"So much of the day to day is stuff not happening, and the better the producer, the more they can make things happen," explains ECD Alex Bogusky. "That's what stands out about Rupert. He just doesn't say no. Even if there are a million reasons why he should say no, he always finds a way to make things happen." As CP+B has undoubtedly arrived among the agency elite, Samuel remains a creative whiz, even if it does mean filling a more traditional producer's role. Nothing to laugh at, considering he's spearheaded production on kudos-drenched work like Ikea and Mini, Creativity's 2002 Campaign of the Year, bringing on board top directorial talent: Spike Jonze, Kuntz & Maguire, Baker Smith, Wes Anderson and, most recently, Bryan Buckley. He's thrilled to work with the A-listers, but Samuel plays no small part in making the directors and production companies feel downright cozy as well. On the latest Ikea spot, Buckley recalls how Samuel helped to untangle a location snarl in which 90 mph Santa Ana winds made it too dangerous to shoot on the intended hillside location. "For safety reasons, I couldn't shoot on the hill and had to find a location on flat ground," Buckley recounts. "Most producers would be afraid to say yes, but Rupert said, 'That makes total sense. Let me talk to everyone.' It went from this crisis into rolling with the punches. He's not a naysayer," Buckley continues, running through the varieties of producer. There are the clock-watchers, those who pander to just the agency side, "and then a guy like Rupert comes a long, who, to me, is the only kind of producer you want to work with. He takes the whole process and creates a team atmosphere between the agency and the production company, so that everybody is striving for the same goal - a great spot. In addition, his creativity on every level certainly came through."
In fact, for Samuel, that's all it's ever been about. "It's 100 percent a creative thing," he stresses, even when it comes to dealing with budgets. "It's about maximizing whatever the creative is in front of me. We've got all these great ideas; how are we going to maximize this throughout the year and make sure we don't spend everything up front? That's the biggest challenge. How can I best bring it to fruition?" In the meantime, Samuel continues to polish his own film skills on personal projects. He directed, produced and cut the docu-short Black Ice, about the eponymous spoken word poet, which appeared at Resfest 2002. At the same time, Samuel is known for being a frequently crass cutup. "If you didn't know any better, for the first few moments after you meet him, you'd think, 'Who is this idiot?' " Bogusky notes half-jokingly. "He does and says the most outrageous things, and he may talk about horrible bouts of diarrhea with the client the first time he meets them, but at the same time he's totally charming. He's this man-child that everybody loves."