Interview With Sarah Minnich From “Waco” (@SarahMinnich)
Photo Credit: Theo and Juliet
We recently had the chance to chat with Sarah Minnich about getting her start in the entertainment industry, working on “Waco” and “Godless”, and more!
1. How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
Although I have technically been acting since 2005, it really all started in 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That year, I booked a small role in ‘Breaking Bad’ across from Aaron Paul, where I played a drugged-up party girl dancing the night away. Around the same time, I booked the TV series ‘In Plain Sight’ and worked on several local short film projects. During those early years, I booked the film ‘Seal Team Six: Raid on Osama Bin Laden’ and a small recurring role on the TV show ‘Longmire’, both of which helped me to build my resume. Over time, I built relationships with the four casting directors that would spark the flame of my career: JoEdna Boldin, Angelique Midthunder, Kiira Arai, and Kathryn Brink. After four solid years of showing up and working hard, I started to get auditions for bigger roles. In 2014, I booked two TV shows and a film with Harvey Keitel. In 2015, I booked a recurring role in ‘Better Call Saul’, and several small roles in feature films. Finally, in late 2016, I booked my first guest star on the NBC series ‘Midnight Texas’. Since then I have signed with a great manager in LA and am working consistently as one of the more successful NM seeded actresses.
2. What was your first project?
The very first thing I ever booked was a feature film called “Spring Break Massacre” (the title says it all). The project was an independent horror flick, filmed in Illinois in the late summer of 2005. I remember having the time of my life on that film. It was the first time I had a real taste of what it was like to be an actress, and I LOVED it!
3. How did you land your role in “Waco”?
It was bizarre; when I first received the audition for the role, I knew it. I had this sort of memory-like feeling when I saw the character name, and something in me said that this role was already part of my journey. Once in a blue moon, I get those feelings. They feel like it’s 10 years from now and I’m looking back on something that’s happening right now and musing on the memory. Anyhow, if that wasn’t enough of a reason to want to be a part of it, then: this was another JoEdna Boldin project. I find it particularly rewarding to do good work in her office, because she has seen me through almost my entire career. The goal isn’t just to make myself stand out to the LA casting directors she is working with, the producers, director and sometimes network, but also to make NM talent look good enough to be on the map. Angela Duke was originally a big role (cut down due to legal reasons); it was auditioned a ton in LA, and probably in other markets too. For a NM local to book it was freaking epic! Finally, decision makers in our industry are starting to realize that NM has some stellar talent to offer, and this doesn’t just help me; it also has a substantial effect on the reputation of my region.
4. How would you describe the show?
As many know, the actual Waco tragedy and corresponding trails took place in 1993 in Waco, Texas. It was an infamous event that took center stage on the news and in public opinion. I don’t remember it precisely, but some of the images from the incident and trails looked a bit too familiar when I was researching the role for my audition. The ‘Waco’ series on Paramount Network recreates the events that surrounded the 1993 incident. Although not claiming to be completely historically or legally precise (with many names changed to protect the original individuals involved), the series attempts to illustrate events from the perspective of both sides of the conflict. Fans should expect an action-packed and sometimes touching retelling of the Waco incident.
5. Which character do you play?
I play Angela Duke (names may be altered in the script for legal reasons), a cunning press secretary for the ATF who plays a large role in the drama that takes place before the FBI makes it to the Koresh compound. Although I will save the detail for the show, I will say that my character makes some pretty costly mistakes that affect the outcome of the initial ATF raid. These mistakes are paid for by many lives, making Duke an infamous character in the storyline. I really was so intrigued to play her. Her character arch fascinated me, and I was forced to really explore a more manipulative character type.
6. What is a typical day like on-set?
Set is typically fairly predictable. You arrive anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes before your scheduled call time and find your trailer. Eventually the set PA comes and gets you to either offer you breakfast and/or invite you to hair and makeup. Once in the hair and makeup trailer, you typically spend between 30 minutes to 2 hours having your look created (this can be either extremely relaxing or somewhat stressful depending on how quickly they want you on set). After some time, you go to set and meet or reunite with your cast members and production team. Shooting takes somewhere between a couple hours and all day, and eventually you get to go to lunch (always one of my favorite parts of the day: food). Once your scenes are complete you are typically clapped out (meaning the entire set erupts in clapping on your behalf) and then you get to go back to hair and makeup to have your hair taken down and/or your makeup wiped off. Wardrobe is hung up in your trailer and home you go!
7. What makes this show different from other projects that you’ve previously worked on?
One thing that was different about this set was the level of caution exercised throughout filming. Since this series is based on true events (that happened not too long ago), writers, producers, directors and even the actors were ultra-careful about how things were portrayed so as to protect everyone in a legally safe way. We all had fun and gave it our all, but there were many times things were checked and rechecked in the interest of legality.
8. What was your experience like working on “Godless”?
I had a lot of fun working on ‘Godless’! Particularly so because I got to work with my friend Trine Christensen. Being on set is always amazing, but being on set with people you are friends with is particularly enjoyable. Another thing that I loved about working on ‘Godless’ was that it was a period piece. I love getting dressed up in period costuming and getting gritty at the locations we are shooting at. My scenes in ‘Godless’ were shot in a mock western town outside of Santa Fe, NM called Bonanza Creek; many western films and TV shows shot in NM are shot there. It’s one of my favorite places to shoot because of its true western feel. On top of working with a friend and being a part of a period piece, I also found it really motivating to watch Jeff Daniels work. He’s an epic actor and his craft is well polished; I always find it fascinating to watch seasoned actors at work.
9. Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share with us?
Yes! I am particularly excited about a project that I finished recently with actor Justin Long called, ‘The Wave’. I loved shooting that project for two reasons: 1) I got to play a LIVID, screaming, crazy woman, and 2) working with the very energetic and fun-loving director Gille Klabin, was really a treat. Viewers can expect an early-mid 2019 release.
10. What are your goals for 2018?
This year I plan on booking my first guest series regular! I would list more goals, but I like to keep it to a single goal a year. If I focus my energy, I am more likely to reach my aim, and often in the process, I meet unexpected goals and challenges that lead to unexpected achievement.
11. What are your social media accounts?
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