into the industry because of Industry calls for us,” Karl said.
“The most rewarding moments for me were all the opportunities that I got to make sincere connections with professionals in the industry, and above all, with my mentors. It is without a doubt I have learned so much about my industry and how the real world operates from my mentors, but it was beyond moving being able to say I am friends with these people. In a highly competitive field, it was refreshing to be able to just have conversation about things beyond the industry and feel like a human, not a cog in a machine,” Brandon said.
As the 13th hour concludes, it is with a tearful eye I say, “Afternoon Out.”