Actor Focus: Damian Oehme

Damian Oehme Cinema Australia

I love the industry and the people involved within it. It is one of the most challenging things I have ever embarked on.”

Interview by Joanne Kmaid

Has anyone ever told you that you resemble Steve Martin?
[Laughs]. No, never, you are the first. I quite often get told that I look like Richard Gere, particularly at Casting Director workshops and courses. Funnily enough, I was in Las Vegas recently, and a waitress asked me for my autograph thinking I was Richard Gere. I had to be honest and tell her that she had the wrong guy.

It takes a lot of passion and commitment to do course after course. What keeps you motivated?
I love the industry and the people involved within it. It is one of the most challenging things I have ever embarked on. When you watch television and movies, you think it is so easy, but it’s not. So the passion comes from my own self-pride and motivation to be the absolute best I can. I am striving for perfection in the craft of acting and I will do all I can to achieve my goals.

Who do you look up to as an acting mentor and why?
Paul O’Brien has been a very encouraging and great mentor. I watched him perform, and it was there and then, that I identified that I had a long way to go. He has led me through many doorways, and that has improved my performances and acting. Simone Buchanan and Lyndelle Green are two great instructors. They have both encouraged me to keep going which has enhanced my confidence.

You appeared on INXS – The Untold Story. Did that exciting move amplify your career?
That was a great experience! It was only a small role, but it was a pleasure playing the part with actress, Jane Allsop, best known for her role on Blue Heelers. She was so nice and helpful on the day. I did receive a lot of positive feedback from family and friends who readily recognised me. They call me Mr. Banks now. Thankfully, my experiences are growing having appeared in TV commercials, Neighbours, House Husbands, Offspring and The Doctor Blake Mysteries to name a few.

Apart from your acting persona, what do you do?
I have been a police officer for nearly 42 years and I retire this year in March. I am working on setting up an acting studio in Greensborough, Green Diamond Studios, for people wanting to learn acting in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. This comes as a great opening, as there is very little in this geographic location in terms of learning the craft of acting.

Hats off to you for organising a free Open Day…
Pleasure! We want to provide a professional acting service for new and established actors. We will help any way we can. We are very passionate about our goals in this area. We certainly do not want to cut off other acting studios; we are merely offering another service that is north of the CBD.

Walk us through a day in the life of a police officer…
The police force is a very rewarding career offering such a variety of work on a day to day basis. You get to deal with the public in incidents both good and bad. Everyday is different. One day you are helping someone in need of assistance, the next day may involve violence of some description, and the next I could be working at a tragic motor car collision having to deliver a death message. When you arrive at work, you have no idea what you will be assigned. But I love it!

Is Green Diamond Studios your dream turned into reality?
It wasn’t originally a dream. I travelled long distances to get to classes and training, hence that was an eye-opener to the fact that a closer location would work well. We want to offer a professional service for people in the northern suburbs to reduce travel time. Having Paul O’Brien on board as an instructor has been a godsend, because he is so professional in his outlook and he is an outstanding instructor/actor. The dream of setting up this studio is now a reality and I am very satisfied with the progress.

What advice would you give to someone starting out as an actor?
If you have a dream, work hard to achieve your goals. Never give up. The industry is extremely hard to get into and you will get knockback after knockback. Accept that as part of your life as an actor, and NEVER let the hurdles get in the way of your dreams and ambitions. I accept I have a long way to go, but I will never ever give up. Keep training, keep learning, keep listening to advice and accept the knockbacks. After all, when you finally achieve your dreams, every setback will fade away.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as a successful actor being sought out for roles in both film and television. I believe that once I establish myself as a pure professional, I will be pursued for roles. Until then, I will continue on the path of self-improvement and work towards perfection. I have a dream and I plan to turn that dream into reality!

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