WILL Parker was working six days a week in two jobs in pursuit of his dream when he was forced to question whether it was in vain.
Inspired following a 2018 school trip to New York City, Will had applied to join a three-year program at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in the Big Apple.
The studio describes it as "the apex of all training programs" it offers.
He had completed a video audition, two phone interviews, filmed a two person scene and was juggling two of what would soon become three jobs to prepare for the US$16,400 annual tuition.
The deadline to receive an offer came and went.
Then he saw he had a missed call from an American number.
"It was a mix of relief and complete surprise," Will said of the congratulatory voicemail and email.
"There was no way I thought I'd get into something like this, especially so young - something I'm so passionate about."
Will, 18, will leave Valentine for the United States on August 14 and start the program on September 3.
He is an American citizen and hopes to stay in the country and work professionally as an actor, starting on stage but eventually moving into film and television.
His favourite actors are Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Ryan Gosling.
"I'm a mix of nervous, excited and sad to be going away from my family, friends and girlfriend, but it's going to be worth it," he said.
"It has to be done to progress in my career and be in a place where I can push my acting to the next level."
The former Hunter School of the Performing Arts student has been involved in drama for nine years.
His mother enrolled him in an after-school program at Hunter Drama when he was nine years old and he attended until last year.
He appeared in its production Singing In The Rain in 2017, The Low Brow Outfit's The Lieutenant of Inishmore also in 2017 and Knock and Run Theatre's Year of The Rooster last year, for which he won the CONDA for Best Male Actor Under 18.
He said he started considering acting as a possible career path after his girlfriend started getting paid work in Sydney and following his school drama trip last year.
"Being in the city just opened up a new level of creativity I had not experienced before in my acting, photography and videography," he said.
"The thought of going back into that place has driven me through all the rest of the days since."
Will said acting was a natural high. "I love it so much," he said.
"Going on stage is the most thrilling experience, you're full of adrenaline and nerves. I get super nervous and have been told it's because I care about what I'm doing.
"Before you go on all you feel is 'This is the best thing in the world'. It's a top-of-the-world, amazing, awesome feeling."
Will worked six days a week at Harry's Schnitzel Joint and Sushi Koo for most of the year.
After joining Blue Door two months ago he was working every single day, and up to 95 hours, some weeks.
"It was totally worth it," he said. "It was the thought of being able to go to NYC as an 18 year old - nothing was going to hold me back."
While you're with us, did you know Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more?
Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here.
IN NEWS TODAY: