Timaru-born, Canterbury-raised actor and writer is making good with a book called The Wild Cats of Piran (set in Slovenia). Scott Young first visited Slovenia, more specifically “forgotten Piran”, 15 years ago. The city impressed him so much that he dedicated a book to it. Well, to be precise, he dedicated it to the “wonderful creatures of the night” Courier reporter George Clark spoke to Mr Young, still based in Slovenia, for a little more insight into who he is.
Q Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Scott Alexander Young and I was born in Timaru in 1965, which was the time of the Beatles’ transitional albums Revolver and Rubber Soul, or that is how I like to think of it anyway. Though I was still a toddler when the family moved to Christchurch, I had relatives in South Canterbury and enjoyed vacations in and around Timaru. I have distinct memories of oceanfront boardwalks, golden sands and warm waters, Tom Sharplin playing at the band rotunda, etc. What a lovely time and place it was.
Q Why did you want to become an actor and writer?
Well, I guess as for becoming an actor, it was a combination of being a natural show-off an interest in getting under other people’s skin, finding out what makes them tick. At the tender age of 16, I auditioned for the Court Theatre in Christchurch, and got accepted. So far, so good, until a year later when management came to me and said I didn’t have what it took to be an actor. I was devastated, but decided to employ my love of language and natural curiosity to become a writer. Many years later, while making a crust as a travel writer in Budapest, some friends suggested I audition for some of the big, international productions that had started filming in Budapest. That was in 2007. 13 years and around 40 films and TV series later, I guess I am living proof that “success is the best revenge”.
Q How is life as a Kiwi ex-pat in Central Europe?
It wouldn’t suit everyone, but I love it. I live in Budapest, but am a frequent traveller to Prague, Vienna and the country of Slovenia. The latter was the setting for my children’s book, The Wild Cats of Piran. After the better part of two decades in this region, it has become my home away from home. And so far, it hasn’t been completely overrun by tourists. Not completely anyway.
Q What are some highlights of your career so far?
Sometimes I feel I’ve already done too much, at other times, like I’m just getting started. Some standouts would be: doing the advertising and PR for Aerolineas Argentine airlines back in the 90s; writing and producing offbeat short form TV for SyFy UK in the noughties; the publication of my children’s book The Wild Cats of Piran; and of course, my late blooming acting career. That must include my principal cast role in Curitz, a 2018 film set behind the scenes of the classic 1942 movie, Casablanca. I also enjoyed playing a sleazy Russian oligarch in Berlin Station (2019). It’s true
Q Do you have advice for others about success?
If it’s a career in the arts and entertainment, I would say: have a backup plan, work on your craft and not to be impatient. The Germans have a useful word: Lebenskunstler. It means someone who makes an art out of living. So if you need to wait tables or such for a while, don’t be a sad sack about it, do it with a bit of style.