Not everyone knows what they want to do right out of high school. For Entertainment Management student Bridget McMullen, embracing uncertainty was what led her to take a step back and listen to her gut feelings.
After doing a gap year in England, it was in her return to Melbourne that she found her intuition leading her to research her options; discovering Collarts as a viable pathway to pursue a career in the music industry.
Since starting her studies, Bridget has assisted on concerts for Live Nation and Frontier Touring, and has volunteered in exclusive student-only roles at festivals like Groovin' The Moo and Falls Festival. Having also recently studies overseas in America on International Exchange, Bridget shares her advice for following your passion—and why that inner voice can take you places.
Hey Bridget, thanks so much for chatting with me. Did you jump into your studies right out of high school?
I actually lived in England for a year after high school. I was always interested in music and was unsure of where it could take me. At the time, I had nothing demanding me and I decided not to rush into a decision and took a gap year. In that year, I had a lot of big nights in Camden and met so many different people, including the friends I ended up living with and at the bars I booked.
That’s so great you got that experience travelling and working overseas. When did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in the music and entertainment industry?
Well, the thing is I always wanted to work in those industries and have this really funny, terrible story about why I needed to find my own path. When I was in Year Nine, my high school made you speak to a Careers Advisor, where they “put you on the right track” towards your career. I remember I was with that person and was asked, “What do you want to do?” So I said, “Oh, I want to work in music.” The advisor looked at me and her response was, “Well, you can’t be a groupie.”
Wow, that’s actually terrible.
Yeah, I just always think that is so funny because one day, when I'm really successful in music, I'll always go back to that. But it was then I realised high school doesn’t prepare you for a creative career. That’s why I went to England and did my own thing. But when I was ready to pursue my career, it was when I knew it was time for a change.
"I think if you want to work in this industry, even from an early age, you just know."
Yeah totally. What have been your biggest achievements or personal goals so far?
Since starting Entertainment Management, I’ve done a few things in the industry. I’ve worked for a few concert providers, including Live Nation and Frontier, which has seen me assist promoters—which is really cool. My teacher, Katie, connected me to freelance opportunities that have been amazing; from assisting crew to ensuring artists have a safe and secure route between multiple locations. One day, I hope to jump on a full tour around Australia.
Through Collarts, I've also worked at Groovin The Moo and Falls Festival in Lorne. At Falls Festival, I had the experience of setting up the Green Room where artists would wait between sets, and assisted in the site office liaising with artists and industry. At Groovin The Moo, I worked at the Artist Signing Tent and saw how much joy people have meeting their idols.
That all sounds so rewarding. What advice would you give to those wanting to work in the music and entertainment industry?
I think if you want to work in this industry, even from an early age, you just know. And even if it's not an early age, but you have this nagging feeling of, ”I just want to work in music, I don't know what it is, I just want to” then it’s worth listening to your gut. You just need to look what’s out there and look at people behind-the-scenes working to make your favourite gigs happen.
How has Collarts given you opportunities to pursue your career?
Yeah, it’s about getting out there and meeting as many people as you can. Studying at Collarts allowed me to gain music industry experience and put my foot in the door. Before Collarts, I used the Internet a lot as I live in the Mornington Peninsula. Living out here isn't a disadvantage. It gave me the confidence to use that tool and reach out to different people in the industry, and get my name out there. But studying at Collarts allowed me to use my degree as a means to connect with industry as a student in a more genuine way.
I also recently had the opportunity to study in Nashville, which was life-changing. I made some lifelong friends on that trip. Everyone brought something new to the table through their own cultural perspective and it was just amazing how everyone bonded so quickly.
"Yeah, I’ve started building relationships with incredible people who inspire you to keep working hard. My teachers help me every step of the way... they all actively work in the industry and therefore put you in the right direction. I feel supported through that."
Do you feel Collarts has supported you in beginning your career?
Yeah, I’ve started building relationships with incredible people who inspire you to keep working hard. My teachers help me every step of the way. Chrissie Vincent, the Head of Entertainment Management, throws your name out there. Katie offers you work. Jac provides more opportunities. They all actively work in the industry and therefore put you in the right direction. I feel supported through that.
What advice would you give to those who want to start their career in the industry?
It’s a big industry and it can take you anywhere. I think it’s important to just make yourself known. If there’s one thing you need to do, it is to be proactive and be that happy, out-there person who enjoys learning. If you’re inquisitive and ask questions, people love that because they know that you're actually interested and keen on learning about what they do.
Being 100% there in the moment is the best advice. Although you’ll be working hard and even though it’s work, this is also you dream too—so enjoy it for what it is, which is cool. It’s really cool.