How to Breakout into the Australian Film Industry as a Grad

Posted by Aala Cheema

The Australian film and television industry has many different roles and positions for graduates. From lighting technicians, sound mixers, hair stylists, set decorators, production accountants, publicists, actors, producers, videographers and photographers, there are a whole host of opportunities available. However, it can be difficult getting your foot into the door of such a high profile industry. It can also be challenging navigating the different opportunities available for graduates. This article will provide an informative guide on the Australian film industry to help you land your very first role.

Step 1: Complete your education

While a university education or vocational training is not necessary to succeed in the film industry, it can nevertheless be an extremely helpful learning tool to gain expertise and develop your hard skills. Furthermore, you can also make valuable connections with industry professionals that can help you land your first role. Some degrees that you can complete are as follows:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Film and Television
  • Bachelor of FIlm and Screen Production
  • Diploma of Screen and Media
  • Bachelor of Screen Media
  • Bachelor of Creative Industries

Step 2: Find Your Voice

Screen Australia, the leading body for the Australian screen production industry, recommends that individuals first find and develop their voice. This means experimenting with different mediums of content creation, including online videos, short films and web series. This will serve as a valuable learning opportunity and allow you to gain experience and develop your skills. You will be exposed to the production process from start to finish. This exposure will allow you to identify which part of the process you are most passionate about and wish to pursue opportunities in. This is important due to the limitless roles available in film and television, allowing you to narrow your search. You will also discover which genre of content you like to make. This insight is necessary before beginning your career. You should also expose yourself to as much content as you can. This can allow you to learn the techniques of career professionals and hone your own craft. 

Step 3: Develop your soft skills

Working in film and television requires you to have a range of soft skills, particularly interpersonal skills. This means that you must be able to work collaboratively with others, have a strong work ethic, and come up with creative solutions to problems and issues. You must also be able to adapt to change as you work in a high paced environment. 

Screen Australia also requires industry professionalism to use a certain style and format for writing documents like treatments, scripts, budgets, production forms and resumes. Familiarise yourself with these formats so that any pitches you make comply with their guidelines. More information can be found here.

Step 4: Be in the Know

Current and Upcoming Productions

To work in the industry, it is handy to be in the know on the current projects that are being released in Australia and upcoming productions that are in the works. This can inform you of the style and format of media that is currently popular. You may also be exposed to job opportunities. 

Screen Australia

You can also subscribe to the Screen Australia newsletter for updates on funding opportunities. Their news section of the website also provides up to date information on what is currently happening in the industry. 

State and Territory

Each state and territory in Australia has their own screen agency that provides funding and production opportunities as well as other resources for up-and-coming filmmakers. You should consult the relevant organisation of your state or territory to keep up with the latest information.

Industry Guilds and Trade Associations

There are various industry guilds and trade associations in Australia that provide resources and opportunities for graduates to get connected for industry professionalism. Depending on your particular field of interest in the film industry, you can access the relevant guild or trade association to benefit from these opportunities to advance your career.

Industry Events

Attending industry events can allow you to meet and hear from industry professionals. These events are held all year. Information about event opportunities can be found in the Screen Australia newsletter, state and territory agency newsletters, and on industry guild websites. Some major annual events in the industry include:

Industry Publications

You can regularly consult various industry publications for news, updates and opportunities in the industry.

Australian screen industry news can be found here:

International screen industry news can be found here:

Step 4: Build A Portfolio 

Build a portfolio of your own craft to show to producers, directors, and other industry professionals. This can include short films, scripts, screenplays, treatments, and radio plays. Universities will often have a drama or theatre club. You can join these organisations and use these opportunities to showcase your work. Having a portfolio will allow you to demonstrate your talent, potential, and creative abilities to others. 

Step 5: Apply

Entry Level Roles

Apply to as many entry level positions as you can at screen companies. Even if the role is not your ideal or dream job, it can serve as an opportunity to network, gain experience, and advance from onto a greater position. Working in film and television requires patience, commitment and perseverance. You have to be ready for failure and rejection. An entry level role can also help you find a mentor in the industry that can guide you, provide advice, and help you attain funding and other opportunities. 

Entry level roles can be sourced from industry newsletters, as well as here on GradConnection or SEEK.

Attachments, Placements and Writers’ Rooms

Attachments and placements are paid or unpaid opportunities for graduates to work on a production, shadow an industry professional, or take notes in a writers’ room. An attachment is a full-time role and lasts for six weeks. A placement can be a part-time or full-time role and lasts for a negotiated time period. A writers’ room lasts for only a few days. 


Graduates can apply for funding from Screen Australia or state and territory screen agencies. Funding consists of four stages of screen work:

  • Story Development
  • Production
  • Completion
  • Distribution

Screen Australia has several funding programs for up and coming filmmakers. More information can be found here. depending on the nature, style, and format of your project. 

Graduates should also be on the lookout for independent funding from broadcasters, such as the ABC and SBS, film festivals and competitions, and crowdfunding.

Read more about opportunities for graduate writers here.

About The Author

Aala is studying Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at the Australian National University. She is passionate about law, literature, and history, and has been published by ABC News.


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