What does a day in the life of Melissa look like?
Usually starts with a bagel, ends with a grilled cheese. (Can’t help it with those carbs)
On a creatively satisfying day – I’m crafting ideas, making moodboards, sourcing props, building sets, shooting ideas, or editing photos.
On a fun day, I’m having a boozy picnic at echo park lake with champagne and a hot dog, fawning over pups, going to a museum and seeing a movie at the theater with a gal pal.
On a normal day, I’m hustling between a day job and my creative pursuits, eating too much sweets, and rewatching the It’s Always Sunny Bloopers to keep my spirits high.
I’m obsessed with your creative work! Where do you draw inspiration from and where do you see your design work taking you?
Thank you! I currently draw the most inspiration from the nagging thoughts that weigh on my brain — thoughts like “Being an adult really sucks” or “Why am I comparing myself to other creatives so harshly?” or “How come I have no self control when presented with donuts or Mac & Cheese?”
& then I translate those thoughts into colorful sets and photos!
I’ve also been recently going down the rabbit hole of the Vimeo Staff picks and searching for inspiring video projects that excite my brain. Then I research the crew behind them to see their portfolios and read how they got started — i.e. THIS dark, sexy french music video magic or THIS charming portrait of my homegirl Elle Fanning
One thing I love about getting to know you over the last couple of years is seeing how hard you push yourself. Do you have any advice for people who want to pursue something totally amazingly creative outside of their day job?
First of all, that means so much!
It’s honestly tough and comes with some sacrifice, but I really don’t mind the long hours, the sore limbs, the dwindling bank account. I need those things in my life to feel alive and useful.
My #1 piece of advice and probably the most important thing I felt I’ve learned in these last 3 years of creating work on my own, (despite what sometimes seemed like an impossible schedule): No one cares if you finish. And that’s actually a good thing. It forces you to become truly self motivated and disciplined, but gives you the freedom and flexibility to experiment and challenge yourself without the pressure.
Let me explain…
When you don’t have a boss or a teacher or a parent checking in on you along the way to see if you’ve emailed the crew, balanced the budget, bought all the costumes, added a 2nd coat of paint to the props, secured a shooting location, made sure there were snacks on hand to keep everyone’s spirits high, taught yourself photoshop to edit the photo, posted to social media // your portfolio website and officially completed the project – you realize that technically if you didn’t finish, no one would be upset or disappointed — except for you.
On the other hand, BECAUSE there’s no one to check in with and I’m hustling to fund all of these projects on my own, I’m not obligated to please anyone but myself. I don’t have to sacrifice any ideas to fit into someone else’s vision and get to create work for my portfolio that is a true and accurate representation of my brain. How exciting is that! I feel extremely grateful to be in this stage of my creative career and to be able to feel the joy and accomplishments of my own efforts.
So basically, not having anyone there to see you to the finish line is both the best and hardest thing to come to terms with and I think is prob the #1 reason a lot of people get easily discouraged or intimidated. To be a successful creative person you really need to view it as running your own small business. You alone have to set deadlines, be smart about budget, be friendly to the other people in your life that could technically become your “co-workers” or collaborators, etc., You just need to take the plunge and finish the idea, no matter what- even if it’s not perfect. And don’t be motivated solely by a paycheck or some social media attention, but because it’s your duty to give life to the unique ideas trapped inside your individual brain.
What’s the best thing you ever thrifted?
One of my all time favorite things I ever thrifted was THIS bedazzled pink dolly parton-esque shirt
Or Perhaps THIS 1960’s Christian Dior Turban hat with a big bow!
But Probably THIS geometric GEM of a dress from my fav 😉
Name one fun fact about yourself
In my youth, I looked exactly like a mix between Punky Brewster & Scout Finch. Pretty great combo if you ask me….not so much into the aesthetic of self cut bangs, and a constantly dirty face, but i’ve definitely still retained the spunk, colorful ensembles and childlike curiosity of the two 🙂