We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Sawyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, what inspires you?
I’ve always been an extremely curious person. This has lead to my passion for many different forms of art, because I think whether it’s a film, a dance piece, or a song, we always learn something new and there are always more questions we can ask. My curiosity also lead to my passion for travel and the desire to say yes to as many new experiences as I can. The world around me, whether I’m at home in LA surrounded by my friends, or on a road trip somewhere, is a constant source of inspiration. I definitely think there are big and important events in my life and my friends’ lives that have inspired me when it comes to writing or learning about a new subject, but often times it’s the smaller and quieter moments when I’m just people watching or taking the time to really reflect on my own beliefs and opinions, that I feel inspired to explore a specific story or reach out to a friend or someone I admire and ask questions. I’ve also always loved films that are driven by very raw and familiar relationship dynamics and decisions that we may make on the daily, but look entirely different for each individual. Stories that take a very intimate and personal look at people’s flaws and less “polished” attributes, definitely inspire me to continue to be more honest and personal in both my acting and writing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I grew up in the arts from a very young age. My sister and I danced intensively from when I was about three years old until I entered high school, when I decided to stop dancing as much so I could focus more on acting and actually spend time with school friends. As I continued studying acting in New York City and auditioning throughout high school, I was also beginning to prepare for college auditions. I told my parents I was only going to go to college if I could major in Theatre, which I’m sure they LOVED to hear. I ended up studying Theatre Arts at Loyola Marymount University, and have lived in LA ever since graduating in 2019. As expected, there are definitely a shit ton of ups and down when you’re pursuing acting. It truly is a rollercoaster, not just in terms of auditions fluctuating, but emotionally it is a rollercoaster that I don’t think ever truly ends when you work in the arts. It’s definitely difficult and you need tough skin to face constant rejection, but it has also been the most fulfilling, rewarding, and exciting endeavor. Not booking acting jobs can definitely wear me down from time to time, but I’ve also been SO fortunate enough to build relationships with incredibly talented filmmakers who I’ve learned a lot from and inspire me through all of their hard work and dedication. When it comes to writing, it’s always been a personal outlet ever since I was really young. I always loved writing poems, short stories, and journaling. It wasn’t until I picked up a screenwriting minor in college that I began to love writing in that medium as well. I still didn’t take it seriously though. My goal has never been to be in a writer’s room, but the pandemic gave me ample time to really fall even more in love with screenwriting and take it a bit more seriously. Right now, I view writing as a way of creating stories I am personally interested in and would love to bring to life with other artists who are just as passionate and dedicated to independent filmmaking. I started an independent production company earlier in the pandemic that is geared toward collaborating with and showcasing all of the talented filmmakers I know, as well as creating work we all care about on a true indie budget. It’s a very young project of mine and who knows where it’ll be in the next five or ten years, but I definitely have hopes of it growing. It’s called Little Red Pictures 😉 If there’s one lesson I’d say I’ve learned over the years that I am still constantly working to remind myself of each and every day, it’s that who I am is already enough. Especially in a city that is sooo concentrated with people who are passionate about a lot of the same things I am, I try to remind myself that I don’t need to strive to be a certain “type” or some idea of what I think the industry, or anyone for that matter, wants.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hmmm, if I could take my best friend anywhere then we’d definitely need to do a bit of everything! I’d probably start the day with a beautiful hike in Malibu or in the Hollywood Hills. We’d then grab brunch at a delicious vegan spot, probably Millie’s Cafe in Silverlake or Sage Vegan Bistro. We’d hangout on the east side, so Silverlake, Echo Park, and Los Feliz, to check out the flea markets and cute random thrift shops. We’d grab coffee at a fun coffee shop like Stories Cafe, or one of the cute coffee shops in West Hollywood. So many options honestly. We’d grab drinks one night at a rooftop in WeHo, and then at a bar in Silverlake and downtown the other nights. I once went to this place called Shojin (the BEST gourmet vegan sushi spot), so I’d definitely need to take her there. I also really love Little Pine and Thai Vegan for dinner spots. I’d definitely take her to a comedy show one night at The Laugh Factory or The Comedy Store, and we’d go out dancing or to a concert! I love exploring new spots in LA so I’d also probably take her somewhere I’ve never been for dinner and to go dancing. Clearly, dancing would be a must.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people in my personal life, as well as strangers who have inspired me in many different ways. For starters, growing up with a dad who is a die-hard film buff was a pretty solid introduction into having appreciation for great film. Although I’m the only person in my family pursuing this career, knowing my family appreciates the arts and supports my dreams has definitely made it a whole lot easier for me over the years. I also have really great friends who don’t question this weird business I’m working in and never make me feel foolish for pursuing something so difficult and a cliche in LA. I have a few friends in particular who have always helped give me a boost of assurance and support during some really rough patches, and without their support it definitely would’ve been much harder to bounce back as quickly and confidently. I’ve found myself feeling inspired by most of the directors I’ve worked with as well. I’m lucky to have worked with mostly female directors at this point in my career, which is pretty awesome and would’ve been shocking only a few years ago. Each one of them has inspired me in their own way, but I’d say the major takeaway I got from all of them was to not hide away into the shadow and quietly voice my opinions or ideas. Each female filmmaker I’ve had the pleasure of working with and getting to know is truly so dedicated to their work and strong in their intentions, which I’ve found to be very inspiring. Lastly, Greta Gerwig. She is a HUGE source of inspiration for me and gave me the confidence to take my writing more seriously and not shy away from calling myself a writer in addition to being an actress. OH, and The Duplass Brothers! Whenever someone tells me you need a shit ton of money to make a worthy short film I just bring up “This Is John.” If you don’t know, Youtube it.
Still & BTS shot from the short film ELLE Still from the short film RIFF RAFF Photographers: Theo & Juliet, Nicole Mejia