It’s lights, camera, and action for Sanders Stephens, longtime Richmond Hill resident and 2016 graduate of Richmond Hill High School. Sanders started his acting career about five years ago, and is quite passionate about this journey he’s embarked upon, in hopes it will take him from a small town to the big screen.
Sanders is quick to admit he was a bit of a “class clown” and definitely a natural performer. He’s never had any apprehension in front of an audience. He credits growing up with an affection for movies, that he believes inspired him to pursue an acting career. “I took a drama class my senior year of high school, and I was offered a role in one of the plays. I declined. Looking back now… what a regret!” He would be given another opportunity to delve into acting when he took theater classes at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. “At the end of the semester I had to memorize and act out an entire scene in a play, and that was it… I knew this was what I wanted to do forever.”
Unfortunately, or according to Sanders, maybe it was his good fortune, that Covid interrupted his academic pursuits. Everything was canceled, including the school play, and he lost momentum with college. However, the silver lining was that it propelled him to make the decision that he wanted to pursue acting full-time. Utilizing his flair for the dramatic and raw determination, he decided the time was right for a change.
Sanders was fortunate enough to team up with another Richmond Hill High School graduate, Connor Hester, who is a talented director and editor. When they combined their talents, things “really took off.” The two have created numerous films and have a series on YouTube called Night on the Mic, which features Sanders in a five minute comedy sketch in front of a live audience. Sanders has been in various local Savannah films and recently starred in a SCAD thesis film called Somewhere in Ohio. When he accepted the role, he didn’t realize the magnitude of the production. “This was a really large project with an elaborate set, and was quite professional. Exploring these more intense and emotionally charged roles has given me a pathway into playing more unstable and distraught characters, which I enjoy. It was such a fun and rewarding experience.”
Sanders has been out on casting calls locally for background actors as well. He credits his experiences on these sets with giving him a feel for what it’s like to be on a professional big budget set. “I really enjoy these opportunities, however, I’m seeking larger roles. I’m anxious to deliver authentic performances, and to portray interesting and diverse characters on the big screen.”
Sanders has been working at the Riverboat Pizza Company for the last five years while trying to get his endeavors off the ground full scale. Currently, Sanders is using an Internet based casting firm called “Backstage” to book auditions and to find acting opportunities that are a good fit. With these jobs, he’s able to build his acting resume. All of that ties into building his IMDb page in order to gain exposure for the bigger Hollywood films and casting opportunities.
With all of this information assembled, and a portfolio of brand new headshots, Sanders is ready to reach out to the top agents in the southeast. “All of this prep work is crucial in the quest to sell yourself and your talent. I am extremely excited about what’s to come in my career!”
Sanders proudly remarks that living in a small town like Richmond Hill has been incredible for his journey. The love and support of the community has been invaluable. Sanders is thrilled to have no shortage of passionate supporters, including friends and family who are cheering him on to greatness. “I hope my story will be inspiring to the next generation of dreamers here in our small town. I want people to look at me and believe it’s okay to follow your heart. I’ve certainly learned that talent and potential can emerge from unexpected experiences.” Sanders is happily anticipating what’s to come. He’s willing to put in the hard work, and his motivation and excitement in this chase to make his dream a reality is infectious.
We look forward to seeing this young man on the big screen knowing he is one of our own!