After graduating from Cardiff University with a mathematics degree, Sam soon realised that the film industry was calling and began his career as a the producer of short films like Julian’s Garden and Revs. He has also produced feature films including Booked Out and Young, High & Dead and is currently associate producer on The Roadside and line producer on Lethal.
What kind of projects attract you?
Original, challenging scripts with convoluted plots attract me the most. If I don’t understand a film then I’m generally impressed. Synecdoche, New York blew my mind, Donnie Darko was awesome, and Inception (which I did understand) was a magnificent achievement, as most people I have spoken to about it had no idea what was going on. I am, however, yet to make a film of this manner, I’m holding back until someone will trust me with a sizeable budget.
You can produce the film of your dreams. What and who would that entail?
Darren Aronofsky would direct. Or maybe David Fincher. Starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Andrew Garfield, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Taking into account the answer to my first question, it would have to be a film that I don’t understand—which could be a little tricky…
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a producer?
Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups. A BAFTA winning director told me this; I kind of assumed that already, but coming from him it really stuck in my mind. I now have to triple-check everything, bordering on OCD, but I see that as a good thing. I’d also say that the phrase ‘don’t pay them, feed them’ would be extremely helpful— referring to film crews, of course.
Tell us the most significant moment in your career so far?
Completing my first feature film Booked Out. It took around 18 months from the time I came on board (with a completed script) and, along with being the greatest achievement, it has been the most amazing learning experience. Both the director and myself were first timers and we made mistakes but got there in the end. Now we need to sell it.
You’ll die happy when…
A film that I have produced all the way through from original conception is given a theatrical release—and receives a positive review from Mark Kermode!