AdSchool Art of Persuasion lecturer, Myles Pollard, secured his spot in the hearts of millions of people around the world as Nick Ryan in the hugely popular McLeod’s Daughters. But, the WA actor is not one to rest on his laurels. He chats to Comms Council about his other passions — including producing, directing and writing his own work — and why effective communication, on a film set, or in a boardroom with clients, is the gateway to success.

On career:

You have worked as an actor and producer over your career – which one do you prefer? Do you have a soft spot for one of these?

Recently I’ve been working as a producer, director and writer on a variety of projects such as a pilot for a factual series and a short film. Creating my own work has always been empowering and I enjoy the variety.

Film or small screen?

I enjoy both. Both mediums these days are fast and furious and have their own challenges. I enjoy the variation.

Do you have a career highlight you would like to share?

I made my directing debut recently with a short film called Paynes Find. It has just been officially selected to screen at Cinefest Oz here in WA.

I’m very proud of that achievement since it was my first attempt directing. Producing Drift was a career highlight as well.

It took seven years to get up. I just finished acting in a $30 million Australian film called Danger Close about the battle of Long Tan in Vietnam. I’m very proud of my work in that as well.

Do you still stay in touch with the McLeod’s Daughters cast and crew?

I have been touring country Australia intermittently over the last couple of years with the other core cast, Aaron Jeffery, Lisa Chappell and Bridie Carter. The turn out at these reunions has been extraordinary. We all are still very close and love reminiscing.

On confidence:

As an experienced actor you’re no stranger to the spotlight, but do you still get nervous on set? How do you overcome this?

Film sets are extremely heightened environments. Very tight schedules, lots of scrutiny, having to memorise and deliver large chunks of exposition (lines) without faltering all affect your ability to be calm and  measured. Being able to manage your emotional state quickly and effectively is vital in order to be relaxed, playful and lucid. I can metabolise my cortisol and adrenaline levels and transfer my attention from myself to the other person in the scene very quickly to remain in the moment ready to respond.

Whether it’s auditioning for a role, or presenting to a room full of advertising clients in a boardroom, how important is effective communication?

Being able to build rapport and influence people quickly is the main game. It’s easy when you’re feeling confident, clear, prepared and in control but it’s harder when you’re feeling the pressure, sleep deprived, sick or distracted.  It’s especially important to have communication techniques at your disposal in those situations.

What can individuals expect from your Art of Persuasion workshop?

They can expect to become more aware of their own communication styles, their strengths and limitations. They will learn a variety of persuasion and communication techniques that will transform their abilities to connect with an audience and influence them. They will also have a few laughs.

And finally:

According to Google’s predictive search, people really want to know ‘how tall is Myles Pollard?’. So, how tall are you?!

195 cm or six feet 4 inches tall.

There’s so much amazing talent coming out of Western Australia — do you have a hot tip for us?

Watch out for Courtney Eaton. She is a local WA girl who was one of my acting students before she landed a role in Mad Max Fury Road and now Action/Thriller ‘Live’ starring Aaron Eckhart and Gian Esposito. If you haven’t heard of her yet you will soon.

Also Ben Young, a young film director who came from the advertising world. His breakout film was Hounds of Love. Even bigger things are coming his way!