Sam Verlinden of Auckland New Zealand has been a featured regular on Rivenmaster’s Place almost since its conception. In fact, Sam was featured for the entire month of October in 2009. Since that time Sam’s popularity on YouTube and at home in New Zealand has grown exponentially and now his acting prowess has captured the eye of both media professionals and a film graduate.
Sam is an amazing young man with exceptional musical skills. His vocals caught my attention long before his voice showed any signs of deepening. Sam’s greatest musical influence at an early age was Michael Jackson and he quickly learned and performed exceptional covers of Michael’s earlier songs like “I’ll be There”, and “Ben”. The whole time, Sam was simultaneously developing his stage acting abilities appearing in musicals at some of the larger venues in Auckland along with performing at a variety of singing engagements and shows in the city.
Most recently, Sam and his newly formulate band “Red Letter” entered the Battle of the Bands Competition where they performed to screaming young fans. I was very impressed by this young bands performance. Not only were the guitar solos dead on, but each of them played like professionals bringing everyone in the auditorium to their feet! While the band did not move into the final’s this year Sam still captured “Best Vocalist” and was invited back to sing with another band at the Bruce Mason Theatre where he received a standing ovation for his performance of “Stairway to Heaven”. Sam’s immediate passion is to keep working with the band, polishing their act and abilities in order to obtain more gigs during these coming summer months in New Zealand.
Not only is Sam continuing to please on stage, but recently appeared as a guest on local Television Station TV6 for a program called “inbeTWEEN”. The weekly series focuses on young people who are working to find a career that suits them. Sam did a weekly segment trying different occupations and then reported on them for the Television Show. Of course none of the occupations suited Sam as he was not sent to the All Blacks Stadium for tryouts, or to a recording studio with a famous Kiwi Band. “Sorry Sam”! Be sure to watch the embedded update video below for Sam’s Television debut on this program.
Sam’s most recent adventure in acting was working on a short film called “Closed Doors “, where he played the role of a young cancer patient. The Director, Amanda La Trobe, is a film graduate who was awarded the opportunity to make her own film along with six other graduates this year. She found Sam on a website and relentlessly hunted him down until finally contacting him! While Sam was a bit reluctant at first to do a major part in an actual film, he finally agreed to her persisting and accepted the role. His Mum told me;
“Once Sam got going, he was like a duck to water enjoying the entire process.”
When I first saw Sam’s picture with his film makeup on I was taken back but then realized it was for the film. Sam really enjoyed doing this film and looks forward to future opportunities should they arise.
I asked Amanda to answer a few question regarding her project and her working with Sam. Here is an excerpt of that interview:
- Rivenmaster: What made you decide to get into film school and what interests you most?
- Amanda: Prior to doing my Bachelor of Communications with a major in Video and Studio production I completed the”On screen acting course “at South seas film and Television school. Following this I worked for a few years then decided to study something that would compliment my acting skills and give me an opportunity to work in a field I loved. What interests me about making a film? I guess it’s the notion that if executed well, you have the opportunity to entertain and affect others.
- Rivenmaster: What was the most important message you wanted to send in this film?
- Amanda: I think this film has many messages, such as forgiveness, friendship, and love which are all equally important with each speaking differently to the viewer.
- Rivenmaster: Who wrote the script or screenplay for this?
- Amanda: I wrote the screenplay, directed and edited Closed Doors.
- Rivenmaster: How did you go about choosing your cast?
- Amanda: I choose my cast by holding auditions using a key scene from the film that was relevant to the characters then cast by who took direction well and had a good understanding of the character. I also had to think about the overall look of the cast such as how the family would fit together.
- Rivenmaster: How did Sam do in his audition and what was your first impression of Sam?
- Amanda: I actually approached Sam after seeing his profile on Starnow. His mother directed me to some clips of Sam acting in a play which I followed up by meeting with him and talking to him about the character. Sam didn’t actually have to audition for this role as after talking to him and seeing he could act from the videos I just knew he was right for the role.
- Rivenmaster: How did Sam work on set, and would you work with him again?
- Amanda: This was Sam’s first experience of acting for film/TV I feel that he did a really good job. At times Sam forgot his lines but always managed to pull through and recover well. I would work with Sam again as he took direction well and was always pleasant to work with on set despite some of the long shoot days and poor weather conditions.
- Rivenmaster: How long did it take to shoot and edit this short film?
- Amanda: Filming took about 40hours over 5 days. Editing was about 250 hours.
- Rivenmaster: Where are you hoping to bring this film so it can be viewed?
- Amanda: I would like to enter the film into film festivals given the opportunity. Also it will most likely screen on triangle and status. The film had a private screening at the universities theatre where each actors/crew received a copy.
Sam continues to stay busy and now that summer is around the corner in New Zealand I’m sure that things will really take off for the Band with performances on a weekly basis.
Coming up in January Sam and Hannah will be performing at the
Sam performed last year in this event and was a real crowd pleaser! The audience never tired and begged for an encore.
Here is the latest video published to Sam’s YouTube site of his bands performance at the award ceremony held at the school tonight December 6th, 2010.
CONGRATULATIONS RED LETTER!
“Sam it goes without saying that you will become a huge success in anything you set your mind to do. Keep singing and acting and performing and following your dreams. You are an inspiration to all of us and we are always looking to see what your next big event will be.“.” ………………………………………………. Rivenmaster
Here is just a few of Sams Songs for you to enjoy! Be sure to leave him a comment below this article!
[ti_audio name=”Sam Verlinden”]