Actress and writer Sarah Deakins may not be a household name, but you have seen her work. A graduate of the University of Victoria Theatre program, Ms. Deakins has a solid science fiction fan base due to her roles on TV’s “Andromeda,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Stargate,” “Stagate Atlantis” and many more. She is an accomplished playwright and screenwriter, and her first filmed short, “Late,” directed by Jason Goode of Annunciation Films, is currently making the festival rounds in the U.S. Look for Sarah on the Big Screen in the upcoming feature film “M.O.” slated to premiere later this year.
Education: BFA University of Victoria
How do you measure your success?
By happiness. By how well I am loving and being loved. This includes love of work, passion for life, respect for the planet and the people and wildlife that inhabit it.
I have always been a story teller. I started at a young age, as a ballet dancer, telling stories through movement, and continued that love of expression in University as a theatre student. As a writer, I got started writing my own material for auditions, then evolved into writing full plays, producing them, and now working as a screenwriter. It’s all connected; they’re just different mediums in which to tell a story. I wouldn’t say I “got started” on this track…I would say it is something I am, not just something I do.
What gives you the most satisfaction as an artist?
Reaching people. Allowing people to feel and think and debate through their involvement in the story.
What motivates or inspires you in your work?
Being around people who do it really, really well.
Do you have a personal work philosophy?
Do your best work. Every time. Period. Never half-ass it. If you do a job, even if it is a minimum wage waitressing job between gigs, do it the best you can, every shift. This translates in to your life, and truly, half-assing it always ends up draining energy so much more than giving it your all.
If you weren’t doing this, what could you see yourself doing?
Possibly a therapist, though that answer is a bit of a cheat as it really ends up being about the same thing: helping people to feel. The major difference being listening to stories instead of telling them, but both are all about the human experience, which is what I am fascinated by at every turn.
What are you working on right now?
I am writing a novel (my first) and working on two screenplays. I have a feature film coming out this year called M.O. directed by Mitch Rouse through Fantastic Light Films. I play a serial killer’s unknowing wife, and it’s an incredibly moving and innovative film; we shot on location in SanFrancisco this January, and the film was primarily improvised. I can’t wait to see the final cut!
What do you first notice about a guy?
Well first off, I notice people. Their humanity. How they treat others, if they are engaged in the world, if they approach things in a joyful way etc. I love humor, but not at other’s expense, and strength in kindness goes a long way with me.
What gets you interested?
Confidence. Someone who does the right thing, even when no one is watching. Integrity, work ethic, capacity for joy, someone interested in the world and how they reflect it through their particular life’s passion.
What keeps you interested?
Someone who is interested in things themselves. Someone who loves to learn and isn’t afraid to look like a fool trying something new. Someone open to connecting. An individual who sees me, and let’s themselves be seen, the dark and the light.
What’s your number one deal breaker?
Unkindness. A lack of capacity for empathy. And racism. BIG turn off. That’s probably up there with apathy.
To stay in shape, what’s your basic diet look like?
I try to stick to real foods, not processed, but I fall off the wagon every once in a while and love my chocolate cake and ice cream! And anything breaded and deep fried. I have a theory that you could bread and deep fry just about anything and if you pair it with a creamy dip of some sort…I will most certainly give it a shot! So I guess the answer is most of the time healthy…with some gooooood cheating going on at healthy intervals!
What sort of fitness plan do you follow?
It depends if I am working on a project. I’m an all or nothing kind of person (I’m working on it!) and if I’m writing a screenplay (particularly if I’m on a deadline) I kind of do just that until it’s done. By the same token, if I am not obsessed with something creative that involves a deadline, I am an at the gym every day, obsessed with pushing my body to its limits kind of person. I like to see how far it can go, what amazing things it is capable of, and I can end up focussing on it a bit too much given the time! I run, I bike, I hike, I do spin classes, I lift weights and love just generally getting my heart rate up.
What’s next for you? What’s your next big idea or project?
Continuing with the novel (my biggest challenge to date) and finishing a couple more screenplays I have in the works. I’m also directing my first short film this year, so I look forward to that experience later this year as well!
Favourite recipe: For dinner, something called “The Fish Dish” a recipe I discovered in Uni and have shared with family and friends ever since, and for dessert…I have a pumpkin chocolate cake, and a gingerbread cake recipe that vie for my allegiance all through the winter holiday months.
iPhone or Android: iPhone, but only because it was a hand me down. Otherwise I would still be using my little flip phone from the 90’s. I hate getting new things if the old one hasn’t conked out yet!
What are you driving: I don’t drive! I ride my bike, take the bus and use the subway.
Absolute WORST experience on set/shoot:
Before I became union, I worked on a non union movie where all the crew and the director were from Japan, and NO ONE ON SET SPOKE ENGLISH. We were shooting in this big warehouse in the middle of nowhere, and it became pretty clear partway though the day that the director expected me to disrobe, which had NOT been discussed.
At one point he was screaming at me in Japanese, and ripping at my blouse in order to show the other actor what he wanted. It was horrible, and the poor actor felt terrible. This was before cell phones, and the poor guy kept trying to walk me off set to get to a phone to call my agent, but the crew would block us and not let us leave set. In the end, he ended up practically carrying me out of there, and driving me to a phone booth where I called my crappy agent at the time and gave her a piece of my mind. Nothing has ever happened like that since, and I truly understood, on that day, why we need unions!