WAXAHACHIE — Driven, hardworking and talented, to say the least, 2013 Waxahachie High School alumnus and 22-year-old Waxahachie resident, Sam Chance, is coming to a big screen sooner rather than later.
Chance just recently completed filming his first supporting role in a full-length movie, "Overexposed."
Originally an Austin native, Chance moved to Waxahachie in 2011 with his family where he now works as a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym and is represented by the Linda McAlister Talent Agency.
Though he only began working to pursue his dream of acting in 2014, his love for the profession began as a child without even realizing it.
“When I was in elementary school, my dad had an old camcorder, and I would always want to go around and make movies. I didn’t care if I was behind the camera or in front of it, I just wanted to make movies,” Chance explained. “Both of my grandfathers are retired Marines and my brother and I would wear their fatigues, go to the forest at the end of the block with our airsoft guns and make movies. I would want to make the movies, and my brother, friends and kids in our neighborhood would hate it.”
Because editing software for home videos was not as accessible, he recalled creating a pan shot with the camcorder by setting it up on a tripod which he then placed on a roller skate and rolled along a fence post.
“I didn’t have editing software, and I was just a kid, so I didn’t know how anyway. I also used to hold my boom box behind the camera so I could have music on the film,” Chance said.
Once entering middle school, he found himself interested in theater, but unfortunately did not make the program. Instead, he played football until attending Anderson High School.
“I didn’t play sports anymore, but I was on the drum line. I was in theater, but I did theater tech because I didn’t think I was good enough to be on the stage,” Chance stated. "I moved to Waxahachie and transferred to WHS my junior year, joined the theater program and ran sound for a majority of the productions.”
From WHS to Navarro College, Chance decided he would pursue a degree in marketing. It was not until a year later that he would genuinely become interested in acting.
“I went to Navarro and wanted to go for business, specifically marketing. I still wasn’t even thinking about acting then. I completely forgot about the fact that I used to do it when I was little with my dad’s camcorder,” Chance shared.
Befriending a young woman who is also pursuing a career in acting, his interest for the field grew exponentially as he began questioning her about the profession.
“She told me she had an agent and at the time I thought that was awesome. She told me that she trained through a certain woman who taught acting classes and invited me to come visit one day,” Chance explained. “I visited and immediately started training with her. Then, I started going to a lot of workshops with multiple casting directors which lead me to submitting to agencies.”
Recognizing the importance of having an agent, he began his submissions to multiple agencies near the Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin areas.
“The only one I didn’t submit to was Linda McAlister because it was an online process and all the others at the time were through the mail. I was on a time crunch and I just thought it would be fine if I didn’t submit there because it was the only one,” Chance said.
By surprise, McAlister, who is based out of Waxahachie, sat in on an acting workshop he was attending where she would then sign him.
As told by her website, “Linda McAlister Talent, LLC, founded in 1994, is a bonded, full-service talent agency franchised by SAG/AFTRA and licensed in the state of California. In Los Angeles, we represent professional talent for work in film and television. In Texas, we represent professional talent for film and television, commercial, industrial, commercial print, voiceover and special appearances.”
He noted that she is a “phenomenal” person to work with and to know.
“I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else. She’s helped me grow and holds me accountable to my professional side and as well as acting. She helps me sell my product, which that’s what I originally wanted to do in college was sell a product,” Chance said.
He also explained that in addition to obtaining an agent, it is important for beginning actors and actresses to build relationships with local casting directors. The more frequently one speaks with you or sees you, the more likely they are to call you in for a role.
“They have to take a chance on you to consistently call you in for things. Slowly but surely, I finally started to get some calls for some commercials, T.V. shows and movies. My mindset about it has gone from overall excitedness [sic] to more a business-like mindset, where it’s still exciting,” Chance said.
In 2016, he booked his first role in a movie titled, "Hurricane Bianca," which is currently available on Netflix.
“It was my first role to book and it was very small. I have a speaking role in it and it was also my first time on a professional set. I learned a lot and the experience was awesome,” Chance stated. “Afterward, I kept going to auditions, and I auditioned for 'Overexposed' at the end of last year. It was an in-person audition, which I prefer because you can really show who you are and your personality.”
Not long after his audition, Chance received a call back to play the supporting role of Taylor Cowls. He also shared that the day he received the call was also the day that he coached alongside the rapper Flo Rida at Gold’s Gym.
“The guy I auditioned for, the casting director Chris Freihofer, is based out of Oklahoma but was in town for the auditions. I walked out of it knowing I did the best that I could do and I was 100 percent satisfied. Everyone gives their 100 percent, but it’s more about who the casting director ends up liking the most. I’m very humbled and honored that they chose me,” Chance said.
The film was written and directed by Conor Allyn who also wrote and directed films such as Ex-Patriot, Forsaken and Java Heat.
An article in The Oklahoman describes the film as “[...] a gritty, topical thriller dealing with important social issues. In small-town Oklahoma, a teenage girl, whose mother is the local sheriff, is caught up in a sexting scandal that leads to panic, outrage and murder.”
“The movie has such a good message. It’s a tragedy that happens in a small town and shows how much impact it makes. Our characters are high school students that face a lot of the issues that high school students now do,” Chance explained. “It shows how social relevance is so important and how someone's childhood is what shapes their perspective differently than anyone else. My character plays the high school jock who slips up a little bit, but I grew up differently than the rest of the students.”
He noted that meeting and connecting with the other actors and actresses on the set was his favorite part of the experience and that this opportunity is what really locked him in to pursue this profession. For Chance, acting has become more than just acting, but a way to understand others who are different from him and also a way to show others how another may think.
“One of the reasons I want to pursue an acting career is to take on roles that people can sympathize and empathize with and emotionally connect to. I want them to see my performance in that role as a character they can relate to and it has an impact on their thought process and helps them to accept themselves for who they are,” he stated.
Though the movie is in post-production and is being finalized, Chance said he hopes this is just the beginning of a long career. He also has a goal set to move to Los Angeles by the end of 2017 to continue chasing the newfound dream.