Seventeen-year-old Jackson Pool has landed his first big break with a lead role in a Tauranga-based New Zealand film.
As cultural leader at Waihi College, Jackson delights in helping others step outside their comfort zone and gain confidence with music and drama.
He's had a lifetime of encouragement from his parents Larissa and Andy, so the Waihi Beach teen is well-grounded when it comes to failing to make it through the audition process.
But now he's tasted success.
"It's given me such an amazing opportunity, I've always been into acting and going to film auditions for the past two and a half years, so to finally get something is really cool.
"I've always thought of it as a potential career path. This move might not be the biggest moneymaker but it's getting some proper experience."
Jackson is in the Waihi Drama Society and Troupe Waihi and followed his family heritage two years ago when he discovered his singing ability.
His great aunt was an opera singer as was his great-great-uncle, Richard van Helvoirt-pel.
He hopes to study opera as an adult student at university some day after completing an electrical apprenticeship.
"My parents have always been really supportive, encouraged me to do what I'm good at and what I enjoy, and I'm incredibly lucky to have that," he says.
The film will take him around the Bay of Plenty from October to November - mostly on weekends and evenings - and it's hoped it will be in cinemas mid to late next year.
It's unusual because it was written during quarantine by two 18-year-olds - from Te Puke and Tauranga - and is what Jackson describes as a fantasy family film/coming of age story with aspects of traditional fairy tales.
"My character is the commentator, similar to the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. The film is funny and light with a lot of humour and my character makes a lot of the jokes and he's very silly."
Auditions were held the week after lockdown and Jackson got to meet the director, when usually the casting director is the first contact.
"I initially thought I hadn't got the role as the callback is usually three weeks and I heard only after six. My philosophy in film and acting is I never work myself up to it, and I never look too far ahead. I see it as something that could happen and if it does, then brilliant.
"Usually when they don't pick you it's not personal. It's a lot about look, the way you move your body, how you talk, and they are wanting something specific."
Jackson sees himself as an ordinary teenager who makes time for friends too.
"They've been very enthusiastic. I spend a lot of time hanging out with my friends and they're useful for giving you feedback, and it's good to sometimes just chill out."
• A Waihi College talent quest is scheduled for 6pm Friday August 21 with a $2 entry at the door and cash and canteen voucher prizes for the winners and runners-up plus spot prizes.