Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Chris Andrade of So-Called Studios Is…

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Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Chris Andrade of So-Called Studios Is Helping To Change Our World

You will have many sleepless nights. It’s 100% true. I have spent many nights where sleep isn’t on the list. When you’re in this business, you never clock out. Don’t kill yourself either but work until you know you’ve completed your goals.

As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Andrade, Director and Cinematographer at So-Called Studios.

Every since Andrade has taken the steps to become a Filmmaker and Director in 2016, he realized that he could channel his voice through the visual art of storytelling. Primarily producing and storytelling in the New Jersey/New York area, he has experienced first hand how much a visual piece of art can affect a community. That is when So-Called Studios was born; the media production company focuses on voicing the stories of the creative community by ways of documentaries, films, and music videos.

He is a trailblazer in his industry with experience at all levels of the spectrum. Being only 24 years old, Andrade has worked on documentaries receiving Social Impact Awards at the 2022 The Telly Awards. He has shot and directed over 200 music videos, some of them including artists like 7evin7ins, Chad B, Kaylee Ameri and Indian star Dhruv Vikram and has also teamed up alongside projects including artists like Coi Leray, Fetty Wap, Dusty Locane, and Rah Swish. He has worked on many commercial sets working with companies like Audible, Colgate and Quest Diagnostics too.

He started his career to tell not only his story but to give a voice to people that don’t have one. He believes that when we use our art to reach the masses, that is when true social impact can occur. Andrade has been well versed in this career path but one thing is for certain. He is just getting started.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

Filmmaking has been in front of me ever since I could hold a camera up. I remember my father giving me a home video camera to hold up for a picture at the age of only 5 years old (That picture has aged well now). When attending Belleville High School, the Mass Communications course had a great program in place to really find out what part of the communications field you were most into and I instantly fell in love with camera work and the editing process. I then attended and graduated Full Sail University in Florida for their Film Degree Program that gave me a huge network of people and experience with industry professionals. Shortly after graduating, I was offered an intern position at a magazine company, Blended NYC, and that entire experience gave me clarity to what a small but effective team can achieve. They were truly inspiring. Fast-forwarding a year down the road, I started to build my personal brand up. Coming out as a filmmaker in new terrain I had to work my way up the ladder. After building some experience around sets and studios, I realized that I had this inner power in me to do something big that represented myself and my work while still maintaining indie. I decided to open up my own production company in 2019, in hopes to open an outlet to creatives that needed a visual voice. Ever since then, we have been creating for brands, artists and for OURSELVES, which is a very big part of the end all goal.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. 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?

The music and film industry moves very fast-paced. When I began in my professional career I was very apt to return a fast turnaround. I would shoot an event one night and return the edit within a couple hours. My clients loved that about my work so much that they started expecting that every single time. I started gaining more recognition and clientele and the work load was getting heavier to a point where I could no longer do that. Although, It did sharpen my editing skills to edit quickly, it caused a bit of a hiccup in the beginning. My clients weren’t too happy at first but then I realized that if you are good at what you do people will not mind waiting for something that’s worth it.

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

All the artists I work with are interesting to me. I am blessed to be able to work with so many talented individuals that have their own story to tell. Aside from the celebrities and all that, I think the most interesting people are my future community. The people we work with become a part of out community and I’m excited to see who is next to tell their story to us and be a part of our family.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Some of my biggest inspirations in history are probably all musicians. I believe music has a way of healing and impacting in ways that we can’t verbally put into words. That is why music is a big part of what I do in film. I always try to merge the two worlds to maximize impact In ways people can resonate with.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

Art moves community and community moves art. I believe all the work we do has impact to the world. We work with artists, entrepreneurs, and musicians and all these people have their own impact in society that helps move things individually. What we do is give these people a visual voice. We take their stories and we ask how we can take it to the next level. By doing so, we aim to make sure they are heard and that we can move things in the right direction when it comes to art and community.

We have been working on a very special community based project that highlights the successes of the city of Newark and its community. Newark has been known for its crime and never for its art until recently. There is a big uprising that is going to flourish in this city and we are capturing it all on film.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

In my entire adolescent life, I felt like I didn’t have a voice. I was never bullied into that mindset but I just didn’t realize what my purpose in life was. When I found my love for film, I started channeling my voice through my work. I would show you how I felt by giving you a piece of art that represented that feeling. Somewhere around college was when I found my voice. I realized that people cared and liked what I had to say and used it to fuel my films.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

One of our music artists, Groovy has been a client of ours for about a year and a half. We started being a part of his visual team ever since he has started his new solo music career. Each music video we have done in partnership with him has told a story about him and has grown his overall brand. We were focused on making sure that he felt heard and seen in these videos because ultimately they represent him. We have been blessed to have a huge success on our recent project rollout, “Jersey Luv” and have been receiving organic recognition and growth from it. This was a team effort all around but it goes to show you how important it is to brand yourself in a way that makes an impact in society.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

I think there needs to be more support in the art community in general from all parties mentioned. Like I stated before, Art moves community so we need to invest in artists and creatives that want to make positive change. People should support by investing time, money, and resources to these smaller based influential groups.

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

You will have many sleepless nights. It’s 100% true. I have spent many nights where sleep isn’t on the list. When you’re in this business, you never clock out. Don’t kill yourself either but work until you know you’ve completed your goals.

You will depend on caffeine. To piggy back on the last bullet, caffeine will absolutely help in those sleepless nights.

You will never find a perfect balance. As much as we try to maintain a perfect balance with work life and home life, it seems like there is never the right amount for both. We should stop thinking about it as a perfect balance and focus on happiness and how that can be achieved to you personally.

Social Media will be the thing that separates you from the rest. I wish someone from the future gave me a little insight on how big social media was going to be in our lives now so that I could have a little head start. I feel like nowadays were always working to beat the algorithm.

Make mistakes. This one is probably the most important one. I wish someone would’ve told me to make mistakes in the beginning and learn from them. Sometimes we want things to be so perfect so fast but need to realize that things take time to become great.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Number one thing I would tell someone is find your purpose and be a good person. At the end of the day, you need to be able to trust yourself and your emotions in order to make a change in society. Being a good person with good intentions will get you far and will open more doors for yourself than you think.

We are very blessed that many other Social Impact Heroes read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Even though he isn’t necessarily a social impact hero by definition I think John Mayer has had such an impact on me that he would be that one person that I would want to create something with. At the end of the day Social Impact is about impacting people and the way he has impacted me and my way of thinking, growing and adapting is inspiring. I believe we think about storytelling the same way and we could absolutely make a beautiful fusion of music and film together.

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

You will always be a student of life. If you move forward everyday with this mentality that you will learn something new today and that you can become better today then you can accomplish anything. Living life is about growing your knowledge, so don’t think you know it all and leave the ego at the door. There are more beautiful things in life to learn about.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow my production company and I everywhere at:

@chrisandradevision & @socalledx

We are creating something huge at So-Called Studios and you don’t want to miss it.

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!

Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Chris Andrade of So-Called Studios Is… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.