Sarah Escandon ’16 takes artistic risks in Cleveland


 Magnify PosterIn the martial arts, respect is earned, not given. Emerging artists know that getting noticed can take first priority, but how?

Sarah Escandon ’16, standing at 5’2” and weighing just over 100 pounds (a fact listed on her resume), picked up a side gig where going unnoticed is the point.

Stunt double.

“We’re calculated risk takers, not daredevils,” she said. “We try to do it in one take and get out. Time is money,” she said.

Escandon, who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Integrated Media, Digital Art & Technology, has performed stunts for actors Sally Field in the Ohio-shot Netflix horror comedy “Little Evil” (2017), Lyndsy Fonseca in sci-fi film “Curvature” (2018) and more.

In “Little Evil,” “the characters break into an abandoned building, but Sally Field surprises them. [Lead Actor] Adam Scott hits her on the head with a two by four, and she goes backward through a crate. Well, she didn’t go through a crate: I did. Then I got punched.”

Her latest job shot in Kentucky, “Curvature,” had Escandon hanging upside down in a jeep, as well as leaping from a second-story window and clinging to a fire escape, a stunt she performed eight times in a row.

“I landed on a car windshield, and not one made of breakaway glass!”

The Northeast Ohio native was invited in 2016 to join the exclusive Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), a labor union for entertainment professionals. As a certified professional, she can earn higher pay on the 12-hour plus film shoots.

A job in stunts does not simply fall from a second-story window, however.

At LEC, Escandon served as a stage manager in the C.K. Rickel Theater and a member of Alpha Psi Omega, the campus theatre society. She marveled at backstage activities, vowing to be a film production assistant.

Through LEC’s former partnership with Emerson College, she attended the Rosarito Public Diplomacy Workshop in 2014. As part of the program, she had two weeks to tour Los Angeles, California meeting working musicians, actors, casting agents and other professionals in the entertainment business – mostly Emerson alumni – who described how they had forged careers in the saturated L.A. market.

She returned to her internship as a photographer at LEC partner Leadership Lake County, a community leadership development organization. Here is where she first heard of Richard Fike, the director of Ohio’s Stunt Predators USA & SFX.

“It took a year to get connected. We met for coffee. He asked, “Do you want go on a film shoot with me?”

Escandon holding artworkSuddenly, Escandon found herself on the set of a student film in Cleveland, Ohio. And then, just as suddenly, the director asked her to be on camera.  Now, she trains in Fike’s specialty, karate, to stay limber for stunt opportunities in the ripening Cleveland film scene.

Escandon was recently handpicked to exhibit her photography at MAGNIFY, a one-night arts festival hosted by RAW and taking place on Thursday, June 14 at 7 p.m. in Cleveland’s House of Blues.

The international, independent arts collective RAW saw her photography on Behance and invited her to join in May 2018. The group gives creative tools, resources and exposure to artists who create fashion, music, film, hair, makeup, performance art and more in over 70 cities internationally.

Escandon began shooting photographs as a student at Auburn Career Center and shot mostly video for her BFA. Her MAGNIFY exhibit will feature photography shot in California, Cleveland, Painesville, Oklahoma and Missouri, from her summer working as a video editor at Camp Barnabas, a Christian camp for people with special needs and chronic illnesses.

She said visual arts and multimedia professors at LEC taught her how to lay out a venue, “though most people think you just hang a picture on a wall,” she said.

“How do you tell a visual story with these pieces while paying respect to each individual piece?”

We like to think her personalized education at a small liberal arts college influenced her approach to arranging art… and taking punches for Hollywood legends.

To purchase tickets for MAGNIFY at pre-sale prices through June 7, follow this link.

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