Seth Roberts and Film Connection grad Sam Freed
Film Connection graduate Sam Freed
(San Francisco, CA), who externed with mentor Danny Agnotti of Atomic Productions
, emailed us this bit of news: “I officially work for the Oakland Raiders doing video!”
Naturally, we just had to catch up with Sam to hear how he landed the dream-fulfilling job and find out more about how he’s building a thriving career he’s thrilled to be having.
What are your biggest takeaways from studying with Film Connection?
“The biggest takeaway from studying with Film Connection was the hands-on experience. In my opinion, there is no better way of learning something new other than physically being on-site and seeing the action done in person and trying for yourself… With my mentor, Danny Angotti of Atomic Productions, there with me along with everyone else [who was] part of the production team, I was able to learn a lot faster and grasp things quicker when they would invite me along for shoots and have me sit in the editing suites with the editors. I was able to learn what life was like on-set. How people interact with one another, how they communicate with each other, how they transition from one shot or scene to the next. These are things you cannot just read in a text book and fully understand…
Atomic taught me the ins-and-outs of being on-set for commercials and corporate shoots. We did shoots for Ford, Toyota, The 49ers, the Raiders, Mercedes-Benz, and numerous others. I felt like I was headed in the right direction with all of this experience of being in different settings and was getting a better understanding of how I wanted my film career to unfold.”
How did the Raiders video job come about? What led up to it?
“While being with Atomic Productions, occasionally we were hired by the Raiders’ in-house production team to help out. Most of the time it was just an additional camera, or sometimes we had to cover an event for them. Growing up, I have always been a football fan.
…When I first wanted to get into the film industry, I always wanted to do something with the NFL. It was my dream. Fast forward 4 years after finishing with the Film Connection, Atomic Productions would continue to hire me as freelance for projects from time to time. I noticed we continued to help out the Raiders quite often, so I sent one of the Senior Project Managers a message on LinkedIn offering help if they need it in the future. I got a call 5 minutes later asking if I wanted to join their in-house production team. During the call, I instantly got the chills and could not believe my dream was becoming a reality. I had finally made it into video production for an NFL team.”
Since graduating Film Connection, how have you created success for yourself?
Sam Freed in action. Raiders’ Marcell Ateman in foreground.
“Once the program was finished, I knew I was not done. I did have to continue my full time job at Costco to pay the bills, but I knew the film career was calling my name. I got out there and met people and looked for work. I would continue to ask Atomic if they ever needed any help or I would even look on Craigslist to look at job postings and even LinkedIn for job postings.
The Film Connection actually contacted me about a counselor who had a friend who needed a wedding videographer. I had never filmed a wedding before. What’s even funnier is I had never even been to a wedding before in my life! I had no idea how they worked or what went on. Anyway, I took the gig…
I showed people the video once I finished [it] and everyone loved it. I felt like I was on to something here with all the great feedback. So I noticed where I’m from (Sonoma County) that there was a Wedding Expo. I thought I would give it a shot and just put myself out there. I purchased a booth, set up the small amount of gear I had at the time with my computer monitor displaying my wedding videos (I think by this time, I had 2 or 3, so not much to show). I didn’t get anyone to book me that day so I felt a little disappointed. Months down the road, the bookings started flowing in. In my first year, I had 7 bookings…This was back in 2014. Fast forward to 2018 and I am now booking 15+ weddings, charging $3,000 and received the Couples Choice Award of 2018 from WeddingWire.com.”
What should other Film Connection students do to ensure they get the most out of the program while they’re in it?
“Enjoy every moment of it. Really take in what you’re learning, pay attention, and put what you learn to practice. Ask as many questions as possible and stay interested. Offer help whenever you can to your mentor and his team. Most importantly, take a chance. I was scared about enrolling in the Film Connection. I wanted to back out because I thought it would be a waste of money and I was just scared to take a leap. I am so glad I took that giant step into the program, to learn and begin my adventure in [a] film career, [and] to turn something I love to do from a hobby into a career. There will be times where you will fail or mess something up and embarrass yourself. A camera guy or producer will ask you to grab something and [you’ll] have no clue what it is. Don’t be afraid to ask what it is or what it looks like. Everyone starts somewhere and you can only go up from there.”
The work itself can be hard, super hard. How do you stay driven and self-motivated?
“The way I stay driven and self-motivated is to take a moment to think, sit back and think of what I have. I could be stuck at a lame job I hate or even still stocking at Costco. They say 17% of people in the world actually have a career they wanted to do growing up. I wanted to be a part of that 17%. I sit back and think, ‘Here I am getting paid to do what I love to do.’ Days at work don’t even feel like work because I love what I’m doing. I want to be there and I want to have that camera in my hands.
You only have one life on this planet and it should be what you want it to be. Get out there and do what you want to do. Strive for it and don’t quit till you get there. There were times where I wanted to give up because there wasn’t much work coming my way and I was afraid I was going to fail. Then things just started coming my way. Good things will happen. Sometimes opportunities will just come out of left field. I use my passion for video production to fuel the fire inside of me to continue to push myself and stay motivated to getting better and better every day.”
Learn more about the Film Connection to study Cinematography, Directing, Producing, Screenwriting, and more
* * * * *