Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Liz Samuel Is Helping To Change Our World

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Don’t lose contact with those who you enjoy working with. I started working before we had social media. In fact, email was kinda new! And cell phones were new! So it was hard to stay in touch after a freelance project.

As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz Samuel.

Liz Samuel is an actress, producer and writer most known for her award-winning digital series, MOMTRESS. She also performs in Off-Broadway plays in the NY/NJ area. Liz co-hosts a “story salon” in Montclair, NJ where she lives with her husband, two teenagers and her golden retriever, Matisse.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

I was a TV producer in my 20’s and was taking acting classes “secretly” in the evening while working at VH1, MTV and various production companies during the day. I finally made the leap to acting as a career once I became a Mom!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

I was scouting a location for a scene in the pilot of Momtress and the director and I decided that rabbit would come out of a bush in this location. The following week, days before we filmed, I sent a prayer up to the universe that everything would go well with the shoot and suddenly a rabbit came out of that location we scouted just as I made that hope/wish/prayer! It felt like a sign that everything was going to work out. And it did!

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I worked with Adam Sandler, Steve Buschemi, Chris Rock and Rachel Dratch on the Netflix film, THE WEEK OF. And it was so wonderful! Steve Buschemi is the most humble man! He came up to me and introduced himself as STEVE! I was like, “I know who you are, Sir!” LOL

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

The women who fight for the rights of women like Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Also women who break barriers especially in acting/filmmaking. I love that Phoebe Walter Bridge as a writer created an incredible series and placed herself in the lead role even though she isn’t conventionally attractive. I also love that she then wrote the script for a usually male-dominated franchise, James Bond.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

Well, I co-wrote and co-produced a short mockumentary film about ridiculous laws in the United States. It went on to win awards at festivals and now it’s up on youtube: Real Laws in Real Places. It’s meant to shed light on archaic laws that are still on the books in some states and to get out there and vote to make change. I also co-host a “story salon” where we bring in performers to tell a story or sing a song they’ve written and proceeds go to a different non profit organization each time.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

For me it’s about telling stories, telling the truth, speaking about things that might seem awkward or embarrassing. I think everyone has an interesting story and we need to listen. I think the “aha moment” was when I was reading the book BIG MAGIC and learned that ideas exist in the universe and if you think of something but don’t act on it, it will jump off of you and onto someone else! So get working on that idea now!

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I think I’ve inspired other artists and performers to create their own work.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

You can vote in upcoming elections, especially the midterms! Just go and Vote! It takes just a few minutes and it can change the world! Also, donate what you can to causes that matter to you. Right now, I think it’s really important to donate to Planned Parenthood. They are doing everything they can to support women especially those who will be directly impacted by the new Supreme Court vote to overturn Wade. It’s very upsetting that this will happen, but Planned Parenthood will get money and resources to get those women out to places where they can get help legally.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. I wish people told me to really follow your passion. I started out in news and found it didn’t fit me but I felt obligated because I studied journalism in college. It took me about 6 years post college to figure out that it’s okay to follow your dreams.
  2. Don’t lose contact with those who you enjoy working with. I started working before we had social media. In fact, email was kinda new! And cell phones were new! So it was hard to stay in touch after a freelance project.
  3. Don’t worry about what people think of you. Just do your best, be kind and work hard.
  4. Keep a good balance of work/play.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS! If you don’t understand something, ASK!

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Look around and see what you want to fix in the world and donate to that cause or research that cause and volunteer!

We are very blessed that many other Social Impact Heroes read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I’m a huge fan of the Duplass Brothers. I love their storytelling but I also love how collaborative they are with women and I’d love to work on a project with them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.”

How can our readers follow you online?

I’m on Instagram at: lizgsamuel

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!


Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Liz Samuel Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.