SHEYENNE RIVERS: Blonde Ambition and a Whole Lot More by Owen Keehnen

Blonde Floridanative Sheynne Rivers grew up as a horror movie loving kid in a show business environment. At different points both her parents were musicians and/or actors and her mother currently runs Lipstick Model and Talent Agency in South Beach.   However, it took the added boost of performing in her three senior plays in high school to convince Sheyenne she had what it took for a career in acting. Once that hurdle was cleared Sheyenne started going out on auditions and began working in infomercials, national advertising campaigns, plays, and commercials. Eventually she won the small five-minute part of Betty Ann in the horror film ‘Dark Woods’ for Fear Films. She must have made a good (make that great!) impression because she followed that with a starring role (make that TWO starring roles) in the company’s next film – a terror trilogy called ‘Realms of Blood’ for director Robert J. Massetti. In the movie Sheyenne plays two wildly divergent characters in both the first (unlucky Julia in ’Pain Killer) and last (The Goth wannabe Raven in ’Blood Runs Cold’) segments. That’s not all – she also had a hand in writing the screenplay for her two segments in ‘Realms of Blood’, wrote a couple songs for the soundtrack, and is now the Vice President of Operations for Fear Films. Ambitious? Oh yeah! It’s in her blood. Since then Sheyenne has appeared as Carol in the film ‘Dark Queen’, is in pre-production for another horror flick ‘The Woods are Alive’. She currently fronts the rock band I Digress who has just recorded the album ‘Justice’. Thank God she had time to answer a few questions for racksandrazors!

  OWEN: How did you get involved in the independent horror scene?

SHEYENNE: I went to an audition for a local independent horror production called "Blackout" and met up with Director and President Robert J. Massetti of Fear Film Independent Productions and Jon Fish Producer and President of Avalon Productions. I was not chosen for that part, but was asked to basically show up at the set of another local film production named "Dark Woods" that Robert was helping out on that day. I went over the scene for about 5 minutes, got a quick synopsis of my character and just rolled with the camera. On that set I met local actors Trish Dempsey and Bob Glazier who I would end up working with on the set of my latest film "Realms of Blood."  After having done "Dark Woods" and talking at great extent with Robert Massetti, he asked me if I would like to star in Fear Film's next low budget production, I said yes and we started working on story plots and that is where my entire independent horror fetish got started.

OWEN: So you are from an entertainment background, your mother and father are both in the business, have they given you much advice on your new label as scream queen?

SHEYENNE: Advice, huh? Well, my mom having introduced me to my fave Scream Queen, Elvira in the film "Elvira Mistress of the Dark," thought it was great and encouraged me to try and be well rounded with my acting as a "Scream Queen."  So, I definitely followed her advice by getting involved with "Realms of Blood" because I was able to portray all different kinds of characters, just in this one film, and it was a blast!! My dad pretty much said "That's cool, let me know when the movie comes out!!"

OWEN: In that film you starred as well as recorded for the soundtrack...was it more exciting to act or record the music?

SHEYENNE: It was great fun to do both. I think it made it a lot more interesting in the fact that I had a lot of insight on where this film was headed since I helped write 2 of the 3 segments, was Production Assistant and also Associate Producer. Having been working on this movie at almost every area and from the ground up it was very cool to tap into that and get some great dark styled lyrics and music to go along with it. If I had to pick, though I would say acting in the film was the most exciting because I got to work with a lot of great people and learned a lot from all the people I worked with. I learned so much from this production because I was able to be apart of it so much. It was like a baby that I got to see grow up and that to me was an amazing experience!!

OWEN: You also perform in the band 'I Digress' which records on an independent label. What do you think are the advantages of being with an independent production both in films and recording?

SHEYENNE: Well, we are actually not signed with any label yet, but just finished our debut album entitled "Justice" and will have it available independently on our web site and at local retailer's at ready for radio quality by early December of this year. We will be seeking major label representation once our EPK (Electronic Press Kit) is finished, which should be around the same time as the album is ready. We have been plugging this project on an independent level for quite a while and have learned the importance of independence in this business is so that you can do what is in your heart with your music rather than to have to possibly comprise. So what we have done is played our music and produced our music from the heart and hope that everyone likes it and that it might spark some attention from labels. However, if it does not we will continue on doing what it is we love to do.

OWEN: As far as independent films, the huge advantage again is doing what you want with the story and being as original as possible and knowing that something you have done, if it becomes a great success, was none other than because you busted your butt to do so. There is a great feeling you get out of finishing productions that you had the control of. If it flops entirely, you know it was your fault and have no one else to look towards except for yourself.

SHEYENNE: I believe that working on an independent level is a great place to start and a great place to end up. I think you should try to do it all and experience it all, but also get back to your roots and get back to where you came from, which for mostly everyone is independent!!  

OWEN: As a musician are you looking forward to playing an egotistical recording artist in 'The Woods are Alive' – will it be a fun sort of exercise?

SHEYENNE: We have not started shooting the film yet, but I have definitely started to search for the right kind of egotistical character. It is definitely going to be great fun to play that kind of a role, especially when people wonder if that is how I really am!! Just for the record I am not the Diva type. I don't have to have all green M&M's and I don't need 20 different kinds of bottled waters, but I can definitely fake it!! LOL!! I am a picky eater, though.

OWEN: Do you have a most and least favorite film project?

SHEYENNE: I really have enjoyed all of my film experiences because I just love what I do plain and simple. I think once you start to have a least favorite film project that you might need to take a break for a little while. I have definitely had some stressful days where there were very long hours and it was hot and I could fall asleep with my eyes open, but never once thought, "Wow, I could've done without this experience." In fact, being in those tiresome stress ridden situations have helped my acting be more realistic at times and I always look back at times like this for reference on how to play those types of characters. As an actor every experience in your life, good or bad, can be used in perfecting your craft.

OWEN: What makes you scream in real life?

SHEYENNE: Horror films!! People actually can't believe how scared I get in horror films especially since I act in them. When the set is creepy enough I will even get scared on the actual set. I am definitely afraid of the dark and haunted houses also!!

OWEN: So do you find a lot of irony then in the fact that you are starring in all these horror films?

SHEYENNE: There is a ton of irony in that!! However, I find that it definitely helps get me into character as well as amusing everyone around me a great deal!! We also get some great outtakes!!

OWEN: What projects do you have lined up in the future Sheyenne?

SHEYENNE: Me and my partner John D'Angelo's company, I Digress Productions, along with Avalon Productions have just finished writing the script for a psychological thriller called "Figments." It has a ton of horror elements to it and has a great plot twist and tons of special features planned for the DVD to help give the audience a deeper look into this twisted plot. You can check out the teaser poster and more info soon on

OWEN: Thanks Sheyenne and all the best to you both in life and career.