We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Manyak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor that has played into my success as both an individual and as a brand has undoubtedly been my deep commitment to the grand vision I have for my life, and the relentlessness to which I dedicate myself to pursuing my goals. In my career as a filmmaker, even short-form projects generally take several long months from the time they are conceived to the time they hit the screen. Streaming series and feature films inevitably take much longer – sometimes several years. Reaching high levels of success is not a sprint – it is a marathon that you run every single day. There have been a multitude of times where I have had to go days without sleep because of the sheer amount of work that needed to be done in a short amount of time, and throughout all of it, I would need to be able to consistently perform at a high level of execution. There have been days where I would need to wake up at 3AM, drive for 4 hours, run a film set for 12-16 hours, copy over the footage from the day, and then drive 4 hours home before having to get ready to do it again in a different city the next day. By being able to consistently push myself physically, mentally, emotionally to my personal limits, and overcome them, it has allowed me unprecedented opportunity for growth, learning, and success. Many of the successes and opportunities I find myself engaging with today are due mostly to the tireless efforts that I have sustained for the past couple years. In a way, it’s become almost a cyclical domino effect – the dominos just continue to get bigger with time – and so does the success. But the primary reason that I have been able to push myself in this way is because I have identified my purpose as an individual, and have committed myself to my “why.” My ultimate goal in life is to show the world what is possible when you tirelessly and relentlessly dedicate yourself to the pursuit of a grand vision.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My first film released on YouTube in January of 2012. As one might expect, it was not great – not in the slightest… But it was a start. Over the last nine years, I have had the opportunity to work on productions in varying capacities across the country ranging from writing screenplays to producing, shooting, and directing. I am most known for my short film, “After the Fall,” which has garnered a vast international audience since its 2017 release, and is currently in the process of being made into a feature film. My most recent work, the vampire show “Deathless,” celebrated its U.S. & U.K. release on Amazon Prime Video in December 2020. Currently I am attached to a variety of productions slated for development and release over the next two years ranging from a feature film that is set to star name talent, to a television documentary focusing on the untold history of a local tourist destination in Saint Augustine, Florida. Becoming the filmmaker I am today, even though I am still a small fish in the middle of a vast ocean, has certainly been no easy feat. It has required countless hours of research and training, sleepless nights, skipped meals, working holidays, and missed vacations. Success requires sacrifice. But when you see an image in your head that compels you to wake up every morning and pursue your goals, no cost seems too great. It is simply a matter of cementing your purpose for why you do what you do, and never compromising the integrity of that purpose. When I was young, I endured a depression where thoughts of suicide plagued me daily. There came a day when I had determined as an 11 year old that I had had enough, and went to commit to the act. But just before I passed the point of no return, a thought came into my head: “If you do this, you miss out on everything that COULD be.” I paused, and reflected on this thought. I made the decision that I would give myself a week to find something that would allow me to channel the negative thoughts into my head into something constructive. If I found that thing, I would stick with it the rest of my life. If I did not, I would come back and finish what I had started. Within the week, I found writing: the art of telling stories. All these years later, I’m still sticking with it. If there’s one thing I want people to take away from my life when all is said and done, I want to show what one can achieve when one dedicates themselves completely and relentlessly to pursuing their dreams and goals. It requires a strong sense of purpose – a strong ‘why’ – to achieve high success, and this is often where many people struggle. But once you find that ‘why,’ and set off in the direction of greatness, everything else starts to click into place.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Being that most of my friends are fellow creatives, a week-long trip would inevitably involve a series of classy photoshoots downtown, loud music, and a visit to the beach – and, of course, a visit to the bar for a well-crafted cocktail.
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?
I would not be where I am today – and I would not be the man I am today – without the love and support of my family. Since the time I first chose to pick up a camera and call myself a filmmaker, my mother, father, and sister have supported me through thick and thin. They have helped out on countless sets, helped push each film’s marketing initiatives to new heights, and provided me with the space and freedom to live my own life, learn my own lessons, and grow into the person I desire to be in my heart and mind.
Other: “Deathless” on Amazon Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/Deathless/dp/B08NLDYCC4/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
Benjamin Holland Christian Pavlik Nalani Manyak Student Showcase of Films