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A young Aussie designer’s insights on how to achieve your creative career dreams

If you’ve admired a film set, been inspired by a music video or visited Sydney’s Vivid Light Festival, chances are you’ve seen the work of Sebastian Barkoczy.

Sebastian is a freelance designer and self-described “Jack of all, master of some”, as he’s tried his hand at music videos, online productions, film, television and events. His story is one of self-made success and, of course, the inner drive to achieve.

Although he studied design at the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), it wasn’t a clear-cut path. He previously completed an Advanced Diploma of Design for live production, theatre and events at the Design Centre Enmore TAFE. It was here that he was awarded with the Design, Fashion and Arts Industry achievement award, the TAFE medal, The NSW Vocational Student of the year and was the NSW ambassador for vocational education.

Sebastian Barkoczy is a high achiever in many areas, so Lost at E Minor just couldn’t resist sitting down with him to find out how he chose his career path, and where his choices have gotten him.

What are your memories of studying at TAFE and what did you get out of the experience?

“We created a Kill Bill-inspired short film, with. No budget or time. Against all odds we pulled off an amazing project. We learned to work as a team, meet tight deadlines and squeeze every dollar. It taught me resourcefulness and confirmed you don’t need a big budget to be creative.”

How do you think your TAFE Studies helped or progressed your career path?

“TAFE provided a practical learning environment that really mimics the outside world. I felt that TAFE prepared me for the industry by providing industry-aligned staff and facilities that kept you inspired and a pathway in sight. I found my passion and knew if I succeeded there, it would be a good start in the industry.”

Tell us what you’re doing now and where you hope to be in 3 years from now?

“Right now I’m working as a sculptor for film, creating sets. I just worked on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenent. I’m also trying my hand at TV – particularly designing and presenting – which is a great opportunity and is something I’d never thought I’d be doing.

“I also create installations for events like Vivid Light Festival and brand activation like pop-up stores. Three years from now I hope to keep getting opportunities to grow creatively and professionally and collaborate with other amazing people. I have a real passion for anything creative, so to be involved in any capacity, and make a living would be great. I feel you need to be flexible and be able to seize opportunities from different fields.”

Who are some of the people in your career field that inspire or motivate you?

“There are so many amazingly talented people in my career field, I couldn’t possibly narrow it down. Each project requires so many talented people to work together to be a success. I’m constantly wowed and humbled. They keep me wanting to go further, do the hours, hone my skills and do what I do.”

What advice do you have for people contemplating doing a TAFE course to further their career?

“Choose a course you’re interested in, not one you think you should do. If you’re passionate about your area of study you’re much more likely to succeed, no matter how few jobs there may be. If you’re good enough and apply yourself you’ll always find an opportunity. Then the real work starts.”

What are the key requirements to be successful in your chosen career?

“You’re only as good as your last job. I feel you need to be a great communicator, work hard, keep up to date with trends, always try and stay inspired, have some common sense. Keep finding that little spark even when your day is a nightmare, remind yourself why you do it. And why you love it.”

If you want to achieve YOUR dreams in 2017, check out our friends at TAFE NSW – the best option for those looking for alternatives to university or to upgrade your existing skill-set. TAFE can help you be whatever you want to be, regardless of how ambitious that dream is.