Five Tips for Regional Australians Looking to Build a Career in the Screen Industry
Screenworks’ Programs and Operations Manager Lisa O’Meara has five top tips for anyone living in regional Australia and wanting to build their career in the screen industry.
Whether you’re looking to build specific skills or wanting to transfer skills from another industry, there is a diverse range of areas within the screen industry that can be considered as career options for people living in regional Australia. There are key creative roles including writing, directing and producing or technical jobs of camera operating, lighting and sound or post production opportunities including editing and special effects. Then there are possibilities to bring other industry skills and cross-over in to screen industry jobs such as carpenters for set building, costume designers for wardrobe, hair and make-up – just to name a few.
Here are my top five recommendations if you’re living in regional Australia and seeking a career in the screen industry.
- Build your skills and talents. You can start with short online courses to enhance and develop your skills and then progress to more in-depth courses. The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) is one of Australia’s most recognised educational institutions for the screen industry and they offer a range of online courses. Another option is the US-based Masterclass series where respected and famous professionals like Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese present courses on directing, writing and filmmaking.
- Connect with people working in the screen industry, both in your local area and further afield. Seek out people near you who work in any aspect of the screen industry. Filmmaking is a collaborative process so finding collaborators is essential and the more you connect with people working in the screen industry, the more opportunities you will get to work in the industry. Take every opportunity to network and attend industry functions, conferences and events so you can meet professionals as well.
- Connect with key organisations active in the screen industry. Subscribe to newsletters and follow the social media of organisations such as the key funding bodies including Screen Australia and the funding body relevant to your state or territory. Also connect with guilds and associations such as the Australian Directors Guild, Screen Producers Association, Australian Writers Guild and Screenworks. They are regularly offering opportunities that will help you develop your skills, access funds and connect you to key industry decision makers and jobs.
- Volunteer and work. Get experience. Be it working on a student film, bringing a bunch of friends together to help you make your short film, or working on a professional credited production, work experience as part of a team is crucial. You need to take your training and skills and be film-set ready in order to advance your career. Depending on the skills you are developing look for opportunities in the relevant areas. Seek out opportunities, approach the people and companies that you know are developing projects or going into production and offer your skills as a volunteer or pursue an attachment.
- Be observant and stay tuned in, keep up to date with what is being made, what people are watching, what’s popular. Consume the medium you want to work in, if it’s TV production – watch loads of TV; if it’s film –watch loads of movies. It’s by watching what’s being broadcast on free-to-air TV, Netflix, Foxtel and Stan or what’s being screened at the cinemas, that you will get to understand what’s being funded and what people are watching. You can then apply this knowledge to identify gaps and opportunities for creating new content – your content.
For people living regionally there are unique challenges with finding pathways to creating a career in the film & tv industry, but this is specifically why Screenworks was created and continues to deliver its programs. We encourage that people living in regional Australia who are serious about a career in the screen industry become Screenworks members in order to have the best opportunity to succeed.
According to Screenworks’ CEO, Ken Crouch the skill area that most needs to be filled in regional Australia is producing. The role of the Screen Producer is to bring a project to fruition by creating a budget, seeking finance, finding the team, realising market opportunities and managing the production.
“We are constantly being approached by creative people wanting to get their film and television concepts produced,” explained Mr Crouch “but it’s almost impossible to get anywhere without a producer and a pathway to audience. We often look to the metropolitan centres for producers, as there is only a handful in regional Australia. There is so much potential for regional practitioners who have an interest in business and financing to build their skills as screen producers.”
One of Screenworks’ career programs designed specifically to help regional producers advance their career is the Regional Producer ElevatorProgram. Selected participants are provided $3,500 to invest in their career development as a Screen Producer, they are also appointed with a mentor and receive an all expenses paid trip to the ScreenProducers Australia’s Screen Forever Conference in Melbourne, where they are able to join in selected exclusive sessions that take place at the conference.
This opportunity is offered annually and will open again for applications in August 2019.
For more information about Screenworks Regional Producer Elevator program and the range of programs and opportunities that Screenworks offers to regional Australians visit www.screenworks.com.au.
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Published on December 13, 2018 5:22 am