Key Occupational Areas within the Creative Industries.

Imagine: you’ve been slaving away for months and a publisher tells you that your book is worth putting out there. Fast forward and it is flying off the shelves (well, maybe more the digital shelves – thanks a lot, Amazon) – the people love it, and you’re left feeling humbled and energized that your work can be touching people’s lives. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

My chosen vocational area within the Creative Industries would fall under the umbrella of Publishing  seeing as I want to not only write, but also, obviously – have it seen and revered for the fantastic work I’m sure it will be.

Employ Me

The most popular jobs within the sector are: Editorial Assistant; Production Assistant; Marketing Assistant; and Assistant to a Literary Agent[1]. For freelance it’s quite different: there’s, most obviously, this – the Blog. There’s also the opportunity to become a Magazine Freelancer, Ghostwriting, Press Releases, and  writing an E-book[2].

Some of the roles/responsibilities for becoming an Editorial Assistant are:

  • Proofreading and checking accuracy
  • Planning and organising the projects
  • Commissioning articles
  • Meeting with the authors and marketers themselves – it would help to know the people with whom you work.

Generally administrative tasks include acting as a personal assistant to other editors, organising projects to a strict schedule, and the generic filing and photocopying [3] – sounds fun!

Magazine freelancers tend to write mostly for two areas, namely: Consumer titles, which include the general and the esoteric; and also customer magazines, such as what you’ll find in shops [4]. Some of the responsibilities a freelancer may be confronted by are:

  • Initially researching the story
  • Making sure the style of the article is safe within the publishing house
  • Ensuring your work is well-written – no one will want to hire you if you can’t right proply
  • Conducting interviews is key

With smaller magazines, you may have to do more of the roles yourself, such as the design stage and general administration – scheduling, dealing with the paperwork and the contacts.

For writing an e-book, you’d have to take the above two roles and combine them. Everything is your work. You choose your own style, you probe your own prose, you do your own research…really, you do everything. A fantastic example of this is really The Martian by Andy Weir – he put the novel on his blog for free, a chapter at a time, and then put the completed book on Amazon, where it was greatly received (fantastic novel, by the way)[5].

The Digital Revolution.

This changed absolutely EVERYTHING with how we work within Publishing, Journalism and Creative Writing. Research? – Who needs a library when you have this wealth of information at your disposal from the comfort of your own home? We have more access to other styles of writing, other people’s ideas and we can get feedback on our work (a friend of mine is on a site, The Bearwhere he does just that).

Interviews no longer need to be done in person, as you can Skype – which has made things a lot easier: you still have the non-verbal communication which you have in a face-to-face interview, but now time constraints aren’t as massive an issue.

When it comes to writing and publishing a book, the Digital Revolution has made this so much easier. Any work you put on the internet can be copied a virtually unlimited number of times, you don’t have to take up much resources (again, The Martian – did I recommend that already?)

If you just want your work to be read, and you don’t care about making a lot of money or by what means people read it, go on and start writing that e-book! (Though, I still prefer physical books – the smell, the feel, even being able to see what others are reading out in public. The internet seems a good place to start, even for practise if nothing else.)

The DR also lead to great developments in synergy and cross-pollination of skills – anything we do within one sector will help us in another. So you have experience with advertising but want to publish a book? Well you’ll know what the people want, for a start, and you’ll know how to give it to them – it’s just changing how you give it to them.

So with the dawning of the digital era, it’s brought about more useful and different transferable skills, chiefly IT literacy. You’re not going to get very far within the Creative Industries if you can’t work a computer. However, the most important skill is creativity itself – it can’t exactly be taught. Being able to take your creativity with you is vital if you’re to survive in any sector.

(Now for the fun stuff…)

The Legal Side

Legally, in this vocational area, one must watch out with the Defamation Law (Acts from 1952, 1996, and 2013). This Act is basically in place to make sure we don’t try and bring malicious false statements to the public eye as, if it’s not true and can seriously damage someone’s reputation, don’t say it[6]

One must also be wary that, when interviewing someone – for a freelance magazine article, for example – that the person gives their consent and that it is documented.

Another is that you should always make sure that what you publish is your work. Plagiarism ain’t good. There’s the whole notion of “intellectual property” so make sure what ever you’re spraffing about is yours to spraff about, as well as there being a copyright on any image you’re likely to use. Be careful. If self-employed, as well as making sure you don’t rip off others’ work, make sure they don’t rip off yours! Pay to get your stuff copyrighted, if you have to. You don’t want others to get praise for something you’ve done.

Health and Safety.

Okay, so there’s a pretty glaring Health and Safety concern if you’re wanting to go into Journalism: make sure that you’re not entering a war-zone. That’s a good way to stay safe – don’t go wandering into the line of danger, and make sure you have travel/health insurance if needed.

As well with even covering a traumatic court case, it can have a negative effect on your own well-being, and be cautious, obviously, of trying to cover a riot or a large group of people – people can be mercurial and you don’t want to involve yourself too much if you don’t have to, what with fear of being trampled[7].

The Creative Industries.

In 2001 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) defined the Creative Industries as “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”[1].  That covers a massive spectrum – from advertisers to architects; painters to programmers; sculptors to set designers; the list goes on: art and antiques, computer games, crafts, designer fashion, film and video, music, performing arts, publishing, software, television and radio[2]. Really, it covers a lot. There’s a section for us all, regardless of whatever tickles our fancy!

On March 13th 2008, the Creative Industries were helped greatly in Scotland by the introduction of the Creative Scotland Bill. This Bill has sought to:

  • Promote understanding and enjoyment of the various arts
  • Support and develop talent
  • Encourage people to get the creative juices flowing
  • Enable great diversity of who can access and create.

These are just a few of the many as stated by the Scottish Parliament[3].

There has been almost constant change within the Creative Indistries in the past few years, altering how we work – now there’s new synergy, and some roles have diminished while others have thrived. Off the top of my head: when one wishes to create their own website, it’s easily done – I made this one today, for example, whereas I would have had to hire someone for designing and whatnot a few years ago. So perhaps the web-designing sector has gone slightly down hill (though, if you DO pay, the result will obviously look a lot more professional *cough*), but it means that smaller businesses can thrive. Etsy, is a prime example of this.

The Internet.

Of course, the Creative Industries would not be what they are today if not for the creation of the internet. Early 20th century, what would we have had to do to view wonderful works of art or listen to music? We would have…wait for it…that’s right, we would have had to PAY for it. Now, it’s okay, don’t panic, because with a few clicks and clacks of keys or a tap on our phonescreen, we can view almost anything we could possibly imagine – and more.

The value of the Creative Industries to the economy just continues to increase. It was found that this year, they were worth a whopping £76.9 billion – that’s approximately £8.8 million per hour, £146,000 a minute![4]  That’s a 10% increase on 2013,[5]. 5.6% of UK jobs (that’s 1.7 million of them) are within the Creative Industries.

Synergy within the Creative Industries generates a lot of jobs and a hell of a lot of money. Look at the film industry, for example. A director taking inspiration from a book, like…say…The Hobbit trilogy. They grossed a…well, gross amount of money. Books and films have been in cahoots since the beginning. But now, it’s also happening in reverse, as can be seen with the video game BioShock (highly recommended) – a prequel novel called “Rapture”, by John Shirley, came about (also highly recommended). It’s almost unlimited what can be done with the Creative Industries, and that’s the beauty of it. Different people find inspiration in different things, so there really is no end, especially with the Creative Scotland Bill helping.

Music. Film. Who can say they don’t indulge in either every now and again? Culturally, both are vital. We remember eras for their creativity. The Beatles, to state the obvious, inspired people the world over. Or even FIlm Noir, the smartly dressed cigarette-smoking, gun-toting, gruff-voiced lead, after an often lethal lascivious woman. Having such a variety for us to cherry-pick from allows each of us a stimulating selection of things to be enthralled and entertained by.

Now, let’s not get confused between the Creative Industries and the Cultural Industries. The latter focus more on providing cultural wealth rather than monetary gain (museums and libraries), though it is a slippery slope as a lot of the Creative Industries do bring about cultural wealth, but it’s not the priority, it would seem.

I would like to go into creative writing, though I understand that this blog post perhaps hasn’t shown that so well. There are a plethora of problems facing this industry, though. There are so many people going after the same thing, trying to get their name heard, trying to touch people’s lives – there’s a ridiculous amount of competition. Another issue (for me, anyway) is the terrifying thought of someone reading something that’s proven so valuable to me as a method of venting or just to pour my innermost thoughts onto a page, and then discarding it as being terrible.

Want to know what’s acting as a beacon of hope? Of course you do. If 50 Shades is worth publishing, then surely so am I.