aspiring singaporean copywriter needs advice

Hi, I am a Singaporean currently serving my national service and I have been deeply contemplating making advertising my career.

The trouble is, coming from an aerospace engineering diploma and no portfolio to speak of, how am I supposed to make my aspirations come true?

I have considered portfolio schools like Miami Ad School or Creative Circus but sadly these overseas school are too expensive for me to afford.

Another path I have taken into consideration is to take a degree related to advertising/writing (ie english-lit, mass communications), and hope to get into an agency based on those merits, but is it really worth it, considering that these degrees don't really teach much in the way of how actual advertising works.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I would like to hear from fellow Singaporeans who are in the same plight as me or who are currently in the advertising industry too.


craftsman's picture
Activity Score 67

My old college advertising instructor used to say, "You can't teach advertising, you have to have it in you to begin with." People go to ad school for contacts in the industry, for the most part.
If you feel that you have the gift of creative writing in you but no money to afford ad schools you should at least buy a book on advertising.

Check out "Cutting Edge Advertising" series. They are awesome. Only pursue adverting career if you truly feel that you are gifted and are not going there for the "money."
If you are, you will be disappointed. Besides there are WAY to many people in the ad agencies who simply should be doing something else and not take spots of those who are passionate and truly want to do great work.


Scribbler's picture
Activity Score 39

If you kill my demons, my angels might die too. Don't do it...aerospace engineering sounds like the cutting edge of innovation and if you're there, you're in a good place.

stsanto's picture
Activity Score 672

just wondering... what makes you think you can do great in advertising? any signs? any considerations?

whitespace's picture
Activity Score 1953

Don't have a portfolio? Start making one. No one was both out of their mother's womb with a book. As a writer your book doesn't have to be beautifully finished. Stick figure sketches will do, as long as the concept and idea gets through powerfully.

Read up advertising books voraciously. Cutting Edge Adv by Jim Aitchinson, like mentioned, is a great book to start.

When I first started in advertising, I was a Diploma holder as well. Being broke but hungry I went to IAS for the short courses. If you can't afford the fees for overseas ad schools, you can start with Institute of Advertising Singapore. There you will meet with actual CDs and senior creatives from the industry, who have taken some time out to teach.

If you want to shoot a bit higher, have time to spare, and don't mind having a second diploma, one of the local polytechnics will be offering a diploma for advertising & PR soon. Even a degree in marketing would help give you a fresh perspective.

Personally I think every thing you learn helps, and the more different things you learn, the better.