Q&A with Sam Morris – Director of ‘Hailey
Sam Morris is an actor, photographer, model, influencer, and most recently director. Some may know him by his successful Instagram page @justsammorris. Sam is a savant of both sides of the camera, having worked in the entertainment industry since he was a child. Sam also works at Mark Summers Casting as a Casting Assistant.
Hailey Coleman is a dancer represented by Mark Summers Management.
What made you want to create a video like this?
Firstly, I wanted to create a film that focused on a real woman. Someone with raw talent, with a real life, and relatable problems. I didn’t want to create something which evoked pity, but something that inspired people, especially other women.
How did it feel being behind the camera, and directing?
It was a new area for me, in regards to moving picture. I’ve worked as a photographer, but never with film, and being director, camera man, DOP and editor was a big task, but it was really fulfilling. I knew exactly what I wanted to film to look like, and so being in control of that was ideal.
How did you find Hailey Coleman?
Hailey is actually one of my closest friends, and I specifically chose her for this project to tell her story. So many dancers are overlooked, because they may not possess the confidence of others, but that doesn’t take anything away from their talent. Mental health plays a big role in how one feels trying to work as a professional dancer, and usually it’s something that has to take a backseat. I wanted to show in this film that you can actually use your talent to help your mental health.
What was the most difficult thing to do or overcome when making this film?
We had a quick turn around, and the time to learn choreography and shoot the film, was limited. This put a lot of pressure on both Hailey and I, and there were a few times that I was worried it wouldn’t even happen. Luckily we worked through them and finished the project.
What discussion do you hope happens after someone sees your film?
I want dancers to be able to relate to this film and feel less alone. Being a dancer is as mentally challenging as it is physically, and both areas have to be looked after. Just because you may suffer with anxiety, or depression, or any other forms of mental illness, doesn’t make you any less talented. Find the love for dance you had in the very beginning, and let it help you escape.
What are your next steps? Do you plan on making this into a series depicting the struggle, but also the beauty, when dancers deal with depression, anxiety, and similar issues and mental health disorders?
I do yes, I’m just working on some new films now, which will hopefully tell the stories of others.
What advice do you have for artists dealing with depression or similar issues?
The right friends are important; those who understand but also help you escape a little. Being a creative is one of the toughest things in the world, there’s no certainty and there are plenty of highs and lows. You must just remember to love your craft, and not get swamped by the business. So many people give up dance because they can’t cope with the auditions, the agents, the rejections, the people, the politics. I think the sooner one can separate their talent from the business, the sooner they can find freedom and happiness in their passion. If you can make money pursuing your passion, then great, but if you can’t, don’t let it stop you being passionate about the things you love.
Lastly, what have you learned by working on this project?
You can be powerful, strong, beautiful, and talented, and still have mental health issues, and instead of letting your mental health weaken your love for dance, we should be encouraging dancers to use their talent to help with their mental health. Mental health in the dance industry is a quiet subject, and it’s time it was spoken about.
For more work by Sam, follow him on social media.
Time – to – Talk
1 February 2018 is Time – to- Talk day. Time to talk is a day where talking about mental health isn’t taboo, and where people can be open to talk, to listen, and to possibly change a life. For more information on Time-to-Talk click on the link below.
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