Y’know that scene in SAW where Amanda has her first flashback to her test? Bear trap, find the key, that whole thing? Eleven-year-old me squirmed and held her breath during that whole sequence. I caught myself sitting in a little knot by the time it was done. That feeling made me want to be an actor– the idea that a performance could physically drive a viewer to discomfort or fear or joy or pain or any other emotion. Rewatching that franchise after college and studying just how they made me feel those feelings made me want to make my own films.
TL,DR: Thanks, Shawnee Smith, for making pre-teen me very afraid. Now it’s everyone else’s turn.
Who is your favorite woman who does what you do?
My favorite independent director is Dayna Noffke.
My favorite actress is Emily Blunt.
My favorite “f&@k it, we’ll do it ourselves and you’re gonna love it” filmmakers are Jen and Sylvia Soska.
They’re all a huge reason why I have the confidence and inspiration to do what I do.
If you had one wish for women in your space in 2020, what would it be?
Opportunity. Legitimate, non-token opportunity. “We admire you and your body of work and your ability” opportunity and not “we’re asking you so we can say we did it” opportunity.
Share a practical tip for a woman who wants to do what you do.
Get your phone and a tripod with a mobile attachment. Get a couple friends that you can trust.
Go through the 48 Hour Project website and use previous events’ character/prop/line of dialogue– each city has a set of them, along with a list of genres to choose from. Remember those friends from Step 1?
Create short stories with them that you can tell in less than 10 minutes, using those 48 Hour Project requirements. I don’t care how silly or simple they may seem.
Throw those friends in your car. Pick someone’s house or someone’s yard or the park or some place that you can legally be in. Film that simple story.
Edit, release, repeat.
Your first one may not be gold. But you won’t make your masterpiece if you spend forever waiting around for a masterpiece to fall into place your first time around. You will learn more by doing than you ever will by reading.
Inspire someone who is not where they want to be in the industry yet.
You are constantly growing. Every interview you watch, every short you make, every script you write, every plan B you have to come up with on the fly because things happen– they all help you grow. You are not the same as you were yesterday and that is a blessing. Every step you take toward your goal puts you closer than you have ever been before. People with much less talent than you are out there succeeding because they are less afraid to fail than you.
What scares you?
Tornadoes. Large open bodies of water.
What projects do you have coming up?
I’ve got one special project up my sleeve that Lee and I will hopefully be taking on next month, as well as a dark humor/satire short I’ve tossed around since last summer. I don’t want to spoil either of them, but the latter centers around a prop that I’m sure we’ll actually find on the side of the road.
Important Links for Samantha Hawkins
- Here’s a fun piece I was invited to be in about a year ago. Still one of my favorites to this day. Philip’s the bomb.
Also, you can track a lot of my projects, mostly the pre-production process, on Instagram or Twitter using #ProverbialSisterProductions. (: