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May 26, 2023

209. Hollywood Actress Turning Struggles Into Making History with Tessa Farrell

209. Hollywood Actress Turning Struggles Into Making History with Tessa Farrell

Happiness Solved with Sandee Sgarlata. In this episode, Sandee interviews Tessa Farrell. Tessa Farrell - Hollywood actress who has appeared on HBO's Entourage and indie film, The Madness Within. She is now making headlines as the "Co-pioneer of...

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Happiness Solved with Sandee Sgarlata. In this episode, Sandee interviews Tessa Farrell. Tessa Farrell - Hollywood actress who has appeared on HBO's Entourage and indie film, The Madness Within. She is now making headlines as the "Co-pioneer of smartphone filmmaking" with her own film, Cinema Rebel, which is all about an actress making her own movie without a budget or film crew. The movie has recently been on the film festival circuit, winning awards such as the Best Comedy: Hollywood Independent Filmmaker Awards and Best Mobile Film: Cine Paris International Film Festival.

Connect with Tessa : http://www.tessafarrell.com 

Connect with Sandee www.sandeesgarlata.com

Podcast: www.happinesssolved.com






This is happiness solved with America's happiness. Coach Sandee Sgarlata.

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining me today. I'm so happy you're here. Earth. I'm Sandee Sgarlata. I was born in Virginia Beach and raised in the Baltimore Annapolis area and had very humble and tragic beginnings.

And as a result, my life was a hot mess. Thankfully, 33 years ago, I got my act together. And since that time, I have dedicated my life to serving others and raising awareness that no matter what you've been through, you can choose happiness and live the life of your dreams. Happiness Solved is dedicated to giving you content that is empowering, motivational, inspirational, and, of course, a dose of happiness. It's my way to give back to the world and share other people's stories.

This thing called life can be challenging and my guests share their amazing stories, wisdom and life lessons that demonstrate anyone can choose happiness. You see, happiness is a choice, and the choice is yours. Today's episode is amazing and I am so grateful for you. Thank you for listening and don't forget to leave a review and follow me on social media at coach. Sandee Sgarlata.

Enjoy the show.

Tessa Farrell, it is such an honor and a privilege to be speaking with you today. How. How are you? You are so beautiful. Likewise.

It's an honor to be here. Thank you. Thank you. So you're a Hollywood actress. I've only talked to a handful of actors and actresses, but I love it because that was, of course, when we're teenagers, we all want to be a Hollywood actress, but you appeared in HBO's Entourage The Madness Within and your headlines is the co pioneer of smartphone filmmaking.

I love that. So we're going to talk about all of that because I'm really curious about that. So how did you get to where you are today? Everybody has a story. How did you get to where you were?

Because it's not an easy thing. I mean, there's a lot of struggles and hardships and everything to even land a little spot. And that, ironically, was kind of the because I started out the very traditional route. I moved to Hollywood from Austin, Texas, did the audition route, got on Entourage as like a supermodel at their parties. I even got to do the scene with Eminem when he punched Vince, which was really fun because I got to see Eminem punch Vince so many times for lack of anyway, so then I did the whole, okay, I got kind of typecasted a lot and something inside me didn't feel right.

And I wanted to play these different parts of my manager at the time wanted me to go out for but there was a disconnect, so I ended up letting him go and taught myself how to screenwrite. And then I took a few years doing that. And then because it wasn't really known at the time, no one really wanted to read my screenplays. So I started this was like around 2014, 2015. iPhones came out with really good cameras.

And I learned from Tangerine in 2015 that, oh, you can make a film on your phone. And this is before it's all popular now. So this was like way back when, no one was doing it yet. And so I started doing that, but I didn't have money at the time, really. So I was doing it as a one person crew making short films on my phone.

And then eventually, like four years later, I'm like the most interesting thing I'm doing right now, really, is what I'm doing about making films on my phone. So I made a film about a girl making films on her phone as a one person crew. And I don't want to do a spoiler for the end, but it is a new filmmaking world record that I broke. And it's something that's never been done in film history. And it was a really long, difficult struggle.

And the film is really cool because the film is not 100% a true story, but it's inspired by a true story. But that's what sets me apart from everyone else in Hollywood, because I kind of became my own Hollywood for a while because I had to do it without Hollywood. I had to make a movie on my own. So, yeah, the movie kind of tells the story the best. It's hard for me to talk about it because there's a lot of things too I want to leave as a surprise for the audience, of course.

So is this out now? This film not out to the public yet. I finished it recently, late last year. Then I've released it to some film festival judges. So I wanted to see how it was received.

And it's been winning a bunch of awards worldwide. So that's very exciting. So now I'm kind of researching different distributors because ideally I want to get it in theaters because that's how I edit it, because that's the other exciting element of it. If we can see the technology nowadays, an iPhone movie in a theater, that's going to be really fun for all of us to go see how far we've come. So I'm really hoping for that.

But right now it's award season, so everyone's really busy. So it's kind of like run pause, run pause phase. So, yeah, pretty soon, hopefully around April ish, then we'll start getting going and I'll get some meetings going and we'll figure out when we're going to release it to the public. That is absolutely incredible. Wow.

I'm like a little starstruck now here, Tessa. I mean, I read your bio and all that, but talking with you in person, it's just really special. And to be able to accomplish that, I know before we hit record, we were sharing a little bit. And I love your kitty cat in the background. He has a special story because he came to me during the making of the movie because I was alone in this movie hut thing I built, and I was sad at the time.

I was happiness solved. I was a one person crew at the time, and I'm like, this is really challenging. And I heard a cat crying outside in the building, and I went outside to find it. I was like, oh, God, this would be a great time to foster or save an animal, because I'm literally 12 hours a day in this film studio. And then I seen email from a neighbor saying, oh, we found this cat.

Did anyone lose a cat? Like, hey, if you need help fostering, I'm available. They're like, Please take the cat. We have two. They're not getting along.

So I take the cat. We fall in love. No one claims the cat. There was no chip in it. It was meant to be.

My prayer was answered. And then I had photos of him watching me work on my computer. He was like my little buddy watching me edit. It was hilarious. I'll post photos at some point of him.

Yeah, he's a cute little gosh. Well, I'm just really enamored at how you had this vision and you brought it into fruition, because so many times we have a vision. I was telling you my big audacious goal that I have with my tennis amateur tennis playing, and I've got the timeline. I've put it out in the universe. How did you keep on track, and how did you keep that trajectory moving forward?

Because life always happens while we're busy making other plans, and it can be hard and challenging. What did you do? What tips can you give the audience for just sticking on track with that? Because what you've accomplished was no small feat. That's a very great question because I made the decision in July 2019.

I think it's when I first started saying, okay, hey, I'm going to turn all my stuff that I'm making into a feature about it. A lot was going on in my personal life, and through that pain, there was just, okay, I set my goal. No matter how much pain I'm going through, I'm going to keep up with it. But that pain eventually. The world kept throwing things at me.

There were moments where I was like, I'm going to give up, or something. It felt like I was going to give up. And that's when I mentioned sometimes divine intervention, because then something magical would happen. Like, for example, this guy that I met at a party, because some of it I filmed raw, Live improv. And he agreed to be in the film and sign a release, and I wanted him to rerecord his audio.

He's in London somewhere. And so I'm like, okay, you know what? Maybe I shouldn't be doing this. I think I'm doing the wrong thing. And then he'll text me immediately, say, hey, don't you need my lines?

Like, right in the moment I'm feeling like I'm giving up, or another day where I'm like, Am I doing the right thing? And then the Amazon guy will not only knock on my door and hand me my box, but know what's in it and say, here's your magical hat. How did he know there was a hat in the box? And how did he know I needed that hat for this big scene in the movie? Like, little things like that.

And then another time, I wasn't feeling well at all and my girlfriend had her birthday party and I was really having a bad day and I wanted to work on the film. And that was another hard part, is socially, with my friends and my family, it was really difficult to be there for them because I was kind of overcome with this artistic journey and I needed to kind of engulf myself in this world because I became the character and the editor, and I didn't want to miss her birthday. But there was something inside me that wasn't ready to sit there and chat with people and be present and be a positive person in there. I need to be working on the film. So as I'm driving home, running an errand and I'm sorry, Anya, if you're listening, I love you so much.

But there was like 20 pink heart balloons outside my apartment, abandoned in a bush. And so I'm like, this is random. And I wait for like five to ten minutes looking around. No one gets them. So I'm like, okay, this is weird.

I'm going to take them and send them to her and say, babe, I'm sorry, I can't make it. I need to work on this movie. I don't feel good. I love you so much, though. And I did that.

It's weird, things like that, that kept happening. But also things like communicating with your friend. That's not a good friend thing to do. I would have loved to have been there for her, but I also needed to ride that wave of making this film and whatever the art requires. But again, too, there were times where things were messy.

I had this toxic air problem. There was a water intrusion and it got so bad. Or I was sick for a year while I was editing and I had to wear like a Hazmat suit and sleep on the floor with my audio. Yeah, it's a very weird story because I hand built my sound studio with all of my speakers and at one point I couldn't go outside of it without getting really sick because the air was so toxic. So it's really about deep down, how far are you willing to go?

But knowing that also exploring and being like, okay, every experience is an experience, even if it's really painful. And then being that sounds so weird to say, grateful for it. But if you think about, of course things can be the difficult things are the ones that shape us the most, and those are the ones that give us an opportunity to find out who we are. So even though it hurts so much, like, even right now with my apartment a mess, I'm still disinfecting things. I have a UV light in my bathroom that's releasing ozone, so now I'm still getting exposed to toxins.

It's really frustrating, but I'm like, well, this is shaping me in some way that I don't know right now, but in the future I will. And so this, as weird as it sounds, is a gift. And so if I just think about my long term goal, it's weird because everything I'm going through to get to that, it's like opposite. I don't know how to it's hard to put into specific words, but I think when I am making the film that it brings, I don't want to start crying, but it brings so much joy. That joy.

Those moments that you find are worth all of the other stuff. Because I've had moments where I'm just like it's really hard to put into words the magic I felt an experience. I just can't wait to share it with the world soon, because I've had being able to accomplish those things and see it come to life.

I can feel it. I can feel your emotions gosh, there's so much. You just said so when you were saying weird things for me, I believe those are miracles. Those are all miracles that happen. And it is a divine intervention, I believe.

And it's little things like that that are handed to you to keep you moving forward. And you're right. One day you will look back at this. Because right now, when you're in the midst of the chaos, it feels like it's hard not to feel like a victim and get into the victim mentality. And all this is happening to me.

It's just when you ride the waves, right, like you're doing, you get to the other side and you're like, this happened for me. Yes. And I didn't know that until I made it through some waves, because in those waves, I'm like, so pissed, so angry. But then, of course, get through those waves. I'm like, okay, instead of complaining, I'm going to ask, how do I get better?

So how do I have more skills to get through these problems? Instead of asking, how do I have less problems? Give me more skills to get through them. So now I'm focusing on what can I do to get through this faster or easier or make the problems disappear instead of complaining about them. Well, you mentioned a very powerful word, and that is gratitude, because gratitude is the quickest way to shift your vibration from down here to really high.

And it's so hard sometimes, right? And I also want to throw it out there because I talk about this a lot, that when you are feeling frustrated and angry. You have to sit in those feelings. And it's okay, because as humans, we're supposed to feel all of the emotions. I'm so glad you said, because I learned that lesson, too, that in the beginning, push them away and thinking they're bad.

Actually, those are some of the most precious moments in 2020, right? When COVID started, I took my computers and my speakers and my dad, but I only had two speakers at the time, and I was learning audio engineering, and I remember sitting in the bed crying because this is so hard, learning this technical stuff. And then I look back, I'm like that moment of just my soul kind of aching in pain. But striving for something is one of the most precious things I'll ever cherish now. But at the time, it was so painful.

But you have to just let yourself feel it and breathe through it. It gets easier. It sure does. And I keep this up here for moments like this. And this is so freaking cool because I was on a Friend of mine's podcast, and one day I get this package in the mail, and I open it up, and he framed one of my quotes, and it says, in order to grow, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Oh, my God, this is so yeah. Right, because it's icky, and it feels right. And you apologize before we started because you're in this transition stage and you're still organizing your place. And that's okay. I'm like, don't worry about it.

It's all good on my chair with my cutting board because my kitchen is covered in these boxes of stuff with the mold. I'm like, okay, this is so not how it's done. But I have to be comfortable cooking dinner, in a way, grabbing things over here, the cats running over there, the toxic ozone things over here. It's like I have to learn to stay centered amidst all of that. And that's the key.

You can't control what's going on, even on a future. I can't control people on set. I can't control what happens, but I can control how I remain inside. At least react to it. Yeah, exactly.

We're talking right now. It's very serendipitous. Very serendipitous. And thank you for sharing that. And I just hope the audience recognizes.

And if you're just listening to this, I am speaking with this absolutely gorgeous human being who played a supermodel on Entourage. And for all of you out there, you're just like all of us, right? We all have these things that happen. You're no different, right? We all put our pants on one leg at a time, and life happens.

And I love what you said, because you can't control what's going on around you, but all you can control is how you choose to react. Yes.

Oh, my gosh.

You just said that you don't know when things are going to be coming out.

How can people follow you. Let's start at that because I want to make sure people follow you so that they know when your film is going to be released. Since it has won so many awards and everything, I know people are going to want to see it, myself included. With instagram because while I made the movie, I had to go off the grid, like offline and everything. So instagram, Tessa Farrell my name.

And then XO, because Tessa Farrell is taken right now, hopefully one day I'll be able to get my username. It's not using it either, so we'll see. But right now, Tessa Farrell, XO and then cinema rebel movie on instagram, those two instagram handles and then basically those two. I'm going to facebook my facebook. I'll be announcing things but my PR agent is really on point as well.

Zach Pepperman ZTPR.

Zach's amazing. I love zach. Yeah, he's been incredible and has sent me so many amazing guests to appear on my show. So that's really awesome. All right.

This has been such an amazing week. You're my fifth podcast interview I've had this week, which I normally only do a couple. I have spoken to so many people this week that are like one person's, a chef, one does speaking on dyslexia. It's just been amazing. You, hollywood actress and all of you, I have said this consistently this week is you're all just beginning.

This is just the beginning for you. Wow. I know. I'm so excited about this whole journey. I am so thrilled for that.

Yeah. So what's next for you? Because this is just the beginning for you, Tessa. So step by step. So next I am going to a TV station, NBC news, palm springs.

I'm going to talk about the movie next wednesday we're filming it and then after that we'll see. So, yeah, step by step. Congratulations. So any other projects in the works? I love this because I had a coach say to me the other day, because I work with all coaches, need coaches.

So I have several different coaches in my team that are helping me.

And I want to ask you this question. So he said if money was no object, right, or another person said it this way, if you were god, right, you could create anything. What would your perfect day look like and what would you create for yourself? Let's dream big here. We went from project today or are we on project perfect day?

Whatever. Perfect day or your next project, what do you want your life to look like? So I love that you said that because as I was getting ready for this chat, I'm like worry about sanitizing my things about money, about anything but the message I want to share with the world and the projects that I want to create. So, yeah, I think it would really be honing sharing the story about making cinema rebel and getting it out there, getting it worldwide in theaters because the people that have seen the judges that have seen it, want to see it in theaters in their countries are really excited. My dad wrote it.

My dad's an author, a novelist. He's just starting out too. But he writes very fast. I'm very impressed with him. And there's one book called Celerity that I want to turn into a film really fast because I think it's going to be fantastic.

It has a sports element, adventure, and a psychological thriller element. It's about a girl that's like a second place track star in college. And she finds this serum. Well, her dad's a scientist, and then he dies and she's left with all the house debt. So then she goes into his work, but he's like, don't look into my work.

And he discovered this new serum plant. So she goes to this jungle to find it. It's a wild story. She becomes the fastest human on the planet, joins the NFL. All the guys are going to love it.

This little girl in the NFL is faster than all of them. But then there's side effects from this serum. No one knows that she's taking this serum. So she starts turning into the villain and becoming dark and evil. So there's this good and evil element to it.

But then I also wrote a script called Scarlet about when I was on set with Eminem. I freestyle rapped in high school with my buddies back then. So I had rapping background. That was the one difficult thing of working next to Eminem. I wanted to start freestyling for him because I didn't think no one knew I could.

But I didn't want to be rude. So I did it. But it was really hard. I can't now. I stopped doing it.

It's not in my wheelhouse, really. But I wrote a script about a girl that does a poet that wants to bring romanticism back into the world. And I think it would be really beautiful because with the BLM movement happening after I wrote the script, I'm like, oh, this is an opportunity to unite cultures and really kind of unite humans now because there's a lot of moving parts and people are speaking out. So that's another thing I think is really relevant and important. And I want to team up with an African American that can rewrite the script with me to give me that perspective.

Because I want to have more eyes and more souls on that project. So that's kind of on the board of let's do that and then see what else is out there. But I also have several other books that I'm like, okay, those I want to turn into movies, but those are already written by other authors. I don't want scripts yet, but they're there. And I don't want to say what they are yet.

I don't want anyone else to take them because I haven't gotten the right. Of course not. That's right. You got to hold on to that really closely. That's incredible.

I love everything you're doing. And I only had one moment when I was next to two celebrities. So years ago, I was like, yeah, I want to be an actress. And I'm in the DC. Metro area.

And while we do have a lot of things that come in production here, they typically hire actresses from New York or La. Anyway. But I was on the set of the movie, and my gosh, I always forget this because it was so long ago, and it was like a Sci-Fi movie starring Jody Foster and Matthew McConaughey. Signs. Oh, I think it was signs.

And it was so cool because usually as an extra, you don't really get a whole to do a whole lot, but this was a black tie scene, so they actually did my makeup in my hair, and it was like, really cool. So for like 10 hours, I'm standing right behind Jody Foster with her back to me, and Matthew McConaughey is facing her. And I just stood there watch, and then I rode the elevator down with Jody Foster, and she was absolutely delightful. Such a tiny, tiny, tiny person. So, yeah, that's my big story for celebrities.

And you're like, you want to say something, but you're like, oh, I can't I can't say a word. It's so fun to just start freestyling, but right.

His bodyguard. I don't know. As an artist, too, though, I want people to respect me and respect when I'm working and not interrupt the moment to promote them. So that's another big thing, too, is just respecting the art and treat others how I want to be treated when I'm working. Absolutely.

That's what I love, is the craft, all the fluff. I'm a diehard, as you can tell with the movie I made. I'm a diehard movie passion, art lover. That's what I care about. But I'll be silly after I'll rap.

After not anymore.

I would have freestyled for him. That's awesome. All right, for all the listeners out there, please check out Tessa's Instagram, Tessa Tessa Farrell. Right? Hugs on Instagram.

And I'll have all the other links in the show notes as well. And Tessa, I'm so proud of you. I'm always like a mama bear with my with my with my guests, and it's like I'll be like your mama bear from watching you from afar and cheering you on. And I just wish you the best of success, and this really is just the beginning for you. Thank you.

And you two with your tennis, I am so excited to keep up and see you do that. That's a new goal of mine now, too, because I've always wanted to learn about tennis, and I always wanted to have a fulfilled life. And that's so awesome to travel and play. I'm excited. So I'm going to keep an eye on you.

Why not? Why not? Why not me? That's one of my coaches always says, why not me, right? Someone's got it.

Whenever you're doubting yourself. Yeah. Well, why not me? Of course. Why not?

Tessa, thank you so much. It has been great and I can't wait to see your film and putting it out there. It is going to be in the theaters and I'm going to go watch it in the theater. Yes. All right, take care.

You too. Bye, son. I certainly hope that you enjoyed today's interview. Thank you so much for joining me. And as always, I hope that you and your family are healthy and safe and that your lives are filled with peace, joy and happiness.

Take care, everyone.