20 Under 30 Class of 2010

417 Magazine proudly presents the next generation of 417-land leaders.

(page 20 of 21)

 Nathan Shelton, 28

Special effects designer/actor/director/producer

Nathan Shelton has long been a special effects maestro of Springfield theater, and now he’s got some national credit to go along with it. He served as special effects designer for Winter’s Bone, which recently won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. He constructed gory effects for the film, including a set of severed hands and a rotting corpse. “It has made my IMDb page a lot more interesting,” he says. Shelton is also a screenwriter; a horror-comedy he wrote has been named a finalist at both the London International Film Festival and the HP Lovecraft Film Festival.—M.L.

Check out our behind-the-scenes video from the 20 Under 30 shoot!

Q&A: Get to know Nathan Shelton

How do you get your news?
“NPR. My favorite show is Prairie Home Companion. It’s just the kind of old-style radio show that I find great.”

What’s one website you check daily?
“Facebook.”

What did you want to be when you grew up when you were 5?
“A stuntman. I started watching Thriller when I was a kid, the behind-the-scenes, and it made me want to be a spec guy and a stuntman.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Working professionally in the industry, not having to work any side jobs anymore, doing what I love doing. I plan on directing, writing and acting for a living, very possibly within the next five years.”

If you had to choose any other profession, what would ou choose?
“Police detective. I find that fascinating.”

How do you define success?
“Being personally happy with where you are, and getting to do the kind of work that you love doing with people that you love.”

Why do you like what you do?
“Because what I do isn’t just a job, more of a life. And it’s the best part of being an artist; you get to live what you work and work what you live. The difference between the two is very small.”

Fill in the blank. A perfect day at work is… ?
“Going home satisfied and exhausted.”

Three words that describe your job are… ?
"Difficult, fast-paced, fun."

What’s your dream job?
“Professional film actor.”

What’s the biggest workplace prank you’ve ever taken part in?
“One time I faked a heart attack at work when I was the Opinion Center taking surveys. In the office we’d get so bored, me and this guy would get in arguments. One day I faked a heart attack and he freaked out and tried to call 911. He was [mad].”

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do for your career?
“Having to spend so much time away from my kids and family, but very often I have to leave them, and I hear my daughter saying ‘Well daddy hass to go to work.’ I work day and night, and don’t get to see my family a lot.”

Where’s your ideal vacation?
“Europe, around the United Kingdom.”

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