My first job was ...

calibrating glassware at my father's laboratory when I was about 12 or 13.

It taught me … what a meniscus was (the curve on the upper surface of water when in a glass or container) and the value of a dollar. I started on $4.25 an hour.

My big break came … when I landed the role of Aaron Spiller on Outrageous Fortune. It was initially only a guest role for a couple of episodes but blossomed into the regular goof on the sidelines of the West family.

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The last job I quit was … I'm not sure ... Oh, it might have been a hospitality job at Ellerslie Racecourse. I remember being taught silver service and on my first night dropped a potato on a lady's lap. Maybe I was fired?

The most famous person I've ever met is … Sir Anthony Hopkins. I met him on the set of The World's Fastest Indian. Being who he was, no one could exactly just walk up to him and start chatting. His time was very precious and he was often in his trailer. I was standing around one day, just off set and he walked up and stood beside me. I instantly went tense and got the sweats. He amazingly remembered my name and asked me where I lived in New Zealand.

He was ... delightful. We only chatted for a couple of minutes but he was friendly and relaxed. I even got brave enough to ask him what film was his favourite to work on. I cringe now because just talking about everyday things was probably what he wanted. I was buzzing for days afterward.

The best time I've had on set was … Cover Band. A half-hour, six-episode series about a band that plays cover gigs after their lead singer makes it big in America. Cool bunch of people and lots of silliness. Not a bad way to spend your day.

But the worst was … on the set of an American commercial for Jack Links Beef Jerky. When I arrived on set the makeup department warned me that the director was in a bad mood. He was horrible. He screamed at me after the first take because I stopped "acting" before he said cut. Water landed on the camera and I was concerned and went over to it. The next take he was happy then acted like we were best friends.

My dream role would be … a villain in a film. They have the most fun but can also have a complicated backstory. People aren't bad for just being bad, there's always a reason. Digging deep into a character's complexities is what I find exciting as an actor. My character Donald in City of 100 Lovers touches on this, as he's certainly the bad boy in the story, which I love.

• Wesley Dowdell plays Donald in City of 100 Lovers, opening at SkyCity Theatre this Saturday and showing daily at 8pm.