Switching classes a third of the way through the Trimester means that I was satisfying different requirements for different lecturers. This is fine - it simply means that the type of content Andrew is looking for, is different than that of Tim and this particular blog missed the mark in satisfying both. So here's my revision of Week 2.
This week's topic covered different ways to monetise your craft. As a creative there's naturally a little more freedom in the way in which you can approach employment. By definition, a creative (artist, musician, actor, writer etc) is an entrepreneur. Unlike the typical verticals of business: Finance, IT, Sales, Marketing, HR etc, the demand for a creative in white-collar isn't a high and therefore a creative doesn't typically find themselves in the standard, '9 - 5'. An article taken from news.com reports that Australia's most wanted jobs for 2014 were in the Information Technology space, Health Staff, Plumbers and Accountants.
Further to these findings, the Australian Jobs Occupation Matrix 2016, taken from the Department of Employment, Australia, shows that the Accounting, Banking and Financial Services (with specificity to Accountancy with 188,100 jobs in 2015), Construction, Architecture and Design (with specificity to Electricians with 165,500 jobs in 2015), Education and Training (with specificity to Primary School Teachers with 147,500 jobs in 2015), Health and Community Services (with specificity to Child Carers and Nurses with 149,600 and 257,400 jobs respectively in 2015) and Sales, Retail, Wholesale and Real Estate (with specificity to General Sales Assistants and Retail Managers with 552,800 and 235,200 jobs respectively in 2015) were some of the highest sectors for employment for last year. Compare those numbers to that of the entire Arts and Entertainment industry and you'll note a significant discrepancy in the number of roles filled.
.Graphics and Web Designers, and Illustrators make up a total of only 46,500 jobs, which is a decline of 7,700 (14.2%) jobs in the last 5 years!
So what does this mean? We can assume that there's no shortage of skills - In recent years there has been in surge in the formal education and training of creatives. SAE itself has been churning out creatives in a wide variety of disciplines for over 35 years, whilst providing them with real world industry experience; that is to say, real jobs within the industry, right here in Melbourne. SAE's major competition in the form of AIE boasts "and excellent track record of placing graduates into industry-relevant places since 1996".
The intake process for both of these Melbourne based institutes are rigorous as well - there is a need to cull potential candidates and admit only those who show a desire and competency for their chosen discipline and the reason for this is because there is usually always an overabundance of candidates than there is positions at the institute.
What we have then, is a discrepancy between the number of potential employees (if we assume all graduates are jobseekers) and the number of real world positions available to them. How then does a potential, professional creative by trade, find work and by extension, an income?
This week's article describes some of the more common ways that this is achieved. The first is the traditional route that I discussed earlier. An employee within a company on either a Full time or Part time basis has many benefits. "On the one hand you may have the stability of a salary, along with paid leave and other benefits. You will also always have projects to work on, and be working as part of a team...You can be a full-time or part-time employee, but either way you will most likely be on a salary." This is of course provided that you can find and successfully land a position in a production house, studio, agency or company. Based on the statistics presented above, this may not necessarily be the the likeliest of avenues. With regards tot he topic of the lecture, the salary is the biggest selling point to this type of employment. A fixed salary provides a guaranteed safety net which hugely impacts your lifestyle. A guaranteed income over an undermined amount of time is a luxury that the freelancer does not have.
The freelancer as defined by the article is "an independent creative earning income from the sale of your projects." As with the contracted employee, this also has it's benefits and pitfalls. The opportunity to 'be your own' boss is a much sought after goal by many Australians and is a huge catalyst for many creatives to follow their path in the first place. Not being tied to a boss, a company, location or predefined hours allows for a lot of flexibility and freedom which in my opinion, is very conducive to the intellectual workflow and production of ideas in a creative space. I typically don't work well (with regards to drawing and designing) when I'm stressed. But of course, as the article points out, "actually having people buy your projects is not easy", and as a freelancer, being a salesman is part of the job as you have to actively go out and seek opportunities because you don't have a boss who provides them for you.
The article goes on to highlight some of the criteria a freelancer needs to be aware of, such as pricing of your work and how to arrive at that figure based on the quality, time taken and your competition. Because selling your work is the primary goal of any freelancer, being knowledgeable in the market in which you're providing a skill is imperative. An excerpt from the news.com article quotes Plumbing Trades Employees Union, Paddy McCrudden as saying "If you are unemployed as a plumber in Australia there must be something wrong; you've either got a bad work ethic or are charging too much." The same applies to a freelance artist, or musician: It pays to know what the climate in your industry is and you need to adapt to that to ensure that you're providing a service that is in demand, at a price that is competitive, yet reasonable.
Running your own studio is a great way to get started in the industry as well, as it provides a platform with which to create work and for other creatives to collaborate and work alongside you, and crowdfunding is getting more popular every day thanks to sites like 'gofundme', 'kickstarter' and 'indegogo' to name a few, whose primary purpose is to make it accessible for people to be patrons for your work.
The article goes on to talk about working multiple jobs - if freelancing is the path you wish to follow, then perhaps taking on an additional job, defined in the article as a "day job...where you do things for money to support you while you do what you really want to do after hours" as this will financially support you while you build your consumer outreach. As we just discussed, selling your work can become quite difficult and you'll often need a primary income stream in order to live.
Consultancy work, commissions and sponsorship are all other avenues that a creative can take and they should all be considered by anyone considering this lifestyle. Again if we reference the Jobs Matrix above, there simply isn't enough positions to enable creatives in Australia with a Full time job in the industry. By nature a creative thinks outside the box and that notion shouldn't apply strictly to their work but also to their career.
If there is an overarching theme to this article (and I believe there always is!) it would be to pay attention to the avenues in which a creative can provide a service. Whether you practice your craft for the love of it or not, making an income based on it should always be a priority. It is a case of one hand shaking the other - for myself, I love what I do and I aim to practice my craft professionally for many years to come, however in order to do so, I will need a steady income so that I can live and work in comfort. I cannot and will never assume that I can simply 'get another job', because in this industry, that statistically isn't a viable option. Instead, I need to consider my environment and think creatively as to how I can generate an income drawing pictures so that I can continue to draw pictures and make an income.
Newscomau. (2016). NewsComAu. Retrieved 7 July, 2016, from http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/australias-most-wanted-jobs-tech-heads-health-staff-and-plumbers/story-fnkgbb3b-1226794470655
Employmentgovau. (2016). Employmentgovau. Retrieved 7 July, 2016, from https://docs.employment.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/australianjobs2016occmatrix.pdf
Saeeduau. (2016). Saeeduau. Retrieved 7 July, 2016, from https://sae.edu.au/campuses/melbourne/
Aieeduau. (2016). Aieeduau. Retrieved 7 July, 2016, from http://www.aie.edu.au/About_AIE/why_aie