A kids' modelling competition set Wollongong lad Trent Dalzell on his path to stardom about 18 years ago.
Since then, the 24-year-old has worked as a model, appeared in Blue Water High and Home & Away and has just wrapped up his first feature film, The Half Dead.
Speaking after a day's work on a drilling rig, Dalzell says he is back to his day job in construction after finishing his scenes on The Half Dead, which stars veteran Aussie actress Tasma Walton.
"I really loved it because it's a mix of the X-Men, The Matrix and Shutter Island - where you don't know what's going to happen until the end," Dalzell says of the movie, which was shot around Sydney and is still in the editing stages.
Walton plays the movie's lead character, Julie Madsen, who survives an horrific car accident to awaken 15 years later with a strange psychic ability, while Dalzell plays Madsen's son Jonathan, "a very well-behaved son".
It's in contrast to his role of Axel Hay in Home & Away, who was "basically the bad boy who had no hope".
When we talk about the movie's similarities to X-Men, Dalzell tells of the time Wolverine was filmed in Picton last year.
"The streets were closed, fake snow was brought in, I couldn't even get down the street to get paper and bread - all because of Hugh Jackman," he says jokingly of Jackman's effect on the suburb Dalzell now lives in.
Dalzell says Ray Meagher from Home & Away has been a great mentor.
Heath Ledger and Mel Gibson inspire him because "they made their own paths" in the film industry.
Dalzell recalls working on Home & Away, where an episode would be shot every day.
"You'd be up until 4am learning your lines, then the driver would come to pick you up at about 5.30am, so you'd get just over an hour's sleep," he says.
He enjoyed living in Manly for six months while filming Blue Water High, but not so much the cold water scenes.
"You'd be smiling even though the water was cold and when the scene finished people would be running out for hot-water bottles," Dalzell laughs.
The sea and surfing isn't much Dalzell's scene either, having grown up as "a farm boy, riding horses and motorbikes", living around Albion Park, Kembla Grange, Shellharbour, Unanderra and Dapto.
So, what thoughts got him through the early years, waiting for the big breaks?
"You've got to put your head down and not take no for an answer," he says.
"I think it's knowing that at some point someone's going to say yes."