We had the good fortune of connecting with SAGE .W. STEVENS and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi SAGE, how do you think about risk?
Risk management is truly the key to all growth and success – one has to take risks. It will put you in that ‘uncomfortable zone’, but it’s absolutely necessary. Risk has made me a multi-hyphenate, therefore allowing me to work in a variety of positions; filmmaker, executive, red carpet host, event producer, actress, writer, consultant, and some others. When I am approached with an opportunity, I don’t immediately say ‘no’. I construct a cost benefit analysis– weigh options. Once I have a vision or take, my comfort level sinks in and the risk taken forges my path.
I have always had a curious nature, and that’s probably why I’m okay with risk — trying almost all things at least once. The creative part of me needs to quench my curiosity for new environments. I remember telling my family that I was going to move abroad to Asia, primarily Japan, to work and live. I became a Japanophile and learned all things Japanese. They asked me, “are you not scared?”. I said, “No”. I read everything there was to know about living overseas and I figured that if people already lived there for thousands of years, then it wouldn’t be too difficult of a place to figure out. I was not exactly fearful, much more curious and inquisitive to go somewhere so different then where I was raised. Once I started traveling I did experience hesitation, and an adrenaline rush or two in certain situations as I did fear for my safety in a few instances of misadventure.
I always remember the quote by auteur German Director Werner Herzog, “… head out to where the real world is. Roll up your sleeves & work as a bouncer in a sex club or a warden in a lunatic asylum, or a machine operator in a slaughterhouse, drive a taxi for 6 months … Filmmaking — must have experience of life at its foundation.” Being a creative soul requires me to ask questions & listen to the stories people tell; I have always been like that and when I feel dull I remember this quote.
Fear is something once you overcome it allows you to raise the threshold of your risk taking, which in turn allows you a greater realm of life experience. These experiences may be good, bad or somewhere in-between, but in the process limits are tested. I learn about people unlike myself. Risks taken guide you, they school you in trusting your instincts. The more risk taken, the greater the reward, the greater your trust in instincts. If I do feel nervous or fearful, it’s generally a sign that I’m unprepared. And thus the homework begins.
In my acting or making any important life altering decisions, the more “homework” I do, the less my nerves get the best of me. The whole reason I started acting was that it scared me. The adrenaline rush of performing before people; that uncertainty of what performing live, or on camera, is going to bring – to be fully in that moment entices me. I was performing in a play and I remember a palmetto bug scurried across the stage and stopped. It was a small theatre so it couldn’t be ignored – I had to stay in character and deal with this new supporting actor. This is where improv skills come in handy. I quickly swooped down, scooped him up in a glass and handed him off-stage. All of this prior experience, of going with the flow and not getting frazzled has transferred over to all parts of my life. The ability to remain calm and poised when unexpected incidents occur, such as an A-List talent yelling in your face is a valuable skill.
RISK is necessary in life. The more of it; the more stories you have to tell!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
To be in the entertainment industry you need to be persistent and want it more than anything. If you do not have fortitude and grit it is best you go into a more traditional type job. I have produced events where volunteers & new staff have quit after only being at the venue a few hours. I have several stories to tell in regards to acting teachers, or the audition process and being asked the most inappropriate questions and/or being treated in immensely disrespectful ways. There have been casting sessions where I, as a producer or consultant, have heard Directors say garish things in regards to the actress or actor who just left the room. I have heard more – more than I ever want to know or hear about how a woman is worthless over 35, or whatever age that person feels is the cut off point, or that a woman is only worthy by how they ‘look’ – all of which is totally false. There are also the people who because a woman is attractive or hot she cannot be smart or have achieved certain goals in her life because of her mind and not her body. Enough of the bad — There are also all the good people who don’t behave like uncivilized creatures and those are the ones I want to surround myself with, especially now. Talented, giving and fair minded people. At the beginning of your career, whether, a writer, thespian, producer or something else, you may decide to work with some unsavory peeps — just remember keep your on the ball, take a deep breath and persevere. Mental toughness will be your best friend.
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?
As I live in West Hollywood whenever friends or relatives visit I have developed, overtime, a Sunset Blvd – Malibu Tour, well, that is what I have dubbed it. We head north on Crescent Heights to Sunset Blvd where we turn west towards the Pacific, we then proceed along Sunset Blvd passing iconic fixtures of LA – Chateau Marmont, The Sunset Tower Hotel, The Mondrian/Skybar, the brand new Pendry Hotel where we then transition into the music venues – Viper Room, The Rainbow, The Roxy. We slowly navigate our way into Beverly Hills, past the iconic sign & the swanky Beverly Hills Hotel (Polo Lounge), aka: The Pink Palace. Our tour meanders down Rodeo Drive where your guests can walk or shop amongst all the luxury brands or you can point out locations seen in movies before returning to Sunset Blvd where we drive past the UCLA campus & then into the cozy community of Brentwood.
The Brentwood Country Mart allows for some more retail therapy or some gelato before we continue meandering along the palm tree riddled thoroughfare until we reach Pacific Palisades, home of the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine (they also have one in Hollywood). Since you have now been sitting for a while it is time to partake in the beauty of flora and fauna and get some blood flow into your limbs. You can walk along the lakeside paths or take a deep breath or two in one of the meditation areas. It is a quiet respite from the LA city scene of concrete and cars. You are now in a secluded enclave encircled by greenery with a pond full of koi fish, turtles, swans, with flittering dragonflies & butterflies overhead. Time to hop back in your vehicle and drive to the very end of Sunset, the very end – past the light at PCH – park your car in the lot and walk along the bluff overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean.
After this you can head either north to Malibu or south to Santa Monica – where you can plan a whole ‘nother itinerary. I usually head north to Malibu and stop at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. I stroll alongside the lagoon as I walk towards the sand and surf to throw down my towel and take a swim. The lagoon is a saltwater marsh full of natural habitat. After that you can walk over and eat at Taverna Tony or get back in the car and head to Geoffrey’s or Nobu or Moonshadows — where you can usually spot a celeb or two, which will probably give you a couple bonus points with your visitors, even though you are probably over all that as you have lived in LA too long at this point.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am s0000o grateful for the relationships I have developed thus far. COVID-19 really struck that home for me. Now that restrictions are relaxing (a tad) I look forward to connecting & reconnecting with faces on the red carpet, at premieres and in-person social events. As I appear on the red carpet as both an interviewer (red carpet host) & an interviewee (writer, radio show co-host, actress/model, social media maven) I have a team of individuals and businesses who help me look absolutely fabulous: Ego Soleil; Monica at MV Styles; several companies (listed on my website) that I am a brand ambassador for – all of whom make me look gorg!! Shout outs need to be given to Yvette Morales at YM & Associates PR; to Photographer Jac Wong; and to Steve Sasco Designs for beautiful, glamour inspired jewelry pieces.
Right now, you can find me as a co-host on STREAMINN HUB RADIO. We have a talk show #TRTWS and every Tuesday morning I interview creative and inspirational people with amazing stories to tell that we can all learn and be inspired from. Recently, I have been cast in the film, ‘RESCUED INNOCENCE’. This film is directed and written by Ian Stevens (no relation) and I am playing the role of ANNE CAPLAN. Coming up for me – Excited to be in front of the camera in the film ‘WILD HORSES’ & working with David McElroy and Christian Madsen on that. A new dating app/site ‘REBOUND EX’ will be launching and I will be the spokesperson for R.E. We have a lot of innovative concepts for our app and online campaigns that I will be producing & creating content for. I will be involved a lot behind the scenes in the development of this company. REBOUND EX is for people getting over a broken heart looking to revitalize their spirit & to help them move on from that closed door. Basically, #congratulationsonyourbreakup
There are several people who have helped me along the way. One in particular is Jerry H Bell. I met Jerry when he was Board Chair of I.F.P. – now known as The Gotham (NY) and Film Independent (LA). Jerry introduced me to this spectacular non-profit that assists and mentors content creators in a myriad of ways. I became involved in producing their film festivals, gala’s and programs; later sitting on the Board; and eventually becoming Acting Executive Director. My time at I.F.P // Film Independent furthered my knowledge and experience in storytelling; content creation; finance; casting; Boards; developing programs; producing seminars, soiree’s, award shows, film competitions & festivals. As an Executive reading a copious amount of screenplays & watching numerous films entered for competition, and giving feedback on that, or judging it for competition selection gave me an understanding of what works and does not work on the page, and up on the screen, which is invaluable, and later helped immensely when writing my own screenplays, one of which, ‘DANIELLA DARES’, has received several awards, selections and nominations. Another script I am writing, ‘KARA’s QUEST’ is about to be set forth into the world, have another pass or two and I will let it go …
My last shout out goes to John Hayes. Thanks for all your help.
Other: Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sage.stevens01/
Photographers: Ernie Tyler – Fashion Show with Blonde Up-do. Brandon Chang – Outside with Leopard Print Pants. Jac Wong – all other pics.