OUAF chat with dedicated Oncer Sarah (@PhoenixHeart815) about her involvement in the Oncer Project, her fan artwork and the thrill of winning ABC's 'Save Henry' competition.
How did you hear about Once?
It was just over a year since Lost had ended and I was in need of another good show to watch. In August of 2011, I was walking past the TV and saw “From the writers of Lost” flash on the screen. Whatever task I was in the middle of no longer mattered because that commercial had my full attention. I was so intrigued with what was happening and had so many questions. I looked up which writers from Lost were involved and was excited for this show, since Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis wrote some of my favorite episodes on Lost. Since then, I have not missed a single episode of show.
What was your first impression of the show?
A modern twist to classic fairy tales trapped in our world was an idea I had never seen or heard of on TV before. It was an instant hit for me. I loved the way the stories that were told within each episode were similar to Lost the most. Also, this was the first time a TV show delved into the backstories of these famous characters, stories neither Disney nor their literary versions included.
Can you explain about the Oncer Project and what was involved?
The Oncer Project was an idea I came up with about a year ago when there was a ton of character and ship hate going around twitter towards Adam and the cast. Fed up with seeing the hate online, I felt like I needed to show that the love of Once Upon A Time exceeds the hate from fans. For me, it seemed that some fans had forgotten what they were originally a fan of. You could not ship Snowing, SwanFire, CaptainSwan, RumBelle, SwanQueen, etc., without claiming that you are a Oncer first. None of those characters and ships would exist without the idea of this show. Therefore, I began with making a simple video explaining my idea. I asked Oncers to send in a short video of them stating who their favorite character was, their favorite ship, and to state that they are a Oncer. I had lots of help from friends sending in their videos and spreading the word to others of what I was doing. Eventually, an opportunity arrived with meeting Lee Arenberg and asking him to take part in the video. He was all for helping and I am eternally grateful for him. I finished the video the afternoon of the Season Two finale. Everyone who saw the video told me how much they loved it and wished they could have taken part. Every once in a while, whenever I see Adam Horowitz receiving ship or character hate lashed at him, I post that video. One day in July, I shared it to brighten his day and he saw it. He tweeted back to me saying that he loved it. I am so proud of how that video turned out and to all those who took part in it.
You also have a high profile within the OUAT fandom for artwork. Tell us a bit more about your drawings.
I personally would not consider my drawings “high profile,” but thank you for that. I used to draw a bit when I was younger but then I lost interest in it. It wasn't until the beginning of the second season when I went back to it. I really liked the photos from the Entertainment Weekly issue and started with those. Once I figured my system and style, I started to get better. I particularly like drawing from scenes than from posed photos while making drawings in a collage piece. I guess what I lack in some of those finer details I make up for with those collage drawings. There’s more work that goes into them, and I love the challenge. Even though some of my later drawings have been popular, my Prince Charming sketch won Anthony’s (@AnthonyHolic) Josh Dallas Creative Fan Contest. Josh Dallas picked out my drawing out of fifteen others, and I won an autographed Josh Dallas picture. I also love taking part in Adam’s Fan Art Friday competition every week because it challenges artists within the fandom to create something new each week. My drawing of The Huntsman, now titled “50 Shades of Huntsman” (thanks to Miguel Ian Raya, the show-runners’ assistant on OUAT), also won runner up one week so I’m proud of that as well. Lately, I've been busy with school and work so it’s been difficult finding time to draw. What I can say is that I’m in the works of an international art project with nine other artists. This has never been done before within the fandom. We are keeping the details under wraps right now since we've only just started. But we will reveal it in time when more progress is done.
How did it feel to win ABC’s “Save Henry” competition?
That was such a crazy couple of days! Since I decided to make that sign as big as my garage door, I was on my knees for about six hours on the floor, plus it was 96˚F (36˚C) that day and I was outside the entire time. My brother helped me take it out, tape it up on the door, and took my picture with it. The final size of the sign measured 14 feet (4.3 meters) wide and a height of 6 feet (1.8 meters). My body was completely sore from that but it was well worth it. When I received the tweet from ABC the next day, I was watching TV and I jumped out of my chair and went crazy! Then fifteen seconds later, I was on the floor crying because my body was so sore! The next day I received my copy of Reawakened signed by Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Morrison. It now spends its days on top of my nightstand next to my bed, readily available whenever I’m having trouble sleeping.
How has OUAT inspired you personally?
For one hour of the week, I don’t have to worry about school, work or family stuff and I immerse myself into this created world. The show has helped me find my creative spark for drawing that I thought was long gone. I keep it as a hobby and it’s such a stress relief. I also took away from the show the idea that I should not stop believing in myself. Even if I screw up or make the wrong decision when it comes to my personal life, I will learn from my mistakes. It’s sort of what Snow says to Emma in the episode “Going Home,” “happy endings aren't always what we’ll think they will be.” Whatever is happening right now may not be a part of the endgame in the future. I shouldn't make assumptions on the effect of every single choice I make and let those play out on their own because they may end up being something completely different down the road.
Have you made new friends through the fandom?
This show has given me the opportunity to make so many new friends. Whether it was from meeting new friends at school who watch also, joining twitter back in the summer of 2012, or joining in on podcast chat rooms with fellow Oncers, it has been such a blast. Some of my first online friends, to name a few, are Erin (@erinjcruz), Prutha (@PSPatel), Colleen (@BelleNich_), Ellie (@OnceUponAnEllie), and Marie (@OuaterBox). They have made my Once Upon A Time experience worthwhile. There are so many others I wish I can list on here! I’m also a part of a small circle of artist friends online where we chat with each other on opinions, future projects, and provide any help when someone is drawing a character. That group includes Dieuwertje (@Diejj), Crystal (@gilmorefriends), Kat (@KatisBjorky), Annie (@anniesass), Laura (@laurgr94), Holly (@AnneBell20), Celine (@_Evil_Regal_), Rafaela (@RafaelaArtist), and Patricia (@mutemouia). I wouldn't be where I am with my drawings if it weren't for those nine amazing artists. What I love most is getting the chance to meet up with other Oncers. They always end up being some of the coolest people I meet. If for some reason I were unable to meet any of the cast members from the show, I would rather have the chance to meet my Oncer friends in a heartbeat.
That is always such a tough choice for me because there are so many great episodes. I think it comes down to the Pilot episode. It had such an impact introducing me to this world of fleshing out iconic characters in a way that no one had done before. The show starts at the end of the classic “Snow White” and continues from there. The Pilot is the very foundation that the show stands on. It will always hold a very special place in my Oncer heart.
Hopes for the next part of Season 3/Season 4?
For Season Three, I hope for a great story-line with more character development from all of the main characters now that the Wicked Witch has entered the picture. For Season Four, I really want the show to bring in Merida from Brave as well as Anna and Elsa from Frozen. I know that it’s on the creators’ wish list for future characters and it makes sense too. Those characters would fit perfectly into the show.
Who do you think will die?
I’m into spoilers and I feel like I shouldn't give a name on which it is. I have many friends who stay spoiler free and know I’m into spoilers. Therefore, it would be unfair to possibly ruin that for them. But even though the character I think has a high probability of dying will be the one, I still question when, where, why and how will it happen. Will it be out of sacrifice or will it be from a wrong place/wrong time kind of thing? What other characters will be there when the death happens? More importantly, who is going to kill this character? That is what I am most interested in seeing.
Sum up the fandom in 3 words?
Crazy. Creative. Loyal.
Check out Sarah's art page on Facebook at PhoenixHeart815 Art