Petr Samoylov Talks About His Break into The Film Industry and His Upcoming Projects

Peter Samoylov

Writer and producer Petr Samoylov has a lot to smile about, not only for his incredible talents, but for how far he has come in the film industry as both a writer and producer. We recently sat down with him to talk about his film career. Here is what he had to share.

Please give us an introduction as to when you first got into the entertainment industry:

It was quite random. My girlfriend’s friend from high school was producing a thesis short film for an undergrad film student at VGIK — Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. They needed extras with facial hair to play young monks in an Uzbekistan pastry shop scene. And so, I was called upon.

The location was a typically busy underground cafe in the middle of Moscow, so we had to shoot in the night. That was my first ever experience of being on set — and I loved it. It wasn’t just the magic of capturing action on camera or the way that all the departments worked together. The people seemed different somehow. I still remember all those crew members from ten years ago.

I loved being a part of this group and I believe this was one of the first times I’ve considered becoming a filmmaker. The film is available on YouTube, so you can see me singing in a choir with the other «monks».

Do you feel like you have grown a lot more as an artist over the years, through your experiences?

Absolutely. Isn’t that the point? I feel like I’ve been able to stay really focused on becoming a better writer through education, work experience, collaboration and just writing on my own.

Obviously, moving to New York to study at NYU Tisch was a big part of it. It didn’t take me long to realize how good everyone else was in my class, so I used that as motivation to grow.

One of the things that helped me grow before that was doing all kinds of projects to pay my bills. Besides shorts and features, I’ve written everything from branded videos and 3D-Mapping projections to scripted events and ceremonies and interactive digital art installations. Not only do you have to adapt your writing to all those mediums, but you also deal with very different clients from every walk of life. That forces you to find ways to be creative and daring, while making sure that your ideas are clear and accessible.

What has been one of your favorite projects to work on so far?

I’ve had a blast working on «We Really Need to Talk» a few years ago. Not only was it a huge step up for me career-wise, but I loved the concept built around advocating for women’s voices in romantic relationships. I think that Yulia is a genius for coming up with a way to push this through in a fun and lighthearted manner.

«Best Fairy for Cinderella» will always have a special place in my heart as my first script that got produced. It might not be a perfect film, but it has a lot of heart, and I think people can feel that, judging by all the awards it received on festivals around the world.

What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?

Being part of «We Really Need to Talk», without doubt. It was my first time being involved in a huge project that came out on federal television in a primetime weekend slot. To see that finally come to fruition after three years of development was extremely satisfying.

Ironically, the show also marked my own TV debut, of sorts. In some of the episodes, you can see me sitting in the green room, working with Yulia and the others.

Who has been one of your favorite actors/filmmakers you have worked with so far and why?

I think that I really learned a lot from watching Raghav Puri work. He directed a short film called «Alien of Extraordinary Ability», where I worked as Covid Compliance Officer.

I think he used to be an actor before gravitating towards directing and it really shows. He’s got a lot of subtle ways to really make his actors feel appreciated without making it into a whole thing. I might try directing in the next few years, and working with actors intimidates me the most, so I’m always trying to find good examples of that.

What other projects do you have coming up?

I’m co-writing a short film with a friend of mine, Dmitri Kovalev, who’s going to direct it. The story is going to tackle the extreme lengths people go to so that they can be just a little bit prettier. I think we came up with a fun supernatural angle that’s going to help us bring that out in the story.

I’m also producing a narrative fiction podcast series called «Roxx Populi». It’s practically an in-house Tisch project: Taylor Geu, my classmate, is the creator, show runner and the lead, and everyone else involved is related to Tisch one way or the other, from our incredible writers to the sound designer and every actor.

The podcast itself tells the story of Roxx Populi — a trans supervillain who’s being token promoted to a rank-and-file superhero by the shadowy organization that employs both teams to do staged fights and thus profits off superhero culture. Roxxi sees right through the token promotion and accidentally kills the head superhero on live TV after her prank goes wrong. This project is truly crazy, and it’s been a lot of fun to work on.

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?

Writing is a form of art, for sure, but now it’s also work. You’re the one who chose to do it professionally and make it your life. Write regularly. Don’t forget that everything you write, you’ll end up rewriting. This takes the pressure off. Ultimately, the more consistent you are with writing and rewriting, the better you’ll get.

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Entertainment News, Features & Interviews by Amber Claire.