Meet Sam

I’m an autodidactic information gatherer and polymathic information sharer. This is how I identify as a person, and how I live my life. I suppose you could, however, break me down into a few roles—all of which are organically interconnected due to the gradual adoption of the role as I evolved over time. Roles I currently identify with include:

DIT

I became a DIT because I knew it would be a career that would keep me engaged through non-stop learning. I have always lived at the intersection of “technology and the liberal arts,” as Steve Jobs would put it. I really wanted a career that would feed my brain continuously while giving me the freedom to live out my passions as I went along. All of the proceeding roles built upon DIT—but I probably would’ve ended up doing them anyway, because that’s just who I am.

Maker

Naturally, after working on film sets as a DIT for even just a year or two, I realized there was room for improvement. While massive product launches and major innovations are thrilling, I found an equal amount of necessity in making numerous incremental improvements to workflows and hardware I found myself using regularly on set. Examples include the iconic Stinger Stop Sign along with the magnetic SKB Studio Flyer Drawer.

As I learned more about manufacturing processes and other needs on set, I ventured into more advanced topics like networking and camera control bridges. I was tired of the Ruckus R710 and GL.iNet Slate combo for DIT use because neither one was designed to withstand the physical battering of set use, so I devised my own solutions.

Teacher

While I love doing the work I do, I also believe in passing on my skillsets to others. This desire to openly share my intel is what what ultimately led to the creation of makeyourown.lol. I am a staunch advocate for mentoring, peer support and community-building in any realm, but especially in the film industry, where collegiality is paramount since freelance can get insular if you’re not careful.

Consultant

Dovetailing the role of “teacher,” I’m also able to share my wisdom as a consultant. I’ve found that I have a confluence of skills that is extremely rare in the larger populace… the way my brain works, learns and adapts allows me to cultivate entire skillsets to proficiency in relatively short durations with a ferocious fervor of curiosity that few experience, even within a single domain.

Looking for help on your next project? I’m a freelancer… which means I also consult, on everything from pedagogical practices to pragmatic communication theory to technical knowhow. I even offer custom work, if you’d like to commission me to design a project for you. If you’d like to hire me to share insight about any skills I have, you can contact me.

The beauty of being a life-long learner is that… you just keep learning, and it helps me from pigeonholing myself or my curiosities as my years progress.

Memer

As Terence McKenna once said, “I’m a meme spreader.” He, of course, was unaware of the 21st century meaning behind memes, but that didn’t stop his prescient cyberdelinaut attitude.

In 2020, I took my humor skills to Instagram and began regularly posting memes under the account @spicysetmemes. From a humble beginning, my work grew in popularity during the 2021 IATSE negotiations as I shared bargaining updates and industry news via disarming micro-communication. Now, with over 30,000 followers, I continue to inject levity into a community of well-respected artisans and technicians.

Sam's FAQ

“Use anywhere what you learn everywhere” is an adage of my mom’s that encapsulates the essence of how I want to answer this question.

To delineate, I will pore over instruction manuals, wikis and how-to guides for hours to figure out the solution to a problem. I wasn’t taught how to fix recurring rote issues in life—I was shown methods to figure them out.

Some of my favorite resources for learning are LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com), peer support (asking questions in a community, whether in-person or online) and just general online research. Your union or local public library may grant offer premium access to LinkedIn Learning (e.g. IATSE, LAPL). 99% of my skills evolved to proficiency outside of academia. I just down’t learn well in a traditional classroom environment.

Years of practice—seriously. But you can, too.

I ingest most recorded audiovisual media in multispeed, anywhere from two to four times. I love listening to audiobooks, watching video tutorials and consuming podcasts efficiently because it quenches the thirst my brain has for ingesting information.

No, it’s just a fun outlet that I believe helps foster humor within the filmmaking community.

You can find a full list of tools listed on Workshop Setup.

This short list isn’t exhaustive, but as a maker, some of the primary apps I utilize include OpenSCAD, Fusion360, BambuStudio, AnycubicPhotonWorkshop, Cricut Design Space, Affinity Photo and Google Workspace.

Affiliations

OpenWrt

I stumbled upon OpenWrt in the GL.iNet Slate era when a lot of my peers were using it as a bridge to control cinema cameras. Then I made a custom housing for the Slate (known as ROFLCOPTER), and most recently devised TeeHee.

I’m a proud independent supporter of OpenWrt and its mission. I have privately bankrolled development for better support of the 802.11ah HaLow WiFi standard on the OpenWrt platform.

Go For Drew

Drew is a fellow maker. Like me, he supports open source endeavors and believes in information sharing. He fabricates specialty cinema camera cables and tons of other “maker” products.

Potato Systems 

As the precursor and inspiration to my own open source journey, Potato Systems released Spudnik in early 2024 and literally “launched” a product that would change the game for camera control.

@spicysetmemes

As mentioned above, I am the sole founder and admin for the Instagram account @spicysetmemes.