"I'm a third child, and I crave attention..."
Nathan Clarkson is an actor, writer, producer, and lover of stories. Nathan has appeared on commercials, TV-shows, films and starred opposite Kevin Sorbo in a new faith-based feature film called Confessions of a Prodigal Son, written and produced by Nathan and his production company Lighting Dark.
Growing up Nathan was constantly described as "out of the box"and even though Nathan was diagnosed with OCD, ODD, ADHD, and other learning disabilities- Nathan was able to take what many would see as "disorders" and turn them into "superpowers."
Nathan lives in Los Angeles California with his adventure partner/wife (Rachel Lee), and there, he hopes to bring a light to a dark world while following Jesus to infinity and beyond.
When did you first hear about AMTC?
It was my senior year of high school: when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. What God had called me to, what my passions and dreams of my heart meant, and how I was going to pursue them. So AMTC came at a really pivotal point in my life.
Had you always been passionate about entertainment?
Yeah, since a young age I had always been passionate about stories and connecting with people. I found in my own life, that stories connected and inspired me. They challenged me, giving me the ability to see my life in a bigger sense, as part of a bigger story. That's where my love for movies and film came from. I'm a third child, and I crave attention. So I've always liked performing and being in front of people, and working with people. I'm an extrovert. So that's where it started, with my passion for stories.
How did your passion for stories develop through your testimony?
I'm a pastor's son, and my mom is a speaker and writer, so I was introduced to God at a very young age. I've always known him, but following him is a different story all together. What inspired me to follow Jesus were His stories. We are all telling stories with the lives we have, and Jesus offers to let Him be the author of our life, and tell an incredible story. Without Him, we try to fins a purpose and meaning but ultimately, it won't be a truly great story unless Jesus is the author. So I guess my passion for seeing my life as a story transitioned into wanting God to tell the story.
My testimony, I've always known and believed in God, but it wasn't until early in high school that I saw my life as what it could be if I let God in it and allow Him to be the narrator of what I was doing.
Jesus ultimately changed the world by walking around His hometown and telling stories. So as I grew up with these heroes in my mind from the Bible, I decided that I wanted to live like that: a life that changes people and ultimately brings light to a dark world.
Going back to AMTC and SHINE, what was the conference like for you?
I think it opened my eyes first to see that the gifts and passions God put inside of me were more than just a career. SHINEgave my passions and dreams a purpose. It put them in a larger context of what they could be. So SHINE allowed me to see tons of people who weren't just showcasing their talents for their own fame and money, but instead using their gifts and passions for the glory of God.
So I began seeing my passions as a calling. Secondly, it placed the tools in my hand. My parents are writers, but the entertainment industry is an entirely different ballgame. So I had all of these dreams, and captured the idea that they were a calling, but I didn't know how. AMTC's agents and VIP’s enabled me to be around people who knew how to get me to the next step.
At SHINE, I met with the New York Film Academy, and received a scholarship. I studied acting for a year in New York, then moved to Los Angeles. AMTC was the first step I took when following my dreams. It was about positively impacting the world and fulfilling a calling.
So now, you've written, produced and starred in “Confessions Of A Prodigal Son?" What was the vision and how did you build up the courage to create?
It's kind of a two-part answer. The first is the inspiration and the second is logistically how it happened. The inspiration was that I had come out to Los Angeles with the best of intentions, but I had come to L.A. seeking purpose, and looking to fill the desires of my heart. I think that's something we all feel – longing to understand out purpose, and wanting to matter. So I came out here looking for that success.
After a few years of meeting the real world of entertainment, which was a lot of rejection. Even if I would book a role, so many times I would have to turn it down because of morals and honoring God. So it was a real sobering couple of years. As I looked around, I saw so many people doing the exact same thing: chasing this dream of value and purpose. They look to fill that purpose with fame or money, or notoriety, or sex, drugs and rock and roll. I had that desire too, even as a Christian.
So somewhere along the way, after a few no's, a few auditions and a few roles I had to turn down, I felt God begin to touch my heart. He said, You're not just supposed to be part of stories, you're supposed to tell the story that is on My heart. I began asking God to put the stories that were on His heart, on my heart. I had never writhed a script before. Thus far, I had only ever been on the actor side, which is a pretty easy side in comparison.
I had no idea what I was doing. So I sat down one day, after a particularly hard time, and read the story of the Prodigal Son. I realized that I felt so many similarities between me and the son. This son left home looking for fulfillment and purpose, and of course he found those in the wrong ways. That's what I had seen myself and so many Hollywood people do, and ultimately it's what I saw my whole generation doing: looking for fulfillment, calling, and purpose in all the wrong places. So I wrote this story for myself, the city, and ultimately my generation to get a picture in our minds that our satisfaction will ultimately come from Jesus.
Then logistically, I sat down in my apartment that I was sharing with five guys (which was crazy but fun), and decided that I was going to try to do my best, God be with me. And I wrote my first script, which was “Confessions Of A Prodigal Son." The way it happened wasn't because I had connections, and wasn't because I had a lot of money, but because I continued saying yes. God wanted me to write a script, and I said yes. I said yes to sharing it with anyone who would listen. I kept on sharing it and talking to people, an every now and then I would hear a “yes" and would walk through that door.
Through that, I saw God bring out the people who shared the vision for the culture. So I found people who were good at what they did, who shared the same vision.
How did you bring Kevin Sorbo on board?
Kind of the same way! Kevin has had an illustrious career, and is a very recognizable and well-known actor, and here I come; a 22-year-old, a kid with a script trying to do something. I approached him and said, “Man I don't have much money, I don't have experience, but I have a vision." I sent him the script, not hoping for much, and all of a sudden I get an email back saying that Kevin wanted to be a part of the film. He even took it a step further with a scene in the end of the film. The father, Kevin Sorbo, preaches a sermon about his son. When Kevin saw the script, he asked if he could take and write the sermon himself. So he wrote a complete sermon that you can see at the end of the film.
What was it like to star alongside your wife, Rachel, in the film?
First of all, she is such a professional, and has been doing this since she was 17. She's been on Disney, all over the place on television shows. She knew exactly what to do, came prepared, had her lines down. It's always amazing to work with a professional who takes the time to train. Aside from that, we had been dating and engaged for quite a while, so there was that natural chemistry that was really fun. Working with the woman I love, playing her love interest, was just a blast.
What has been the biggest challenge?
No's can be really discouraging, but when you have a vision on your heart, no amount of rejections will stop you. I would say the hardest part, for me, was trying to wear so many different costumes at one time. As a young filmmaker on a limited budget, I was playing producer, writer, actor, and just about everything else – as were many other people. So I would be like, "Hey, Nathan! You're about to deliver a really emotional monologue, where you have to be deeply broken, but ALSO the crew needs lunch and we don't have our next location locked, and we need for you to sign on all of these contracts for actors." It really taught me a lot as well, and made me rely on other people.
You can purchase the film in Walmart, Target, Amazon, K-Mart, pretty much anywhere you can buy movies!
Upcoming plans for the next film?
I heard a producer talking about Robert Downey Jr., saying that he never rests. I'm the same way-– I don't idle well at all. That being said, once one project is done, I want to begin working on the next! So I am working on a couple of other films. One, it's untitled right now, is a Dystopian Allegory. It's bigger in scope, and takes place in this whole different world, but will be really fun! It has a strong message. We have a script, and are about to begin the casting process for that.
Anything you want to share with performers?
Realize that dreams and passions on your heart are not just for a vocation, they are a calling. And next, say “yes" to what God puts in from of you! He is faithful and just to complete the work that He has started. If you allow Him to continue growing your visions and dreams, even if the vision is participating in AMTC, keep saying yes! Lastly, stay close to God and allow Him to tell your story. It's so important and there is no greater value than to follow Him along in this journey. With Him, you will find everything.