Formed in 2017 and made up of people from all areas of the HFAS community, our Board of Trustees is a highly skilled group of individuals who will be working to ensure that The Studio is the best institution it can be. We've been introducing you to members of our Trust over the last few weeks, and today it's time for you to meet William Lee!
William is best known for his role as bushranger John Dunn in The Legend of Ben Hall, which received a worldwide release in 2017, and for which he won 'Best Supporting Actor' at the 50th Annual Houston International Film Festival. A competitive horse rider from a young age, William opted to perform his own horse riding stunts in The Legend of Ben Hall, and hopes to do more work with horses on screen throughout his career. At the start of 2017, William worked on the Bushranger documentary, Lawless- The Real Bushrangers by Foxtel. William is now writing and producing, and endeavours to share stories of his family history, which includes European Royalty, and a prisoner of war in Changi in WWII. William was involved in a sold out season of The Scare at La Mama Theatre in 2013 and was awarded Best Actor at The Brown Paper Bag Film Festival in Melbourne in 2012.
1. Tell us three things about yourself (that we can't learn from your bio!)
- I’m a middle child and my brother and sister call me 'the favourite'.
- I almost died on the operating table as a child after falling off a bunk bed in my sleep.
- I finally got the courage to become an actor while on the Amazon River in Brazil. I got home from my trip and signed up for my first acting course at the Howard Fine Acting Studio.
2. Why are you excited to be part of the HFAS Board of Trustees?
I have gone from being too scared to speak in my first class, to being invited onto the HFASA board of trustees. Words can’t explain how amazing that feels. I can now give back to the community that gave so much to me at my most vulnerable time. We are working on creating a space for actors and performers to present their work in a safe and supportive environment, through scratch nights and performance nights which is so damn exciting. The board is made up of students and faculty and we get to help suggest and implement the things that we always wished to have at the school.
3. What's the biggest lesson you've learned through your training at HFAS?
I was studying a double degree in Exercise Science and Human Movement and working 5 days a fortnight when I did my first course at HFAS. Laura Gardner said to me, “Don’t wait until you have more time on your hands to improve your work, get good now, because if I know you Will, you will always be this busy...” and she was spot on! Thank god I learned that lesson early on in my career.
4. What do you love about being an actor?
To be honest I have written 5 answers for this already. I couldn’t choose just one. It's pretty special creating a character or a world that allows others to say, 'hey that's me up there. I totally relate to this character,' and in some cases allowing people to understand that they are not alone in this world through having their story told. It's such a powerful experience for both the actor and the audience. I sure as hell have been moved by other actors' performances and taken home life lessons.
5. What do you not so much love about being an actor?
Unpredictable income and not enough hours in the day! I wish being an actor did not involve having a second or third job to sustain a living, although I understand that we all need have other interests and the best thing to do is find the love and passion in your day job rather than resenting it. Who knows maybe it's not forever?!
6. What's your dream project or a role you'd love to play?
Cowboy, wizard, adventurer. Ok, I know that I have picked three, but who wouldn't? I also see Hugh Jackman and his career which makes me want to get up and sing my heart out and dance, but for now I'm more of a sing in the shower kinda guy, haha. I have to say though, a little bit of this dream was ignited after doing David Coury's SFA (Speech & Singing for Actors) program. I have since gone on to doing some vocal/singing classes incase the dream job did happen to pop up.
7. What's a piece of advice you have for your fellow actors?
I knew I was meant to act. Something always draws me back in. When people ask me for advice, I say, you know it’s meant to be if you can’t stop thinking about it and if you understand that it takes sacrifice and hard work to be an actor. I was scared when reading Howard's book for the first time. He explains what it takes to be an actor and I remember thinking 'oh no, maybe that's not me.' Although as my confidence has grown so has my drive and I can guarantee its not through time alone. It's through study, trusting and understanding the process. I spent 5 years at uni and still didn't feel like an 'exercise scientist' so why should I expect anything less from acting?
Thanks for taking the time to chat to us William! Be sure to take a look at our most recent blog posts if you'd like to meet more of our Trust members.