Starting Your Career In Screen & Media

Feel like a change of pace, or have an interest in pursuing a career in film and television? – These are some of the questions I have been asked by people curious or new to the industry.

These are also some of the things I wish I had known when entering the field years ago.

Film School, Yes Or No?

Most defiantly yes, but also learn independent, get yourself a camera and get shooting. Hands-on experience is incredibly important.

Make vlogs, make short films, and submit them to festivals. The most important thing I can say is to get your work out there!

University Or TAFE?

Both are great options to gain experience and certificates in the discipline. One distinction I will make is this. You will likely get your hands on gear faster going the TAFE route, vs University where your first year is mostly theory with some practical work.

Having said that, I found that TAFE was a great weapon to have in my arsenal of experience at University. I feel the barrier to entry in terms of learning was lower thanks to the real-world hands-on experience I had earned before starting University.

Don’t I Need Good Gear?

This question is always up for debate. Better equipment might get you a better result although it’s not about the gear. Anyone can buy the tools, it’s about mastering your craft and learning to use the gear you have.

For a long time, I shot with just one old DSLR and edited from a Laptop. It wasn’t ideal, but it got the job done.

In Reality, Do You Make Money?

Plenty of money to be made, but I’ve found it’s not always in the way you dreamed. In reality, a good chunk of your income will come from corporate video, that stuff pays the bills.

It’s also very important in the industry you establish healthy relationships with creators and companies. I have witnessed plenty of jobs where people are expected to work for free and paid in ‘experience,’ this doesn’t put food on the table.

In some circumstances I have worked for ‘free,’ but this has been to benefit charity. Essentially I ask a simple question:

Who benefits from the work? – A community, a cause, or an individual/business.

If my work benefits the greater good, I’d be more inclined to offer my time for free.

So Where Can I Go To Learn New Skills?

In no specific order:

  • AFTRS – Australian Film Television & Radio School
  • TAFE
  • University

Places to refine your craft:

  • Filmmaking Blogs
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • YouTube