I was about six when my parents split up and mum and I moved to the country from the bright lights of Melbourne. It was tough and I was very young, and even now in my thirties, I can still feel that fundamental shift in my life. In Melbourne, we wore uniforms and life was very organised, then I found myself in a foreign world. We lived in the Great Dividing Range, with rivers and mountains, and there'd be snow in the winter. School was really different as it was more rough and tumble. There were no uniforms and it felt as if you could come and go as you pleased. However, I made friends easily but one incident I remember clearly, being ganged up on by the other boys. I can't remember why it happened but it lasted a half a year and I felt a complete outcast. Fortunately all the girls were on my side so that was cool. Later on I thought perhaps I was viewed as some kind of threat because I was too irreverent and I tried to beat that out of myself and be more one of the boys. For me primary school was about writing and reading. I'd already found I was more advanced than kids in class when I arrived in the country. By the time I was about 10 I'd be writing books while my best friend Vaughan did the pictures in them. I loved reading Enid Blyton and Mark Twain, and also comics such as Asterix and Tin Tin. Every Friday we'd go to the movies to see whatever film was on and that also fuelled my imagination. One teacher was Mr Ryan, who looked a little like the actor Richard Chamberlain and played the guitar. He was cool and a bit of a hippy. Another was a real cow. Once I cut my finger and she shoved it under the tap to stop the bleeding and the pain nearly killed me. And then there was our physical education teacher who was really nice. I think I had a bit of a crush on her. My acting really started in those early schooldays when I took part in plays. One Christmas I'd broken my arm after falling out of a tree but I still went on stage with a sling. It was in between primary and secondary school that I saw a film called Starstruck and discovered that one of the actors, Jo Kennedy, went to the secondary school I was going to. I tracked down her parents and found her brother was in film school. He put me in a short film he was making and when I started the new school after the holiday I wrote about it in one of those essays you write about your holidays. That kickstarted my acting at the new school but it didn't help me win over new friends. I found secondary school was marred by violence and I wished I could've had a crack back instead of trying to diffuse situations. In fact, this atmosphere affected my schoolwork which steadily went downhill, although eventually I did get back on track though not really fulfilling my potential. I remember one fight in which a pupil was scrapping with someone from outside school. The teachers and students stood by and did nothing but watch. My way of dealing with this was football and I did really well at it. I'd always really known I suppose that I wanted to act but was put off by my careers advice teacher who put me off. So I started to play football for money and worked in a local bank, which was an absolute nightmare. That spurred me to go into amateur acting, get an agent and to join the National Theatre Drama School in Melbourne. One of the lasting things I've realised is that school in the country had fewer opportunities than in the city. It was a basic, no-frills education and I wonder how life would've been had I stayed in Melbourne. I think you have to go out and experience the world and make mistakes, such as joining a bank, and not feel pressured to make life decisions so quickly. By doing that you stand a better chance of finding out what your niche is in this world. Brett Tucker is appearing in The Woman in Black at the Lyric Theatre at the Academy for Performing Arts from October 19-29. He was talking to David Phair.