Carrying on the final thought of my last blog post, what am I passionate about, I decided to touch on the cross over between a creative job and a job within the creative industries. Although this is not a career destination or a skill based idea, it’s an area that I have become very interested by. Last year I began looking into Art Directors vs. Illustrators, approaching this topic from the angle that both are extremely creative roles however it seems that illustration is more of a doing role and art direction is more of an ideas, planning and organisation role. That is certainly not to say that illustrators don’t have ideas, plan or organize or that art directors don’t do. It’s more of a way for me to categories the roles. Reflecting upon this idea after having thought about what I am interested in doing and realistically where my skills lie, I realize that I do want to be in the creative industries, they excite me and it’s an area of our society that I think is really important. Therefore I am passionate to make my contribution however the most beneficial and effective contribution I can make may not be a traditionally creative one. I think I am better suited in a role where I can set up the correct environment and bring ideas and people together to allow for creativity.
I managed to meet with Chris Jordan last week, the Artistic Director of Eastbourne Theatres and the Managing Director of Jordan Productions. Chris started of his career as an actor and over time he has used his creative mindset and experience in both performing in and the production of theatre shows to get where he is now. I think Chris is a perfect example of how a career within the creative industries can develop. I would say that Chris started out in a traditionally creative role. However, he now works in a role that may be perceived as a strong business position. Yet Chris still has as much creative input in a role that is made up of mostly organisation, and networking, while also capturing the thrill and excitement he experienced in acting.
After having discussed Chris’ role in particular we went on to analyze the theatre production industry, as an example of how roles come together and play off one another in a creative business. Chris summarized it to me in three roles. First of all there is the traditional creative. Most creatives are very curious with a fast paced mind, working in tangents with ideas bouncing off in multiple directions as inspiration takes hold. This is needed in order to capture the energy needed in creative pursuits that lead to innovation. However this process is usually quite sporadic. This is why creative mindsets are usually teamed with more of a managerial role. Someone who can run a business, with more of a linear thought process, considering everything that needs to be taken into account. Now these two roles may reside in one individual, for example, the way Chris balances the commercial programming side of his job with the creative decision-making and ideas. It may also be made up of multiple individual who specialize in their roles. Finally we discussed the role of a producer, as Chris explained it, the schmoozing role. This is the individual who brings things together, has an idea and puts it into place. This role is all about ‘who you know’, continuously building contacts that you can then link together or use when ideas form. Thinking about these three roles with Chris, he explained to me how, the specifics of these roles will differ in various companies, depending on the genre, size, location, etc. This has allowed me to think about how many roles there are available to me in creative industries. Even within these three roles, the variation from one job to the other could be extreme and then there are also so many other roles that a required to run any creative business, whether or not that role is particularly creative.
So I want to take what I have learnt and apply this back to myself to figure out how I can progress forward. I have accepted that I am not the most talented illustrator therefore the work in industry will most likely go to individuals with more talent than myself. As I discussed this with Chris, he said that sometimes, in the creative industries, this is the hardest step to make but once you have done this, moving forward is easier. You can begin to figure out what it is you actually can do and then discover the opportunities in that area. I think it is the balance between creative and administration/managing that I am looking for. Chris’ advice to me was that skills within your chosen area are crucial; you have to be good at what you do. However, you also need confidence and the ability to see where the opportunities are is valuable and putting yourself in the right position so that things do happen rather than just hoping. As always, it is also about ‘who you know’ a lot of the time, so keep making contacts. I feel that I am a fairly confident person and my confidence has grown substantially whilst being at university and also having completed this project. Even though I am still slightly lost, I feel I have more of a direction and I feel better connected to the industry I would like to become part of. Now to continue discovering where I should be whilst building contacts and more importantly, creating exciting work and getting it out there!