It can be daunting for parents and carers when their children are interested in careers in film, TV, animation, games and VFX. Many parents have no experience of these areas of work and don’t know what’s involved in building a career in them. These are some of the questions that parents ask us about the industries.
In the UK we’re famous worldwide for our film, TV, visual effects (VFX), animation and games industries. The industries are conservatively valued as being worth £14.4 billion to the UK economy.
There are more people working in the creative industries as a whole – that means industries like architecture, museums and theatre – than in financial services. And it’s a sector that’s booming. The number of creative jobs in the UK have increased by 28.6% since 2011.
What’s more, jobs in the creative industries are more future-proof than in other sectors. While other industries are at risk of their jobs being replaced by automation, the creative industries are relatively secure with a huge 87% of creative jobs at low or no risk of automation.
Most work in the screen industries is project-based. This means the funding is for a particular project, like producing a film. Most people in the screen industries are therefore paid on a project basis and so are self-employed, rather than having a permanent job. Games is an exception to this. Within the games industry 84 per cent of workers are on the payroll of a company with only 16 per cent working freelance.
But just because many people are self-employed, it doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy good, steady careers. Many freelancers are hired consecutively by the same company and have to turn down work because they have too much.
It’s important your child develops business skills as well as craft skills. If they do, they can earn a good, and sometimes very good, living within the screen industries.
There are an increasing number of jobs in the screen industries that require a combination of art and STEM subjects – that’s science, technology, engineering and maths. If your child is good at engineering and coding and also appreciates art and music, then they have a highly-sought after combination of skills.
What’s more, there are many non-creative jobs in the screen industries. Like any business, the film, TV, games, animation and VFX industries need accountants, people who work in human resources, data analysts and receptionists. In film and TV production, there’s a need for electricians, carpenters and plasterers too.
Things are changing. There are now formal routes into the industries through apprenticeships and trainee schemes and straight forward job applications. And ScreenSkills and other organisations create opportunities for talented people to meet industry professionals. Look at our advice on networking and approaching employers.
Many people in the screen industries have got degrees but by no means all. Some get in through demonstrating their talent with a strong portfolio. Others get jobs as apprentices. It very much depends on the role your child is going for. For a job as an artificial intelligence programmer in games, you might need a PhD. But for a job as a hair and make-up trainee, an apprenticeship as a hairdresser or beautician will help you find your way in. Go to our job profiles and select the ones in which your child is interested to find out what apprenticeships are available for those particular roles.
If your child wants to take a degree, then have a look at our list of recommended courses. We recognise courses with our ScreenSkills Select award where they offer training in the relevant software, dedicated time to building a portfolio and have strong links with the industry. This will give your child the best chance of getting a job after studying.
If your child is interested in the screen industries, try to support creative thinking at home. Get them to think critically about their favourite games, TV shows and films. Our job profiles provide more details about what the job titles on the credits mean.
Encourage your children to start making their own creative projects, whether those are films, music, or writing. Those projects could be the start of their future portfolio of work. Look in our advice for building a portfolio for lists of free tools and software for starting in each screen industry. There are also many skilled roles that are less dependent on technology, such as costume-making.
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