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Social Spotlight WITH Samuel Guilmore

Photo from The Great Courses
Langston Hughes posed the question “What happens to a dream deferred?” and as a young adult who has recently become conscious of the demands of day to day life, I would answer him that they continue to reside inside of us, but slowly lose their essence as many don't know how to maintain them while surviving. I would say that many don't give up the thought of their dreams, but relinquish the desire to pursue them. 

I am proud to be alive right now where I see a lot of people going after their dreams. A lot of people are willing to do the non conventional in order to bring about their version of success. Millennials are making magic and it is a beautiful sight to witness and be apart of. The dreams inside of them are being nurtured and pursued, as they believe, as they know, they can do it, if they put their mind to it. 

A friend of mine, by the name of Samuel Gilmore, is one of these millennials. He’s a senior at Texas Tech University, who has a dream of being a screenwriter. A dream that started 12 years ago has him now on the quest to raise funds for his first short film titled, Hell of A Night. It is a dark comedy film centered around four friends who throw a party looking to have a good time but receive so much more. 

More can be read about film on his Kickstarter page that is tracking his progress for the $4,000 goal. After a few conversations, we decided to talk a bit about what led to this passion, his goals, and who he hopes to present him an Oscar in 10 years. 

When did screen writing become an interest for you?
When I was like 10

What films were you writing about then?
It was little sequels of movies I liked already, so like Star Wars, James Bond, Lord of the Rings. [I was] Kind of like building my own stems of how I liked pictures and how I thought things could go. 

Going back to you being 10 when you first started, is there something that you think specifically led to this? Like something that made you think “You know what, I think I can do this too?”
One year, during the recession, I didn't get to see any movies all summer because we really couldn't afford it like that. Pirates of the Caribbean movies were one of my favorite film franchises at the time. The sequel just came out and I wasn't able to see it till that Christmas when I got the DVD.  So I collected a bunch of toys from McDonald’s and everything. I had this video camera on VHS tape and I sat there and film my own little scenes of how i would imagine the movie to go. Strictly because I couldn't see the movie. 
That kind of just fueled my imagination. And not saying that- looking back in hindsight, not saying that that kind of planted the seeds for me to be a filmmaker, it was just something I liked to do. Filmmaking as a career came from me really loving to write. 

From 10 to 22, is 12 years going at this. Would you say this is a passion or do you think it’s your purpose?   
You know, for a minute, I actually quit screenwriting. [My parents] always pushed me to do something like science or something like that because they felt that was something I was kind of good at. It took me having a conversation with my mom and letting her know this is something I’m really passionate and really good at. I actually showed her a movie I wrote and I let her read it, I sat there for the entire time and she loved it. 
She told me about this dream I never learned about until we had that conversation. The dream was recurring right around the time she found out I was going to be a boy, and every night, she kept seeing this little curly headed boy, who she assumed was going to be me and she saw me standing in front of thousands of people that were applauding throughout the entire sequence of the dream. She had no idea what it meant for years, but now with it coming down to this being my passion, she linked that up together and now she’s kind of been on board with it. 
Back when we were in high school 6 years ago, Hollywood diversity wasn't as big as it is now, so that was really her thing. She was like ‘You’re a black kid trying to make movies and you want to win Oscars, Emmy’s, all of that. I’m not seeing it.’ Between Lena Waithe, Donald Glover, Barry Jenkins- that's Moonlight, Ryan Coogler, everyone is just doing big things together, she’s starting to see it more and she’s been kind of more accepting. 

A lot of them (black entertainers) have felt that this period were in is something of a ‘Black Renaissance’ in terms of the arts and everything. Would you agree with that? Does that inspire you? Is that something that motivates you? 
I would definitely say that this is a golden age of black art because I remember for the longest looking into the Oscars because I’ve always wanted to win one since I was a little kid. A black person has not won original screenplay, which is one of my favorite categories since I want to be a director. Another one of my favorite categories is best director. Up until Jordan Peele, a black person hadn’t been nominated since ’91 for Boyz n the Hood*. 
And before, that gave me a lot of anxiety to think I could be the first to win this, but the past year seeing Jordan Peele win that [screenplay] award meant so much to me. Like it was crazy to see one of my favorite comedians win an Oscar for a movie that came out early the previous year. You don't see things like that happen. Movies winning Oscars that come out in the first quarter of the year, that doesn’t really happen often. So to see that the cultural impact of the movie was so big that the name is still constantly out they’re even during award season with all the new movies out, when everyone is heavily campaigning, that really says a lot. 
*There have been 4 black director nominations since Boyz n the Hood

I’ve read the description for A Hell of A Night, how you decide this is what you want your first film to be about:
Honesty through conversation. I’ve always had a love for things that are a little off the wall. I love ATL, I love different dark comedies that bring our certain things that you would never see happening in like light. Its kind of like I’m in my own weird, parallel universe because these things are very acceptable and open. I did study philosophy for a minute, so it has a lot of philosophical points as well. 

So is this something you want to pursue fulltime afterschool? 
Oh, definitely. 

With your major being media strategies, can you dive a bit more into that and let me know what that is exactly? 
Its communications basically, but its emphasized on entrepreneurship and branding and branding yourself as an individual. This goes back to being what I want to do so I can brand myself and build my own network instead of me going out to Hollywood broke as hell chasing dreams, I can build some form of network and have a stable career as well.

Okay, so lets go 10 years into the future. You’re an amazing screenwriter. You’re writing your ideal film that's going to land you an Oscar. Give me the top three people to star in the film. 
Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Daniel Kaluyaya. And I need two more for Lupita Nyong’o and Naomi Harris.

10 years into the future, you’re an amazing screenwriter. You are getting that Oscar for that amazing cast. Who would you want to present you the Oscar? 
Martin Scorsese, my ultimate, number 1 influence and the reason why I got into filmmaking. He is crazy. He is a visionary and as old as he I, he ahs not lost a step. To get that validation from him would mean the world. It wouldn't define me, but to get that from someone I’ve looked up to since my first movie would be the best feeling ever. 

As a young, black, creative, I really want the best for Samuel! He is incredibly passionate about screenwriting, so I know with hard work; good things can come about from this. We wanted to provide his project with more attention, so if you want to read more about it or donate to his BIG goal, please visit his Kickstarter page here

xx

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