Declan Montgomery is a Bachelor of Dramatic Art alumnus from Excelsia College and has been nominated for best actor for his role in Pinch Me, which has also been nominated for best Australian film 2022 at AFIN International Film Festival run in Brisbane. Produced by Wavelength Films, Pinch Me explores the disorientating line between dreams and reality, where four tight-knit students bask in their collective friendship on the eve of one leaving for new lands. For budding actor Declan Montgomery, being nominated is a surreal experience and took him completely by surprise!
‘I’m still actually processing it. It feels great to have something I worked on not only being watched by people but to have them enjoy it so much that they think it’s worth nominating not only me but the whole cast, it’s something special. The industry comes in waves and having my work being consumed and enjoyed by people is encouraging and reminds me why I chose this career path in the first place,’ explains Declan.
Declan cites being a part of Pinch me as one of his favourite chapters at Excelsia. ‘To experience what it’s like on a professional film set, working with industry professionals alongside the close friends I made at college, it’s an experience that’s unmatched. Shooting scenes in different locations, redubbing lines in ADR (automated dialogue replacement) was a perfect sample of a professional production and I’m eternally grateful for everyone that worked on it, especially the director Michael McLennan, who’s also a lecturer for the Bachelor of Dramatic Art course at Excelsia.’
As a Bachelor of Dramatic Art graduate, Declan now aspires to work primarily as an actor and to positively impact the lives of others. ‘I’m working on a couple of scripts for TV shows myself and some friends are preparing to pitch to different networks next year. The reason I act other than just loving it is to entertain others. To know I’ve brought a smile to someone’s face or had an impact on them with my art is all I can ask for with any of my performances and I truly hope Pinch Me is just the start of that.’
We can’t wait to see the impact Declan makes on our screens and stage. If you want to explore a career within the creative and performing arts sector, why not consider Excelsia College’s Bachelor of Dramatic Art? The three-year course will help you develop your confidence and skills as you network with industry professionals and have potential exposure to amazing opportunities like Declan has! In the 2021 QILT student experience survey results, Excelsia rated number one for skills development in creative arts undergraduate courses across New South Wales. The Bachelor of Dramatic Art will help you develop the foundations you need to succeed in a cut-throat industry.
The Student Services team play an integral part in the life cycle of a student, supporting them from pre-enrolment, through to orientation and all the way to graduation. This year, the College appointed Deputy Registrar Neil Colombari, who proved to be the right fit for the role. Having worked in tertiary settings for the past 12 years, Neil is able to bring his knowledge helping to run key events in the life of the College, including assisting with the recent 2021 student graduation ceremony. Despite only being in the role since April, Neil took this mammoth project in his stride and contributed to making graduation an unforgettable ceremony for the College’s newest graduates, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Neil is always focused on continuous improvement and personal development, qualities that Excelsia are proud to see exemplified in its staff. This is what makes Neil an Excellent Personality.
Within Neil’s Deputy Registrar role are opportunities for growth and development, something he is excited to explore. ‘Every day I learn something new. With Student Services being involved in the entire student cycle, there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day. There is always a lot of variety, and I am fortunate that my role allows me to interact with staff across all areas of the College, as well as some students,’ he explains. Neil has become involved in the life of the College and has connected with staff across different departments as well as students. He considers himself blessed to see the various ways God impacts the lives of staff at the College. ‘Having attended the staff morning devotions and staff prayer meetings, I have seen the effect God can have on each of us if we are open to respond to His call.’ Neil has also noticed the care staff share for one another. ‘I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of trust that staff have for each other, as well as how everyone has the welfare of the College at heart and is open to growing and developing it.’ When asked what words spring to mind when he thinks of Excelsia, Neil describes the College as ‘faith-based, supportive, caring, developing and forward-thinking.’
A conversation with a colleague in his first few weeks at the College has stuck with Neil and impacted the way he now works. ‘I commented to this colleague that his role must involve him having to juggle many priorities at once. He responded that it did, but that he always focuses on one thing at a time. Since then I have tried to incorporate that instead of always trying to multitask.’
Neil has two favourite Bible verses, both of which resonated with him when he first read Norman Vincent Peale’s classic, The Power of Positive Thinking. They are Philippians 4:13 which says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ and Romans 8:31 which says, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us’. Neil says, ‘Both of these show that with God’s help we can achieve anything.’
Outside of work, Neil leads an active and busy lifestyle on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and enjoys sunrise and sunset photography (especially over the water) and appreciating the surrounding water and nature. He also enjoys listening to music, playing guitar, singing, and watching classic films. He also quotes himself as ‘one of those crazy people who will go for a run even when it’s raining!’
If you are interested in finding out more about Excelsia College or considering potential employment opportunities, why not visit our website https://excelsia.edu.au/? You never know how you could grow professionally, personally, and spiritually.