In the latest of our behind-the-scenes accounts from those taking their first steps in the arts world, Daniel Pitt, a graduate working for London-based organisation Crying Out Loud, tells us about some things that only a year ago he never would have expected to be doing.
I received an email recently, asking me to choose accommodation for a Masters course that I deferred entry on last year, and had subsequently forgotten all about. It gave me great pleasure to decline the place, citing being settled into a job – actually “doing” rather than studying.
Almost exactly a year ago, I was about to graduate. Just over a year ago, amongst many other things, I was drafting and re-drafting an obscure dissertation, revising for my final (yes, that is singular), working three part-time jobs and programming an outdoor festival. Panic-stricken by graduate job prospects as the credit crunch gave way to a recession, one Saturday while manning the office of a letting agency I worked in, I researched Masters courses in the management side of the arts industry. The next slow Saturday (no-one is looking for student accommodation in exam time), I ended up writing the full application and sending it off. Just days before the course began, I decided not to take the place I’d been offered and brave the so-called “real” world beyond study. If I didn’t manage to find anything, then I’d run away somewhere where there was no capitalist economy to be hit.
When I began my degree, a joint-honours BA in English Literature and Drama, I’d chosen it because I knew I’d enjoy it and thought there might be some jobs in the future that might think that was quite a good communication based degree to have. People get asked so much ‘…and what do you do?’ and instantly become defined by how they earn their money, so if this is the case, I think working in an industry that one loves is vital. I decided to try what I really loved. If I, like so many people are, am to become consumed by my job, I’d definitely rather that my job was what used to be my hobby.
Post-graduation, leaving Birmingham and my part-time jobs behind, I signed on at the Job Centre where they filled in a top 3 précis of jobs I should be applying for. They looked up and down my CV and put administration and bar work at numbers 1 and 2. I saw where this was going. I pleaded with them to list the third as something I actually wanted to do, namely “Assistant Producer/Director”, and probably to humour me, they did. Two months later and the job title I had been offered through the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursary scheme actually matched what I’d been aiming for, much to their surprise.
I’m now most of the way through my Assistant Producer role with Crying Out Loud. A year ago, I would never have, in one year’s time, expected to:
- Be drinking so many lemon and ginger teas. I rarely used to drink hot drinks.
- Be a fully-fledged ‘commuter’, though one who misses the rush hour!
- Eat/drink sooo much soup.
- Have stood on top of several central London buildings, and called it research.
- To live my life by Post-It notes.
- To use a Mac on a daily basis.
- To have travelled to Paris (and across the UK), just to see shows.
- To be working on national tours and things so exciting that I can’t even tell you about them.
Read more about Daniel’s experiences and hanging out with acrobats on the Crying Out Loud blog.