A Creative’s Struggle For Financial Security and Self Value: Breaking Into The Creative Industry



It’s not a secret that nothing is guaranteed in the creative field.  The industry is filled with sharks ready to cut you off at any minute for someone more “qualified” or someone with a more diverse skill set.  Davies and Sigthorsson’s article Introducing the Creative Industries: From Theory to Practice puts into perspective how important having a diverse range of skills is in the Creative industry.  The skills are not enough though, one must have the ability to create tangible products on tight schedules so work ethic is also crucial.  One must build their own image in the same way Renaissance artists would.  The more known a renaissance artist such as Michelangelo was, the more their art was worth.  The same concept still applies to the creative field today which is one of the only industries actually expanding through the 21st century and the economic recession.  It is more difficult however to create your own work while still pleasing clients, and to many creatives working for a boss is considered selling out to a certain extent.  However if one wants financial security this is necessary because that is where the money is in the creative field.

money-struggleBreaking into the creative industry is essentially the equivalent of building a brand only for yourself as a potential client or freelancer instead of for a building.  Doing so requires in itself a diverse range of skills.  The creative field differs from that of the business or economics industry because having a degree in any delegation of the creative field does not guarantee a spot in the industry.  Even if one has a degree in film for example, you are not necessarily ready to work on a production team in any way shape or form.  One thing Davies and Sigthorsson say on page 63 is, “Graduates are encouraged to take on unpaid work to “build the portfolio” by gaining experience, skills, training and contacts instead of being paid wages.  I disagree with this statement greatly.  A brand and portfolio for ones self is crucial sooner than graduation.  Imagine an “artist” with thousands of dollars of debt spending years after they graduate building their image while someone whose already done that in school has already been hired to a freelancing agency.  When push comes to shove you’re 30 steps behind as the artist who hasn’t built their image yet because you’ve already been outworked by someone the same age as you if not younger.  You’ve already made it more difficult to obtain that financial security because you’re struggling to be qualified to give clients a product they can be happy with paying you for.   So much of the creative field requires unbelievable hard work and tedious hours for short periods of time.  (60, Davies and Sigthorsson).  

There is a constant internal struggle for outward acceptance and opportunity as well as a sense of self worth and integrity of ones art.  It’s the overall goal for most creatives to be able to create their own art in whatever medium they desire while not having to worry about the monetary value of that art or their own skill set.  Working in a professional setting seems more daunting than working out of ones living room, but that type of setting is necessary in most cases when starting in the creative field.  It goes back to the quote about building ones portfolio.  You need to be ready to work in a professional setting out of college or else someone younger than you already takes that professional position further building their resumé and thus you’ve been out worked.  Looking at it the way in which I do definitely appears almost entirely negative, however it is that dream of being a successful artist with the ability to wake up every day creating whatever it is you want is what drives so many creatives.

The creative field is one of the largest growing fields and also a very vague one.  The term art itself is so vague and there is a connotation with the lazy artist which without a doubt exists.  But that makes it so worth it for anyone creative, there are so few professions that allow one to be their own boss and call all the shots.  However the ability to create and do that for a living is worth it for so many creatives and for most like myself there’s nothing we’d rather be doing than creating.  There is so much opportunity in this wide field to work on and learn about.

Final Thought: It would be amazing to live like the crew on Entourage. entourage-poster-2015-warner-bros-billboard-650


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