How Sam Bunkall learnt the power of perseverance

Spy News,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 4 October 2017, 8:55AM

My first job was ... Working in an outdoor tramping and camping store in New Plymouth.

It taught me ... That I'm quite shy of customers and answering the phone. But I guess it also taught me to get used to that! Well a little bit. I'm definitely still shy. It also taught me how important it is to have a living wage in this country because $8.50 an hour barely made a dent in those bills...

My big break came ... If there is such a thing, then this would be it! This is my first full-time acting gig and I'm so very grateful because it's an amazing job. I started on Shorty in 2012. But I had auditioned at least five times for other parts before I was cast in this role.

The last job I quit was ... A door-knocking fundraising job for a "charity". Don't get me wrong - I think charity work is absolutely vital. But I discovered the hard way that not all charities are created equal. The reputable and transparent ones do so much good in this world but unfortunately I answered a newspaper ad for one that was basically a money-making scam in which the "board" took a massive cut and only about 10% actually made it to the charity. I quit because didn't want to be a part of that. It made a mockery of those fantastic organisations who work so hard to help people in need.

The most famous person I've ever met is ... Nationally, John Campbell. He came in to work to interview us around the 25th anniversary episode and I lost my shit. Internationally, my favourite comedian Stuart Lee at the Edinburgh festival - he's not overly well-known here but I was well chuffed.

They were ... John Campbell is so lovely and kind and respectful. Exactly as you'd expect. Stuart Lee was a little grumpy when I asked to have a selfie. But I can imagine he'd be pretty over that by now. He brightened up slightly when I mentioned I'd come all the way from New Zealand to see his show.

The best time I've had on set was ... Shooting on location in Fiji. It was a crazy whirlwind, we never really stopped or had any downtime but it was really special and something I'll never forget. Just getting to travel to a new place and meet new people was amazing, but it was particularly confronting going from the crazy fandom/5-star treatment in Nadi and Suva to filming in one of the most under-resourced hospitals I've ever seen and talking with the staff and patients there.

But the worst was ... Any time I've been sick really. We don't get sick days as actors unless it's so bad you literally can't get out of bed. That's how tight our schedule has to be. So there have been times when I've been on set hacking away with barely a voice and so delirious I can barely remember what I'm doing let alone my lines. That's never fun.

My dream project would be ... I've never done a feature film before so that'd be high on the list. And I'm a huge fan of the director Robert Sarkies, so if I could pick anyone in the country to work with, it'd be him.

- Sam Bunkall plays Boyd Rolleston in Shortland Street, on TVNZ 2, weeknights at 7pm.