Hello and thanks for stopping by! My name is Scott Bender and I’m an actor. I also write, produce, travel, eat, and as Anthony Bourdain said, “I’m hungry for more.”
I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri – still a midwest boy at heart which means I say please, thank you, and hold the door open. My immediate family all lives there, within 20 minutes of each other actually, so I visit often to see everyone and gain a quick 10 pounds in BBQ and beer.
I’ve always been an adventurous spirit and it’s thanks to this curiosity of life that I discovered my love of acting. I was at a summer camp in Wisconsin and they were putting on the musical Guys and Dolls. I can’t sing, and I didn’t know the first thing about acting… BUT I knew the play would travel across the lake to the girls camp AND get McDonald’s on the way back. Four weeks at an all boys camp in the middle of the woods will make anyone desperate for chicken nuggets… So, I signed up. I got the role of Nathan Detroit and I swear, when that makeshift spotlight hit me, and I spoke those first lines out loud in the dusty communal cabin, filled with campers and parents, I could feel my life change. It was a visceral feeling and I knew, okay, this is it. Luckily I wasn’t the only one, the palpability of my passion showed through and my friend’s mom called mine, and said, Scott’s an actor, good luck. I was 12 years old and I can still smell the mothballs from my 30 year old costume like it was yesterday.
I continued acting (and modeling – hello department stores of the midwest!) in St. Louis and when it came time for college I decided to go study film at University of Colorado – Boulder (Go Buffs!). I got a film degree and learned a whole new appreciation for the art of film and cinema, studying everything from the Lumiere Brothers, to the first talkies, film noir, the 70’s of storytelling to modern day cinema. Hell, you want to learn the art of filmmaking, try splicing clips of super 8mm together in your dorm room while your roommate plays beer pong with Keystone Light… I loved it. All of it.
After college is where I delved into the world, literally. Again, adventurous spirit, curious personality, Sagittarius, all the makings for a wanderer. And so I wandered. I started with 10 days in Israel, then met friends in Indonesia on the island on Lombok, onto Bali, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia… it was 4 months of my life that resembles another spotlight, another mothball scented costume. It changed my being to the very core, and opened my eyes onto a world I didn’t know existed. The antonym to Pandora’s Box.
When I got back to the States, I thought New York was it. I had interned there every summer during college, and did a summer there when I was 15 to try acting in the big city. I fell in love. And to this day it holds a special place in my heart, but after a road trip from New York to Colorado, and Colorado to LA… I knew if I wanted to work in film and tv, LA would be home.
But at first, I didn’t act – I wanted to write and produce. So I worked at Warner Bros. Studios, Disney Studios, Lawrence Bender Productions, Mandeville Films… but at the end of the day, everything I’d write I’d put myself in, I couldn’t hold out any longer… and thus I quit the comfort of a paycheck and health insurance and gave into the childhood dream of acting. My father being an accountant advised against it. Still does. He’s waiting for me to go and get my business degree.
I hit acting at full speed, training at UCB, Second City, Lesly Kahn, AMAW, Killian’s Workshop, and began booking shows (You Can Do Better/TruTV, My Crazy Ex/LMN, Unbelievable/Netflix) and short films and independent films – and I haven’t stopped running…
If I’m not in L.A auditioning, I’m probably camping, backpacking, traveling (most recent big trip was 18 days living in a van throughout Patagonia marking my 30th country after Argentina and Chile) or working on my food/travel show Locals Only and IG. I’ve been an actor as long as I can remember – and it’s a bittersweet thing – on one hand some people never know what their passion is in life, and on the other, some find it at a young age while at summer camp in a mothball suit, and it just so happens to be one of the toughest dreams to achieve, but that’s the thing, the journey doesn’t have to be anything less than extraordinary. So that’s me, I have this adventurous spirit and curious being that drives me into the world of make believe. And when it’s time to reset, I pack up a bag, and hit the road. The world is full of wonder, and adventure will fill the light that sometimes becomes dimmed from the reality of our dreams.
As I always say…
Be kind. Adventure often.