Actor, Writer & Producer
Samantha Wan is honoured to be receiving Reelworld’s Trailblazer award. Wan is known for being one of the creators and stars Second Jen. She also plays Zoe Chow on, Private Eyes. Wan also created Sudden Master, an online Kung Fu series, for which she was given the Woman With A Vision Award, and Best Female Action Performer of the Year. She is invigorated by work that explores diverse voices and innovative stories that have yet to be heard.
How do you stay motivated in this industry?
Purpose. This industry is what creates our cultural view point and I want to be a positive part of that conversation. I also try to maintain a sense of play/curiosity when working in order not to get bogged down in getting it “right”.
Advice to someone just starting out?
Have an idea of what success looks like to you. The more specific it is, the easier it is to see what is supporting that goal and what is wasting your energy.
Who impacted your career the most?
My Mom. She’s really fought for me to be my own person and that has really helped me make it through those tough times of self doubt.
How did you build the team around you?
Instead of the directors/producers, I befriended the camera assistants and third AD’s and everyone who was up an coming and hungry like me to make work. With my team now, I try to remember that everyone is human first. Art does not come before people.
Was it luck or strategy that helped you find success?
I believe the idea that “luck” happens when preparation meets opportunity. It was hard work and strategy that helped me find the right opportunities.
Did you ever give up hope that you’d not make it?
I’m not sure if I have made it? Success is so fleeting in this industry. I try to focus on incremental goals instead of the idea of “making it”. It gives less opportunity to my internal critic.
What was your worst experience in this business?
Working with people who serve their ego through dishonesty and mind games.
What was your best experience in this business?
The amount of people who have been open and supportive of my work. We don’t have to slaughter one another for success. I’m deeply grateful for the people I’ve collaborated with who believe the same thing.
Was Reelworld instrumental in your career in anyway? How?
Yes! We pitched our broadcaster (Rogers) Second Jen for the first time at the ReelWorld Film festival.
Is there a theme in the work you pick?
Representation is always important to me. One game I Iike to play is to come up with an initial idea, then challenge the casting of characters to see how that might change it. I often find more interesting stories that way.