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Arts management training with a professional edge

Thursday, 01 April 2021


Arts Management graduate Alexis Johns knows from personal experience the importance of WAAPA’s internship opportunities.

“During my degree I was lucky enough to undertake work placements with local arts organisations such as the West Australian Opera, JC Casting, and public relations and events agency Muse Bureau, all of which taught me so much,” recalls the 2011 WAAPA graduate.

“Then, in my final year, I undertook a 10-week internship in Sydney with Mullinars Casting Consultants.”

Mullinars are internationally renowned as Australia’s leading casting consultancy, having cast thousands of feature films, television series and commercials over the past 40 years.

It was this opportunity, made possible by WAAPA’s strong links with the arts industry, that set Alexis on her career path.

During the internship, Alexis assisted legendary Mullinars’ CEO Ann Robinson and award-winning casting director Allison Meadows in casting numerous television commercials and series including Underbelly and Puberty Blues.

A casting director in the screen industry is engaged by the producer or a production company to facilitate the casting of actors for roles in a film, television series or commercial.

“You work closely with the director and producer to understand their vision for the project and present potential actors for each role, as well as conducting auditions, which are known as screen tests,” Alexis explains.

“Casting requires specialised knowledge of the acting artist pool, built up over years so you can suggest actors who may be outside of the realm of what the director or producer had originally envisioned.”

Alexis adds that once a role has been cast, the casting director will then handle contract negotiations with the actor’s agent.

Following her internship, Alexis joined Australia’s leading voice agency, RMK Management, where she represented voice-over artists in contracts with broadcasters, networks and advertising agencies.

Then, a year after graduating from WAAPA, Alexis was hired by Mullinars to work as a casting associate for Ann Robinson.

Over the next six years, she was part of the team that cast projects such as Love Child, Underbelly, A Place to Call Home, Wolf Creek, Power Games, Oddball, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Serangoon Road and Power Games.

After being promoted to casting director, Alexis cast the second season of the popular Wolf Creek series for Stan before spending two years as the dedicated casting director for Australia longest-running series, Home and Away.

Alexis describes the highlight of her time at Mullinars as giving the “incredible” young actor Coco Jack Gillies her breakout role in the 2015 Australian family film, Oddball, starring alongside veteran actors Shane Jacobson and Sarah Snook.

“There’s an industry saying that goes, ‘Never work with animals or children’ but I thoroughly enjoyed both!” she laughs.

“At Mullinars, I was extremely fortunate to work alongside and learn from not only the incredibly talented, dedicated and respected team of casting directors and associates, but a plethora of inspirational and accomplished directors, producers, actors and crew who all helped to form my rounded and informed knowledge and passion of the industry.”

In 2018, Alexis left Mullinars and Sydney for Queensland, where she now manages the marketing team at Ethical Brand Co, an Australian company producing ethically produced hair and skin products.

“I’m so proud to be involved with Ethical Brand Co, which has a solid company culture of environmental sustainability and strong community partnerships,” she says.

Alexis believes her Arts Management degree has helped her immeasurably in her career.

“The depth and variety of knowledge I gained across many disciplines have given me a professional edge in each role I’ve undertaken since, and set me in good stead for a full and successful career,” she says.

“Plus I’ve so many amazing memories! I forged lifelong friends and professional relationships during my time at WAAPA which I will treasure forever.

“I might not be in the arts industry anymore but I’d not be where I am without my WAAPA Arts Management training.”

If you’re interested in studying Arts Management, visit our Bachelor of Arts (Arts Management) web page and read more about our Arts Management major. You’ll find information about this and other related courses, as well as videos and galleries about our facilities, our students and our lecturers.


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