Founder & President, Palikari Pictures & Actress
Sarah Donnelly is the President and Founder of Palikari Pictures and is a SAG-AFTRA actress and professional producer. Sarah’s study at the renowned William Esper Studio and training with Upright Citizens Brigade laid a foundation for her comedic, dramatic, and commercial roles including her series regular work with ABC’s “What Would You Do?”, memorable guest starring role in “Impractical Jokers”, and her award nominated performance in the short film “The Statement” starring opposite William Sadler and PJ Marshall. In recent years, she has applied her creative problem-solving talent and experience as an actress and producer in the launch of Palikari Pictures, her own independent motion picture production company. Palikari Pictures continues to fill growing demand and collaborates with clients both big and small, carefully curating a dynamic slate of quality projects and preparing currently for this year’s release of the film STORMCHASER and developing a documentary for Al Jazeera.
Set things in motion for two upcoming productions. Debrief my team to ensure that everyone understands the big picture of what we need to accomplish and arm each team member with as much information and guidance as possible to best set them up for success with their individual assignments.
Growth happens when you step outside of your comfort zone and force yourself to rise to the challenge.
Find a moment to step away and genuinely laugh.
Begin casting talent for a creative production for a client, where I’m hoping to provide an opportunity to give some underrepresented actors a place for their talents shine on screen. This part I love.
Bring greater purpose to your professional goals by aligning aspects of your work to benefit other people. The beautiful feeling of helping others endures much longer than any paycheck ever will.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
New York City has a very interesting energy to it, it’s a constant dichotomy. It’s beautiful and it’s gritty. It’s both incredibly inspiring and incredibly tough all at once. I love how multicultural and progressive it is and that you can find raw, amazing talent around every corner.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
I’ve been on an Avocado Toast kick lately. Add the zest of citrus and a hard boiled egg and it really keeps me satisfied through lunch. Le Pain Quotidien makes a great one, but I’ll often just make breakfast at home and head right to the office.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Unless we are actively in production, when I’m already on set running a production at this time, I am hopefully asleep! I’m under the covers for another hour and then I’ll start my day with a workout at Equinox to get it out of the way, shaking it up with a mix of spin, barre, boxing, dance, and strength training.
10:00 AM – I’m already into the day at this point. It could be diving into a new script, fielding calls or emails at my desk, strategizing with my core team, working out the nitty gritty details of a film budget, consulting on outside projects, pitching clients, memorizing for an audition, prepping for production… every day is a new adventure and I just have to roll with it and stay as proactive and organized as possible in the juggle.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
For a quick grab-and-go lunch, which seems to be the necessity most days, I’m a soup or salad gal and dig the variety of options at places like Sweetgreen and Fresh&Co to keep it interesting and fairly healthy. I love grabbing a great NY slice (or two, let’s be honest), but if I’m being mindful about being in front of the camera, that’s a rare treat. For lunch meetings, New York offers endless options of great places for every cuisine, it would be hard to narrow down to one favorite.
7:00 PM – I’ll usually try to break at this point to have a family dinner at home or devote a little social time with my friends. It’s important to try to find a balance as you can, making investments not just in work, but in the important people in your life. New York is a very social city, so there are plenty of dinners out and “networking” cocktail events or meetings that take place during this hour, so it just depends on the day.
11:00 PM – I’m trying to wind down at this point, but it can be difficult at times for me to let go of a stressful day or a heavy workload ahead, so sometimes I dive back in to cross one more “to do” off the list before I can completely check out. Once I’m in bed, my phone goes on Do Not Disturb and then I’ll read or watch something on a streaming platform until I fall asleep.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
It’s either a one-coffee or two-coffee situation based on the day ahead of me. The rare three-coffee-day means serious chaos is looming! I try to drink as much water as I can and love sparkling flavored waters to keep it interesting. Socially, I enjoy a nice glass or two of red wine or the occasional cocktail, like a spicy margarita.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account
Trello and Google Drive are great for organization and collaboration with my team. Instagram is my preferred social media app and the @natures account features spectacular nature and animal photography that usually puts a smile on my face. I also always have at least one ongoing game of Words With Friends, keeping my Scrabble game strong and playing as time permits.
What should everyone try at least once?
Improv! People who aren’t pursuing comedy should still try it. A basic Improv 101 class is a great place to take risk, to re-learn how to “play” and not take yourself too seriously, to learn to be present in the moment, and to think on your feet. From a professional job interview to a social cocktail party, those skills are invaluable.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
Emotionally, in a compelling and well-written script. Physically, meandering through cobblestone side streets of a beautiful European city like Seville or Paris and discovering unexpected architecture or charming restaurants and shops.