CONGRATULATIONS! Sally, on your new Masters of Fine Arts in Acting, and with honors yet.
Sally Shepard is one of our MYTHWORKS allies. She’s a talented actor, singer, and voice-over artist, and is a whiz at production, too.
We’ve known Sally since before she was born back in Denton Texas and have seen her inspiration and dedication to acting keep her going forward in this often difficult but very rewarding business, both in Hollywood and in New York.
PJ – What first inspired you to be an actor, and how old were you at the time?
Sally – I can’t remember any one specific thing that made me want to be an actor. I just always have. I went through a phase at one point where I wanted to be an archaeologist. My parents told me to consider being an orthodontist… so I went right back to acting, which was my first love anyways.
PJ – And I remember you in go-karts and judo gear. That must have been fun.
Sally – It was always fun, but I never caught the competitive bug. My dad used to listen to me singing as I went by in my go-kart. And simply put, as for judo, after 20 years of taking falls, well, my back could use a break.
PJ – You’ve worked in the industry in both LA and New York — how would you compare them as far as acting and production go?
Sally – The production restrictions are lighter in NYC, but it’s still far easier to get and create work out here in LA. Everyone is hungry to work in the Industry in one capacity or another, and most are willing to learn new skills just to be a part of the action. Then again, the odds work against you here on the West Coast because there are so many more actors here.
PJ – What different jobs have you done in media, and besides acting, what do you like best?
Sally – Voice-over work, though I consider it to be a part of acting. Next would be Producing as I like to make lists and get things done. It’s nice to see a project through from start to finish. But oddly, editing comes in pretty close as well – which is funny because I’m pretty terrible at it.
PJ – What were your most unusual media jobs or roles?
Sally – Hands down the most unusual was Props Master on an Indie feature. Let’s just say that I had to justify more than one questionable purchase on my credit card to the good people at Visa.
PJ – What’s your funniest story from a film shoot or stage play?
Sally – I did a feature about 8 years ago as Props Master where I had to come up with a male substitute piece (the actor needed to have a pitched tent on camera). So, I was sent to an adult toy store with a PA for a bodyguard. He took one look around, then stood in the corner with his eyes shut. Priceless.
PJ – What kind of character do you most like to portray and why?
Sally – I like villains best. It’s almost cathartic to be able to dig into your darkest side, find how you could bring yourself to do the things the character does, and release it into the world – in a safe environment surrounded by people you can trust who only have the best interest of the film at heart. Then again, maybe I’m just a little twisted.
PJ – Who is your acting icon and why?
Sally – I admire many different actors for different reasons – Streep for her ability to camouflage into anything, Bates for her uncanny ability to commit to any role she plays, Blanchett for her beautiful rawness of emotion, Hepburn, Watson and Jolie for balancing their passion and what they stand/stood for as women and activists, Hathaway for how delightful it is to see her play such amazing opposites… I could go on for awhile.
PJ – Any advice for people who want to make their own media?
Sally – The more you know, the less you have to pay for. The more gear you have, the easier it is to get going. The more friends you have, the more fun it is. And, give yourself a deadline. I come up with my most amazing stuff when I start with nothing and am under a deadline.
PJ – What’s next for you?
Sally – Well, looking for a new agent and submitting for gigs, of course! I’m an actor, what else? Ha! I am working on a feature script right now that is already receiving interest from a director who potentially has a line on some funding. That’s always awesome!
PJ – Thank you, Sally, for the fun and helpful insights into the biz. Lots of luck out there!