We had the good fortune of connecting with Nathan Scheuer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nathan, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Throughout my life, I’ve always struggled with finding that perfect balance of work and life. It is especially hard because I truly love what I do and I am one of the lucky few who has been able to turn one of their passions into their career, and up until the pandemic, it was the only field in which I ever held a job. In all aspects of work, comparison can be self-destructive, but in the creative sphere it can be debilitating because there is no common factor of ‘success’, no universal sales figures, no simple bottom line that declares one person better than the other, and since the arts can be subjective, sometimes the simple comparison factor becomes how much work one has done. This barometer of success overwhelmed my psyche and caused me to say yes to every opportunity at the sacrifice of myself, my relationships, and my performance. Not only did I missed out on experiences with family and friends, but I became uninspired, and my work suffered as I no longer thought of these as opportunities, but rather as necessities. I was waiting to be successful to begin doing what I wanted to do, but every decision I made, which was directly related to the next step in my career, emphasized just how different my timeline was from reality, and life was passing me by. Once I was able to allow some distance between my life and work, I was encouraged again to create.
I still, and will continue to, struggle with balancing life and work daily, especially if I’m deep into a project, but I’ve learned over the years that I have to analyze the law of diminishing returns and at times force myself to walk away, recharge, and come back stronger and more efficient than before. As Margaret Young so eloquently wrote, “Often people attempt to live their lives backward, they try to have more things or more money in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are then do what you need to do in order to have what you want.”
Our careers, whether we enjoy them, or they are purely for survival, can’t dictate the entirety of our lives. We now have to deal with a timeline that was never imagined 50 years; we have to be available for an instant response via email, phone, text, or zoom not only to our immediate co-workers but sometimes to a global workforce. Because of this, we can’t lose our focus on why we do what we do, and in the arts, it is clear that we can’t force brilliance; we just have to nurture ourselves and our craft by remembering to stretch and rest in between our sprints towards excellence.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I love watching, participating, and creating a beautifully told narrative. I am inspired and excited to collaborate and bring my design aesthetic to a team creating a story. I take pride in my ability to adapt and execute a unified vision with my fellow creatives that can engage a single individual or a theatre filled with people. There is something so thrilling to me when creating a piece of work that might be ‘pretty’ on its own, but can be awe-inspiring when combined with the best of other artists. It is that partnership that pushes me to become better and more imaginative with each opportunity I have, and with developing technology both for me as an artist and for the audience members, I know I have to be constantly learning, tinkering, and self-evaluating so that I can perform to not only the best of my ability but hopefully to the best of the industry’s ability. Storytelling through theatre has been around for millenniums, so it’s my job to take the advancement of technology in my field and utilize it best for the story while helping to create and craft an innovative perspective to an original story or age-old trope.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Unfortunately, the pandemic over the past year has created a fog over some of my favorite spots throughout the city, but nothing can beat our access to nature here in Los Angeles. Within a short drive, you can be in the mountains with snow, in the middle of the desert, or along the coast with your feet in the ocean. After a day hiking or soaking up the sun and need a drink, my fiancee and I love to split a bottle of wine at Mirabelle Wine Bar in Burbank or pick up some craft beers at Hop Merchant Bottle Shop. A good rooftop movie is always a great way to take advantage of our beautiful weather, but I can’t wait till live entertainment makes it return from the dive bar comedy show to the massive concerts at the Hollywood Bowl or Staples Center to the latest hit musical at the Ahmanson.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been incredibly lucky to have had so many individuals who supported and encouraged me, from my father who demonstrated excellence in everything he did to my beautiful future wife, Ally Young-Price, who continually pushes me to be the better version of myself.
Cheryl Mann, Peter Wochniak, Ben Dickmann, Phillip Hamer