Actor Sampley Barinaga Has Been In Love With Storytelling Since He Was Little

Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?

Hey! It’s weird not to say my name in an introduction so I’m going to type it out again… My name is Sampley Barinaga, and I was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. I’ve been in love with storying telling my entire life, whether it be writing, behind, or in front of the camera.

I started seriously taking acting classes my junior year of high school, studying the great works of Chekov, Williams, Odets, O’Neil, and many more. My first big booking was 12 Mighty Orphans, a film that was released this year. I’m super proud of that film, not only because I spent two months working with Martin Freaking Sheen and Luke Wilson, but also because I learned so much about acting on a project that lasted more than a week’s worth (compared to my other previous projects).

I’m also in love with filmmaking, I have an unhealthy obsession with collecting Criterion movies, and have also written and directed several short films.

What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?

What makes me different is my complete awareness of what I’m capable of and what I’m not.

Singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument? I can’t, terrible voice, I’m whiter than snow on the dance floor and my brain cannot fathom how to play even the simplest instrument.

Strong character work, athletic need, or creative ideas? That’s me.

Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.

I have five younger brothers and two older sisters. People often described us as a “football” or “soccer” team. I always thought of us as a film set crew. We all had our positions, and I was taking up three of them: writer, director, and actor. I didn’t care if I had one line or the lead role, but I wanted it to come from my brain, and thankfully my siblings didn’t seem to mind.

Of course, every actor grew up doing skits with their family or neighborhood friends, but it broke my heart when everyone else grew out of it. I pretended to too for a while, but I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

Often I’m jealous that people have passions to be an engineer, a nurse, or a plumber. Those paths seem so easy compared to being an actor. The defining moment was when I did my last acting showcase as a senior in high school. My then-girlfriend, now wife, was there for the first time and watched us perform.

I was frustrated no agents showed up like I was promised by my teacher, and thought it might be time to think of another career path. In the car, I asked my now wife what she thought. She said she was sorry… Sorry because she forgot to record my scene because she was so captivated she didn’t want to look away.

Since that moment I knew acting was my God-given talent and purpose.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?

The biggest challenge I’ve been through was the start of 2019. Even the start of covid does not compare to how personally painful that year was. I was working a job I hated, was in community college, and my once glowing skin were covered in blistering red pimples.

Thankfully I had my wife for encouragement, but I wasn’t getting any work. I pushed through my days at work, praying that this would be a break-out year. I needed people around me to believe that I wasn’t some fraud. Especially my now wife’s family.

Later that year I booked three movies and a recurring role on a Bryan Cranston-led showtime drama. My entire family and wife are owed the thank you.

Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?

OOF! That is a toughie. Right off the top of my head, I would list Richard Linklater, one of my favorite directors. I love Nolan, Fincher, Malick, but he is the one director I could actually see myself working with.

My second pick would be Bill Burr, an amazing comedian and someone I’ve written a role for in my first feature film. My third pick would be Gretta Gerwig. Like Linklater, I can actually see myself in her films, and I think she is going to continue to skyrocket as a director.

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Vianka Petines
Vianka Petines
Vianka is a bright, savvy, and capable marketing publicist. She brings a breath of fresh air with a very sound approach to strategy and campaign development. We're excited to have her on the team :)


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