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Meet Joey Santiago

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joey Santiago.

Hi Joey, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
It really all started when I was a kid. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with storytelling and the visual arts, predominantly filmmaking and photography. my grandmother is the one who always told me, “I was born to tell stories.”

A lot of my time as a kid was spent drawing and thinking up stories and characters and putting them into scenarios that I found interesting. My earliest memory in a movie theater was seeing Pixar’s “Toy Story 2” and I remember the way I felt in a daze with the movie. It took me to another world and showed me characters that would leave an impact, it was magical.

Ever since my goal is to create stories with a visual medium that would leave that same impact on someone else. My love for visual storytelling has taken me up and down the east coast and even to Europe to study at a film academy in the Czech Republic.

I’ve been blessed with many opportunities, experiences, and incredible people along my journey so far. My journey is far from over and I hope to only continue to grow and experience new things.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely, there have been struggles. Life has always had ups and downs and I’ve had so many failures along the way.

The biggest failure I’ve experienced was having a 3-day short film production in the Czech Republic. Putting everything I could into making the short film incredible, only for all the data to be corrupted at the start of post-production. It was the most heart-crushing and lowest I had been, questioning if I even made the right choice to pursue my passions.

However, I began to look at it in a very different light, and use my failure as a way to inspire me, to remember how I felt during that time to never experience it again. it taught me an important lesson that in order to experience success you HAVE to experience failure and heartbreak.

The highs always come after the lows. And use those negative memories as your drive and inspiration.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Currently, I’m focusing photography career mostly. For that, I specialize really in my black and white street photography.

I’ve been starting to pick up traction in that field and I discovered my passion for it around two years ago. I’ve always been interested in the emotions black and white film/photography can bring out in people. I personally think of it as a way to romanticize life, showing life in its most sincere form.

I’ve also written and directed 4 short films and I’m currently working on another 2 projects to close out the year. I’m also going to be showcasing my photography in an art show in D.C. near the end of the month and I’ve never been more excited!

What matters most to you? Why?
It has to be my family and closest friends, especially my parents.

Ever since I told my family I wanted to be an artist they never shunned me or told me to do something “more realistic”. They’ve all cheered me on and push me to keep on going even when I question myself.

They’re really the best support system I could ever ask for. Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and inspire you to do your best is so important. Never take those around you for granted.

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