Academy student Torin Didenko recalls the first time he attended the Cannes Lions School
Cannes Lions is many things to many people. For some it's the ultimate meeting and networking event of the year. For others, it's a chance to recharge creative batteries by listening to inspirational speakers and viewing the best work in the world. But for many young people in the industry, Cannes Lions is an intensive learning experience: a boot camp for creativity where students get specialist training from the best brains in the industry.
"Open yourself to the experience. Say yes to everything… well, almost everything!"
(Class of 2016: The Young Account Executive Academy. Torin Didenko in top row, second from right)
CANNES LIONS: What made you decide to apply for the Academy?
TORIN DIDENKO: "First and foremost the opportunity to liaise, network and work with current and future industry leaders were all the key reasons why the Academy appealed to me. Secondly, it’s held in Cannes. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest and get you applying…
"I put it to my management that I wanted to go. I wanted to be inspired and immersed in the creative atmosphere of Cannes. By making my case well, I knew this something they couldn’t say no to, for which I’m forever thankful!
"The more I read into what the Academy and Cannes Lions was about, The more I knew it was exactly what I needed for where I was in my career: the one-on-one training with the best in the business, live briefs to global organisations, access to the Festival’s seminars, screenings of Cannes Lions entries the chance to share my experiences with other young account people in the industry."
CL: Once you were at the Festival what did it feel like?
TD: "The vibe was electric. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew I was in the right place. I met amazingly talented and successful people. And with scheduled events lined up from the very first moment, it took no time to get to know others from the Academy. When we met, we were consciously aware that we were on this eye=opening journey together.
"When you’re there, don't let any experience pass you by. Not only is Cannes infectious, electric and inspiring, it motivates you to make the most of any opportunity, no matter how big or small. Always be asking questions, as you can never stop learning. It’s the simplest and most effective way of learning new things and challenging old ways."
"The more I read into what the Academy and Cannes Lions was about, The more I knew it was exactly what I needed for where I was in my career."
(Deep in thought: Torin at work in the Young Account Executive Academy)
CL: Describe your Academy experience in one sentence:
TD: "I went seeking inspiration and left with a belief that I can make anything happen."
CL: What do you wish you’d known before you came to Cannes?
TD: "How good Rosé tastes in the south of France."
CL: What advice would you give to someone coming to Cannes next year on an Academy?
TD: "Open yourself to the experience. Say yes to everything… well, almost everything! Don’t try to emulate someone else’s experience. Be yourself: your skills, personality and joie de vivre are the reasons you’re there. We all have something to add to the mix that is Cannes and the Academy."
Torin Didenko attended the Young Account Executive Academy at Cannes Lions 2016. He now works for online mattress start-up Sleeping Duck.