A chance encounter with the creative industries courses offered at Charles Sturt University during a student information day inspired Wagga Wagga local Ms Emily Toshack to turn her high school hobby into a career.
During high school Ms Toshack loved making short films with her friends, but she never thought her hobby would eventually lead to her studying a creative industries degree specialising in stage and sound at Charles Sturt.
“I actually had no idea what area I wanted to go into after I finished high school,” Ms Toshack (pictured) said.
“At the time, film-making and editing was just something I did for fun, and I didn’t take it too seriously.
“When I found out Charles Sturt University offered a degree where you can write, edit, direct and film, it caught my interest.
“Now when I look back, pursuing a degree and career in the television industry seems like a pretty natural career choice for me.”
The decision to study the creative industries degree paid off for Ms Toshack, who had secured a full-time position as a Content Scheduler with Foxtel in Sydney before she even graduated.
“Every year, Charles Sturt University holds an industry summit where representatives from major networks and production companies visit to interview all third-year production students for internship positions,” Ms Toshack said.
“During the industry summit I was interviewed by Foxtel representatives and was offered a two-week internship with the company in Sydney.
“That internship led to an offer of employment, and I went straight to my first day of work the week after finishing my last class.”
According to the Course Director for the Bachelor of Creative Industries in the School of Communication and Creative Industries, Dr Robert Lewis, many creative industries graduates find employment shortly after graduating.
“Our graduates from the creative industries courses go on to lead diverse and interesting careers ranging from actors, small business owners, graphic designers, animators, and film editors, to name a few,” Dr Lewis said.
“We recently revamped our creative industries courses. Students can now study a Bachelor of Creative Industries and can specialise in a number of the University’s well established disciplines, such as photography, graphic design, animation, acting, and television production.
“We have also introduced a number of new discipline areas, such as multiplatform stream which includes virtual reality and motion capture, and a pathway which offers a more in-depth look at performance design and production for those specialising in acting and performance design.
“We have received a positive response to the course changes, and we are continuing to see great things from our recent graduates.
“In 2018, when Emily graduated, 100 per cent of the University’s graduates specialising in television production found employment in the industry shortly after graduating.”
Even though Ms Toshack had not worked in the television industry before being employed, she said her employers at Foxtel were impressed by the practical training she had received at Charles Sturt and accepted this as industry experience in itself.
“Every week, I was gaining hands-on experience in writing, directing, filming and editing, working alongside our acting and design students on short films and television shoots,” she said.
“The University also offered full access to industry-grade equipment and software, including our very own television studio on campus, and a broadcast van for location shoots.”
Today, Ms Toshack is responsible for helping to curate the content featured on Foxtel’s streaming platforms and devices.
“I work for the On Demand department at Foxtel and my job is to ensure the latest and best of our content is easily accessible for customers,” Ms Toshack said.
“I also get to binge TV shows at my desk every day, which is a big plus.”
When reflecting on her time studying at Charles Sturt in her hometown of Wagga Wagga, Ms Toshack said she misses the familiarity of home and the fun she had on set with her classmates before and after shoots.
“Some of the best times I had at Charles Sturt University were in the actual coursework – scripting, rehearsing, performing and shooting,” she said.
“I can't speak any more highly of my time at Charles Sturt University, and I would recommend the creative industries course to anyone with an interest in TV, film, drama, design or the creative arts.
“Even though I miss home, I really like my job in Sydney, and I'm very happy at the moment to simply work on building my skillset in my current position and see where it takes me.”