5 Ways to Jump-Start your Career in Vancouver’s Art Scene

We all hear the exciting rumors — the movies and TV shows that film at UBC, how you run into celebrities on Granville Street or Gastown.

One year into my degree at UBC and I can confirm that these rumors are true, but apart from running into the right people at the right time, you may be wondering — what can I actively do to build a creative network in Vancouver and potentially find a job?

As someone hoping to enter a creative field, I was anxious about the same thing entering university — but have lived and learned to tell the tale! Here are five easy ways you can jump-start your creative career during your very first year at university:

1. Take Classes Outside of UBC

Vancouver is home to a ton of organizations that offer classes in whatever artistic field you may be interested in. Often, industry professionals will teach at or manage these organizations, so taking a class will not only help you practice your skills, but will give you an opportunity to make conncetions with professionals and pre-professionals (like you!).

For example, a friend of mine who is passionate about voice acting took a class on that subject in Gastown. Her instructor was very experienced in the industry, having worked on big animated films and TV shows for much of his career. This instructor connected her with some talent agencies, and just this week she went to Burnaby for an audition that she expects to get some work out of!

2. Join Every Facebook Group You Can

These days, Facebook groups are a huge source of employment for people in the art industry. Some groups are super vague, and others specific only to certain universities or areas, but joining as many as possible will make sure that you are being exposed to as many opportunities as you can. Most of the jobs I have found on Facebook are unpaid, but they allow you to meet people in the industry and network while you volunteer.

I am part of a Facebook group made by Vancouver Film School students looking for models to practice special-effect makeup skills on. A few makeup artists have contacted me, and although I haven’t gone in to model for them yet, I have a friend who has modeled a couple of times and loves it!

3. Follow Online Guides that Advertise New Events

You can find multiple websites that update you on events, expositions, shows, etc. in Vancouver. Find one you like and check up on it regularly; going to a small event can give you the chance to meet people who were directly involved in its creation and have connections in the industry.

I follow the website No Proscenium, an online guide to Immersive Theatre events around the country. Immersive theatre is a new kind of theatre, so all the shows I’ve been to are small and experimental. After the shows, I’ve always been able to talk to the actors and crew to ask them questions and find out about their upcoming projects.

4. Keep Track of Events at UBC

Thanks to all the different majors it offers, UBC is a hub for new and exciting art projects. The best thing you can do as a UBC student is to take total advantage of the cool events and organizations UBC sponsors on its very own campus.

My first year at UBC, I directed a play for the UBC Player’s Club One-Act Festival. Through the festival I met many talented UBC students, but also had the chance to meet UBC alums working in the industry and other creative professionals unaffiliated with UBC.

5. Run with Any Coincidences!

After making a conscious effort to start building your career, you will probably still run into a great opportunity by chance! The best thing you can do is take complete advantage of it — ask the people you meet about their experience and for any advice they have. I have found that most people I’ve met in this way are incredibly kind and supportive — they were once in our position, after all!

I ran into a TV shoot this past year at UBC and talked to two PAs working there. I exchanged contact information with both, and expect to be getting into contact with them during breaks this upcoming year to see if I can volunteer on any sets!

Vancouver is overflowing with opportunities to start your creative career — all you have to do is go out looking for them!

Image credit: https://www.tourismvancouver.com/