From bikie clubs to ballroom dancing in film and TV

It’s all about hands-on learning in screen and media production at TAFE SA.
A film set in a hospital with a nurse and several camera operators surrounding her.

Learning practical skills in screen and media often means leaving the comfort of the studio and diving into a diverse range of environments. 

‘Our students have filmed in a mix of highly cinematic locations, including shooting on a tug boat, at a ballroom dancing hall, with motor cycle clubs and even face to face with white rhinos,’ said Colin Reck, Lecturer in Screen and Media at TAFE SA.

Such activities ensure students are learning the skills required to succeed in the screen industry, with a focus on specific crew roles for location-based productions, covering news and current affairs, commercial television, and film production.

Given the ever-expanding nature of the industry, TAFE SA’s screen and media courses cover a broad range of skills to ensure students are work-ready for every aspect of the screen industry.

‘The Advanced Diploma students generate their own original commercial TV or web series and dramas, from scriptwriting and directing to production, through to editing,’ Reck explained.

Such real-world learning is not limited to production skills. Students also learn about the business aspects of the screen sector, including negotiating with industry partners and local councils and working with acting agencies and other essential creative companies.

‘We work intensively to deadlines on tight schedules to mimic industry practice, so the students know what real work is like.’

Colin Reck, Lecturer in Screen and Media, TAFE SA

The many stages of pre-production, from budgeting and scheduling to negotiating contracts and location management, are also explored. The learning environment simulates real-world industry conditions, and our recent acquisition of new industry-standard film equipment has further enhanced the students’ crewing capabilities. Our students also have the opportunity to work alongside prominent industry professionals.

‘In the production phase, we develop skills in creative and technical areas such as camera, lighting and sound recording. This leads on to sound design, editing and mixing in post-production,’ Reck noted.

Based at TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts (AC Arts) in the west end of the city, screen and media students have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.

Courses include an online Certificate III in Screen and Media alongside Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas with some of these offering a pathway to the Bachelor of Creative Arts at Flinders University. There are also six-week short courses in digital video production and digital video editing.

‘Working together, they collectively create media beyond their own expectations. This sense of camaraderie, of all in it together, means no one is left behind. They are all caught up in the wave of excitement for the next shoot, which they ride to their graduation,’ said Reck.

TAFE SA graduates are widely recognised by the industry as having a sound theoretical knowledge base alongside the specialised creative, technical, and managerial competencies needed for success. They are employed across the sector from tv commercials, tv drama series and news networks, to feature films.

A number of graduates from the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media have gained coveted positions with film production companies and the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC).

The close relationship of TAFE SA with the creative industries ensures the relevance of course content and the employability of its graduates. Students leave TAFE SA with the ability to hit the ground running in their chosen role.

‘Our students and lecturers enjoy a positively charged mutual respect which engenders an enjoyable creative and working relationship. This really does enhance the study experience. And these valuable networks continue after graduation into professional industry connections,’ Reck concluded. 

Find out more about Screen and Media courses at TAFE SA.

Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Adelaide. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.