Side Street Style: 10 Ways to Get Your Start In the Creative Industries

Side Street Style

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11/09/2020

10 Ways to Get Your Start In the Creative Industries

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A career in creative industries is something that is appealing to many people but it's now always the easiest industry to get a foothold into, although with a clear plan and ambition it really is possible. I always knew I wanted a creative job when I was younger and I feel very privileged to be able to write for a living but it took a lot of work to be able to do this full time. Firstly I started out about 15yrs ago writing for local and community-based magazines while studying in Photography and Photojournalism at college and then University, although I strongly feel you don't have to go to University achieve your goals. 

There are plenty of opportunities in the creative industries but often you have to go out and find them. Besides writing for local magazines during my studies I also worked for an events company as festival & live bands photographer, learning the importance of selling rights to images, networking and being professional. Not matter your creative interests from costume design to being the playwright, being a sound engineer or lighting specialist, you need to get your foot in the door, and here are ten ways to get your start in the creative industry.

1. Have a Goal In Mind

You could say the same for any career, but that doesn't mean it isn't always essential to have a goal in mind when you try to get started in the industry. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and where you want to achieve it, as this will give you the clarity you need to follow the correct path.

This goal will be necessary should your career take you in another direction than expected. Without a clear plan, you might get waylaid and distracted, which does happen often, however, by focusing on this goal, you can stay on track as much as possible, which will help influence your decisions. Also remember that you can use different experiences to build a broad portfolio which can be a good thing.

2. Know Your Stuff

Knowledge of the area of the creative industry you want to work in is always going to be useful when trying to secure an internship or apprenticeship. However, university isn't for everybody, but this is okay. Some people can follow the autodidactic approach and learn on their own and in their own time.

Depending on what you plan on doing, you're best off doing your research in these areas. If you plan on being a playwright, studying the likes of Arthur Miller as well as contemporary talents like Tracy Letts, will give you an idea of what is successful. Conversely, for carers in set design, video editing or lighting, you'll need to learn how to use the equipment.


pentax camera


3. Get Some Experience

Experience can be a horrible word for many people. They want experience, but they can't get experience because they can't get experience. This vicious cycle is the bane of many budding creatives. Still, it is not impossible to find the expertise you need, even if it is challenging.

Even if you can't get a paying job in the creative industries, you can look at apprenticeships or being an intern. Such positions will give you a front-row seat to the goings-on within the industry, and it will stand out on your CV for future employers. 


4. Immerse yourself in the creative world as much as possible

This suggestion might redundant to most of you, especially if you feel you've spent every free minute lapping up the latest artist exhibitions, performances and action on stage. However, while you may have done this as a fan of the theatre, art, film or events and you need to consider looking at it with a more critical eye.

Rather than go and enjoy a production for what it is (although you should still try to do that, anyway), go and analyse parts of the show or exhibition that relates to your goal. Look at the set design or the costumes, think of the choreography. You can use this as inspiration for your productions if the time ever comes for that. 


Tate modern art
Enjoying the Art at the Tate St Ives


5. Make the Most of Social Media

Social media has plenty of bad traits. Yes it can be toxic, it can be filled with misinformation, but it's also a spectacular way to get in touch with people involved in the industry. Sometimes, all it takes is for you to reach out and ask for advice or a quick chat to open doors for you.

You can also use social media to keep up with events, workshops and job opportunities. There is usually so much going on within the industry that you can find something to keep you busy every night of the week, and the more you show your face, the more people will remember you.

6. Meet People

This leads us straight into the benefits of networking. While the creative industry is more exciting than other sectors, it is still a business at the end of the day, so networking is just as essential here as it is in any other profession.

Networking won't just introduce you to new opportunities; it can also put you in touch with people who could help you out in the future. If you're a costume designer, you might need to source period outfits or sunglasses for a production, or if your an aspiring photographer and looking for reliable models, so you're better off having a contact before this need arises to save you rushing around and getting stressed.

7. Stay Positive

Just like any job search that seems endless, it can be challenging to stay positive in the creative industry. However, without a positive attitude, you may miss out on a wide range of opportunities that could fall into your lap.

Potential editors, directors and producers want to work with positive and passionate people, but if you get discouraged too quickly, you won't come across as the person they want working for their production, publication or exhibition. Rather than expect the worst to happen, remind yourself that it is always possible for you to get the job or role you want, as this will trick your brain into thinking more positively, which will reflect onto others. 


creative industries


8. Accept Your Mistakes and Learn From Them

As a newbie in the industry, you are bound to make mistakes. You might forget to pick up equipment, or you may knock part of the set over. If this is your first gig, you might be terrified and try to hide what you've done for fear of being canned.

However, this is not a good look, especially for someone new in the industry. Rather than try to escape your mistakes, you must face up to them and learn from them. While you might get a scolding or even the sack from some editors or producers, others may be more lenient, and you'll gain their respect by being mature about it, which could be beneficial in the long run.

9. Be Realistic

It's easy to get carried away with your creative industry dreams. After you get your first job, you might think that this is it. However, you're better off trying to stay grounded and being realistic. Getting carried away too soon will lead to complacency, and it might make you get a little too big for your boots. While it is good to dream (and dream big), you should also realise that it will take plenty of hard work to get to the point where you can mix it up with the brightest talents. 


creative portfolio


10. Work on a Portfolio and ask for Testimonials

When I was starting out I spent four days working as a camera operator on preliminary rehearsals of Britains Got Talent. I was a great gig, well paid and a foot in the door although I knew it was only a short temporary contract. Despite studying photography I didn't really want to work as a camera operator is meant paid experience with a high profile agency. I was extremely professional during my time there and made sure to get contacts and a testimonial to add to my portfolio, which later helped me gain other jobs and experience. 

What I've learned is you often have to go out and make opportunities for yourself if you are passionate about a certain area of the creative industries. If you want to be a writer then start a blog, if you want to be a photographer than start today on working on your portfolio and offer free photoshoots to start off with. If you want to be an actor get yourself signed to an agency as an extra and go from there. Be open to rejection but have self-belief in what you're doing an be open to starting at the bottom and working your way up.


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2 comments:

  1. Great tips. I've changed the way I work over the years after learning to do things in different ways

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are really great tips. I’m still yet to start a proper career but when I do I’d love for it to be something creative xx

    ReplyDelete

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