The Heroine’s Journey of Suzanne Barnes

What is the best thing that I love about my work? To quote Robert Louis Stevenson – “to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”. Therefore the journey is the reward and having the creative freedom to express my ideas. The end result is a bonus – the icing on the cake!
What is my idea of perfect happiness? Being present. Now. Enjoying the moment. Being aware and grateful.
What is my greatest fear? To lose control of what fuels me, in this case my creativity via health restrictions to name an example.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? The quest for perfection

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? Not to pinpoint anyone in particular. I admire attributes in people, the determination and characteristics in my contemporaries that I can relate to. Especially when a ‘moral compass’ comes to play reflected in Art, Music, Film, Literature. I am currently watching the ‘Penny Dreadful’ series on Showtime therefore to answer the question I admire the work of costume designer Gabriella Pescucci.
What is my greatest extravagance? To travel
On what occasion would I lie? Raised as a Catholic this doesn’t bode well hence the catholic guilt. Although I have been known to tell a harmless ‘little white lie’.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? The politics involved which can disrupt the creativity.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? My aim is to inspire and adopt an ethical approach when invited. To work with like-minded people in my chosen profession is a bonus. I am fortunate to have experienced this on quite a few independent films – creative freedom. Therefore my answer being I am happiest when I can express myself freely.

If I could what would I change about myself? The high expectations in my work and in life.
What is my greatest achievement in work? As a whole collaborating with other professional who believe in the craft of filmmaking. The passion and artistry being the driving force. The rewards are seeing the final piece projected on a screen in the correct format, colour graded and sound mixed, etc. Therefore to answer the question, seeing my work being projected at prestigious film festivals. A theatrical release is most definitely a bonus too, to see your work being recognized.
Where would I most like to live? Utopia. Seriously this is a difficult question to give a direct answer. I tend to gravitate to city life. I lived in London for 20 years and loved the vibrancy and culture. It’s also where I studied for my Degree the craft of Costume Design from a theatre perspective. I am now based in Los Angeles enjoying the lifestyle. As long as I remain inspired. I have considered Amsterdam.
What is my most treasured possession? Experiences in life.
What is my marked characteristic? I like challenges. With a theatre training I have the skills to work with a tight budget, making something out of nothing and this allows the creative juices to flow.
What is the most inspirational location, in my city? I love NOIR and living in LA the city at night really comes to life with all the lights. I am an old soul and love the history of old hollywood, so anything that reflects this speaks to me. In this instance driving and parking on Mulholland Drive in the eastern terminus and seeing Hollywood and Downtown LA at night would be one highlight.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink in my city? I spend a lot of time at a french cafe called Figaro which is local to me. Its like my extended living room. A slice of europe on my doorstep.
What books influenced my life and how? I don’t read as many books as I’d like to. As I’ve mentioned before I have a theatre background. I read a lot of plays, especially during my Degree course, from the classics to contemporaries. One play that stayed with me was the french play ‘No Exit’ by Jean-Paul Sartre. I am interested in ‘what it is to be human’,
the conscious and the unconscious mind and how this affects behaviour and emotions. Psychology a subject that always fascinated me, the behaviour and the mind.
As I mainly read scripts and a film opportunity comes up with interesting character types, I delve right into this landscape. One to mention would be the film ‘In Embryo’ – directional debut by acclaimed danish actor Ulrich Thomsen who also wrote the screenplay – a gritty love story about fear, hope and new beginnings. Emotional detachment with LA being the perfect backdrop. To quote from the films website: “In Embryo portrays the difficulties that meet the human spirit, as it fights to break free of past traumas and the scars left behind”.
Available on i-tunes:
Who are my favourite writers? I don’t have any favourite writers. In terms of genres I would opt for Satire and Psychological Thrillers.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Anything by Lisa Gerrard, The Tindersticks, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Again my answer will be directed to Film/TV….
With my love for crime and the supernatural I would say at this point Vanessa Ives on Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’. Ives is the main protagonist of the story. The great portrayal by Eva Green as this powerful medium. I have always been fascinated
by the subject of the femme fatale. Vanessa Ives has this seductive beauty with a sense of danger. Her sumptuous costumes playing a part in representing a gothic style of the nineteenth century Victorian England.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? I am compelled when I see an act of goodwill, restoring faith in humanity.
What movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?  Working in the industry I also tend to watch a great deal of films. Difficult to state just one. It differs from genre to genre and I often follow the work of filmmakers. The film I would opt for is Ridley Scott’s ‘Bladerunner’, questioning humanity in the dystopian Los Angeles backdrop. My love of Noir (in this case Neo-Noir) and Humanity all reflected in this film. Filmmakers work I follow are: David Lynch, Paolo Sorrentino, Hitchcock, Jim Jarmusch to name a few.
What role plays art in my life and work? I love the instruments of storytelling within the film setting. This allows me to create characters which can often be reflected in the clothes, working with what is scripted. To portray along with the director the vision and complexities of the characters and to bring to life the written material. I am inspired by ‘real life’ characters too and their complexities.
As Oscar Wilde stated:
“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? I can’t not mention my mother as my greatest fan who passed away on the first day of starting my costume design degree course. She had such a great attitude to life and encouraged me every step of the way. My partner in crime goes without saying is my husband and filmmaker. I have collaborated on all his films over the past 20 years. The last film we just completed in Cambodia. Here is his website:
Whom would I like to work with in 2017? Ideally I would like to work with professionals who share common interests, passions, films with an artistic touch..
To work with respected Heads of departments recognized for their craft.
Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017? I admire too many of my contemporaries that I wouldn’t know where to start. As I stated before, the ‘craft’ playing a pivotal part here. Therefore anyone in the filmmaking process that loves the craft, putting the ego aside. 😉
What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? The next film project with my husband, film director Rudolf Buitendach.
Where can you see me or my work in 2017? 2017 is a year where a lot of films I have designed will be getting some exposure, either via the VOD platforms – Netflix, i-tunes, Amazon and theatrical/festivals. My imdb profile will list the content of my work to date and here will show the film release info.
For a more in depth look at my work go to my website:
What do the words ‘Passion Never Retires’ mean to me? Don’t give up – live the dream. I love the quote by Alfred Hitchcock:
“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out”
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? 
Astrid Schultz – Photographer and friend.
How can you contact me? 

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