Meet Nathan Shaw from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, who moved to LA 3 years ago to pursue the illustrious "American Dream" and forge a successful career in Hollywood.
|photo by @John Anthony Sutton|
At the time I was playing 'Peter Pan' over at Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan and some of my fellow performers had graduated from AMDA (The American Musical and Dramatic Academy). They had locations both in NYC and LA. After already training and working within Dance and Musical Theatre, I thought it was about time I finished off the "Triple Threat" training package and dedicate myself to a full-time acting program. Los Angeles was my number one choice because of well... The weather ha ha. No, I joke. I read up on the faculty and reviews of both campus, and the opportunity was of course much greater on the West Coast.
What do you miss most from home?
Apart from family, nothing so much stands out. I recently went back to the UK for 6 weeks whilst my new O1 Visa was processing. It became clear after a couple of days that there was nothing much left for me there anymore. My life, career and friends were now in the U.S from the previous 3 years of living in LA.
I can get my PG Tips and Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup at Ralphs so i'm all good in that aspect.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus Wakefield?
I don't see any sheep or farms? Ha ha. No, I don't miss the fact that there is no relevance to 'Emmerdale' here. One of the biggest differences is obviously waking up to a blue sky and the sun shining everyday. However, in terms of the work - there is so much more opportunity. Back in the UK, I would maybe have 1 or 2 auditions a month. Whereas here in LA, you can have 2, 3 or 4 auditions a day. If you live, sleep, eat, breathe Entertainment, you need to be in what is described as the "Entertainment Capitol of the World".
Do you have a hidden gem in LA?
Apart from the "Lakeside Car Wash" on Riverside Dr (Burbank) who do a mean $20 detail (Shout out to them for cleaning my Ford Mustang every month) and the 'Backyard Marinated Steak Hot Plate' at Tender Greens, I haven't found many hidden gems recently. The Wisdom Tree Hike has a pretty amazing view but I'm still yet to hike to the Hollywood Sign and take one of those infamous selfies. Maybe I'll find the time in these next 3 years?
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here ?
It's not for everyone, but at least give it a shot! If you are truly dedicated to performing then you need to immerse yourself in this world. If you're not a performer, then the lifestyle is next to none. Just make sure you get a car with air conditioning.
How can we find out more about you? Are you working on anything at the moment?
You can follow me on Social Media (Instagram @nafboy) and (Twitter @nath_shaw). You can also take a look at my website and IMDb page to see what i've been working on and what is to come.
What is the best piece of advice you've been given?
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 or big move (LA or London or wherever in the world)? 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 or make that move to LA! Maybe it might help you to figure that out and give you some fresh inspiration or motivation.