Nineteen-year old Christopher Reavell knows a lot about film-making. His Canberra company, Velton Studios, has already created a 50-minute film – The Powder Clock – that he describes as “a dark story, inspired by Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick, about an organisation that recruits people into a death ring.” The film has screened in Canberra cinemas and will shortly be released on DVD, feats that most aspiring film-makers would be proud to list on their curriculum vitaes.
Reavell is confident his future projects will be even bigger and better, thanks in part to his decision to pursue the TAFE qualification Certificate IV in Business and Management.
|DVD menu from The Powder Clock|
Deciding to attain the certification was not Reavell’s original plan, as he left school knowing he wanted to become a filmmaker and felt he had access to advice and skills that would mean he could put his productions first. “I have good family backing and relatives who work in finance,” he says. “I got a lot of help from them.” He also had an aversion to higher education, as he wanted to get straight into the hands-on business of film-making.
“I figured any degree does not guarantee a job,” he says.
“It is really up to you to make your own work known. You have to be in the industry, otherwise it does not matter how much education you have.” But as Velton studios became busier and Reavell wrote a business plan, he felt a little perspective could not hurt. He therefore applied for, and won entry into, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).
This scheme offers income support to start-up entrepreneurs and includes an intensive education program that results in attainment of a Certificate IV in Business and Management.
Reavell says the scheme “gave me more chance to figure out what to provide to my clients, and I learned how to break down what my business was and how it could evolve in future.” “The program covers all aspects of business including tax, administration and records-keeping. It re-enforced a lot of things I already knew, but it also gave me a lot of contacts and networking opportunities that I thought would be helpful for the business.” One of those opportunities was financial, as the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (which runs the NEIS program) helped Reavell to obtain a loan. Velton Studios has used that money to invest in better equipment, which should mean future productions are more impressive than their predecessors.
“I feel like the Certificate confirms my qualifications and competency as a business owner,” he says.
And business is good. Velton has branched out into filming events for corporate clients and is doing a little web development too. But features are the product Reavell hopes he can concentrate on in future. “We’re working on features already,” he says. “We got a good response to The Powder Clock and it has encouraged us to move on to bigger and better projects.”