People and Places
IN CONVERSATION – MARCH 2020 – Creativity is Karla’s middle name

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From applying for work experience by pretending to be her own imaginary friend to casting for the Bachelor franchise and Gogglebox, Karla Burt shares with Kate Sears her fond memories of her journey to her current role as co-founder and creative director at 720 Creative. 

We first met you when we interviewed comedian and social media sensation Tanya Hennessy about her new series Get A Real Job, produced by 720 Creative. How was this series to work on and what is 720 Creative all about?

I spent four days on the Mornington Peninsula filming Tanya Hennessy in Get A Real Job with tears rolling down my face from laughing, so it’s probably me who should get a real job! Paul Walton and I started 720 Creative so we could work with people who like to colour outside the lines of life. We find stories, tell stories and make stories for television and online and we coach people to help unlock their own personal story so they can step into their spotlight.

You’ve done it all — actor, producer, casting, director, creative coach, agent and writer. As a child did you always desire to work in entertainment?

I remember being little and standing at the back of the television set trying to get into it. Obviously I wasn’t successful. I loved performing but didn’t necessarily need to be centre of attention.  I loved rallying the troops and getting everyone involved. Outside of school I took drama classes; I was in a choir but I’m pretty sure I spent most of the time miming. At Frankston High, once I built up the courage I went from stage hand to auditioning for our school productions.

How did you get to where you are now?

It was while I was living in London doing PR that I realised I wanted to work in TV. On return from London I wrote a letter to the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and asked them for work experience. The letter I wrote could have backfired massively because I wrote it in crayons and it was from my imaginary friend and they were telling them all about Karla. I cringe a little but it got me an interview and started me on the road to making screen content. Before iPhones and Facebook I decided to partner with my friend, Kylie Robertson, and we ended up creating a pioneering mobile/web series, Girl Friday. It was the first made-for-mobile comedy series that then moved to TV. I absolutely loved making My Year 12 Life and My Year 7 Life for ABC TV but I’m even more excited about the shows that we have in development at 720 Creative. 

What’s next on the agenda?

I think having a robust creative industry and culture is more necessary than ever. It’s important to share and engage with ideas and stories and have a laugh along the way. I’m excited to be working on projects that celebrate creativity, imagination and diverse thinking and working with individuals to help them live a creative life in whatever way works for them.

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