Sam E. Chalsen, Writing
THC: What is the defining moment of your arts career at Harvard?
SEC: Last week we were shooting for “Ivory Tower” in a bathroom in Loker Commons. About 10 minutes after we started shooting, the Loker Bathroom Police kicked us out, resulting in a mad scramble to finish shooting while my other producer distracted them. This was a defining moment for me because it combined both my talent for producing film shoots in a radically shorter period of time than necessary and my love of writing scenes that take place in bathrooms.
THC: Who are your greatest influences, at Harvard and in the larger artistic world?
SEC: I learned how to write screenplays from reading Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing scripts over and over again, [which explains] why everything I wrote in high school involved characters talking really fast while walking around in hallways. At Harvard, Tony Hernandez ’10 gave me the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given for film or life: “It’s hard enough to get everyone together on set at the same time, so if it starts to rain, take out a pen and write ‘RAIN’ in the script.”
THC: In 30 years where do you see your skill with your medium having taken you?
SEC: I assume that I will be a multiple-Emmy-winning showrunner for a hugely popular premium cable drama and that I’ll have a 32,000 square foot bungalow in Santa Monica and a hot wife who works part-time at a locally-owned frozen yogurt shop. If that doesn’t happen, probably consulting.
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