The Sleeping Life of Sofia is About an Artist Who Doubts Herself - Marcelo Mayen

Marcelo Mayen,

My recent film, "The Sleeping Life Of Sofia" is about an artist who doubts herself in almost every way - especially her creative potential.

1. Tell us about your background and journey. 

I'm a filmmaker, photographer, and screenwriter based in Brooklyn. I grew up in Texas. Wow, that's a boring answer. Sorry, I just woke up and I feel extremely dehydrated. I'll be right back... 

2. How and when did you realize your passion for creating films? 

Okay! Hydrated Marcelo has better answers! To be honest, I should probably give credit to my mother, who was always adding new titles to her VHS collection. As a kid, I used to scramble through rows and rows of films on VHS and watch whatever we had at home. 

It was like our own mini-Blockbuster (or, err, Netflix) and you could always watch something new. But just like people these days constantly watch reruns of The Office -- the VHS tapes I could never get enough of were E.T., Dumb & Dumber (and anything with Jim Carrey), Jurassic Park, and Toy Story. 

But when did I realize my passion? Well, I was heavily involved in Broadcast Journalism in High School and loved shooting & editing funny segments for the morning announcements. 

Then, I don't think it wasn't until after I graduated college that I realized I didn't want to do anything else but make films and tell stories. That was back in 2014, and I've been making films and studying the art of storytelling ever since. 

3. What are the important skills one should have to be a successful writer-director? 

What I've been trying to teach myself over the years is to have empathy with actors, learn how to communicate your vision to your crew, and understand your vision through and through. 

If you're not thinking to yourself 'if I don't make this film, I will die' then you probably shouldn't make that film. Think about why you HAVE to tell your story and what you want to say. 

You have to be willing to explore the most embarrassing, pathetic things about yourself. If you're not, then don't make that film. I think the only way to get better at directing and making films is to do just that, make films. 

4. Which film(s) do you appreciate the most for their writing & direction? 

One of my favorite films right now is Whiplash. It's euphoric, frustrating, and inspiring. I aspire to make films like Whiplash. The final scene is just a drum solo. No dialogue. 

Just a showdown between our two main characters. And that would have never worked if Damien Chazelle didn't develop such a relatable and fascinating protagonist who will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. 

5. What has been the biggest learning from your job? 

My recent film, "The Sleeping Life Of Sofia" is about an artist who doubts herself in almost every way - especially her creative potential. That's kinda how I felt for a long time. 

But after making that film and getting steady work as a photographer/director on several projects over the past few years, I've realized my true creative potential and have learned to embrace my confidence as an artist and a person. 

6. Which is your favorite book and why? 

I'm reading the Bible a lot lately and trying to get in touch with my faith and be a better person all around. But in relation to making films, I recommend Aristotle's Poetics. 

Instagram ID - @marcelovsthemonsters

Marcelo Mayen

Still from the latest film, The Sleeping Life Of Sofia

Marcelo Mayen

Director, Screenwriter

Interviewed By - Sandeep Virothu

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