Ames Native Lands Dream Career in Los Angeles

AMES, Iowa  --  Nick Bertelsen never really thought about making movies until he learned his grandfather had appeared in The Godfather Part II.

Bertelsen graduated from Ames High School, graduated from Iowa State University, then took a job in local video production and film equipment rental in Des Moines.

“I woke up one day and realized I never went to film school and I always wanted to," said Bertelsen. “So at age 32, I applied to only one film school thinking I wouldn’t get in, but I did and I moved to Los Angeles and went to the University of Southern California.”

In film school, Bertelsen not only learned the how of film making, but also gained valuable contacts. Many of the professors at the school were also working in the industry at that time.

Bertelsen’s initial goal was to be a film director. After a while, he realized he liked producing films better than directing.

“People ask me all the time what does the producer do,” said Bertelsen. “I think that in any other industry it would be like a project manager, you’re taking something from concept to completion and you're shepherding it all the way through the process.”

Bertelsen has worked on a film for Netflix.

“I co-produced a movie called Deidre and Laney Rob a Train that was a Netflix original movie,” said Bertselsen “An article came out a couple weeks ago ranking all the Netflix original movies from best to worst and Deidre and Laney Rob a Train was number three, according to one writer.”

Bertelsen is also known for a movie called End of Fall, where he scouted Ames as a possible locale for the movie.

“We came and we looked around Ames and we scouted Lake Geneva,” said Bertelsen. “For whatever reason Lake Geneva won out, I think it’s because when we went there we had so much local support.”

Bertelsen said he enjoys producing movies and does around two projects per year. He was asked for advice on people considering a career working in Hollywood.

“You got to stick with it, you got to keep doing the job you want to do,” said Bertelsen. “If you want to be a director but you’re working as an editor, or you want to be director but or you’re working as a sound person, you got to direct something on your own time, then you’ve got to do the job you want to do.”

If you would like to view Bertelsen's Movie Career Profile, click here.