We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Sadoff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
My name is Samantha Sadoff and I am a writing producer/director.
Well…currently I am an assistant at Paramount Players in the development space.
Working in the entertainment industry is challenging because there is no one path to get to where you ultimately want to be. Unlike medical students who study, go on to have a residency and then become doctors, there is no one path to becoming a filmmaker. With a mix of tenacity, grit and perhaps a little luck, maybe you can find yourself on the path to where you want to go.
This can be demoralizing and frustrating, as for someone who craves a sense of direction- there is no direction! However, the most important thing I have come to recognize in my time entering the professional sector is that each step is an opportunity to learn and grow in the right direction.
I am on the path to becoming the most insightful producer I can be by interacting with and studying under the industry’s key players. Sourcing new voices and acquainting myself with trends in the business, I am adding to my toolbox as a director who can bring stories to life in the most eloquent and far-reaching ways.
The coverage, pitch meetings, phone calls and everything else that comes with being an assistant is all essential in structuring my journey to reaching the ultimate end goal.
With this professional “crash-course” along with diligence to continue making strides in my own personal creative endeavors, at the height of my career I will be a leader in the creation of socially conscious, character driven narratives, which will leave audiences feeling awe-inspired, and introspective; purposive yet irresolute; sagacious and empowered.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I make art that stares down the patrons of society and takes them to task. My eye for character-driven dramas, explored most often through magical-realism and macabre elements, is what puts me in the vanguard. My passion for telling the stories of underrepresented communities makes my work not just that of entertainment but of social activism.
The tribulation of the black experience is important to me. The trauma of history on the queer community is extremely important to me. I make films because I am driven by highlighting the so-often hidden beauties of the world, because I want to churn a desire for progressive action in the audience. The art I make is a window to worlds untouched, unexplored. It is a tool, which I utilize responsibly and lovingly in the creation of hope and a future of justice.
The conception of this art is never an easy road, as I am constantly faced with adversary-most often that which lies within myself. Yet, at the end of the day, breathing life into these stories is a mission that never feels like a job in the typical sense. With filmmaking, I am never working to live but living to work in a medium that truly fuels my existence.
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?
Welcome to Hollywood! It can be rather alarming when you first arrive because, if you’re like me, you imagined a shiny city made of silver skyscrapers, a bright sun in the sky and celebrities at every corner. However, the Los Angeles you get is not quite what you see in the movies. Housing projects, smog and traffic is a lot more along the lines of what you can expect in a big city like LA, but interweaved within and including these features is a culture so single and distinct, which allows you to define your experience through a number of possibilities. To anyone visiting LA for the first time I say be daring, be open. Take a trip to the Walk of Fame and take photos with the dressed up locals- be sure to tip! Open your eyes to the community on skid row to pass out meals. Go out of your way to pick up trash at the local parks and beaches. Experience the true grit and grime of Hollywood, because while there it has so much to offer that allows you to make it the experience you want, there is so much you can do to make it the city you want. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Tenacity, grit, luck and NETWORK! There’s a truth to the phrase “it’s all about who you know in this industry”. Although I did not grow up in an established filmmaking family like a lot of people who get their start, I recognize that my successes thus far have come from the support and mentorship of the entertainment family I have established along the way.
The friends I made during my time at the USC School of Cinematic Arts contributed an insurmountable amount to the jobs/internships I’ve had and the doors of opportunity yet to be opened. In recently accepting my new position at Paramount, I had a moment of reflection in which I realized that every professional experience I’ve ever had has come from a connection I made along the way. From a sophomore class TA introducing me to a producer’s assistant who offered me my first internship, to a classmate inspiring me to cold-call a fellow Trojan at a production company which landed me a job at Warner Brothers, and from the friends I made there who helped me get to NBCUniversal and now to one of the most prolific film studios in the world- not just as an intern but a full-time employee. While all of these connections where established by my own resolve, there is a discernable trail of interpersonal support that helped to weave the web of relations I have now.
In this way, my shout out goes to everyone who I encountered at all stages of my career, from my time as a student, to the numerous internships and full-time positions I’ve had since. I am honored to be a part of such a supportive community who rallies behind my goals as a producer/director and I take pride in paying this mentorship forward.