Another Year Another (Kick-Ass) Portfolio Night

Portfolio Night took place on May 26th, 2011 across the globe organized by ihaveanidea to help future creatives meet with some of the best creative directors that the advertising industry has to offer. It is a chance to get them to take a look at their books, get advice and network with potential employers.

Portfolio Night started with an idea on a cold night in Toronto in 2002. A few months later, it was launched in Canada (with a hockey theme of course) in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Each year since its founding Portfolio Night has grown, and by 2005 it had become a national movement for the advertising industry in Canada, and in 2006 it crossed the border to the USA. Since then it has become a worldwide movement. Zack Filler, a Copywriter and participant of last year’s Portfolio Night 8 in Montreal, said that it was “an opportunity to reconnect with some of the creative directors from last year and meet new ones”.

Each city that takes part in Portfolio Night is hosted by a local advertising agency and filled to the brim with established talent looking to help out those just getting started. Portfolio Night Toronto was hosted by Y&R and took place at Rooster Post a post production company in Downtown Toronto. Israel Diaz, the Chief Creative Officer of Y&R Canada, was amongst those taking part, giving advice, and mixing and mingling with students and professionals alike.

Robin Soukvilay, a Creative Advertising graduate from Seneca College, volunteered at a prior Portfolio Night and when he got his first review, used that feedback to do better this time around. He said that you “can’t get stronger unless you’re tested,” a thought that has brought him back several times since volunteering.

Ron Tite the VP, Innovation Practice at Sharpe Blackmore Euro RSCG, Judy John the Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett and Nancy Vonk the Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather were just some out of a literal army of creatives that descended on Portfolio Night 9.

Ian Schwey, a Creative Director at doug & serge taking part in the Toronto’s PN9, found after it was all said and done that there was more concern with integrated campaigns than anything else. Ian said he was looking for more big ideas but I think that the scarcity of those big ideas is what makes them so powerful when they do come around.

What you hear from students is that Portfolio Night is a great opportunity for networking. Kelly Durrant, a Film Student at Humber College and an Intern who was working the event for the Geneva Film Co., a sponsor that showed off their 3D work, said she would love to see something similar for film students.

Suzanne Abate, the owner of The Development Factory who was also responsible for the Portfolio Night iPhone app, said that Portfolio Night is more than even award events “a great opportunity to witness the excitement of ideas.”

Suzanne goes on to say that Portfolio Night has “a purity and palpable intimacy that makes you feel as though something big might right through the evening, through us all.” This is one of the reasons that Portfolio Night has become more than a portfolio review and recruitment event but a rite of passage for everyone who wants to make their career in ideas.

Here are some of my crummy iPhone pictures from the event:

Credit: ihaveanidea