Sujata Day, Actor, Writer/Director: If you’re a guest star, you should be living like a co-star. If you’re recurring, you should be living like a guest star. If you’re a series regular, you should be living like a recurring.
Film Courage: Can you talk about living below your means and how you’ve adopted that early in your career so you don’t want to spend too much here or there, get too confident that a certain amount is always going to be coming in?
Sujata: I have never in my life needed expensive stuff. I’ve always been able to live below my means and am good at balancing my budget and my checkbook. Even when I was working at Accenture I was making a ton of money and so I did not spend that money. I did not live how my coworkers lived. My co-workers were buying BMWs and living in these fancy apartments in Manhattan Beach. But I was always aware of my plan and I was like Oh, I’ve got to save this money because who knows when I do get laid off or when I do when Accenture finds me out and realizes that I’m a terrible employee then I’m going to need this money to live on. So just starting there I knew that I needed to save and I knew that I needed to live below my means because after that I was doing short films for USC and UCLA that you don’t get paid for. I was doing a lot of free acting work just to get the tape and I was living off my Accenture money for a while. Then I would do the waitressing and restaurant jobs and that would pay the bills and like I said I would book a co-star here and there or a commercial and that would be a nice chunk of money which I knew that I couldn’t spend right away. I’ve always been pretty good about living below my means. Something that one of my friends Yvette Nicole Brown told me that I always have in the back of my head is if you’re a guest star, you should be living like a co-star. If you’re recurring, you should be living like a guest star. If you’re a series regular, you should be living like a recurring. I keep that in the back of my mind and I think about that a lot and I tell her all the time I’m always thinking about that and she gives good advice.
Film Courage: When you got let’s say the first big acting related check, did you have a temptation of I want to splurge this on A, B and C? Did you reward yourself or did you say no…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
With her infectious personality and unique sense of humor, Pittsburgh native Sujata Day has established herself as a performer, creator, writer, and director. She regularly performs in Upright Citizen Brigade’s hit Asian AF show. Sujata is known for her starring role as CeCe in Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. She’s recurred for three seasons on HBO’s Insecure. Sujata is a Sundance Lab fellow, Sundance Film Festival influencer, and Sundance Collab advisor. Her short film, Cowboy and Indian, sold to a major studio for series development. She served as HBO Visionaries Ambassador in 2019. She directs This Is My Story, a series in which beloved storyteller LeVar Burton narrates real life personal experiences of everyday racism. Sujata’s debut award-winning feature film, Definition Please, is currently touring the film festival circuit.
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