You know what? Samuel Child is Awesome. Like, capital A and everything. And to think, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to convince him to let me interview him after my first email went unresponded to.
But I was a diligent little stalker and sent a second email. And I got lucky, because he decided to respond. I was flooded with links to the various projects that he'd been a part of on YouTube. Which I started watching. In fact, if you haven't seen the Gustopher videos, much of this interview isn't going to make much sense. (You'll have to scroll to the bottom for the link to that.)
The whole interview purposefully wasn't supposed to make any sense. See, the first film that I watched Sam in was LURKING IN SUBURBIA, a low budget film about thirty year old(ish) friends and how the generation that I grew up with never had the moment of "Now I need to grow up," dawn on them. Sam plays what could be easily dismissed as a Steve Stiffler knock-off. But it's too easy to make comparisons, even if that's what people always ask me to feed them when looking for movie rental suggestions like I'm their own walking NetFlix suggestion screen.
Proof in point was the second film I watched Sam in, the quietly brilliant THE HAMILTONS. He flips completely on his LURKING persona and becomes this strange withdrawn character who is in charge of keeping his rowdy siblings at bay. He looked exactly like he did in LURKING, this fresh-faced guy with bright eyes and a tilted smile, but his entire demeanor was a 180. Crinkled brow lines, softened lilt to his voice, and a pleading whine that draws that sympathy from you when you want to despise a character but just can't when you hear them throw that inflection at you.
Between the online videos, the movies and getting a chance to go back and forth with Sam in emails, I can tell you that he's that missing link in Hollyweird. Professional, intelligent, strange, funny and experimental. He is private about his personal life and yet surprisingly open in his written expression. I gave him the option of having fun with the interview, doing something outside of the normal Q&A and was really hoping he'd take that route. He did.
So if the interview below confuses you, GOOD. If you want to make sense of it, make it a priority to click on all the links, queue up all of his flicks and rediscover what an actor - a REAL actor - is supposed to embody.
AwesomeZara:So, Sam - if that's your real nickname - I've watched you in movies. Which, according to the standards of Marge Simpleton out in Middle America, USA, makes you famous. So why is it that when I started bragging to my co-workers that you were granting me an interview, they gave me blank stares of confusion as to why I'd wet myself?
Samuel Child: It's not just 'cause you wet yourself, trust me.
Zara: Hey man, when they say casual Friday, I take that shit seriously. Can you not say that there wouldn't be a person you would wet yourself at getting a chance to send random, sporadic emails to?
Sam: No way, I'd definitely fill my overalls if I knew all those emails I've sent to Shane MacGowen were getting to him. Unfortch, there's a strong possibility that he's not really aware of the "internet" because, the fact is, I haven't heard jack back from him.
Zara: I've heard rumours that in your spare time you're a wooden robot. Would that be oak or pine?
Sam: Since you spelled rumors with two "u"s I'm going to answer this with a British accent: "It's not so much in my spare time than as in my all-the-time. The short answer is neither. The long answer is neither; it's black larch."
Zara:Do not mock my anglophile tendencies. Oh, and clever way at deflecting my oh-so-subtle attempt at asking if you were hard or soft wood. Do robots ever actually dance "the robot?"
Sam: Since there is only one way of "dancing" (definition: "moving one's body rhythmically to the beat or tempo of human 'music'", correct?), I don't really understand what you
Still from REVOLUTION SUMMER
are asking here.
Zara: You don't limit your acting with Joe Egender to just when The Butcher Brothers care to give you a paycheck, having created a series of webisodes together. So, how long have you two been lovers? I mean, I would have interviewed him too, but I'm Egenderphobic. Mainly because I don't understand why he gets to be special and be an E ticket ride at the Disney Gender Park.
Sam: Well, I don't cotton much to kissing gents and my preferences veer towards ladyfolk, so this question doesn't really have an answer. Joe and I are friends.
Zara:I could girly out on you and follow-up with "Are you friends or are you friends-friends?" but I'm just not that girly. Is it easier to work with people that you're more familiar with, or do you like to occasionally go into a project without a friend safety net?
Sam: Obviously it's absolutely amazing to work with people that you might already have a short-hand with. People you know well and whose creativity, etc. you know first-hand and respect. People you know you can work well with and you know that they are going to be ready to work hard and it's going to be enjoyable and things aren't going to change part way through a project or whatnot; but it's also great working with new people and seeing things in a different light and being a part of something that you are not as comfortable in (at the beginning, at least). That's one of the great things about being lucky enough to work in this industry and on different projects.
However, you do run into people who, otherwise, you would never want to have anything to do with, just people who are focused on stuff that I personally see as completely un-fulfilling and useless and wasteful (celebrity, fame, what kind of fucking car you drive, etc.). There are also people that are just unprofessional. My opinion is, if you are so unbelievably lucky that you are getting to act for a living, then why in the shit would you waste that or be blase or casual about it and not take it absolutely, 1000% seriously?
I've heard stories and have seen or been around people who, for some reason (either they don't give a shit about what they're doing or are completely ignorant about the absolutely improbable opportunity they've somehow found and they just don't care) that do the exact opposite of that. I think that even if someone has found success and is content in what they've achieved, I believe that at whatever level you are on, you should still work as hard as you can and take it seriously or get the fuck out of here. There are millions of people standing in line waiting for their shot at it, so why slack that off? Either do it all the way or leave. For anyone who in that position that wants to slack it off and not appreciate where they are, I want them to go work manual labor or some other type of actual "work" for a bit and see how they feel then. "Too bad, see you on the other side of the River Styx you small-minded, short-sighted, visionless touchhole. You frittered away the opportunity to do something that other people would literally sell their loved-ones to be able to have a go at" (let alone being lucky enough to have shelter, food, water, and not being shot by some 12 year-old kid with an AK-47 in some horrible place halfway around the world, etc.). Ummm, was that a rambling tangent? I can't tell.
Sidenote by Zara: I was instructed to chop and/or edit any of the above answer. I have done some editing, but I bet no one other than Sam will be able to tell how and where.
Zara:I'm into ball-pits too. That's not really a question. Just a moment for me to gloat that I have a ball-pit ticket I grew in my womb. So, ha! And if you think ball-pits rock, you have yet to meet the glory that is a place called "Pump It Up." Wow... inadvertent innuendo, much? That's really a rhetorical question.
Sam: That's just acting. In actuality, I despise ball pits: human children play in them.
Zara:But what if only robot children were allowed to play in them? And what they burst open
Sam and The Butcher Brothers on the set of APRIL FOOL'S DAY
and rained down dollar coins if you jumped hard enough? How hard are you willing to work for your robot dollar coins?
Sam: When you say "robot dollar coins", I'm assuming you mean zorgglykreds? Actually, I don't like children of any sort, robotic, organic, or otherwise, except when processed and poured into my phoodtoob.
Zara:After the 2004 lobby to permit the "Lawful Forking in the Left Eye of a Telemarketer," I admire your bravery in attempting to gain employment in that field as Gustopher. But I have to ask: Is it still possible to read the mind of a person who is illiterate?
Sam: Yes, but it is mind-numbingly boring. Ever tried talking to a robot made of wood? Same thing.
Zara: I've tried it, but it really didn't qualify because the robot wasn't made out of a real wood. I mean, it was boring, but I still had feeling left in my brain. What (other than talking to strange, unknown purported interviewers for pitifully small websites) gives you Novocaine in the Membrane?
Sam: "Purported? Wait a minute...who is this? Dorothy? Jeezum crow, Dorothy, is this another one of your pranks? C'mon, D! I know it's you. Dorothy? Hello? Seriously, who is this? This isn't funny anymore! Who is this?! Please! WHO IS THIS?!"
"Sam, the email is coming from inside the house! Get out! Get ou..."
Zara: What is the English equivalent of the phrase-ological term: "Flip the bacon before it begins to pop. But allow the Canadian bacon to mellow till it sizzles."? I mean, what is the difference with the Canadian bacon? Why does it have to try to trick us into thinking it's not ham?
Sam: Yah... ever heard the expression "Loose lips sink ships"? I'd keep your yap shut and quit poking around where you don't belong, see? You have no idea how far up this reaches.
Zara: My baby sister's nickname is "Nikki" and she's a stellar substitute stupid friend. Alliteration rocks. Were you aware of the fact that the women who gain the most tears in their panties over a man who has good grammar are usually the chicks who aren't as aesthetically pleasing but because they use their mouths well when speaking, they tend to have given them the best workouts for other things?
Sam: Not really sure what the question is here, but I guess my answer would either be "Pinball Wizard" or "Texarkana".
Zara: By this point, I hope people have caught on that I was writing these questions while under the influence. Of what, I'm not sharing. Are you the type of guy who shares his good-stuffs with buddies, or do you fancy yourself more the stingy type?
Sam: I'm not sure if this is a straight-out drug reference or more of an innuendo, so I'll take the benefit of the doubt and answer it with an innuendo:
"I" "always" share my good-"stuffs with" buddies and "sometimes" fancy "myself" "more the" stingy type.
Zara: Were you that little kid in grade school who actually got the lead role in the school play, or were you "pick pocket # 4," silently glaring at your being passed over by the teacher's pet?
Sam: Actually, I played the lead role of Odin in our 4th grade production of "Ragnarök". I think my mom still has my little blood-soaked fake beard somewhere.
Zara:Shit, I just remembered that I forgot to check out your fake music band. Hold on a second. (If I include the link here, the readers may never return, so you'll have to go through the trials of scrolling, bitches!) - OK, how many pairs of pants have you have ruined over the course of your sexual activity? (Keeping in mind that I could help increase that number but a 5'8" comic book geek might come and verbally berate you until you cry.)
Sam: First of all, I've lost count. Second of all, I wouldn't say "ruined"...I'd say
A still from the upcoming ROAD TO TULSA, with Joe Egender.
Zara: I so badly want to include another question here, but I'm giggling too hard. And don't worry, it's an "at" you and not "with" you kind of way.
Sam: No worries on this end, "at" is fully understandable.
Zara:I just spent 15 minutes screwing around watching videos and thinking up the next question. And my house suddenly smells of peaches. I didn't even know we had peaches in the house. I could have sworn we bought nectarines, although those are really just peaches that have had Brazilian waxes. Fruit plays a predominant role in my life. I have bananas tattooed behind my ears. Without fruit, how do you think the food pyramid would stand up in today's politically tense atmosphere?
Sam: I don't know what kind of food pyramid you're using, sister, but where I'm from, it looks like this: chewing tobacco, lint, tubers, cough syrup, powdered glass, and long pig.
Zara: I always loved getting my "Bag o' Glass" and "Johnny Switchblades" for Xmas. Nothing else compares to a parent's loving decision to bequeath their child with a toy that was on some recall poster. Not even interviewing black larch robots.
I gave Sam the opportunity to have the last word. He graciously left that to me. After knowing that I was referring to the SNL skit with Dan Aykroyd and Candice Bergen. Which makes him cool beans to me. Cool robot beans.
Sam is currently working on a play entitled "Blue Surge" playing at the Henke Studio Theatre in Los Angeles, through May 24th. (For more information, www.plays411.com/bluesurge.)
He's also set to work with The Butcher Brothers ( Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores) again, with a film called ROAD TO TULSA, amongst some others that are still in the works.
There are times when I stretch to think up kind things to say about people. You know those moments, when you're not pleased with something or someone, but there's this air that suggests that you say something nice or nothing at all. Samuel Child is not someone who I need to stretch for. No bullshit, this guy has something to him. Something that everyone should be paying closer attention to. Just not too close. He spooks easily.
And, for my rollergirls, the Static-X video where Sam plays the ref (and The Butcher Brothers directed). He alerted me that some of the VCDD girls went down for the shoot (in some abandoned, burnt-out mall or something) but it goes pretty fast, so I couldn't track down anyone that I could place. But, eh... VCDD is going to kick ass this weekend versus the SDDD!!!