Careers Paths in the Australian Film Industry: A survey of AFI award nominees 1988-93 (AUS)


Australian Film Commission

Anabelle Sheehan
(September 1998) Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 82 pages, ISBN 0-642-48710-3


Careers Paths in the Australian Film Industry: A survey of AFI award nominees 1988-93 (AU)

To examine the nature of career paths in the Australian film industry.

Telephone interviews conducted with 199 film industry personnel during May and June 1994. Each interview lasted between 20 and 45 minutes and used a structured questionnaire. CONTENTS
Foreword; About the author; Abbreviations; The creative resource; The survey; Appendices.

The survey found that 74% of the nominees in the sample were men. The gender balance varied according to how long people had been in the industry. Forty four percent of the nominees were aged between 36 and 45. More than half were living in Sydney; 35% came from Melbourne; 11% from elsewhere. Seventy five percent of the sample had tertiary qualifications of some kind. Almost half the nominees had at least one parent whose occupation fell into a `professional', or 'upper professional' category. The proportion of women was highest in script writing and art direction and lowest in location sound, camera and post-production. Producers were the most likely to have tertiary qualifications outside the industry. Networking was a more important way of getting jobs among the producers than other groups. Post-production people tended to have more linear career paths than producers or directors. The directors in the sample tended to see course work, rather than experience, as the best way to develop a career in the industry. Post-production workers were more likely than othes to feel they had got their first job for `character'-related reasons such as enthusiasm or perseverance. Post-production people were much more likely than producers or directors to have started in an assistant role. Independent producers and small production companies were the mlost important source of employment. Freelance, or short-term contracts, were the most common employment arrangement. The sample group include some 12% who had spent a significant part of their careers working either for well below industry rates or on a voluntary basis. Women in the sample were more likely than men to earn most of their income from documentaries or shorts. Reputation was seen as the most important way of getting jobs. Ninety percent of producers and 97% of directors had applied for government assistance during their careers.

Australian Film Commission, GPO Box 3984, Sydney NSW 2001, Australia Tel: 61 (0)2 9321 6444 Fax: 61 (0)2 9357 3737