Auburn’s Nikolas Whittemore is spending senior year of high school jump-starting his acting career on the West Coast.

He says he caught the acting bug in middle school. Whittemore will formally graduate from Edward Little High School next spring, but for now, he’s also a freshmen at Santa Monica College studying film production and grabbing as many auditions as he can.

Name: Nikolas Whittemore (professional name: Nikolas Ray)

Age: 17

Lives: Los Angeles, Calif.

What made you decide to just go for it and spend senior year in California? My decision to spend senior year in LA, instead of at ELHS, was actually part of a plan that was in the works since middle school. This plan started when I was invited to LA by my acting coach Chambers Stevens. In my first visit to LA, he helped me prepare so I would be ready to move when the time came. The biggest step in my plan was getting my GED by passing the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam) when I was 16. By getting my GED before I graduated, I am able to get around child labor laws and work as a legal adult, even at 17. Along with this, the support from friends and family made me believe that I was ready to take on this journey.

Coolest experience so far on the West Coast: I would have to say that my coolest experience so far would be walking my first red carpet. I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the several shows that were part of LA Fashion Week.

Coolest sighting: The coolest sighting I have had on the West Coast is surprisingly a blue whale! What can I say — seeing the world’s biggest mammal was pretty sweet. Celebrity-wise though, my favorite sighting would have to be Lady Gaga. I was fortunate enough to see her on the set of “American Horror Story.” Her presence was very regal and intimidating (in a good way).

Favorite role in your acting career to date: Over the years I’ve had the pleasure to play some great and very different roles. I’ve played such characters as a cocky womanizer and even a hungry zombie! My favorite role though, would have to be my character Sam. I was cast as Sam in my first feature film (the locally filmed “Bad Kid”) and loved every second of it. He is very down to earth, but extremely sneaky and gets himself into some pretty dire situations. “Bad Kid” is being released in 2016.

Your dream gig? Well, my dream gig was to be cast in the “Hunger Games,” but sadly that ship has sailed. Now, I would have to say that my dream gig would to be the lead role on a show meant for teens. I would love to be on MTV and be part of a cool teen drama or comedy; something that my friends and I would want to watch.

What do you do each day to try to make that dream happen? This industry is all about who you know, so along with going on as many auditions as I can, every day I try to make at least one new friend or connection. Marketing yourself is the hardest and most important part of this job, and I am lucky I have my mom to help.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how nervous are your parents about their 17-year-old being out in California by himself? And on that scale, how supportive? To be honest, my dad is probably a 5 or 4, but my mother is a definite 10! Only on rare occasions can I go more than a day without getting a call from her asking what I am up to. Even though she is nervous, my mom and dad (DeeDee and Wade Whittemore) are the most supportive people in my life. The day I told them I wanted to take acting seriously, they were on board to help. There is no way I could have done any of this without their help, especially my mother’s.

Advice that you would give the Nik who moved to LA five months ago? Just to stay focused. There is so much going on in this city, that it can be easy for a Mainer to get overwhelmed. Also, to be careful of 5 o’clock traffic! There is nothing worse than LA traffic, especially when you drive a standard.

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