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Filmmaker Biographies

Troupers, a film by Dea Lawrence and Saratoga BallantineThe documentary Troupers marks the directorial debut for both Saratoga Ballantine and Dea Lawrence. The women are actresses whose previous creative collaboration includes a political sketch comedy show, White House Chicks which they performed at numerous comedy clubs and venues throughout Southern California, the show White Chicks at the HBO Comedy Workspace and the short film, The Smoking Section. Having spent most of their lives pursuing their passion of acting, the theatre, and the pain and misery that may sometimes accompany accolades, they decided to investigate how anyone can spend a lifetime in this crazy profession.

Saratoga Ballantine was named after her father, Carl Ballantine’s, favorite racetrack. She has been a professional actress since the age of nine, with an appearance on the Red Skelton Show, even though she knew at 3 that she wanted to be in show business. While her parents had hoped she would be a jockey, Saratoga insisted on ballet, tap and singing lessons. She has studied with most of the finest instructors in America, such as Lee Strasberg, Herbert Berghof, Stella Adler, and Peggy Feury. She trained abroad at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, to focus on Shakespeare, and other classics. In her early 20’s, she went to New York, hoping to dazzle the theatre community. Instead, she found steady and lucrative work in the world of commercials and voice-overs, which somehow superseded her theatrical longings. She appeared in well over a 100 commercials, and landed the Starkist tuna campaign, where she voiced a sexy blonde goldfish, as well as winning the voice of “Mary Jane Watson” for Fox’s Spiderman cartoon . She totally credits her strong acting training for allowing this to happen.

Not just another pretty voice, with dozens of TV, radio, and video games to her credit, she is a familiar face from her many appearances on television. Frasier, Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch, Third Rock From the Sun, and Married With Children, to name a few. She was part of a BRAVO special, In Their Own Words, where a group of actors read from celebrity autobiographies, and she played a stuffy board member in National Lampoon’s feature, Totally Baked. One of her favorite jobs was understudying and eventually playing the lead in Christopher Durang's A History of the American Film at the Mark Taper Forum. Last spring, she was lucky to appear in the east coast premiere of the hit comedy Viagara Falls at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury Connecticut. In Los Angeles, she also played the lead in Traces of Memory at Theatre West, which was turned into a short film, soon to hit the festival circuit. Working on Troupers with Dea Lawrence has brought even more joy than doing their sketch comedy act, White House Chicks for 6 years!

 

 

Dea Lawrence Dea’s film credits include leading roles in the critically acclaimed, festival award winning indie feature, Stuart Bliss, and Kissing Miranda (HBO, Cinemax). Amongst her television guest star appearances are ER, Providence, Strong Medicine, The Amanda Show, The Bold and The Beautiful, The Guiding Light, the pilot Home for the Fox Network and others. A stage veteran, Dea Lawrence toured with the Broadway production of Lend Me A Tenor, starred off-Broadway with Charles Busch in his Psycho Beach Party and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and has appeared in numerous regional theatre productions from comedies to drama including appearances at the Laguna Playhouse, Olney Theatre, the Pennsylvania Stage Company, the Caldwell Theatre, Manhattan Punchline, and the Coast Playhouse. She also appeared as Ida in Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera despite her lack of singing ability. To augment her income she did a variety of commercial print work such as screaming across highway billboards for Surf Laundry and the rare commercial including the substitution of her legs for Loni Anderson’s in a Leggs Pantyhose spot. As a sketch comedy performer she has appeared in various comedy clubs in and around Los Angeles. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Catholic University, holding a BFA in drama.

Dea is also a seasoned online sales and marketing executive having lead the online sales initiative for Variety for seven years. She was the Director of Marketing for iFilm and as the VP of The Hollywood Creative Directory launched one of the first online databases in Hollywood. Dea is currently VP Sales at PointRoll, an $85 million, wholly-owned subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), the world’s leading online advertising rich media provider serving two-thirds of the Fortune 500 brands with 350 employees worldwide. Currently she is responsible for the management and expansion of PointRoll’s western team that includes states west of Texas, driving revenue growth and developing and maintaining all advertiser and agency relationships. Her speaking engagements include iMedia, OMMA Hollywood, the Los Angeles Times conference series and film festival panels. In her spare time she made a movie with Saratoga Ballantine.