// TV, FILM, VOUCHERS
I’m in the IMDB and you may or may not still see me on late nights on The Discovery Channel (or Amazon Prime TV) during re-broadcasts of The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science. If you work for the corporate offices of The Home Depot or Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, two of my proudest industrials were for in-house projects for them involving temper tantrums and linoleum (separately).
// STAGE & SCREEN
I studied Meisner with some fantastic coaches in the Atlanta area and before even that, got my acting start during a university theater production of David Henry Hwang's Bondage. Altogether, the training has helped me everywhere from being on camera under the guidance of awesome film crews, to getting six hours of sleep over 3 days after endlessly running lines on indie shoots in suburban Atlanta.
// I GOT INTO ACTING BECAUSE OF LINDSAY LOHAN.
While at university, I had the awesome privilege to be a part of a the Buena Vista Pictures Distribution’s College Network.
This meant I was that creepy guy sitting by himself in the backs of movie theaters with a clipboard, counting the number of male and females, calculating the percentages of age ranges in attendance and a bunch of other demographic data. When Buena Vista released films premiered in theaters, the Network would be mobilized to attend multiple showings, track which trailers played before the films, take note of which marketing materials were in use at the theaters and call in opening night stats back to Buena Vista HQ.
For the opening weekend of The Parent Trap reboot, I was assigned to a residential movie theatre outside Baltimore in Lutherville, Maryland. The film was the debut role for an adorable, freckle-faced up and coming child actor named Lindsay Lohan.
In total, I watched multiple screenings at different times of day throughout the weekend, overfilling my clipboard with moviegoer statistics.
The evening after what was possibly my fifth dosage of the film, I did my usual routine of finding the payphone in the theater lobby to read my results into an answering machine sitting on a lonely desk somewhere in Burbank. When I turned around, a person approached me and handed me a card.
"Hi, I'm Sarah." she said. "I'm a casting agent. Really love your look and wondering if you'd be up for stopping by the agency on Monday."
I glanced down at my $5 Goodwill blue corduroy blazer, weighed down by my black vinyl messenger bag upholstered with various bundled forms from Buena Vista.
Aww, you mean this old thing?
By the end of the month, I had auditioned for the agency, got signed and was regularly driving around town for auditions and classes in between studying for class and surveying Disney movies.
Film had brought me to film. Visions of Lindsay Lohan and her red-headed twin at summer camp played on infinite loop in the tangled VHS muscle memory of those long Baltimore nights.
// "WE'D LOVE TO HAVE YOU JOIN US AT PEOPLE STORE."
After moving to Atlanta, I got my second agent after sending out my headshot to everyone in the Georgia section of my tattered copy of the Ross Reports (the "USA Talent Directory" issue was a parting gift from Jim that was worth its weight in vouchers.)
I learned about People Store, an agency that my colleagues had said was one of the most highly in-demand talent houses in the Southeast. That did wonders for my already growing anxiety when Jen Kelly and co-founder Rebecca Shrager invited me to audition. I pulled up to "the house with the red door" off Piedmont Road and was trying not to freak out too much as I walked in.
For my monologue, I picked a scene from one of my favorite plays, Steven Dietz's Lonely Planet.
A couple days later, they called to welcome me onto their roster of talent.
During that time, I worked as a process engineer at factory during second shift, roughly from 2:00pm to midnight each night. So my mornings were spent going to auditions in Atlanta during the day: cold reads, a go-see for a photo shoot, sitting in rented hotel conference rooms with ten other candidates all wearing the same thing as me all going for the same role. Then I'd make the hour drive south to show up to work on time.
They were long, tired days, mostly ending with me and a dollar store composition book of notes from my auditions that day, late at night at a 24 hour Steak & Shake, staring at my reflection in chipped ceramic mugs of coffee, dark eyes staring back.