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"Friends of Strangers" Cast Gets Real About Their Experiences, & Challenges Filming During Covid!

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

NDME TV Drama Series, Friends of strangers, starring, Stacy Casaluci , Colette Owens, Co-starring Andrew Sedman, Kelley Bias, Stanley Butler Jr., Dawnielle Smith, Valerie-Jean Hume & Alexa Jimenez. is a rollercoaster ride dramatic, comedic, mystery TV Drama series written by writer, producer, director, Gina Sedman along with additional writing contributions (the role of Mike) by her husband Andrew Sedman.

The story filmed during the pandemic spotlights the lives childhood best friends, Vicky and Grace. After experiencing their own personal traumatic life changing events on top of the pandemic, they realize that their only option is to escape their prior lives, downsize, and move into a small one-bedroom apartment together. One problem, although they’ve been best friends since childhood, living together as adults might be a bit of a challenge.

This family dramatic 5 episodic series deal with friendship and truth. Friends of Strangers premiers January 3, 2022, on NDME TV. You can also stream from all smart devices including YouTube on or after January 3, 222.

Writer Director, Producer, Gina Sedman

Filming anything during a pandemic was extremely risky. Being a germophobe, its defiantly a challenge to film in a small space praying that no one came in sick unaware. For me, after being locked in for so long when the world shut down, I just wanted to continue pursing my creative arts. With all the madness happening in the world, I needed to do this project to help keep my sanity. (lol) The funny thing is that I wrote a TV drama series prior to any knowledge of a pandemic called, agoraphobia. Who would have thought that not too long after that, I would live out that same thing in my own personal life? Strange indeed.

But, as afraid as I was to film this production, I equally wanted to live the life God gave me. One of the things I did different was I wrote a screenplay for a small cast. No more than 4 to 5 ppl on a set at any given time. Because of all that was at stake, I truly grateful to God that we were all able to complete this amazing production. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to cast my adorable husband, Andrew Sedman for the role of Mike in which he wrote the dialogue of his character. Mikes character is a mooching British nag. By my husband being a Brit, he was able to write Mikes lines and make them authentic to the way they word their dialog. He was a pleasure to work with as well! My husband came out here from England and smashed it! Although it was his first time acting in a film, he did a phenomenal job with the role of Mike! He knew his lines and was super professional. Many husbands and wives can't work together but, we worked very well! We had a ball! He's a star in my eyes both as a husband and as one of my cast members!

Collette and Stacy, who play the starring roles, in my eyes are super stars! Not only can they act but they are super professional and a joy to work with. They really understood their characters and even added in a touch of themselves. They kept me laughing!

Additionally, I was truly blessed to work with my personal family, my sister Kelley Bias, Robert James and the talented bassist, Stanley Butler. They were stars too! Lots of people warn against working with family, but my family rocks! They supported and encouraged me throughout the entire project! It was comforting just to have them there with me on set. They did a phenomenal job! True professionals!

Alexa, Dawnelle and VJ are also stars! They came in and rocked their parts! Some of them didn't even have a long time to learn their lines but nevertheless, they came on set prepared, positive and professional! I loved working with everyone! They are all stars!!

I had a chance to interview each one of my cast members to find out what their personal experiences were. Here what they said.

Contributing Writer Andrew Sedman

I’m Andrew Sedman and I play Mike in Friends of Strangers

I have been in around 13 Episodes of a reality show on Channel 5 in the UK and Netfix USA called ‘Slum Landlord’s Nightmare Tenants’ as a London Borough Enforcement Officer. I’ve also appeared with Jeremy Kyle on ITV’s Kyle Files and done various slots on national news in my job. As a reality TV star, I’m very much used to being filmed and throwing the odd sound bite and joke for the camera crew which occasionally makes the cut. I am also a radio presenter and have also done some voice acting as a radio voice in three independent films for Gina Sedman. Friends of Strangers is my debut as an actor on screen, so I hope I’m a believable character.

I loved playing the annoying Brit Neighbour in the show and had great fun getting into these annoying characters persona. I enjoyed this as I had a little hand in writing my parts and deliberately used some Brit terminology that may confuse the cast and viewers deliberately just to emphasize my smug British pride.

I learnt so much and know I have so much more to learn as my debut role in a production. Acting alongside seasoned professional actors gave me the experience and bar to hit to be believable.

Just do it, get your head down in the script and try to get into the head of the character you are going to portray, if you know someone in your private life who has a similar character to the fictional one you are portraying then loosely base your traits on them. Be calm and learn those lines over and over once they’re in your head your energy can go into your character and the words will flow.

Those that said something was impossible never attempted to do it. Whatever your dream, believe in yourself. if it doesn’t work out at least you know you tried but you will be surprised what you are capable of. Just do it!

Colette M Owens

My name is Colette M Owens (CoCo Maria) and I play the role of Grace in Friends of Strangers

I am an actress and singer! I am fairly new to the acting side of things, as I have only gotten started about 4 years ago. But I have been singing consistently since I was 12. I married and raised a family at an early age, and when my life changed, I started a new chapter which included following my dream of pursuing my acting. Although I have not been in the industry for a long time, I have built my resume rather quickly, having been cast as lead and supporting actress in several plays and short films. I have also done numerous background roles in TV shows. Some of the movies I have been in are Between The Sheets which is on Amazon Prime and Same Difference on ndmetv.

I enjoyed being able to take a character through the different developmental stages as she evolved from episode to episode. I also loved my cast mates and director. They were wonderfully talented and amazing to work with.

I learned how to be more flexible in my acting and how to develop a character to provide more insight into who they are and what motivates them.

I would say that it is never too late to follow your dreams! When it comes to acting, there are always parts needed for actors of all ages, sizes and ethnicity! Take that first audition or sign up for an acting class. The most important thing is to just DO it!!!

One thing that has really been driven home to me this last year is that life is really short, and we only get one. Find your passion and DO THAT! Love the people that love you and pray for the rest! Live passionately, Laugh a lot and Love Fiercely.


Coco Maria

Stacy Casaluci-Grenrock

Hi, I’m Stacy Casaluci-Grenrock and I play the role of Vicky in Friends of Strangers.

I’m an actor, author and choreographer and live with my husband in Palm Desert, CA. I have three adult children and two beautiful granddaughters.

I started acting in plays and musicals in high school. I’ve continued to study acting

throughout my life and doing commercials and films. I have a couple films on Amazon, Braking for Whales and Gremlin. I’ve done other films, short films and numerous commercials.

I enjoyed how unpredictable my character Vicky was. I wasn’t ever sure what she was going to do next. I also really enjoyed her friendship with Grace. They go on quite a journey together. Being in this production, I learned what it’s like to be a co-star in a TV series. It’s quite a challenge to always be learning new lines and being ready to shoot. If you want to become a film actor, try taking a class or doing extra work. Being around other people who want to do the same thing is inspiring and you learn a lot just talking to other actors and finding out what they’re doing. My advice is to stay positive and be kind to ourselves and others. Life right now requires a lot of patience.

Kelley Bias

Hello, I’m Kelley Bias and I played Dee in “Friends of Strangers”.

I’m a wife married to a professional musician and a mother of 3 adult children. I’m passionate about interior design, salsa-dancing, and cooking. I got bit by the acting bug when I was a professional model many years ago. I loved working with a female-led cast. I was on set with two talented actresses being led by a female director. Working with strong women was very empowering.

I learned how important it is to stay in frame and not overdo it by overacting. I also learned how to quickly adapt because the script changed overnight. Whatever you are passionate about, you have to train and put in the time. I would simply say go for it.

Here are 5 mantras that I live by: Keep God first, Change starts with you, laughter is medicine, Self-care is vital, protect your peace by staying elevated.

Alexa Jimenez

My name is Alexa Jimenez, and I played the role of Tammy in Friends of Strangers.

I’ve been acting since I was in high school, and I went on to get a degree in theatre at California Baptist University.

My character is very different from myself, so it was fun to play someone like her. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s hard to get a read on Tammy and no one really knows if she did what she was accused of, so I hope to keep the audience guessing.

I learned a lot about drive and ambition from Gina herself. She’s such an inspiring woman and the fact she put this entire series together on her own really made me fall in love with this project. She taught me that if I really want something then I can’t just wait for it to happen. I have to make it happen myself.

You’re going to get a lot of no’s before you ever get a yes, so my advice is to never give up. You have to have a really thick skin to be in this industry, so remind yourself then just because you didn’t get a role doesn’t mean you’re not good enough.

Let’s make 2022 the year our dreams come true! Whatever hopes and dreams COVID-19 took away from us, let’s take them back this year!

Stanley Butler

My name is Stanley Butler, and I played the role of Eric in Friends of Strangers.

I am a follower of Jesus, husband, father, grandfather and musician... I got into acting through GMA Media. The combination of script, improvisation & fellow actors. What I learned through this process is the importance of more patience, trust and the combination of the production in itself! What I want people to know who are exploring the world of becoming an actor is, "The pursuit of ones' dreams can become a reality! In closing, I believe that this is going to be an exciting year with insight within my new topics along with legends from the past as well as of today.... Stay Tuned!!!

Valerie-Jean Hume

My name is Valerie-Jean Hume (my actual born name, not a stage moniker)

and the role I played in Gina's film was RHONDA. I mysteriously appear in the

fourth episode and drop a hint about some mischief that is happening.

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. I have taught Voice and Speech

and Theatre Arts in Canada and the USA, acted in movies, commercials, TV

series, and live theatre. Also worked as a model and voice-over and writer of

everything from catalogues to newspaper columns. Have been a Theatre

Critic for the Coachella Valley Independent for the last 8 years.

Friends of Strangers was an actual creative experience, as Gina's directing

encouraged the cast to improvise. This almost NEVER happens, in my experience--

usually everything is rigid. It was fun and a challenge too...!

For someone wanting to become a film actor, I would suggest taking as many

classes and watching as many movies as humanly possible! You can never know

too much, and actors learn from watching each other and experimenting with a

strong director.

My advice for the New Year: STAY SAFE! I have lost so many friends, acquaintances,

and neighbors to the Coronavirus that i can't even count them anymore. Take

individual responsibility for your wellbeing, even if it means being a hermit again...!

Dawnielle Smith

My name is Dawnielle Smith, and I played the role of Liz in Friends of Strangers

I have a theatre background and have been doing stage plays for about 14 years now. Since the pandemic started, I have been transitioning into tv/film. Since the world went on lockdown, we were forced to use zoom as a meeting place, and that made it possible to be able to get into classes literally anywhere in the world with some of the best acting coaches.

What did you enjoy about playing the role you played in Friends of strangers?

I enjoyed playing Liz because she is a tough cookie, lol. She’s not trying to be disrespectful but she’s also not afraid to tell her mom how she really feels.

I learned to let loose a bit. Really become the role you are playing and see how much that character will come to life.

Get into class. You must be willing to learn if you want to be an actor. A good acting class will set your foundation for a long-lasting career.

Have Crazy Faith going into 2022. Whatever your dream is go after it. Do what needs to be done and have faith that everything is going to work in your favor!

My name is Robert James, I played the detective that was looking for Mike I am new to the art of acting, I have done a few music videos, but I’ve never had speaking parts or played a character other than myself. I’ve been a professional musician and businessman for most of my career and just happened on this wonderful opportunity. I did enjoy playing my role and I’m excited to see how my little part works within the whole scheme of things. I learned that I had it in me to play a part. I also learned that it takes hard work to study your lines and make it part of me so that my acting is believable. I would tell anyone who wants to become an actor to practice, practice, practice! Clearly the most important is to know your lines but also understand your character and who they think and act. The best way to understand that is to practice and record yourself and watch yourself to see if you believe you are doing your best or not. If not make adjustments so if the director, ask you to do it differently you already have some other ideas how to play the part.

Gina Sedman is a great person and a excellent director and filmmaker. She puts her heart and soul into every production, and she expect her team to do the same. What is great about her is that she truly wants you to shine in your part, she wants you to enjoy what you are doing. She has allowed me and many other the opportunity to stick our toes into the lake of acting opportunities. Some of us will continue and grow into fine actors and others will have fulfilled their dream of being an actor for at least one time. Either way it is an experience we won't soon forget.

Friends of Strangers Premiers on January 03.2022. Vist for more information.

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