Peter has served in the Navy for 10 years and is discharging this year. Here is his story...
Peter: I joined the Royal Australian Navy in April 2007 after a string of failed attempts at getting an apprenticeship. I was focused on gaining employment after high school and had no idea of what I wanted to do so when I heard my mate was joining up I thought why not? could be a bit of fun. I enlisted as an Electronics Technician and after my initial technical training I did my course specifics to become a weapons maintainer onboard FFH class frigates. I got the most I could out of every posting and deployment and have many fond memories of my service but during my final ship posting I got engaged to my girlfriend and no longer wanted to deploy as I would like to stay near home to begin a family. It was time for a change.
With the looming decision of ‘What am I going to do?’ when I leave the Defence Force I started getting anxious, stressed and having regular panic attacks, I even at one point had convinced myself that maybe I should stay. My partner encouraged me I needed to focus my energy on something fun and that I can really distract myself with, so I signed up for an acting class.
When I was in school I used to love drama and school plays, pantomimes basically anything where I could entertain people and from the moment I left my first class I was hooked and had decided that this was who I was and what I wanted to do, now how do I do it?
Going from such a technical and process driven environment that is Defence to the creative arts is daunting but since that first class I have been spending majority of my spare time in afternoons/evenings and weekends developing myself as much as I can from acting workshops, auditioning, writing, theatre and whatever else I can immerse myself into.
My Defence skills have helped me quite a lot with working towards a career in the entertainment industry so far as my weapons training is a desirable skill as well as the confidence gained through leading people and my professional work ethic allowing me to work long hours on set or rehearsing. I also learnt a lot during a Defence supported Certificate IV in Small Business Management at RMIT in conjunction with Prince’s Charities Australia.
The course taught me valuable lessons in goal setting and achieving and a whole array of other knowledge which is directly transferable to the entertainment industry such as networking and social media management.
The past year I have put together an acting CV and show-reel with short films, web series, feature films, theatre, TV commercials and a whole stack of training workshops to my name and to top it off, an Agent. Most proudly I was recently cast in a gritty West Australian 1800’s western feature film called ‘The Decadent and Depraved’ with a speaking role.
Now I am in my final week of full time work before proceeding on leave without pay on discharge to active reserves (Official discharge in May 2017). With my transition to active reserves I have the freedom to study for the year whilst also continuing my status with Defence for my accrual of long service and maintaining a good relationship with the Navy. During my university term breaks I plan to conduct reserve days wherever I can.
2017 is going to be a big year for me. I was recently successful in auditioning for the West Australian Academy for Performing Arts (WAAPA) to study a Diploma in Screen Acting, which I have now started in February 2017.
Next I plan to sell my house and move closer to the university and knuckle down for my year of study. Who knows, you may see me on your TV, a stage or a cinema screen near you in the not too distant future!
If I can offer any advice for transitioning personnel it is to not be afraid to pursue what makes you happy because in the end it is better to try and fail at what you love than to not try at all. Once you know what you want, focus all your energy in building towards it, research it, up skill in your field and save up to fund it. With your hard work and determination you will achieve your goals.
If you would like to follow me on my future adventures feel free to check out Instagram https://instagram.com/bungy1989
Thanks and good luck to you all.