About Sara Zia Ebrahimi

Persian bohemian, indie films cheerleader, Social Media Specialist at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Love to: write, read, sew, eat, cook, run.

Extra! Extra! Be an extra in this webseries 9/20 or 9/22

casting-calls3I’m looking for some extras for a web series I’m directing that we’re shooting starting this weekend! All extras will have screen time–it’s a great opportunity to add to your reel!


On Saturday, September 20 we’re looking for 15 people to play the co-workers of the main character, Shay, who sit in the conference room and are delivered the news from their boss that the company is downsizing. If you feel up to more acting, the co-worker are also featured packing up boxes, ripping things apart, and freaking out at their cubicles. Call time will be 9am and you should expect to be there until about 5-6pm. Dress for the part is business casual. Location is in the Philadelphia Building at 13th and Walnut in Center City.

On Monday, September 22 we’re looking for 7-10 people to play coffeeshop patrons in the place where both of Shay’s credit cards get declined and she has a run in with some white hipster dudes that results in her getting hot coffee in the face. Some extras will be behind her in line being annoyed at her not being able to pay, others can just read or work on your laptops at tables in the background. Dress is whatever you’d like, as long as it looks like it’s cold/later in the fall (hats, scarfs, hoodies, etc.). Location is Cafe Chismosa, at 4th and Poplar in Northern Liberties.  Call time will be 11am and you should expect to be there until 4:30pm.

If you are available and interested please email Ted Passon at  ted[at]allagesproductions.com with “Extras for Bailout” in the subject line. Be sure to let him know which scene you are available for. 

Unfortunately, the extras roles are unpaid and while we can possibly offer snacks we can’t afford catering for everyone, so you’ll need to provide your own lunch. Making movies is incredibly expensive, and most of our budget is going toward equipment and props to make this look beautiful. But you’ll be treated well, showered with love, and get to spend a day with some cool creative people. We’re hoping that our community of friends can help pull together to make this part happen!

What I’m reading these days: poet Alison Luterman

desire zoo


Most weekday mornings I listen to a podcast called Dharmaseed, which are recordings of talks at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in the Bay Area, CA. One of my favorite writers and teachers, Jack Kornfield, recently did a talk there with a poet friend of his named Alison Luterman, and I absolutely loved her work! I’ve been reading and savoring her reflections on impermanence and mindfulness after listening to that podcast.

Here’s one of my favorite poems by her:


Because even the word obstacle is an obstacle
by Alison Luterman

Try to love everything that gets in your way:
the Chinese women in flowered bathing caps
murmuring together in Mandarin, doing leg exercises in your lane
while you execute thirty-six furious laps,
one for every item on your to-do list.
The heavy-bellied man who goes thrashing through the water
like a horse with a harpoon stuck in its side,
whose breathless tsunamis rock you from your course.
Teachers all. Learn to be small
and swim through obstacles like a minnow
without grudges or memory. Dart
toward your goal, sperm to egg. Thinking Obstacle
is another obstacle. Try to love the teenage girl
idly lounging against the ladder, showing off her new tattoo:
Cette vie est la mienne, This life is mine,
in thick blue-black letters on her ivory instep.
Be glad shell have that to look at all her life,
and keep going, keep going. Swim by an uncle
in the lane next to yours who is teaching his nephew
how to hold his breath underwater,
even though kids arent allowed at this hour. Someday,
years from now, this boy
who is kicking and flailing in the exact place
you want to touch and turn
will be a young man, at a wedding on a boat
raising his champagne glass in a toast
when a huge wave hits, washing everyone overboard.
He’ll come up coughing and spitting like he is now,
but he’ll come up like a cork,
alive. So your moment
of impatience must bow in service to a larger story,
because if something is in your way it is
going your way, the way
of all beings; towards darkness, towards light.

What I’m watching these days: webseries “Whatever this is”

I’ve been watching lots of web series these days as I prep to shoot my own this fall in an effort to get a sense of narrative structures that do and don’t work in this format. I’ve been using this article “2013’s Six Drama Web Series You Must See” as my reference. This week I’ve been plowing through episodes of Whatever This Is. I’m hoping to blog my responses here once I’ve made it through. In the meantime I’m posting episode one for your viewing pleasure:


Pitch opportunity for short doc filmmakers to get $10k budget

The Camden International Film FestivalCIFF announced a partnership with AJ+, the new digital platform from Al Jazeera Media Network. Submissions are now open for a competition that will bring five independent filmmakers to the festival to pitch short doc projects to filmmakers and industry leaders. AJ+ will then commission up to five projects, providing them with $10,000 budgets. Deadline is August 25. More details here.

Things I learned at NAMAC: a list of apps, websites and articles for media makers

Me and some other workshop participants in Beth Kanter's (far right) crowdfunding workshop.

Me and some other workshop participants in Beth Kanter’s (far right) crowdfunding workshop.

The other week I had the chance to attend the ACM/NAMAC (that’s the Alliance for Community Media and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture) conference here in Philadelphia.

But because there’s a few things competing for my attention these days–you know, the whole having a small baby thing and gearing up to shoot a webseries in September and things in the world exploding on social media and affecting my day job--I haven’t had time to write about it.

Instead of more detailed posts about each session I attended, here’s a quick and easy list of some highlighted resources I learned about there:

  • If you ever have to write grants for cultural work, the Cultural Data Project will give you hard data and figures on the revenue and audiences for arts and cultural work in your area.
  • The Harmony Institute works with social issue documentary filmmakers to analyze the impact of their films in shifting public opinion through some interesting scientific methodology. They also collaborated with BAVC to produce the Impact Playbook–available for free download–which summarizes best practices for media makers for social change to understand the impact of their work. Also useful for grant writing!
  • This Storymaker app  provides lessons as well as template overlays that help people learn to take good photos and get quality interviews, with their phones. Neat.
  • In the community arts world the term “creative placemaking” is thrown around a lot these days. A good place to start with understanding it is Creative Placemaking: the politics of belonging and disbelonging”
  • Malkia A. Cyril, director of the Center for Media Justice, is so on point with an analysis of the role of media in social justice and you should see Malkia speak if you ever have a chance
  • If you want to geek out using Arduino this is a cool sitei as is this. A panelist in the open source workshop had wearables she made using conductive thread and electronic code that got me excited for a possibility to merge my love of sewing with tech geekery.
  • And, I got to finally meet my social media guru Beth Kanter in person for the first time! I won her book in the workshop, but gave it away to someone from another org who really really wanted it.

Free workshop: Twitter for artists


I’m leading a workshop at the Leeway Foundation on August 20th. The event is free and open to the public, although you must RSVP to hold a spot–please help spread the word!

Twitter can be a great way to promote yourself as an artist, gain momentum around your social change project, and connect with new and different audiences. Twitter for Artists, is a hands-on technical training to get you started. Participants will learn the anatomy of a “tweet”, how to set up a profile, build followers and use lists to target journalists, fellow artists, and other specific communities. A personal laptop or tablet device is needed to participate.