Interview with Mario Michael Gonsalves (@gonsalvesmario)

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Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? 

Well, it’s kind of crazy because I never thought I would’ve ended up becoming a film director or doing any creative work for that instance. I always wanted to become an airline pilot but we didn’t have enough money for flight school. So I turned to my passion at the time which was drawing and from there on I slowly ended up into film where I started getting multiple scholarships in the US and eventually moving to The Netherlands to build up my career.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this? 

Well, coming from a small island you don’t really see much of the world out there. So when I got the chance to go to LA for my scholarship and study film I had to make the best out of it. There’s this director called Mike Ho, I’m not sure if he remembers the story like this…[laughs] but it’s one that always stuck with me. So when I got to LA I emailed about 100-200 of my favourite directors that I followed at the time to go on set and learn from them and only Mike responded! So he sent me time and an address for the next day and I planned to even make it 30 minutes earlier! But I was new in LA and didn’t know about LA traffic… so stuck in traffic being almost 30 minutes LATE! I texted Mike to please wait for me, but he responded that he had to leave for the shoot and that he’s sorry. With all hope lost I went anyways and when I arrived I just texted him told him I’m there…I wasn’t expecting him to reply. Surprisingly I got a text back that told me to run to the white Mercedes at the traffic light. So I look at the end of the street and there’s the white Mercedes, the traffic light is RED! I ran like crazy! Got in the car fully out of breath. Keep in mind, this is the first time I see Mike. So catching my breath I told him why didn’t he just send me the location where we were shooting and he told me it’s 2 hours away. I told him but yeah, this means everything to me so I would’ve just thrown all my money out (barely had any) just to come and learn! He said: “yeah, but this is also the house of a well-known celebrity that we’re shooting at.”… and 2 hours later we were at Jammie Foxx’s house! Mike was a true inspiration for me and we still talk to this day. He’s a self-made director that has a very exemplary attitude and really inspired me to reach further with my work here in Europe.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? 

At the end of the day, our bodies can just take on so much. But it’s important that for yourself to be aware of how far you can push yourself every day. I read a lot of books and do a lot of research in the film industry just to stay up to date with what’s on the market and how I can differentiate my works from it. Building good relationships with your clients and artists is also important. Most of the artists I’ve worked with are also friends that I speak to from time to time. We’re all busy but it’s just nice that you can also say “Whatsup” instead of only talking about work. I think that makes the relationship stronger and makes room for future projects as well.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? 

I can’t lie, I am forever thankful for my mother. I come from a small island where a lot of boys that don’t have the proper guidance end up either in jail, on the streets, and some even dead. I know a lot of guys that I wish had better guidance to be able to see them in a better position today. Back then it was only me and my mom and she fought hard for me in life and was my main example to look up to. Not to mention, she was also the very first person to believe in my talent as “arts” isn’t really a respected career path in Aruba. So I am forever thankful to her.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? 

I have had plenty of chances to do some public speaking on my works where I talk about the issues of profiling migrants. I am a Caribbean guy living in Europe, of course, we experience profiling too so I use my voice to kind of speak out not only for the people of my culture but also to explain to various organisations such as (Universities, Arts Funding Organisations, Human Right Organisations, etc.) the importance of having constructive dialogues that help level the playing field and create balance and equal rights in our societies.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? 

I think at the end of the day we all have to focus on our happiness. My entire youth was focused on my career growth and while that was a thoughtful experience it was also very draining and took years out of my personal aspirations such as time with family, relationships, hobbies, etc. So I suggest everyone seek a balance that they are comfortable with and work their way up that way. Everything in life comes with its own timing.

How can our readers follow you on social media? 

Anyone that wants to know more about me can follow me at @gonsalvesmario, I post mostly on my stories about my work and also some positive messages for the day.

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