“Go on Neighbours!” - they said! “It’s easy!” - they said! What THEY don’t know is that working as an actor in the Australian film and television industry isn’t quite the walk in the park that some of the outsiders looking in think it is. A long, long time ago, landing a guest role on a television show meant your career as an actor was looking up. There was a very high chance that your career was going to slowly incline, whether that was month by month, or day by day. Today, landing a guest role in a television series means, make the most of it while you can, because you may never get a look in again.
Three years ago I landed my first role on a Sci Fi television series Drama called Glitch (a fantastic show by the way). It was a guest role playing a solider alongside some very talented, seasoned actors. It was a great time, until it was all over. After the show aired six months later, I couldn’t escape the excitement. Being the naive 18-year-old that I was, I thought - “This is it. Everything’s coming up, Milhouse!”. I spent the first few days waiting…waiting…just waiting for the phone to ring. It didn’t ring. I thought that maybe it might take a few days, maybe not every casting director and producer in Australia had seen it yet. I know…lame, right? After a few more maybe’s, to no surprise, the phone still didn’t ring. Shocker. So here I was, 18 years old, fresh out of acting school, with no High School pass, waiting…becoming increasingly frustrated at the state of the industry.
Not to mention the lack of viewers tuning in to watch Aussie Drama’s, in comparison to the over-whelming amount of viewers tuning in to watch reality television every week. Therefore, less Drama’s were being made, and the demand for fast turnaround reality television skyrocketed, leaving the actors who were serious about their career’s, out hanging to dry. Unfortunately, this still seems to be the case. With a lack of Drama’s being made and the episode count in each season getting shorter and shorter, as well as the talent pool of Actor’s growing in Australia, it is proving to become more and more difficult to book an audition in this country, let-alone landing a role. Among other things, the significantly small cabinet of well-known Australian actor’s constantly being selected to juggle two to three lead roles a year, as well as producers not willing to take a chance on fresh faces, and Australian audiences caring very little for our stories, leaves us unknown’s with no other choice than to try our luck overseas. Much like our predecessor’s; Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth, Ben Mendelsohn and Dacre Montgomery, just to name a few, whom have all succeeded greatly.
So where to now for unknown actor’s in the Australian film and television industry? The truth is…I don’t know. I honestly couldn’t tell you. Maybe you keep trying here (building your showreel, renewing head shots, working on student films), maybe, just maybe a network might take a chance you, better yet, maybe Netflix might start producing more Australian content and take a chance on a fresh face, which they’re renowned for, or, maybe that award winning director might spot you out on the street and say “You! You’re gonna be a star, kid!”, or maybe…it’s time for a change of landscape?