The North Bend Eagle


Lights, camera, action
Nathan Hansen works as the gaffer for a visual effects shoot in Lincoln.

NBC grads prepared to make the move to the big screen

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 1/15/14

North Bend Central graduates can be found all over the world, or right at home, following different career paths.

A number of NBC grads have found their way to Los Angles or New York City to make their mark in film or stage careers. Emmy Award winning actress Marg Helgenberger is the most well-known of these, but there are several other locals who are currently finding work behind the camera or on the stage.
Nathan Hansen, a 2010 graduate of NBC, will graduate from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film with an emphasis in film and new media.

Last summer a friend helped him get a job as a production assistant on the movie set of Walter in L.A., which featured actor William H. Macy.

“I slept on my friend’s couch and went to work every day,” Hansen said.
This lasted a month. When he returned to Lincoln and went with a UNL professor to New York to work as a grip, a person who helps with the lighting and camera movement, on the film Laurence. In both places he worked on small, independent films.

Right now Hansen is producing two films for his senior thesis as well as helping classmates with their films as a gaffer in charge of lights. During his junior year Hansen wrote and directed a film, Clocked, that is being submitted for awards at film festivals

After graduation in May, Hansen plans to move to New York or L.A. and work as much as he can in the entertainment industry, with hopes of being a director someday.

“I hope to be on as many sets as I can,” Hansen said. “I have the good the fortune that people like to work with me, so I hope to stay employed doing what I love.”

While at NBC Hansen was involved in speech and drama, earning a medal at state speech.

“Speech totally helped shape my career in film,” Hansen said. “I learned how to communicate. It’s frustrating if you can’t communicate ideas.”

Another trait Hansen credits to his school activities is that he is not afraid to talk to people, especially about films.

“I have a dream and I want to follow it,” Hansen said.

Other NBC graduates have made their way to the coasts to follow their dream in the entertainment industry.

After graduating from North Bend in 2002, Joie Bauer attended South Dakota University before heading to New York City to be an actor.

“The reason I am able to make a living in New York, and still follow my passion, is directly related to growing up in a small town,” Bauer said. “When I’m not acting I make a living using the carpentry skills I learned working with Jerry Hall. I work on everything from theatrical productions to multi-million dollar weddings to Mercedes Benz fashion week at Lincoln Center.”

Bauer is now applying to graduate school for his Masters of Fine Arts in Acting at Juilliard, Yale, NYU, and University of San Diego. He has appeared in numerous off-Broadway plays in New York.

Jeff Bacon, an 1991 alumnus of NBC, graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University before moving to the coast to follow his dream of being a screen writer. He continues to follow that dream now living in Los Angeles working at Sony Pictures Entertainment for the Screen Gems movie division in their business affairs department. Bacon occasionally teaches screen writing and producing courses at the International Academy of Film and Television. He hopes that a script titled “Seven Days Waiting,” which he helped write, will go into production this year. He offered this advice to aspiring movie maker and fellow North Bend Hansen.

“Move to L.A. or New York as soon as possible and get involved in as many productions as you can,” Bacon said. “Work on independent films, student films, work for free, and make friends with fun and creative people. If you move to Los Angeles, get involved with the Nebraska Coast Connection. The NCC provides an opportunity for Nebraska transplants working in Hollywood to rub elbows with other industry professionals. (Oscar winning Nebraskan) Alexander Payne even shows up once in awhile. The NCC helped me get my first job as a file clerk working at MGM Studios.”

Bacon doesn’t think coming from a small town had much to do with his career choice, but he does hold the values close with which he was brought up.
“It was about having a strong support system in place with family and friends that encouraged me to follow my dreams,” Bacon said.

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