Where do you ideally want to be in the next five years?
Creating jobs and making films.
More detail - what will you look like? Who will you be?
Destroyed. No, let me think about that. Comfortable with who I am. A guy that doesn’t give a shit about what people think. A risk taker. Less stressed out. Mature. Wiser. Less of a pushover. Confident - less slouching in the shoulders.
Describe the moment in which you decided to pursue a creative career?
When I was fifteen years old, my English teacher wheeled a box TV into our classroom. She said we were watching ‘Stand By Me’. I’d never heard of it before. By the end of the film it became my favourite film of all time. It changed my life. I didn’t have many friends in year nine, but shortly after watching ‘Stand By Me’, cinema became one of them. I became obsessed with stories. I believe I’d always had a passion for stories, however, this film ignited a spark that hadn’t been ignited in a long time. And it felt bloody good to know what I wanted to do for a living while many others at the age of fifteen were still trying to work that out. I liked photography, I liked writing, I liked acting. You put those three together, and you have a movie. If it wasn’t for “Stand By Me” I probably would not be doing what I’m doing today.
What are your favourite characters to play?
I’d say the characters I like to play most are the one’s that force me to get out of my comfort zone and empathise with someone else’s circumstance. I like characters that aren’t me, that are leading completely different lives. The characters that force me to do something crazy like shave my head, lose seven kilograms or spend the day observing someone else’s life. It’s outside of who I am as a person. Although it scares me, I kind of enjoy it.
What stories are you most interested in telling through your work? Why?
The stories I enjoy telling are one’s that make people think, the type of stories that leave an impact on an individual’s mind. I remember watching ‘The Revenant’ for the first time at the cinemas. I recall sitting there for ten minutes well after the credits trying to grasp what I just witnessed. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. It really left an impression on me.
What is your ultimate goal?
To survive. Period. My ultimate goal is to survive doing what I love, and hopefully influencing and changing people’s lives while doing it.
What is your definition of success?
Happiness. I truly believe that if you’re happy and satisfied with where you are in life, then you must be doing something right.
What keeps you optimistic in your line of work?
I just have a feeling. Deep down I have a feeling that everything will work out for the better. Sometimes you just know that it’s going to happen. Good things come to those that put positivity out into the world.
What makes you want to keep waking up in the morning to do what you do?
My parents. They sacrificed everything to have children. Everything. And they continue to do so in supporting both my brother and my “pipe dream” as many other people would put it. They’ve put clothes on our back, food on the table and a roof over our head. My parents are the bravest people I know. I constantly see parents telling their kids not to take that career path because it’s “too unrealistic”. When I was sixteen and told my parents I wasn’t happy, they asked why. I told them I didn’t like school. Instead of telling me to get over it, they asked what would make me happy. I told them I wanted to be an actor. They said “go and be an actor”.
Describe Australia’s film industry, what are your frustrations?
Australia has a film industry? I’m just kidding. But seriously, sometimes it does feel that way. The problem with the film industry in Australia is that we don’t have a rich film culture, in the sense that the general public don’t really care for our stories. Unfortunately, many people would rather sit at home and watch an episode of ‘MKR’ than invest their time into a quality Australian film like ‘Animal Kingdom’ or ‘Lion’. Art is secondary nature in this country. When the leaders of Australia, the people that speak for us, describe the arts as a “lifestyle choice”, and continue to make budget cuts to arts education and funding for the arts in general, it begins to de-value our work. Sometimes I truly believe many people take the arts for granted in this country. We fail to truly realise how much of an influence the arts have on our lives. It saddens me deeply.
Why are the arts an important facet to Australian culture?
Life would be boring without art. Not only is art important to Australian culture, it’s important that the whole world be exposed to art. What are millions of people doing while sitting on the train or driving in their cars on the way to work? Listening to music. Music plays a huge part in our lives. So much so that particular songs can trigger memories. It can remind us of a particular time frame, a person or a place. After a long hard day at work, many people come home and watch their favourite film or TV show. It allows us to escape from reality and indulge in a story that we love. Same goes with books, plays and novels. Books play an integral part in our education. I can recall studying texts of multiple books in High School. Good one’s too. There is art all around us. There’s gorgeous artworks on the walls of our cities. Photography allows us to capture memories and remember places, people and moments. Jewels, jewel crafting is an art. Many people need jewels for their weddings and engagements. And what about fashion? Where would we be without fashion? Imagine a world without fashion. We’d all be walking around naked. What about the gorgeous buildings around the world that amazing architects and builders have made possible? What about all the talented actor’s in the world that portray characters that allow us to relate to characters and not feel alone in certain situations. Art allows us to express our individuality in different ways. Imagine having your individuality stripped from you? Worse, imagine being a creative and not being able to express yourself.