Ex Pat Drama – A little insight into the craziness of working overseas. Guest blog by Ez Blaine

As you will hopefully be aware by now we now have opened offices in Berlin and Hong Kong and are planning further expansion in the near future. More a…

As you will hopefully be aware by now we now have opened offices in Berlin and Hong Kong and are planning further expansion in the near future. More and more candidates are open to exploring opportunities abroad and whilst agencies and clients will help you make that leap there are many more things to take into consideration before making that move.

With that in mind we thought we’d ask some people who have taken the leap and boy does it make for interesting reading.

To kick this off, we spoke to very talented Ez Blaine,  Digital Creative Director at TBWA CHIAT DAY who moved out to Los Angeles about 3 years ago. Here’s his take on the matter:

Ex Pat Drama – A little insight into the craziness of working overseas.

So I’m going to breakdown the important areas of working overseas. It’s going to be different depending on where you’re going, but for me this is about my move to the land of opportunity, the big USA.

Ok, for me the whole idea of moving to another country to work was always something I wanted to do. But it became a reality extremely quickly once I started working for international companies and clients like AQKA, W+K etc. The cool side affect of working for these international companies is your network becomes international. The likely hood of you getting to take business trips and meet people from other countries goes up, thus creating opportunities beyond your current existence. So if you want to work overseas, try to work at an agency that’s international and get networking.

Another huge part I kind of overlooked was one of the most important parts…Awards.

I have always been an artist, I have always been about doing great work, I never really thought of the recognition, awards, press etc. I was very naïve about the Advertising industry as a whole. Understanding the power of awards was extremely eye opening and life changing, I’ll explain:

The advertising industries currency is awards and essentially these awards are the only physical items that directly relate to you being awesome. Once I found this out I paid a lot more attention to the industry award’s, blogs, associations, competitions etc. I was adamant to get me some awards! I jumped on laptop and Googled my name and work I had done. I found out I had gained some awards from work I had done years before but never knew, awesome! So get some damn awards, they are essential for your advertising career plus vital for a move overseas.

Easier said than done right! I know, but the best way to ensure the likelihood of you getting some awards to your name is to make sure you do the best work of your life wherever you are. Also don’t forget to make sure you get on the credits for the projects you work on and especially credits for awards submissions! Make sure the producers know whom the hell you are and what you do and did!

Press exposure in the social media age is essential. If your name is everywhere it relates to you being successful.

Make sure you keep track of all your work from the very beginning of your creative journey, and keep it organized. I was super lack with this part! I had to go back through a couple old computers that were on their last legs. Dusty old Hard drives with ancient firewire connections etc. Your old work is basically still relevant; it tells a story of where you came from and is used as evidence to prove you’re as awesome as you say you are.

Another thing to figure out is moving your stuff and setting up in the new location. Please don’t under estimate the hassle involved here. Most companies will pay for your move but you still have to figure out which company to choose. They all have very different approaches and the cost varies. If you want my advise on this, best thing to do is go with nothing! Yep, pack a suitcase with the essential shit you need and that’s it. For me this was the best thing ever, you feel free like you’re a new person. The stress of moving your stuff half way around the world combined with, going to a new country, new job etc. is so intense. Limiting your stress is the best advice. You want to make a great impression when you get to the new job, you don’t want to be stressed out complaining all the time about stuff you think you need and don’t have etc.

Get to know as much as you can about the place you’re moving to. Do a lot of research on the place using the countries immigration site, friends, social media and if possible your new colleagues. Read up on all the laws and stuff that will relate to you, laws change all the time and sometimes the lawyers and companies don’t keep up to date with the changes. So make sure you have the knowledge of what will affect your life in the new country.

I moved with a wife and kid, so daycare, schools etc. was another huge consideration. Where you choose to live is going to be dependent on where you want your kid to go to school etc. This is very time consuming, so get a head start on this, and you will feel a lot better.

Moving overseas is expensive. Yes, most companies will pay for you to get over to your new country of residence. But in most cases it’s not going to cover all the other little things that come up. Things to consider will be, 2 months rent, childcare deposits, deposits for cars, nannies, furniture, and healthcare.

There is a myriad of things that will need extra loot, so make sure you have some stashed, as you will definitely need it.

Ez Blaine  

Creative Director @ TBWA CHIAT DAY LA

Ez Blaine has been at the forefront of digital and interactive design for entertainment and the advertising industry for the past twelve years. He is currently a Digital Creative Director on various accounts including Adidas, Grammys, Nissan and Gatorade at TBWA CHIAT DAY LA. He lends his considerable talents to both traditional and integrated work all with digital first. One of his main focuses is the Gatorade account where he has been pivotal in the creative development for the award winning documentary series REPLAY and a lead creative on the integrated Gatorade G-series campaign, the biggest launch in Gatorades history.

Ez came to TBWA CHIAT DAY via Wieden + Kennedy London where he lead creative integrated campaigns for Selfridges, NIKE(RunLondon) these campaign where aimed at getting a huge demographic involved and participating in a single event. NOKIA where his integrated work helped establish Nokia as the main telecommunications player in the emerging markets.

Ez previous experience has been in the development and management of design and production for many award-winning projects and companies, including AKQA, BBC, BBH, Allofus, Unilever, Nestea, and Save the Children.

His early formal training was in Fine Art, upon completion of the fine art course he gained a degree in digital art and also is holder of a Masters of Arts degree in film. He is a London boy born and raised, living his dream in LA.

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