Reel Women: Sarah Clark, Casting Director

Sarah Clark

Sarah Clark

Sarah Clark has worked professionally in the film industry for eight years. Casting has always been her bread and butter, but she’s also an Emmy Nominated producer and professional screenwriter.

Sarah been lucky to work on films like August Osage County, to The Wonder, Rudderless, and many many more. Sarah has seen thousands of actors for hundreds of commercials with clients like Nike, Corona, Honda, and hundreds more.

Sarah works hard to make sure actors feel safe and clients feel heard. Passionate about casting, she does her best to make sure everyone is taken care of and the best possible cast comes together.



How did you get into the business? Scrubbing toilets is the short answer.

I came from humbler beginnings so I offered to scrub toilets and take out the trash in exchange for on-camera classes at The Actor Factory, casting director Chris Freihofer’s acting studio. He agreed, I scrubbed toilets for a while and then he invited me to sit in on a casting, which turned into a casting internship. I interned, then was brought on as a casting assistant, and then was moved up to casting associate.

Eventually I left, moving to Chicago where I was a producer for a while at a fabulous creative agency, Cultivate, and then opened my casting office, Compass Casting.

What obstacles have you faced specifically because of your gender? I think all women face difficulties being a woman in the work force. I’m privileged that I’m a white woman with an education who hasn’t had to face the trials of being a woman of color, a trans woman, or a woman without many opportunities given to her.

The obstacle that I, and a lot of female friends, have come up against is not being taken as seriously as male counterparts. That’s not new news to anyone though.

Best thing to ever happen to you to remind you that you are a woman? I don’t need reminding that I’m a woman.

I think the moments that have made me proudest to be a woman have been around work opportunities where I get to be a part of supporting and lifting up other women and helping create relationships of trust (which we all know can be hard to find in this industry.)

Work you are most proud of? I’m enormously proud of a lot of the projects I’ve gotten to work on, but the thing that I’m the most proud of is creating a comfortable space for actors and filmmakers. I want actors to feel safe, nurtured, and cared about when they come in to audition and I always want clients to feel heard, supported, and confident knowing we’ll do everything we can to help their project live up to its’ potential.

How do you describe the most significant #metoo moment of your life? This question feels like I’m being asked to describe the most significant time I experience sexual assault/sexual harassment in the work place and I’d rather talk about the movement and the survivors than about something so personal.

I’m very happy that the #metoo movement has given a platform to those who have been affected. That being said, I’m ready to see actual change. The movement will have succeeded, in my eyes, if there is action. When the responsible are held accountable, when it’s not just talk, and when places of work are a safe space for all of us to do our jobs without fear of sexual assault or harassment.

How have professional attitudes towards women evolved during your career? From a casting lens, female characters have become so much more interesting than when I first started in this industry. I now read so few scripts that have boring girl friends or faithful wife roles. Not only are the scripts catching up, but it’s also wonderful to get to work with more lady producers, directors, production managers, and writers.

Always room for more smart girls in film!

Trapped on an island what essentials must you have? Sunblock. Have you seen this Irish skin?

If you had a time machine, what would you say to your past self? “Mom knows you drink with your friends in the garage. You’re not that slick .”

If you could have a one-on-one with anyone who would it be? And why? I’d love to grab a beer with Cate Blanchett and talk to her about being a producer/director/ actor and pick her brain about the books she loves. Hit me up, Cate.

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