It’s 12:54 am
Welcome to another edition of “8 Questions with…..” my ongoing interview series with interesting and unique artists and people from around the world.
As you can see,I am still having a blast across the Pond interviewing different British actors and actresses. I have found myself really respecting their work ethic and the drive to become better artists.
Like Sarah,not only is she a stage/film actress but also does voice overs as well and that is not a easy skill to acquire. Many long hours of training go into it,often times a v/o is acting solo is a small room. That may be easy for recording artists but try doing it as a performer when you have no one to play off of.
We asked Sarah some tough questions and we are impressed by her openness and honesty in her answering them….
We hope you enjoy getting to know Sarah as she now answers “8 Questions……”
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about you.
I’m Sarah Maddocks a British actress & voice artist experienced in film, television, theatre & radio. I have acted in crime drama, sci-fi, horror, action, romantic comedy and period drama. I’m fairly versatile, and have been cast in a variety of roles – psychiatrist, detective, doctor, lawyer, police officer, teacher – as well as Mother, lover and schizophrenic! I love inhabiting different characters and telling their story.
I have always been passionate about acting and I love inhabiting different people and telling their stories. I auditioned and was fortunate to be given the opportunity to study at RADA and Drama Studio London. I don’t think I can identify the one singular moment, when I “knew” this was what I wanted to do – there were just too many moments! I just followed my heart and my gut instinct.
My first acting role was in a film raising money for a hospital scanner – it was great fun with lots of stunts involved. I played the Doctor operating the scanner and then passing on the results to the patient and their family. I really enjoyed the experience and I learnt a lot – especially about stunts – it was like being part of a family!
Training has given me a fantastic grounding, as well as teaching me many different acting techniques and methods. Formal training gives you a backbone to work from and you get a chance to try things out – to experiment in a safe environment. You can always rely on your professional training to help resolve problems you might encounter during a production.
Probably the three most important lessons I learned were:- Be true to yourself, be kind to others and you can never stop learning.
A great question! (Well, they’re all great questions!) As a voice actor, all you have to work with is your voice. Everything has to be expressed through your voice: tone, pitch, emphasis, volume, accent, pauses….they all “say” so much…the sound you make – and the “physicality of that sound, is the only one of your senses that will really be communicated to your listener, so it is vital to be aware of that, when preparing for a role. Other than that, preparation is pretty much the same: I always read the script several times, to understand the story and the characters and do any necessary research. Then it’s all about fleshing out the characters and breathing life into them. I spend time building a backstory for my character & exploring their motivation in each scene. I always create a strong backstory for my character, based on what I know about them from the script. If there is little information in the script, then I create my own backstory. Working with the script, I will consider my character’s motives and how they react and interact with the other characters – and I also consider the reactions of the other characters towards my character. Basically, it’s all about lifting the characters off the page – giving them reasons why they do what they do, say what they say and react in the way they do. Often what a character doesn’t say is actually more important than what they do say.
As an Equity member, I support the “Professionally Made, Professionally Paid” Campaign. I don’t believe anyone should be expected to work for free. (You wouldn’t expect a plumber to work for free, for example). I believe that all work should be paid for (not just acting), otherwise it would be classified as a “hobby”. It is about giving due respect and appreciation for the time, effort and training/experience involved in doing the job. I think every job should at least offer the legal minimum wage. Casting calls on some casting sites are categorised into various pay sections:- Union rates, non-union, low pay and unpaid – and of course, the individual has the right to choose which categories they wish to view, when searching for work. Occasionally, a “passion project” comes along where the director/producer has very little budget and on those occasions you just go with your heart – it’s a personal choice to choose to work for free to support a project you love and believe in.
A lot of promises are made in our industry, but you get a sense of which ones are genuine. Delays happen all of the time, often caused by issues outside the Producer’s control, but you can still tell which projects are intended to be made, primarily through the amount of work that goes on towards producing the project. The only time an artist can really be taken for a ride is when work is completed and not paid for, or promises are not kept. I have learned to be careful and that until a contract actually exchanges hands, it is only words. Any reputable Producer will be the first to offer a contract, along with the details of rates of pay. Indie Producers are where bigger risks might be taken due to the nature of their projects. Agents and Managers play a vital role in protecting actors from being exploited.
I love playing strong female roles – the more challenging the role, the more exciting it is to play. I like characters who have depth and who undergo a “journey” – they change in some way and are a different person by the end of the production. I like “bad” characters too – they’re fun to play! I always try to find something likeable in them – some “good” quality about them, even if it is something very tiny, otherwise the audience won’t like them either!
I like watching films, plays and listening to music. I enjoy travel, exploring new places and meeting people. I like swimming and being by the sea. I love animals, warm sunshine and new adventures!
Ah, well in London I would take you on the London Eye to get your bearings first, then a river trip on the Thames so you can see the sights:- Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard, South Bank, Greenwich. Then, on a “Hop-on Hop-off” bus visiting some of the main tourist sights: – Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, London Zoo (for Paladin!), Madame Tussauds, Natural History Museum, Leicester Square – and then going slightly out from the centre of London – Richmond Park to the south and Hampstead Health and Camden Town to the north.
In the UK, Spotlight is the essential professional casting directory link between actors, agents and casting directors. All the main Agents and Casting directors use Spotlight as one of their main online resources to find actors. There are of course other casting sites, and it is possible to get very good roles from them as well, but Spotlight is currently the most important one in the UK for getting access to roles on all the big shows. It is obviously more effective if you have a good Agent, as they have access to the more high profile casting breakdowns – and some casting directors only send out breakdowns to certain “preferred” Agents on Spotlight, otherwise they would simply be inundated with submissions for roles!
I’ve checked with the Producers and they’ve said they’re finally getting the funding in place for Emergency: LA so, all being well, they should be rolling camera in a couple of months, as they need about 6 to 8 weeks of pre-production. It looks like the spin off show Trauma One will be green-lit as well, so hopefully they’ll roll into one another.
If you are in the UK and want to see Sarah’s Spotlight page