This teenage creative director at Adolescent has created more ad campaigns than somebody double her age would have done. All of 15, Amelia Conway has created music videos and commercials for Toms shoes, the Beats Music app, Target, Nascar and American Girl. She has been a speaker at TEDx Talk on how teens experience ageism and co-hosted a show on internet station ‘Little Radio’ at a very young age.
Founded in 2013, Adolescent is a millennial advertising agency and production company authentically focused on reaching to the youth with commercials and content made by only youth for the youth.
BestMediaInfo caught up with Conway on the back of the recent Goafest and talked about her experience working as a director at such a young age. We asked her if brands appreciate it and how her colleagues react to her calibre of doing something people double or thrice her age do.
When did you get interested in direction?
I got interested at the age of 11 because that is the time when I got interested in filming. I have always been interested in the creative world. My parents have always been involved in art, music and film and that kind of worked as an inspiration for me.
How are your day-to-day challenges different from what the elder filmmakers face?
I am a minority in this setting. Especially, when I am younger, I constantly face little comments. At times, people pass comments accidentally. But I get over them soon. The similarity is that we are just trying to get our job done and are passionate about it. The other thing about kids is that we are ‘more passionate’ about our jobs because we are so young and new to it.
How do you deal with such comments?
I just ignore them. It’s important to ignore them because it will affect you more if you pay much heed to them.
How do you show your conviction and passion towards working with clients and brands being a teenager?
Sometimes there are agencies that doubt me and see it as a rocky situation when they are entrusting me with their brand and campaigns. But I think most of the times they are really supportive. When it’s not like that, I try to ignore it because I trust my job and will only try to make things look amazing. If they don’t understand, it’s their problem.
What should be the key ingredients of any good content?
Being genuine is the best way to build good content. If you want to connect with the audience that is older, then get somebody older to create that advertisement. If you are targeting young audience then get young directors and creative people. It makes more sense.
That means you have mostly created work for the younger generation and less for the older audience?
I have mostly created ads for the younger audience because that makes more sense and that is what agencies are looking for. I have also created advertisements for the older audience. It seems a little off because I don’t understand that world because it is for adults.
How did you happen to associate with Adolescent?
I posted this music video that my friend and I had created. The founder of Adolescent saw it and called me up and asked if I want to work as professional. It was crazy for me to have that opportunity and super crazy for the society because that wasn’t really explored yet.
How do you manage time at school and work?
That’s tough. Being a 15-year-old student and professional director is hard to balance. But sometimes I think if I am passionate about filmmaking and direction then I should go after that. It’s like being a single mom who has to juggle between family and work. Sometimes I have moments of frustration and exhaustion, but I always have an amazing crew by my side and feel grateful for this opportunity. It’s very important to be enthusiastic and have that energy. Usually, I am all pumped up on the sets.
People get professional training for what you are doing at the age of 15. Does that mean it’s not important to have professional training and experience to become a director?
Professional training schools for direction is a cool thing. I manage with the help of technology and I talk to the directors who have been working in the industry. It’s really important to understand the craft and all sides of it. Sometimes people have a natural nag of getting things done just based on experience.
Which are the favourite categories that you like to work on?
Honestly, I think that the category doesn’t matter. What matters is the understanding of the audience.
What are the lessons you have imbibed in your personal life from your professional life?
Being in the professional world at my age has taught me a lot. I have understood that it doesn’t matter what people think of you and it makes me more confident.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Obviously, I am passionate about direction, but honestly, I am so young that who knows I am going to be a director in the next 10 years. Maybe I want to do something else. There are other things that I am passionate about, like music.