Matt Williams has 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. He would frequently sit through the end credits of films, seek out long-form interviews with artists, and memorize 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 have been the passions Matt chose to pursue along the way. 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 by 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 only asked to redesign their brand imagery and website, Matt’s energy and personality caught the attention of the site’s founder, 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, providing him with the spark that found him an agent (The Block Agency, Nashville, TN) and drove him to 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 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 him 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 made an appearance on CMT’s Nashville, and starred in the hit web series WTF?!, as well as appearing in commercials for brands such as Toyota, Valvoline, Zappos, Cotton: The Fabric of Our Lives, ADS Security, Cox Business and Sport Clips, among others.
In 2016, Matt branched out yet again, this time into the world of improvisation. After joining the Third Coast Comedy Training Center, he quickly fell in love with the art. “Improv is the purest form of art I do,” he says. “When you come to a show you’re seeing something that has never existed before and will never happen again.”
Through each progressive level of the training center Matt and his fellow improvisers formed a comradery, leading them to create their own troupe, The Varsity. The team can be seen performing periodically at Third Coast Comedy Club in Nashville, TN. (Click HERE for dates!) Matt was also asked to join the newly-formed Sketch and Video team where he will write, perform and direct.
Matt went from writing stories in note pads and constantly playing pretend to developing television and sketch show ideas and… well, still playing pretend. No matter the experiences in between, one through-line certainly remains: Matt is limited only by his imagination… which continues to actively, curiously expand.