Mudgee's Brayden Palmer has earned the opportunity of a lifetime as a recipient of the prestigious Carmen Duncan Scholarship for acting, which will see him study at the American Arts, Film and Television Academy in Los Angeles for three months.
The scholarship - honouring the late Australian actress, who passed away in February - was judged by US film and television industry professionals including Lisa Robertson, the acting coach for Alexis Bledel on The Handmaid's Tale.
"I was shocked, when I entered I thought that it would be a way to see where I was and get some feedback. So I'm still riding on a wave of confidence," said Brayden, who has had an interest in acting since playing Harry Potter in his room growing up.
Since becoming "totally consumed with performing" at university he has gained the confidence to take his acting out from behind closed doors. Now he's hoping he has an opportunity to take "a huge step forward".
"I always wanted to do this program, but I never would've been able to without the scholarship, and then on top of that to be given all of the extras and support that come with it is incredible," he said.
"So my plans for where I saw this year - and even next year - panning out has changed, and it's really exciting.
"There are a lot of unknowns, as there always is with this industry, but that's more exciting because I know that I can get somewhere and there's a path being carved out from this.
"I'm really looking forward to being able to spend those three months focused 100 per cent on acting, I'll get to meet people from all walks of life and hopefully get my foot in the door.
"And I've got a career manager for six months to help build up a profile and hopefully get me a visa and push me in that direction."
Now living in Sydney, Brayden said that his small town upbringing has gone a long to shaping the performer he aims to be.
"A lot of this started in Mudgee, you pull a lot from your own background, where you've grown up and the people you've been surrounded by," he said.
"It's incredible how big Mudgee has become in terms of notoriety, from where it started when I was young, it's kept striving and there's a lot going on here.
"It's a hardworking community and those values that everyone instills in one-another has really informed the way that I carry myself and how I go about my own work."
He added that he's honoured to be trusted with carrying on the legacy of Duncan, who was a well-regarded actress in Australian and the USA before she passed away earlier this year.
"She was not only a talented and brave actor, what she went through with breast cancer and maintaining that generosity of spirit and humility - I owe it to her to ensure that I carry those values with me," he said.
"And I owe it to all of the women in my life as well, particularly in this watershed moment that not only the entertainment industry is going through but hopefully society as well.
"To be tasked with carrying on the legacy of an exceptional female performer, it's so important to make sure that I do her proud."