Rising Star Eliza Agudelo: “Don’t just do one thing, educate yourself, learn other aspects of the industry and don’t limit yourself”

Have a real support system, people who get what you want to do and why it’s your passion. Also something that is so important, is having a team. People who you trust and work well together with, that is one of the sure ways to move forward in this industry as a team. It’s vital. As […]

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Have a real support system, people who get what you want to do and why it’s your passion. Also something that is so important, is having a team. People who you trust and work well together with, that is one of the sure ways to move forward in this industry as a team. It’s vital.

As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eliza Agudelo. Eliza was born in Colombia and moved to South Florida when she was a little girl, she was raised in a Hispanic household, keeping her native language intact. Soon after college, she moved to Hollywood to follow her dreams of being in the entertainment industry. She has nurtured her acting, writing and directing ever since. She is always writing, always keeping busy and moving forward in her career.

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

Well,I originally went to school for Journalism and photography, writing has always been in my blood. But after graduating I didn’t really pursue journalism, and had a 9–5 job. I was really unhappy and started processing my life and seeing from the outside in and remembered moments when I was really happy and it always encompassed acting, performing or entertaining of some sort. So I made a quick decision, well not too quick, I did research online. It was between NYC and Los Angeles. I chose Los Angeles and as soon as I could, said goodbye to Florida.

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

Well, I don’t know if this story is interesting, it might be more of a lesson learned. One of the first shorts I did, that I wrote, at the time I was really green and had little experience. So my intention was to hire people who I felt were more knowledgeable than me and more experienced. So I reviewed resumes, reviewed reels etc and made my decision on who to hire. I thought I would learn from them at the same time. I was wrong, I did learn from my experience with them, but not because they knew more. After that experience, I understood how important it was to have really good people with you and keep working with the same people that you trust to get the job done and not think less of yourself or put anyone on a pedestal.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I don’t think I have an anecdote for “funny mistakes” but I definitely have made mistakes throughout my process. It all starts with a choice for me. Whom I chose to hire. If I chose to listen to someone else’s suggestion instead of my gut. I feel sometimes I still make those wrong choices.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Right now I’m in post for a short film titled Flicker, It’s about mental health and drug addiction, and that one is gearing up for a festival run. I am rewriting a Dramedy web-series that I want to film By August of this year, based on social media addiction. And will be pitching a feature film based on a Colombian American Family dealing with the aftermath of suicide. That feature is titled “Finding me Because of You”.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I have gone to a few panels, workshops, and even network events. You really never know who you’ll meet at those events. Last year I went to this Women’s Summit for the entertainment industry, through a group I belong to called WOC Unite (Women of Color Unite)/JTC List and the female speakers were incredible, they were so inspirational. I felt rejuvenated going to the event. It is something I recommend to other people to attend if they can, it wasn’t just for women, it was a great experience.

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

Have a real support system, people who get what you want to do and why it’s your passion. Also something that is so important, is having a team. People who you trust and work well together with, that is one of the sure ways to move forward in this industry as a team. It’s vital.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Well actually, I don’t know if this would be a movement, but I’m Vegan. So I tend to do a lot of research on products I buy. Who I buy from is important to me. It’s time consuming and tiring. I’ve dreamt of creating a Vegan style Amazon, where ALL products, from food, to make up, to clothes to electronics are available from all Vegan big and small companies and even individuals (sort of like Etsy) and they all have been verified as Vegan and trustworthy. Everyone who is eco-friendly, or animal friendly or just trying to make small steps towards veganism can just go on the site and not worry whether they are making a wise purchase and one that doesn’t harm the environment or animals or humans, the earth. Their research is somewhat over, at least for product purchases. I guess that’s more of an entrepreneurial move than a movement. My goal is always to help animals, the environment and humanity, so everything that gears towards that, Im in.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. First thing make sure to get into or start a collaborative group, one that is strong and will grow with you. I think the best way to collaborate is making sure that if you went to school for this ( I didn’t) then make great connections with people who are motivated as you are and want to create good content. Make sure not to burn bridges with them, they may be at your level of experience, but you will definitely grow together. It’s great that you may have your family and friends support, but it’s not the same thing as having someone who is in it as well.

2. Don’t just do one thing, educate yourself, learn other aspects of the industry and don’t limit yourself. I feel it is important that if you’re an actor, or a writer or whatever you decide, don’t just be that, learn all aspects of filming, I can’t tell you how many times I was on set and an actor was asking me about something, that I feel they should have known since they are part of this industry.

3. Don’t be afraid to take leaps in the industry.

4. Social Media is your friend, utilize it

5. It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I don’t actually have a favorite quote, I get almost daily inspiration from some of the people I follow on social media. And from all of those what I have learned is, that no matter what life throws at me, I need to stay positive and stay active even when there is some lull time, because if you’re passionate about this work, in order to stay motivated, you need to keep working towards that goal. If one avenue doesn’t work, don’t beat that to death, just try something new.

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 about that?

Well my story is still forming and still trying to rise. I don’t have one person in particular with a big impact on where I am, but a lot of small lessons through people along the way, even the ones I thought were negative, ended up being something good. Especially those who taught me about respect on set for each individual person that makes a film possible. Everyone there is important and their contribution is invaluable.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

There are so many amazing people who I’d love to pick their brain over breakfast. I hate having to pick just one or two people…If I had to pick I would say Ava Duvarnay and Gina Rodriguez. First, I love their work; I think they are talented, smart and down to earth women. I love their solidarity towards women of color and the strength they have to speak up and help make change in this industry. We are a long way away from where we should be, equal, but they are fighting the fight for a lot of us and they can definitely teach me a thing or twenty in becoming a better, actor, writer, director and producer.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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