The Creative Industries
This term is often banded about - but what exactly comprises creative arts and what are the job roles in the creative industries? There are a number and include:
- Fashion & Textiles
- Art & Design
There is a significant coming together of media and information technology as digital technology is used to deliver the creative content, for example in areas such as web design, games design and animation. Therefore combining your A Level choices with IT maybe a sensible option.
The wonderful world of advertising…
Whichever area you work you will be immersed in the creative process of producing adverts. There are a number of roles in advertising agencies, which include the creative director, copywriters, media buyers, media planners, photographers, account managers and account executives. These range from people designing the visual concepts, to those writing the content, supported by those planning and buying the right media space to show the advert (eg TV, magazines, radio, web etc) and teams of account executives who secure and manage the clients. It’s an exciting environment. Depending which area attracts you depends on what subjects you should go on to study. If you are interested for example in the client management side, then your degree subject matters less. If you want to work on the design side, then a more art/design-based degree would be beneficial.
So you want to work in Fashion?
The fashion industry is a global one and booming in the UK. There are a multitude of opportunities that range from design to buying to technical roles. In terms of design, people tend to specialise in a particular area. This would include clothes, shoes, hats, lingerie, knitwear, fabrics and carpets/rugs as well as costume design for film and TV. There is also a plethora of buying roles, which include procuring clothes for retail stores as well as raw materials. This often involves overseas travel. The fashion industry is also full of lots of specialists and technologists with regard to areas such as textiles, garments & wool, manufacturing and the development of new textiles. Finally there are those people who actually produce the clothes, hats, shoes, rugs etc. Many universities now offer specialist degrees in areas such as buying, design, textiles, costume design, fashion, footwear, fashion & textiles management, clothing/textile technology & production. Look carefully at the courses to ensure they provide both practical and technical skills.
What about Film?
As well as striving to be in front of the camera, there are a myriad of exciting roles backstage. Some require a degree or further qualifications, such as film production or screen writing, but many do not. Firstly there are teams of people involved before any shooting starts. These include the screenwriter, who writes the script, the location manager who finds the location for the shoot, negotiating the terms. The line producer is in charge of crafting the budget and raising the funds. The casting director, decides on the actors and actresses (who are represented by agents) and the set decorator, scenic artists and sound designers on the set and music. The property, props, costume designer and wardrobe dept are responsible for sourcing and designing everything required for the film including the clothes. The Art Director is responsible for the look and feel of the overall set coupled with the choreographers who decide on any dance or movements in the film. There is a whole construction team who put up and maintain the set. Once the film gets underway, the camera crew are responsible for all filming, the make up and hair artists for creating the right look for the cast each day and the film direction is the responsibility of the producer, the production designer and director. Once the film has been shot, it is the editorial department who will cut the film working with the sound designer who creates the sound effects and the relevant mood & feel. The film is then promoted by PR, sales and marketing professionals. There are teams of people in all the above areas, from junior to senior. There are a number of degree courses in film production, and screen writing as well as more specialist qualifications for film in areas such as sound, design, editing, make up, costume, model making and special effects. You will be better positioned in securing a toehold in the industry if you had a relevant qualification. Obviously if you would like to act, then you need to think about acting school or a drama degree.
The exciting world of TV
Many of the roles that are available in the film industry are replicated for TV. Obviously actors, actresses and comedians are needed, teams to write, produce and edit programmes supported by most of the above departments. In addition, TV requires journalists, presenters, lighting and sound engineers, boom operators and researchers who develop programme ideas. There are a number of specialist degrees and apprenticeships if you are interested in pursuing a TV career. They include TV production, TV journalism, Image & sound, screenwriting, post production, sound production and digital media. If you are committed to TV, you should consider pursuing a vocational qualification.
Don’t forget Radio
Radio replicates some of the above roles, but obviously reflective of the different medium. In addition, radio journalists, broadcasters, presenters, commercials producers, programme controllers and station managers are also required. Although TV and radio have much in common, many tend to specialise in one particular medium. There are a few degree courses in radio, radio production & management and general media and communication.
If you are a budding artist – what about Animation?
Animators bring drawings or computer generated characters to life on screen. Artistic talent is highly valued within the animation industry. Producing an animation involves many stages and processes. This can include generating ideas in the development stage to building models during production, and editing the final piece in post-production. Each stage can involve several specific tasks carried out by different people. There is a large number of artistic roles which including 2D and 3D computer animators, 2D drawn animators, layout artists, model makers and storyboard artists. The progress of a production involves:
- Directors and Producers create ideas, plan the project and find funding
- Production designers create the look
- Storyboard Artists take the script or ideas and show the story in a visual way
- Layout Artists draw how each shot will look
- Digital Painters touch up colours
- Animators and Modellers follow the storyboard and use computer or stop-frame animation to create movement and personality
- Texture Artists 'paint' colour and texture onto digital models to make them lifelike
- Compositors join the different layers of animation
- Editors add the soundtrack and produce the finished piece.
There is also a huge, growing and exciting industry in visual effects (VFX), much of which is produced in the UK. This requires a combination of creative and technical skills. Visual effects are now used in film, TV, adverts, games, websites etc. They attract students with a variety of degree backgrounds. There are a number of degrees on offer specialising in animation. If would be wise to attend such a course if this is an area where you wish to build your career.
Or The Games Industry?
The gaming industry is now huge and offers many interesting creative roles. Animation is obviously required and these roles are specialised for gaming. They are responsible for the portrayal of movement and behaviour within a game. Other roles include the overall game designer supported by the creative designer responsible for the look and feel of the game and the games artist who creates the visual elements of a game, such as characters, scenery, objects, vehicles, surface textures, clothing, etc. A team of programmers create the code and audio engineersare responsible for the soundtrack for a game, including music, sound effects, character voices, spoken instructions and ambient effects. There is also a commercial team who take the product to market and implement marketing campaigns to maximise sales. There are a number of Computer Game degree courses, specialising in development, programming, production, art design or animation.
Art and Design in general
There are many areas that you can use your artistic skills, some of which have been covered in the previous sections. There is a significant demand for graphic designers who use lettering and images to communicate information and ideas. A graphic designer is responsible for creating design solutions that have a high visual impact. Their designs are required for a huge variety of products and activities, such as websites, advertising, books, magazines, posters, computer games, product packaging, exhibitions and displays, corporate communications and corporate identity, i.e. giving organisations a visual 'brand'. To become a graphic designer, you will need to have IT and drawing skills. Another career option is an illustrator who uses creative skills in art and design to communicate a story, message or idea. They usually specialise in a particular design medium, like drawing, photography or digital illustration. Work is predominantly freelance, and possible markets include:
- Editorial - magazines, newspapers and comics;
- Advertising - posters, storyboards, press;
- Fashion - forecasting;
- Merchandising - greetings cards, calendars, t-shirts, ceramics, etc;
- Corporate work - brochures, catalogues;
- Multimedia - TV, film, computer games, websites, apps, animation.
If you are interested in working in art, but not as an artist, there are also a number of opportunities. These could include an arts administrator, working in galleries, museums or arts organisations etc on projects and initiatives, a gallery curator, managing collections of paintings and objects or an art valuer.
There are a large number of degree course specialising in graphic design, art, history of art etc.
How about photography?
If you are a talented and enthusiastic photographer, then why not consider carving out a career in this area. A number of businesses and industries require photographers. Editorial photographs used to illustrate and enhance a story or report, are used widely in newspapers, magazines, newsletters, books and websites. In addition, there is a large industry in advertising photographs as well as fashion photography for websites, mail order and fashion houses. Photojournalists capture images of current events for newspapers, magazines, websites and press agencies and general photographers are required for weddings, events and staff. There are also a number of specialist areas such as forensic photographers, scientific photographers and unit still photographers on film sets. Behind the scenes are digital imaging specialists in the lab responsible for colour-correcting and digitally manipulating images. There are a number of photography degrees on offer.