We had the good fortune of connecting with Alyssa Botelho and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alyssa, how do you think about risk?
This question caught my eye, because I’ve never qualified my decisions as “risky”. In fact, the word is not really a part of my vocabulary.

“Risk” brings to mind a tightrope walker 200 feet in the air. Putting most of your savings in the stock market. Bluffing on a bad hand in poker when big money is on the line.

Certainly I don’t make decisions as glamorous and eye-catching as these.

But what about choosing a career in a crazy competitive industry in which you have zero connections? Setting your college capstone short film in the 1700s after your professor says to “think simple” due to ever-changing, project-halting COVID restrictions? Accepting a job as a wedding videographer at age 17 with no gear, no prior relationship with the couple, and never having filmed a live event before?

Hmmm…reflecting on what’s gotten me to where I am today, I guess you could call me a risk-taker!

Embracing risk is embracing the unknown. It is taking a bet on yourself when you don’t have all the facts. In short, it’s “I don’t know how I’ll do it or if I’ll succeed, but I’m gonna try like hell!”.

Kids are notorious for being risky. They jump in the pool in November. They perform onstage in front of hundreds of eyes. They ski down mountains in -10 degree weather (okay, that was just an opportunity to brag about my awesome niece who’s only 5 years old by the way).

What makes us lose this childlike quality as we grow up? Kids seem to have unlocked the freedom to risk-taking because their egos are not on the line. Fear is usually not a part of the equation. They simply enjoy whatever experience is in front of them, and whether they know it or not, are pushing forward their own growth. They have fun with life.

No, I do not categorize my risky decisions as just that. Instead, I always think of them as an opportunity to learn more. To fail or succeed in the unknown. To do something never done before and learn about myself in the process.

Courtesy of “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts” by world-renown poker player Annie Duke, ““What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process, and that process must include an attempt to accurately represent our own state of knowledge. That state of knowledge, in turn, is some variation of “I’m not sure”.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Hey there!

I’m Alyssa, and I’m a writer/director. I graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2021 with a BA in Film/Media and a BSBA in Management. I’m currently working as a producer’s assistant for Walk Like a Duck Entertainment, and I’m super excited to travel the world to produce a boat load of films of all different genres and budget levels.

I’d say what sets me a part from others is my intense detail-oriented nature and work ethic. I take my dad’s advice everywhere I go that “you don’t have to be the smartest or the most good-looking in the room, but make sure you’re the hardest worker”.

I started my journey as a writer/director in high school, where I created short films that started winning awards. In college, I made two “legitimate” short films, Junkie and To Dust All Return. All the way through writing, preproduction, principal photography, and postproduction, these projects challenged me and pushed me to become a better, more thoughtful filmmaker. I learned first hand that every single little decision matters. It certainly wasn’t easy along with being a dedicated student striving for a 4.o GPA and commuting 3 hours round trip every day to campus. Leaning on my incredible friends and family is what got me through.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way is that you take your “brand” with you everywhere you go. Whether it’s the days where you are leading cast and crew on set or just a simple email to a coworker. I try to bring my best to every situation.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m from Fairhaven, MA.

If I were to bring my best friend to the area, we’d get breakfast at The Little Village Cafe, head to West Island Beach for some tanning, and then bring Yia Yia’s Pizza to the Mattapoisett Lighthouse. After a long sunny day, Captain Bonney’s Ice Cream is in order. And to wrap it up, drinks and dancing at Last Round Bar & Grille!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Drew Furtado, my mentor who introduced filmmaking to me at Fairhaven High School.

Sean Campbell, the director of photography I work with in all of my projects, who also happens to be my amazing, supportive boyfriend.

Professors, faculty, and friends of the University of Rhode Island who’ve opened many doors for me (specifically Keith Brown, Adam Roth, Ashton Avila, Neil Murphy, Wini Brownell, and Steven Feinberg).

The inspiring actors I’ve worked closely with, who took a chance on a student filmmaker (David Prottas, Paulina Knaak, Alessandro Gian Viviano, Matthew Cippaghila).

Rob Goodrich of Walk Like A Duck Entertainment and Guy Wood who took a big chance on me, and are the reason I’m working in the professional movie industry.

My loving brothers and sisters at the Church of Christ in Fall River, MA.

All of my friends and family who’ve believed in me no matter what, even when I lost faith in myself!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alyssa.botelho/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alyssa-botelho/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alyssabotelho13

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Tp0eDkY2_hXCWSqV3Ji_g

Other: Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/alyssabotelho

Image Credits
Photography by Nick Doyle, Glenn Silva. Cinematography by Sean Campbell.

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