Alumni Feature: Devin Sullivan '07

Devin Sullivan Photo copy-fixed

What college or university did you attend after SAAS (or what did you pursue instead?)

After SAAS, I attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts.  It was a really overwhelming and unique experience, not only being away from home for the first time, but also living in Greenwich Village on top of it all.  I ended up writing and performing my own work and meeting all kinds of different artists while I was there.  One of my roommates was a musician who has a professional recording studio now (they’ve worked with Alicia Keys, Bon Iver, and all kinds of cool people).  We used to go to my roommate’s shows all the time.  My other roommate is a Hollywood screenwriter now.  It’s pretty crazy to look back on all of us just trying to figure out how to live in New York.  We made short films, an animation project, performed sketch comedy, and just worked really hard on our craft.  The lifestyle probably sounds like a bunch of fun, but it was actually really scary getting started.

What did you major in? Did you get other degrees? I was accepted into the “Rita and Burton Goldberg Dramatic Writing Program” at Tisch.  It sounds really fancy, but it was basically one floor of the film department with a black-box theater and a bunch of couches.  Writing is cheap.  All you need is a space for neurotic playwrights to hang around with their laptops.  And, being a neurotic writer, I spent a lot of time doing just that.  My focus was on writing screenplays for films, but I also got really into TV writing because of its collaborative nature.  And I got a conservatory degree in acting from Stella Adler.

What unique experiences have you had since leaving SAAS? Trips, internships, jobs, etc. I had a lot of odd jobs in New York, telemarketing and working as a file clerk.  At one point, I was clerking for one of the top divorce firms in Manhattan, which was a bizarre window into a world I can’t talk about because I signed an NDA.  But that firm ironically split up and I had to move on.  Around that same time, I also had an internship at New Line Cinema as they were closing down their offices in New York.  So, come graduation, I just started freelancing on film sets.  I produced a short film with a pretty sizeable budget (that someone was trusting enough to put me in charge of) and drove trucks for film crews around the city.  My favorite set I got to work on was The Dark Knight Rises, which was just insane.  We shutdown Wall Street in the freezing cold while the Occupy movement was in full swing, all to film a bunch of bat-mobiles.  After about a year of that, I moved out to LA to write for a comedy showcase run by CBS.

What are your favorite memories from SAAS? What programs, teams, extracurriculars were you involved in while at SAAS? Who were your most influential teachers at SAAS? SAAS is honestly something I’m really grateful for having experienced.  It’s a great education and a great place with people who I still think of almost every day.  Advanced Acting with Paul Shapiro and Michael Cimino changed my life.  They’re two of the best arts teachers anyone could ask for.  I still look back on the Odyssey Trip with amazement at the fact that I went to a school that facilitated such a thing.  And traveling to India with Halsey Bell and Canuche Terranella is something I’m almost embarrassed to talk about with people, because I just feel so lucky.

Where are you now and what do you do? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How did SAAS help prepare you for your job today? I’ve been working more odd jobs in Los Angeles since moving out here.  I worked for Discovery Channel for a while and then I started driving this blind screenwriter who does stuff for NPR.  He’s literally the coolest guy and lets me watch him pitch to film studios around town.  I love being on the West Coast again.  I’m still performing comedy and doing plays out here.  Raleigh Holmes (’07) has been kind enough to show me the ropes.  She acts and sings out here and knows the scene really well.  Pretty much every city I’ve lived in since graduating high school, I’ve had SAAS people in my life.  Right now I’m producing a web-series about a woman with three husbands.  It’s sort of a satire of family sitcoms and I think we’re doing something different.  The show’s called Co-Husbands.  In the first episode, the wife tells her husbands that she’s rejoining the workforce, but the husbands all get intimidated instead of supporting her.  She sort of has this power over all of them, but she doesn’t yet have their respect.  You can checkout our Youtube channel and Kickstarter.

Hopefully in ten years, I’ll still be writing and acting, but people will want to pay me more money to do so.  And, even better, maybe someday they will let me live in Seattle while I do it.