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

Hi Maris, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
We are creating representation for the Mixed perspective and trying to examine the nature behind racial categories. Being multiracial and multicultural is something that is becoming more commonplace as the years go on. But way we understand being Mixed is by trying to figure out which box someone fits in.

The only way to understand what it means to be Mixed is by going through someone else’s lived experience – by hearing and seeing their story. And modern media has so many different ways to bring this story to a wide audience. If we can use story to bring greater understanding. Then I know we can really have an impact on the world.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started out a bit aimlessly. I graduated film school in Chicago and stayed there while trying to make a living. I picked up a lot of different skills – from producing to camera work to editing. But I wasn’t able to really do anything creative because I was under the assumption that I needed permission from someone else to start creating my own work.

When I moved to Los Angeles, I quickly realized that I needed to stand out in some way. My experience in Chicago didn’t count for much and I had to start over. So I began very simple – I created my own work and learned how to build a website to showcase it. And showcasing that work enabled me to stand out. The people in my network would see it and view me in a new light. While I wasn’t getting jobs as a filmmaker. I was asked if I could do some of the same duties as an independent. But on a larger scale.

Besides director, I was often the producer and editor of my own films. And I began working in those 2 departments in the digital space. I’ve been producing and editing on a wide variety of high-profile projects. Which gave me some momentum. But there was something still lacking – which was a purpose for my work.

A lot of the work I was good technically. But it didn’t really have a particular voice or point of view. I was using my creative talent to speak for my own satisfaction. But I knew there was a greater purpose for it. When speaking with a friend, he asked who I wanted to speak for and I blurted out “the experience of being Mixed. The conflict that happens when different races and cultures meet.” And I diverted my efforts to helping not only talk about my own experience with it. But also give aid to other filmmakers and creatives who were doing the same.

I was taught that marketing and branding were something that diluted art and creativity. But in learning about it, I’ve found the opposite. It’s just letting the world know your purpose for creating in the first place. And in the right hands, it can be something that’s selfless. It shifts the focus from “what do I want to say” to “who can benefit from this.” Which has given me energy to stay on task and keep going despite any setbacks.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
People usually think of LA as Venice Beach and Hollywood. So I would do a food-based trip through all the different neighborhoods in the city. We would have Birria in East LA, African cuisine in Little Ethiopia, and Ramen in Little Tokyo. We would visit the markets downtown near Olveira street, go to the hikes in Runyon Canyon, and go to a drive-in in Paramount.

The greatest thing about LA is that whatever you interests are, you can find a place to explore it. You can get into your comfort zone and then expand it. The options are limitless.

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?
The Blended Future Project was created partially because of the mentorship and friendship of Alex LeMay. I’ve known him for almost 20 years. He’s encouraged me to dig down into who I am and think about what I really want to say. He’s given me pats on the back and kicks in the rear at just the right time. He worked with me for months while we unlocked who exactly my work could represent. And I now have a mission I look forward to working on every, single day.

Website: https://blendedfutureproject.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blendedfutureproject/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marislidaka/

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

Other: Personal website – marislidaka.com

Image Credits
Helenna Santos Kristen Bell

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