From Winmalee to Hollywood for Adam J. Yeend

LA-BASED actor Adam J. Yeend almost caused a wardrobe malfunction at this year’s Oscars. The former Winmalee High School student was working as an usher at the high profile ceremony when he found the hand of best actress nominee Meryl Streep unexpectedly resting on his arm.

“I looked at her and smiled . . . She smiled back and looked to the floor — I had my big polished shoe on her gown!” he said.

Proffering a lightning fast apology, the 31-year-old swiftly moved his foot while Streep “smiled and floated to her chair”.

“I looked at my fellow usher Nathan and said ‘What just happened?’,” said Mr Yeend.

Surprise entanglements with eveningwear notwithstanding, the Oscars experience was one of the undoubted highlights of Mr Yeend's three-and-a-half years in LA.

“I was living in a moment I could only dream about as a teenager and keeping my smile to a minimum [during the night] was tough,” he said.

While day-to-day life as an actor trying to make it in Hollywood isn’t as glamorous, it can be just as unpredictable.

“Life in LA can be as crazy or as chilled out as you want it to be. I can get into a frenzy juggling auditions, day jobs, gym, friends, events, and then just stop and it’s a very relaxing place,” he said.

A University of Western Sydney graduate, Mr Yeend studied acting in Australia before moving stateside where his first audition was for The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

“I was a nervous wreck, not because it was Twilight, just because it was my first audition,” he said.

Since then he has auditioned for a range of television shows including Private Practice, Terra Nova, CSI, NCIS: Los Angeles, Vampire Diaries, Boardwalk Empire and Modern Family to name just a few. While this relentless path is normal for LA actors, it does require a particular frame of mind.

“I think blind faith is the one thing that keeps an actor going - without it you’re not going to succeed. Even the label of success differs from person to person. I think most people think if an actor isn’t famous or recognisable, they’re not successful but that’s not why I do this, it’s not what I’m aiming for. There’re so many actors who are unrecognisable who are making a living and that would suit me just fine,” he said.

Not that Mr Yeend hasn’t had the opportunity to flex his acting muscles. He recently finished filming a lead role in a big budget short film, Dr Beaulenpest, as well as shooting a television commercial for Budweiser. He has also been cast in the pilot for an Australian TV series about a group of 30-somethings living on Sydney’s north shore, called The Carousel.

Mr Yeend has even turned his attention to the other side of the camera, working as co-producer on a feature film titled Lust for Love.

“I think actors need to be smarter today and learning to produce your own material is important. If no one’s knocking at your door, with friends and the use of the internet, you can still create your own content and build an audience that way which is what myself and many of my friends are doing,” he said.

In between chasing roles and creating projects, life in LA has a lot of other perks. It’s not unusual to bump into a famous face when you’re out and about (Mr Yeend recently met Anne Heche while having a coffee), and attending movie premieres is always a buzz.

“I think LA is the only place in the world where being a nerd is considered ‘cool’ and being such a movie buff I get a big kick out of going to the Chinese Theater and experiencing that,” he said.

“I often get to meet many of the actors, producers and directors at these premieres, so not only do I have a lot of fun but I get to network and meet a lot of industry people as well.”

But above all else — and as cliched as it sounds — chasing his dream is still the greatest motivation for living in LA.

“It’s most certainly a journey here, and often is a struggle, but for the most part it’s so rewarding,” he said.

“One could say with the amount of auditions I’ve been on and haven’t booked that I get rejected for a living; but for me I’ve just gotten a chance to walk into a room and do what I love, regardless of the outcome, and that’s what I always hold on to.”

Winmalee's Adam J. Yeend is now based in LA.

Winmalee's Adam J. Yeend is now based in LA.

Adam J. Yeend at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony where he was an usher.

Adam J. Yeend at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony where he was an usher.