ALUMNI PROFILE – GEORGE ZHAO
Actor and Bachelor of Dramatic Art graduate George Zhao is impressing audiences around the world with his acting work and character portrayals. With wit, charisma and determination, it’s little wonder George has successfully climbed the competitive ladder of acting and performing; going from an Excelsia College student to holding his own right on our screens after a starring role on SBS TV’s drama-comedy series The Family Law.
Since graduating from Excelsia, George has gone on to become an award-winning actor, including Best Guest Actor at the LA Web Film festival for his role in the short film It Came from Outer Suburbia, and an MEAA Best Ensemble Cast for comedy for his role as Andrew Law in the hit SBS show The Family Law.
Enjoying the spoils of hard work and determination, we sat down with George to talk his key defining moments, why visibility in the media matters and his key piece of advice for those looking to pursue a career in acting.
Why did you choose to study a Bachelor of Dramatic Art?
After high school, I found myself enamored with the entertainment industry, especially the acting side of it. However, at the time I had no idea how to establish a foothold in the industry. I saw this degree as a way to develop skills and understanding, which it provided abundantly.
What was your experience being a Bachelor of Dramatic Art student at Excelsia?
The classes were small and frequent and allowed me to develop strong relationships with my classmates. Eventually I saw my classmates more than my family who shared your worries, joys and passions. In depth learning of the industry within a supportive and caring environment.
After graduating, how did your career path evolve?
I was lucky in that I was working the first year out. I had to be incredibly proactive, doing whatever work was available and meeting people in the industry. Everything you do adds on top of each other, which is exactly how it happened for me. After each project I was able to meet new people, or it gave me an opportunity to work on something else.
You have had such an incredible career already, working across film, TV and theatre. Can you talk us through some of your key defining moments?
I have met so many incredible people so far, and I fully intend to continue. The Family Law has been an important moment in my career and my life. I met likeminded individuals who were all passionate about the increase in diversity on screen. It helped me realise that there were other people fighting that fight and we had allies all over within the industry. When I was in high school, I remember watching A Streetcar Named Desire with Cate Blanchett and thinking to myself one day I want to work on this stage. Two years ago, I was warming up on that exact same stage after being cast in The Harp in the South.
If you could give other artists advice about getting started in their career, what would you say?
Learn as much as you can, be at as many events as possible, be proactive. This industry unlike desk jobs doesn’t have a clear career path so you have to make your own. This is an incredibly difficult industry, I’m still learning, and the amount to learn continues to increase.
Excelsia College will be running their very first Creative and Performing Arts Virtual Open Day on Saturday 29 August. If George’s story has sparked your interest and you would like to discover more about where a Bachelor of Dramatic Art degree at Excelsia can take you, register your interest below.