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Life and Work with Sam Lane

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Lane.

Sam, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I became serious about art in 9th grade. That was the year I was shown Chris Marker’s “La Jetee,” and I remember walking out of that movie feeling like I had encountered the meaning of life. I learned how to animate that year, and my love of drawing started forming into a storytelling practice. Seven years later, I’m at CalArts, about to direct a stop motion short as my undergraduate thesis.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has been alarmingly smooth. I feel very lucky.
My advice to others is advice that I still try to integrate into my own behavior. Mainly, to be confident when you’re presenting your work. Good ideas die when they aren’t expressed properly. In collaborative settings, it’s important to carefully translate the passion you have for a project, especially to people who aren’t emotionally attached yet. My current project is backed by a generous grant from the Princess Grace Foundation, USA, and it’s the first time that I’ve been able to hire a team of people to help me. It’s been a challenge learning how to wrangle composers and fabricators and actors, all for a single vision. The sweet spot is when I can present my idea in a way that inspires creative passion in others, and then they bring their own unique artistry to the table. I’m still working on how to do that best.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I make short animated narratives! For my thesis, I’m doing a stop-motion short, but I’ve also experimented with 2D and CG work. My main MO is to create work that is enjoyable to a wide variety of age ranges, with a little bit of a lesson snuck in. My last film, “Spell of the West,” was about a cowgirl trying to stop a guy from cutting down trees. My current project, based on the Katy Perry v. Nuns lawsuit, is meant to be a humorous look at societal opposites struggling to compromise. And I have an idea for a future project that aims to teach kids how to handle the glories and pitfalls of the internet. Basically, I like to hide education behind entertainment. A piece of broccoli hidden in the macaroni, if you will.

Who have you been inspired by?
My favorite woman is Saint Catherine, who was rolled through the streets tied to a wheel made of knives and survived. That’s how the Catherine Wheel got its name! I’m inspired by her willingness to be tied to a wheel made of knives. There’s a lesson in there, somewhere.

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