We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Scicluna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Don’t make giving up an option –– just pivot! A great friend once told me, when faced with any crossroad in life, pick a path and keep moving. You can always switch paths if you end up on the wrong one, but the worst thing you can do is stop moving altogether … You can’t get anywhere standing still!
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.
Up to this point, I’ve been an independent film and media producer who has shaped heartwarming stories into low-to-mid budget films, commercials, music-videos, etc. But as I write this, I’m actually in the midst of shifting my career toward an executive path and materializing my childhood dream: shaping blockbuster films at Walt Disney Studios! This is THE film studio that made me fall in love with movies … The dream I came to Los Angeles to pursue in the first place!
As anyone who has spent more than 15-minutes with me will tell you, my dream of working on Disney movies “someday” is synonymous with my identity –– and has been since childhood. My eighth-grade superlative was “most likely to join the Mickey Mouse Club” after all! … So really, landing a role at Disney Studios is equally a dream come true for me as it is a huge relief for my family and friends –– they’ve gotta be tired of hearing about it by now!
Alas, to answer your question, the lesson I learned along the way is to NEVER GIVE UP. As one of my mentors so eloquently put it upon landing my dream job, “this is what happens when someone picks a specific lane, lets the world know it’s her goal, and focuses on it like there’s no tomorrow”!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Such a tough question! I feel like I haven’t yet explored enough of Los Angeles myself to provide a worthy itinerary ––the perils of working full-time through grad school, then being stuck inside through COVID!
But as a blanket answer, I’d probably want to highlight all the unique landscapes and experiences Los Angeles has to offer: Hikes in the hills, trips to the beach; visit a film studio lot and see a movie or concert at a notable Hollywood theatre or venue; peruse local markets for fresh fruit and handmade crafts; drive down palm tree lined streets in Beverly Hills; take a day trip to Disneyland (duh); and of course, daily and nightly wining and dining! I’m such a foodie, and there are SO many great restaurants and bars in this town –– Laurel Hardware, Ysabel, Night + Market, Conservatory, Taverna Tony’s (Malibu), Sycamore Kitchen, Salt’s Cure and Electric Owl to name a few!
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 obvious answer: I owe all of my success to my loved ones and mentors. My parents, grandparents, and brother for their boundless love and backing; My incredible, selfless partner Max for riding the day-to-day highs and lows with me; My UCLA family for their cheerleading and support; My industry mentors for pushing me and providing me opportunities; the list goes on.
The unexpected answer: I owe just as much of my success to the misfortunes and setbacks I’ve endured along the way. To the jobs I didn’t get; The curveballs life’s thrown; The people that said “no”; The times I fell short … While I hated those hurdles in the moment, in hindsight, they were essential to getting me where I am today. They defined critical moments and shifts in my career path that have helped me really narrow in on and materialize what I want and what’s worth fighting for.
So with that, I dedicate my “shout out” to anyone frustrated by the barriers to their dreams. Try to trust that setbacks are mere tests for how badly you want something, because at the end of the day, the things we fight for in life are the things we want and cherish the most!