Media Maven Series Spotlight: Stacey Bradshaw
Sharing the Gospel on the Big Screen
How did you start acting? (Are you professionally trained or on the go learned?)
I started out by writing, directing, and acting in very short skits for church when I was in my early teens. I was desperate to do some acting and there were no other opportunities. When I was 16, I was able to start participating in a few summer drama camps, which involved 4 hours on the road every day going back and forth. I majored in Theatre at Bryan College, which provided the opportunity to take some acting classes, and I have attended acting workshops at film festivals ever since. However, I would say that personal experience and observing other actors has been one of my most valuable learning tools.
What impact do you hope your roles will have on people?
I hope that people will connect with the characters that I portray, and will come away with a message of hope and redemption from the stories we tell. I want to have a positive impact on our culture. Life can be messy and hard, but there is always hope. No one is beyond redemption. In these dark times, I desire to help spread the light of Christ into a hurting world.
You are more than an actress, tell us a bit about some of the other hats you wear.
Writing and photography are two other passions that lend themselves well to the world of film. I’m developing a feature length screenplay right now, and will be doing behind-the-scenes photography for a short film this summer. In the past, I also designed a website for “Wanted” and managed the social media marketing for that film, which I enjoyed. Between those pursuits and other hobbies, interests, and business endeavors, I stay plenty busy between acting jobs!
What gives you the most pleasure: being in front of the camera or working elsewhere on set?
Acting is definitely my primary passion. I feel the most fulfilled when I am bringing a story to life in front of a camera.
Do you feel it’s important for actors today to know more than ‘acting’ why or why not?
It’s very helpful to work as a crew member on a film before you start acting, because then you have a greater understanding for how the rest of the production team functions and how you can help them in your role as an actor. We’re all members of the same team and no one is above or beneath anyone else. Be humble, pay attention, and try to anticipate each person’s needs before they ask you. Aside from that, just in terms of trying to make a living, it’s great to have more skills in your toolbox so you can keep working between acting jobs. Rebekah Cook is a perfect example. When she’s not acting, she works as a casting director, a script supervisor, an acting coach, a 1st AD, etc.
What has been your favorite role to date? Which has been your most challenging?
It’s hard to pick a favorite role! Each one is unique and has a special place in my heart. “Touched by Grace” will always be a favorite memory, though, because it was my first leading role in a feature film (additionally, my first *speaking* role in a feature film!), and it was my first time as an actor working with a professional cast and crew. It was amazing! Everyone was kind and helpful, and I learned so much from that experience. My most challenging role was probably when I played “Loreen” in “In His Steps”. My character was homeless, pregnant, and terrified of an abusive ex-boyfriend, and none of those were situations I could relate to in real life.
From an actress’ perspective what advice would you give to up and coming actors?
Know your standards and be prepared to stand strong against opposition. Know where you’re going to draw the line before you ever step foot on a film set. In the moment, it’s easy to be convinced and get swept up in the pressure to do something you may regret later. In the secular market, it’s a much bigger issue, but even in faith-based films, sometimes we have to say no to things that go against a personal standard. Know your value as a person who is made in the image of God and never compromise the convictions He has given you. Your career is never worth living with regrets.
Where do you see happening with faith-based films in the near future?
I believe we’re on a very good path, with higher quality films being produced. There is a lot of talent available for both sides of the camera and I’m excited for the future of faith-based films! However, funding continues to be a major problem, and we can’t continue on indefinitely without a better means of providing a sustainable income for the filmmakers and actors in this industry.
Random question- What’s your favorite food?
We recognize that each role is different, how do you prepare for your roles?
Most of my preparation is done by studying the script and looking for clues about the character I’m playing. I look for her goals, passions, fears, motivations, and the kind of relationships she has with the other characters. As a person, I’m more emotional and relational than I am intellectual, so where some actors will try to get inside a character’s head, I focus more on getting inside their heart. I feel my character’s emotions, understand who she is on that level, and then bring that to the screen. I will also talk to the director about his or her vision for the role and any additional information or backstory that helps shape my character.
If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?
Probably much the same of what I’m doing now between film jobs… Pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities to make money from home, writing screenplays, advancing my photography skills, reading good literature, spending time with my friends and family, and a wide variety of other hobbies and activities.
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