“Criticism is the best medicine to take because it will make you stronger,” said filmmaker and actress Sharrie McCain. It’s a self-made maxim that she lives by. McCain knows that success is not a straight line. There are often setbacks, twists, and bumps in the road. For example, it’s been said that when a commercial airliner takes off and gains altitude, from that point forward, it is off course 90% of the time. Performing artists can relate to being off course much of the time. Setbacks, negative influences and disappointments can happen at any time. As McCain puts it. “Disappointments and rejection happens every day. It’s up to you to dust things off and try again.”
Baltimore native McCain writes TV shows, short movies and plays. She’s obsessive about studying her craft, to the point of watching and studying over 500 TV shows. McCain started acting at age 11 and graduated from Coppin Academy High School in 2009 and then graduated from West Virginia State in May 2013. She is currently working on six films that are either in production or post-production, including “Creed”, “Driven to Succeed”, “Goodbye Charm City”, “Radioactive Flesh Eating Foliage”, “Traveling Vagabond” and “Six 2 Six”. Read more about those projects by clicking here.
McCain believes in working hard, even through struggles. Her hard work has helped make her SAG (Screen Actors Guild) eligible. [Learn about what it takes to join SAG here.] She stopped by to talk about her latest projects, including the mental-health-themed “Traveling Vagabond” [support that film by clicking here].
William Powell: What inspired you to create “Traveling Vagabond”?
Sharrie McCain: I am a fan of psychological movies/ shows. I decided to write a mental health movie because there are not too many filmmakers creating an awareness story in my area. I wanted to break the barriers and start a change. It’s a deep story that’s close to me and I started writing it March 2015 and wrote it over 6 times to bring the stories some justice.
WP: You’ve done four other short films, tell me about them?
SM: As a filmmaker I had a rough patch. I knew each [film] was going to be a challenge. Each time I told a story from a dream, suicide, family drama to mental health. They each prepared me for the next film. I make mistakes in my films, but now I’m on the business side with my 5th project. It was time to take that leap.
WP: How did you get started in the business?
SM: I started acting at the age of 11. I didn’t get serious until after I graduated from college in 2013. During my college years I discovered I can write scripts. I have studied over 500 shows and over 15 writers to tell a story. As for my producing side I learned by looking at [“Law & Order” producer] Dick Wolf work.
WP: Do you prefer being behind the camera?
SM: No. I actually love being in front of and behind the camera. I learned not to limit myself. I love acting, writing and producing. I’m still learning all of them. I am thankful for the skills I pick up everyday with each of them.
WP: What training have you done in filmmaking?
SM: I have a minor on my degree in film. I took an acting class, filmmaking class, script-writing, TV production and mass communication class to learn the front of the camera work and behind the scenes at West Virginia State University.
WP: What films would you like to see more of?
SM: I would love to see awareness movies, more psychological movies, and unique thrillers.
WP: What do you look for in actors?
SM: In actors I look for people who have the same passion as I do in the arts. I want them to learn from me and I learn from them. I am big on actors remaining humble for the projects they get.
WP: What’s next?
SM: I will be SAG-Eligible soon. It took me a while to get it, but I worked on many different sets. I am thankful . Look for an agent in NYC, continue to write short films, TV shows and feature lengths about awareness and more. I plan to do more training for acting. In 2017 I plan to just do SAG. Sometimes you have to take that leap in your career to bring your dream to a reality. Continue to work hard even when it’s a struggle.