We recently caught up with talented Brit Nathan Shaw about his inspirations growing up and his latest ventures in the world of acting. Here is what he had to say:
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how and when did you first get into performing?
I am Thespis… Ha ha (Is that original enough?) No, I was just quoting my social media bio there (Instagram @nafboy // Twitter @Nath_Shaw). How about. I’m what some would call “One of those British Actors, taking over all the American roles”.
Ok, I’ll be serious now and get straight to the point. I’m Nathan Shaw! I first got in to performing when a sub teacher (Sarah Thomas) from an outside dance school (West Yorkshire Theatre Dance Centre) came by and taught a Michael Jackson number for our compulsory dance classes in High School as our regular teacher was sick for a few weeks. Since the majority of kids in High School didn’t really take dance class seriously, I actually really enjoyed myself. At the end of the class Sarah came up to me and asked if I would like to join her performing arts school. At that point in time, I was a hardcore Football (Soccer) player and to quote ‘Billy Elliot’, I immediately thought “Dancing is for girls”. I took a few days to think about it, gave Sarah a call, and the rest is history!
What inspired you to get into this industry?
I had two choices really. I had been at West Yorkshire Theatre Dance Centre for a few years at this point and it was coming up to my High School Graduation. I had to make a decision on whether I should go to a College for Performing Arts or for what some would describe as “A real job” and what’s more exciting than ‘show business’. So, for me, it was a pretty easy decision.
As far as inspiration goes, I feel I actually inspired myself really. I never knew I could perform or had even thought about performing as a career. I was pretty good academically at school and no one in my immediate family was involved in the arts and as every performer knows, we have to stand out in one way or another, so I thought why not give it a shot. If you’re good at something, you owe it to yourself to find out where it can take you.
What kind of training have you had, if any?
I trained for just over 3 years at the West Yorkshire Theatre Dance Centre in my hometown of Ossett under the instruction of Principal Sarah Thomas. I then auditioned around the UK for performing arts colleges and was accepted at Phil Winston’s TheatreWorks College of the Performing Arts. I trained there for 3 years from 2007-2010 in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre. After graduation, I worked within the Entertainment Industry across the UK. I also spent 13 months in Japan playing the roles of Peter Pan and The Mad Hatter for Tokyo Disney. With my background in professional dance and musical theatre, I really felt it necessary to expand my knowledge of the art form and focus my attention on straight acting.
I auditioned and was accepted with a scholarship to AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts, Los Angeles. In 2013, I packed my bags and headed across the pond and attended AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) in the 2 year Acting for Stage, Film and Television course, graduating in February 2015. Since then, I’ve been working consistently in LA.
What has been your favorite role to play so far?
I finished a movie at the end of 2015 called ‘City of Dogs’ produced by Emmy Award-Winner, Elliott Williams. I got to play a character called Jake who was a brief love interest of the lead girl. He was a bit of bad boy. He comes across as a nice guy at first and changes over the course of the film. I loved the arc of the character and the way I portrayed that as an actor, it really opened my eyes into thinking maybe I have a future in playing the villain of a story. ‘City of Dogs’ is currently in post-production so I’m excited to see everyone’s reaction to it. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal too much.
What has been one of your biggest achievements in your career so far?
I would say working for Disney in Tokyo, Japan. I lived there from February 2011 April 2012 playing the roles of Peter Pan and The Mad Hatter for Tokyo Disney. It was an awesome experience, one which I’ll remember for the rest of my life. That doesn’t just go for the performance side of things, but also my personal life experiences there. I witnessed the devastation of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Fortunately, I was in Tokyo. We got the brunt of the earthquake and missed the destruction of the tsunami in Sendai. It was an eye-opening experience watching a community and country come together in a time of need. Disney were very good to us and kept us safe, for which I am very grateful for. Aside from that, as part of my time in Japan, I got to conquer many goals, such as climbing Mt. Fuji.
What projects do you have coming up?
I’m currently on the festival circuit with a film I finished last year called ‘Film School Musical’ produced by Prince of Arabia Entertainment. The film is doing really well and becoming a huge talking point. The film has won numerous awards so far and is continuing to win places at both national and international film festivals. Towards the end of the year and into 2017, directors ‘Maan B’ & ‘Talha B’ are looking at turning the short into a full feature and want me to reprise my role. I’m also a series regular in the popular webseries ‘Bluffside Drive’, directed by and produced by Nic Lewis, Carla Mitchell and LittleBird Pictures. The pilot is on the popular digital media platform – YouTube right now.
Episode 2 is finished and is soon to air and we’re currently waiting to start production on Episode 3. I play the role of Jake Ross, a British heart-throb from popular boy band ‘HeartBeatz’. ‘Bluffside Drive’ follows the story of Monica Crew and her journey through the laughter, lies and secrets of the infamous pilot season’ in Hollywood. Finally as I mentioned before, ‘City of Dogs’ is currently in post-production and we’re waiting on a release date for that. So big things are definitely coming!
Who would you most like to work with?
I’ve always been a fan of Leonardo Di Caprio. I would love to do a movie with him one day. I have all his projects on DVD haha. I’m happy he finally got his Oscar. Whether it was for The Revenant or not – that Oscar in my opinion, represents his entire body of work and it was a long time coming. I’m also a big fan of Mark Wahlberg and his projects especially ‘Entourage’. Doug Ellin did a fantastic job with the show and the cast and story line were incredible. So if you’re reading this Mark, bring me in! Ha ha.
What are your plans for the future?
Short-term goals would be seeing through the projects I have planned within the U.S. I’m excited to see where they go and where they take me. Also, I’d love to get a few guest starring roles under my belt with network television and hopefully book that coveted series regular role on one of my favorite TV Shows. I’d be here all day if I were to list them, but to give you an idea of what I’d love to be a part of; ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Gotham’, ‘Blindspot’, ‘Scorpion’, ‘Young & Hungry’ and the new ‘Prison Break’ series that’s in the works to name a few.
Long-Term goals would be the same as any performer would say: To be working consistently for the remainder of my life within the entertainment industry. Whether that be on stage, in musical theatre, TV or film. However, as much as I’d love to become a household name, there is one long term goal I would love to achieve and that would be to play Frankie Valli in ‘Jersey Boys’ the musical (on Broadway or West End).
What is your advice to aspiring performers?
As Troy Bolton would say in ‘High School Musical’, “Keep your head in the game”. Ha ha. It’s a tough Industry and it’s not for everyone. On a serious note though, here’s the thing, acting is more than just embodying another character, it goes deeper than that. The world needs entertainment, TV, film, theatre. The people who watch us, live through us and we may or may not think it at the time, but we (as performers) have the power to save someone’s life. They religiously watch these TV programs each day, each week. They latch on and relate with a specific character and their story as it could potentially represent something that they are going through personally. They way you make your choices as an actor when portraying a character not only impact the story line, but the world.
So maybe that is something to think about when you’re struggling with a specific scene or audition? If you were watching yourself or your character, how would you react? What would you want them to do? If this was happening to you as a real person and you weren’t “just acting”, how would it effect you personally?. Give it a shot! Maybe it will help bring some new perspective or insight to whatever you need help with. Also, the best thing about acting, you have the opportunity to be anyone, play any character, try any profession. I could play a doctor without spending 7 years at medical school haha! So if you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life, get yourself in an acting class! Maybe it might help you to figure that out.
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