Johanna Garvin is 25 and she taking her first exciting steps into the workforce. It hasn’t just been her disability (cerebral palsy) that has posed the biggest challenge to security work. In the world of film and television jobs are notoriously scarce and the competition for them incredibly fierce. Johanna shares some of the thrills as well as the spills she’s encountered as she’s worked to get that all important foot in the door.
This year I graduated from the University Notre Dame, Broadway Campus, Sydney with a Bachelor of Communications and Media. I felt a huge sense of achievement as I never thought I would ever go to uni, let alone graduate! At school I was not very academic and some of my teachers believed that it would be too difficult for me to complete my HSC. Luckily both my parents had high expectations of me and encouraged me to go to university.
It wasn’t until my final year at uni that I realised that I really wanted to work in the film and television industry and in March this year I was thrilled when I got a job with Arts NSW working closely with Screen NSW.
Growing up I had always loved watching old films especially the black and white ones and I’m a huge fan of early Elvis Presley and Shirley Temple movies. My all time favourite movie, Moulin Rouge however is more contemporary. I just love the huge scenes, characters and music.
At uni I majored in film and social justice, two of my great passions. To increase my job chances I needed to develop my filmmaking so I applied and was accepted into a film making course at Metro Screen. I learnt a lot there. In fact Metro Screen was a very big reality check. The film and television industry is tough for anyone to get into and especially so if you have a disability. It made me think about how I was going to manage working twelve-hour days on a set at inaccessible locations.
When I finished the course I thought I’d made the wrong decision with my career, but luckily we all got to do an internship as part of the course. Mine was at Screen NSW with the Production Attraction and Incentives team.
It was so great. It gave me hope that I could work in the industry that I so desperately wanted to be a part of. I got to meet lots of people and to my great surprise on the final day of my internship I was offered a casual three month contract with Arts NSW. It was my dream comes true.
Since then I have been thrilled with the opportunities that I’ve had. I never thought it would happen this quickly. I need to pinch myself some days as I can’t believe that I get to be in this interesting, exciting and inclusive work place with these people who have become friends and mentors. Their support has helped my confidence grow enormously.
This year has brought rapid change to my life. It has taught me many things, like to be patient, to not be afraid and to ask for advice. Most importantly you have to be organised. It has reinforced to me that if you work hard and want something badly enough you will find a way to get there!