How i make it work... SCOTT MAJOR

HAV­ING HIS NEIGH­BOURS CHAR­AC­TER WRIT­TEN OUT OF THE SHOW IN 2013 WAS LIKE A BREAK-UP, AD­MITS THE AC­TOR. NOW 41, HE USES HIS EX­PE­RI­ENCE TO SUP­PORT THE NEW WAVE OF PER­FORM­ERS

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Travel - Stel­lar picks The Poppy Seed Theatre Fes­ti­val’s 2016 sea­son runs un­til De­cem­ber 11; pop­py­seed­fes­ti­val.com.

When I was let go from Neigh­bours, it was kind of a rude shock. I wasn’t ready to leave. It was like be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship with some­one who you’re happy with and want to spend the rest of your life with, and then hav­ing them say, “Sorry, I don’t want you any­more.” The feel­ing of re­jec­tion was quite high. I put my heart and soul into my role. I worked very hard and I loved the job. I had to go through the break-up of giv­ing my all and some­one say­ing, “I don’t want your all; ac­tu­ally, I’m mov­ing on.”

When they get rid of you, they often say it’s be­cause they’ve run out of sto­ry­lines for your char­ac­ter. I thought my char­ac­ter, Lu­cas [Fitzger­ald], had more life in him. But you just have to ac­cept it and move on, no mat­ter how much more room you think the role has.

They gave me six months’ warn­ing, which was both good and bad. It was a dou­ble-edged sword be­cause I was able to put some money away and sort my fu­ture out, but I also felt like a dead man walk­ing around the cor­ri­dors. Ev­ery­one would ask, “Oh, how are you cop­ing? Are you ready to leave? What’s next?” No one likes to be looked at that way.

When I filmed my last scene, I thought I could han­dle it, but I turned into a blub­ber­ing mess. I re­alised how much the job and the peo­ple I worked with meant to me. You spend more time at work than you do at home, and you make life­long friends.

The bosses said they wanted me to come back as a direc­tor. I didn’t know whether it was ac­tu­ally go­ing to hap­pen, but they stayed true to their word and I did a six-month di­rect­ing in­tern­ship. I re­mem­ber the first episode I di­rected by my­self; I felt like some­body had given me the keys to the car and I was only on my L-plates! What if I crashed it? In the end, the cast put me at ease be­cause I knew they had my back. Their sup­port al­lowed me to grow as a direc­tor.

I started work­ing on the Poppy Seed Theatre Fes­ti­val [a month-long se­ries in Mel­bourne] three years ago to help in­de­pen­dent artists re­main sus­tain­able in a very dif­fi­cult in­dus­try. It’s a pas­sion project. The feel­ing of help­ing other peo­ple with Poppy Seed has re­ally added a lot to my life. It’s not for self; it’s for a broader good and that does bring me hap­pi­ness.

Ad­vice from 95-year-old fash­ion icon Iris Apfel in Out Dec 1, $12.99; hardiegrant.com.au.

Mel­bourne’s Asian MAP­PING MEL­BOURNE. Dec 1–17; mul­ti­cul­tural arts.com.au. Lupita Ny­ong’o plays the mother of a Ugan­dan chess champ in In cinemas Dec 1.

The Aus­tralian Bal­let brings pure fan­tasy to Syd­ney with Dec 2–21; aus­tralia aus­tralian bal­let.com.au.

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