We worked with Jarrah when he responded to one of our public callouts offering help to freelancers.
He has now established a healthy balance composing music and sound alongside working as an Audio Producer!
Jarrah is a composer for film and television. He creates sound design and writes music for animation as well as live-action content. He is dyspraxic although remained undiagnosed until fairly recently, partly due to never hearing about it or what it might mean. He had grown up knowing that anything involving hand-eye coordination and using fine motor skills was difficult, including the use of any kind of tool. He had adapted to the natural day-to-day challenges, finding ways to hide or disguise them from others.
Why Jarrah came to us:
Jarrah saw a call out EI made at the end of 2019 – reaching out to anyone self-employed or freelance who identified as neurodiverse and who were having difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
Like many creative freelancers, Jarrah supported his income in freelance hospitality roles which came to an abrupt halt at the start of the first lockdown. Although Jarrah was able to continue composing – finding some financial security became crucial. The pandemic had ushered in the need to reassess things.
What Did We Do?
We interviewed Jarrah to see how we could help and sent him specific pieces of equipment and software that could support him in his work. Over a 3 month period, he attended 6 mentoring sessions with one of our expert mentors focusing on the key areas we’d identified together.
These sessions ranged from deepening an understanding of how the brain works in regard to his neurodivergence, identifying Jarrah’s issues and working on having the confidence to address them, and acknowledging where and how he could reframe thinking that was getting in his way.
“One of the main issues I’d faced was that I’d built up a lot of anxiety issues around my dyspraxia – and throughout my life, I’d tried to push myself into areas that I found uncomfortable – for years I was under the belief that I could practise my way out of it – that if I got good enough at certain skills that my brain would eventually shift.”
We put in place day-to-day exercises for Jarrah that helped with organisation and time management – tried and tested techniques by his own mentor that could make work and life a little easier.
This support landed at the same time Jarrah was applying and preparing for job interviews, “I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I only really had the one interview and that was the job I got”.
What happened next:
As of April, Jarrah now works part-time as an Audio Producer - organising and facilitating voiceover recordings for corporate and advertising videos. He enjoys the job and feels like he’s hit a stride with the work balance. It provides him with necessary security alongside his composing, whilst building experience and connections within the same industry. When this contract comes to an end next year, he looks to find a similar position or when the time comes, he might also be ready to go into full time composing or use the experience gained on this job to apply to more senior full-time positions.
What Jarrah said:
“I was really, really impressed and grateful with how everything was handled. When I first signed up there was a huge comprehensive plan for me and I was a little apprehensive going into it – but I couldn’t have been happier with how it all turned out – not only in terms of giving me the support I needed but also so much more in terms of understanding neurodiversity - developing the confidence and belief in yourself to tackle these sorts of issues. Whenever I’ve tried to describe Dyspraxia to people they’ve looked very confused but I think even in the last couple of years that’s started to change – there’s a wider dialogue going on. It’s opening up a whole new world.”