A little advice goes a long way…

From day one, our students are part of the RCS community – supported, encouraged and mentored throughout their studies. And we don’t disappear on graduation day – we proudly follow you on your journey to success.

With the class of 2020 only just graduating a couple of months ago, we wanted to give our graduates some expert advice on how to self-promote their brand, their skills, and possibly their own company.

We reached out to professionals within the arts industry, who have years of industry experience. And with that, they have experienced the highs and the lows – they have had unsuccessful auditions, times where the next job seemed like it would never come, scripts that flopped and films dropped. These professionals have picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and charged on achieving huge successes along the way. What transpired, after many chats, was much more valuable than any marketers’ guidebook to self-promotion – this post gives some life advice for all graduates.

Look after your personality, and your reputation will follow

In the creative industries, it’s been said that there are three things you need (and need to be known to be): you need to be good; you need to be reliable; you need to be likeable. Think about how you can demonstrate that you are these things.

Know who you are. Casting directors are saying more and more that they are looking for authenticity. Can you bring your authentic self to an audition?

Find your unique selling point

What is it you want to be known for? Look at your CV again and ask yourself whether the things you want it to say about you, actually does. What is your USP and how are you supporting that?

Make your own work – especially now when work will almost certainly live online and can be seen by anyone. The more unique your work is and the more exposure, the more chance of attracting potential collaborators that may put money behind a project.

You are the company you keep

People will generally start by hiring people they know. This is partly due to being risk-averse and partly due to familiarity. One of your biggest jobs is to make yourself known to people. This means, at a minimum, finding ways to communicate with others both for yourself and to support them.

Social platforms are fantastic for this. Be relatable and relevant. Align yourself with individuals and organisations with the same values as yourself. Be careful what you engage with on social, as this speaks volumes about a person’s character.


Know the resources available to you

Get yourself known through your own website, social platforms, award ceremonies and festivals. Engage with the press, industry magazines and reviewers. Connect with social media ‘influencers’, bloggers and others within the industry through networking events. Upload your details on networking sites such as Spotlight, which is accessible by all casting directors and agents.

Join the RCS alumni community, keeping everyone in the loop on what you doing – there will be potential collaborators and even employers in that community.

Networking sites and the RCS alumni community also allows you to also see others work, and support one another.


Be prepared and organised

You can save yourself a lot of money by hiring an accountant, and save time by getting yourself a Driver’s Licence. Ah, the famous line: If you are early, you’re on time. If you are on time, you are late.

There is another well known saying in the film industry, “you are only as good as your last job.” Be prepared to work hard on every job.

Be informed

The performing arts industry is a very competitive market. The competition in the ‘real world’ is different than what you’ve faced previously. When you apply to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, you are competing with a large number of people with a range of abilities. The audition at this stage is about assessing your potential for professional-level training in your discipline. Once you graduate, you then compete against professionals, so it’s more about what you can bring to a role or project than demonstrating your talent. Your talent should be a given.

Shift your mindset away from “please give me a job!” to thinking, “I’m going to learn how I might assist you with this production”. The main thing is to be interested rather than ‘interesting’.

The creative industries in Scotland are small and everyone knows each other. Be mindful.


Be kind out there

“Crews are like family, look after each other. Family works, you work.”

Head of Film at RCS, Ray Tallan

Just like the final scene of the 1976 musical Bugsy Malone sings … “You give a little love and it all comes back to you. You know you are going to be remembered for the things you say and do.”

Part of your job now is to make the industry fairer and more inclusive. Making your way will be challenging at times, but never forget that values like inclusivity, fairness and equity must sit at the heart of everything you do.

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