Monday, July 2, 2018

Interview: Sarah McKinnon

Sarah McKinnon will be a student at the School of Visual Arts this fall, for a B.F.A. in Film and a concentration in Directing. Her many talents include videography, screenwriting, acting, and cinematography with specialization in graphic design and photography. 
In high school, Sarah won multiple awards in her digital production department and also graduated a year early due to academic excellence. Sarah has given speeches and assisted teaching classes on various elements of narrative storytelling and the digital editing processes. She is a two-time winner of SkillsUSA’s Gold TV Production Award. 
McKinnon has had the opportunity to travel abroad and pursue higher education in filmmaking and digital media editing. She also has placed in many writing competitions and film festivals across the nation and is currently developing her soon-to-be-released memoir, “The Highly Functional.” McKinnon is employed by Hidden Kingdom Entertainment, a production company based in the UK, and spends her free time freelancing.

1) So what do you consider to be your main area of artistic pursuit and endeavor? Do you have a particular field of activity that you consider to be the essence of your artistic persona?

At a very young age due to various issues I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. It ultimately makes me feel detached from the world. Conjuring up basic emotions was a challenge, and something I still meditate through today. 
However, when I watched a movie, it somehow resonated with me. I was able to feel the core human emotions stronger than ever. It is not only a pure escape for my body and mind works as a chapel would to another. Every time I artistically craft something in that aspect, or in a film, it's like I'm strengthening a part of who I am.

2) Have dialogues or conversations occurred among your works, be they photography, graphic design, or film, and if so what did you gain from such feedback between the many disciplines that you practice?

The work I create every day is a correlation between the conversations and people I met and will meet. Perhaps a single word, a glimpse of something or someone can create an entirely new idea. This is the life of an artist. We are always remastering and changing a single point of view to make people see a bigger picture. Perhaps the hardest conversation and "constructive" criticism I've received was "What is the point of your work? Why is film even relevant in our culture? Becoming a filmmaker and isn't saving lives or helping science. It's selfish." Naturally, I respond with this: Some careers help us stay alive and healthy. Other jobs, such as artists, make our lives worth living, and sometimes that's stronger than the first.

3) Please tell us about concept art. What do you try to achieve in concept art, and how does it assist the process of film production or product design?

The power of concept art should never be underestimated in the entertainment industry. It's what I started with when I first embarked on the journey of becoming a filmmaker. Before I self-taught myself screenwriting, and was at the beginning stages of camera work, I had all these ideas bursting around my head - it drove me crazy. I needed a way to get my visions tangible. If you are an artist, you've been called many things - crazy included. 
But one thing is certain: you are one of the few that can craft a vision. A real image. - As if you're pulling another dimension out of thin air and construct it in your mind. So for free, I started making concept art images. It helped me practice, but in a few short days, other screenwriters would be receiving emails asking for information or positions. Ultimately concept art and design in production helps make a cohesive bond between all artists of different disciplines and to see a vision.

4) If it's the beauty or the essence that a painter is trying to depict in his work, what do you think is the main obsession that you have with creating in your multi-disciplinary endeavor? Does it have to do with the human drama, finding meaning in our lives, or depicting the female perspective? Tell us more!

My generation and those who will be behind us are growing up in a non-tangible four-dimensional world. By that, I am referencing to technology. Everything we do is staged and perfected. However, as a side-effect of this, we have become more aware as human beings. While we are more conscious of our flaws, many of us are trying to tear away labels and build a new culture - which is so inspiring and amazing. Many who have an enormous artistic presence, especially on social media, are claiming titles of becoming activists, which is very important, they like myself want to make a change towards something better. 
As a child, I was bullied, like many others - this isn't uncommon, nor does it make me special. But it was a path I was meant to walk. Every day I see people struggle, like untold stories, unheard voices. I pursued film because I want to make those people seen and heard. I want to give a voice to those that can't speak. As a woman, I am determined to become one of the few female directors. Not because I'm trying to kick against the grain but show all young women that it's possible to be a voice in our society today, regardless of the circumstances. I want to be an activist. Not for a certain cause, but for human beings - and I want that to be clear in all the artwork I do.

5) One last question. What are your ultimate goals and dreams as an artist? Where would you like to be in the next 20 years?

There is a common misconception that if you want to go into the entertainment industry, you want to be "rich and famous." While this may be a motivation for some, it is not mine. Like anyone with a dream, I want to be successful. I want to create films that people quote years from now as a part of our culture. I want to help change lives through my craft, and impact my following in the most positive way possible. I want women, and young girls see that they are powerful and strong. I want to rip away the labels we place on each other. But most importantly, if I can help at least one person with my art, then I am successful.

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