Matt Williams is a curious mind. Originally from the small town of Franklin, Pennsylvania, Matt grew up drawing, writing and constantly playing pretend. That is no less true today.
Since he was a child, Matt has been fascinated by cinema and captivated by performance, frequently sitting through the end credits of films, seeking out long-form interviews with artists, and memorizing his favorite monologues and lines. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the first thing Matt ever remembers saying was, “An actor.”
And yet, the universe had other ideas in store first. More curious than his overactive imagination may be the passions Matt has chosen to pursue along the way. Notably, he has a masters degree in Business Administration from Belmont University, which he earned in 2011. During that time, the entrepreneur fused his creative dexterity with his business acumen, and began freelancing in branding and design, eventually amassing a sizeable and eclectic client base.
One such client was FOCUS on the 615, an entertainment-based online magazine. Though he was asked to redesign their brand imagery and website, Matt’s energy and personality caught the attention of the owner, and he was asked if he would like to conduct on-camera interviews. Suddenly, Matt’s business and creative worlds had collided with an epiphanic boom. This was the spark that drove the restless entertainer to find an agent (The Block Agency, Nashville, TN) and enroll in the Nashville Acting Studio.
However, the incessant opportunist was not on a one-way journey just yet. Matt met artist manager Shawn Carnes in 2012, and the following year they formed Nashville Underground Radio, an online show and podcast highlighting emerging artists and events in Music City. Through the show’s growing popularity and the duo’s connections, this small venture morphed into Nashville Underground Management, a company that has signed and garnered publishing deals, television appearances and song placements for multiple up-and-coming artists. Though Nashville Underground continues to thrive, Matt has stepped back from day-to-day operations with the company to focus on acting and writing.
At this point Matt had been studying acting (and working with some consistency) for several years; however, the universe finally decided it was time to hit the artistic vagabond square in the jaw with an undeniable experience. In 2015, Matt was cast in Everyday Yeti, written and directed by Motke Dapp, as part of the 48 Hour Film Project. Armed with a brilliant story and incredible collaborators, this short film won top prize in the Nashville competition and then went on to be recognized as one of the best films at Filmapalooza in Atlanta. Here Matt was nominated for Best Actor, and the film went on to screen at the Cannes Film Festival.
The following year, Matt teamed up with Dapp again, this time in Cincinnati, to shoot Lessons In Accidental Magic. The enchanting short film won 12 awards in the city competition, including Best Film and Matt took home the prize for Best Actor.
Matt is also known for his roles in films such as Shaken Not Stirred, Introverts Anonymous and the improvised performance art mocumentary, Pieces. He has guest starred on CMT’s Nashville, and starred in the hit web series WTF?!, as well as appearing in commercials for brands such as Toyota, Zappos, Cotton: The Fabric of Our Lives and Sport Clips, among others.
Still not one to rest, Matt is currently writing his own film and television material, including multiple short films he plans to put in production this year.
From childhood pencil sketches to designing brand identities; from writing stories in note pads to developing television show ideas; from constantly playing pretend to… well, constantly playing pretend in front of cameras. No matter the experiences in between, one through-line certainty remains: Matt is limited only by his imagination… which continues to actively, curiously expand.
Matt‘s thoughts manifest themselves as characters, scripts and pretty pictures. Or sometimes just sarcasm. Which is to say, he’s an actor, writer and creator. And smart ass.
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photography by AÑA MONIQUE BRAYDEN HEATH CAMERON POWELL and RON REAGAN
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