(L-R) Kevin Zych, Angelina Murphy (and her husband), Chayanne Joel, Jesse Lupo

One Creator Lab: Where TikTok and Advertising Collide

By Alixandra Rutnik on Mar 18, 2024

A conversation with four creators making content at the speed of culture

One Creator Lab is our newest education program at The One Club for Creativity, where content creators or individuals interested in content creation are learning the tools they need to work in an agency. We partnered with TikTok to make this happen, and our first two lab groups in NYC and LA just graduated from the program.

Some individuals came into OCL already fluent in TikTok, while others are just learning what TikTok is all about. But everyone who participated in One Creator Lab gained the confidence and skills to take the next step.

We caught up with four of our One Creator Lab participants: Kevin Zych, a talented reportage artist who draws moving images all over NYC; Angelina Murphy, a high school English teacher turned home renovator in LA; Chayanne Joel, an Equinox trainer now freelance fitness video editor; and Jesse Lupo a finance manager looking to tap into his creative side and work in advertising.

We’ll be scrolling on their TikTok accounts until further notice.


When did your love for creating start?

Kevin: I always loved art as a child, but one pivotal moment was when I got my first hardbound sketchbook in high school. It changed how I see the craft. It was as if a lifelong classical musician picked up an electric guitar for the first time. At that point, sketching became less of a way to prepare for something else, like a canvas painting, and more about a performance: Using materials in your pocket, can you make great art right now?


Angelina: I always loved making videos when I was a kid– I would film short movies on my digital camera and edit them together for fun.


Chayanne: When I was 13, I had my first digital point and shoot camera. It was an Olympus, and I remember taking pictures of everything from plants to my friends. I ended up taking that camera with me on my first vacation to NYC and fell in love with capturing everything I saw. I started shooting then and haven’t stopped.


Jesse: I have always enjoyed opportunities to express my creativity, but my love for creating really started after I came out as Transgender. It took a lot of love and courage to be where I am today, and it’s made creating that much more exciting because after decades, it finally feels reflective of who I am.



Why One Creator Lab?

Kevin: I was introduced to One Creator Lab through one of Timm Chiusano’s TikToks. At the time, I was trying to decide on the best way to pursue my craft. Was it a hobby, a short-term project, or a career? By applying, I was hoping to get more insider knowledge from creative professionals.

Angelina: I believe I first saw an ad for it on TikTok. Because I already changed careers to this field, I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me to get more formal training because I am mostly self-taught.

Chayanne: A friend sent me a TikTok post of someone promoting it and I was impressed with the roster of companies and people involved. I am a freelance creator, so I am always interested in opportunities to level up, learn, and network, so I decided to apply.

“A friend sent me a TikTok post of someone promoting it and I was impressed with the roster of companies and people involved.”

Jesse: This sounds cheesy, but I have been dreaming of a program like this. One Creator Lab has given me a creative cohort of people who I admire, are at the cutting edge of advertising, and are taught by icons in the industry. Timm Chiusano was my first introduction to the program. I really respect his discipline and how he shows up as himself online and in corporate, so when he posted about OCL on TikTok, I knew it was something I had to check out.

When it came time to submit the application, I was feeling a lot of imposter syndrome. I don’t have a huge following and don’t work in a creative industry right now (being too creative in finance can get you in trouble ha!), but ultimately I applied. And I’m so grateful that I did. Finishing this program feels like the start of something great.


What were you looking for going into this program?

Kevin: I was looking for any help I could get because making art, making videos about art, and then building a business as an artist is a whirlwind. One Creator Lab looked like a way to get more guidance on the business side, even though it is designed more for full-time job-seekers. Since starting the program, I’ve learned more about what campaigns look like from the client’s perspective, so now I feel more confident working with them, making effective content, and even expanding my role in how we accomplish their vision. We haven't learned much about rates yet, but I’ve already raised mine. Asking for more money is easier when you understand the client’s problem and how you can help.

“Since starting the program, I’ve learned more about what campaigns look like from the client’s perspective, so now I feel more confident working with them, making effective content, and even expanding my role in how we accomplish their vision.”

Angelina: I was hoping to learn more about effective advertising and the agency world, which is exactly what I learned. I especially appreciated the opportunity to network with others in this field and to make new connections. In the future, it may be nice for the program to offer more one-on-one mentorship.

Chayanne: I was looking to network and meet new people. Being a creator and working freelance means a lot of solo time, so I wanted to expand my network in an authentic way. It’s definitely paid off, and I’ve met some great people within my class as well as from the agencies we’ve been working with.

Going forward, I would recommend that the brief directly connects to the online modules reviewed for that week.

Jesse: I was looking to learn and be around like minded folks, and the program did that and then some. It is surprising to look back and see how much ground we’ve covered, from the fundamentals of advertising to thinking about how major brands view their social strategy, and the one on one time with agencies solving briefs. The program has opened my eyes to a world and industry I didn’t even know existed, and it’s been exhilarating to learn about. Excel who? Just kidding. One thing I hope the program does moving forward is class in person. Being IRL with my cohort and spending time together in the beginning and at events has been a highlight of the last 16 weeks. I’d love to see more of that or weekend office hours at The One Club, where we can film/work on briefs.


What is your relationship with social media?

Kevin: I’ve been sharing my work online since the Tumblr days. Back then, nobody cared about your followers or your blue check mark. It was about making cool things, and that’s still how I approach TikTok and Instagram. I’ve seen a lot of people start careers in social media in hopes they’ll become famous or sell things, but the audience is the same. People want art, connection, and inspiration. As my career progresses and my business grows, I hope I’ll continue to focus on other people and how we can improve our crafts.

Angelina: I first started social media when I was in sixth grade with a Myspace profile, so I started social media very young. I’ve always loved internet culture and staying on top of current trends and memes. Now, I feel like I need to make more of an effort to take breaks from social media because I don’t think it has an overall positive influence on my mental health and attention span. But I think, in moderation, social media can be great to build community and stay connected with others.

Chayanne: I have always used social media as a kind of mood board and place to share my work, whether it be my photography or client work. Social media has evolved into much more than square posts and simple status updates of the past. It’s super dynamic. I took a break from all social media during the pandemic and was able to clear my head and get inspired by books and movies without constant updates and reminders of the state of the world at the time.

Since then, I have been back on and connecting with my network and creating videos and photos. With social commentary becoming more of a thing through video, I’ve leaned into posting on TikTok and creating conversation around the topics that interest me. I use Instagram as my ‘mood board’ and place to post my photos and work. My TikToks are where the engagement and day-to-day conversation live.

Jesse: Chronically online. From dial up internet *insert screeching boot up sound here* to now.


How familiar were you with the ad world before OCL?

Kevin: I knew nothing about advertising outside the few sponsored posts I made as a creator, so this program provided a lot of insight.

Angelina: Prior to OCL, I had some experience in the ad world, mostly from the creator side. I’ve had the privilege of working with dozens of different companies and their advertising teams, both in-house and with agencies. OCL gave great insight into what the other side of the ad world looks like.

“OCL gave great insight into what the other side of the ad world looks like.”

Chayanne: I have worked in-house for a few brands, so I often would be involved in the client side of projects for commercials and campaigns. I have experience in production, so I was glad to see this program focus on TikTok, social media-forward campaigns, and ideas since that is where so much of the world is headed while traditional media is still finding its footing.

Jesse: To sum it up, I knew agencies were places that made things, I had yet to see Mad Men, and had high level advertising knowledge from my Marketing 101 class (love you, Dr. Massiah!). Now I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the industry, creatives, and look at advertising in a whole new way. I love it!


Would you recommend One Creator Lab?

Kevin: I would recommend One Creator Lab to anyone looking for a full-time job in which they can come up with big ideas, tell stories about them, and make TikToks.

Influencers and creators who want to succeed by themselves—like myself—can also benefit from the program, especially if they don’t have a portfolio or prior experience with sponsored posts.

Angelina: This program is great for anyone who wants to learn more about the ad world and advertising on social media. I don’t think it’s the right program for someone who is solely pursuing content creation or influencing on their own (although, there is still something to gain on that side as well), but it is more for creators who want to get more involved with the agency-side of advertising. I would recommend OCL because it is an intensive program where you can learn all about this world in 20 weeks. It’s a great opportunity to expand your network and get hands-on experience in digital marketing and advertising.

Chayanne: This program is for anyone fresh out of college or maybe someone who is fresh out of high school and not sure where they want to go but are drawn to the creative and content world.

This program is not for someone who has a lot of experience in production and/or advertising. Someone who has a solidified following on TikTok or other social platforms may not find the content super beneficial.

Jesse: This program is for creatives wanting to become the next generation of advertising leaders. Wherever you are in your creative/career journey, I would highly recommend OCL. The best way I can describe this program is like a mini-MBA program for advertising and creating content at the speed of culture. If you aren’t willing to constantly learn, pivot, and collaborate, it might not be the best program for you. But if you are, you’ll thrive.

“The best way I can describe this program is like a mini-MBA program for advertising and creating content at the speed of culture.”





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