Creative Lives — Recent grad Scott Kennedy on getting an industry start as a runner at Blink
Photoshop, water misters, ladders and scalpels are all part of Scott Kennedy’s daily toolkit as a runner at Blink. Graduating with a degree in illustration and animation in 2017, his ambition and eagerness to help with any task is paying off, as he gains invaluable exposure to the agency’s inner workings: “The role of a runner goes back to the beginning of time, and most people that work in the industry started out in this way.” Catching him mid-stride, Scott describes why temporarily setting his personal practice on permafrost was worthwhile and enables him to learn the business from the inside, starting with projects like scanning reference images for Noah Harris and Nicos Livesey’s music video for the Gorillaz.
Runner, Blink (2017–present)
Food and Beverage Host, Chessington World of Adventures (2013–2015)
BA Illustration Animation, Kingston University (2014–2017)
Scott at work
How would you describe your job?
It’s my job to work with the studio manager, overseeing day-to-day operations of the studio. We have several departments in-house, as well as freelancers, agencies and artists or directors coming and going, so there’s always something to do or someone to help. The day could go from changing a water cooler to designing mail-outs – it’s anything people need me for.
What does a typical working day look like?
I commute from Plaistow in the depths of East London, which takes an hour with several modes of transport, but I’m really good at Candy Crush now. I get in at 8.30am and prep everything for the day ahead. I water my ‘plant-children’, and start doing any heavy lifting or potentially distracting jobs before people start arriving.
Then the day is spent running around (sometimes literally), getting on with whatever needs doing, picking up more tasks along the way, whilst also being completely aware of any visitors that arrive and making sure the two meeting rooms and kitchens are all tidy and presentable. It’s a lot to juggle and can be pretty intense on busy days, which isn’t helped by the fact that I tend to do everything at once rather than taking one thing at a time. But I think I’ve coped quite well with it so far. The intense days are also my ideal ones to be honest.
“The day could go from changing a water cooler to designing mail-outs – it’s anything people need me for.”
What do you like about working in London?
I grew up in the suburbs of South London where things can move quite slowly and there isn’t much to do or see unless you jump on a 40-minute train that comes every half an hour, if at all. I live slightly more central now and already it’s much more interesting. So much can change over a short distance.
How did you land your current job?
My friend (and now colleague) mentioned that Blink was looking for runners to do a trial week, and I was lucky enough to get the job. I remember being super-keen that week, but I think knowing how to use Photoshop and InDesign tipped the scales for me.
How collaborative is your role?
I report to Katie-Mae, the office manager, and we work together to make sure everything is shipshape and in order. Then, I guess I’ve worked with everyone in the office at least once or twice in some way or another.
What are the most and least enjoyable aspects of your job?
My highlights are any time I get to design or make something. Emailing is the worst, and I’m the worst at it.
What has been the most exciting project of the last twelve months?
Noah Harris and Nicos Livesey’s music video for the Gorillaz is one of my favourite projects. I helped out in the initial stages scanning reference images, but I got to observe the whole process start to finish, as it was animated and edited in-house.
What skills are essential to your job?
Being able to run up and down stairs two steps at a time, and also sensing when a meeting is wrapping up and being helpful – this is the serious one.
What tools do you use most for your work?
InDesign, Photoshop, a scalpel, measuring tape, parcel tape, a ladder, watering can and water mister.
How I Got Here
What were your first jobs?
My first official job was as a breakfast food and beverage host at the Zafari Bar and Grill in the Chessington World of Adventures Resort Hotel. I didn’t enjoy it, but it definitely taught me about the value of money and perseverance.
Was there a particular project that helped your development at the start of your career?
I remember seeing the behind the scenes documentary of The Lord of the Rings, and it blew my mind. Before that, I never considered films and TV to be something someone had actually created. It opened my eyes to the creative industry, which I wasn’t really aware of before.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
The first day of my foundation course was a real test of my motives. Going from being good at art in A-level to suddenly being in a room full of people who were also good at art, but also better, and much cooler and well dressed was very character defining. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not stuck with it and learned from my peers and tutors.
“It’s been very inspiring working around creatives who applied their practice and are seeing their hard work pay off.”
Is your job what you thought it would be?
I was only aware of running as a role on set, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect when applied to a studio environment. I imagined more admin tasks, but thankfully these are few and far between.
What would you like to do next?
I’m really keen to reawaken my personal practice, as it’s been on permafrost since I graduated. It’s been very inspiring working around creatives who applied their practice and are seeing their hard work pay off. I’m waiting on a really hands-on job to come in, and I’m going to be all over it when it does.
Words of Wisdom
What advice would you give a young creative wanting to become a runner?
Get to grips with Adobe. It’s so important and useful. The role of a runner goes back to the beginning of time and most people that work in the industry started out in this way. It’s just the way things are, but make the most of it and take as many opportunities as you can. Be proactive and helpful, but don’t be a pest. It is very easy to come across as annoying in high-pressure situations, so wait for the right times and moments to offer help or ask questions.