By PT Russell / November 25, 2023
I started my podcast driven solely by an unction and a passion to freely give voice to expression.
It was definitely a labor of love in the beginning.
I say that truthfully because the very act of starting a podcast seemed daunting and intimidating in the beginning.
Initially, I considered it completely out of the realm of what I would have deemed a comfortable fit for myself as an artist
A GOOD SAM-ARITAN
After the first podcast episode of Journaling With PT went smashingly well for a novice, in my opinion at least.
I decided to reach out to a gentleman who had been most accommodating to me in the past.
More specifically, back in 2018 when I went through the great challenge of writing a screenplay about my brother’s murder.
Why a screenplay?
Well that’s just the way my brother’s story demanded to be told and perhaps, should be told.
Sam Borowski and I are members of the same online screenwriting community, and he contributed script advice quite frequently in our group.
He appeared to be approachable and brimming with knowledge.
One day in 2018, I sought Sam out and sent him a private message on Facebook about a rather elementary inquiry.
In retrospect, Sam wasn’t at all phased by my badgering. Instead he reached back out to me and most generously acquiesced all of the information I required.
Because of Sam’s generosity I was finally able to begin the vomit draft of my script.
His willingness to assist me couldn’t have come at a better time.
During our chats at that particular juncture, never once did Sam ever ask for anything in return , he always made himself accessible.
I remember him telling me that if I ever needed him that he would be there.
Of course, shortly thereafter my life veered into an entirely different direction, and as a result we lost communication.
Quantum leap to October 11, 2023, I decided to reach out to Sam Borowski once again, but this time to invite him to be a guest on my new podcast. I knew that Sam was well versed in all things film and would speak candidly about his experience in the industry. On that day I contacted Sam but I didn’t expect a response because it had been awhile since we last connected. I wasn’t sure if he even remembered our conversations.
Like a trooper Sam responded quite enthusiastically and was excited about recording the podcast episode.
We had many conversations after that about upcoming projects, the strikes and film.
On the day we decided to do a test run there were some technical difficulties causing our line of communication to be broken multiple times.
There seemed to be a personal vendetta levied against us or the podcast.
Sam and I plodded on despite continued interruptions even on the day of recording.
Though the interview was riddled with sound interference, we were steadfast in completing our session successfully.
The end result was a fantastically fulfilling memoir, punctuated by Sam’s cinematic ingenuity!
THE TRAVOLTA FACTOR
Sam retold a story of his life as a child growing up on Staten Island, New York with a view of the Verrazano Bridge.
It was just a few blocks away from the epochal Corleone home from Francis Ford Coppola’s classic, The Godfather.
He reminisced about the walks past the landmark as a child with his family, and how it informed his interest in movies and film .
He also spoke of his maternal relation to Oscar nominated actor Danny Aiello who was also instrumental in shaping Sam’s career.
Another memory Sam shared was of his desire to see the 1977 disco classic, Saturday Night Fever that starred 70’s icon, John Travolta.
Below is a short excerpt from the interview in medias res.
PT: “That’s awesome!
The Corleone home, the whole deal, it sounds like a good time.”
SAM: “I always say the reason I became a writer, director. Producer you know, filmmaker, was actually John Travolta, because I grew up wanting to be him.
I was too young to see Saturday Night Fever in a theater, my mom wouldn’t take me, you know, it was rated R. It was a different world back then. We didn’ have the internet like we do today.
In the same way like we have an internet today where everything but they had a lot of commercials. You would buy the record album for a movie and we would listen to the songs and I saw the pictures , and they had commercials left and right about the movie…”
So there’s no surprise that Sam’s favorite film is John Travolta’s Get Shorty, a film he dubs a ‘New Age Classic.’
Not only is it his favorite Travolta role but it’s also his most favorite film of all time, and one that influenced his interest in starting a career in film.
THE MANDALA MAKER
Sam’s short film, Mandala Maker was submitted for Academy Award consideration in the live action short category and helped to give his career a significant boost.
Mandala Maker stars Courtney Hogan, Daniel Roebuck and Terrence Mann.
PT: “…Speaking of accomplishments, we were talking about accomplishments earlier. your accomplishment with your short film, Mandala Maker…”
SAM: “Oh, yeah, we qualified for the Oscars with that. that help break me out in the industry. It’s a very special memory and I really enjoyed making that.
It was not an easy film to make on our budget…”
Sam has directed, produced and written a number of independent short films and also full features.
Nightclub a 2011 comedy written and produced by Sam, stars Academy Award winner, Ernest Borgnine, Zachary Abel and Natasha Lyonne. Paul Sorvino also stars as himself.
As an independent filmmaker, Sam’s filmography on IMBD is quite extensive.
He has filmed both shorts and features including, Rex, a film shot on location in Georgia which stars Daniel Roebuck.
Sam served as director and producer on Maniac.
The short film is about a disturbed citizen who takes the law into his own hands, after a tragedy pushes him over the edge.
Maniac stars Paul Sorvino, David Harris and Joseph D’Onofrio.
CREATURE FEATURE 60 YEARS OF THE GILL-MAN
Sam lent his talents as writer and producer to the 2014 documentary, Creature Feature 60 years of the Gill-Man.
The film chronicles the marketing, distribution and creation of 1954 monster flick, Creature From the Black Lagoon, and its subsequent sequels.
The movie is narrated by actor Keith David, and actor Benicio del Toro also makes appearances.
A GROWING LEGACY
Sam continues his mentorship in the tutelage of several emerging actors.
For those willing to commit to the craft, he offers acting classes and workshops.
SAM Borowski’s ‘So you Want to Be an Actor’ is available virtually and online.
Sam gave us a little insight into the criterion he considers for recruiting potential acting talent. See excerpt below.
PT: “Is there something specific that you look for when you’re scouting talent?”
SAM: “You know it’s hard to pinpoint.
I look for several things like passion for the craft. Sometimes they show you and sometimes you could just see inside someone. The eyes are the window to the soul. And you’re like this person cares, they care about the backstory.
That happened like with Alex.
Kevin was so exuberant, I met him at a movie theater. He was managing a movie theater the Cranford theater at the time and a great theater by the way.
We did a premiere for Lucky Louie the New Jersey Premiere there and I went to go see the last James Bond movie with Daniel Craig. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an incredible movie and you know what they did with it. It was great No Time to Die.
So I went in and I had a t-shirt with like all the different Bonds on it, a black T-shirt. It was September and shorts. And he’s like I was dressed down and he’s like let me guess you’re a James Bond fan. when I went to get popcorn and we’re talking and he’s like, are you a filmmaker and then he said I want to talk to you more.
I said after the movie I’ll come the… theater was closing. I stayed in the lobby for an hour and talked to Kevin. And he said to me I’ll lose my job. I don’t care, I want to talk to you right now cuz. I said I don’t want to get you in trouble. And right when he said that I was like this guy is the kind of guy I would work with you know.
Alex, I saw her Talent immediately, but there was a passion there you know.
In a movie when something’s not mentioned but you have to read into it, it’s called beneath the subtext. And I believe and this is not nonsense that beneath the subtext of her, there was a passion for the craft.
You know Danny Roebuck, I mean he’s much bigger than me I mean he helped me
when I was younger.
He was like an older brother to me but yeah he was a bigger name I was not a name at that time at all, not even in the Indie world. But you know he’s a collector of like horror movie props and memorabilia and when you have that kind of it’s like these are the people I want to work with.
Mary Dimino, she you know, she’ll ask to go over pronunciations of things in her standup act. She’s been the host at several Film Festival Awards and she’ll go over every name with you, even the obvious ones.
Because she doesn’t want to make a mistake.
I’ve often said Mary Dimino was one of the three funniest women on the planet along with Aubrey Plaza and Aquafina, three very funny women.
I’m a big Aubrey Plaza fan but Mary’s right there.
…she calls me the Pitbull Buddha because she said on set, what she says you’re like a pitbull. You’re tough you know, you’re like the toughest director like David O Russell, but then you’re wise in ways that a pitbull wouldn’t be. Like in ways that the Buddha would be, you’re the Pitbull.”
IN THE PIPELINE
Sam is a consummate professional, diligent in his trade, and his ever expanding filmography knows no boundaries.
An excerpt from the transcript continues below.
PT : “So What’s in the pipeline for Sam?”
SAM: “All right so I am in development on a feature called Stay Fresh.
I have been for a number of years, the pandemic slowed us down and then this injury which was real bad.
I almost lost my foot.
I couldn’t walk for seven months, but I’m walking again which is great. But between those two things it slowed me down, but it did not stop me. And I’m getting closer from moving from in development to pre-production on Stay Fresh.
In the words of Chili Palmer, John Travolta, that’s all I can say about that for now.
I am going to be doing a short called, After the Rain with Kevin Brodie the aforementioned Kevin Brodie, the aforementioned Alexander Dogette. We have a lot of people in that one, Danny Roebuck was attached. I gotta work out of scheduling…”
In addition to his classes Sam also does script rewrites and consults on Independent films.
My experience interviewing Sam Borowski has proven to be a truly enriching one.
As an artist exploration and discovery is as intrinsic as breathing, and the medium of podcasting is another artform I’m relishing.
It was an absolute honour to have been a student of Sam’s for an hour.
I Look Forward to speaking with him once again on Journaling With PT after the release of his new film.
We have every faith that Sam’s wonderful gifts will continue to make room for him!
*Stanley Tucci is the name of the actor in the Devil Wears Prada, referenced by Sam in the interview.
Please contact Sam Borowski:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook – Sam Borowski
Instagram – @borowskisam
Interview with Sam Borowski in its entirety.
Please excuse the occasional sound interference in the recording.
To appear on the Podcast or for other inquiries. Contact email@example.com
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