I wasn’t going to interview myself, but Dan Gregory offered to do the interview part, so here we are.
Next up is Sam Platizky, the founder of NBF and an actor, writer, and producer.
Who is Sam Platizky the real person ?
I’ll let you know when I meet him… Um. With me, what you see is what you get. There are so many fake people in this business (and the world) that I don’t see the value in being another one. This may hurt me at times, but I’d rather be me. What that means is that I am hard working, dedicated, and a bit of a sarcastic asshole at times. My non-joke joke to people is that I am kind of a piece of shit… But only to people who deserve it. I try my best to be honest & loyal to my friends and the people I feel deserve it. And I love what I do… Writing & Acting are my passions. I am grateful to be able to do that with NBF.
You Write, Produce, Act, Edit, Cast, and even Direct independent films. Which aspect do you enjoy the most? What job are you the best at ?
I love to act. That is the main reason I got into this filmmaking thing – to give myself more opportunities to do that. But I have always loved writing as well, and the more I’ve written (and the better I have gotten) the more I enjoy that. So, I’d say that I enjoy writing & acting equally at this point. I think I am best at writing to be honest. Two or three years ago, I may not have said that, but I feel like that is my strongest ability right now.
You’ve won several awards as a filmmaker . Which award or nomination means the most to you? What award would you like in the future?
I am so insanely proud of every award that NBF has received over the last few years. The one that means the most to me is the Founders’ Award that we received at the 2018 Golden Door IFF. We have been appearing at the GDIFF since its inception (which happened at the same time as NBF’s inception) and we have both kind of grown together. To receive the first ever Founders’ Award from a festival I love so much, and from festival runners that I admire and respect so much… I don’t really have the words to express what that means to me. (Best Comedy is a close second – just because it reminds me that we did what we set out to do. We made people laugh.) I would love to tell you that awards don’t mean that much to me, but I honestly want all the awards – Best Film, Best Actor, etc… But the award I want most, I think, would be Best Screenplay.
Dan Gregory, Jenna Kildosher, Sam Platizky, Isaac Platizky, Joseph Whelski, William R. Farley, & Maglinda Perez at a very successful night at the Golden Door IFF 2018.
SP, You are an accomplished thespian. Tell us about your favorite roles on stage.
I love and miss the stage so much. I really want to get back to it, but it needs to be right. My favorite role on stage was Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I have never felt better on a stage than I felt when I was playing that role. The energy, the comedy, everything. It was one of the great theatrical experiences of my life. And it was only at a JCC. I have been Off Broadway & Off-Off Broadway now, but that was still my favorite role and play to be in.
As CEO of Bayonne Film Company “Narrow Bridge Films”, are you proud of the progress? Please explain the changes over the past decade.
Yes, very. When we first started out, we only set out to do one movie: Blaming George Romero. I thought we were done after that, but when we decided to do another film, I knew that it would have to be better – anything we did would have to be better than what came before. And I think we have kept to that. We learn something new with each film, so we are able to apply it to the next thing.
Our writing is tighter. Our equipment continues to improve. Our actors get better with every project. Our crew has grown in both number and talent as well.
Life and time also had a way of shaping our group of filmmakers. We have evolved into something that I am truly in awe of. We have lost some actors and crew along the way, but we have also gained so many new, incredible people… And what we have now is such a tight, talented group.
Honestly, I couldn’t do anything without this amazing group. They are some of the best people I know, and I am blessed to be able to work with them.
Where do you see NBF the company in 5 years? Where would you like to be career wise and personally in 5 years?
Five years seems like the future, but it will be here before you know it… As long as we continue to make movies, I know that NBF continue to grow and make even better products in the future. We know what we have to do, and all we need are the resources. So, I think/hope in five years we are at a point where we have them. I would like our newer projects to find even better homes than Amazon Prime.
I want to be able to PAY everyone on set – something we haven’t been able to do yet. I want to begin to involve name actors – because we have been told that we need to in order to get proper distribution.
It may be further out than five years, but I would like to be at a point where we are more like an actual studio and I can just green-light a production without having to be involved in every aspect of it. I would love to throw money at Sami Saad or Megan Bussiere and say, “Go. Make a movie.”
Personally, I would like to not have a “day job” in five years. To be able to support myself financially just with my writing and acting. That’s the goal.
NBF has a a lot of brilliant women on the roster. Are you proud of the equality in this company? Would you like to see more diversity?
I may be bias, but I think NBF has worked with some of the most amazing women in the industry. I am extremely proud, but obviously we can do better, and I think we have been moving in that direction. We have always had some incredibly talented women on set, but in the beginning I think the female roles weren’t as primary as the male roles. BGR had three women roles – One was a lead, one was a nagging boss, and one was the crush that my character had. They definitely weren’t as three dimensional as they could have been.
Starting with Cabin of Errors, I think we started pushing to make things more equal – both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. One of our most recent shorts, Girl in the Basement, actually only has one male role.
We want the female roles to be every bit as important and juicy as the male roles. We also want to showcase more female writers & directors on future projects. One of the horror shorts we hope to include in our horror anthology was written by writer/actress Jenna Kildosher, which will be the first screenplay completely written by a woman that we will produce (she previously co-wrote Last Rehearsal of the Dangerous Kitten with Dan Gregory).
I am also insanely proud of our Production Designer – Maglinda Perez. She has gotten so freaking good at her job. I know that she has a future as a Production Designer if she wants to pursue it. It is an honor to have NBF be the place she started.
I would also love to produce something that writer/actress Megan Bussiere or BRAZEN GIANT Brooke Hoover writes. And I would love to have someone as talented as Romina Schwedler or BRAZEN GIANTS Jessica Green, and Colleen Davie Janes direct for us – to name a few.
In fact, speaking of the BRAZEN GIANT ENSEMBLE (founded by Bill Sorvino & Christian Kieber), I have met so many talented female artists… writers, directors, and actresses… that I would absolutely LOVE to work with.
You write some material with a big budget in mind. Would you prefer to sell the screenplays or wait till you get an investor to make the films yourself?
Right now, I am all about whichever comes first to be honest. I am actively trying to get a literary agent to help sell my screenplays.
There are some screenplays, I literally can’t make. I wrote two or three drafts of a screenplay based on Disney’s The Haunted Mansion. I love the script, but I can’t personally make it. I WANT Disney to take it off my hands. I think it could be awesome. So, if you are reading this and have some connections, talk to me!
There are other screenplays, like Off Script, that I am particularly proud of that I would love to make on my own, but it would require a huge investment. If someone came up and told me that they wanted to buy the screenplay from me, I wouldn’t really be in a position to refuse. At the end of the day, I just want my work to get made.
What’s the most difficult part of perusing such an ambitious career?
There is a lot of doubt and anxiety that occur, especially when you are prone to anxiety – I am. I could probably write a book on Anxiety & filmmaking. The lack of stability and never truly knowing if you will be able to “make it” can be tough. I could have pursued a career that would pay more and offer more stability, and who knows where I’d be? I have friends buying houses and shit, and my money is going into making movies that aren’t seen by as many people as I’d like.
There are highs and lows. The highs are incredibly high, but unfortunately, the lows are incredibly low. But at the end of the day, the love & passion I have for what I do helps me overcome a lot of that.
What’s your favorite NBF film to date ?
Like I said, each one gets better than the last. So, Yellow Scare is currently my #1, but I fully expect it to get surpassed by what comes next.
You have traveled a lot for Film Festivals. What was your favorite place for visit so far?
Oof. Traveling to film festivals has been one of my favorite things to do in recent years. I have been to a lot of great places, especially for Yellow Scare. I had a blast being in Orlando this past October. Gen Con was a cool experience in August. Fort Worth was pretty great in July. But I think I would have to say Hawaii for the Honolulu Film Awards back in 2012. If it wasn’t for that, I don’t think I would ever have been to Hawaii yet, and it was such a beautiful place.
That said, the best FILM FESTIVAL for me happens fifteen minutes from my house every year – The Golden Door International Film Festival in Jersey City, NJ remains my favorite festival so far. No other festival has been as warm and supportive in my experience.