Greetings again, all, and welcome to the newest edition of “In Their Own Words” at OneFilmFan.com, where I take the opportunity to share interviews with some of independent film’s rising and veteran acting, directing, producing, writing, and crew talent! For this time around, I am truly blessed to feature the fifth interview associated with the faith-based indie feature film, “Providence”! An incredible and powerful effort, the movie boasts no audible dialogue and relies on the body language and straight-up acting ability of it’s cast. Let me tell you folks, it is one talented group of people!
After having posted thoughts from actors Juli Tapken, Rich Swingle, Josh Allen, and Irene Santiago, and writer/director Sharon Wilharm, we come to one of the film’s equally amazing artists, actress Stacey Bradshaw! Playing the role of the teenaged Rachel in a love story spanning 40 years, Ms. Bradshaw added a beautiful and fantastically grounded character to the narrative, and most certainly won hearts over with her performance! Thankfully, amidst a schedule that is nothing short of hectic and filled with ongoing promise for her growing career, Ms. Bradshaw was able to take the time to tell us about herself, said career, “Providence”, and opinion on the independent film realm.
So, without further introduction, the absolutely lovely and hugely talented Stacey Bradshaw!
One Film Fan: Let’s take it from the top! Tell us a little about who Stacey Bradshaw is and what the initial circumstances were that lead you to an interest in acting.
Stacey Bradshaw: I’m a southern girl with an old fashioned heart who would fit perfectly into the 1940’s and ‘50’s. That’s my favorite era, and it’s also what sparked my interest in acting. I grew up watching old classic films and fell in love with the films and the actors! By my early teens, I knew I wanted to be a part of making films. It seemed like such an impractical dream at the time, but I’m overwhelmed and grateful for how God has opened the doors to make it a reality!
O.F.F.: How did you further learn the art (ie: mentors, influences, and schooling)?
S.B.: My roots are in theater. I started doing summer drama camps when I was 17, and majored in Theatre in college. We studied principles of acting which can apply to any medium. Since college, I’ve taken acting workshops at film festivals, and I also learn from observing other actors on set as well as on the screen.
O.F.F.: When preparing for a role, do you always have the same routines/methods to get into a character or does that vary depending ON the role? Additionally, how much research do you tend to do FOR a character?
S.B.: My biggest area of study is always the script itself. I look for information and clues about the character I’m playing, her motivations, her goals, her fears, and her relationships with the other characters. As a person, I’m more relational and emotional than I am intellectual, so that’s how I dive into a character. I try to absorb the character’s emotions and understand her relationships. In addition, I’ll talk to the director about his or her vision for the role and any further backstory or information he or she wants to give me.
O.F.F.: Tell us about your very first major acting role and how that experience influenced you as an actress.
S.B.: My first speaking role in a full length feature film was the leading role in “Touched by Grace”. It was a little frightening to step into such a big role alongside very experienced actors when I had very little experience myself (this was only my second speaking role in ANY film). It was also very exciting, and from the moment the cameras started rolling, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. The cast and crew were all professional and kind, and they made my job so much easier. Working with experienced and talented people on both sides of the camera made it a fantastic experience and I learned a LOT.
O.F.F.: Have you at all found acting in feature length projects to be intimidating, or did having the benefit of starting out in acting at an early age make it easier?
S.B.: The length of the film has never really daunted me. Whether it’s 10 minutes or 2 hours, it’s still a chance to be on set doing what I love. Especially for the first couple of films I acted in, I remember thinking after we finished filming, “Whoa…we just made a movie. Like…a real movie.” It was hard to wrap my mind around that, and hard to believe I was actually getting to do what I had dreamed of doing for so many years.
O.F.F.: Now, your bio also indicates heavy involvement in other aspects of filmmaking, including screenplay writing, photography, and editing. Is this an indication of future plans to do more behind the camera, perhaps?
S.B.: We’ll see! Acting will always be my first love, but I do enjoy these other aspects as well. I’m working on developing a feature length screenplay right now, and I will be serving as a behind-the-scenes photographer for a short film in July. The nice thing about having a variety of interests and pursuits is that I have plenty to keep me busy when I’m not acting!
O.F.F.: So, onto your current project, “Providence”, theatrically released Valentine’s Day 2016, and still going! What drew you to this film and/or how did the opportunity come about?
S.B.: I first connected with (director) Sharon Wilharm when she contacted me about doing an interview for FaithFlix. In the following months, I saw the casting call for “Providence” on Facebook.
O.F.F.: Tell us about the character, Teen Rachel, you play in it.
S.B.: Rachel is very shy, insecure, and vulnerable. She longs to be wanted, to be accepted, to be loved. She jumps at the chance to become part of the “cool crowd”, but discovers that that’s not where true acceptance and friendship lies.
O.F.F.: Being a part of a film whose narrative spans over 40 years, how was it to be a part of that overall journey for one of the main characters involved?
S.B.: “Providence” was the first time I’ve shared a role with other actors, so it was neat to explore something new and different. The casting was fantastic. I met Juli Tapken (Adult Rachel) briefly on set, and instantly felt a connection. The crew were even remarking how similar we were with our personalities and mannerisms. I didn’t actually meet Emily Knapp (Young Rachel) until the film’s premiere in Nashville, and it was incredible to watch how seamlessly our three stories all flowed together on the screen.
O.F.F.: No audible dialogue! How challenging was that to have to rely solely on your dramatic acting/actions to tell the tale when not having lines to speak?
S.B.: It was another very new and different aspect to explore and I really enjoyed it. When I’m acting, I love communicating through subtle facial expressions and physicality, so this was an opportunity to focus solely on that side of my performance.
O.F.F.: How was it working alongside fellow actors Irene Santiago, Juli Tapken, Rich Swingle, and Josh Allen?
S.B.: Fantastic! Well, I only shared the screen with Josh Allen (which was a blast), but I’ve had the pleasure of acting with Rich Swingle in the past, and I dearly hope to work directly with Irene and Juli in the future. All four of these actors are incredibly talented and genuine, and I’m blessed to call them my friends.
O.F.F.: Additionally, how was working under Sharon Wilharm as director?
S.B.: Sharon brought a beautiful vision and executed it with excellence. She did the jobs of at least a dozen people before and during the production, and yet always appeared calm and had things under control. I’ll never know how she managed to do everything. Additionally, she opened up her home for several of the actors to stay there while they were filming. Sharon is my new definition of “Super Woman”, and it was a joy to work with her on the film.
O.F.F.: What other projects are on the horizon for you at this juncture?
S.B.: In July, I’ll be heading to Illinois for a short film called “One Day”. I’ll be reuniting with other “Providence” cast members Rich Swingle, Juli Tapken, and Rebekah Cook on this film! Beyond that, I have a few auditions that I’m waiting to hear back from, so we’ll see what doors God opens next!
O.F.F.: Your resume most certainly defines you as someone whose acting roles have centered on faith-based themes and characters. How important, therefore, is it to you to present that Christian message and be a part of offering more positive options for film goers to take in as opposed to much of the darker, gloomy material that seems to dominate mainstream cinema?
S.B.: It is very important to me to be involved in films with redemptive messages. That may be an underlying Biblical Worldview, or it may include a clear gospel presentation. Either way, I want to spend my time and resources on films that glorify the Lord and advance His kingdom. In a world of despair, we need hope. In a world of darkness, we need light. And sometimes you have to tell a dark story to present the light. But ultimately, there is a message of redemption.
O.F.F.: Also, the independent film world is often one that gets overlooked or simply not promoted like mainstream studios are able to do. It seems like such an amazing talent pool filled with deeper stories, more human characters, and passionate individuals. In my experience, some of the best material is found in the indie arena. So, as an actress in the indie film realm, how imperative is it to you that it does get wider acceptance, notice, promotion, and respect, frankly, by the large number of movie goers worldwide? Much less with efforts that additionally promote a positive message?
S.B.: I do believe it’s very important that independent films get more recognition. On the other hand, I understand the reticence with so many low-quality films out there. If you go see a Marvel blockbuster, you know you’re going to be taken on a fun ride. If you pick up an indie film, it’s a much bigger gamble. But I’m glad to see the quality of films rising in the faith-based film industry. We have to keep working hard and proving that we no longer fit the “bad quality Christian movie” stereotype. We have to earn respect.
But one thing most people don’t understand is that you need to support the films that ARE being made if you want more (and better) films to be made. If an independent faith-based film is in theaters, go see it!!! That sends a message to investors and distributors, and also helps the filmmakers recoup some of their costs so they can AFFORD to make another film. Funding is one of the most difficult hurdles for an independent filmmaker to overcome.
O.F.F.: Ok, I always have to end with a classic final question! What is YOUR favorite film of all time and why?
S.B.: Such a hard question!!! I have never identified one favorite film. I have too many favorites! But, if I have to pick one for the sake of the interview, I will say “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Why? 1) Jimmy Stewart. Enough said. 2) Excellent story and cast. 3) A clear-cut case of good versus evil. 4) The hero is willing to stand up and fight for what’s right without compromise, no matter the cost. 5) The good wins in the end.
I don’t know about the rest of you, readers, but in this day and age where so much of the news around us is rife with terrorism and other unfortunate forms of malice against people and ideologies, it’s refreshing to have an individual like the wonderful Ms. Bradshaw to inspire us with both her acting and her positive outlook on life via a deep-seeded faith in God and the desire to see positive things win out over what is so often such blatant evil, whether onscreen or in the world at large. While we know life doesn’t always go perfectly or as planned, that’s no reason to not have something to hold onto that keeps a grounded, realistic and compassionate perspective, which Stacey most certainly embodies!
Striving to share an ongoing, positive message with the world, keep up on what this versatile actress and warm-hearted soul has going on! Check out the following ways to do so:
“Follow” Stacey on Twitter: Here
“Follow” Stacey’s Facebook Page: Here
“Like” Stacey’s Actor/Director Facebook Page: Here
Check out Stacey’s Website: Here
“Like” the film “Providence” Facebook Page: Here
“Follow” the film “Providence” on Twitter: Here
Check out the film’s Website: Here
OnfilmFan.com would like to extend one more, genuinely heartfelt “Thank You!!!” to Stacey Bradshaw for her willingness to do this interview and share with our readers what’s what in her world of acting as well as in the fantastic indie film effort, “Providence”! As Stacey mentions above, it’s us, the viewers and indie film fans, that need to do what we can to spread the word about awesome projects that we see to any and all moviegoers we know so as to promote the excellent medium that is independent cinema! As Stacey also stated, you have to support the existing films for more to come! So, let’s do it!
Until next time, thank you for reading and for visiting OneFilmFan.com!