Interview by: Holly Arend | October 13, 2022
Congratulations on your hit series GHOST! How have you been so far into the year? Tell us about yourself!
Thank you so much! Well my name is Sam and I am an actor and singer originally from Lousiville, KY, but I’ve lived in New York for almost a decade. Outside of what I do for work, being in nature, hiking, camping, and swimming in the ocean, brings me so much joy, as well as travelling to new places with people I love. This year has been full of growth, independence, and thankfully opportunities to work in my chosen career so I feel very grateful.
How has acting since a young age shaped the way you act in movies and television now?
My journey started in theater and although it was hard work, performing at a young age felt like a dream getting to do what I love for my job, and I still have pinch me moments on set when I can’t believe this is what I do. Even though I have been performing for over half my life, there are still many ups and downs, but this year I’ve been learning to be proud of myself for all the time and commitment I’ve put into bettering myself and my career. The little girl who toured with musicals is not the same actor or performer I am today, but each opportunity I received to work with other creatives and push myself has shaped me into the actor I am and want to be.
How is working with Ryan Murphy shaped the way you act or go into a role?
I feel very honored to get to work with Mr. Murphy and the entire crew and cast on The Watcher. His sets are filled with the most talented people, from hair, camera operators, and wardrobe, just to name a few, all doing their best work. On set, I became fascinated with the cinematography and framing of the shots. His shows tell stories with such dynamic pictures. As an actor we don’t always get to see what the viewer will see, but working on this show made me realize how important it is as someone in front of the camera to know my “frame” and the world that it contains because that will only help my performance.
You've acted in many different settings from broadway to TV which has been your favorite so far?
The two mediums are too different to rank, each with their own positives that make the work fulfilling in their own way. That being said, I go through phases of favoritism and at this point in my life, I’m really falling in love with TV and Film. I grew up and had most of my training doing theater, which I would recommend to actors because of the discipline it teaches you, but TV and Film is a whole different ball game and I’m really enjoying discovering myself and getting opportunities to work in this medium.
What's the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow actor or director?
Don't try to control the scene. What I mean by that is do whatever preparation on character and circumstance you need to do, but leave room for spontaneity on the day. Most of the time, you are acting in a scene with at least one other person so if you’re too set on doing the scene your way, you don’t leave room for the other actors’ and director’s participation. Locking in on your scene partner, your environment, and responding to their behavior authentically produces the best dynamic energy in a scene.
How has it been juggling school and acting? Any advice for those doing the same?
It definitely takes some balancing and going day by day. Right now, my career takes priority, but I try and take at least one class a semester, it depends on my workload and I go from there. I also think in my case, it helps to not put pressure on yourself to get a degree by a certain time. But I really love learning, especially going to Berklee College of Music where my knowledge of music, theory, and writing have vastly grown. So I guess the number one piece of advice I’d share would be to not be too hard on yourself, as long as you’re still learning and growing, you’re on the right path..
What are three words you would use to describe your new series "The Watcher"?
Mysterious, Psychological, Secretive
Best piece of advice you can give aspiring actors?
Any opportunity you have to work with other actors or creatives, take it. Auditioning, especially since the pandemic, can be very solitary and we don’t always have the opportunity to work and get feedback from other actors, but that is where the magic and growth happens. Being on set or in theater is such a collaborative process and the more you expose yourself to working with others in that kind of environment, the better your craft will become.