“I used to think that I had to be an ass to be successful, but then I saw Hugh Jackman on-set, and I was in awe of his openness and sensitivity to everyone.”
Cam is an Australian actor whose credits include Fat Tony & Co, Offspring, The Salsa Plays, Just Between Us and The Hunt.
Interview by Joanne Kmaid
How has acting contributed to your happiness?
In almost every way I can imagine! I have made life-long wonderful friends, and worked on some incredible television shows, films and theatre pieces. On a deeper level, it taps into my source of creativity and imagination. There is nothing more gratifying than staring at a blank page, collaborating with friends to create a story then have life breathed into it. It’s an addictive experience when an audience reacts with warmth.
I have recently found the joy in coaching actors who are starting out or wanting to grow further in their work. It’s moving to witness their growth and see the spark in their eyes; a sense of liberation.
Does sensitivity work for you or against you in this industry?
I used to think that I had to be an ass to be successful, but then I saw Hugh Jackman on-set, and I was in awe of his openness and sensitivity to everyone. He was super approachable and greeted everyone regardless of their title. So inspiring! I soon realised that the facade I was bringing to my acting work was a veil to protect my vulnerable and sensitive side. It’s not a truthful place to work from, and having embraced it, I feel more grounded and less nervous.
It’s a balance of sensitivity and letting go. You have to not worry about what people think. You can go crazy if you focus too much on what they may have been thinking about your audition/performance. You can’t change people’s thoughts nor should you try.
What project did you work on with Hugh Jackman?
In March 2008, I was background talent as a soldier on X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I did boot camp firearms training at Fox Studios. That was the first day I met Hugh. Then we did WW1 and WW2 scenes. It was an amazing shoot for a tiny opening credits sequence.
Is it wiser to expand your network or dance the solo path?
(Laughs) Both! You should always expand your network so that you can grow and learn more. That is one of the best aspects of social media; you can put out a signal flair for assistance and people will help you out. Discovering new ways of working, playing and collaboration is the most enriching part of the journey.
However, if you lose your individuality when becoming subscribed to a collective, it’s not a good place to be. Solo reflection, brainstorming and writing is a nourishing practice. It helps to retain your voice and discover new stories or elements within yourself.
Which is more liberating – Theatre or Film work?
Hmmm, they both require truthful performances and that is very liberating. Theatre is of course instantaneous. With film, you never really know how it will feel until it’s all put together, and when it works, it’s great.
What changes would you like to see in your world?
I’d like to see more people venturing out and backing themselves creatively. I am sensitive to the fact that many people are aware of their creative talents, but don’t pursue it because of other responsibilities. Humans are built for two things: Survival and play. We seem to obsess over our day jobs, bills, professional/personal relationships and money; which means we stay in ‘survival’ mode and ignore our playfulness. When we create and engage more playfully, life has a sweeter flavour to it!
It would be nice to become globally conscious of the environment, animal welfare, support indigenous rights/communities and stop being cruel to each other.
What has been your most wow experience?
Creating a sketch comedy show out of nothing and having two successful runs of it! Every night at the curtain, I would pinch myself and think, “Wow, how did this happen?!” Creating your own work is loaded with wow-ness.
My sketch comedy show premiered at The Butterfly Club in 2015 and did another run in July this year. I’m shooting one scene from it this weekend as a short to submit to festivals. I think it would work great as a web series.
Is it fair to say that beneath popularity, actors carry a sense of loneliness?
Any job that isn’t fuelling your Soul or creative self adds to loneliness. Succumbing to people’s ideas of what you should do professionally is a lonely existence. I’ve done that in the past in order to fit a socially acceptable mould. It was painful. One really needs to follow their heart. As long as you find it Soul nourishing, empowering and it has the ability to help/inspire others, then you’re in the right place.
Being alone isn’t a bad thing either. I enjoy solitude just as much as socialization. It’s the balance between the two that keeps loneliness at bay.
Do you plan to spread your talents outside Australia?
Currently, my focus is to make more work in Australia. Plus, with the digital age being what it is, self-taping has made it easier to apply for work abroad without having to uproot. I would love to shoot in some other countries though – New Zealand, Europe, Canada or parts of the U.S.
Do you live day-to-day or envision the future?
One cannot help but live day-to-day, moment to moment, and it’s stressful when you try to live ahead of yourself or in the past. As for envisioning, I do spend time doing that, but it also requires the application of action. I’m done being a reactive actor and have shifted into being a proactive one. If you don’t back up vision with action then nothing ever changes.
What is your ultimate dream?
I’d love to keep making work with my favourite tribe members and pay them for their creativity, so their dreams can be realized. I’d love my own place with a recording studio and arts space to continue to create/teach. The more steps I take towards my vision, the more it becomes achievable. This month, I’m directing, producing and acting in my first short film. It will be a huge push forward in my creative journey regardless of any festival attention. If I can continue that momentum, I’ll be quite a happy being.
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.