Thinking about the future you: the ins and outs of pursuing your creative calling
Pursuing your creative calling is a lifelong and unique experience. No two journeys are exactly the same. But to provide insight to- and understanding of- the processes involved in such pursuits, we spoke to three Bachelor of Fine Arts second year students about what it took to enrich their own creative journey and come to NIDA.
All it takes is a spark
Inspirations and epiphanies – sparks come in many shapes and forms on the road to answering and pursuing your creative calling. Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) student Angus Konsti’s main inspiration behind studying design at NIDA was his year 10 drama teacher.
‘For one of the assignments in HSC drama I had to make the decision between doing a monologue or set design. I’ve always been creative and into design, and my drama teacher encouraged me take the set design option and I’ve loved it ever since,’ he said. ‘Everyone else was choosing the monologue so naturally I was inclined to do one as well. But she knew my strengths and what I was capable of and, on her advice, I ended up pursuing something different but more in line with my interests,’ said Angus.
‘Because set design wasn’t the usual option, information about it wasn’t readily available and I didn’t have people I could go to discuss it with, so I had to get out my bubble and find the resources I needed. Sometimes you have to go that step further to find and pursue something closer to your interests and passions,’ he added.
For BFA (Technical Theatre and Stage Management) student Valerie Lam, one of the catalysts behind her eventually becoming a NIDA student was seeing her first show after moving to Sydney from the Philippines.
‘I saw a theatre production for the first time in Sydney. I watched the Wizard of Oz and thought it was incredibly interesting. It sparked all sorts of questions like “how does that work” and “the designs are really great, how were they created?” – I wanted to know more and to be part of that,’ said Valerie.
Changing career paths
After seeing that production and for some time wanting to move out of her job in tourism, Valerie identified a crossover between her background in Event Management and a career in Stage Management. After researching NIDA and the TTSM course, she applied through the website, and later had a Skype interview from the Philippines and was subsequently accepted onto the course.
Her advice for anyone considering changing career paths?
‘Definitely go with your gut feeling, especially when in a career where you’re not 100% happy and there’s definitely something wrong with it. And just keep looking for that something that you do want to do. It’s a long path, but it’s definitely worth it. I’m not even in the industry yet, but I’m really enjoying working on the student productions at NIDA and can’t wait to get out there,’ she said.
BFA (Costume) student Victoria Perry’s path was slightly more straightforward, but it took some self-examination and realisation, along with a few tough decisions, to get to where she is today.
‘I started Costume in 2014 and studied for two years and went into fashion for a year, but really quickly realised that my place was within costume and story-telling, where I can look more into the character and aspects of a person’s soul to create a story on top of their personality, as opposed to what the latest trends are. Whereas fashion is very forward thinking and focused on the self, costume is more past thinking and focused on the character, which appealed to me more,’ she said.
Photo: NIDA BFA Costume students in their 1940's jumpsuits last year
Having a background in fashion also made sense to Victoria in terms of moving into Costume because of transferable skills.
‘Coming from a fashion background, where I’ve learnt practical skills and more finer details, I could go on to work in film because they’re very meticulous. Garments have to be perfect,’ she said. Victoria also preferred the group vision of many different creatives in costume, rather than the individual vision of a fashion designer.
‘Then it was just a case of working out what I needed to do to get into NIDA to study Costume.’
How to cope with big changes
Working out what needs to happen to move to the next stage of a creative journey brings all the must-dos to light and can reveal the extent of the decision at hand.
‘For me, the biggest decision I had to make was moving and leaving family – basically changing the course of my life completely,’ said Victoria.
‘I came to NIDA's Open Day and was scared. I came with my brother and we stayed in the city and I had thought to myself “I can’t do this. I can’t move to Sydney. It’s too big, there’s too much”. I was like that for all three days during of trip.
‘Then I got home to Adelaide and I realised I had to. I realised I needed to put it into perspective what I wanted to do in the future and who I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I also thought about future me and that future me will thank current me. It wasn’t a decision for current me, it was a decision for future me – in three, six, ten years’ time. I believe that made the decision to move away a lot easier.’
‘Then it was all about finding a place to live and making it work,’ said Victoria.
Moving from a different city to pursue a passion can be a huge change, and it is common for students to feel apprehensive about leaving family and friends. Coming from the Philippines, Valerie had to find ways to deal with being much further from home than most.
‘I always make sure I go home at least once a year. Aside from that, my parents Skype with me all the time, which makes it easier. I’ve always had friends here from when I was interning and have also made new friends, so that’s pretty good as well,’ said Valerie.
Pre-existing support networks aren’t a necessity, according to Victoria.
‘I know a lot of people who didn’t have a strong support network when they came to Sydney and NIDA. And that’s fine because you can build that here. I didn’t really know anyone when I first got here. But that’s the thing, a lot of people don’t – everyone’s in the same boat, so you come here and everyone’s finding their way and you make it work together,’ she said.
Register your interest for one of NIDA Bachelor of Fine Arts courses today by visiting, nida.edu.au/courses/undergraduate