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Alumni Profile – Casey Nelson

Catherine Oman

Casey Nelson has been a Georgia Bulldog since birth.  

Growing up a self-professed die-hard UGA fan, he attended home football games every weekend and has fond childhood memories of tailgating and running through North Campus throwing a frisbee. When the time came for college, it was a dream come true for him to accept a track and field scholarship at the school he’d always loved.  

Fittingly, it was in Athens that another of Nelson’s life-long passions would come into focus: the cinema. 

“Deep down, I always fantasized about being involved in movies, but growing up in Georgia in the ‘80s, it didn’t really seem like a realistic possibility,” Nelson said. “It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I really started taking acting seriously and decided that I would move to Los Angeles upon graduation.” 

After graduating with a degree in Drama (AB, '02) from UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Nelson did just that. His early 20s were spent working every job that L.A. had to offer him. He waited tables, catered, and took on any extra work he could find to pay his rent. All he knew was that he wanted to be an actor.

A few years passed. He got his SAG card and was in acting class every week, dreaming about his big break. It was during this period of waiting that he happened to be gifted an old camera by a family friend.  He started photography as a hobby and began to read and write scripts in his free time.

Before long, he was taking all of his friends’ headshots for free and writing with two different writing partners. Within a year, he was working as a photographer, had written four screenplays and made three short films. With nothing to lose, he decided to write a feature film with the goal of writing, producing and acting in it alongside a classmate. The Last Treasure Hunt would be released in 2016 and stay Top 25 on iTunes for three straight months. 

“That experience changed my life forever. I knew after that, without a doubt, that I wanted to be a filmmaker.” 

Now an Atlanta-based actor, filmmaker and photographer, Casey Nelson has followed this conviction to success. One of his newest films, Black White and the Greys, won ten awards in 2022- including the Audience Choice Award at the prestigious Sedona Film Festival. 

As he’s learned along the way, “To be truly great, at any profession, especially acting and filmmaking, requires commitment, hard work, and most importantly, years and years of simply "doing it."  It's a marathon, not a sprint.”

Even as challenges like the pandemic and the recently resolved SAG-AFTRA strike have cropped up, Nelson has remained focused on his work, continued creating films, and never stopped dreaming big. His hope for the future?

“I'd really like to write and direct a feature by myself. My dream has always been to have a film play at Sundance.  I've been invited by friends to attend many times but vowed that I'd never go until I had one of my films screen there.  Hopefully one day, that moment will come.” 

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