20 silver-screen professions you can study online

Always fancied you had a bit of George Clooney's swag? Denzel's street smarts? Leo Dicaprio's entrepreneurial spirit? We tend to see the same professions represented over and over: RomComs present us with a disproportionate number of writers, editors and creatives; adventure films are populated by CIA agents, hackers or intrepid travellers; and then there’s the comic fodder of the advertising executive, the pop star and the television producer.

The more we see these jobs fictionalised, the more they seem like way-out, unachievable options. With the right training and experience though, there’s no reason why you couldn’t be living your own celluloid dream. We’ve put together a shortlist of silver-screen worthy courses so you can write your own Hollywood story.

The question is: who’s going to play you when the movie comes out?

1. The hacker

Angelina Jolie in Hackers, 1995
Hackers (1995)

These days, in the real world, you can fight cyber crimes without having to wear rollerblades or worry whether your upload time is sufficient to save the world from aliens. And you might even find your skills are desired by businesses, not just anarchists or master criminals.

Top online training grounds for legit hackers:

2. The investigator

L.A. Confidential investigators, 1997
L.A. Confidential (1997)

Do you love nothing better than staying a step ahead of the story? We all love to get to the bottom of things, but in the real world of investigations there’s a lot less chance and a lot more process – and much less sexual tension with colleagues, sorry – but we promise you still get to solve crimes.

Intriguing online courses for the investigative type:

3. The advertising exec

In Good Company, 2004
In Good Company (2004)

Think you can work relationships better than Dan Foreman? That you have more chutzpah than Mel Gibson in What Women Want? If you study online you can learn all about creating advertising campaigns before you launch into a hot-desking ‘synergic’ corporate environment – and if it’s as cut-throat as the movies say, you’ll need all the pointers you can get!

Prepare for your career campaign with these advertising and marketing courses:

4. The pop star

Josie and the Pussycats, 2001
Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

Many a teen fantasy has been born from an early-evening Disney movie, but even if you’re more Almost Famous than Josie and the Pussycats, an online course will prepare you for that moment of your meteoric rise.

Pre-discovery preparation for musos:

5. The designer

Mugatu from Zoolander, 2001
Zoolander (2001)

The list of architects and designers in romantic comedies is endless but, then again, they do suggest the perfect balance of practicality and creativity – and even present the added bonus of staging lonely or romantic moments in visually interesting offices. Whether you’re aiming for Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle or Woody Harrelson in Indecent Proposal, you’re certainly going to need some authentic creative learning to avoid coming off like Mugatu.

Follow the online trend with these courses for design visionaries:

6. The artist

Blow Up, 1966
Blow Up (1966)

Similar to the designer, the artist has been present on the silver screen ever since the Swinging 60s landmark film Blowup. And, more recently, the art dealer, gallerist and curator have become semi-regular fixtures as suitably smart-but-creative RomCom characters. But if you really want to be an artist, and also plan to eat at regular intervals, you have to first hone your craft.

Find your muse online before you get started:

7. The writer

Truman Capote, 2005
Capote (2005)

It doesn’t seem entirely outside the realms of possibility that the number of novelists, food critics, wedding announcement columnists and sports reporters in films could add up to more than the number of paid writers working today. Apart from being natural storytellers, there is a reason they come up so often: writing is one of the most tailorable professions out there – meaning it can relate to any story. This is lucky for you, because in order to succeed you’ll need to make like Truman Capote or Carrie Bradshaw and find your unique niche.

Ready to find your voice? You can do it online with one of these:

8. The magazine editor

Miranda, The Devil Wears Prada, 2006
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Did you watch The Devil Wears Prada and in the end believe you would still be willing to put your hand up for one of Vogue’s coveted positions? Well, perhaps you shouldn’t. The traditional magazines are struggling against a deluge of online content and you might just be better off working on your skills from the comforts of your own home, and trackpants. Then you can work out how to rule your particular world from there. That is all.

Here are some online editorial training grounds for Mirandas-in-the-making:

9. The coach

D3: The Mighty Ducks, 1996
D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)

There’s just nothing like seeing yesterday’s hero turn his or her washed-up life around through the success of others. Whether you’re washed up or just looking for a change, if you’re the type to swell with pride at the site of an underdog who has just triumphed, then it might be time to find your own sideline to strut along.

Top trainers know their stuff, work out your game play online (underdog team with unforeseen abilities not included):

10. The outdoor adventurer

7 Years in Tibet, 1997
7 Years in Tibet (1997)

Simply walking off into the desert for a few months might come off ok if you have a support crew and what you’re doing is entirely fictional, but if you want to live an adventurous lifestyle then you’re going to have to learn the boring stuff first, like how to manage risks and take people along for the ride who will pay you.

You can study an online adventure course from anywhere (including your extended stay in the Himalayas – as long as you have an internet connection):

11. The traveller

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

If an 80-minute film just isn’t enough escapism for you, then maybe it’s time you thought about getting off the beaten track between your bedroom and the lounge room. And you don’t have to wait for the life-altering break up or break down in order to ‘run away and find yourself’, either. It’s ok just to chase some better weather or give your lifestyle a shake up.

Some online courses that can help you spread your wings:

12. The philosopher

Eat Pray Love, 2010
Eat Pray Love (2010)

If you’re like me, you’re more in the I ♥ Huckabees camp than the Eat Pray Love camp, but everyone has their own way of understanding the world. If you saw Groundhog Day, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or the Truman Show and just had to reassess your position on the futility of time, the metaphysics of memories or Plato’s Cave, then you might want to work out just what to do with all those thoughts of yours.

Studying online can help you to put your ponderings to good use:

13. The fuzz

The Heat, 2013
The Heat (2013)

There may be more cop movies than you can poke a standard-issue baton at, but I’m willing to propose that many actual career moments in the emergency services are likely to be stranger than fiction.

Do your time online before you hit the streets:

14. The online entrepreneur

The Social Network, 2010
The Social Network (2010)

If there’s anything The Social Network taught us, it’s that there are many definitions of ‘friends’ but that the word ‘enemy’ is pretty stable. If you want to change the way the world communicates, trades, lives – anything, really – then you’re going to have to know how to work that box in front of you. Just don’t forget to acknowledge your friends when you make it big.

Online courses for future online success stories:

15. The tycoon

Gordon Gekko, Wall St, 1987
Wall Street (1987)

The path to business success doesn’t have to come with a dodgy moral compass, as much as Hollywood would have you believe it. If you are driven to reach the kind of success that would make Gordon Gekko put down his cigarette and take notice then it’s best you know what you’re in for – and keep those best-practice principles in your top pocket alongside your money clip.

Online courses that will give you an edge so you can earn a packet:

16. Human rights activist

Milk, 2008
Milk (2008)

How many times have you watched the credits roll and pledged to make more of a difference in the world? Almost all of the best Hollywood human rights stories are based on ordinary people who managed to make an extraordinary impact, so there’s no reason to think it isn’t realistic for you to do so, too.

Learn how to make an impact on the world from your own desktop:

17. The Eco Warrior

Gorillas in the Mist, 1988
Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

On-screen green heroes come in all shapes and sizes: from the fairies of Fern Gully to Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich, Sigourney Weaver bonding with gorillas and even the messages glossed into the 3D Sci-Fi feat of Avatar. While the current reality of environmental change is that it is a long and slow process, we are certainly in need of as many new heroes as we can get.

Find your cause and plan your next move with these online courses:

18. The Downshifter

Under the Tuscan Sun, 2003
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Sea change, tree change, downshifting, getting back to basics – whatever you call it, by now the shift is taking place as much off screen as it is on. I probably wouldn’t recommend buying a villa that you’ve only seen from a bus, but if Under the Tuscan Sun had you wanting to escape to the country and never return, then you might just find a way to make that happen smoothly if you plan for it. It will certainly involve less dramatic tension with your contractors if you have some way of paying them.

Some online courses for starting a simple life:

19. The inventor

Back to the Future, 1985
Back to the Future (1985)

The mad inventors of the past look a little silly these days with their reused materials and steampunk aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean we’re all invented-out. In fact, with our progression away from the manufacturing age well and truly under way, we will be needing as many Dr. Emmett Browns as we can find.

Study online to get your head into some intelligent inventing:

20. The mad scientist

Jurassic Park, 1993
Jurassic Park (1993)

Scientists are dreamers – at least, that’s what Hollywood tells us. If we consider out-there scientific developments such as the large hadron collider then we would have to surmise that, to some extent, Hollywood is right. But day-to-day science is also repetitive, finicky and decidedly un-sexy. There is currently a big push in Australia to increase student interest in sciences because we all suspect that nothing as mind-blowing as the Stargate Atlantis is due to become a reality anytime soon, and not without a tonne of hard work. But you’re a dreamer, right – so are you up for it?

Get your big ideas (and your sound methodologies) with these online courses:

Feel like your job is lacking star appeal? Still haven’t found your dream role? Take a trip through our list of over 700 online courses  and start re-writing your story.




comments powered by Disqus

Over 1,000 accredited online courses from leading Australian universities, TAFEs and colleges