We had the good fortune of connecting with Nick Smyth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nick, what role has risk played in your life or career?
You know the old saying – The greater the risk, the greater the reward. I don’t think this is just a cliché quote we’ve all heard at some point in our lives, it really is true. I honestly think that risk is a part of life. (or at least should be) When you want certain things in life, especially big goals and dreams we envision for ourselves, we learn that along with those things comes a lot of challenge and risk that go along with it. That’s when the fear comes in – “What if this doesn’t happen for me?”, What if I’m not good enough to make this happen?” – These were questions that definitely went through my head growing up in a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada. I knew that going after what I loved and was passionate about would indeed be a risk. But I also knew as the creative soul that I was (and am) I would not be satisfied with going the “safe route” and not taking the risks that I believe I owed to myself. I wanted to be a full time creative, a person who told stories for a living – I wanted to be an actor. A huge risk for me early on was to not only make the decision to go after what my gut, my heart and what my bones were telling me to do, but when I was 20 years old I was given the chance to actually really take a leap of faith and move to Toronto, Canada for an on-camera job at a popular TV Station that I was offered. This was the opportunity I prayed for, this was my chance. With a bag in my hand and a whole lot of faith, I made the move leaving everything I knew in my small town behind – It was time to take some risks and go after what I dreamed about since I was a kid. This risk led me to a career in doing what I loved. Sure since then there have been ups and downs – but this is what a career is in really any profession you choose. Making that move and saying NO to fear and YES to risk lead me to a career on screen and a life of creating. There’s no better joy I get than making a living off what I love. What a great reality that is. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. But I think that can only happen through directly walking into Fear and accepting the possibility of losing .. this is the only way you can win. To me that’s what risk is. After saying ‘Yes’ to a scary opportunity, the reward has been life changing. And I’m so thankful for not being afraid to walk towards risk in my life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work these days is quite different from how I started out. I started off on a young-adult comedic TV series and then went on to do stand up comedy and then that created bridges to several other Television projects that were all comedically fueled. And that’s kind of how I thought my career was going to go. Fast forward years later and my interests have changed. My work load is now largely very emotionally driven, heavy, intense film projects. And I’m having a ball with that. That content challenges me in completely different ways, yet are still branches from the same performance tree that my comedy came from. Funny thing is, my ultimate goal remains the same – I just want to connect. That after all is why I got into this crazy racket. Weather its through a laugh or another emotion, its always been about connecting with the viewer. Because that’s what movies did for me as a kid .. they inspired me, they made me cry, made me laugh, they truly, truly connected with me .. and still do today. That’s the magic of movies. I can only HOPE that one day I will do the same with something I work on. Gosh, wouldn’t that be something. That will always be the end goal. That will always be the dream.
One thing that always amazed me on my journey in the arts is that when I started working professionally years back I was SO damn passionate about it. I truly, truly love the craft of filmmaking and film acting. I adore it. Nothing else in my life has made me feel so joyous. And the crazy thing is, I feel just as inspired today as I did the day I started working in this industry, I think that right there reminds me that I’m on the exact path I want to be on.
What I’ve learned the most about my career in this crazy business is how important persistence is. It’s everything. When you choose to go after a career in the arts, rejection is a part of the job, you will hear the word “No.” And sometimes you’re going to hear it A LOT. But this can not derail your plan or vision of what you’re after or trying to achieve. So many times in my career I got turned down for something or a work opportunity didn’t happen like I had hoped .. and there were many times when I wanted to pack it in .. but instead what ended up happening was a better opportunity replaced the thing that didn’t work out or went away. This has happened so many times in my life. This is why being clear on the belief in yourself and art of persistence and not taking no for an answer is SO important. Just. Keep. Going.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A huge person of encouragement in my life and career has always been without a doubt my Aunt. She was a real believer in my crazy dreams as a young person and who I think is a reason why I was ever able to accomplish any of them. A lot of these encouragements happened when I was really just a kid or teenager. Which I think is such a critical time in life where we need our cheerleaders. We NEED people during that time to teach us the power of possibility. That dreams and goals can also become a reality. That there are amazing things out there that CAN indeed happen, through a lot of hard work and persistence .. But personally, for me growing up, just knowing the fact that my goals that seemed so out of reach in my little small town were indeed POSSIBLE – This meant everything to me. And my Aunt was a big part of me learning that.