Adapting to the industries' new normal is getting easier with the help of Creative Victoria!

Organizations, businesses and creative individuals alike are experiencing a shift to the "new normal" and our Creative SCOPE team are uncovering what the future of the creative industries looks like in Victoria.

Our Melbourne SCOPE representative, Joe, spoke to Michael Hudson, the Director of Strategy, Screen & Design for Creative Victoria to talk about what the future looks like for creative industries and the act of tackling the new normal. 

Can you tell us a bit about Creative Victoria and what you do as an organisation?

Creative Victoria is the state government agency that promotes and supports creative industries in Victoria. We cover everything from arts and culture to commercially focussed businesses. Fundamentally, we are a grant-giving organisation. We've got a bunch of artist support and funding programs, such as Vic Arts grants and we have a range of programs that focus on different sectors.

For instance, [there was recently] a $15-million package announced for live music venues across the state. The first portion of that funding, which was worth about $9 million, will go to 106 venues across Victoria, helping them cover expenses and bounce back quickly [post-COVID]. There's also the Victorian Music Industry Recovery Program currently offering $4,000 - $50,000 for Victorian-based music professionals.

Do you have any advice for people, particularly those leaving high school, embarking on their creative journey?

Some people are very sure about what they want out of a creative career – and that’s great! For those who have a creative bent and love the field but aren’t quite sure what career path to take, my advice here would be to keep it broad. Most tertiary courses these days will give you options and allow you to mix it up a bit. I think that’s really important because when you start out you just don’t know what might fire your imagination. When you start out you might not know what particular careers look like and you learn a lot about that as you go through. Keep your options open and explore different fields. 

There are also plenty of roles that are not in creative industries themselves but use creativity.

And do you have any advice for teachers, careers practitioners or parents supporting a creative child?

Creativity is really important – I think that’s the thing to remember. Creative courses really value that ability above all else. It is creativity and critical thinking that’s at the heart of how we solve major problems in the world. We need those sorts of skills and they apply right across our economy and right across our society. There are more options for students going into a creative course than people often think.

Sometimes when we look at creativity, we think of particular art forms like dance and sculpture or playing a musical instrument, and they’re all very important but there’s a lot more to what you get out of a creative course than simply becoming an expert in one of those fields. Career options are much broader – businesses of all sorts need creativity to survive. Innovation is at the heart of productivity in an economy and what’s at the heart of innovation? Creativity. These are the sorts of skills that we want our kids to have because it’s going to be the future of economic success for our state and for individual business and industry success. 

Want to learn more about the Creative SCOPE Team?

What kind of growth and innovation have we seen in creative industries this year?

If you think about the games, animation, and visual effects sectors [during the pandemic] they have done amazingly well. There have been quite a few companies I’ve talked to whose income and revenue have been really strong in the last few months. There’s a lot of people at home playing games, and visual effects work and other tech-based work in the creative sector, have been able to continue with people working from home. Those sorts of jobs have been really resilient and they’re keeping ongoing – and in some cases growing strongly.

Games is a particular strength in Victoria. More than half the national games industry is based in Victoria and we’re seeing a ramping up of employment with major growth in the games sector across the world (uninterrupted by COVID-19). 

There’s also been an explosion of innovation with artists live-streaming music performance to thousands of people from an empty auditorium or from their home. What it shows is that the urge and the drive to create is unstoppable and people will find a way. The challenge is to adapt quickly, be innovative and sort out a way you can generate an income from it.

What are the emerging roles in creative industries and what does the future look like?

The creative industries is a really dynamic space. New roles are popping up all the time. Often, it’s at the intersection of things, between one creative discipline and another. For example, music and games. What we’ve seen in the last 20-years or so [with the advancement of games technology] is an increase in the sophistication of the imports into games. I often use games as an example of the type of creative product that most embodies all of what the creative industries offer. A great game will have a fantastic narrative, it’s got amazing digital artwork and, in recent years, music has become a huge focus for developers and that’s created a whole bunch of new roles just on the musical scoring for games. We even have scored for games conference we run every year called ‘High Score’.

If we have a look at music, the way we consume music now is completely different [from the days of vinyl and tape]. The business that made money from distribution are also completely different from what they were back then. In the past 20 years or so, thousands of new roles have popped up based on technology and music coming together (i.e. streaming).

We’re also seeing an increase in virtual reality and augmented reality that is being applied in music performance, games and a whole range of creative sectors. There’s an endless opportunity to explore new roles and to find new ways to create work, to distribute it and consume it, which I think is so exciting for the space.

"Games is a particular strength in Victoria."

And to finish off with a fun one, Michael, what are you looking forward to attending the most when restrictions are eased?

I’m keen to go back to a live concert, whether it’s a big one at the arts centre or a small one at the local pub – they’re the things I miss. There’s something about live performance that you really can’t reproduce online. Maybe I’m old-school but they’re the things I’d like to go back to. 

Like our industry leaders, here at JMC, we are committed to continuing this conversation of prosperity and opportunity in a post-COVID-19 world. In order to successfully update our community with the most relevant information and advice, we have created our Masterclass Series, having in-depth conversations with a host of industry professionals answering all your burning questions about your creative field. Keep an eye out on our events page and our socials for the latest events relevant to your future in the creative industry.