Next Up

Nate Scholz

Name: Nate Scholz

Hometown: Vancouver, WA

Current Location: Marina Del Rey, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Scholz: That’s a good question. As a kid I had an incredible imagination. I wanted to be Luke Skywalker and save the galaxy. I spent the better part of my childhood acting out such fantasies with friends. I grew up in what some would consider the “country” so I was always outside, building forts, playing sports (that rhymed) camping under the stars, and getting into trouble. The idea of acting as an art form didn’t exist to me. It was just something I did to escape reality. In high school I was a jock and partied a lot… and probably would have kicked my own ass if I said I wanted to do theater. In college I won a national marketing/sales competition and had my pick of 50 job offers. I chose the job that paid me the most and relocated me to LA… the worst reasons to make such a decision. Consequently, I was very unfulfilled and unhappy. After a year of battling depression caused by a poor life decision, I decided to look for a new job. Without going into great detail (too late), I interviewed with a famous writer named Leslie Dixon to become her assistant. It was during that interview that she told me I should pursue a career in acting. Apparently she had never told anyone that before, but she saw something “special” in me that she couldn’t ignore. She laid out what I needed to do then wished me luck. That was the catalyst for everything. Within a week I was in acting classes three days a week, had an agent within a month, booked my first short film within two months, and did my first standup show within five months. It was exactly what I had been searching for my whole life. I walked away from all that I had achieved in business and I’ve never looked back. I’m still grateful for Leslie. Without her, I might never have admitted to myself that acting was what I wanted to do all along.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Scholz: It’s a three-way tie: Mark Hamill, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They all played the “hero” and did so with their own unique style and bravado. It was not their “acting” that inspired me, it was the characters they played and the fantastic worlds their characters got to play in…and inevitably save. Fun fact: I wanted to be Van Damme so bad that I took martial arts for 5 years and mastered the ability to do the splits using two chairs like he did in “Bloodsport.”

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Scholz: Leslie Dixon helped set me on the path and told me what I needed to do to get started, but after that I was on my own. I truly had no idea what I was doing and had to start from scratch. I approached acting like you would a sales and marketing job, after all, that was my background. I believed that if I worked harder than everyone else, networked, and sold myself like a product then I would be a movie star in no time. I. WAS. MISTAKEN.

Don’t get me wrong, my tenacity, confidence, charisma, and drive did get me an above average amount of work in those early days, especially given the fact I had no prior experience in the field. The only problem was, I wasn’t that good of an actor… and I knew it. I had to find MY truth, MY art, and MY voice before I could ever find the truth of a character who is completely different from me. That process of self-exploration and discovery was painful, humbling, and empowering. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it took more than five years to uncover and is still an ongoing process. That process consisted of many exercises: Questioning EVERYTHING I thought, said, and did to uncover the hidden motivation behind it; learning to embrace tragedy and pain because the more shitty things that happen to you in life the more you have to pull form as an actor… I’ve been blessed in that area (laughter)… documenting my reactions to things that happen to me in my day-to-day life, practicing love, empathy, and compassion for people who are different from me; and exploring the human condition. The other part of my plan of attack was to determine “my type,” AKA “my product,” and then perfect it. I would ask acting coaches, casting directors, agents, peers, etc. what roles they could see me playing and then compare that to the roles I was booking most frequently. Once I had a sense for how others saw me, I was able to work on those characters in a more targeted fashion. Trust me, being type-cast is a great thing… it means you’re actually working.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Scholz: I did not move to LA to be an actor. I moved for a marketing job. I came here two weeks after graduating college in June of 2007. I started my acting career in mid 2008 at the age of 24.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Scholz: My transition was okay. I brought my Golden Retriever with me so I never really felt alone in those early days. This can be a cold self-absorbed city and industry. It takes a while to find the core group of friends that are worth their weight in skin. I was fortunate to find a few good ones early on but sadly they moved away within a few years. This is something you must be prepared for. The turnover in this town is very high… not many people are cut out for it. In my experience, most people last about one to two years. Very few people make it five years and even fewer will make it 10 years plus. If they do, they are usually in it for the long haul and are doing things right…or they are incredibly stubborn and delusional. (Laughter) I met my core group of friends six years ago, 80 percent of them are from my home state (just works out that way), and most of them have been here 10 years or more. I can’t imagine being here without them. LA will only feel like home if you make it home. It took me about two years to adapt fully and five years to make it my home. It is a tough and crazy city, but it is also flippin’ awesome! If you focus on the positive aspects of the city (not all the negative), find a core group of friends who love you, and hollow out your nook in a part of the city that you vibe with, then you will thrive.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Scholz: I’d say it’s a short film I did last June called “Alibi.” I play ISSAC, a hardened bull rider who struggles to hold his marriage together while fighting to keep his bother out of jail for a crime he didn’t commit, only to learn that his brother’s alibi is far worse than he could ever imagine. It was the most challenging, complex, and fulfilling role I’ve played so far. It was executive produced by Mark Burnett and directed by his talented son Cameron Burnett. Though it may seem weird to choose a short film out of all the feature films, pilots, and TV shows I’ve done. its not. This was one of those rare projects that all actors pray for. Every person involved was incredibly talented, gave their all, did their homework, checked their egos, and came together to make something amazing. We left nothing on the table and you can’t ask for more. The project is already doing big things. It won ‘Best Short” at its first festival (Hollywood Reel Film Festival) and was recently accepted into Cannes!!! Needless to say we are all very excited for what is to come. Stay tuned…

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role youd like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Scholz: This may sound bad, but I really want to play a serial killer or a twisted psychopath of sorts. I know what it would take to go there and how challenging it would be, which is partially what draws me to it. I have played many different types of characters and am at a stage now where I’m drawn to things that challenge me and allow for a flexing of my creative muscle. In sharp contrast, it’s also a dream to be on SNL and showcase some of the over-the-top characters I’ve created over the years. As far as the genre I feel most at home in, I’d say its science fiction or action/drama. Weirdly enough, comedy has always come easy to me. (I’m funny as balls in real life.) However, I never get called in for it and have only done a handful of comedic roles in my career due to my “type” and how casting sees me. The majority of the work I do is dramatic, which is funny because that was the hardest thing for me to learn and my main weakness as an actor when I was starting out. It took many years for me to become respectable at it…and who knows, I may still be terrible but no one wants to break the news. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Scholz: Actors need to have many strengths outside of their main skill set: Drive, self-motivating, marketing and social media skills, business sense, networking ability, charisma, professionalism, etc. Yes, I’m aware I’m doing a terrible job of not giving concise or specific answer for this question, but there is not just one answer, especially in this industry. Everyone in this town (casting, agents, directors, networks, etc.) has their own opinion on how things should be done, what’s good and what’s not, and what it takes to succeed. Trust me, you WILL go crazy if you try to listen to them all. There are no right or wrong answers or paths to get to the top. It’s YOUR individual story and journey. That being said, there are certain things you need to know to make that journey as smooth as possible and to keep yourself from being taken advantage of. Basically, these are just my opinions based on my experience, which was unique to me so take from them what you can. I’d say the greatest strengths an actor can have outside of acting itself are: CONFIDENCE (you believe it, they will believe it), GIVING (help as many people as you can as often as you can), KINDNESS (treat everyone on set with dignity and respect), EMPATHY (the best actors I know are also the most empathetic), and PURPOSE (you better have a reason for doing this other than fame and fortune).

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Scholz: I dream big so don’t laugh. First, I want to play a Jedi badass in one of the future installments of “Star Wars.” (Laughter) Yes, that is for real. Those movies were everything to me as a kid. They were not just an escape from struggles in my adolescence, but they stimulated my imagination, taught me to think big, and made me want to be a hero. My dream is to play a role that inspires kids in the same way. Second, I want to star as Nate Drake in the adaptation of the video game franchise “Uncharted,” which has the potential to be a modern day Indiana Jones. Not only am I huge fan of the franchise, I also look very similar to Nate Drake while sharing the same name and sunny disposition. Third, since consistency in this industry is the elusive holy grail we all seek… I want to be a series regular on a show that makes syndication, preferably in the science fiction genre (think “Battlestar Galactica”). Lastly, I want to be nominated for (and hopefully win) an Oscar, SAG award, and Emmy. And yes, these goals are are written in my daily mantra. Go big or go home!

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Scholz: Start young and do not come here unless you have conquered the market in which you live. Meaning, hone your craft where you live until it’s good enough to consistently book projects in that area. Don’t come here without a resume. You need to be successful in a small market with little competition if you ever want to be successful here. Don’t just come out here because you want to be an actor. Be an actor first and if you are successful/talented enough where you live then try your luck out here. LA is too expensive and competitive to waste time dicking around. Plus, you usually only get one shot with casting so if you come in and you are garbage, you may never be called back again. Don’t burn that bridge because you are impatient. Also, MAKE YOU OWN CONTENT. The industry has changed. Opportunities are VERY few and far between. It is important that you can be a jack (or jill) of all trades: producing, directing, writing, etc. Not only will that make you a WAY better actor, it will allow you to bypass auditioning and write yourself lead roles that are perfect for you. I would also advise not falling into the Hollywood party scene. Whatever the other actors are doing, do the opposite. Keep your nose down, work harder and smarter than your peers, and network. Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be professionally. Never be the smartest or most talented person in the room. It’s NOT a race, it’s a marathon. Most overnight success stories took 10 to 20 years. Have a flexible, well-paying day job. I could keep going… but I won’t.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Scholz: You can learn more about me on my IMDb page ( There you will find my bio, picture, reels, clips of my work, and about half of my acting credits. Instagram is also a good place to learn more about me (SpooneyMcGavin). I always keep it updated with behind the scenes pictures, red carpet shenanigans, and personal exploits. Or you can just Google Nate Scholz and a bunch of stuff will pop up.

Tags : actingactoralibicameron burnettnate scholzNext Up

The author trunkprc

CBD Products