Mark Burk’s SVA Killer Work student feedback Summer 2016

We had a great time this summer here at School of Visual Arts. A truly great group of folks! ClassSum16I’m looking forward to the fall session of SVA’s ‘Killer Work: How to Make Ideas that Make Other People Jealous’.

A quick nutshell on ‘Killer Work’. The class focuses on teaching you an actual method for coming up with ideas that you adapt to your own style. You’ll learn how to jumpstart your thinking, how to make lots of ideas as quickly as possible, and how to turn the best of them into brilliant executions. Once you’ve got that foundation, no matter the assignment or  circumstances (“Give me five great ideas by tomorrow!!) you’ll have the tools you need to make brilliant ideas.

Here’s some feedback from this summer’s class. If you want more, troll through past Killer Work semester posts.

MarkClassSum16v6G. Marchilena
Writer working to get into an agency

Hi Mark,

Just wanted to say “Thanks” for all the help, guidance, and advice. I was able to reconnect to a lot of the things that initially drew me to advertising. It was a great space to get a better understanding of my own process and what obstacles and roadblocks are inherent to the way that I think.

If you’ve taken another ad course how has this course differed?

Killer Work focused more on methodology than other classes I’ve taken, which were more a place to pitch ideas and collaborate on portfolio work. They didn’t really teach me an approach.

AcomperaSum16L. Acampora
Graphic Design, aspiring Art Director

This course really helped me gain an understanding of what advertising is all about, and what it takes to be a successful creative.

What were the three main things you learned?

Killer Work taught me to focus on human insights, and that there’s only so much research you can do without getting out there and talking to people. It also taught me to pursue multiple directions at once. One principle: Aways be starting.

What change or addition would you suggest?

From the perspective of an aspiring art director, it would be helpful to have had a few additional weeks of class to return to previous subjects, to allow for the development of fully executed campaigns. However, I am looking forward to getting feedback on my work from the Facebook group!

Would you recommend this course to others?

Yes! I give it a 10 (out of 10)

K. Tsuji
Design Director at an agency

Killer Work was 10 (out of 10).

What’s the reason for your rating?

I now have a better understanding of the process and a method to follow. I am in the middle of developing the foundation of creative thinking, and I have not quite connected all the dots. However, there are a lot of good seeds that has been planted because of this course.

What were the three most valuable things you’ve learned for how you think and your approach, and a short ‘why’?

Find the human insights — because those make people connect to the product/message. Dig down and find the chewy center — because recognizing the uniqueness of the subject will help you find a direction to tackle (also, finding the chewy center means analyzing and understanding the customer well.) And research, research, research — because it is where the thinking starts (it is so easy to get trapped into just reading the creative brief and strategy statement).

What change or addition would you suggest that might make this class a better experience? 

I wonder if there are other practical techniques you could share for generating ideas. Perhaps some tricks that would help to reset my mind when I get completely stuck.

Would you recommend ‘Killer Work’ to other students? 


C FedericoSum16C. Federico
Actor, writer, producer
Working to get into an agency

My ‘Killer Work’ experience was a 10 (out of 10).

What’s the reason for your rating?  

I really enjoyed a class that’s entire directive is to focus on the development of ideas. Also there was just enough guidance to keep me from going completely off the rails (or to bring me back once I did)  as opposed to being micro mananged.

What were the three most valuable things you’ve learned?

Coming up with ideas isn’t random, it’s work. There is a system and method to the work. Don’t throw away anything and to keep track of your thought process. (This was my first class in advertising).

Would you recommend ‘Killer Work’ to other students? 

YES! Definitely

C. Prendergast
Writer, working at an agency           

On a 1-10 scale, rate your overall ‘Killer Work’ experience.
I give it a 9. Only reason I gave a 9 and not a 10 is because I wish we had more time to look at some existing ads and why they work/don’t work; we did it a couple times and I found it really interesting, although I know time is limited.

What were the three most valuable things you’ve learned for how you think and your approach, and ‘why’?

Find the insight! Not just the facts of something, go beyond surface value. Ads are usually stronger when there’s an emotional connection . I learned to talk to people — didn’t hold this concept to such a high importance before class, but now I really see why it’s so valuable—you learn things you would never find on your own. Keep going, keep going, keep going—it’s easier for me to think, lay out, and then walk away from it feeling like I got it—but there’s always more thinking/concepting/developing to do.

Would you recommend ‘Killer Work’ to other students?

Yes, although only if they’re serious about the industry. I mean, always helpful to be forced to be creative, I guess, but someone who really wants to break into/advance in the industry might get more value from it.

Somabar Robotic bar tenderIf you’re joining me in Killer Work this fall, get a jump on your thinking. Our first assignment is for Somabar Robotic Bartender (makes non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks).

Cheers all!


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