The creative industries are hard to break into, so how come so many people mysteriously 'fall into' their work. For the Creative Mentor Network, it's because who you know and where you come from hold more weight than than what you know or how talented or creative you are.
It's seeking to highlight this sad state of affairs with a free practical guide to Making it in the Creative Industry. And a lot of people will be able to relate to the book's caustic satire (see our guide to how to make money online as a creative for alternative options).
The Creative Mentor Network is a charity that aims to make the creative industry more inclusive, and more accessible for people from all socio-economic backgrounds. To highlight why it thinks that's necessary, it's produced a satirical guide on how to get ahead with tips on everything from gettng the right education and using family contacts to how to fit into office life and walk around 'like you know what you're doing'.
There's are primers on ‘wall work’ with Post-its and ‘inspo’ pics ('the more ‘stuff’ there is, the more it looks like you’re in ‘creative flow’ and can’t be interrupted') and on how to dress down "in a way that is inaccessible to 95% of the population".
"Sadly, it’s not quite as simple as sharpening your pencils and squeezing some fresh ideas out of your supple young brain," Creative Mentor Network says. "There’s actually a lot of hidden, unspoken rules to getting ahead in this game.
"Luckily, we’ve produced this book to help guide you through the thorny issues such as: who you should be, how you should act and where you should be from in order to make it in the creative industry. Because remember: it’s not about the quality of your ideas, it’s about the quality of your contact list, accent and shoes."
The manual notes that the methods to enter the creative industries are endless ('depending on the size of your family & budget'). Time travel is recommended to obtain the two years of experience required for entry-level jobs. And of course, you'll need to invest in a Mac because 'every word, every image and every thought is at least 20% more creative' by virtue of having been created on one.
Aspiring creators are advised to "live with debilitating self-doubt inwardly, but emit boisterous arrogance outwardly" and, above all, to be from London, or at least to move to London (if that's not affordable, moving to New York may be an acceptable last resort)
The guide is highly amusing and is sure to resonate with many in the industry as well as those trying to break in, but it's also backed up with data on the barriers that the charity's mentees face. That includes figures from surveys such as the Socio-Economic Disadvantage and Access to Higher Education Study.
You can download the book for free from the Creative Mentor Network or purchase a Kindle edition from Amazon. If you're not dissuaded and still feel like taking the plunge, see the recent advice on starting a creative agency from someone who's done it.