YOUNG STAR ON CENTRE STAGE SELECTED FOR HOLLYWOOD TRAINING
IF you asked most 12-yearolds what they wanted to be when they grow up, common answers might include a doctor, a firefighter, a police officer or an astronaut.
But for Salter Point high school student Chad Smith, the answer is to land a role in a major feature film.
The Aquinas College student is certainly on his way to achieving that goal, after landing a prized place in the Actors Intensive course in Hollywood under the watchful eye of the Australian Institute of Performing Arts (AIPA).
Chad’s mother Jo said she was excited by the news, but also very nervous about sending her son to Los Angeles for the first time.
“To have such a wonderful opportunity to be accepted to study acting under highly regarded tutors was something we just couldn’t pass up; it also means Chad is a better actor than we thought,” she said.
Jo said Chad had always been an extrovert, appear- ing as Father Christmas in his first play in kindergarten at the age of four.
Chad went on to play an ugly stepsister in his primary school’s performance of Cinderella at Perth Concert Hall and it was there he fell in love with performing in front of an audience.
“He’s now had a number of roles – he has been in advertisements for the Heart Foundation, Water Corporation, Telethon, featured on The Gruen Transfer, has been in two short films and two feature films by Balibo director Robert Connelly.
“Chad’s most recent appearance was in the film Paper Planes with fellow West Australian actor Sam Worthington.”
Chad says working on Paper Planes with some of Australian acting’s biggest names was a highlight.
“I met Deborah Mailman, Peter Rowsthorn, Ed Oxenbould and David Wenham on the set and they were just amazing, especially Deborah, it was like she was back on Play School,” he said.
But Chad has not allowed his success go to his head, still making time for his school work and his friends who, he says, he will miss during his trip away.
“My friends are pretty excited for me, but they are sad that I am going away because I won’t be able to be with them during the school holidays,” he said.
Chad has been allowed time off school and boarded a plane bound for Los Angeles on the weekend under the supervision of his agent Marg Haynes, from AIPA, who was impressed with Chad’s raw talent from the first time she saw him.
“Chad took part in a master class last year in Perth in front of some senior studio executives and he was just a standout, but we didn’t realise he was so young,” Haynes said.
“There is something about Chad that is just so natural – he can pick up a script and he knows what to do with it.
“I see more than 10,000 audition tapes a year, so if someone impresses me I know straight away they are good and he certainly impressed me.”
Chad Smith has headed off to Los Angeles to further hone his acting skills.