It’s no secret that part of growing up is wondering what your future will look like. When you are little, ‘I want to be an actor’ is a perfectly fine answer to the question of what you want to be when you grow up. When you’re 18, such an answer can start to make you feel anxious.

This thinking stems from the fact that most people aren’t too familiar with the breadth of creative careers. Like most industries, Government incentives and funding changes. Recently, the Government announced an additional A$400 million to attract film and television productions to Australia until 2027. It’s decisions like these that make the creative future look bright, whether you want to become a sessional musician, actor, production manager or cinematographer. But even if those incentives change it doesn’t mean the avenue closes, creatives who love their work are pretty good at seeing a wide-open road.

If you or someone you know wants to pursue a profession in the arts, here’s some solid career advice from classical flautist, contemporary vocalist, and Excelsia College’s Music Program Director Dr. Christine Carroll.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in the arts?

That honing your craft really is step one. The industry is very competitive, so it’s important to invest the time and energy you need to develop your skills, and, expanding your knowledge in order to embrace your full potential. That grit and self-determination will be more essential than anything else. It takes more than talent to be a success. You need to love the work.

Listening and reflecting as you decide whether to go to a school dedicated to the arts is a good second step. Depending on your specific range of interests, some higher education providers might be more suitable than others. While you may be nervous about pursing the arts, make sure you’re armed with information to make an informed decision.

What is a career in the arts really like? Is it really hard to get a job or is that a myth?

The reality is that there is lots of work out there, but your ability to get work depends on your ability to develop your skills effectively enough in order to access it. It’s important to see the industry as very different to others. Artists need to have multiple skills. Most are self-employed, are able to work in a range of different creative and performance related fields, and in arts related contexts in production, management, teaching or in community music settings. This diversity and entrepreneurship is what is required for survival and success.


What would you say are the main benefits to a career in the arts?

  1. Doing what you love with like-minded people
    Creatives tend to see the world a little differently. It’s wonderful to be part of a community of people who can understand your vision and creative thinking and support you in that. It’s an incredibly rewarding and colourful network to be a part of.
  2. Being your own boss and making your own career goals
    When you follow your passion, your work doesn’t feel so much like work. You’re doing it because you love it. When you’re the boss, you know the determination that goes into building your career. You also know the blood, sweat, tears, and hard work that went into developing your dream. If it’s something you absolutely love, the work itself will fulfil you.
  3. Broad creative expression
    One of the greatest benefits of working in the arts is the opportunity to use your creativity on a daily basis. It’s an important part of the work and makes the career field rewarding day after day. You are constantly exploring new and innovative ways to express yourself artistically. 

Do you have any tips for a successful career in the arts?

  • Build a portfolio
    In creative careers, more so than others, a resume consists of what you’ve done. If you want to be a filmmaker, there needs to be several YouTube clips of short films you’ve directed or material you’ve created. A composer needs to compose things and get choirs or orchestras to perform them. This is an important part of an artistic career.
  • Learn how to network
    Everyone needs to learn networking skills, but people in uncertain career paths need this skill even more. I strongly encouraged that if you want to pursue career in the arts, start learning who’s who. The key to networking successfully is to be genuine, and to show interest in the people you talk to and their work.
  • Balance a range of work options
    People in creative careers need to balance between different kinds of work within the industry. This could involve performing, writing, producing, teaching, running workshops, community groups, working in arts administration and so on. The best combination will put you on the path towards your desired career.

If you are looking to foster your love of the arts, applicants are being sought for a newly launched scholarship film festival to help high school students fuel their creative dreams and connect them with a unique opportunity to make their mark in the film industry.

The Excelsia and Sydney Film School Award is a new and prestigious film festival run by Excelsia College and Sydney Film School to give emerging talent an opportunity to develop and share their voice. Learn more below: