Youthworx Productions: Meet Amelia Mazis
For the past three years, Amelia Mazis has worked as a production assistant with Youthworx, a social enterprise media production company that offers training and employment for disadvantaged youth. Amelia found their way to Youthworx after leaving school at 14, having battled with mental and physical health issues and struggling to engage with mainstream education. Through Youthworx, Amelia uncovered their love of film and is now following their passion working on media projects with both not-for-profit and corporate clients.
- How did you first come across Youthworx?
I dropped out of school at such a young age that I had to go and see some case workers with my mum. One of them suggested I check out Youthworx, but at 14, I was too young to do their actual course. Youthworx were still happy to take me on so I did one of the pre-courses, to make sure I was doing something rather than sitting at home all day every day, so even before I was a part of the course, they were still keeping me engaged in a way that was really good for me. After that I moved into the course, and I completed certificates I, II & III in Creative Industries Media. I then applied for a Youthworx traineeship, which I got and I’ve worked here ever since.
- How was the support you received from Youthworx different to what you’d experienced through school?
When I was struggling with school, the solution they had was to cut down my classes so I only attended English, Maths and Science, but that didn’t work. One of the really big things I was struggling with was getting up early, and that system meant I still had to get up early to get to morning classes. At Youthworx, when the same issue arose, I had more support and lenience, I could just text the youth worker if I was running late and there was no stress, I wouldn’t get detention.
There was also a lot less bullying than you’d see in a traditional school. Before I dropped out, I was being bullied and was isolated a lot from my peers. They saw me as different and there were regularly rumours going around about me being a lesbian; there was a time when I was being referred to exclusively as “the lesbian Amelia” during a vulnerable time when I was discovering and coming to terms with my own sexuality. That sort of stuff didn’t happen at Youthworx because everyone came from the same experiences; people were a lot nicer.
- Did you always have an interest in studying media?
I actually didn’t have any interest in media when I first started, I was going just to make my mum happy and stop her worrying about me, but I absolutely fell in love with it. I have a really strong interest in film and the way that it meshes art with science. I really love the artistic side of framing shots and editing and the science and maths of knowing the numbers and equations to make it all work. It’s a really interesting blend of things that I just had no idea existed until I was at Youthworx.
- What are some of your favourite projects from the past three years?
Every project that I’ve done has had its own unique set of challenges and benefits, and every single job I’ve done has been enjoyable but there’s definitely been a few standouts. We do a lot of work with Indigenous organisations, so when I came to Youthworx and started working on these projects I learnt a lot about Indigenous culture and the politics around Australia’s Indigenous population, which is something I had no idea about beforehand and am really grateful to know about now. There’s no way that we can improve social issues without people being aware of them, so personally that’s been really important to me. From an artistic standpoint, a lot of clients are really happy for us to have our creative input, we’re always working to a brief, but it’s about making that brief work for us as well.
- Where do you see yourself into the future, are you planning to branch out into freelancing?
My mum asked me this, and I was just taken aback at the concept of not working at Youthworx. Honestly, I really love being at Youthworx and I don’t see me leaving anytime soon at all. I do want to get involved in other parts of the industry, I want to expand my skills in most areas. Even if I don’t ever do it, I want to have the ability to create an entire film on my own – that’s including the filming, editing, sound design, and any animation. That’s something that I see happening in the background and not being my main focus, at least not in the near future. In the long term my interests will still 100% lie with film, that’s been something that’s been constant.
- What is it that you love about Youthworx?
For me, a really big part of it is being able to do something I love while giving back to the community. In today’s society it’s really hard to make time in your personal life for things where you’re able to give back. Youthworx gives me the chance to do that as a part of my work and I think that’s great. I love making films, I love being at Youthworx and I love being able to give back to the people who’ve helped me so much.