Sam Dubin had a “sort of spark” in his first acting scene, but he did not decide to pursue it as a career until the fall of his senior year at Lakeview Academy.
That is when his role in “Catch Me If You Can” changed his mind.
“I kind of convinced myself that maybe I could do it,” Dubin said, of his role as Carl Hanratty, portrayed by Tom Hanks in the 2002 movie.
The 18-year-old described the role as “life changing.”
And it certainly made a difference quickly. Dubin decided to apply to new colleges — he already had applied to Georgia schools — and “wrote so many essays” for 10 colleges in about that many days.
His Lakeview counselor, Kelsey Marcero, helped him with the process.
Dubin attended “unifieds,” a mass audition where 20 to 40 schools watch potential actors.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. But after a “really bad start,” the young thespian said “it got better and better.”
His reluctance to pursue acting was pragmatic.
“This business is so crazy,” Dubin said. “You can star in a movie or you can be on Broadway, and three months later you can be out of a job.”
Dubin emphasized the concern of his and his parents about financial stability and earning a living.
“I have the best parents,” he said, but added they would worry about him as an actor. “It was just a worry that it wasn’t going to be OK — their worry, and my worry, too. They just want me to be stable.”
His parents, Yakov or Jacob, and Inna, are Russian immigrants. They own their own business and met after coming to the United States, Dubin said.
But they are supportive of his choices. Dubin said his parents would get the first two seats at his first show.
His drama coach and longtime Lakeview teacher, Cece Conrath, rates right up there with his parents.
“I’m sure my director will be in seat 3,” he said. “I owe her so much. I can’t pay her back for what she’s done for me, but I can invite her to my first show.”
Conrath is equally complimentary.
“If anyone has a chance, it’s him,” she said. “He definitely has an ‘it’ factor. He works hard. He doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s an incentive for him if he doesn’t immediately accomplish something.”
The Duluth native spent much of June at two acting camps — the Broadway Dreams Foundation Musical Theater Intensive in Atlanta and the International Thespian Festival at the University of Nebraska. He attended the latter in 2015 and 2016.
Dubin had been involved with acting for a number of years, starting in elementary school.
He said he played sports — “I was pretty bad at a lot of them” — before his mother introduced him to his first acting class.
“When I took my first class and participated in my first scene, there was sort of a spark,” Dubin said. “I instantly fell in love with performing. I loved the aspect of being someone I wasn’t and stepping into someone else’s shoes,”
Dubin said it became “sort of a past time” for him, but never considered it as a future profession.
“I never thought I would pursue it as a career because financially it was difficult,” he said.
However, he thought it would play a role in his life through community theater.
“It was never a question that I would be doing it as an adult,” he said.
But fate intervened and now he has agents, the People Store in Atlanta. He also has been in some commercials and a couple of “small” films. He plans to continue auditioning in college.
Dubin said he “hates” the question: Film or theater. He said it is like asking, “Do you love your mother or father more.”
“They both give me unique skills,” he said. In film, “everything is so ‘small.’ In theater, “you have to be ‘big.’”