When actress Debbie Sherman mentioned that she has some friends that don’t fully believe in her abilities… we were a bit taken back here at PEV. Every single indication from our research and discussion has pointed us to one thing – if Debbie Sherman wants to get something done, she damn well seems to get it done. And we’re happy to learn about this ambition – as Debbie puts it, ‘I’m working hard to make sure my growth continues. I will continue to chase my dreams and hope to make films that truly inspire, tell stories that need to be heard, and make people laugh.’ That’s some good stuff.
While Sherman has accomplished much outside of acting between raising a family and co-owning her own gym, she happened to land three significant film roles in 2017 alone: The Vault – a horror/thriller starring James Franco, Taryn Manning, and Francesca Eastwood, Day of The Dead, and finally, The Forgiven. We asked Debbie for the download on each of these efforts – she told us, “You can expect the unexpected. The Vault is the perfect combo of horror and thriller and my character is in quite the predicament. It’s pretty crazy! Day of the Dead is off the charts horror and will wow you with its unique storyline and gory plus ‘zombierific’ vibes. And The Forgiven is drenched in very heavy subject matter and was very real for me. Each character is very different and I relish the opportunity to have played each part.” Like we mentioned, Debbie is always busy taking on something (music might be next!), so click to debbie-sherman.com to keep up. But first, do keep reading. There’s so much more to jump into in all the answers to the XXQs below.
XXQs: Debbie Sherman
PensEyeView.com (PEV): As an actor who has seen every bit of the entertainment world, what drove you to pursue acting from the beginning?
Debbie Sherman (DS): My love for being dramatic! I love becoming different people and getting the opportunity to explore characters that can be so like me or so very far from my true self. It’s really an exhilarating experience.
PEV: What kind of movies or TV were you into growing up? Do you remember the first thing you saw that really got you hooked?
DS: My favorite movies are romantic comedies. I love that they always have happy endings and in today’s world, I could use a guaranteed happy ending when I start a movie. My two all-time favorites star the ultimate mother daughter duo, Kate Hudson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) and Goldie Hawn (Overboard). I’ve seen each movie at least 50 times. I also love The Negotiator and all of the Jurassic Parks. These were my go to movies as a teen. I grew up on Saved by the Bell, Boy Meets World, Family Matters and all of the classic must see TV. But, my favorite TV shows growing up would have to go to Friends and Will & Grace; classics!
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the acting scene when you first started? What was your first acting job like?
DS: It’s not an easy industry to break into. I am still trying to get my “big break” or at least score some more lead roles. You never know when it will come or if it will, but as long as I am doing something I love and have passion for, then it’s a win-win for me. My first acting job was recent, on a movie called The Vault that came out last September. It is a horror thriller combo with James Franco, Francesca Eastwood, Taryn Manning, and Jeff Gum. Shooting with these fun people and getting to play someone who is completely terrified was just a blast! I loved every second of it and it made me itch to land more roles.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when the director yells, “Action!”?
DS: It’s go time! I try to stay in character between takes so that I don’t lose any built up emotion from scene to scene. My goal is to have each take better than the last. When the director starts the scene I need to become my character. It’s time for Debbie to head out and my character to takeover. In the moment, while becoming these characters, you say and do things you didn’t rehearse because they are things that are natural in the moment, natural for the character you have become.
PEV: Tell us about the auditioning process. What is a normal audition like and what do you think it is that people – outside of the business – don’t understand about the process of auditioning?
DS: There are a few different ways to audition. I normally audition via video, meaning I “self-tape” or send in a video of myself acting out a scene from the film that I am trying to land. For me, this has been the most common way I audition. There are also in-person auditions, of course. This is the most traditional way.
PEV: Was there ever a role that you auditioned for and didn’t get, then later saw and really wished you had? You know, the one that still sticks with you.
DS: Yes! I auditioned for and landed a role that I really loved. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out and I wasn’t available on the dates they needed me to film. It was playing Genevieve in a film called In Full Bloom that just wrapped filming. Every time I saw the director or cast post a behind the scenes photo of video, my heart sank. I loved that script so much and the directors and writers were people that I so wanted to work with. But, things happen in the way God has planned. He has His ways and I trust in that. Either way, I made a great connection with that team and hope to work with them on an upcoming project. I’m sure our paths will cross again.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
DS: I’ve only been in the business for a little over a year. In that time, I filmed three high profile films that released in 2017 (Day of the Dead, The Vault, and The Forgiven). Each film I booked I landed a bigger part. So starting out with just one scene and now being considered for larger roles is a huge step. I’m working hard to make sure my growth continues. I will continue to chase my dreams and hope to make films that truly inspire, tell stories that need to be heard, and make people laugh.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?
DS: I love to sing! I started out as a singer and would love to get back into it! Actor and singer; why not?! I wear a lot of hats already, what’s one more?
PEV: What do you do when you hit a brick wall with a role and need to really get into character?
DS: Research. I have a type A personality. I am no different when it comes to acting. When I’m having trouble tapping into a character I find out about my character’s background, life, etc. Even in a fictional sense, I research people like my character and the city and setting the story takes place. This really helps me to get a better grasp of my character, of who she is, and it allows me to get over the struggle of becoming her.
PEV: How do you think the industry has changed over the years, since you started out?
DS: I’ve only been in the industry for a short time, but even in this short time, it is changing. There are more and more video/self-tape auditions and there are more opportunities through social media. Learning to leverage social media is the tough part.
PEV: Last year was a very busy year for you, including your films The Vault – a horror/thriller starring James Franco, Taryn Manning, and Francesca Eastwood (The Town meets The Sixth Sense), Day of The Dead, and The Forgiven. With such an array of work, what can fans expect from these movies?
DS: You can expect the unexpected. The Vault is the perfect combo of horror and thriller and my character is in quite the predicament. It’s pretty crazy! Day of the Dead is off the charts horror and will wow you with its unique storyline and gory plus “zombierific” vibes. And The Forgiven is drenched in very heavy subject matter and was very real for me. Each character is very different and I relish the opportunity to have played each part.
PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel to that you haven’t yet?
DS: Oh how I love to travel! I travel about once per month and document everything on my website, debbie-sherman.com. I’m heading out to Majorca, Madrid, and Paris this month. I haven’t been to Majorca or Madrid and I am excited to cross these two Spanish havens off of my bucket list.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?
DS: I have been truly blessed with an incredibly supportive family and friends who are cheering me on. I am truly grateful for that, as it is not an easy endeavor to embark upon and one can feel very vulnerable when starting something new. There have been people who question me and my ability. That is life. There will always be someone who doesn’t agree with you or who wants to see you fail. I don’t fight harder because of them and I don’t quit because of them either. I work hard and pursue my dreams and passions because of me. I am my own driving force. At the end of the day this is my life and no one is going to fight for my dreams like I will.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from acting?
DS: We already talked about my travel addiction. The takes up a lot of my spare time, but I also have another space where I spend my time. My husband and I own CrossFit Firestone in Brea, CA. It is a gym that has boot camp, CrossFit, cycle, barre, and yoga. I love my gym and all of the wonderful people that call it their gym home. All are welcome at our gym and we strive to make people, regardless of their level of fitness, feel comfortable. We are a place of nonjudgment, fun, and hard work. Check us out at crossfitfirestone.com and come and work out with me!
PEV: Name one present and past actor/actress that would be your dream to work with. Why?
DS: If I could go back, I would have loved to work with Carrie Fisher. What beautiful soul and talented human! If I had the opportunity today it would be a toss-up between Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. These women are my acting idols and I love their pro-women and pro-happiness attitudes. They are shattering glass ceilings and they always portray such remarkable women. What talent, what role models. I hope they are reading this and call me in for an audition! Haha!
PEV: We love music, so is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
DS: Alessia Cara. I don’t know if you’d call her up and coming; she is pretty much already up and a full force powerhouse. Her voice has such a beautiful and strong sound and her lyrics are beyond beautiful. She represents a wonderful movement of empowerment and kindness and her music really displays that.
PEV: If performing wasn’t your life, what would you do for a career?
DS: Travel host or journalist would be my passion. I love to write and I love to travel. Having a combo of the two would be perfect. I dabble in some of this on my website when I document my travels.
PEV: So, what is next for Debbie Sherman?
DS: Life. I am such a planner. As mentioned before I am type A and I need to have everything planned out. I have learned that in this industry that is not how it works. Roles pop up at the last minute, parts you thought you had locked in drop out and sometimes you have to be in a meeting or in another state or country at the drop of a hat. For an OCD chick like me, it’s been an adjustment. So, I’ve learned to role with the punches. To take life and opportunities as they come. I will keep pushing and pursing my passion and grab hold of every opportunity that comes my way.