Senior Samantha Ryan makes feature film debut in “Guardians of Time”

Photo Courtesy of Samantha Ryan

Carroll students seem to get the most incredible opportunities from sports facilities, to business and arts opportunities at Town Square. But how many teenagers can attest to being a lead role in a feature film? Meet Samantha Ryan, a senior at Carroll who is doing just that in the recently released “Guardians of Time.” Here’s how Sam balances being a student and a star. 

Q: Talk to us about the plot of Guardians of Time

A: It’s a kids movie. Basically like “Narnia” but if the kids had time powers. 

Q: What was it like auditioning and initially getting the opportunity? 

A: I got the opportunity through my agent. She sent me a prescreen request which is sort of a thing they started doing since COVID started where they’ll send you, it’s called sides, but it’s basically a little part of the script. You have to record that and send it in instead of like going in for an in-person audition. I sent in my sides and they said, “Yup, ok, you come on.” With these lower budget things they get it done as fast as possible… I don’t think they waited longer than two weeks to hear back from them. The day after I heard back from them they sent me a full version of the script. Two weeks later I was in Oklahoma City filming. 

Q: Was all of it filmed in Oklahoma or was it in other places as well? 

A: We filmed most of it in Oklahoma City… about three days at a historic mansion in Oklahoma City. And then we went a ways away to this [city] called Ponca City which is close by Oklahoma City and filmed the last parts at a historic mansion there. 

Q: How was it like filming and the entire process of the movie itself? 

A: More than half of it was green screen, so two of the three weeks that we filmed was all green screen work. I’d never done green screen before, and they were like “Oh and there’s gonna be a monster here” and you had no idea what the monster looks like so you’re just like “imagine a monster”… pretty much how it went.

Photo Courtesy of Ace Entertainment Films


Q: It’s really cool that you’re represented by an agency. Talk to us about film classes and the agency side of things

A: Yeah I’ve been taking acting for film classes for about four years and I’ve had an agent since June of 2020, so three years-ish.

Q: Do you think you’re going to continue acting after high school? 

A: That’s the goal, ultimately. I haven’t quite decided if I want to go to college and get a degree in cinematography or something on the practical side of film. Just so that you know, ‘cause obviously as a director you’re not booking consistently. I don’t know if I want to play it safe or just completely dedicate myself, but that’s the end goal, I mean, hopefully. Hopefully I get to keep doing this. 

Q: Every actor has their start. What would you say was your first intro to acting? 

A: Gosh… well I’d say it was fifth grade when I did “To Kill a Mockingbird” in community theater, I was Scout. But I honestly think it was probably when I was when my friends and I made a “musical” when I was in third grade, and it was basically like long form improv. We didn’t have a storyline, we were just like ‘Hey parents come watch us play for like two hours’ and one of my friend’s mom brought a camera and I think that was like the start of it.

Q: So obviously you’re very talented but are you a musician or dancer as well? 

A: I am a horrible dancer and I can’t really play a musical instrument but I have been taking vocal lessons for about as long as I’ve been doing theater, so around seven years. Which, you know, that’s fun… I like singing. I wouldn’t consider myself like, an outstanding singer, but I think I’m pretty good.

Q: That’s super cool, how long have you been in theater? And are you involved in theater at Carroll as well? 

A: I have been doing theater for eight years. I just did our show “All in the Timing.” I was the TV woman.

Q: So now the question that so many of us students who have a lot on our plate want to know: How do you balance being a star and student?

A: I was really fortunate when I was filming to have teachers who were like “You don’t have to worry about the work that we do in class, just get your homework and your major grades done and you’ll be fine,” but it’s hard. My good thing is I have an off block so I have the time to do like whatever little homework I have that I didn’t get done in school, and then I have the rest of the day to practice scenes. 

But that’s hard for me because I’m someone who really enjoys my personal time, and my relaxing time, and I have to do all this work. So that’s been… honestly it’s been really hard to find a balance. And I don’t think I’ve quite perfected it yet, but I’m working on it.

Q: Got you. It’s something even stars have to work on. So now let’s switch into this stardom moment, what are your thoughts on your movie being featured by Amazon? 

A: Yeah I mean that was really cool. I was like, “oh it’ll be like a straight to DVD thing,” but no, it’s like Amazon Prime video. I was pretty excited about that and I think like no matter how small the film was at least I can say, “hey I was in a movie,” and I have this thing to look back on and be like, oh, “I did this sophomore year of high school and now look how far I’ve come and I think it’s incredible. I didn’t even realize for like the first two weeks of filming that we were working with Lionsgate and I was like, “Oh my god, wait a second.”

Photo courtesy of Samantha Ryan

Q: So what did they tell you guys about it? 

A: They told me but they were like ‘Oh it’s like our father company and then we’ve got this, like, smaller company…I thought he was just talking about the producer for the smaller company and I didn’t realize that the ‘executives’ he was talking about were from Lionsgate, specifically Lionsgate Europe. I mean they don’t really tell you a lot of stuff about like where it’s gonna go, you’re just expected to show up and do it and then they’ll tell you when it comes out. But it was a really, really fun experience.

Q: That’s cool, it’s funny that they kept it from you guys but it paid off. So my next question to you would be this: what do you think has been the most difficult part of acting? 

A: Like you said, I think balancing school and performing, and then I also think like there’s this adjustment to being treated like a coworker where you get to set and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I’m an adult now,’ but then you also have to like really be responsible for that ‘cause you are an adult now and if your scene isn’t prepared, that’s on you. I think that’s really nice but it’s also a little scary to adjust to that.

Q: And of course, your favorite part? 

A: My favorite part of doing this is… all the parts. I like doing it, I think… like collaborating with other actors and being able to have that like push and pull in a scene is maybe one of my favorite things. Just being able to do the super fun thing with people that care about it as much as I do… it’s something else. I just love it.

Q: Before we end here I’m curious on what advice you would give a student interested in acting. What do you wish you knew? 

A: You have to commit. It’s not something you can like kinda just like go halfway into and be like I’ll do it you know whenever cause it’s not something… it’s not easy. You have to keep working and you have to keep trying and you can’t give up cause you’re gonna hear more ‘no’s’ than ‘yes’s.’

Q: What type of work would a student be looking at if they decided to commit?  

A: You have to put in the work, you have to put in the hours, but it’s also about the classes that you’re taking. You can’t just submit applications to agencies without having this former education anymore. Technically, you could 10 years ago but now everybody else is taking these classes, and everybody has this education, it’s a competitive industry and you have to be ready to compete.

Photo Courtesy of Samantha Ryan

Q: So tell me a bit more about these classes?

A: I take classes with Catherine Sullivan’s “Acting for Film” in Lewisville. That’s a great one and it’s close by. And then I also take Zoom classes. My teacher is Brain Stepenick at the Lesly Kahn Studio in LA. So even Zoom classes are such a good thing to do because like its online you don’t have to be in person to take them and you have access to like all these people that you wouldn’t normally. 

Q: Finally, what’s a cool story or experience you’d want to share with us tonight? 

A: Yeah, just like that costume – I don’t know if you’ve seen a picture of the costume – it was a lot. I don’t think people know but you have to, like, sit in that makeup chair for like three hours before you’re even on set. Most of it is waiting. I think people have this image of film sets and like you’re there and it’s like “go, go, go,” and that’s true for the people who are working behind the scenes but for the actors a lot of your time is spent just sitting there waiting for them to set up a shot or waiting for the producer and the director to decide on something. So yeah, that’ll be what I have to say.

“Guardians of Time” was released on Oct. 11, 2022 and is available to watch on Amazon Prime.