But What She Really Wants to Do Is Direct

by Sharyn Kopf— Cedarville, Ohio

It wasn’t a matter of if, but when. The ice she slid gingerly across would break, and she would go in. As the song says, “the waiting is the hardest part.”

But for Sarah Bowman ’04, the important thing — and the task she’d been given — was to keep the wrapped-in-waterproof-housing camera rolling. This electronic media/video production graduate was working the crew for The History Channel show Ice Road Truckers. And on this particular day, Sarah was filming a segment on cold-water rescue training.

“Just keep walking until you fall in,” she’d been told, “and we’ll rescue you.”

Fortunately, Sarah was dressed in a full wet suit, and the buoyancy of that alone would keep her afloat. Still, “not knowing where the ice would give out was scary,” she says. “But I got some good footage. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done — literally and figuratively.”

Sarah came to Cedarville University from Kalamazoo, Michigan, the daughter of two 1978 alums, Sharon (Hopkins) and Dan Bowman. The school was already such a part of her life that she didn’t apply anywhere else.

“It’s where I always wanted to go,” says Sarah. “And Cedarville has a strong video program. Good friends, great profs … and I learned a lot.”

After graduation, Sarah moved to California, where she got a job at Original Productions, a company that provides cable programming for many different networks. Like most recent college graduates, she started at the bottom as a tape logger — watching raw footage and making notes for the producers.

“I thought it was a great first job,” she says. “It got my foot in the door and gave me a chance to begin networking.”

Sarah’s goal, however, was to get out of the tape room and into the field. She soon moved into that side of production … and, once again, started at the bottom, mostly taking care of paperwork. Fortunately, that eventually led to running a camera on the first season of Ice Road Truckers, which was filmed in northern Canada. And yes, she says, it was freezing. “Forty below is the same in Celsius or Fahrenheit!”

Last year, she moved into the management side of production and quickly discovered that was where she wanted to be — handling budgets, logistics, personnel, etc. “I prefer the black-and-whiteness of production management to the grayness of the creative process,” says Sarah. “I love it!”

Though she has stayed with Original Productions, Sarah now works as a freelancer and is hired on a per-project basis. The best part is that it leaves her time to travel, including a trip to the Middle East where she toured Jordan, Egypt and Israel. After three months in the Arctic, the desert trip was a welcome change.

Recent projects include the new show Ocean Force for TruTV, as well as series for TLC, the Discovery Channel and Spike. “It’s very glamorous,” she says with a smile, “making sure those numbers add up.”

For her part, Sarah is grateful for her time at Cedarville, where she learned the importance of pursuing quality. “The emphasis was on doing everything with excellence,” Sarah says. “Cedarville and the professors taught me to strive to be the best. That was stressed every day. Now, people see my faith in my attitude and work, and they ask about it.”

Sarah certainly sees the importance of that witness in her line of work. In fact, she says, “Move to L.A., Cedarville people! We need more Christians to come work in Hollywood!”