The arts industry often falls victim to the tortured victim stereotype, with the choice to undertake a creative career being seen as a one-way path to constant unemployment, low earnings and lack of opportunity.
However, there is more to the arts than being an aspiring actor or down-on-your-luck rock star, and this misconception rejects the wide pool of jobs that are available in creative industries. There are plenty of opportunities available for you to combine your current qualification with a job that caters to your creative spirit – read on to explore the surprising career paths on offer in the arts.
Trades: Theatre or film carpenter
Someone needs to bring a production designer’s elaborate plans to life, and this is where a set or stage carpenter comes into play. Specialist carpenters build the scenic elements for theatre, film and live performances, working off a detailed design brief to construct sets for a variety of different productions. Set or stage carpenters are also required to maintain and repair both equipment and tools, and the sets themselves.
A qualification in carpentry is generally required, while an apprenticeship in scenic construction is useful to help understand exactly how the craft of carpentry can apply to the world of performance. Strong knowledge of and adherence to occupation health and safety standards is also essential, as theatrical carpentry presents the same risks as other types of construction work.
Business and management: Arts administrator
Arts administration requires individuals who can combine business nous with a strong sense of creativity, making this a perfect career avenue for those who want to flex both their artistic and management muscles. Arts administrators work across a variety of organisations and institutions to plan, organise and promote artistic and cultural programs, projects and services. Whether it is seeking sponsorship, organising exhibitions or coordinating performances, arts administrators have their finger on the pulse across a range of different areas.
To become an arts administrator, an undergraduate qualification in the arts or business is generally required, as it a postgraduate qualification in arts administration or management.
Animation may appear entirely creative on the surface, but it also requires sound technical knowledge to be able to create the intricate graphics that have appeared in some of the world’s best animated features. Animators combine their artistic skills with exceptional software and computer knowledge to create 2-D and 3-D animation for films, television, videos, websites and games.
A degree in fine art, graphic design or computer animation is often required to attract work as an animator. An understanding of the software used to create animation is essential, so those with a qualification in art or design may choose to enhance their technical knowledge through short courses.
Finance: Production accountant
Finance and the arts may seem worlds apart, but there are opportunities for accountants and bookkeepers to develop their career within a creative industry. Production accountants manage all things money when it comes to film and television – they operate payroll, report to entertainment unions and most notably, project costs and budgets for producers. They also ensure that stakeholder and investment donations are honestly allocated to the project to prevent the embezzlement of funds.
A background in accounting or bookkeeping is required to work as a production accountant, while filmmaking knowledge is useful to understand the processes involved in creative productions.
Law: Entertainment lawyer
Entertainment lawyers are an important element of the film industry, as they regularly provide advice on contract negotiation, intellectual property rights and other production-related issues. Whether they work in house or at a law firm, entertainment lawyers provide legal counsel on everything from securities to labour and employment agreements.
A law degree is essential, as is being admitted to the bar as a qualified lawyer. Some institutions offer certificates that specifically cover entertainment law, while it may also be useful to engage with film or communications studies while undertaking a general law degree.
Science: Medical photographer
The worlds of science and art combine through medical photography, which is an essential part of the documentation process for surgeries and other procedures. Medical photographers produce images that document surgical and clinical procedures, as well as injuries from crime or other forms of trauma. They may also be responsible for editing and enhancing images to aid medical specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of different ailments.
A medical photographer needs to know how to operate equipment while also being familiar with different techniques, meaning that a photography qualification is generally required. Sound medical knowledge is also key, and some medical photographers hold degrees in scientific fields such as biology or chemistry alongside their photography qualifications.