Features November 26, 2018

“I believe our community has the power to combat these issues”: AGSC President Caitlin Yeo

“I believe our community has the power to combat these issues”: AGSC President Caitlin Yeo

At last week’s Screen Music Awards, multi-award winning composer made her first speech as president of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers ( ).

This is part of her speech, on the sector’s achievements and challenges:

“Our Gender Equity Committee has been very active this year.

“The committee has continued to tackle the huge under-representation of women in our industry, by hosting its second Gender Equity Round Table.

“It has also continued with representation in Screen Australia’s Gender Matters Taskforce, and at the International Council of Music Authors conference.

“The committee created two new mentorships in partnership with APRA and the South Australian Film Commission, expanded its members to Melbourne, and programmed the first She Scores Concert.

“This year, many of you have also given us so much positive feedback around the Guilds efforts surrounding mental health.

“Largely led by Craig Morgan, we have included seminars in Sydney and Melbourne, initiatives around RUOK Day and our recent release of The Mental Health Quick Reference Guide.

“We have also begun implementing an education outreach program. More of this is planned for next year.

“Despite all this good news, it has become abundantly clear that we find our industry on the precipice of change.

“It is now a globally digital world. New broadcast, funding and distribution models are emerging, and the traditional broadcast models are evolving.

“With the rise of the streaming giants, content is king. These changes affect us all and could either strengthen us, or disrupt the future of screen composition in this country.   

Many of us have found” that composer’s fees have stagnated for the last 15 years.

“Yet in this same period the national average wage has increased 30% and the cost of living has skyrocketed.

“Alongside these challenges, we are experiencing unprecedented differences in the scope of rights and contracts being offered.

“In addition to this, we are regularly being asked to deliver more music in shorter time-frames than ever before.

“I can’t help but think that these challenges will impact the quality of scores we deliver and the sustainability of our craft.

“HOWEVER! This isn’t all doom and gloom.  Not by a long shot.

“I believe our community has the power to combat these issues.

“In fact, with this tidal wave of global change can come new opportunity, and, with more content being created, increased opportunities for work for us all.

“So, how can we can create a stronger industry, which is ultimately financially viable and sustainable?

“How can we support established and emerging Australian composers to thrive on the local and global stage?

“How can we continue to look after the craft of what we do?

“Personally, I think this lies in being advocates for each other. Sharing both the good and bad decisions we’ve made and seeking and offering advice.

“These all increase our chances of negotiating a better deal for ourselves and each other.

“So, I would like to urge you all to become friends. To work together, support each other, break down those barriers, and open up.

“It will not only have benefits for our craft, but our lives will be all the richer for it.”

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