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3. Find your team, mentors and champions

This guide aims to provide useful industry insights, resources and advice that can help you get started in the screen industry.

Making screen content is a team effort. It requires everyone to come together to contribute their individual talents to the big picture, literally. Screen teams can range from a tight collaboration of just two or three people through to the thousands employed on a blockbuster film.

Most established screen creatives develop their team over time - a group of peers who share an interest in a specific kind of content or a type of ‘voice’ (as outlined in Part 1). Finding your team makes filmmaking easier and more enjoyable as you develop a shared language and set of ambitions around your content. A group of craft people that work well together and can be relied upon to perform under pressure is invaluable. These are the people who turn ideas into reality.

There are lots of ways to find and build your team:

  • Apply for entry level jobs: Working in a screen company or on a screen production in any capacity, whether or not it’s the job you’re looking for, is one of the best ways to network. Being a runner and getting coffee is a fast way to meet lead creatives and watch how they work.
  • Community organisations: Ask your state screen agency (see contact list in Part 4) about community organisations that offer screen development programs. These organisations offer a range of experiences that bring emerging screen creatives together and provide programs and opportunities designed to give you a leg up.
  • Tertiary education at TAFE, college or university: One of the great advantages of enrolling in a screen or media degree is the opportunity to meet like-minded people and work on ideas and productions together. The more hands-on the degree, the more bonding the team building experience is likely to be. To come away from a degree with future collaborators is an invaluable start to your career.
  • Short courses: Once you have narrowed your specific interest in screen, you can meet like-minded individuals at short courses, held either in person or online. The Australian Film Television and Radio School offers a variety of general and specialist online courses.
  • Guilds and trade associations: A list of industry guilds and trade associations are provided in Part 4. These organisations provide a great way to meet both emerging and professional people who share your particular interest and skillset.
  • Industry events: These happen all year round where you can meet peers and professionals. Part 4 details how you can find out about these networking events.
  • Pick up your phone and make contact: Part of your ability to succeed is growing your network and surrounding yourself with people who believe in what you want to do.


Mentors are an important part of your network. It can be intimidating at first to talk with industry professionals but these people – while their time is often precious – want to meet the next generation of filmmakers, want to share their knowledge and, often, want to give back to their industry. If you haven’t already done so, watch our Next Step series, and read these Screen News stories about Rosie Lourde on directing and Three learnings from Ride Like a Girl to understand how natural the mentoring process can be and also how critical it is in progressing your screen career.


Champions are a step up from mentors - these are influential industry professionals who are prepared to give you professional backing as a rising talent. They might agree to executive produce your project, attend a pitch event with a broadcaster or put their name on a funding application. Hear about how director Natalie Erika James was able to leap from shorts to features with this kind of support here

You can find mentors and champions in the same places you can find your team, as outlined above, or you can seek them out directly. There is no harm in asking someone you admire to meet for coffee but only once you’ve done your research. Be informed about their work and their pathway into the industry and prepare some insightful questions. To get a sense of what motivates industry leaders check out our series of interviews: Meet the Filmmakers and Hear from the Pros. When you meet you will need to talk with some level of confidence about what draws you to a screen career and what support you need to move forward.

Your team, mentors and champions can encourage you when you’re uncertain of next steps or help you to resolve challenges. They support you through the often long years of establishing a career in a demanding field, which can present mental health challenges. Careers rely on quality relationships so spend time building and sustaining them.