Sam Robles is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is the founder of Revolta Films, and the creator of "Planet Republic", the hilarious comedy that recently won two awards at LAFA.
In the following interview, Sam shares some of his awesome experiences and creative visions with us.
Sam! When did you get into filmmaking, and why? Is this a passion that goes with you since childhood? Can you name some of the films that inspired you to go in that route?
I got into filmmaking when I was 7. I would recreate scenes from movies using my dad’s camera. I was inspired by films like Jurassic Park and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.
Did you attend a filmmaking program, or are you mainly self-taught?
I am a self taught filmmaker. I took a job as a waiter when I was in high school and poured all my earnings into my short films. I could see progress from one short film to the next so I kept doing it. That was my film school.
Your body of work is very impressive, Sam! With so many credits under your belt, you founded Revolta Films, which is a professional full-service production company that specializes in music video and innovative commercial production in Texas. You do everything from concept to execution, and equipped to produce projects at any scale. What led to the decision to start Revolta Films, and why did you choose the name Revolta come from? How many people do you manage on your team?
I started my 1st production company Sinister Kid Studios when I was 17. I focused on making low budget independent music videos for local musicians. I later decided to open a second production company Revolta Films focusing on short films and branded content.
Describe a day in your life. How does your busy schedule looks like? Running a company like Revolta Films seems demanding on so many aspects. You have to understand what your clients are looking for, and come up with the right creative vision for them. I bet you have a deadline coming up this week!
Running a production company is very demanding but It’s important for me to balance client works with my personal projects. As much as I enjoy creating content for clients I find myself more driven by my own personal works.
Last year, you were also doing some volunteer work in Marketing and Advertising Media for the American Heart Association. Why did you decide to donate your talent to this organization?
I enjoy being a part of any volunteer organization especially when I can utilize
my skills as a filmmaker doing so.
Tell us about Planet Republic. When was this idea initiated, what was the inspiration for it? Were you fascinated by conspiracy theories? ? Can you namefilms or TV shows that inspired you or influenced your creative process?
Planet Republic is an American science fiction fantasy comedy television series that I created, wrote, directed and executive produced. The show follows a failing tabloid magazine that reports on unsolved mysteries and conspiracies meanwhile avoiding a government agency and a competing online magazine.
The idea for Planet Republic was first initiated in 2006 when I was 13. I wrote Planet Republic as a short film then titled “The Press”. The inspiration came from my obsession with the classic mysteries in history such as ufo’s, the lochness monster and big foot as well as conspiracies like the Rosewell Crash site.
I came across my old script of “The Press” when I was in high school. After realizing the premise had some legs I rewrote it as a television series now titling it “Planet Republic”. I felt that I needed to wait till I had some real funds to make it so I put it away once again. I took a job working at an oil refinery in late 2014 and worked there for a little over a year in order to raise funds to produce the show.
Planet Republic has such a unique fun, energetic vibe, with some hilarious story lines. Where did you get all of these amazing props you're using? Did you make them yourself? Big shout out to your production designer, Luis Robles
who did a fantastic job too!
The production design was very important to the feel that I wanted the show to have. We found most of the props in garage sales and some of the more hard to find props online. The wardrobe and costume design as well as some of the props were made entirely by my brother Luis Robles of Red Door FX. (reddoorfx.com)
Obviously, our jury loved the story, and granted you an Honorable Mention: Original Story here at LAFA. What is YOUR favorite moment in Planet Republic? ( *Spoiler Alert* )
My favorite moment in this episode is when the team is backing up in the RV away from the government agent. I think you get a real sense of the characters bonds and relationship with one another as they scream for dear life. It’s fantastic.
What were some of the challenges you encountered on set, and how did you
The biggest challenge we encountered on set was filming outdoors in the summer Texas heat. We had to make sure we were all staying well hydrated throughout filming. We were all burnt to a crisp after those 2 days. I gotta give everyone credit for fighting through that heat.
It takes a lot of work and creativity to come up with such a brilliant comedy. Tell us a bit about your collaborators working on Planet Republic. Who are the main partners that made this happen? Do you usually collaborate with family
members like Ramiro and Luis Robles?
I worked closely with my brother and coproducer Ramiro Robles throughout production as well as with Luis on production and costume design. I find I can always count on family when working on independently produced projects.
Your incredible cast won Best Ensemble at LAFA! Congratulations again to Jon Stringer, Timothy Banfield, J.R. Zambrano, Arlo Neill, Joy Ying-Chun Lin, Jasmine Palacios, Joe Moore, David Joe Garza, Tommy Berretz, Kaleb Rimer, Michael David Yuhl, Chase Archer Evans & Luke Knapton. You did a wonderful job as the casting director. What was your casting process like?
I knew that I wanted to cast comedians for the roles so I began researching online for local standup comics in the Houston and Austin areas. I attended a comedy show in Houston and found Jon Stringer on stage. I waited till after the show to sit down with Jon. I explained the premise of Planet Republic and he was ecstatic about the idea. I casted Jon in the role of Alex that night and began quickly holding auditions for the rest of the cast.
Do you normally shoot and edit your commercial and personal projects, the way you did in Planet Republic?
I do most of my own shooting and editing for most projects as I like to use every experience as an exercise to better my skills as a filmmaker.
Tell us about your future projects. What's next for Sam Robles, what's next
for Planet Republic, and what's next for Revolta Films?
I plan to market and run Planet Republic at festivals for the next year as well as get representation to sell the show. Revolta Films is currently growing strong and building professional relationships in the beauty and fashion industry. I plan to continue to build my resume as a filmmaker and hope to add a few more short films under my belt before moving to Los Angeles.
And... I gotta ask! Is it true that busy filmmakers like yourself don't get any sleep?
I’m doing this interview at 2:00am so I would say no. I get about 5 hours of sleep a night. I probably should stop doing that.
Is there anything you wish to add?
We will be launching our Kickstarter campaign for Planet Republic on Tuesday October 24, 2017. We hope to raise enough funds for travel expenses to festivals. You can find all the details at planetrepublicshow.com
Here is a link to our Kickstarter page.
Thank you LAFA!