ED- The Eerie Digest constantly explores the world of motion pictures to keep our legions of readers, world-wide, informed on how the film industry actually works. We recently attended the birthday party of East Coast movie producer, Carlos Roman, where we met a key example of what we were seeking. Sharon Carpenter-Rose is not only an actress in her own right, but is also the key person who pulls all the loose ends together for Roman Pictures. Sharon, tell our readers what drew your interest into the world of acting and how it eventually transformed into your current role as lead Actress and Assistant Producer for Roman Pictures?
SCR- It started in a rather odd way….I had a ritual where I would go in and read to my son’s elementary school class at the end of the day. And while I DID read short books like Dr. Seuss sometimes (whom I love), I was more interested (and believe it or not the children were more interested) in reading chapter novels to them: things like “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter.” I would find myself getting up from the chair, walking about the classroom and making up voices for each of the characters in the book (Gollum was a fun one….’My Preciousssssss’ J ). One day my son’s 4th grade teacher said to me, “you know, you are so entertaining, have you ever thought about doing theatre?” And honestly, the thought had never even crossed my mind. I used to perform on saxophone in a Jazz Band in high school, but at that point in my life the thought of speaking on a stage in front of an audience was terrifying. However, at THIS point in my life, I found myself thinking, ‘you know, that might be kind of fun.’ The teacher informed me of a community theatre in Berkeley Springs, WV (“The Ice House,” which has graciously allowed Roman Pictures to film sequences for “Signals 2” lately), so I decided to go check it out. I got cast for a small part in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and not only fell in love with performing in theatre, but fell in love with Shakespeare at the same time! I eventually ended up performing with a professional Shakespeare troupe in Delaware as Queen Margaret in “Richard III.”
ED- Theatre seems to have been a great source of influence in your career. What was the first time you decided to look into doing film work, and the experience that led you to your decision?
SCR- Just before the “Richard III” tour, I had seen an ad in the paper for actors to be in Disney’s “Invincible” with Mark Wahlberg, in Philadelphia. I had never been on a film set, and it seemed like a logical step to give that a try as well. I applied and was accepted as a background artist in that movie, and worked in Philly for about 2 weeks. It was a wonderful experience for someone just starting out in the film industry, and I met a lot of interesting ‘characters’ on set, to say the least. I ended up working in a few other big ticket films in this fashion (“National Treasure II,” “Shooter,” “The Happening”), and found it to be an invaluable experience to learn how a movie set worked and also making contacts and friends along the way. Once I had these experiences under my belt, I felt comfortable enough to try for speaking parts in some independent productions. I immediately landed a role in a production in central Virginia, as the mom in “Enemies Of Love.” This was followed with roles as a dubious female con artist in “The Ticket,” other mom roles in Philly, Hagerstown, and DC for “The Matter With Clark,” “Walking to Maryland,” and “2012: Seeking Closure,” and then in the MSNBC investigative series, “Conviction,” shouldering the blame as the bad mom that raised a convicted murderer. But hey, it’s no fun playing the nice girl ALL the time! Bad girl roles are more fun—just ask Cruella Deville….
ED- You also appear in several productions being filmed by Roman Pictures. They include “Signals”, “Signals II”, and “Time Refugees”. Tell us about each of these and where our readers will be able to view them.
SCR- Yes, my first audition for Carlos Roman was for the part of an FBI Agent in the original “Signals.” When he called me and offered the part, I was so happy to be accepted by such a quality production company, and to be playing the role of a federal agent. When I arrived on set I wasn’t disappointed…I could see he had obviously invested heavily in props and filming/sound equipment, and he ran an incredibly professional independent filming set. I came to set assuming I wouldn’t have any lines, but it seemed worth it from what I had read about Roman Pictures. However, he ended up throwing me a few impromptu lines and liked my delivery, so my role as an FBI Agent expanded and I ended up having some nice appearances in the project when all was said and done. This naturally led to an expanded role in “Signals II,” as well as a lead role in his Sci-Fi thriller, “Time Refugees,” both of which are currently in production. The original “Signals” is still on the film festival circuit, but has caught the attention of ITN Distribution and is currently being marketed here and overseas at the AFM and Cannes. Private copies can be purchased, but it will not be widely released on DVD until it is finished at the festivals (go to roman-pictures.com and click ‘contact us’ to request a copy). “S2” and “TR” will follow the same route once the production shots are completed. You can read more about these movies in the August 2010 issue of Eerie Digest, in your interview with Carlos Etzio Roman (http://www.eeriedigest.com/2010/08/). I love Sci-Fi, so I’m thrilled to be involved in these projects with their intrigue and ‘what if?’ attitudes. “Signals” and “S2”, inspired by the CIA’s MK Ultra mind-control project, and “Time Refugees,” taking a look at a future world where man must escape the confines of the Earth in order to survive—we have built space ship cockpits and will have a lot of special effects work in that one. Roman Pictures also just recently announced an additional film project coming soon that we are already casting: “Second Time Around,” a drama in which I have the lead that even has a great paranormal twist. That’s the best part about Roman Pictures’ films—-there are always psychological elements that really make you think. It’s not the same old reinventions that Hollywood seems to be stuck in….all these ideas are original. Carlos Roman is a very imaginative and talented writer, a great base for excellent movie making.
ED- In this new age of communication and entertainment sources, a successful production company must make itself known in the world of internet entertainment as well. What projects are you and Roman Pictures involved in that covers this aspect?
SCR- Besides making feature films, Roman Pictures also hosts webisode projects, including a local entertainment news broadcast, “WRPN News.” For this show I, along with my co-host and talented RP actor Kevin Troy, interview local directors, producers, and actors to find out more about their projects and see clips from their films (contact us through the roman-pictures.com website if you would like to be considered for interviewing). We also do interviews with our own actors and crew, and give our viewers behind-the-scenes glimpses into the making of our movies. There are a lot of talented actors out there, and we have developed a special section on the roman-pictures.com website where the “Best of the Best” involved in our projects, can post their headshots, resumes, and film clips to promote themselves. We like to help those that have helped us. I am also the Executive Producer and a talent judge for our webisode talent contest, “So You Think You Can Act….”, where local actors compete for cash prizes and get thrown into improv situations, where they must prove how well they can think on their feet. We have discovered many talented actors this way, as well as a few others that shouldn’t, uh…. quit their day jobs? 🙂 It’s a great opportunity for local talent to promote themselves and get their faces broadcast on the internet, where viewers can vote for their favorites. In development is also a web series by the name of “The Almost Ready for Prime Time Players,” which is being cast now, both for actors and for local comedy writers. We are still looking to complement the writers we have already selected with a few other new ones, so we will hold off until we find those golden few. Roman Pictures doesn’t put anything out there until our producer is satisfied with it…even if it means waiting or re-shooting a scene. That’s how great productions are made.
ED- You also have become the all-around person for Roman Pictures besides being an actress, wearing several hats including location acquisition, production scheduling, event planning, dealing with the public, and being Assistant Producer. Tell us what you do in planning various events and your role in publicizing Roman Pictures.
SCR- I used to do a lot of traveling and have made friends up and down the coast, making me a good resource for securing unique shooting locations, and knowing people in the right places. For example, I am currently negotiating the use of an English Castle for one of our movie scenes. Go figure. I’m also responsible for coordinating the actors needed for particular scene shoots and making sure they have the right costuming, as well as scheduling any police or fire contingencies needed for a scene (seems like people are ALWAYS getting shot or vaporized around here!!). As far as event planning and dealing with the public, I make all arrangements for Expo attendances, public appearances, tv/magazine interviews, and movie premieres, as well as writing all RP press releases, casting notices, print and web publicity pieces, etc. I also did extensive writing and research to help Carlos develop the website for our film festival in 2012, the Depth Of Field International Film Festival, supporting the web design that he spent hundreds of hours developing (dofiff.com). Oh…and rehearsing my lines when I’m doing the actress part of movie making!
ED- Sharon, you seem to be the lynch-pin for the operations side of Roman Pictures and ease the bonds that could easily tie down the artistic direction of Mr. Roman. You are truly an asset to your organization, and an artist in your own right. It has been a pleasure to meet you and learn all about you. I want to thank you for the time that you have given us for this interview and look forward to hearing again from you in the future. As a final note, we at Roman Pictures are always looking for talented people to join our production family. If you are an Actor, Makeup Artist, Special Effects Artist (have especially important need for more of these), Production Crewman, Camera Operator, Sound Operator etc., and you think you have what it takes, go to roman-pictures.com and click on “contact us.”