To All The Dreamers: 5 Letters to Keep the Young Artists Moving Forward

Letter #3

“Dear Young Artist,

Sorry for the late reply. I was busy at the Five Flavours Film Festival in Warsaw when I received your email. Then I continued my vacation in Lisbon. I have been travelling and working the past few weeks.

Thank you for your letter. It’s nice to hear from a stranger and to communicate with someone who dreams and believes in something she’s passionate about.

I do understand the questions that you have, the doubts that you face and the fears that you harbor. These things are common esp for someone who is starting out. But in all honesty, these things could still occur throughout an artist’s life. I believe that the questions, the doubts and the fears exist to drive to continue wanting to get better, to never be complacent, to keep on learning and to keep on pushing oneself to be better all the time, to be better every time. There is a trouble with not having these and becoming too confident with oneself. Sometimes, complacency and even the lack of passion result from believing in one’s self too much. Though, being too scared and doubtingg oneself to much can also be negative because it can result to being insecure.

You should always try to strike a balance. I think in everything in life, one has to try to find a balance. That weighing and outweighing of opposite things keep people grounded and still driven enough to continue doing what he/she is passionate about.

Passion is one of the most important things an artist should have. I have always believed in that and I always day that in all my talks, lectures, workshops and even just casual conversations. Passion is what drives a person to do things, to do everything to achieve one’s dreams. So is it possible to maintain the same passion in a world that tries to push you to being realistic? Hmm. I’m not really sure what you mean because for me, even if you are a dreamer, you have to be realistic. But you shouldn’t let reality dampen your spirit. Because at the same time, you also have to believe that anything is possible! And sometimes, overthinking can curtail the possibilities in life. Learn to relax. To enjoy what you do. To let things just happen. Be serious with what you do, yes. Continue learning, yes. Have a plan, yes. Be passionate, yes. But don’t be too negative about reality because life has a lot of surprises that can come your way.

Also do not be too hard on yourself. Take risks! Believe in yourself because when you are starting out, sometimes, no one really does.

It’s a tough world out there. I honestly do not know what you mean by the “art world”. But this world is tough. Period. But it is exciting to live in. There a lot of challenges and a lot of compromises as you go along but if you have a good foundation as a person, and as an artist, you will not allow yourself to lose your integrity.

Artistic integrity is equally as important as passion. You should not allow yourself to be eaten by the system. I see people lose their artistic integrity here and there but I strive to fight against the system. You have to constantly tell yourself not to lose who you are and what you believe in. You have to constantly assess yourself. A certain check and balance because it is a cruel world.

Look at a different angle. Baby steps are exciting. They are not nightmares but they are dreams becoming a reality. They are hopeful. Try look at things in a different angle.

As a cinematographer, I believe that I have the power, the privilege and the responsibility to look at things in a better angle. This is an adventure.
Life is an adventure waiting to be uncovered! Sure, it can be scary. That is why you have to keep on preparing, you have to keep on learning.

When I was starting out, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing (or what the hell I am doing now). I didn’t know if I was doing things right (and still don’t know until now). But I always came prepared. In every battle I went to, I came prepared. I would keep on going through the script, talking to my director, researching, watching movies, looking at photos, going through the net, reading books, magazines about films, about cinematography. Anything and everything possible. I always kept myself open to inspirations and never stopped planning what to do. I surrounded myself with people who I knew could support me. I never lost my goals. And I never stopped praying. That was probably my strongest armor.

There were a lot of things and a lot of people that made me think I was not good enough for this. But I never stopped. I held on to my dream to become a cinematographer. I held on to my passion. And I believed. And I never stopped thanking people who helped me throughout. Gratitude not self-entitlement. I would never be where I am if not for a lot of people. And I will not continue getting somewhere without the help of so many. And i always remembered those who were always been there when no one would hire me.

It’s not easy. And yes, like you said the struggles are real. But it is one hell of a journey that you have to embrace!

Good luck! Update me on your journey. And may you find peace within yourself.


| Carlo Mendoza | December 06, 2015 | 12:37AM

Read letter #4 on the next page

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