We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Friedman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara, why did you pursue a creative career?
As far back as I can remember, I have had a very vivid imagination. This can present in negative ways, ultimately leading to diagnoses of anxiety and OCD when I was a teenager. However, I’ve learned that I can channel that imagination into writing, acting, and directing. The act of taking a thought or image and molding it into a piece of writing, art, or character is therapeutic and fulfilling. I also find immense connection with the world around me in story telling. During my most difficult times, I turn to books, TV, and movies for comfort, and I want to give that back to the world. I have also always been very connected with politics, feminism, and activism and have found weaving those into my filmmaking not only helps me express my personal ideals, but hopefully brings certain issues to light for a larger audience. Finally, a major reason is happiness. Since I was six years old and had my first role in a small theatre production, I have felt the most “myself” when I am using my story telling abilities and emotional life to connect with an audience.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I began acting when I was six years old, and always knew that I wanted to pursue it in college and as a career. However, once I started auditioning after college, I just wasn’t booking anything (hello audition anxiety!). I realized if I wanted to act, I needed to create something to act in. This led to a burgeoning love of writing and directing, which are now integral parts of my career. The power of creating my own opportunities is a major lesson I have learned, and something about myself that I am proud of. I am most excited about my debut feature film ‘Heightened’ that is currently in development. Once again I have chosen to create my own opportunity by finding private investors instead of waiting for someone else to come make the film for me. It is a huge challenge, but thanks to the incredible team by my side, one that I am eagerly embracing. Nothing about a career in the arts is easy. I encourage everyone to have the resilience to just keep going, and to not be afraid to move outside the system if the system isn’t working for you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First things first, I would make sure they get good tacos. Guisados in Downtown LA is amazing, and we could follow that up with perusing books in the whimsical Last Bookstore just around the corner. A fun hike alternative shown to me by a friend this summer is to walk up “Mount Olympus” by West Hollywood. You get the best of both worlds – the incline is steep and it’s a great workout, but it’s paved and you can look at all the cool houses. At the top there are gorgeous views of LA as if you’ve gone on a real hike instead of just walked around a fancy neighborhood. Afterwards, brunch at Eveleigh in West Hollywood under some twinkle lights with a tequila spiked iced coffee and cinnamon whipped cream would hit the spot. I’d also make sure they experienced exceptional sushi in a Valley strip mall – Katsu-Ya in Studio City comes to mind. A great Covid-friendly activity are drive-in movie pop-ups. I recently watched “Almost Famous” from the safety of my car at the Santa Monica Airport.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I left my undergrad acting program feeling disillusioned with acting and the industry as a whole. After a couple years working in Network TV, I felt the pull towards acting and creating again, and I started an acting class under the exceptional filmmaker Deborah Kampmeier. Deborah completely reinvigorated my creativity, ultimately not only as an actor but as a director and writer as well. Her influence has extended to how I run my sets by inspiring me to create an open, safe, collaborative space for all my actors and crew. When I started my first class with Deborah in 2014 I wrote down a quote from her in my notebook: “the more personal, the more universal”. This remains the guiding principle for my art. I would be remiss to not shout out my parents! They never once questioned my career in the arts, and offered their support and guidance every step of the way. I am also very fortunate that my partner is a very talented film producer. He has been able to offer difficult industry advice in a loving and supportive way, and is always a reliable sounding board for my non-stop ideas!
Jess Fee, Jakk Blood, Tadin Brown, Rachel Greco