INTRO BY TIFF CHEA
INTERVIEW BY MADDEN LEVIN
The talented Syd Wilder is known for her roles as an actress and comedian. Many have seen her performances in the movie This Is The End and her skits on Funny or Die, but there is more than what meets the eye with her. We caught up with Syd to talk about all of her different titles and more!
For those who don’t know you, can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
SYD: It's a mouth full of an answer as I do a little bit of everything. I am an actress, comedian, writer, producer, YouTuber and sometime model. I own a production company that produces original SNL style sketches and web series.
How did it feel to play alongside some amazing actors, actresses, and internet personalities on Laid In America? Who was your favorite person to work with?
SYD: It was such an honor to get to work with some of YouTube's biggest talent, as well as Laid In America writer/directors, Sam Milman and Peter Vass. My favorite person to work with was KSI. The majority of my scenes were with KSI. I couldn't believe this was his first movie. He was very talented, charismatic and very professional.
What are some of your other favorite features and jobs that you have done?
SYD: My favorite YouTube video that I wrote and created was Twerking with Seniors. I can't lie that working on Tosh.0 in one episode playing a dominatrix and being able to whip Daniel Tosh into shape was crazy fun. My very first job I booked when I arrived in LA, was to dance onstage with Prince during a private benefit concert at the Roosevelt Hotel. I was only 16 and lied about my age. When I booked it my mom was so worried because there was no +1 for her to attend as my chaperone. I will never forget meeting Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee that night. They invited me to hop on a plane to Vegas for her Birthday Party, not realizing I was only 16! It was quite surreal. I still remember going home and running to find my diary to write about my unforgettable night!
If you weren’t an actress and comedian, what would you be doing right now?
SYD: I honestly have no idea... I can't imagine myself doing anything else.
What made you want to get into acting and comedy? What is the best and worst thing about it?
SYD: I started out at the age of 12 as a country singer/songwriter. I wrote songs as a way to express myself and to help me cope with being bullied. I love to sing. I would sing in church and my uncle, who is a very talented musician that was never able to fulfill his dreams playing music full time, encouraged my musical aspirations. We would put songs together and had the best times collaborating. I would write and sing and he would arrange the music and record the songs. I was offered a record deal in Nashville at the age of 14. My mom, who was a single parent, felt I should wait until I was 18 to be certain singing was a career I wanted to pursue as an adult. During this time, I took an acting class in Atlanta and I fell in love with acting. I moved to LA when I was 16 with my mom and two older sisters who were attending college and modeling. After I attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts at the age of 17, I then enrolled in every comedy course in town; the Groundlings, Second City, UCB and I started doing stand up. Comedy became a new passion of mine and a great survival tool for this tough industry. After two years of doing stand-up, I transitioned into writing, producing and directing comedy sketches for my YouTube Channel.
The very best thing about comedy is that I love making people laugh. It's awesome when a video I produce goes viral, and I am able to connect with so many people about something that I wrote and created.
The worst thing about comedy is that this business is very tough. People can be very judgmental of your talent because of your social media presence. I am known for being a sometime model on Instagram, but people can't grasp that I actually write, produce and direct the majority of my content. I've worked very hard on educating myself through training with exceptional teachers and learning on set from other actors and directors about the many facets of this business and I take pride in what I do. It's disheartening that I'm constantly being negatively judged because of my modeling photos. Just because I model doesn't mean I'm incapable of creating quality comedy content.
What has it been like having a growing fan base? Did you ever think you’d have more than 400,000 followers on Instagram, for example?
SYD: When I started seriously creating online content in 2013, I had no idea what I was doing! I didn't understand the theory of growing a social media fan base or how important it would become in sharing your work online with others. I just wanted one of my comedy sketches to have a million views on Funny or Die! I never expected to gain more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, and it's surreal I have almost half a million followers. To have 3.6 million views on YouTube and over 50 million online views, makes me feel beyond grateful for all of the kind people who interact with me on a daily basis. I am blessed to have awesome fans that want to be a part of this journey with me.
What has been your biggest milestone, personally or career wise?
SYD: Honestly, my biggest overall milestone was never giving up on my dreams. I've lost count thinking of how many times I almost gave up, but I refuse to do so because my grandfather always taught me to believe in myself and never give up. He passed away 4 years ago, and I feel him every day in small ways guiding me down a path to success. I see it, my next big milestone... it will be when I have my own show on HBO. I truly admire the career model of Lena Dunham. Once I finish writing my pilot this summer, I want to produce it, sell it and gain distribution. Accomplishing those things will be a rewarding milestone for me.
What are you up to in the next few months and what can we expect to see from you?
SYD: I'm working on writing my TV pilot six days a week from late at night until the wee hours of the morning. I'm also writing comedy sketches for my YouTube Channel and developing a few new characters that will sing. I just finished filming a feature film called "Rideshare," about a crazed Uber driver. Finding out my web series, "Fab Life Teresa XO" was nominated for Best Comedy Web Series at the Hollywood Comedy Shorts Film Festival a few days ago was an absolute thrill. The web series follows a British character I created who thinks she is the worlds best Beauty Vlogger, when in reality she is completely awful. She is so much fun to play! Follow Teresa on Instagram @fablifeteresaxo. My production company is producing a new web series called Reckless Juliets, and we are filming the rest of Season 1 over the next three months. The web series is a dark comedy that follows 4 girls who are navigating their way through high school, while dealing with issues such as mental health, body positivity, suicide awareness, teen rebellion, LGBTQ representation and most importantly, the complexity of women and their friendships with one another. Five episodes have already been released, and the web series has already had 6 Film Festival Nominations and one 1 Win! My short term goals are to find a streaming service to distribute Reckless Juliets, and to finish writing my TV Pilot and begin production.
Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel! I do giveaways there and love connecting with my fans when they leave comments.