Sunday, February 28

Interview With Justin Samuels

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Justin:  I was born in Elmhurst, New York.  It's a neighborhood of Queens, itself a borough of New York City.  Central Queens basically...  Central Queens - good food from a variety of ethnic groups, from all around the world...  Check out Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, and Flushing.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently reside?

Justin:  West Harlem in New York City.  I'm currently a "grad"* student at Columbia University.  This will be changing after I graduate end of the year, as I will move to Los Angeles.  I love the sunny weather and the beaches. 

La Libertad:  What is your new script "Wine Tasting" about?

Justin:  "Wine Tasting" is about the pressure and toll [that] taking the master sommelier "exam"** has on four friends who are professional wine [tasters], and now they navigate their personal and professional lives after the exam.

La Libertad:  What do you love most about writing?

Justin:  It's a peaceful, solo activity.  One where you get to create whole new worlds...

La Libertad:  What talents and hobbies do you have?

Justin:  I love swimming.  I also like traveling.  I like learning other languages.  Currently, I have indoor houseplants that I grew from seed (an avocado tree, blood orange tree, and two pineapple plants I grew from the tops of pineapple plants.  I just planted my papaya seeds.  I'm pretty good at growing plants of all types.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Justin:  New experiences...  Scenery...  Beautiful, sunny weather, and bright colors! 

Listening to the soundtrack from Xanadu, particularly the songs "Magic" and "Xanadu." 

For those that don't know, Xanadu is both a film and a play in which a muse comes to earth to inspire a guy who falls in love with her.  I think that inspiration is ultimately divine, so the music resonates with me.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of writing a screenplay?

Justin:  Critically assessing it after the first draft...  You need to give it some time.  If you read it immediately after you wrote it, it's still current in your mind, and you can't objectively assess it's flaws.  You sort of need to give yourself some time to somewhat forget your script.  When it's not so fresh in your mind, structural issues and types stand out and are much easier to deal with in the revision/rewriting process.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Justin:  All over the Eastern U.S. States, big parts of the Midwest, like Chicago, and the Southwest, including California.  Outside the U.S., I've been to Paraguay and Brazil.  My next international trip is to Bogota, Colombia.  I've paid for the
airplane ticket and the Airbnb room.   I love how smartphone "apps"*** have changed travel.  I use Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, [and] Zipcar, among others.

La Libertad:  What are your career goals?

Justin:  To be an Oscar-winning filmmaker and a professor of writing.

La Libertad:  What scripts are you working on?

Justin:  I just started to pitch "Nana," a sword and sorcery, adult animation fantasy.  "Office Problems," my thriller just placed in [the] Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest... February 1, 2016, so I literally just started pitching it.  Also, pitching my comedy, "Pokerface."  I just started to write a drama about a homeless woman.  It needs to further take shape before I can say much about it.  I had been pushing harder on "Wine Tasting" as it's placed in three festivals, but now I'm stepping up my game with the other scripts.

La Libertad:  Tell us about your recent writing awards and recognition.

Justin:  "Wine Tasting" placed as a finalist in [the] Sunscreen Film Festival West, Evolution ([the] Mallorca International Film Festival), and the] Beverly Hills Film Festival...

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?


Follow me on Twitter at:

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Justin:  The most important thing about any art is to start the process.  You don't have to be perfect.  But if you love the art, keep on doing it, and keep on improving.  And you'll get to amazing places.

Interview by Libertad Green
  * "grad student"A student with a Bachelor's Degree
 ** "exam":  examination, test    
*** "app":  computer application or program    

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