Andrew Nielson pursues acting, networking and education


While Nielson is the new kid in town, he's no stranger the stage. Andrew Nielson came to New York City to pursue his dream of acting and transferred into King's last spring. Nielson attended Olivet Nazarene

University in Chicago, but he said he was “just ready” to come to the city.

“I loved going to school every day and then driving to the theater and having this three hour epic musical in front of 3,000 people, and I did it every night.  That’s when I caught the bug of 'I want to do this as a living,' and I want this to always be my job,” he said.

So far, the New York theater community has proved to be pretty welcoming.

“In other places [networking] doesn’t really turn into anything fruitful, but in New York City, you never know how each individual person can affect your entire career,” Nielson said.

These people end up becoming his close friends or supporters of his work. Whether waiting in line for a voice lesson or audition, or talking to people after shows, the people Nielson meets are always potential artists to work for or alongside.

Nielson finds that networking is an integral aspect of finding work. He found his last three jobs through people that knew of him through other people. Nielson also had an internship last semester with a theater company where he was able produce some stage readings and act, opening up his network enormously.

He is producing an upcoming musical web-series: “We have amazingly prominent, up and coming musical theater performers and writers involved. Original music has to be written and we have to go into a recording studio to record both the orchestra and the actors. Quite a thrill and a challenge."

Right now, Nielson is working in an indie feature film called Lover’s Game, a dramatic love story placed in New York City.  The production team plans to start in June and release the pilot in early summer.

While he enjoys both film and theater, Nielson finds them to be very different. No audience is present during filming. “The camaraderie of the cast is different. I film my scene, and other people are filming in different parts of the city, so you might never get to see with them again. It’s just… different.  For me, a big part of the production is the cast.”

Nielson said the live element of theater is one its attractions. “I love going back to the theater every night and doing the same performance over and over again for a different audience,” he said. He also finds that theater requires a lot more of you physically, and it is more exhausting to do a show repetitively than to film a scene in a few takes through the day. This is true “unless you’re starring in a major film, but I obviously haven’t had that experience yet,” he joked.

Nielson says that acting takes devotion. “You can’t go at it half-heartedly; it has to be your main pursuit.” To be good, one has to be constantly working harder, and auditioning, and turned down. “In that respect, it is very hard, but there are also so many opportunities that it’s possible to find work.”

The competition and intimidation in the acting world are also hard to get past. Nielson describes it as a “self-esteem punching bag." While Nielson knows it would be easier to choose a different career, he rests on the supportive theatrical community he's established. Nielson feels that his studies at King’s are also important to his career. While he is not pursuing a degree in theater or dramatics, he believes that will not hinder him.

Though sometimes Nielson thinks it would be easier to pursue his interests full time, he acknowledges the significance of a liberal arts degree: “I don’t want to just be an entertainer, I want to take a little bit a step further and hopefully be an artist of some kind. I think education leads me to better understanding of the world, and as result of understanding the world, I am a better performer.” For more information on Andrew Nielson, visit: