We had the good fortune of connecting with Samuel Skeen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samuel, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Here’s what I believe about risk-taking: I never let ambition come at the cost of my empathy because creative risks do not include production risks. Creative risks are essential to telling the new stories that deserve to be told, which should never come at the expense of safety on set. Make it a habit of putting your team before yourself, push the art past its limits, not the people. That is the cornerstone of a career that will last and be rewarded.
I’ve been fortunate to work with extraordinary people and brands for the past ten years, and I’m only just getting started. I believe that my core principles work because when you take care of others before yourself, they return that favor with everything they’ve got. Leaders eat last and they should.
What should our readers know about your business?
I started Animal Victory Entertainment because I’m not here to waste anyone’s time. If you are a writer, a director, or an actor, I’m not going to waste your time because I’m only going to surround you with the right resources you need to encourage your art to come to life. If you’re on my crew, I’m not going to waste your time because when you’re on your feet and working hard on my set you better believe it is all for a story and a cause that matters. If you’re in the audience that’s watching my films or television, I’m not going to waste a second of your time showing you anything less than the most important, entertaining, and best work our industry has to offer. We only have so many trips around the sun together, and I want to make each and every one of those count.
For me, the best definition of success is repeat business. It can be someone having the best time working on my set or an investor that is thrilled with their return, if they come to me and say they had a wonderful experience and can’t wait to do it again soon, then I am over the moon. As a producer, I like to say I’m in the hospitality business instead of the entertainment business because I care a lot about caring for others. So if you want to do the right thing with the right people, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure our doors will always be open and our mission stays true.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Musso & Frank Grill always delivers classic Hollywood glamor alongside the best steak and martini in town. At the other end of the spectrum, Gracias Madre for vegan options that never leave you feeling unsatisfied (and you wake up healthier for it). The Academy Beverly Hills for the sharpest Jiu-Jitsu training for your mind and body. If your automobile is part of the family, and an extension of your taste, there is nowhere better than Beverly Hills Car Club. Anywhere Keith Raywood recommends, he will always be the foremost expert for quality across many realms!
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?
From my first great boss at Condé Nast, Harris Levinson, all the way through to my incredible mentor while pursuing my MFA at USC, John Watson, I have been blessed with great timing for opportunities for professional learning and personal growth. Since I was an undergraduate film student at SCAD, just beginning to imagine the idea of what a life in film could be, getting the opportunity to assist my favorite director of all time, Mark Romanek. That was magical. That showed me firsthand what amazing dedication, preparation, and surrounding yourself with excellence can achieve.
To every coworker at CNÉ, Red Bull, 20th Century Fox, and fellow student at USC and SCAD along this journey, I am so in awe of you all. But the greatest constant support and encouragement I have ever, and will ever receive, has been from my wonderful family who always said I could do anything I wanted.
Other: My personal Instagram account can be found at and https://www.instagram.com/bbgfox