Your new movie Chupacabra
Territory - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
I play Amber who is an amateur cryptozoologist. She's super
excited to go off in search of the Chupacabra and feels a mystical
connection to the creature. She's into witchcraft and omens and all of
that fun mystical stuff. In the film a group of four friends decide
they're going to find and capture the Chupacabra
on tape, so they head off
into an area known for odd animal deaths and the disappearance of
other campers to search for the cause of these mystical occurrences.
What did you draw
upon to bring your character to life, and how much of Sarah Nicklin can we
find in Amber? And since Amber's a cryptozoologist, is that at all
something you can relate to?
I was interested in Wicca when I was in high school (what strange
teen girl wasn't lol), but the elements of wicca are often misconstrued
when it's portrayed on film. While it's never said that Amber is a
wiccan directly it is heavily implied. The magical practices of Amber
differ greatly from traditional Wicca, so I had to let go of some of
what I knew as far as rituals etc. in order to comply with the ritual
rules in the film and was relying on the director and producer Matt and
Chris for guidance as to what the rules of the world that we were
existing in are.
I've also always been interest in cryptozoology, but it's never
been something I've pursued or gotten involved in. I think the idea that
there are these mystical monsters (for lack of a better word) walking
around in undiscovered areas of the country is fascinating. So to tap
into this, I watched a lot of videos that supposedly captured these
creatures on tape, trying to not be skeptical and to buy into these
being real as Amber would have. Lots of them were very "found
footage" in style, which also helped to get into the headspace of
With the film being shot
found footage/first person style - is that any kind of special strain for
you as an actress? And your personal thoughts on the found footage
If anything the only strain would be the lack of strain. There was
an outline with plot points written for the film, but a lot of
it was left up to us and was improv. As we'd go into a scene Matt or
Chris would come up with some things for us to talk about during the
scene or if there was something important we needed to discover or
mention, they would make sure that we covered that topic, and there were
parts that were scripted too, but a lot of it was left up to us to just
banter naturally. I've done improv work before, but I wouldn't say it's
my strongest trait and there are definitely people who are much better
at it than I am, so that was a challenge for me. But all of us actors
had a lot of fun together playing off each other which helped to keep
the energy up and keep things moving.
Another interesting part of making this film was that since it was
found footage and we all had Go Pros (which was new technology at the
time), we were able to help tell the story and film B roll for a lot of
the film. Yes we always had a dedicated first camera, but there was also
a lot of freedom given to us to play with our cameras and compose what
we thought might be an interesting shot or angle. It took you out of the
mind of an actor and into the mind of a director a bit which was a first
Personally, I think the found footage genre is a bit played out
and that there are more bad found footage films than good ones. Not to
say it can't be done well, because when it is, it's very effective! Paranormal
Activity legitimately scared me when I first saw it, but then there were
so many sequels and spin offs and people trying to do something similar
that there were just too many found footage films, and many of them
weren't original or good. We actually shot Chupacabra
Territory around 5
years (I think) before it was released, so a lot has happened between
when we shot the film and its release and the found footage market has
become even more flooded with content whereas back when we shot this, it
wasn't as over-saturated - it was headed that way, but there was
still some room for films that had a new unique idea. And Chupacabra
has exactly that - I think we are legitimately the only found
film out there where as there are so many others
created around ghosts or demons or aliens that just don't play out well
since people are tired of seeing it.
Sarah with castmates Alex Hayek, Michael Reed
Territory is pretty much an outdoors movie - so would you at all
consider yourself an outdoorsy kind of person?
Absolutely. I love being outside and do it as much as possible. I
grew up playing imagination games in the woods with my sister. I love
camping and hiking. Bugs, spiders, dirt, whatever, really don't
bother me. In about a week Sean Decker and I are going on my
first backpacking hiking trip to Havasupai falls at the bottom of the
Grand Canyon and couldn't be more excited.
you get involved with the project in the first place?
I knew the producer Chris Maltauro through a previous
project. I had worked on The Haunting of Alice D directed by Jess
Sonneborn interview - click here] which Chris was also a producer on. I'd become friends with
Jess and Chris so when Chris was looking to put together a cast for this
project, he approached me to see if I'd be interested and I had such a
great experience with him in the past that I was excited to work
can you tell us about your director Matt McWilliams, and what was your
Matt is awesome! He knew the story forwards and backwards and was
so on top of making sure that we were covering all the important story
plot points, which is very important when we're shooting improv and out
of order. He also knows when to give his actors freedom and also how to
reign them back in. He's super resourceful and a great problem solver
and really put his blood sweat and tears into this film.
Do talk about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
The atmosphere was great! We
had so much fun making this film. It was basically like a big camping trip
only we were making a movie at the same time. We actually did go camping
all together a weekend before we started shooting so that we could all
build a rapport with each other, which was the first time I met Megan
Hensley who is awesome. We were supposed to be camping during the shoot as
well, but it was too cold to sleep outside so we were all housed in cabins
instead. Which was equally as much fun - a big sleep over with your
friends while you are being creative and making a movie :)
Any future projects you'd like to
There are a few things in the works that I'm
attached to that I can't really talk about right now. They're in
various stages of pre-production and financing, but if they all come
through, it's gonna be really awesome!
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
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Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
Phew! I think that's all of them lol
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
got poison oak from running around in the woods in a skirt! It was my
first experience with poison oak since I'm from the East Coast and we only
have poison ivy, which I'm not allergic to. So that was a learning
experience! I'm allergic to poison oak but not ivy.
for the interview!