Storyteller Michelle Dos Santos
After one too many rejection letters and a misunderstanding creator/director Michelle Dos Santos is ready to show us with her new web series Hired Education that “success comes from failure”.
Stacey Maynard: Tell me about Hired Education.
Michelle Dos Santos: Hired Education follows a burned-out overachiever, Adriana, who decides to drop out of med school to follow her passion. Only problem is, she has no idea what she wants to do for the rest of her life. So, she decides to work various jobs in hopes of figuring it out. It’s a really fun and wholesome show that the whole family can enjoy.
SM: As a writer, the creative process is always important, what led you to believe that this was it? The right project to do.
MDS: It’s funny how the show was conceptualized. It came from mishearing someone say “higher education” as “hired education.” As soon as I heard “hired education” in my mind, I was imagining a whole story around that title. The next day, I started writing the screenplay and was just so excited about it. Most everything I write I draw from experiences in some way and this was no exception. When I started telling people about the story – friends, acquaintances and even strangers, the most common response I got was, “I can relate to that.” And I think that’s the special thing about this project: The story of taking a risk to figure out what you want to do for rest of your life is relatable and empowering, and working underemployed jobs is relevant to the economy we’re in.
SM: “Success Comes From Failure” Is that your own life motto as well as Adriana’s?
MDS: “Success comes from failure” is the tagline for the show because after having received a bunch of script rejection letters and failing in various career fields, I realized I needed to have those failures to lead me to point I’m at now: creating my own work in an industry that I just unexplainably love, and that’s how I know I’m doing the right thing. And for Adriana, I feel like she needs to fail at all these different jobs to lead her to the point where she figures out what she wants to do. Once she realizes her passion, she’ll face a whole new set of challenges in her endeavor to becoming successful in a more narrowed focus.
SM: In light of current events in Hollywood, is there something to be said about having a show with a predominantly female cast?
MDS: I think it’s important to tell a genuine story with characters who are real and relatable and with so few female writers in Hollywood, there just aren’t enough leading roles for women. A greater diversity of writers, directors and filmmakers allows for more voices to be heard and unique stories to be told. Women also tend to get overlooked in the world of comedy, and I think having a female-led comedy show is relevant in that it shows that women can be funny and also have serious conversations. Sharing a story that is based on experience is always a scary and very personal thing to do, and I think that showing these stories on screen has the potential to act as the domino effect, and soon more and more stories with fresh views will be told.
Ruby Ambrocio (MADISON), Michelle Dos Santos (Creator/Director) & Victoria Palma (ISABEL)*
SM: Just saw your Halloween special, it was a great taste of these characters. Are all of the coming episodes going to be generally the same length?
MDS: We have another episode we filmed that is generally the same length, but most other episodes will be 8-10 minutes.
SM: How many episodes are planned?
MDS: The plan is for a 10-episode season.
SM: Funding is being helped through Kickstarter, care to talk about the perks/status?
MDS: The Kickstarter campaign will launch November 1, 2017. We have some really cool perks that include: attending the premiere, meeting the cast, a personalized gif from the main cast and even choosing a career for Adriana. There’s a perk for every budget. Simply sharing and liking the page and supporting us in any way helps greatly and really means the world to us!
SM: Where do you hope to be in the next few years of your career?
MDS: Life has a way of taking you in directions you least expect. I love writing and creating content and a being a small piece of the Hollywood puzzle. Where exactly my piece fits in, I’m not sure. I can tell you that I am going to continue doing what I’m doing – writing and developing this project and other projects, and seek out more opportunities that will allow me to collaborate with other professionals, and learn and grow in an industry that’s always changing.
SM: Where does your greatest inspiration come from, both in the arts and in life?
MDS: My greatest inspiration comes from traveling, most definitely. I’m originally from New York City, but moved cross-country five years ago “just because.” Over the course of four years, I traveled solo from the Midwest to the Northwest, and along the West coast, living and working in different cities, really trying to figure out where I belonged. Experiencing different cultures and meeting people from all walks of life taught me a lot about myself and these experiences have influenced my writing significantly. I’ve always loved to write, but through traveling and meeting unforgettable people, I really became a storyteller.
SM: Any advice for breaking into the business of filmmaking?
MDS: If you love what you’re doing, be confident about your abilities and your worth. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask for help. This industry thrives off of collaboration, so if you put your work out there, you’ll find the people that it connects with. And those are the people you want to work with: people who are advocates for you and you for them. Also, work hard and be resourceful. Part of what drives me as a filmmaker is the fear of not completing a project. When I give my commitment to a project, I’m also making a commitment to everyone involved and I refuse to let people down. There will always be setbacks, especially in this industry, but it’s how you deal with those setbacks and work around them that sets you apart.
SM: How is your off time spent?
MDS: I love exploring all of Los Angeles because each neighborhood has a totally unique vibe. You can often find me at a coffee shop, typing away on my laptop and enjoying live music. When I have extra time, I’ll play tennis or go bowling. And once a week, I’m glued to my laptop watching my favorite show, “Jane The Virgin.”
A big thank you to Michelle Dos Santos for taking some time to answer our questions! Follow Michelle on Twitter. While you’re at it check out Hired Education’s Official Website here. Also on Twitter & see their Halloween special on YouTube!
Also, make sure to swing by their Kickstarter page where you can get perks ranging from a Thank you to a speaking role on the show! (And a few awesome things in between!)