Enriching Minds – Interview with Sara B Cooper

VFS always has lots of events going on, and while I don’t always get to attend them, I do get opportunities to talk to people who have hosted these events. One particular amazing person was Sara B Cooper, a writer for the industry who not only has had quite a steady career in scripts, but also has taught a few classes at VFS, and got to host an event there back in late March. I had to have a quick chat with her about her writing career, what she did, and learn a few more interesting details. I think I spoke to the right writer. Why? Read on and find out.


HNMAG: You were at a VFS event a few months ago. Can you elaborate on what you were doing over there?

Sara B Cooper: VFS frequently regularly has something called Null Access, a gathering where they open up the school to potential students and families to see what their program is like. I was just one of the speakers there.


HNMAG: What was it like being at VFS?

Sara B Cooper: It was great, it was fun. There was about 15-20 people that seemed to be going around and talking to the various instructors and students that were there. It seemed like a nice and successful gathering.


HNMAG: Was there any parts you were a bit unsure of and had to improvise your way through?

Sara B Cooper: No, not really. I knew what I was expecting. They just wanted me to talk and they had questions about my career and such. It’s a great opportunity for them to talk to the instructors who are there, and get a feel for what the program is. See what the courses are, what’s required, so everything just went smoothly. There were treats, things to drink, it was fun. Kat Montague who was in charge of the program did a great job with all of the staff.


HNMAG: What did you do to prepare for the whole thing?

Sara B Cooper: Nothing (laughs), all they were doing was asking me questions.


HNMAG: What was your favourite part of the whole day?

Sara B Cooper: I love talking with people who are interested in creativity of TV and film, and I love talking wit the potential students afterwards, answering their questions and finding out what they were interested in and what they wanted in their lives.


HNMAG: What did you hope the people learned?

Sara B Cooper: To see if VFS is a fit for them, with what they want to do in life. What I hope they got out of it is to see the opportunity that VFS is, as a film school. It’s a great great program and a great opportunity to get into the business. It’s also supportive.


HNMAG: You’ve been involved in the industry for over three decades. How did you get into it in the first place?

Sara B Cooper: I originally was an acupuncturist, and was working in Los Angeles. I had an idea for how to kill the Borg, my husband at the time was an actor. I wrote a script, went to AFI, checked out all the scripts at their library. 

Sara read mostly Star Trek scripts and then wrote her own which she showed to her husband’s agent. From there the Star Trek producers asked Sara to pitch some stories. She sold three stories, and the rest is history.


HNMAG: What was the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?

Sara B Cooper: That’s really tough because, they’re all interesting. Every project I learned something new, and I like being sort of a continual student. I love learning things, so every project requires me to do research and things from anything like medical stuff to what kind of bullets were used in 1874 to the Rwanda genocide. It’s just fun stuff, they all hold some interest to me.


HNMAG:  You’re both a writer and producer, but have you done other kinds of jobs in the industry too?

Sara B Cooper: Not really, I haven’t directed. I did a short documentary, but mostly just writing and producing. I do other things outside of the industry, but not in the industry.


HNMAG: Do you hope one day to direct a project of your own?

Sara B Cooper: Yeah, I want to start doing some short films. I’ve written a few short films, and talked with the people at VFS. We’ll probably start putting together something, and I’ll probably start directing and playing with that.


HNMAG: With the industry picking back up again soon, what are you hopeful for in terms of your work?

Sara B Cooper: I have several projects right now that have been put on hold. I plan to get them out to various producers or networks, then I’m hoping that from one strike to the possibility of a strike at WGC, that everything put on hold. I’m hoping some movement gets started and maybe I’ll sell my several projects that are out there by now.


HNMAG:  Are there any other projects you’re currently working on that you’re really excited about?

Sara B Cooper: So I’ve got a feature that I’m going to be finishing writing, and I want to get it out. I’ve gotten to story editing on one feature, and waiting to see about financing on that. I have possibly 4 TV projects that are sort of in the works right now. I really can’t speak to them right now just because of where they are, and also looking at developing other projects that might be co-productions between West Canada and Korea. In this business, you always have to keep swimming. I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire.


We could’ve gone on longer, but there was only so much time in my super busy schedule, and only some more just coming now, as I’ve got some epic interviews coming out, but Sara still educated me just as well as she did any of her students, and continues to do so to this day.

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