Visual Artist Newcomer of the Year Jason Philips talks to us about his career highlights and why networking is so important.

Did you study? If so, where and what?    

– Yes, I’m a third year student at the Academy of Live Technology (formerly Backstage Academy) 

What was your very first industry role and how did you get it? 

– My first first industry role was running the lighting and sound for our school plays in year 8… My first *real* industry role was local crewing, helping various bands technical teams load in and out, learning as much as I could from the team whenever we got a minute to slow down and have a chat, I seem to remember a friend recommended me and I signed up on the spot and got my first shift a few days later! 

What has been your biggest achievement or ‘pinch me’ moment so far? 

– Seeing my content being used for the NDubs tour, live, and the experience working on the production in its development stages. 

Is there one person who has helped or pushed you, been a support? 

– My fiancée Jessie has helped me and supported me through all my technical escapades. Whether it’s hugs after a bad shift, helping me with creative concepts or even making massive set pieces for my project she always shows love and interest in the things that I do and throws herself at any opportunities to get involved! 

Where would you like to be in 5 years from now? 

– I would love to be doing something interactivity focussed whether that be creating experiences for different events or something more local with more of an installation type feel. 

Is there more industry should be doing for newcomers? 

– A lot of the jobs in this industry go to known associates and friends of friends or often have requirements for a lot of experience. I am very grateful for the companies that have taken a chance on me and given me an opportunity to shine. 

How important is networking for newcomers? 

– I think networking and getting your name out there is really important. There’s lots of ways to go about it but finding a way that works for you and finding people that you enjoy working with and trust is so important. 

Will you come back to the awards as our guest next year?  

– I would love to! 

How did you feel when you won the award? 

– Amazing, it was such a great feeling to be recognised by ROE for my visual arts and doing what I love. It was really nice to see that all the hard work is paying off! 

What made you want to work in the production industry? 

– I’ve always had a love for technology but I wanted to do something a little more active so it fitted that nice middle ground of highly technical but also out and about moving things around. 

How has winning this award affected your personal or professional life, and what are your future goals? 

– Winning the award has helped me to have more confidence in my talents. I have suffered a lot with imposter syndrome, as a lot of the industry does. It was a really nice “yes, you are good enough” moment! 

What advice would you give to other newcomers who aspire to achieve similar recognition? 

– Try your hardest and make sure to make all your work is your best work, one it looks great for everyone there and two it looks even better on the portfolio! 

Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives that you’re excited to work on and why? 

– Yes! I’m currently working on my third year project focussing around creating a link between digital and natural networks. Using AVL, AR, Interactivity and even creating generative content from plants and mushrooms, we want to push our knowledge to the max! 

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