“Pete Murray’s song, Opportunity, was the first song I taught myself to play on guitar when I was 16, so meeting him to work on a film 8 years later was bizarre and awesome!”
by Joanne Kmaid
Acting, singing, songwriting… Is there anything else you hope to embark on?
Oh definitely entrepreneurship and philanthropy! I love building businesses and I love getting involved with charities wherever I can, including the wonderful Busk for a Cure in Sydney this year. I find both equally enjoyable. As things grow in my line of work, I am going to continue to work hard to gain that platform that will affect the creative industries in Australia, and the world, in a positive way!
Have you fulfilled your pocket full of dreams yet?
Not by a long shot! I have aspirations that I have not yet shared, because I am a sneaky ginger, and some things I still want to finish off for my own peace of mind. There are many film genres I would love to try and current TV shows I would love to work on. Also, I haven’t released an EP or album yet. Yet!
Do you write your own music and is it inspired by personal experiences?
Yes I do. And yes, the lyrics come from a personal place or emotional experience I have encountered, painful or optimistic. That is where the BEST music comes from, I believe. I have been fortunate enough to write for a couple of productions I have worked on as well. I won’t name them though; we’ll just have to wait for them to come out.
How does being a musician compare with acting?
Music and acting are similar in many ways. Starting out, you are your own manager. You can find new things to work on daily, and you need to learn how to network fast and effectively whilst being and remaining genuine. How they differ comes later, when you get into the much more professional side of things, like time between gigs and helping others develop with you. Overall, you need self-discipline, the passion to persevere and the ability to travel wherever the work is!
Is acting a passion or a career you fell into?
Acting is a passion and also a career, but it’s not a job I immediately set out to achieve. I just enjoyed the challenge and the storytelling. Truthfully, I love the unpredictability and having a different workday each day on-set. Of all the pursuits I’ve had, professionally and creatively, nothing feels more natural than being on-set whilst communicating and connecting with others for a living.
What makes people embark on this artistic journey?
Many things really; it would vary from person to person, but for me, I desire the travel and flexibility. It’s what I absolutely love about working in films, and in future, television as well. What keeps anyone on this path is DEFINITELY deep-seeded passion and it keeps you sane to meet quality people along the way.
Sounds like your job involves awesome travelling! Do you still call Australia home?
Yeah, of course I do! I am completely in love with where I live in Melbourne right now and I always find a number of reasons to keep heading back to Queensland too (where I grew up). So I am definitely still living here for now, but I do also have bases and representatives in Vancouver, Singapore and Auckland. A move within the next 12 months is not out of the question.
Share one magical industry memory…
I could talk about the night I was holding a flamingo, hugging Pete Murray, whilst staring at a guy dressed as a giant Pikachu… But that was a little TOO surreal! (Laughs). So I will mention one of my favourite film industry moments that no one will ever see on-screen or read about anywhere else. On the final night, after our wrap on an indie feature film, most of the cast and crew sat around drinking and singing along to some pub classics I was playing on my Tanglewood acoustic guitar. I knew that even if this was the last film I did, I would always have this amazing experience as an actor/musician/person.
Do you ever look back and think, man I am blessed?
At least once a week if not a couple of times! There have been many challenges that keep me grounded and grateful for where I am today. They drive me too, but it all boils down to the numerous incredible people I know from doing this and continually meet in this industry. They all help me achieve things and I am stoked to help them right back. As you say, I am a blessed fella.
Do quiet achievers accomplish more?
You’ll have to ask one! (Laughs). But really, it’s a catch-22 in the acting business, because we are expected to brand ourselves and help promote the projects we are fortunate enough to have a role in. So I think the term ‘grateful achiever’ works best here. If you DO have to be loud about your achievements to keep progressing, I believe the best way to express it is from a place of gratitude. That will get you far and keep you content, and perhaps ego-free.
Tell us about your role in the new Australian suburban drama, Thicker Than Water…
His name is Henry and he is an old drinking, rugby buddy of Pete Murray’s character, ‘D.’ He really is a happy-go-lucky, casual and chilled dude; like myself, at least sometimes! (Laughs). He likes to bring an upbeat vibe to the party in the form of long hair and loud shirts. I was incredibly blessed to have the excellent writer/leading lady, Ellie Popov, and the outstanding producer, Madeleine Kennedy, develop this fun, featured role for me. I could not thank them enough then or now!
Currently, we are all working together again on an Aussie-star explosion of a series, We Were Tomorrow, created by Mad Lane Productions and also shooting in Queensland.
What was it like working alongside Singer/Songwriter, Pete Murray?
Let’s be honest here… I would have looked like an absolute fanboy on Day One! We all hung out at the table read then got lunch afterwards and I was jumping out of my skin. Can you blame me? His song, Opportunity, was the first song I taught myself to play on guitar when I was 16, so meeting him to work on a film 8 years later was bizarre and awesome! We went on to have some great chats and a musical jam session at the Thicker Than Water cast house. A stand-out highlight was certainly going to watch the Brad Pitt film, Fury, with Pete as well as Anthony Brandon Wong and Chai Romruen – Two more great actors from Thicker Than Water. They are an outstanding cast to work with, to learn from, and I am proud to now call them mates as well.
What is one character you would love to play in the next 5 years? In the next 20 years?
I am a fan of the comic genre (both Marvel and DC Comics fence-sitter right here), but I have wanted to play DC’s Red Arrow since the TV series Arrow first premiered. The character Red Arrow or Roy Harper, his alias, would be a brilliant fictional character to inhabit and I think it would suit me!
In the next 20 years, I am not entirely sure, but I would love the chance to work on-screen with Aussie cinema great, David Wenham, as a brother/son/younger self maybe, so I have two decades to work on it and reach that point.
What is the hardest thing life has thrown your way?
I lost a close childhood friend in his early twenties; he was a huge support to me in my early stages of acting and music, and meant a lot to me. The loss of anyone dear to you is a tough thing to deal with in life and this really hit me hard. However, looking back, it has brought me and my school friends back together, and I’m appreciative of that. I think acceptance to this level is the hardest think I have ever faced.
Thanks very much for the interview, Joanne, and Cinema Australia! The honour is mine; I appreciate what you do for Aussie actors and really do enjoy your content.
This interview was submitted by Cinema Australia contributor Joanne Kmaid. If you have an article or interview you would like to submit for our consideration please contact us today.