I’m Still Here

It is true – I haven’t written a blog post in a long time. I figured it would be best for me to write up an article when I felt the most inspired. So, here goes nothing!

Let’s start this post off right with a little bit of Meryl Streep. In the beginning of December, I went to an event at NJPAC that was sponsored by Montclair Film. Meryl Streep and Stephen Colbert were the stars of the event, and their discussion focused on Meryl Streep’s professional journey. “I think the greatest invention is forgiveness. Actors are natural empaths. They have to. It’s part of the job description.” Streep’s quote really struck home for me. As I contemplate how I have grown as an actor, intensive coursework and practice is partially responsible, yes. I also believe that experiencing pain, heartache, loss and love shaped me professionally. This lead Streep into discussing memories: “When people that are in movies watch their movies, they don’t watch the movie. They are thinking about all the stuff around it…They think of their life. The movies help trigger memories about my family, our kids, where we all were then.” In other words, they think about what was going on in their real lives whenever they watch their own movies. Movies are a time machine. Streep went on to tell many stories about her early career, including losing roles (but the loss being for the best in the long run.) Keep this in mind whenever you get turned down for a job: Even Meryl Streep was told “no,” and as Colbert puts it “THAT PERSON IS THE BEST AT SOMETHING.”

Speaking of NJPAC, I also had the privilege of seeing Jerry Seinfeld perform standup at the lovely venue this month. It was hilarious! He is truly observational comedy at its best. Despite being one of the wealthiest and most famous celebrities on the planet, he is able to relate to his audience. I especially enjoyed his bit about how women are always thinking and asking questions. He said “and then when they stop thinking of questions, they start with hypothetical situations like ‘what would you do if I faked my own death.’” To be honest, I ugly cackled at this joke – I have asked that exact question in the past to a boyfriend of mine. I didn’t have a reason. I was just curious what he would say. I’ll end this body paragraph with that.

I have had the opportunity to work on several films lately. If you are familiar with my work, you may remember a short film by Johanny Mota called Cheryl & Denise. I was honored when Johanny asked me to act in her most recent film Where’s Lilli? in which I play a to-the-point talent agent. When asked about her inspiration for this film, Johanny said that one of her colleagues (who plays the clown in the movie) told her about his comedy experience with clowning/miming. She thought “this should be in a movie.” Then, she made that movie. Johanny is the type of person that I love to surround myself with – she is a “doer.” To that note, the director Michelle Martinez was incredible to work with, as was the leading (very young) lady Leah Janvier. Where’s Lilli? makes its premier in London in February as a part of Fusion International Film Festivals.

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be working with filmmaker Cody Clarke again. His feature film Mute Date has a Black Mirror essence. Mute Date is a near future sci-fi in which I play a biotech big-shot scientist named Harriet Miller. Her company TELLR created a pill that allows people to communicate in a brand-new way. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you – my character is in the last 20 minutes or so of the movie. Here is the first review of my performance in the film: “Sarah Teed’s brilliantly ominous performance brings Mute Date’s narrative full circle!” Cody will be holding a screening of Mute Date at Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn on January 28th. Tickets are $20 + your food/drink tab (there is no minimum.) Everybody will get an assortment of autographed goodies, and there is a Q&A with Cody, the two lead actors and me after the screening. I also filmed a very short bit for another one of Cody’s features; however, I cannot share much information about this film yet. What I will say is that every actress will be able to relate to it.

Speaking of people who I continue to work with, in my last post I mentioned that I would be performing in Yvonne Hernandez’s Queer Monologues and Short Plays reading. Firstly, this was a wonderful experience. The house was full, and I felt challenged performing as the characters. Yvonne puts this show up annually, and I already committed to working for her again in this both touching and hilarious piece. I became friends with many of the actors in the show. In particular, Ginger Kipps and I connected as we talked about our families and love of animals. Ginger hooked me up with a theater group near my home that performs a different Shakespeare play once a month. Through that group’s community, I met Anthony Wills Jr., who released a casting call to the group for The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode. I reached out to Anthony, and he said that he would like for me to read for Blitzen and Vixen. When I got to the venue to audition, I saw Ginger and learned that she was cast as Dasher! I then auditioned for Blitzen in front of the entire cast. After my Blitzen read, Anthony said that the role was mine if I would take it. I accepted and ended up not auditioning for Vixen. The play was immersive and set as if we were all attending a 12-Step Program, which I found to be very unique. I got to sit amongst and interact with the audience. In fact, some of the audience even verbally responded during the show – each show as a special experience! My good friend and colleague Ryan Reid attended the final show. He said that he particularly enjoyed being able to respond and react verbally to the performers. Mike Vezza and Yvonne Hernandez, both friends and entertainment colleagues of mine, also came to support me. It was touching to see some familiar faces in the seats. Side note, Ginger (Dasher) mentioned that she is a part of a group of actors/singers in Jersey City who carol for mothers and kids in translational housing. They are looking for more people who would like to spread some holiday spirit on December 27that 7pm. If you are interested, please reach out to York Street Project.

Since it is the holiday season, I have been looking for frugal ways to work on my craft and engage people on social media (hence this post) – I decided to film a monologue that I have been working on. It is from Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon. This monologue posed a challenge for me as I want to make sure that I show a range of emotions without being melodramatic or over-rehearsed. I found Meisner substitution method to be most helpful. Here is a self-tape of the monologue. Again, this wasn’t for any specific audition. It was for my growth.

With the holidays approaching, one would think that acting would slow down. But, I have had more self-tape requests this month than I have all year. Personally, I prefer self-tapes to in-person auditions. This allows me to audition off-book without the pressure of “omg what if I forget a line.” This month, I also had an audition and callback for a spot on a new show on a major television network. I can’t say much more about it, but it was very exciting for me. The team said that, even though I might not hear from them immediately, they could reach out anytime within the season to bring me on. I was already contacted by wardrobe – hopefully, that is a good sign! Here are some screenshots of recent self-tapes. The most difficult part of a self-tape audition is folding up the backdrop afterwards. When I was breaking down the equipment, I tried searching YouTube for videos that would help me fold up this massive blue and gray prop. In pretty much every video, the person describes the colors of backdrops and what they can be used for. I’m not sure why they think I have a backdrop if I don’t know what I can do with it. My advice – skip the first half of the tutorial videos. I can now say that I have mastered folding up a backdrop. This should be a resume skill.

Back to people who I continue working with! Christopher Picone, an accomplished film editor for HBO (yes, he edits Game of Thrones), cast me in his upcoming urban drama titled Redemption on Gun Hill Road. Chris and I met a few years back when I was 1stAD on a musical short film on which he was the editor. While this film was never released, I did form lasting relationships. Since then, Chris has edited several clips for me for my website and whatnot. Now, I will be performing as his wife in this exhilarating short film that he is directing. Here is a collage with screenshots from what they have already shot. Looks intense, right?

Until next time.