Interview with Sanctuary’s Robin Dunne

Robin Dunne is the star of the SyFy hit series “Sanctuary”.  The show recently completed it’s fourth season.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robin about the season, his first effort directing and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: You star in “Sanctuary” but what made you turn to directing this season?
Robin Dunne: I have always had this approach to the business, which is to diversify. Some actors just want to be actors and I am a little jealous of them sometimes. I have always wanted to act and write and I have done both now. So I thought the next natural step for me was to direct. Working on “Sanctuary” was the best possible place to get my feet wet, everyone knew each out and works so well together. I have never been more prepared for something in my life. My only fear on directing was to not let my whole team down. I am really happy with the way the episode came out. The whole crew and team really wanted me to succeed.

MG: Who is the better director you are Amanda (Tapping)?
RD: [laughs] I think Amanda is more experienced at it. It is interesting because every director has style and approach. I didn’t even know what my style was going to be until I got out on the floor and started directing. Amanda tends to be more of a technical director then me. She is very specific and uses cranes for different shots. I am not quite there yet. But let me tell you that directing is a blast.

MG: Any future plans to direct more episodes?
RD: I would love to direct more. Should we get a season five, I would love to take on a few more episodes.

MG: On a production side of the show, it doesn’t seem like there is as much CGI as there used to be; can you reflect?
RD: It on scale actually. There are some episodes that are very heavy in CGI and others are very little. The reason for that is because there is such a time crunch that we are under to deliver the show to the network. The visual effects company gets so bogged down. There is a delicate balance of keeping all the visual effects in the show as possible without but also not hurting ourselves that the episodes won’t be ready in time. In terms of directing, the visual effects was also another great educational process. I learned that during certain shots, if I put the camera in one spot then this (pointing) whole section by the window is going to need visual effects. You might want that though, but if it is not entirely necessary you can move the camera over slightly away from the window and not need all that effects done. When we started the show, it was only a two hour pilot, so we could spend a much time as we needed on the effects.

MG: Have you ever considered crossing over into other Syfy shows?
RD: I have thought about directing an episode of “Warehouse 13” just to give them the hardest time ever [laughs]. I would love to bust Eddie (McClintock)’s chops. It is one thing to walk on a set that you have been working on for years but it is another thing walking on a set that is brand new to you. It would be a whole different challenge.

MG: What is your favorite episode from season four?
RD: You know, I really like the episode that I directed, episode six titled “Homecoming”. I think my favorite episode of the season, actually of the whole series to date, is episode eight titled “Fugue”, which is our musical episode. It was such an amazing thing to do. It took all of us out of our comfort zones. Being in the recording sessions were great. Being on stage with the little ear piece playing that music that only you can hear, while trying to sing and act at the same time. It was such a challenge but such a fun episode. There is something about singing that brings out a certain emotional level in people. It works so well into the story that the audience is barely going to notice the music. They are not going to be able to notice when we are breaking into song. It definitely has to be one of my favorites.


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