Definitely a child of the seventies, I grew up in the Hollywood District of Portland, Oregon. Completely traumatized by the attic scene in ‘The Birds’, I wasn’t a natural fan of serious film making, preferring movies like Jungle Book and after school TV like Gilligan’s Island and The Flintstones. I took their Dino vitamins and went to Girl Scout Camp on Mt. Hood in the summers and learned to use a compass, name trees and read a map.
My first brush with fame was seeing ‘The Brady Bunch’ in concert with my baby sitter. This was a consolation because my mom wouldn’t let me go to David Cassidy’s concert’. Little did I know that later in my life I’d actually hang out with HIM on a Wes Craven film one day, and HE touched my arm while telling me a story! I had arrived! Ha ha ha! I graduated from tiger beat concerts to Aerosmith, Van Halen and was occupied with all the rest of being a teen in the early eighties. That’s when I discovered one of my great loves, Art Class. I painted, sculpted, and designed enough things to make my father nervous and demand another route.
Art gave way to Business School and a series of internships in college: EF Hutton (stock trading) and Turtledove Clemens (ad agency). Neither one compared to the fun I’d had the summer in between the internships when I worked at the golf course on Mt. Hood. Loving the game and living the dream, I actually got better and joined the University of Oregon Golf Team. We were ranked 10 in the pac-10 and darn proud, I held the number 3 spot. Next to golf, my next love was the work that I’d done at the ad agency on a series of state sponsored Aids Awareness Commercials. I saw it as a way to combine Art and Business and all I knew was that I was excited to learn something new everyday.
After graduation, I sent out a million resumes to agencies, production companies and one to a film that was coming to Portland titled, ‘Breaking In’ starring Burt Reynolds. On my follow up call, the Columbia Pictures secretary actually put me thru to the Producer of the film, Harry Gittes, who made me his assistant until his regular Hollywood assistant could get to town. My assignment was to find him a house, a really nice house to live in temporarily for his wife and their newborn. This is where the bell went off and I found my niche!!. I loved scouting for homes, talking to people and working out the details.
Once on the set, I discovered there was a department called, “Locations” and I decided that is where I wanted to be! Soon after I moved to Los Angeles and got into the Locations Managers Union and began ten years of Location Managing and Scouting mostly on studio feature films, occasionally returning to Portland for various projects like Gus Van Sant Jr.’s, ‘My Own Private Idaho’. As time went on I started to miss Portland, my family and actually getting a tee time on a public golf course that didn’t take 12 hours to play. I discovered the commercial and print world that was thriving in Portland and pulled up stakes and moved back home full time in 1999. Now I live happily ever after!
Happily ever after entails making a difference in my community-especially the children of the Portland metro area. I am a member of the Redwood Auxiliary of the Boys and Girls Aid Society. We have an annual fundraiser called ‘The Barn Bash’ and last year raised $76K for the kids. I?m working on a project called ‘Penny’s From Heaven’ where property owners who have specific interest in charitable organizations can donate a portion of their location fee to the charity of their choice.
In addition, I’m currently sitting on the Advisory Committee for Mayor of Portland?s Film & Video Office and working to make Portland the best place to shoot with the friendliest city and state permitting agencies. I’m now a first time homeowner in the Nob Hill part of town where I love the walk and ride my cruiser bike around my neighborhood.
Meryl Streep, from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
Check out Sara Burton’s link on IMDb.com (Internet Movie Database Website).