We had the good fortune of connecting with Mercedez Higgins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mercedez, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
In life if you don’t take risks you don’t know where you could go or the potential you could have if you don’t just go for it and for me taking risks have been a huge part of my life and my career. For example, I’ve moved many times specifically to further my education and my career in the film industry and if I didn’t take those risks to move out of the city that I was comfortable in then I wouldn’t have made it as far as I am now. I think that the worst thing that can happen if you don’t take a risk is the endless possibilities of not being as successful if you were to take the risk and people telling you no or simply ignoring you. Which for me I would rather jump for the opportunity and be a risk taker then not take that risk and feel as if I didn’t shoot my shot.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
What sets me apart from other people is my eagerness and my hard work and my drive for success that I have. I believe hard work pays off, being on time, reliable and being very communicative is all a part of being successful not just being creative, which is very important as well but also having all of those skills will lead to success. Recently I Production Designed a music video called Fake for RIP Youth feat. Ranger and I’m pretty proud of that, it was a challenging project but in a good way because I’m always up for a challenge and with the budget that was given, the timeframe it all came out amazing and I definitely feel my hard work paid off. I’m also excited for some upcoming projects that I’m in line for to PD some short films, that’s very exciting. I can’t say what they are quite yet because it’s all still in prep but I am very excited for my up-and-coming jobs that I have lined up. I got where I am now is kind of interesting and a little funny story, I was a transfer student to a University so my first two years of college was at San Diego Mesa and San Diego City College and I got an Associates in Liberal Arts and Sciences and then I got a transfer to Cal State Long Beach and originally in the film program they had a specialization track in Production Design and I was under the assumption that I was still in the program so when I got to campus my advisor told me that they were taking out that program sadly so I had to take a different track, still in film but instead I got my degree with a emphasis in Production Management. I’m happy I did that because I would say I’m definitely a creative person so learning things on the job comes very easy to me and being creative is something I very much enjoy but learning the money sides of things in film like the producing and management side of things it really opened my eyes and knowledge of also understanding the logistical side of things which is also very important in any department. To know the art and also the business of film ended up helping me be even more successful at what I do. During covid though obviously school went online and I was originally supposed to do some student projects but because of covid everything got shut down and in the middle of everything I felt like I had gotten no experience at all, I didn’t know what to do I only got one student music video under my belt and that was about it but I was gonna graduate in less then a year and I had no real hands on experience in the industry so I just pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone and told myself even though there’s not much production going on right now there’s still things filming. So I went to craigslist, Facebook, reaching out to people I knew who might have a connection, everything you can think of to just start getting experience as a PA onset and getting onto Indy low budget short films, music videos, commercials, all of it just so I could start doing something and have as much hands-on experience as I can before I graduated. So I began to get stuff, my first gig was being a PA for a low budget Indy comedy feature film then from there I got a gig as an Art Director and then I got a gig as a Production Designer, then I got a gig as a Costume Designer and the work just kept coming to me. I kept working hard and kept being open and available while still in school and I kept making more connections and people who saw my hard work as well kept recommending me for the next project and currently now I am a Covid PA for the second season of Euphoria while still doing my art department on nonunion projects. Euphoria is good stable job and a great way that I’ve been able to make more connections and still do what I love to do in the film industry. Getting to where I am now has definitely not been easy at all, I’ve applied for thousands of jobs and have had maybe one out of those thousands message me back to have an interview or even give me a chance, it definitely can get unmotivating at times because it feels like I’m getting nowhere and no one is giving me a chance or an opportunity but I just keep telling myself that there’s so many jobs out there that I can’t let one no tell me that I’m not good enough to work in the Art Department. So my motivation just keeps pushing me to just keep trying and just keep applying and just keep bugging people and keep trying to get experience and become better every time I work on something new because as humans we can always strive to be better then what we are now no matter how good or amazing you are at something you can always push your limit and go above then what you’ve already accomplished in life. Also not giving up because the only thing that giving up does is not getting you to where you want to be in life and your career so I keep staying motivated and believe that all this will pay off and I keep manifesting my own dreams and I can definitely feel like now I’m in the right path of where I want to be which is working in the union for film and TV. I’m not quite there yet but I definitely feel like I’m in the right path, I’m doing the right things to get to that level. Some lessons I’ve learned on the way to getting to where I am from other mentors and other professional people that I’ve worked with or people who are in the higher up position that I want to be in the future is just keep working hard, be early! That’s a huge one just being on time/early and being there and being available is the biggest factors to success and as long as you’re communicative, on time and eager to work then you’ll make it.
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?
Well currently I’m in the process from moving from OC to LA, so I don’t know LA very well but from what I’ve enjoyed in the city so far is going to Universal. I love amusement parks so I’d of course take them there first and get some cold butter beer from Wizards World then next I’d take them over to Mels Diner because the ambience is just so much fun and the food and drinks there are classics so anything you eat won’t be a bad choice cause it’s all so delicious. We’d definitely split a delicious chocolate shake and then after that I would take them to one of my favorite bars in LA which is Scum and Villainy and it’s a Star Wars themed bar and they have literally the best drinks, the best appetizers and all for a great price and just the whole vibe of the bar is so much fun because people come dressed up as characters from different comic books and other syfy/horror/ action movies etc. In the past they’ve had game nights and trivia and it’s just it’s so much fun. I really enjoy I believe it’s the Harley Quinn drink that they have I’m not sure if it’s still there but I got it last time and it was amazing.
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’ve been very grateful for a lot of people in my life who are very supportive of my passion and my career that I want to be in. The film industry is very tough and very hard to get into and a lot of people don’t make it, it’s a lot of work mentally and physically on the body and it takes time and years and patience to make it and I can truly say I’ve had a lot of people who are very supportive for me and instead of saying I should go with another career that is easier and more stable they have all been very understanding and supportive and see my ambition. My family and friends want to support my passion that also happens to be my career as well. I especially want to thank my fiancé Dylan who has been there for me from the beginning, he’s really been my rock and has been totally open and understanding to moving, to the crazy late night graveyard shifts I’ve had on set to the early call times, he’s always been there and he knows how hard it is but he still stuck by my side. I also want to thank all my previous college professors and teachers from my past especially my high school counselor Anderson, he really pushed for me to keep being motivated and eager and even though back then I wasn’t positive I wanted to work in the film industry, I was for sure positive I wanted to work in some sort of artistic career and he really strived for that and he really pushed me to be successful in what I love to do and he saw all of that energy and willing to do whatever it takes to make my dreams come true and he fully supported that and pushed me to be even better then what I was in high school.
Other: IMDB https://www.imdb.com/name/nm12293471/