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In Conversation With Actor, Author, and Writer Sam Ingraffia
From:
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Wednesday, October 26, 2022

 

Bookpleasures.com welcomesas our guest Actor, Author, and writer, Sam Ingraffia.

Sam hasperformed in over one-hundred film and television productions. He hasworked some of the most acclaimed directors as John Schlesinger, RonHoward, Mike Newell, Oliver Stone, Delbert Mann and RobertZemeckis.

Some of his recent roles include Death andCremation, with Brad Dourif and Jeremy Sumpter, BlueTelescope, with R.D. Call and U.Z.L.A., with Shawn Christian.Numerous television appearances include a just-completed Guest Starlead on the Emmy-winning HBO hit Barry.

Sam studiedwith Lee Strasberg, Jeff Corey, Milton Katselas, Charles Conrad andEstelle Harmon.

His writing credits include episodictelevision, network pilots, an HBO special and feature films. Hisaward-winning plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles andin numerous regional theaters across the country and have beenpublished by Samuel French.

Sam founded his own productioncompany, Little Dog Productions, with partner Doug Burch in 2008.

Hehas written and produced numerous feature films, including AtlantisDown, starring Michael Rooker and Wages of Sin with Emmy-winning DPMichael Franks.

Sam received his Bachelor of Arts Degree fromthe University of California, Los Angeles.

Soon to be releasedis WHAT WOULD JOHNNY DENT DO? A New Charlie McGinley Mystery

Norm: Good day Sam andthanks for taking part in our interview.

Sam: My pleasure.

Whatdo you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far inyour various careers?


Sam: There’s career successand personal success. Working with several Academy Award-winningdirectors was amazing. John Schlesinger was brilliant. As was OliverStone.

Working with them was liketaking a Master class in acting. Working with Sean Penn was great funand it certainly kept me on my toes as an actor.

As far as personalsuccess, I still recall the first time I heard a theater audiencelaugh at something I’d written. It was a tiny theater, and I wasmaking very little money as a writer, but it still qualifies as oneof the best days of my life and my career.   

Norm: What has beenyour greatest challenge (professionally) that you’ve overcome ingetting to where you’re at today? 

Sam: You face alot of rejection when you’re an actor or a writer. The hardestthing is not to take it personally.

I always tell young peopleI work with, you can only control so many things in your career. You can show up on time. You can be prepared. You can be a teamplayer. 

Commit to the work –whether it’s an audition, an acting job, a script, or a book.Focus.  Do the best you can, then let it go and move on. Neversecond guess yourself.

Norm: How did you get involved inacting and what was your most challenging role?

Sam: I kind of backed intoacting. I was getting a master’s degree in business. A friend wasdirecting a play in Los Angeles (where I live.)

He was having a difficulttime casting a small part. He asked if I would cover it until hecould find an actor.

I was on break fromschool, and thought it might be fun, so I said yes. I showed up atthe first rehearsal and loved the process. I quit school that weekand have never looked back. 

I’ve been fortunate tohave a long, successful career as a TV/film actor.  But for methe most challenging roles have been on stage. 

With film and television,you get multiple takes, and an editor can save your performance.

On stage you have noplace to hide. I’ve had numerous roles where I had to break down intears at the same place in the play every night. That calls for realdiscipline and commitment.  It’s also terrifying.

Norm: How has the filmbusiness changed since you started as an actor?

Sam: WhenI started in the business everything was shot on film. I can’tremember the last project I worked on that was shot on film.

Everything is now shot onvideo.  Also, when I started, if you wanted to be involved infilm or television in any capacity, you had to live in L.A., or NewYork.

That has totally changed.Zoom calls and cell phones have revolutionized the industry. Peopleanywhere in the country can now audition, or pitch projects. There’s as much film and TV production in Georgia as there is inL.A.

Norm: What is the most extreme change to yourpersonality, hair, body weight, etc etc, that you have done to land arole? 

Sam: I played a death-row convict in a featurefilm a few years ago We shot at a real prison. Getting in touch withthe anger, sadness, and angst the character was feeling was tough tomaintain every day. 

It was difficult to letit go after the shoot was finished. 

My wife always laughsbecause I’ve had so many weird haircuts for roles over the years. Biggest physical change: I once lost almost twenty pounds to play adying Vietnam vet.   

Norm: In youropinion, what is the most difficult part of the writingprocess? 

Sam: For me, it’s knowing when you’refinished. I love the writing process and I’m also a bit of aperfectionist, so I have a tendency to keep rewriting.

When you get a paying gigas a writer, there’s generally a timeline for when you have to befinished.

When you write on spec,you determine when you’re done. I’ve learned over the years tocreate my own timeline, even if it's artificial. It gives me a goalto shoot for. 

Norm: How did you become involved withthe subject or theme of WHAT WOULD JOHNNY DENT DO?

Sam: I wanted to poke funat a writer who takes himself too seriously. Charlie, the centralcharacter in the book, wants to be considered a great novelist.

He’s not happy writingdetective novels, even though he’s been successful financially. 

Every writer wants to betaken seriously. I’m no exception. Again, what I’ve learned overthe years is that there’s nothing wrong with entertaining people.

You can sneak in the“serious messages” while folks are laughing. 

Norm:What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do youfeel you achieved them?

Sam: I wanted to write a comedicmystery that kept people guessing and also made them laugh. So far,the response has been really positive.

I also wanted to deal withsome serious themes like adoption, career pressure, life on theNavajo reservation, and how children change a relationship.

Again, my goal was tofirst entertain, and then sprinkle in my take on real issues.

Norm: Could youtell our readers a little about the novel?

Sam: Charlie McGinleywrites detective novels. His latest book is being filmed as a movieon location in New Mexico. Everything is going great until ScottLassiter, the star of the film, is kidnapped.

Vanessa Tanner, the femalelead in the movie, is married to Scott. She quickly becomes theprimary suspect in the kidnapping. 

Charlie, who was onceengaged to Vanessa, reluctantly agrees to help her.

Then, people start dying.

Norm:  Whatwas the most difficult part of writing this book?

Sam:This is the second book in the Charlie McGinley Mystery Series. Thefirst book, THE RIGHT STIFF, introduced all the maincharacters and set up why Charlie and his new wife Mickey ended up inNew Mexico.

It was a chore trying tofigure out how much backstory to put in the new book. It had to be astand-alone entity, but without some setup, the story wouldn’t makeany sense.

Norm: Did your other careers as an actor,playwright, and film writer have any influence on your writing ofWHAT WOULD JOHNNY DENT DO?

Sam: Fromwriting for television, I learned discipline. You have to writequickly, and you have to write every day.  Because I’m anactor, I play all the parts in the book.

I often improvise scenes,playing the various characters. From acting and writing I learned tokeep asking myself, “What does the central character want, and whois stopping him from getting it?”   

Norm: Where can ourreaders find out more about you and WHAT WOULD JOHNNY DENTDO?

Sam: The book will be up on Amazon,Tuesday, November 1st. (eBook and paperback)

They can also go to myWEBSITE SAM INGRAFFIA

AND

SAM INGRAFFIA ACTOR, WRITER, PRODUCER

to learn more about me and WHAT WOULD JOHNNY DENT DO? andthe RIGHT STIFF.

Norm: What is nextfor Sam Ingraffia?

Sam: I’m about to startwork on a new film as an actor. I have three feature screenplays indevelopment. And I just finished the outline for the next CharlieMcGinley Mystery.

Norm: As this interview comes to an end,if someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would playyou and why?

Sam: I’d love to have Bill Hader from theHBO show BARRY play me. He could handle the comedy, work the dramaticbits, and write the script.

Norm: Thanks onceagain and good luck with all of your endeavors

Sam: Thank you.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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