You probably recognize actress and entrepreneur, Sarah Lancaster, from Saved By The Bell: The New Class, and you would be spot on.
We tend to look at people in the spotlight, especially ones able to get up in a room full of people as act their heart out, like Lancaster, and think that they are fearless in every avenue of their life - but that's not always the case. After growing up and having children of her own, she credits becoming a mother to be what drove her to write a screenplay of her own and star in a new film, The Stray.
Photo Courtesy of The Stray
Her acting career literally began with Saved By The Bell, which is a huge accomplishment in itself. “SBTB was a great experience. I was 14 when I started that show... it was a dream come true for me at the time. As well as a tremendous learning experience, I had never stepped foot on a set before that," she shared with me.
Her acting career has taken her through many more notable experiences such as the Warner Bros. series, Everwood, and ABC's What About Brian, but becoming a mother was something even more magical to her. “When I became a mother I felt like a superhero. I felt so empowered like I could take on anything. I've always wanted to write and produce get on the other side of things."
"Becoming a mother really freed me of any doubt I had. So I went for it, approached the author of a book I've long loved and started the process of adapting my first screenplay," she says.
“Superhero" is indeed the word to describe that experience. It's incredible the drive that becoming a mom gives women. Taking care of these tiny human beings create a confidence that is pretty much unparalleled by anything else in the world.
"Last year I optioned a book I've long loved. It is a female-driven coming of age piece. I reached out to the author personally, we co-wrote the screenplay together. Long story short I secured financing and we are currently prepping a top of the year shoot in NYC. We're taking meetings with directors, specifically looking to attach a female. I've wanted to be on the other side of the camera for years and years… something about having my two children gave me the courage to step up and start taking risks. So far so good," she shared with us.
The screenplay is something that resonated with Lancaster on a really personal level. “The story of is about a brother and sister who are very isolated from the rest of the world, they are largely left to their own devices. I began my career at a very young age which could be quite isolating in itself. My friends back home had a completely different teenage experience then I did."
Taking these huge risks with being on the other side of the camera has been completely liberating for her, “When this project began taking shape, anytime I'm working on it... I'm on cloud nine. It's my baby. We still have a long way to go. But the fact that we've gotten financing and a prominent production company behind it... I'm ecstatic."
Balancing all her accolades and being a mom isn't always easy though. In fact, “balance" seems to be that thing that all parents and entrepreneurs are reaching for every day and is a juggling act we're all looking to play a bigger role in our lives. Lancaster gets it, too, “It's not easy. I fumble all three on a regular basis! What I'm trying to work on is not making myself to feel so guilty about it! Remind myself that I'm doing the best I can. It's a work in progress."
But of course, working on the screenplay isn't the only project that she's been up to. Her newly released film, The Stray, came out on October 6th and is something she's so excited and proud of as well. “The Stray is a true story about The Davis family. They're a young family with several small children and when we meet them they're really struggling. Mitch, the dad, is working overtime, disconnected from his wife and kids. A stray dog happens to find them and without giving anything away is the catalyst for bringing them back together."
If she can offer one piece of advice to all the moms out there that are trying to start businesses and get back to work after stopping to have kids, she says to “be that squeaky wheel. Be bold. Take risks. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've heard "no" as an actress and now with my screenplay. Keep going!"
WRITTEN BYAllison Cooper