It’s been nearly 20 years since Nathan Black graduated from Full Sail’s Recording Arts program, and these days his resume reads like a novel. Beginning with a gig working on the sound department of the Francis Ford Coppola-directed feature film The Rainmaker, which starred Matt Damon and Claire Danes and was filmed in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, Nathan spent the next ten years in the movie industry working on everything from Scream 2 to Hustle & Flow.
These films were just one aspect of his multifaceted career.
“In between films I also began working with the Memphis Grizzlies when the NBA moved the team from Vancouver in 2002,” Nathan says. “I’ve been the Head Audio Engineer along with House DJ for the home games for the past 14 years.”
A typical game day for Nathan begins with sound rehearsals about four hours before tip off. “We rehearse everything from the national anthem to the dance team routines and prep as much as we can,” he says. “That pretty much takes us to the doors opening and that’s when I begin playing.”
The gig is as great as one might imagine: “There’s nothing like playing a track and hearing 20,000 fans clap and chant along,” he says.
Even though Nathan has been with the Grizzlies for the past 12 years, his passion for film has always stayed with him. He keeps a camera handy at all times to shoot stills and video, and he’s directed music videos for some of Memphis’s local talent. Some of those videos recently caught the attention of film director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan, Footloose), who brought Nathan on board as the Director of Photography and Lead Editor for his MTV web-series project, $5 Cover. And in the midst of that, he’s also shot several documentaries, two of which—Take Me To The River and The 78 Project—were screened at SXSW this year.
He’s also become quite a pro on the HDR photography front, something that he calls a hobby but that way undersells the incredible work he showcases in his online portfolio at nathanblackhdr.com.
“The photographs have almost a surreal painted feel to them,” says Nathan. “They caught the eye of a gallery owner of A Memphis Thing in downtown Memphis, who now carries a lot of my work.”
It’s this ‘refuse-to-choose’ mentality that has allowed Nathan to point his talent in so many different directions, and that’s translated into a very fulfilling professional life.