Our Friday column asks our members about their favorite tool, software, article of clothing, shoes on set, favorite scriptwriting software, etc.
Sarah Barker – Producer, Author and Astrophysicist
By Katie Chambers
NYWIFT Member Sarah Barker is an accomplished and passionate producer with a decade of experience turning ambitious ideas into award-winning television and live events. Oh, and she also happens to be an astrophysicist!
Yes, that’s right: she is an astrophysicist, science communicator, and science-advocate, committed to enthusing people about learning. Sarah does this by creating engaging factual television, and enthralling live events.
She is currently Supervising Producer for an Earth Day special for National Geographic. Other TV credits include Yellowstone Live, Earth Live, and Live from Space (all National Geographic), and American Spring Live (PBS Nature).
Her first book, 50 Things to See in the Sky was published in 2019 by Princeton Architectural Press.
Sarah shared with us what she keeps in her toolkit, here on Earth…
What is the one thing you can’t live without during production?
My fanny pack! I have everything in there. Pens, phone charging brick, batteries, media, sunscreen, Advil, snacks… that thing stays on me at all times! [Editor’s Note: note the fanny pack in use in the featured photo above of Sarah and the helicopter!]
What do you eat on set?
I try to eat healthy, nutritious meals but to be honest I’m mainly powered by coffee and sugar – both of which I avoid when not on shoot so they can be my ’secret weapon’ when I am on shoot!
What do you do to help de-stress?
I’ve been practicing yoga for half my life and running for even longer. I try to do both at least a couple of times a week, and make even more of an effort to do so while on the road. I’ve also got a good stack of breathing exercises. I find these are particularly useful for live TV… which can be even more stressful…
You’re not only a director/producer/writer but also an astrophysicist (!!!). What does an astrophysicist keep in her toolkit? We can’t even imagine!
Ha! Binoculars! For example, when I worked on Yellowstone Live for National Geographic, I used my binoculars for looking at wildlife during the day, and Jupiter’s moons at night.
What words do you live by?
“It’s only telly.” This was the mantra of my boss at my first job in television, a marvelous and talented woman named Nicky Huggett. It helps to keep all the production madness in perspective.
Learn more about Sarah Barker on her website: www.sarahbarkertv.com
And follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @sbarkstar
The second part of Christina Kiely's two-part interview with All In: The Fight for Democracy co-director Lisa Cortés, conducted on Zoom in anticipation of her participation at the NYWIFT 2020 Creative Workforce Summit: Documentary Makers, Industry and Funders in Conversation next week.READ MORE
All In: The Fight for Democracy is the essential new documentary the LA Times called “an eloquent history lesson on voting rights.” Co-directed by Lisa Cortés and Liz Garbus, the film tells the painful history of voter suppression in America as it traces the story of gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and her 2018 run in Georgia. Oscar-nominated producer NYWIFT Member Lisa Cortés (Precious, The Apollo, Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion) joined NYWIFT Board Member Christina Kiely to discuss All In: The Fight for Democracy, why it matters so much right now, how they pulled it off during the pandemic, and why Stacey Abrams’s story needed to be the spine of the film – apart from the fact that we love her.READ MORE
All In: If you haven’t seen All In: The Fight for Democracy yet on Amazon, do it – it’s a must-see, especially now. Filmmakers Liz...READ MORE
Hailed by historian Robin Kelley as “one of the most powerful and inspiring documentaries of our era,” NYWIFT member Kavery Kaul’s Long Way from Home is the moving and provocative story of three remarkable girls entering ninth grade at top schools steeped in bias towards race, class, and culture. Though the film was made nearly 15 years ago, the issues still resonate in today’s climate of racial injustice and civil unrest. Kavery sat down to discuss how she put together this incredible portrait and what – if anything – has changed in our culture in the years since.READ MORE