We had the good fortune of connecting with Maddy Santamaria and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maddy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I would love to say that I approach risk head on without fear, but a lot of the times it’s not that easy. Taking a risk is believing in yourself and your abilities against the inevitable odds. I find it funny that I care very little about traditional gambling with money and cards, when the risks I take on a day-to-day basis are just that. As an artist, I have had many instances where the fear of taking a risk to try something new has actually prevented me from even trying, but when you start to realize that about yourself you can slowly tweak the way you think and do things to break away at that paralyzing fear. Whether it’s compartmentalizing a monstrous project into bite-size pieces that you take one at a time, or even taking a leap of faith and jumping off into the deep end. Always push yourself to do something out of your comfort zone, because that is when you truly start to see your potential. The biggest risk I have ever taken was choosing to pursue Film and Television as my major in college. My parents were very traditional with their aspirations and career goals that they had for me and my siblings. It was always “be a doctor, be a lawyer, be a pilot.” When I first started out in college, I was a Biology major and I hated it because I didn’t have the passion for it and unfortunately it took me a couple of years to actually build up the courage to change majors. While changing majors is very common in college, I say this is my biggest risk because I knew basically nothing about Film and Television and once I changed majors I no longer had the support of my parents. I chose to give up a well-paying secure career path for one that you have to constantly fight for. Being a freelance artist, you don’t have the security of a traditional 9-5 job that has a steady paycheck, you have to always be looking for opportunity and developing your skills to keep up with your competition. The most recent risk that I have taken was choosing to open up and make a very personal animated podcast-film about life struggles being biracial. In the film, “Checkbox: Other,” my cousin and I share our life stories in a very laidback conversation with each other, which is why I didn’t realize how much responsibility came with this film. By opening up, my cousin and I became the faces of diversity for those who have been in similar situations. While this was our goal of the project, it was incredibly eye-opening to feel the immense pressure of having to accurately represent masses of people and groups. I have gotten incredibly lucky when taking this risk because I didn’t have a plan b a lot of the times, but I feel like that is what pushed me to work so hard to educate, train, and grow myself into who I am today. Risk is the reason why I do what I do every day. It pushes me to be the person I have always dreamed to be by making me face my fears.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a writer, director, editor, and motion graphics designer. As a filmmaker I love pushing myself to create films of different genres because each genre poses its own unique set of challenges. I have done Drama, Sci-fi Thriller, Action Comedy, and Animation. I have written a script for a horror short film so I’m really excited to take on that genre next. I fell into motion graphic design pretty recently when I decided to minor in Digital Design on a whim. I very quickly learned how much I loved graphic design and illustration and how well it fit with filmmaking which actually lead me to discovering my niche as a freelance motion graphics artist. It definitely wasn’t easy getting to where I am today because it was a lot of just “trusting in the process.” Still even today I feel the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with being a freelance artist, but you just have to constantly ground yourself and reflect on the work you have done and see how far you have come. The biggest lesson that I have learned and am still learning is that it is okay to fail. Failure is not the end-all-be-all, failure helps you learn and grow as an artist and even as a person. I think I’m still really hesitant to fully appreciate the art that I create because there is always that little voice in the back of my head constantly saying “its not enough,” but learning to be okay with the imperfections because those imperfections are what makes my art me. When I first chose to go into Film and Television, I knew that I wanted to make a difference which is why I chose to be a director. I knew that being a mixed female director was going to hold a lot of challenges, but I knew it was something I had to fight for so that I could be the voice for those whose stories often go untold. I have been lucky also find this opportunity for change and diversity in editing and motion graphics design which is why with my brand, Posterity Pictures, my mission statement is “my limit is your imagination.” Undivided, we can make a difference.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this question because I have learned to appreciate so much more with the pandemic. If my best friend was visiting Colorado for a week I would definitely have a mix of active/laid back activities and a TON of delicious food. Activities: – Go on a hike at dusk so that right when the sun rises you are at the peak (ideal locations: Red Rocks, Mount Bierstadt, the Sand Dunes, or on a forest-y trail) – Climb the Manitou Incline (the view isn’t the best, but its an amazing achievement that is totally worth the pain and sweat) – Go on a sunset picnic at a park downtown (it’s mandatory to make our own food/snacks; bonus points if you bring your dog(s)) – Go to a movie in theaters (and splurge on snacks because we deserve it) – Go to TopGolf and make up your own game rules (this makes it way more fun and caters to different skill levels a lot better) – Go to a thrift store (there are like mini museums and you never know what you will find) – Red Rocks concert is a must (especially during the summer, the sunset is breathtaking) – Karaoke but to see who can sing the worst (this makes it so much funnier and inclusive) – Game night at home (charcuterie board of chips, candy, and a side of wine featuring boardgames and Mario Party; bonus points if it’s Mario Party on the GameCube) Food/Drinks: – Sushi (obviously $15 all you can eat at Sushi Katsu) – Hot Pot (again all you can eat is definitely the way to go) – Nigerian food! (I have yet to try it but I have heard amazing things) – Mexican food (gotta have that Taco Tuesday) – Brunch (Snooze or Shells and Sauce *chef’s kiss*) – Boba (again, duh) – Drinks at a 1UP or Dave and Busters (because who doesn’t like arcade games)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As cliche as it sounds, without the blind faith of my family and friends I wouldn’t have the courage to be an artist. As an artist, you can find yourself doubting your abilities a lot of time so having that support system to remind you that what you are creating is actually good and worthy to be seen is priceless. I draw a lot of inspiration from all over the place really whether its films, video games, or music. Things like Harry Potter, Zelda, Studio Ghibili, Christopher Nolan films, Jackie Chan, or even Hans Zimmer’s music resonate with me on such an emotional level because you can see and feel how much devotion went into mastering their craft.