We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Robertson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, is there something you believe many others might not?
“Work smart, not hard.” In college, a mentor of mine spoke about a philosophy he learned early on in his career. The message was encapsulated in a simple quote; “the genius of ‘and’, the tyranny of ‘or’.” Basically, if you live your life choosing between this “or” that, your options and potential for success are automatically limited. But, if your approach is this “and” that, you are putting yourself in a position with more options and a higher possibility for success in what you are doing. As it relates to the quote above, I don’t agree with the conventional saying because I believe you can work smart AND hard. Yes, doing either one by itself has its pros and cons. Working hard can help you build physical, mental, and emotional strength, but it could burn you out over time. And, working smart can mean thinking outside of the box, and focusing on using your immediate resources to make the journey easier. But it could also be indicative of cutting corners, manipulating situations, or circumventing obstacles and challenges to get what you want. So for me, working hard and smart is the most balanced approach to finding long term success.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My career is still in its early stages. As a company, we have some great opportunities on the horizon, so for now we’re just focused on taking the right steps to put us in position to work at a higher level than before. I think one thing that sets us apart from other companies is our story telling ability, our willingness to take risks, and our sharp awareness to see where the art and commerce meet. Even though we don’t have access to major financing or talent now, we lean into our storytelling ability and are unafraid of taking risks to make projects that are aesthetically pleasing and logistically challenging. It was not easy getting to where we are professionally now. I’m not sure if I ever want things to be easy either. Yes, if things were “easier” that would be cool, but we’ve never been the type to run away from challenges, and its when things are the most difficult that we are inspired and motivated to take risks and try new things. As long as it doesn’t compromise our integrity or hurt anyone, we always go with the best idea to achieve our long term goals. Over time I’ve learned a variety of interpersonal skills to lead a team/crew. Since this is an industry dependent on working with large groups of people, I’m continuing to change my life and the way I act to allow me to be the best leader possible. In the end, I would want the world to know that our company is committed to exposing audiences to high quality work. Storytelling always comes first for us, and while we want to make films/television that has critical and commercial value, our goal will always be to tell stories that push the art and contribute to the cultural fabric of humanity.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Being from LA I would want to give a visiting friend the local experience of every section of the city. From a car club meet/ take over on Crenshaw, hanging out at friend’s houses in local neighborhoods, to food spots all over town that are specific to city… We’d be all over the place. The friends that come to visit usually get a taste of the Crenshaw District & South Central, a journey through downtown’s arts district and East LA, a trip west to hang with other locals in the the Venice/ Santa Monica areas, and a tour of Hollywood through to Silverlake to hang with friends I know in the northern parts of the city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Morehouse College – CTEMS Studying film in the Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies program in college was an enriching experience. The opportunity to be part of that creative community taught me the importance of studying the craft, being open to a variety of different ideas, and sharpening my leadership skills. From Dr. Dunn’s theory classes and Professor Iwa’s screenplay writing workshops, to Prof. Williams’ capstone (thesis) course, I found myself fully immersed in the art while they fostered the strong sense of inspiration I have to do the work I do today.