Up & Comer: Actor Nick Bolton

Today’s profile subject came to my attention through a very thoughtful piece he did on entertainment trade site, The Wrap. In it, he mentioned being from a one stop-light town and having over 40,000 Twitter followers. The juxtaposition of those two tidbits, small town kid comes to the big city and makes a splash on social media, was intriguing and so modern. Today’s established public figures are called upon to build their own fan bases through social media and Nick Bolton had topped many of them with a few small credits to his name. Our conversation did not disappoint. Smart, strategic, humble, and ever-grateful for the help he’s had thus far, Nick Bolton is off to a solid start in showbiz.

Current project(s) and/or recently-completed project(s):  This is my third year in Los Angeles. I spent a year and a half or so strictly training and just recently started working. Right now, I am filming my first feature, called BIRTHDAY CAKE. A couple of months ago, I did a web series, “Project Phoenix,” starring Lee Meriwether, Susan Blakely, and Sherilyn Fenn. Before that, I did a few feature roles on TV shows. I was the host in a pilot that was for the Travel Channel.

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Hometown:  I’m from a small area in West Virginia: Tucker County. There are a couple of ski resorts there so tourists come from the neighboring states to wind down.

So did you go to college?  I was in college for a little while, for something that had nothing to do with acting whatsoever. I was actually going into the medical field.

Really? How did that happen?  My family had been involved in the medical field and as much as I loved acting, it didn’t seem attainable to me. But then I had this wow moment where I was like, “If I’m going to do this, now is the time. I can always go back to school if it comes to that.” So I researched the industry for a couple of months and saved up money and just got on the plane and came here.

That must have been culture shock coming from a small town.  It wasn’t really hard on me until a few months in, actually, and then I started to get a bit home sick.

Nick & Rosario Dawson

So tell me about arriving here. How did you get yourself situated? Did you have any contacts here?  I had one contact I knew just a little bit and he happened to be a director. I had a place to stay set up before I came here and, as I said, had saved money before I came here, which I would encourage everyone to do. Even getting just a regular job can be hard these days. I realize not everyone will be able to do this, but if you can, you should at least save enough to live for four to six months without income.

Okay. You have your money saved up. You have your home set up. You have arrived in LA. Was this director helpful in making connections for you?  He helped me a little in getting into that world, but it wasn’t like I had anything handed to me. He told me he could guide me but I had to do it myself. But the very first person that I met when I got here was a celebrity

Through the director? How did that happen?  Well, he had picked me up at the airport to take me to my place. On the way, he had to drop something off and his friend was a celebrity.

So you have a good director contact and a celebrity mentor?  Yeah, I do. I actually have several celebrities who have been very nice and supportive in guiding me.

What was it that made you stop on the medical path and come out here to be an actor?  I don’t know what it was, other than the fact that I knew I loved acting and, as I said, I knew if I was going to do this, now was the time. I didn’t have any commitments and I knew I could always go back to school if it came to that. I came out here and I studied acting, which is very important. I still study. I think everybody should be studying all the time.

Nick & Kelsi Roberts @ The Groundlings

Do you study with one of the main acting coaches?  I studied with a few different ones. I studied at Playhouse West. I studied at Annie Grindlay Studios. I studied with the Groundlings for improv. I’m up to their intermediate level now. I’ve been working so I haven’t had time to attend, but I’m definitely going to back. That was one of the most amazing experiences of my career. My entire class is still in contact. We all get together to hang out and it’s great.

Take me into what you’ve done. What acting roles have you had and how they did they come about?  When I first moved to LA, I did background work, which was great for me because it taught me how to be on a set. Before that, I had only done theater. The background work led to a couple of featured roles on a couple of TV shows. As far as actual acting, “Project Phoenix,” the web series, was probably the first time I felt like I got to act. That was a great experience. Everyone got along so well. That led to other things. Now, I’m doing a feature film and I have another feature film and other work to do after the New Year.

Do you have representation and, if so, how did you get it?  Interestingly enough, I have booked most of my work in social settings, just getting to know people. I believe if you are putting yourself out there and you are going to classes, you will draw that stuff to you. It’s been proven to me over and over again. I don’t really like the word “networking” that much because it feels too premeditated or something, but I think it’s important to constantly be creating and doing things, using creative energy. There are a lot of people in LA who aren’t doing anything, who are instead waiting for something to happen.

Are you in SAG-Aftra?  Yes. I got it from working on an Indie film. I was lucky in that. People told me when I first came out here that you can get in from background acting, but that really doesn’t happen very often.

You have a big Twitter following, but you don’t have a website?  I don’t. I do think every actor should have one and it’s something that I am working on right now. I just recently started working so I am putting together a reel which will be on my site. For now, I have the Twitter account (@NickBolton13) and a Facebook Page.

It probably would be good for casting directors to be able to see your work in one place. Yes. Definitely. I waited a long time before getting involved in projects because I was studying, which was great, but I wish I had done more creatively with web series and short films and doing student films and stuff like that. You can get great footage for acting reels and I have had casting directors say that it’s not necessarily about the quality of the footage. And when your agent submits you for something, people with video go to the top. If they are going to go through 200 people, they will see 200 people who have video.

Who is your acting role model? This can be either an actor whose talent you admire or whose career you would want to model yours after.  I am absolutely in love with Meryl Streep. I think everything she does is brilliant. Obviously, I will not mold my career after her because we’re not going to play the same type, but she has such a balance of being able to be dramatic and comedic. I think she can just do anything.

What’s the best day of your quest so far?  There have been a couple of occasions where, after a project, I have gotten notes from several cast and crew, some of them veterans in the industry, telling me how much they enjoyed working with me. Saying I was not only incredibly professional, but also a lot of fun to be around on set. Those made me feel really good. I want to be that person that everybody enjoys working with. It’s supposed to be fun after all.

How about worst day of your quest so far?  Oh, gosh. When I was first starting out, I went in to see Jeff Greenburg, the “Modern Family” Casting Director. I don’t know what I was thinking. It seems like common sense that you should dress for the part that you are going to audition for, but I went in dressed like I was going to the beach to read for this character who was dressed professionally. He was so kind about it. He told me that he enjoyed my audition, but I appeared too young on camera for this particular role. I may not have looked so young if I dressed the part, but I will never know for sure. I hope he forgot about it by now.

So what’s the best paid acting job you’ve had so far?  “Project Phoenix.” It was just so much fun to work on. Everyone was amazing and the creator and director, Chad Darnell. is a brilliant writer and just a great person to work for. I’m working for him again now, shooting a feature film called BIRTHDAY CAKE.

What about a eureka moment, when you realized you did or did not want to do something or that you should do something differently?  I think when I realized that there isn’t always a reason why you do or you don’t get a role. In fact, a lot of the times there probably isn’t a specific reason. The only thing you can do is make sure that your acting is up to par for the moment when you do get into the audition room, give your best performance and then let it go.

Okay. So brush with greatness? It can be celebrity encounter or just being exposed to someone being brilliant at what they do.  I would say Lee Meriwether, who was in “Project Phoenix.” I got to spend some time around her on set. She’s got so many industry credits to her name and is one of the most humble giving people you will ever meet. She’s a great example of how we should all handle success.

Very cool. Words of wisdom to someone coming down the path behind you?  Persevere. That word has meant so much to me. There will be so many times where you don’t know what to do or where to turn. You just have to keep moving forward. That’s all you can do sometimes. Also don’t wait around for things to happen. Like I said before, we can continually be creating and putting ourselves out there with the technology that we have available today. There really isn’t an excuse.

How will you know when you make it?  When I have so much money that I don’t have to pay for anything. I mean, that’s how it works. You finally get to the point where you make more in a week than most people do in a year and you get everything from clothes to vacation given to you for free. But in all seriousness, I feel like the term “made it” implies that you can’t go up from there. So I like to think that as I grow, my goals will be growing and getting bigger as well. I hope I never think I have made it. At least not until I am very, very old.

What’s your dream job?  I would love to be in a great sitcom. I want to do it all, film and television, but I think there’s something special about doing a sitcom. We become like a family. And I love making people laugh. I always have. Plus I love the idea of consistent work.

To connect with Nick Bolton, do what everyone else does and follow him on Twitter (@NickBolton13) or, for booking inquiries only, reach out to him directly at  nick77ae@yahoo.com.

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About JennyYM

Jenny Yerrick Martin is a veteran entertainment hiring executive with 20+ years in film, television, and music. She created yourindustryinsider.com to give students, recent grads and others a true picture of the layout of the industry, and how to break in, transition to a new area, or achieve more success on their current path.

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