To be an actor is the dream of so many in our society, yet often it remains a dream without a voice, quietly lingering in the background of the mind. It’s a dream that can be found hidden behind the security of a nine to five job, it’s often hard to see it through the library of tomes we keep on societal and career expectations and what others say we should be doing with our lives. For many the dream to act is there, but the decision to enter this unpredictable industry can be a difficult one.
It takes a person of conviction, passion and faith to take the leap required to abandon the expectations of society, drag a big dream out from the shadows and say “This is mine, and I’m going to take it.” That is exactly what Nick Apostolides did three years ago when he cut ties to the corporate world of Boston and dove headfirst into an acting career. “It’s makes complete sense to remain at a steady job where routine undeniably has its benefits, but for me, it just wasn’t working. I was losing energy. I was losing that “fire“ at such a young age and I couldn’t believe it” he remembers.
The cinematic experience always fascinated Nick. This coupled with his ability to genuinely connect and empathize with people of all types, slowly burned a quiet but powerful curiosity about the art that was enough to ignite a fire. “The only thing I really knew is that I was in for one hell of a challenge,” Nick recounts. However he refused to be held back by what he didn’t know, instead resolving to get his training on the battlefield. Audition after audition was a learning experience and soon Nick was booking roles.
Reflecting back on the last three years Nick admits that it’s been a long learning process to arrive where he is today and the decision to remain in Boston, Nick says, was not an intentional one. “I’ve always been a calculated person. I was not ready to present myself to the LA market.” He was aware of the competition and explains “If you’re going to get into a fight, you might as well learn your strengths.” And he has been able to do just that right here at home in New England.
Nick advocates that Boston is a great city to begin an acting career. One of the unique features about this city is that this is a college town. With schools like Emerson, BU, MIT,
Harvard and others with great film programs there are ample opportunities for anyone with the desire to act, to develop their craft and gain experience. “You don’t have to be Brad Pitt to get into a student film – so go after them,” Nick advises. “Short films are a great way to experiment and work on abilities that may need more practice. You can easily find what needs to be worked on in order to better yourself.” Most importantly, he adds, “never underestimate what a short piece can do for your career.”
Though there are a lot of different approaches to the art, Nick feels he is more like an architect, taking a very analytical approach to acting, watching his films meticulously to look for ways to improve. He places an emphasis on physicality and how it’s important not to distinguish your body from your craft. He maintains that it takes all of a person; mind, body, and spirit to create the ultimate character.
Nick is what you would call a natural. He’d never trained as a method” actor but enjoys the realization. It was just something that fit for him and he adds, “Every role is unique and requires a different frame of mind, a different type of preparation.” He does not subscribe to any one technique but attempts to submerse himself into each role as much as possible. He studies and meticulously prepares until he believes he has just the right character built.
The truth is that here in New England we have less industry than in New York or LA so it’s a challenge to achieve national exposure in Boston alone. “Sure,” explains Nick, “larger studio projects come to MA for its tax-incentives, but the vast majority of the substantial roles are flown in from elsewhere. So what can you do here? You can build a portfolio. You can get plenty of on-camera experience. Use the college-saturated city of Boston and act in student films. With some experienced production companies thriving in RI, CT, MA, NH and ME, build your confidence. Learn what “types” you can pay realistically. You can learn your strengths and (more importantly) your weaknesses and then work on them.”
I’ve visited Thailand, New Zealand—lived in their cultures. I’ve worked for painters, carpenters, in restaurants, medical offices, hotels, Disney World, gas stations, and an ice-cream shop. That pretty much covers the gamut of types of people you might encounter (or characters you will audition for)…
Nick largely attributes his versatility to his parents who always urged him to test out different waters. He explains “I’ve visited Thailand, New Zealand – lived in their cultures. I’ve worked for painters, carpenters, in restaurants, medical offices, hotels, Disney World, gas stations, and an ice-cream shop. That pretty much covers the gamut of types of people you might encounter (or characters you will audition for)…”
Fueled by the same New England work ethic that gets us up early to shovel our cars out of snowbanks, Nick has demonstrated what is possible for a hard working, self-representing actor in New England with the heart, ambition and perseverance to make it happen. Today Nick is one of Boston’s most well-known actors, though he humbly admits that when he chose this road he would never have believed he’d come this far. In just three years Nick has added over sixty productions credits to his resume, comprised of short films, feature films,industrials, and commercials. Another notable highlight was being cast in a lead role in a feature film against 1500 competing actors from the NY and LA markets. He also recently played a supporting role in a Lifetime movie.
Nick finds himself more than ever interested in developing his “brand” as an actor, insisting that it was his work with key local directors that has heavily influenced his current style and aesthetic. Alex Amoling was one of his very first directors to affect Nick, casting him in two pivotal roles at both ends of his career (MORIAH, REMEMBER THIS NIGHT). James Poirier and Travis Tyler of Tenth Gate Productions continue to design in-depth stories/characters in their short films (END OF DECEMBER, LAURA’S EPILOGUE). McFarland & Pecci are the latest addition to Nick’s team who’s mantra rings “This is not a job, it’s a lifestyle” (Front cover exposure in the Boston Phoenix, untitled film). Ben Proulx created the gritty world in Nick’s first crime drama (IRISH WHISPER). Jessica Sonneborn (ALICE D), Arthur Luhn (THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET) and Chris Dinunzio (A LIFE NOT TO FOLLOW) also push the barriers for resourceful independent filmmaking where Nick thrives.
Nick has indeed proven that it takes someone willing to work hard and learn from his mistakes to advance his career. Three honest years into it and Nick is still without a steady paycheck. He finds that his survival depends on his ability to trust himself and to always keep moving forward, stating “You have to trust your instincts.” He’s a composed but competitive person and knows what he wants in life. Nick regards integrity as his most important attribute, and he firmly believes that staying true to himself will give him the best chance of success.
While he may look like a classic leading man, he is known by those closest to him for his humility. “I am not a star and will likely never view myself as one. If I book a lead role, I did my homework and I deserved it. Should I advance in my profession and more people are interested in seeing my work, that’s a bonus that I can smile about.” Those who know him best will tell you the he is a complex and often confusing dichotomy. Some describe him as a placid, softspoken introvert, others as a bubbly, quirky socialite – and they are both correct. For all of his complexities one of the best parts about Nick is his constant willingness to help others. As a well-known actor in the community, people will approach him for his advice to which he is always happy to oblige.
The film industry is one where everything can change from day to day, and that’s exactly what makes it so fulfilling for a person like Nick. “My life is very sporadic but just as interesting,” he says. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next week and because of that I’m open to opportunity. I just feel so alive in this industry and that’s what I love about it.”
“The decision to become an actor is sadly and often associated with a desire to become famous and reach glorified stardom,” he explains. “This couldn’t be further from my truth. In five years, I’d have everything I want if I was a working actor based in NY, with representation, a humble little apartment, a supporting girlfriend and a couple bucks in my wallet.” For Nick it’s about fulfilling a need within him to contribute to the cinematic process and to affect the lives of others. He is incredibly moved by film, and he aims to project that on his own audience.
Nick’s father always tells him “If you’re going to do something, do it to the best of your ability.” Taking his father’s words to heart, Nick throws every ounce of himself into what he does. “Endurance, sacrifice, conviction and pain just come with the territory. Be willing to take the hits and move forward.” With pure intentions, a desire to inspire, and a humble wish list, Nick marches on and encourages anyone with a dream to liberate it from the shadows and bring it into the light. He concludes: “There is one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.”
Erica Derrickson is a local actress, producer and community leader in the Boston film scene. She is guided by a philosophy of service with an emphasis on creating value for and within the local film community. Learn more about her at www.ericadactress.com, on Facebook and on Twitter @ericadactress