A look back at the Future Writers' Labs: Oliver Easthope | A look back at the Future Writers' Labs: Oliver Easthope | DMA

The DMA's Future Writers' Labs nuture writing talent under the watchful eye of our writer-in-residence, Debi Bester, and her carefully compiled guestlist of creative superstars and leading copywriters.

The Labs aren't a "how to" course, more of a collection of "this is how brilliant your copywriting can be" modules. And to find out about Labs life, we caught up with Oliver Easthope, creative copywriter at MRM Meteorite and a Labs scholar from 2015.

Tell us about yourself and how you ended up in the world of marketing and creative?

I left university with an English degree. And like most people who leave university with an English degree, I had no idea what to do next. Luckily I knew someone who worked at MRM Meteorite and they got me in for some work experience. Fast forward three years and I’m now a copywriter in a creative team.

Where did you hear about the Labs?

I was at the results event for the Copywriting Census with my head of copy and she nudged me towards it.

What was it that interested you about them?

The chance to mix with copywriters from different agencies was the main draw. I was hoping some tricks of the trade might rub off on me. But I was also curious to see whether people who did the same job as me approached it in the same way. As I suspected, the answer was kind of yes and kind of no.

Did you know much about the content / people involved?

Honestly, I hadn’t heard of anyone involved at that point. So I had no idea what to expect. I knew the DMA though. So I thought I’d give it a go.

What were your first impressions of the Labs?

I was surprised at the age range of my classmates. I assumed everyone would be about as experienced as myself, but that wasn’t the case at all. That range was one of things that made the Labs so interesting.

What were your highlights of the Labs course, and why?

Before the Labs, answering a brief in fifteen minutes and reading my copy aloud to the group was a worrying prospect. But it ended up being the thing I loved most about the sessions. It was nerve wracking every time. But it really helped me build up a little extra confidence. More often than not I surprised myself and came up with something I was proud of.

What would you say were the key things you learnt whilst on the Labs?

I learned to trust my knee-jerk reaction to a brief from time to time. Everything we worked on in each session had a very tight time limit so you couldn’t be too precious about perfecting your answer. You had to go with your gut.

Have you seen yourself applying what you learnt? Has it helped you professionally to progress either in job performance or in terms of opening your eyes to other opportunities?

I try to apply what I learnt to every job I work on. Even now I give myself fifteen minutes after a briefing to come up with one idea – the same way we did in the Labs. I’ll come back to that gut reaction later in the process and it’s often something interesting. Applying that pressure is an easy way to kick your brain into gear at the start of a project.

Having been on the Labs, what type of writer would you say the course suits, and why?

I think the short answer is any writer. But the thing I really took out of the experience was a bit of extra confidence in my own ability. So if you’re some one who needs that, or just wants to shake up your approach to copywriting, this is a great course for you.

You can find out more about the Future Writers' Labs here - the next session runs from Tuesday 1 November - Tuesday 29 November.

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