Sam’s Story was one of the more personal films we have made and it came about because Seattle Humane had a busy year and looked to us to give them a little extra support for their gala video. Usually, they’d have a direction, find us our talent and the set up locations, but they did not have the capacity to get all that done last year. So, we offered to take it on, but we had a blank page.
One morning Micah, our Executive Producer, shared a one-page document with us: it was his emotional and honest thank you letter to his dog Samson, but was also a love letter to his past dogs. It reminded us of our dogs growing up; the happy moments, the challenges and that final goodbye. The story started at the end, then moved backwards through a beautiful life. It was powerful and it was just an outline. Almost everyone who read it cried.
We knew we had a strong story, so we wrote some visuals, cleaned up a few spots in the copy and sent it over to Seattle Humane. It was just an outline with some of the tentative voiceover. The staff there had the same reaction we did: tears. We knew that we had a story that would hit all the emotions; love, pain, joy, humor and it was personal.
The film wasn’t easy to execute, but we knew that the story would carrying us and we had the right cast and crew in place. We shot for 2 long days + a ½ day in the snow. The performances by Samson and all the humans were emotive and authentic, it felt like we were witnessing real-life. We captured special surprises that we couldn’t have planned for. It was a really rewarding experience.
At the Gala, the film was a hit. It helped raise 1.5 million dollars for Seattle Humane that night. It has been accepted into NY Dog Film Festival. It even helped get us a job with San Diego Humane Society. When we look at the film a year later, it still hits us hard because it reminds us of the dogs we love and the dogs we said goodbye too. And it is a great reminder that our best work is personal.
Watch the film below and give to your local Humane Society.