Beyond the Look

By Caley Miles

Caley Miles
Caley Miles

From the age of 15, I knew that the film and television industry was one I wanted to be a part of. When I was much younger it was the idea of the Oscars and all the beautiful attire that comes with the event. Then as I grew older it was the feeling of making films that impact people. Whether it was emotionally, or more thought-provoking, it was meant to make people feel or think. Now, I want to discover. I want to discover what makes me unique, and in turn what will be unique about my stories and what they say. In a world that has hundreds of thousands of visual medium options, it is important that we strive to be different and have something to say. In 2018 I received an AVCAT scholarship which has been instrumental in helping me to do just this.

I first began studying film and television production in 2017 through a bachelor’s degree. It was a three-year course that has taken me places that I never could have imagined. I entered the course convinced that I was going to be a director and that there were no other roles as instrumental in telling a story. I have now finished the course and moving on to study for a master’s degree in Production Design.

It took a long time for me to find my true place within the industry, and like most things, it just came from trying everything until something stuck. A production designer creates the overall look of the visual medium, working with the director to execute their vision. After much soul searching, this is now what I wish to pursue in my future.

During my undergraduate degree, I travelled on a study tour to Singapore, Mumbai and Hong Kong. All vastly different places with a rich cultural heritage. Everywhere I looked there was something interesting or beautiful, if not both. But behind all these things was meaning. Whether it was the colour a building was painted or a beautiful piece of Hindi artwork, everything had a purpose.

In 2019 I directed my final year film, whilst I knew that I wanted to go into design this was a story that I wanted to tell from a directing perspective, and I’m glad I did. It gave me greater insight into how I would want my production designer to think about the story, what was important to me as a designer and most of all a storyteller.

My AVCAT RSL Queensland Scholarship offers me the support I need to keep working on films and stay grounded.

I was able to move out of home and live one and a half hours closer to university. It allows me to study harder, without the burden of worrying about working more hours at my day job. It allowed me to travel on the study tour that taught me so much about looking past pretty things and searching for something deeper. It also allows me to continue my study for a master’s degree.

At the end of 2019 I applied to study at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). After a rigorous application process, and a very nerve-wracking interview, I was one of six students selected nationally to begin studying a Masters in Screen Arts (Production Design).

In just a couple of weeks, I am moving from Brisbane to Sydney, away from my friends and family to a place I’ve only visited a handful of times. It is scary. It is exciting. It is a huge opportunity. What I’ve learnt over these three years has moulded my opinions and morals as a creative. I expect the next two years to reflect this even further. After my master’s I hope to be able to move out into the Australian film industry and work with many of our talented creatives.

I hope that I can travel overseas and learn new skills, but also come home and have the chance to impact our own film market. Our industry is small but mighty, and over the next few decades, there will be more Australian talent gracing the international market than ever before. I will work hard to be one of them.

Thank you AVCAT and RSL Queensland for your continued support, of me and all the other scholarship recipients. This program and the generosity of the sponsors have changed my life in more ways than I can explain, so collectively its impact is unfathomable.

Thank you.

Caley was awarded the AVCAT RSL Queensland Scholarship in 2018. 

To make a donation towards a scholarship click here, or contact the AVCAT office on 02 9213 7999.

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