Labels Are For Jars' "Guy"

Sammy Albis

How did you get into directing?
I’ve been directing my whole life… in my head. I’ve loved stories since I was a kid because my grandfather was a writer. At six or seven, my uncle took my cousins and I to see a re-run of Ben-Hur and the chase scene sparked my love for visual storytelling. In my teens, I thought I wanted to be an actor, but quickly realized I wasn’t any good. After college, I fell into advertising by chance. Being on set to shoot my commercials felt so natural, I always knew directing would be my next step. Although it took a huge leap of faith, I finally quit my job as a creative director and went back to school. Two years ago I shot my first spec, which started my career.

What is your most recent project?
I’ve been busy this year with web projects and commercials. Right now we are prepping a couple of new commercials with really interesting ideas. What I’m most excited about is a short film I have in pre-production. I teamed up with my wife, who is a screenwriter. She wrote the project that I’ll be directing in the fall.

What is the best part of being a director?
The opportunity to work with incredibly talented people from different areas: designers, writers, photographers, and especially actors. It keeps it interesting and new every time. I love the collaborative process.

Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons)
and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates most with you?

The person who has probably most influenced me is Judith Weston. I studied with her in LA, and she is an extraordinary teacher on how to direct actors. But what I learned with her goes beyond how to achieve the best performance from an actor. Through her techniques, I was able to hone my skills to follow my instincts, which allows me to approach every project in a fresh way. Basically, working with her gave me the confidence to believe in my vision and my voice.