Digital Drawing Lecturer DEJAN MANDIĆ

" SAE has a very rich program that covers a variety of industries at the same time, providing different opportunities for future careers. Guest lecturers during the lectures offer a fresh and new perspective to students, not only teaching about specific things in the market but also providing opportunities for potential future collaborations. "


I am an aspiring Audio Engineer who has worked across large festivals, concerts, stadium shows and theatre events as a stagehand, client liaison, audio crew member and stage manager. Growing up playing multiple instruments also led me to having over a decade of experience as a musician; playing as a soloist, as well as within large orchestras which have been broadcast over international media.

Some of my highest achievements include working for multiple global artists as apart of their sound crew for world tours; some of these artists including QUEEN, Elton John,Eminem, Taylor Swift as well as many more. Not only do I spend my time in the live sound industry, I also aspire to further my career in film and television. Most recently, I have just accomplished working as a post production engineer and composition assistant in the Logie and Emmy Award Winning Kids TV Show, BLUEY.

What inspired you to enter into the career you’re in?
From a young age I always wanted to be apart of the arts, there is no doubt about that. Picking up the piano at age 6 was definitely the beginning of my love for music. From Piano, to Flute, Piccolo and Oboe I knew that music was the way to go, but not necessarily being the performer, I was more interested in behind the scenes.

Being someone that also dug their hands into visual arts and digital media, following this path became the perfect way to combine all of the things I loved; hence following post production. Additionally, from a young age I always found myself spending hours watching behind the scenes footage of movies and tv shows regarding how the ‘sounds’ were created, even though I probably should have been studying. I guess I was just studying for the future, right?

What are your fondest memories of your time at SAE?
Thinking back on my time spent at SAE, there were many times where honestly, some of the best moments of my life. Though stressful at times, the ability to learn how to work in a group is something I could never forget. I really am being truthful here, but even though it’s hard, developing your soft and transferable skills via group projects is something irreplaceable.

Looking back on some of the projects however, the ability to be given such a massive amount of creative freedom is something that cannot be forgotten. Across all disciplines, there was so much that was able to be achieved and created; imagination was limitless. Additionally, the facilities at SAE were something that I never thought I would be using. From the studios themselves to the variety of gear you could use, there was just so much to play with.

Spending late nights in the studios jamming with people of similar interests was definitely one of the highlights from my time at the campus. The last thing I would like to say about the variety of gear is the ability to learn new skills within the minor modules, mine being Cinematography. Working in an interdisciplinary space such as this was also a way to network and grow, which again is something that is irreplaceable.

Are you able to shed some light on how studying at SAE lead you to where you are now?
Honestly, the time spent at SAE is irreplaceable. There is no way, that if I hadn’t have been there, I would be where I am today. SAE truly was the solid foundation where I was able to first build, then continue to grow and cultivate my skills, knowledge, experience and network within the audio industry. One thing that was almost hammered into my time there was the emphasis on Networking.

From the get go, challenging yourself and putting yourself out there is something that is repeated day to day by the lecturers; by rightfully so. Due to this, I truly believe that SAE sets their students up for success, however, success only comes to those who work hard; and that needs to be remembered. Truthfully, if I had not attended and pushed myself, I would not have been able to achieve what I have, that’s for sure.

What are your career highlights?
In only a short amount of time I have luckily been able to be apart of many different projects and events within the industry, whether they be live sound orientated or within the studio. One thing that I know I will never forget is meeting Brian May (of QUEEN) for the first time. In general working for QUEEN is something that I never would have thought I could do, especially as QUEEN was an artist that I grew up listening to almost on a daily basis. This is the same to say with some of the other artists that I have been lucky enough to work with over the past couple of years, some to highlight are; Eminem, TOOL, U2 and Elton John.

Apart from my various live endeavours, I have also been lucky enough to collaborate with musicians across the globe in the creation of the Kids TV Show; BLUEY. To me, working on BLUEY is and has been probably the best thing I have done to date. From composition, to general admin, editing for broadcasting episodes and working with an animation studio really was something I never thought I would be doing. Such an experience has definitely pushed me to continue my love for the arts, regardless of the medium. To me however, I feel like I haven’t done enough in the time between graduation and now, but maybe just call me crazy.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
Currently, to be honest, I am not up to a whole lot. Finishing work on BLUEY whilst in the middle of peak concert season was quite taxing, so at the moment, it’s time to chill, right some music and start preparing for a full folio launch. Planned for the next few months, ideally I would like to release some instrumental based sample packs as well as using those packs within a collaborative medium combined with SYNCTUM CREATIVE.

At the moment I’m also starting to plan out an installation. Combining my love for music and visual arts creating installations is something that I have always enjoyed doing, however this time I would like to step it up a notch. Taking reference from Installations such as Guy Cooper’s; Poseidon’s Music Box, Florian Hecker’s; Event Stream Object and Jeppe Hein’s; Appearing Rooms, I would love to begin the path of becoming a Sound Artist.

What advice would you give to students aspiring to become successful in their field?
Look, we all know that the creative industries is a hard and competitive venture, but all I have to say is to keep pushing yourself. As much as you would like to sleep just for one night, continuing to challenge yourself, especially whilst in the safety net of university is pretty vital for the continuation of your career. As much as the thought of soft skills may be the bane of your existence, building these skills is definitely something to focus on.

SAE is able to provide you with many valuable assets during your time there, whether it be on campus or apart of your internships; the biggest being time management and general organisation. Looking back on my time as a student now, I realise how imperative it is to manage your time correctly, especially as in the ‘real world’ you’re not going to receive those special considerations or time extensions on a product, the due date is the due date.

Additionally, regarding the above, keep pushing to network. Find the time to go to industry events, get yourself out there. Even if this seems like a menial task, it is important, there may be opportunities hiding out there for you to grasp but if you don’t dive into it, you may never find them. Feel free to explore, no matter the discipline, go for it, keep collaborating, it will pay off in the end. Even though it may feel like an uphill battle with assignment after assignment you will be stronger from it.

To me, remember that ‘Success only comes to those who work hard’, even if you are celebrating the small wins at life, you are still progressing towards your dream.