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The Essential List: Sara Shelton


Ruckus Films director on her love of surfing, cereal and The Beatles

The Essential List: Sara Shelton

Sara Shelton is a writer, director, and comedic storytelling performer. She got her start as a writer at creatively led agencies such as Droga5 and Johannes Leonardo, working on brands ranging from Prudential to Pure Protein. During these years, she simultaneously pursued improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade and sketch comedy writing at the PIT in New York City. In 2010 she up and moved herself to Costa Rica for a while so let’s just skip over those two years since not much happened that’s relevant here. In 2017 her work for Sugar Mutts Rescue blew up around the award circuit and the same happened in 2018 for her Country Time Lemonade work, resulting in multiple wins including six Cannes Lions (Gold ones too!). She’s directed commercials and creative content for brands such as Walmart, Sprint, Tide, Hormel, The Container Store, and Johnsonville to name a few. And she's currently in post-production on a film she co-wrote and directed. Her agency experience paired with her perceptive nature and improv background brings a unique voice to her commercial work. She firmly believes there is truth in comedy, and vice versa. She's drawn to what's real, what's relatable, and what's funny because it's true. Sara is represented by Ruckus Films.


● Place of birth: Abilene, Texas

● Hometown: El Paso, Texas

● Staycation: I’m based in NYC so splurging for the best tickets at live shows. Everything to see, you can see here. It’s what makes living in this rat-infested town worth it.

● Vacation: Costa Rica with a car and a surfboard.

● Pet: Thor, my 14-year-old pit bull, who as you can see is a very good boy. #adoptdontshop

● Place of work: WFH is one thing but have you tried WFB (working from bed)?! It’s legendary. I get a lot done on planes too.

● Place of workout: Gym in NYC, hikes in LA

● Side project: Shameless plug: check out my short Teddy Bear when you have a spare 15 min.

● Mode of transport: Last min Ubers when I realize I’ve left too late to take the train.

● Bonus travel essential: Hand sanitizer, N-95, Emergen-C packets. Getting sick on my way to a shoot IS my worst nightmare.


● Artist: Joan Cornellá

● Musician: The Beatles, '90s music, and if you hate Harry Styles you are anti-joy.

● Commercials / music video director: Colin Tiley

● Film director: Miranda July

● Photographer: Tim Barber, Aquabumps

● Film: American Beauty

● Series: Breaking Bad

● Commercial: IKEA Lamp

● Music video: Turn Down for What (DJ Snake and Lil Jon) is wild, and Lonely (Bieber) is wildly simple

● Board game: Does Sudoku count?

● Book: Bossy Pants, Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy

● Podcast: 2 Bears 1 Cave, Huberman Lab, Bad Friends

● Newspaper (off or online): NY Times

● Magazine: New Yorker

● Bonus culture essential: MoMA membership


Food and Drink

● Breakfast: Black coffee, eggs, tomato, avocado.

● Restaurant: HILLSTONE (I want my funeral there)

● Cheap bite: A bodega sandwich

● Working lunch: Sweetgreen

● Favourite dish: Cacio e Pepe

● Signature dish: I make bomb soups

● Snack: Pretzels and hummus, apple and almond butter (basically I like dipping stuff in stuff)

● Guilty pleasure: Cereal (my old coworkers used to do this for my bday and we’d gorge ourselves for weeks)

● Bar: Love a dive bar or a super fancy cocktail bar - THERE IS NO BETWEEN.

● Booze: Wine or vodka

● Not booze: Who cares

● Bonus food: Salmon sashimi 

● Bonus beverage: Get a GE Opal 2.0 Nugget Ice Maker. Sure, you won’t have any money or counter space left, but I promise it’s worth it.


● Phone: iPhone (with cracks bc I prefer no case)

● Computer: MacBook Pro

● TV: Samsung 55” QLED

● Headphones: AirPods

● Camera: Fuji X-T3 (although the iPhone camera is so damn good now, I tend to use it on scouts with just one or two locations).

● Soundsystem: UE Boom

● Pen / pencil: Sharpie ultra fine marker in black

● Where you document an idea: I write on my big kitchen window with a dry-erase marker, Good Will Hunting style. And if I’m not home, I email myself.

● Casual clothing: Jeans, sneakers, sweatshirt 

● Smart clothing: Silk blouse or a fun printed dress with boots

● Footwear: Nike sneakers or Anine Bing boots. 

● Watch: No thank you

● Collection: Hardcover books written by female comedians

● App: Spotify

● Website: SHOTDECK

● Favourite social media feed: Julia Fox’s TikTok is even better than Uncut Gamms

● Digital work tool: Big fan of the Apple Pen

● Analogue work tool: My kitchen window, colour-coded notecards 

● Morning grooming / makeup essential: Patchology under eye patches, Fenty Brow liner

● Bonus kit essential: BOLD LIPSTICK

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Ruckus Films, Mon, 27 Feb 2023 11:18:00 GMT