THE GRULLA film script is an adaptation of my book, Lost Betrayal…..
LOGLINE FOR THE GRULLA –
A determined cowgirl enlists the help of a former bull fighter and drug addict in the search for her horse that is still mysteriously missing after a tornado destroys her ranch.
In 2014, my first book Lost Betrayal was released by Solstice Publishing. The tale of the lost horse, Houston was marketed as western romance – there is a good bit of romance between Sage and Garrett throughout the whole story – the truth is that this is a much bigger tale than a traditional romance. Considering the heart wrenching real life inspiration behind the story,that really doesn’t come as a big surprise.
I originally got the story idea for Lost Betrayal years ago when I was involved in shipping some vet supplies for large animals that were victims of hurricane Floyd in 1999 on the east coast. There was an aged stallion that had been rescued after a week in flood waters only to become blind from a reaction to a medication. That’s when I found out that large animals are often the last to be rescued, and the last to receive much needed veterinary supplies and food.
For years I worked on the story that at that time had no name. It haunted me and never would leave. Then in the spring of 2013, I was at the Fort Smith Barrel Futurity competing for the week when a large string of tornadoes hit Moore, Oklahoma just a few hours west.
At one point we were under a tornado warning there at the futurity grounds and were ushered into the main conference building while the storm raged just outside where our horses were stalled. Fortunately, we missed the bullet but let me tell you, for an east Tennessee gal that was scary!
We watched the news following the storm and saw the deadly destruction of homes and farms. The tornadoes had hit several large horse farms and there were massive piles of dead horses that had been killed by the storm.
We also heard reports of horses that were severely injured and missing, and horses that still needed rescuing. In fact, there was one horse that was missing that originally came from a family I knew very well in east Tennessee.
For some reason, the devastation felt closer, my heart ached for everyone that was impacted and it gave me the final push I needed to finish the story that had seeped into my bones a decade earlier.
Here’s the film synopsis for THE GRULLA…
THE GRULLA is the story of Sage Witherspoon who loses her best horse in a devastating tornado and the journeys they both take to eventually bring them back together. In the end Sage finds hope, and true love in the arms of Garrett Wade.
Already a reluctant and bitter widow in her mid- thirties, Sage is just getting her life back together when a tornado touches down destroying everything in its path including her family ranch in northern Georgia and the very horse that the ranch’s future hinges on. Refusing to believe her horse was killed in the storm and refusing to give up on the ranch, Sage begins the journey of rebuilding her life once again and searching for the horse that to her holds the past, and her future.
Houston is an odd name for a horse but he is named after Sage’s father who died not quite two years ago. The grulla colored horse garnered the name as Sage’s father said he’d never amount to anything even though the horse was the culmination of years of what he had tried to achieve in his breeding program. In that sense, the young stallion ironically represents her father’s dreams and one last chance to prove him wrong. With an uncanny athletic ability, the three-year-old stallion also represents Sage’s dreams of finally having a top contender barrel horse to put the ranch on the map.
Garrett Wade is a cowboy in his late thirties trying to forget the sordid past of his younger rodeo days. When he’s asked to help with the tornado rescue efforts, he meets Sage. Unfazed by her constant attempts to convince the world that she can do it all on her own, Garrett sees past all that to the real strength and vulnerability that lies beneath. The next thing he knows, he’s pulled along on a wild horse chase.
Eula Witherspoon, Sage’s mother, came to the ranch when she married Sage’s father and has lived on the Witherspoon Ranch her whole adult life. Although she was raised with horses, Eula wants nothing more than to live a glamorous life in the city. As the years passed, the ranch began to represent everything she couldn’t have in life. When the tornado destroys it all, Eula sees the opportunity to start over but only if she can convince Sage Houston has died and the ranch is done. Eula betrays her very own daughter to finally gain the life she dreams of.
The stage is set when Houston spooks and bolts from Sage into the storm. It’s then that Sage realizes that a tornado is coming their way. Sage runs to the house to warn her mother, and then returns to the barn to release the horses from their stalls before the tornado hits. Sage can’t save the last horse and must take cover in a freezer used for feed as the tornado levels the barn.
The tornado is the largest they have ever seen in that part of the country and the local folks immediately start a search and rescue effort with anyone willing to show up. That’s when Garrett gets a call from his friend, Herman Miller who asks him to come and help as they are overwhelmed the devastation.
The next day as the search efforts continue, Garrett finds Sage who is unconscious among the debris. With a little coaching, he wakes her up only to find his damsel in distress is somewhat rude and can’t remember a thing. It’s only after Sage accidently sees the mangled remains of the last horse she tried to save that she remembers what happened, and that’s when Garrett first sees the softer side of her that draws him in.
In the aftermath, Houston is still missing and injured and has wandered onto the property of a no-good horse trader, Arthur Gilliam. He can’t feed the animals he has and the last thing he needs is another mouth to feed, especially a stallion without papers. Arthur leaves the young horse to die in his pasture. Houston doesn’t die, and Arthur recognizes the brand on the horse’s hip as belonging to the Witherspoon ranch and calls Eula Witherspoon hoping for a reward. Instead she pays him to make the horse disappear.
Sage immediately starts the task of getting her ranch back in order, against her mother’s wishes. Eula tries to convince her daughter to give up, telling her, “You know, all your hopes for this place rested on that young horse and he’s gone now. It might be time to finally think about selling out.” Sage responds by reminding her mother of the last time she sold her out, and telling her she’s not going to sell.
While they’re in this heated discussion at what’s left of the ranch, Garrett shows up to check on Sage and help with clean up. It’s then that they get to know each other a little more, and Garrett offers to help with ongoing fence repairs.
Arthur’s greed gets the best of him as he realizes he can take Eula’s money and sell Houston to farrier and fellow trader, John Cobb. John has two sons, Benn and Jess. John finds out first hand Houston is dangerous. But just like Sage, he sees the young horse’s potential. He warns his two little boys, Ben and Jess, to stay away.
While Houston is getting settled in to his new home, Garrett shows up to work on Sage’s fence. Shortly after he arrives, Sage’s high school boyfriend and insurance agent, Nick stops in to bring bad news. There’s not enough money to completely rebuild, and Nick also attempts to get Sage to sell out but Sage stands her ground. Garrett also poses the question that maybe Nick is interested in more than just Sage’s insurance and wants to rekindle an old flame.
Back in Houston’s world, boys will be boys and they want to impress their father. Jess defies his father’s orders and gets too close to Houston who accidently kicks him in the head and kills him. In his grief, John grabs his gun and lines up Houston in his sights only to be stopped at the last minute by his youngest son Ben.
Garrett and Sage continue making progress on the ranch, and in true cowboy style Garrett surprises Sage with a picnic. It’s then that he asks her out on a date to the nearby horse sale where maybe she can find out if anyone has seen Houston.
Houston’s future drastically changes as John chunks him off at a horse sale and sells him to a pen hooker at the gate which happens to be a rodeo stock contractor, Travis Meyers. Travis wants the big horse for his bucking stock in the bid for the National Finals Rodeo.
Garrett and Sage finally go on their date and kiss for the first time. Both are somewhat taken aback by the fireworks between them, but Sage is over thinking the whole relationship and tells Garrett she wants more than just a fling. Garrett tells her to relax and stop overthinking. He’s not out for a one night stand.
While Garrett is trying to not act like a wayward stud, Travis has his ranch hands Sam and Pete geld Houston. Sam and Pete get Houston caught and hogtied, but in the middle of the removing the horse’s testicles, he kicks almost injuring both men.
Travis’ wife, Pam, also takes a liking to the big gray horse as a barrel prospect and she wants the horse just as bad as Travis. The problem is that Pam’s eyes are bigger than her horsemanship skills. She decides to ride the horse the very next day after gelding so he won’t buck as much but he still launches her into the dirt, head first. It’s then that Travis knows Houston is his ticket to the NFR finals.
Back at the Witherspoon Ranch, the house is almost finished. As Sage is checking out the progress of the house, she thinks she’s alone when suddenly Nick shows up. As he’s attempting to rekindle an old flame with Sage in his arms, Garrett shows up unexpectedly.
Garrett is full of rage and feels like a fool for even thinking he had a chance with Sage. He tries to leave but Sage begs him to stay and tells Nick to leave. The next thing you know, the two are passionately entwined in each other’s arms and almost to the point of no return. Against his nature, Garrett pulls back and tells Sage he doesn’t want to make love to her on a kitchen floor, he wants more than that.
Suddenly Garrett realizes part of the reason that he came to see her in the first place. He’s gotten a lead that Houston has wound up in the hands of Travis. Garrett used to work for Travis years ago. As Sage pushes for information, Garrett must reveal his sordid drug past to her and the fact that he had made a pass at Travis’s wife, which seriously jeopardizes their plans to get Houston back.
Sage and Garrett sneak their way into the rodeo to get a look at the horse they think is Houston. Sure enough, it is Houston but they’re caught by Travis who doesn’t want to give the horse up.
Travis knew someone would be looking for such a nice horse so he did his homework and is a little very happy to share what he’s learned. It’s then that Sage discovers Houston wandered on to Arthur’s property and the reason he was missing for so long was because Arthur had made a deal with her own mother to make him disappear so she’d give up the ranch.
Fortunately, Travis’ wife Pam sees dollar signs and a chance to make a buck. Against Travis’ protests she offers to sell the horse back to Sage for a decent sum of money. Sage doesn’t have the kind of money that Pam is asking but Garrett knows who he was dealing with and has brought the money. He pays the price so Sage can get her horse back.
Once Sage has her horse back home on the ranch, she only has one more hurdle to cross, confront her mother about her betrayal. Sage is too devastated and angry to face her mother and decides to stay with Garrett for a few hours to clear her head and get some rest.
When they arrive at Garrett’s quaint little cabin, the passion heats up and they finally consummate their relationship.
The next day it’s time to face reality again and Sage meets with her mother. When Sage finally confronts Eula, she sees her for who she really is and discovers Eula had arranged to sell to Nick from the very beginning. Sage offers to sell a few acres and release her to live her life.
The story ends with a happy little twist. No one knew that Houston had bred one of the mares that survived the storm. The surprise foal has just as much attitude as his sire.
The script is currently being submitted to film managers and agents. Inquiries can be sent to qheventer (at) yahoo.com . Also visit my page on IM Db Pro.
Love great western stories and a great cause?
WILD DEADWOOD TALES Anthology
Rodeos and romance, Old West adventure, and even a few ghostly tales. Deadwood’s wild past and exciting present come alive in seventeen original short stories written by USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors to benefit the Western Sports Foundation. Contributing authors: E.E. Elisabeth Burke, Zoe Blake, Paty Norman Jager, Teresa Keefer, Megan Kelly, Sylvia McDaniel, Amanda McIntyre, Peggy McKenzie, Angi Morgan, Nancy Naigle, Jacqui Nelson, Terri Osburn, Ginger Ring, Maggie Ryan, Lizbeth Selvig, Tina Susedik and A.C. Wilson
Proceeds from this limited edition collection go to benefit the Western Sports Foundation, an organization providing critical assistance to athletes competing in Western lifestyle sports. Whether they need help recuperating from an injury or planning for the future, WSF is there for them.
Here are the links to the book to prerorder at the various retailers. It is available May 1st.
The book will be available in ebook and print May 1st, and you can purchase autographed print copies at the PBR Rodeo in Deadwood, SD on June 8th and 9th.
She was his…and it was past time he staked his claim.
Jessamine Cooper was determined to stay independent and run her late uncle’s ranch on her own. When she shows up in Deadwood with an ill-advised plan to win the money she needs playing poker, Cash decides it is past time for him to stake his claim.
A friendship that never died.
Calamity Jane is drawn back to Deadwood by a force more powerful than death, and becomes an unexpected savior in the midst of an epidemic.
Everyone deserves a chance.
When a miner tosses his daughter into the pot at a poker game and the winner is a brothel owner, Beau Gentry is determined to keep the young woman out of the man’s hands.
THE GAMBLER AND THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER
Can a preacher’s daughter play poker with a gambler and win?
Leticia Chasteen was always getting dragged into situations she didn’t want to be in. Rusty McGraw the gambler was always coming to her rescue. Who will end up with the winning hand?
A RISKY PROPOSAL
He loves her. She loves him. A proposal should be good news, right?
Callie Jones never wanted to date a bull rider. Now she’s fallen in love with Rome Anderson, who’s intent on winning the PBR Championship buckle. When he asks her to marry him, she has to decide: Does she break his heart with a no or doom her future with a yes?
LOVE ACROSS TIME
Is it possible to love someone in another time? Are dreams real?
Sadie Mae Miller is hanging up her barrel racing crown and beginning a new life. But when her grandmother asks her to sleep under a new wedding ring quilt with promises of visions of the love of her life, she doesn’t quite believe her. Until she falls asleep. Only problem is, he lived in 1880. Does time separate the lovers?
ONCE UPON A DEADWOOD DREAM
Sometimes to find your future you must face the past.
Past and present meld together in Deadwood when a woman who discovers true love must fight to escape a deadly twist of fate.
Sometimes, love is hiding in the most peculiar places.
Major Lucas Hamilton, widower and father of four boys, insists on the disciplined order of a regimented household. But when a bumbling young woman falls at his feet, will he take a chance on her or send her packing before she burns his house down to the ground.
Teenage crush or true love. You decide.
Sean Maverick is on a charity auction block until a beautiful woman from his past buys him for the night. Em Stone believed in love at first sight even if she had to lasso and knock Sean off his feet.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride? Never say never.
Kendra is fine with being a bridesmaid. She hung up her wedding hopes and dreams eight years ago when her cowboy chose the rodeo over her, but when these two cross paths in Deadwood it looks like the timing just might be right for a reconciliation.
In a gold rush storm, can an unlikely pair rescue each other?
Raven wants to save one person. Charlie wants to save the world. Their warring nations thrust them together but duty pulled them apart—until their paths crossed again in Deadwood for a fight for love.
AFTER THE FALL
When it comes to love, sometimes falling is the easy part.
Aspyn Fielding blames Tucker Stargill for not talking her brother, Colt, out of riding bulls. When Colt is gravely injured during a ride, Aspyn is hopeful Tucker will finally see things her way, but Aspyn is the one who has a change of heart.
Finding the perfect results from one simple test.
Orphaned at a young age, both Adam and River yearn to find a living relative from either of their families. After finally deciding to put down roots in Deadwood, a simple DNA test brings a result that is more than they ever expected.
A GIFT OF GOLD
There may be gold in the Black Hills, but Bennett had his eyes on a far more valuable prize.
Not one to be deterred by the dictates of society, Lorelai Samuels had a dream to open a restaurant in the bustling new town of Deadwood and no one was going to stand in her way, especially not the infuriatingly handsome and stubborn Bennett Redding.
GOTTA HAVE FAITH
Win or lose, she’s about to take on the big boys.
Faith “Rabbit” Redmond forms an extreme plan at the Deadwood rodeo to convince a champion bull rider that women can excel at the dangerous sport. If she wins his respect, she might also win his love. .
THE SCHOOL MARM
Can a schoolmarm with dreams of a better life, fall for a disreputable man?
Suzanna Lindstrom travels as a schoolmarm in fledgling Deadwood. Having left her parents’ struggling farm, she dreams of a better life in Deadwood with a man who’s struck it rich in the gold fields. Fresh off the stagecoach, she meets Kingston Winson, whom she disregards as disreputable. Is he who she thinks he is? What lesson will she learn?
Tricks inspire courage and new love while daring others to dream.
Pushed to choose a direction for her life, Tandi discovers that some crossroads are necessary. Surprisingly, each marker leads her to an arena of spectators with her talented horse and a handsome guy who gives her hope to do the impossible.
I met Jenny Sauer on Twitter. With her fun personality, and unusual background of farming and acting I knew she was someone I wanted to interview for the blog even though it wasn’t directly horse related. I think with her great rural work ethic, diverse background and sense of adventure you’ll enjoy reading about Jenny….
You’re a jack of all trades – tell us a little bit about your scientific writing, being an actress and model, and a farmer…..
One of the best things I’ve learned, most recently, being a full-time farmer, is that I’ve become a mechanic. I always knew the basics, but now I know what the feederhouse chain looks like and how to change it. I can speak the “tool speak” now, and I’ve found myself, very often actually, walking by a construction site and noticing what tools they have. I was with my mumsie one day, walked by a construction area, and I exclaimed, “Oh wow, Dewalt makes that big of an air compressor?!” Mom laughed at me because I’ve never really spoken that way about tools.
I’ve started my own tool collection for my work truck. I enjoy going to eBolt in Jacksonville, IL now with Dad…and I know the owner’s name. I know a lot of the guys at Arend’s Awe in Riggston, IL (the John Deere implement my great grandfather initially started). We have to go in there fairly often for parts, so Dad sends me in there to pick up stuff.
My wide array of knowledge just continues to expand, which I love. I LOVE being able to figure things out that are practical. If something is wrong with my car/truck, I can now figure it out on my own rather than calling my dad right away, which I still would if I couldn’t figure it out quickly enough. Being able to be mehcanilly inclined is so liberating because I don’t NEED anyone else, especially needing a man.
Now I’m not some raging feminist, but it is nice to be able to do things by myself.
What is a typical day like for you?
Waking up — having my “morning routine” which consists of making an acai bowl, Tazo English breakfast tea, and lemon water (I add my own lemons). Mornings when I have to hurry, I have Marshmallow Fruit Loops in a “Jethro size” bowl. Sugary cereals are not just for kids.
I may or may not have to feed everything at our shop and cattleshed (black Angus cattle and kitties). This depends upon if my dad has errands to run. During harvest, I did the feeding every day so he could hop on the combine and just go. Every couple of days, I fill up an umpteen amount of corn buckets to take corn to two other pastures of cattle. My trapezious muscles are quite impressive at this point.
And then from there, well, whatever needs to be fixed/repaired/moved/cleaned/etc. There isn’t a day where there is “nothing to do;” there is ALWAYS something to do.
What was it like growing up in a farming family?
Super duper. My parents were able to be at every sporting event, practice, school-related activity I had, including my older brother and sister’s events/practices. Farming is stressful, but working for yourself allows for you to allot time for the important things in life. All of those small things, kids remember. I’m so fortunate to be able to look back on my childhood and be able to say with all honesty, that my parents were ALWAYS there, no matter what. I’m also thankful and lucky to have such awesome parents.
One of the other great things was that I started learning how to drive when I was 10. I knew how to drive a car, truck, vehicle with a manual transmission, and a tractor before I was 16. That helped me able to deal with drivers in Chicago and Los Angeles traffic. I also knew how to hook up a hitch and pull a trailer. My first time, I remember, actually driving, was in my dad’s red 1989 red Chevy truck pulling a trailer while the guys bucked square bales onto the trailer. I guess Dad thought, “what could go wrong with a little kid driving 3-5mph, at least she’ll be useful?” We actually still have that truck; modified into a flat bed.
What were some of your chores growing up and why do you think you were given those particular chores?
I don’t believe I had any specific chores, simply what mom and dad wanted to me to do, they just told me to do it.
What type of farming do you do now, and what are some of your goals for your farm?
We farm corn and soybeans. I’d like to expand and try a couple other crops. I’ve always wanted to try growing sunflowers because for one thing, they’re pretty, and for another, they were one of my late grandpa Sauer’s favorite flower.
He farmed up until the day he passed. I loved him like my own father, and it would be kind of in remembrance, reverence, of him. Sunflowers are a happy flower, I’ve never been witness, nor heard about, anyone being junky when receiving sunflowers. I have heard about roses and carnations (obviously because those are filler flowers) not being received well, but not sunflowers.
I’m kind of running off the topic here, but harvesting the seeds is interesting. I’ve looked up how it all works, does it mean I’ll give it a go on a few acres? Maybe, but that is something I’d like to experiment with someday.
I’m a HUGE proponent of change. I think it’s necessary as humans to introduce some sort of change in your life every once in awhile, otherwise, you become too comfortable and never challenge yourself. That could be something so small as to try a new protein powder in your shake, or as large as moving to a different state where you know no one. I did both of those things. I like a morning routine, but that’s about as monotonous as I get.
What are some of the struggles that you experience as a farmer?
The fact that we are competing with other countries for corn and soybeans production and prices are basically like they were in the 80’s. The price of corn and soybeans is kinda sucky right now.
South America, you’re welcome we shipped modern farming equipment and taught modern day farming techniques to you.
People don’t realize that farmers don’t get a raise because they work harder or because they complimented their boss nonstop, it’s based upon the markets and people who have no idea how farming works. Am I being slightly facetious there? Yeah, but I don’t care.
Also, farming is like playing the lottery. You depend on the weather. Sidenote: all my friends always ask me what the weather is going to be like because I always check…that’s what being from a farmer family does to you.
Ok, back on topic…you never know what the weather will do, and meteorologists don’t even know 70% of the time (that is my own percentage I believe it is, that is not scientifically proven). So the fact that you really have no idea what kind of crop you will have that year makes for a little stress in your life. Of course there are things to help alleviate that worry, but it’s always there, no matter what type of “weather dances” you might perform, candles lit in church, or bottles of wine consumed.
You are a published science writer. Tell us about that.
Ever since I was in third grade, I wanted to be a podiatrist. I started playing basketball competitively then, and I also managed to tear my achilles tendon when I was the ripe age of 9. I went to see a podiatrist, and I was hooked.
I thought I always wanted to be a doctor. I had the grades and drive, but my senior year of college, I thought, “Ehhhhhh, I’ll be over 30 years old before I can enjoy my life. Yeaaaaaaaah, no thanks.”
I graduated with honors in biology and decided to go into clinical research. I was hired on at the Jones Eye Institute in Little Rock, AR.
The lab group I worked with consisted of maybe 12-15 people. We had 9 studies going on at the same time, so I dabbled in half of those doing various lab tests for whatever was needed.
I was a glorified lab tech, but helped write, used my ideas/suggestions, etc and BAM, got published. We were finding the correlation between the immune system and the eye. We found complement factor H, I actually, visually, found it due to me running the Western Blot procedure.
We gave lab rats cancer in the eye (uveal melanoma), scratched corneas and used honey on the scratches-yes, it does indeed induce a faster healing time, and all that jazz.
I did some very cool stuff, however, the lab environment I was in just wasn’t cutting it for me. I’m a social person, when I want to be, but the lab people I was around weren’t really all that fun- shocker I know. I met some very awesome other lab people, with whom I am still friends with, however, they were not in my lab.
I was a fitness instructor at the same time, so I did that for awhile (did that in Dallas, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles). I kinda did what I wanted, BUT not simply on a whim. I’ve always had confidence in my abilities, and if I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to be performing well or slightly unsure if I can hack it, I don’t follow through with that option. I take risks, but calculated ones. I think I’m kind of like most people, I’m not really a huge fan of failing. I know it happens, but if I can avoid it as much as possible, I’d like to do that.
Modeling and acting are opposite ends of the spectrum from farming. How did you get into the entertainment and fashion world?
So my college days, not a whole lot of people know this, but I went to a different college every year for 4.5 years. I took off a semester while I lived in Chicago, so that accounts for the “.5th” year. What can I say? I love change, and I love traveling, so that was my way of “traveling” so-to-speak.
I met new people all the time, immersed myself into the culture of wherever I was, and I loved it. Would I recommend it? Wellll, it’s not for everyone because I had to to a lot of “extra” classes due to not all classes transferring, but I had something over 200 credits.
I took a lot of classes, did well at each school actually, normally always on the Dean’s List, but needed different scenery.
Ok, so back to your question…I got into modeling whenever I was attending the University of Illinois in Chicago. I started out trying some promotional modeling, which was just looking decent and getting paid to talk to people about a product. It was easy money, most of the time, but then it branched out from there.
I was “seen” at some things, then asked to work for them, do a photoshoot here and there, that kind of stuff. I did my research and learned about all this stuff, but then it got to the point where I was becoming kinda junky because I wasn’t eating much and working out a lot to compete.
I’m 5’8″, so in order to be competitive with the Amazons, you have to be thinner. The thinner you are, the taller you look/photograph. Well I’m 75% German, I’m not meant to be skinny, so it was too much work to be “skinny,” it’s WAY easier for me to be muscular. Plus I have a lot more energy and am much more personable when eating and working out on a consistent basis. 😉
So I had the taste of modeling, that helped me to understand the acting world. I NEVER acted in my life, nor thought about it while younger/in school.
I was a stage manager for a play in college because I tried out for the lead role (yeah, that was ambitious with no experience) and of course the theatre instructor chose a girl she has worked with multiple times before. I understand, now, why it worked out that way, however, I was told by quite a few people, who viewed my audition, that I did a very good job.
It was for a role with a southern accent, I nailed that because I’m surrounded by a redneck accent, so it’s not that much of a stretch to do a southern accent. It was a blessing in disguise because I am not a stage actor, I enjoy the feature/tv/commercial arena.
While I was in Oklahoma City, I decided to move to LA. I did my research before, figured out, mostly, how it all worked, and said, “Yep, we’re doing this.”
Like I mentioned before, I wouldn’t have simply done it on a whim if I didn’t believe in my capabilities to figure it out, and I did my research before I moved. I had a backup plan, my bio degree, fitness certifications, and farming. When I moved, I was comfortable because I had something to fall back upon in case I was totally mucked up wrong.
I moved, worked, received my “must-join” SAG notification, so I paid up and joined the union.
By the way, I have mentioned in my book, Snickering Out Loud, that I obtained this by working, not performing sexual favors. With all the news lately, I know that sexual exploitation of girls and dumb actors is rampant out there.
I don’t know if it was luck, but I’m going to say it was from “living” before heading out there that saved me. I also have a little bit going on up in the ol’ noodle, so I was never really asked point blank to be subject to “yucky stuff.” I had a friend tell me it’s because of my “aura” and “vibe,” but I think it’s because I walk and speak with confidence. The predators out in Hollywood prey on the weak unfortunately…I never came across as weak, which I am very proud to say. I won’t say that I wasn’t persued, however, I was being chased after I suppose because of my unique background, not because I seemed “easy.” It’s a tough world out there, I would not recommend it to anyone young.
What are some of your most well known acting and modeling gigs?
I hate to do this, but it’s probably easier to go to my website (www.jennysauer.com) and look on the acting resume.
I think the most well-known, but not actual large roles, were “Hangover 2” (this was the role where I became a “must-join” into the union) where I was a flight attendant and “Water for Elephants” where I was a foxtrot dancer. My cool uncle, Uncle Joe, taught me how to do the fox trot at his wedding, so because of him I landed that role. They were “extra” roles, but I got featured, so that was cool.
I got to talk to some of the biggie actors, that was quite the experience. I got some fun details about the actors because I struck up conversations with the crew and directors. I didn’t care, they are just people, so that’s how I treated them. In which case they opened up quite a bit. For some reason people seem to think I’m easy to talk to, so that’s flattering.
What have been some of favorite jobs as an actress and model, and why?
Any of the union jobs because craft services (the food) was better, we got to eat before the nonunion, pay was better, and had rules to protect us, so we were treated better.
What is like being a farmer in the entertainment industry?
Fun. No one has my story, so I never sounded like all the other actors.
How has being a farmer shaped your career as an actress and model?
It was easier to make friends and alliances. Due to growing up in a town of 7 seven houses, you have to be able to perform “small talk” fairly well, and act like you like the person, so acting came fairly easy to me. I attended school in a town of 1,800, so everyone knows all of your business and your relatives. Being able to deal with everything that goes with a small town, really makes it VERY easy, in my opinion, to handle city issues. What people complain about in a city is small taters compared to what is complained about in a small town. We have to figure out a lot more because we don’t have everything at our disposal, good critical thinking skills. I’m sorry my good city friends.
As a farmer, we have real-life problems, people in the acting world don’t really understand ANY of those, so it helped to not get wrapped up and swallowed in that world.
What are some of your goals as an actress?
My goal, when I moved to LA, was to land a national commercial. I did that, while living in Chicago (I lived in LA, moved to Chicago, then back to LA-all in 5 years) in a Swiffer commercial where it was just me. So I met my goal and am still in the SAG-AFTRA union. I won’t ever get rid of that union payment, that was quite the milestone, and something I’m very proud of obtaining the way I did. It takes some people YEARS to get their card, so the fact that I did the right things and did real work to get it is quite satisfying. Since I reached the goal I set out to do, I’m ok with allowing acting to take a backseat. It’s not gone from my life, I have something up my sleeve coming up which I can’t discuss, but farming is something I’ve always come back to, every single year.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
My first word was “kitty.” That probably wouldn’t be a surprise to most, but I don’t believe that is something I mention too often.
If you could tell the world one thing what would it be?
Travel, expand your mind, it only makes your life better, not worse. You don’t have to have a lot of money to see some place new. It makes you look at things differently, which is a good thing.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into the farming business?
Save A LOT of money…and buy good work gloves. I have very feminine hands, piano hands one might say, and I like to keep them that way. I wear Milwaukee brand gloves, good stuff. They keep me from having “man hands,” which is something I don’t believe is too terribly attractive in a woman.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to make a career out of acting or modeling?
This could make for a very long answer. 😉 Make sure you get your skin nice and thick because you will hear “no” VERY OFTEN. A lot of people become very insecure, well, don’t. I know that’s easier said than done, but once you allow doubt to creep into your mind, it’s hard to get rid of. I know I just ended that sentence with a preposition, I should probably fix it, but that’s how I speak on occasion. It’s really a “mind over matter” sort of concept. You have to think your shite doesn’t stink without being arrogant. I know that might sound like an oxymoron, however, it can be mastered. There is a HUGE difference between being confident and arrogant.
Also, there is always someone younger and prettier than you, this includes men. If you decline a job, they will find someone else, you are dispensable. There are so many people trying to “make it,” so you have to hustle. LA is one of the most transient cities, so you’re nothing overly special, but you have to make yourself seem like you are, and stand out-for the right reasons.
One more thing, you have to be responsible. I lived the “Hollywood life” for awhile…then I got tired. I can see just how easily it would be for someone naive to get swept up into that world. Hell, I almost did. It’s also very expensive to live that lifestyle AND be an actor, pay for classes, headshots, clothing, rent, food, etc. It’s not an easy life, I can tell you that much. So like the advice for starting a farm, save a lot of money before you think about going into acting so you aren’t living in your car-yes, a lot of people do that out there, no joke.
Would I do it all over again? Hell yes. Am I glad I moved home to help Dad on the farm? Hell yes. I made decisions based upon myself, therefore I have made myself happy. I didn’t do anything for anyone else. I still fly back and forth to CA, but farming has been something I’ve ALWAYS had, and ALWAYS loved. You can’t take the country out of the girl.