“Perfectionism isn’t the most efficient motivator… Mistakes have made great art, but for some reason no one wants to be the one making them.”

camera and me
photo credit: Scott Rossi

About Sarah Mae Worden

Raised in Richland, Washington but residing in Vancouver, Sarah is an aspiring Writer/Director who is currently finishing her first short film, “Full Speed, Forever. And Sunshiney Days.”Her passions in film lie mostly in the study of motion within a frame (be it the camera or the actors, it’s all a dance) and things that are beautiful for strange or unknown reasons, like friendship, or girls with guns. She has not won any awards to this date, but likes to think that will change. She currently attends Emily Carr University.

The Interview

1. What is the force that drives you forward? What fuels your ambition?

I’m not really sure about the answer to this myself. For me, I’ve just always made up stories. It’s just something I do. At some point or another it just started getting really elaborate and moved past playing wolf clan when I was 10 years old. Even if I’m sitting on the bus just people watching, I’m making up life stories for all the people I see. And I’m pretty sure there is a percentage of people out there that would be completely creeped-out by how much I eavesdrop.
I also have this really strong desire for world domination.

2. Can you talk about your greatest “failure”? (something that led to your most significant shift in consciousness, and made you who you are today).

Aw. Jeez. Well, I would have to say that the thing that has happened most recently to shape myself is the realization that perfectionism isn’t the most efficient motivator. I realized that work stops being about the end product when you’re thinking about perfection all the time. Working, or finishing a piece of art becomes more about social pressures and how people will interpret you as the artist. Mistakes have made great art, but for some reason no one wants to be the one making them.

3. Are you happy? What does happiness mean to you?

Like most things in life, happiness is relative. I would say I’m content with myself and my own life because I really think that “happiness”is a word we use to describe a general feeling of acceptance of ourselves. But the word holds so much weight to it, and sometimes this chase for happiness can become another thing on the to-do list and just add more stress to life. Ironically, I think happiness has to come along with a lot of sorrow before one can appreciate it for what it is.

Sarah Mae 2
photo credit: Christian Voveris
4. What do you think is your greatest strength? On the reverse, can you identify a personal challenge (something you currently struggle with)?

I know how to have a good time. I also sometimes do not know how to have a good time. The later would be because I get too caught up in my own view of the world that I forget that people do things for sometimes unknown and random reasons.

5. When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist? Can you talk about that moment or time in your life?

For most of my life growing up I was training to be a professional ballet dancer, so movement has always been a way my brain works. Really nice one shots in film still speak to this dancer part of myself and I continue to see them as an elaborate choreographed piece. But the first time I realized what the link between my love for stories and movement was when I took this Cult Film class at UBC under Ernest Mathijs. Watching such a variety of films that had this history of being loved and cherished by niche groups made me realize how vast and significant the impact of film was. Film is this cultural artifact that is both shaped by the world around it, while at the same time shaping that very same world. I find that very beautiful.

6. Habits, routine, morning rituals — What are the positive things you do daily that have had the most significant impact on your life and work?

I have this morning routine that is basically my own god. It’s this weird calculated two hours that is devoted to stretching, self-care, food, and cartoons. Other than that I really try to exercise and ride my bike because otherwise I’ll go crazy.

7. How do you deal with doubt? Where do you go for support?

Ooh. Ouch. Well it’s a pretty elaborate process. I usually call my mom. Then I e-mail my best friend a really whiney letter and then try to take my mind off of things. It’s mostly just reminding myself that no one cares about what I’m doing except myself. And if I don’t like what I’m doing, I take a step back and retreat for a bit.

Sarah Mae8. What, in your opinion, are the qualities of someone who is a “great” artist (in whatever discipline)?

For me “greatness”is equal to “genius”and it’s someone who (in Einstein and Cervantes’ butchered words) can convey a complex idea in the most simplest terms.

9. Any advice for artists on a similar path? (Perhaps advice you wish you’d been given when you were first starting out).

Don’t think you can do it alone. And don’t be afraid about being original.

10. Ever experience flow/being in the zone? What does it feel like for you, and can you tell us about a time when you experienced it?

Lately it has something to do with physical exhaustion: I come home from work or the gym. Then I make food, waste some time watching stuff that makes me laugh (lately a lot of pop music videos), drink some/a lot of wine and just start writing. When if I start loosing momentum I just change what I’m working on. If I get tired of working on a script I move to editing my film, if I get tired of that I start organizing work flow for post, and if I’m really stumped I play the bass. I just keep moving. Like a shark.

11. What is your favourite book? It could be about your craft, or maybe just an excellent story. If that is too difficult to answer, who are your favourite authors?

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It’s beautifully written and is the best revenge story ever told.

Check out the favourite books by the other interviewees

Follow Sarah

Sarah recently finished production on her first short film ‘Full Speed, Forever. And Sunshiney Days. Check out their FACEBOOK PAGE!


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Sarah Mae Worden: Don’t be afraid of being an original
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These conversations are about the creative soul. They are the true experiences of creatives with their own creative impulse, and they are the private (made public) reflections on what creativity feels like on a very personal level. All interviews are conducted by Christine Bissonnette
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