Nick is a young New Zealander who has won a role in upcoming US sci-fi series, Dmacina. Nick's passion for acting took him to the USA, where he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. While it wasn't always easy, his perseverance paid off. He's working in a field that he loves and will undoubtedly entertain millions throughout his career. Read Nick's reflections on his journey below:
I moved to Los Angeles in July of 2014 to pursue an unrefined passion of mine, acting. First week I’m at the school a teacher says to us all.
“Now you’re are all here because you have talent, the competition is not in this room it’s with the other guy who’s already out there, booking your commercials and getting those guest star roles, if you bicker and compete amongst yourselves and spend your energy about who’s the ‘best’ you’ve already lost”
I thought, yeah everyone else better listen to that cause Mr. humble pie over here isn’t about that, but I soon came to realize the ‘talent’ I had had no substance behind it. I had no work ethic, the walls started to crumble around me and for the next two years at school I battled with the expectation that I had to be handed what I thought were the roles I ‘deserved’. It was always going to be a loosing battle and it took graduating, having life’s hard stick smack me up and down to realize, that a lack of hard work, persistence and determination, was what let me down.Now don’t get me wrong, the school taught me how to act and has given me everything and more I could ever hope for, in one of the most competitive industries around, but the battle I needed to wage was an internal one, one that I needed to take myself from adolescence into adulthood. So started the reformation of the way I viewed my work, expanding the idea that in order to make this work for the rest of my life I’d have to settle down and in every sense of the word sacrifice everything to make this work. Or so I thought.
I had a ticking clock on me as well, one year until my visa finished and hearing horror stories about getting the next one after my year had finished, I kicked off with a hiss and a roar and got absolutely nothing. A new approach, I wasn’t getting any call backs for auditions, I was hungry to prove myself now that I was in the big wide world, but I couldn’t get a single gig. I started to get angry and the old foe ‘I deserve these roles’ crept back in. I had to look at what I was doing wrong and I started creating a routine of the way I’d approach every audition . . . extremely meticulously. I didn’t take my eye off my goals & things started to fall into place, but I was scared to look up, I became obsessive and I’d swung the other way. If I didn’t have my target number of auditions every week I’d punish myself. I was finding what I was doing was becoming so consuming it wasn’t love that was inspiring me it was ‘work’ that was pushing me forward and not the good kind.
I began listening to a few audio books to try and source some much-needed creative inspiration, and an hour into “Notes to an Actor” – By Ron Marasco and there it was, Balance. Something I had been missing. I would swing from one end of the spectrum to the other and there in crystal clarity lay a massive key for me. I found love and joy in the rest of my life, in my friends, in music, in art, in the city I was living in. My eyes were off my shoes and on the world and I felt at ease I had realized that to make this work I would have to balance my obsession with doing well alongside actually breathing, eating and living my life. About two weeks later I had the first round of auditions for Dmacina, this new mindset was in place and I had 4 or 5 call backs and after each one I’d forget about it. I prepared, I did my thing and I left it, there was nothing more I could do. Then I got the call from the Director a month after my last audition and it was completely out of my mind, that made it all the more sweet, I had let it go and it had come back to me. He offered me one of the lead roles and told me we would be shooting in both New York and LA. Balance had brought me this, I hadn’t pushed and I hadn’t expected or demanded, I’d done my thing and it paid off, a valuable step in the right direction something three years of learning and growing up has cultivated.
The way I felt six months ago was what I thought was the right approach to having my life long passion as my dream job and in six months from now it’s going to change and I’m going to think something different. What I like about this is that I’m shaping myself, testing what works, not being locked down to one idea, picking and choosing what works and doesn’t for me as an artist. I’ve learned to deal with the inner perfectionist that’s come out of me when I really put something I care about on the line, the losses are deeper but the highs are more rewarding. If any young person out there is considering becoming an actor or an artist of any kind, do yourself the service of giving it a go to test your boundaries and see what you can accomplish when you really care about something.
We all have a few moments be it at the end of high school or the end of Uni, stuck in a dead end and these moments consist of choices. ‘Where to go from here?’ ‘What’s next?’ ‘How can I get beer AND pay for the Wi-Fi’ These questions, in my experience have been ones that are initially met with daunting doomsday consequences of, if I don’t choose the ‘right one’ but they’re in my head, and I know you out there reading this, it’s all in your head too. To those inevitably crippling thoughts I say, f@#k you. Learn what you love, and plant some seeds in a field of your choosing not in that of what you ‘should’ or worse are ‘told’ to cultivate. If you’re young and willing to make mistakes (a lot of them) then listen to what really makes the inner you come alive. Don’t look back, demand to lead the life you want to lead, and only let that fear of not accomplishing that, motivate, inspire and nurture you. Go hard. And in the words of the immortal Kung Fu Kenny “Sit down, be humble”