Chatting with Adam Madrzyk

12/13/2020Jake Ryan

I found the Instagram account of Adam Madrzyk while scrolling one Saturday afternoon, after a brief look through his page and checking out some of his work, I knew I had to talk to him. Adam at a young age has worked hard to achieve some amazing things in a short space of time, and his work ethic should inspire anyone struggling for motivation. 

I recently chatted with about his work, his dreams and his plans for the next year. Check out the full interview below. 

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hey! My name is Adam Madrzyk. I'm a Polish/Canadian Cinematographer currently living out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

What are your biggest passions?

Some of my biggest passions are travelling, music and photography. Travelling alone, with my girlfriend Torri or with family/friends has always been such an incredible escape for me and given me a true appreciation of nature and the world around me. Having grown up as a first-generation Canadian, most of my family still lives in Poland. My parents moved here in their early 30's, and I think that's why I have always made it a point to travel back to Europe over the summers. Not only to reconnect with my family overseas but also to explore my roots. Travel played a pivotal point for me growing up, and I think it definitely inspired me to pursue my dreams as a creative. 

I grew up skateboarding and snowboarding which I think was definitely my first real taste of filmmaking. I was making tons of videos at the time with my friends at local skateparks or at our local ski resort any chance that I got. The videos weren't great but I would spend hours digitizing my Hi-8 and mini DV tapes, editing those videos and trying my best to curate the perfect music to them. It felt pretty clear from a young age that spending hours staring into a computer screen or spending hours outside in any weather condition to get the perfect shot didn't bug me in the slightest and would eventually turn into a career of mine.

Music has always been super influential to me. It's often the driving force behind my work and behind my creative vision for projects. I grew up playing piano since grade one, then jumped into guitar than drums. I've lost some of what I've learned over the years unfortunately, but it's my goal to get back into music in the coming year. I am constantly listening to new artists/songs or even DJ'ing parties for friends. It has always been a fundamental part of my life. There's still certain magic behind it that I still don't fully understand. I like to think if I wasn't working in film, I'd be a music producer. 

Photography has also been a passion of mine from quite an early age. I was first introduced to photography through my godfather, who asked me to take a family photo when I was around 10-11 years old. He noticed I had an eye for composition and framing and allowed me to borrow his camera for a few months afterwards. Even at that age, I was curious, and remember playing around with it and teaching myself certain skills. I took that camera on a trip that my family took to Paris, and that's where I think my creative eye and love for travel kicked off for me. For a while growing up, I aspired to be a nature/landscape photographer and had aspirations of working for National Geographic Magazine someday. That dream of course shifted when I first got introduced into film in high school, but my love for photography still remains. 

Tell us a little about your work?

I studied at Ryerson University at the Image Arts program and have been working professionally in the industry for a couple of years now, and loving every moment of it. Toronto is such a unique and incredible city, and I feel so grateful to have come up in the film industry here. It's opened up so many doors and opportunities that I feel would otherwise have been closed in other big film hub cities (like LA and New York), and the best part is Toronto is only growing and getting better each year.

I shoot a mix of everything from commercials, to music videos, to branded content, to docs and long-form + short form narrative projects. I never really liked putting myself into a single box, so I've always tried to branch out and learn/explore as much as possible, which I think this multidisciplinary approach is super important especially now a days with how quickly everything is changing.

You’ve already worked with some huge brands in the industry; other than these amazing projects, what would you love to work on next?

Thank you! My next goal is to jump into the long format TV world! The new TV/long format landscape is super fascinating to me, especially now with all of the streaming platforms that have emerged over the past couple of years.

We're slowly breaking out of the mold set with traditional broadcast time slots where TV episodes had to be a given length or had to follow certain criteria to be properly slotted in a broadcast window. Since the world has gone digital and on-demand, I feel like we're living in a brand-new TV age that is rapidly developing before us. It's a super exciting time, and I feel like the medium has shifted now in an exciting way that is more so serving the story first instead of just filling time.

Don't get me wrong; I still love shooting commercials and music videos. But as an image-maker, it's such a fascinating next step. With a series, you get more time to develop a given look or mood/feel over several episodes. Evolving a visual language like that is a concept that is so cool to me and something I'm hoping I get the chance to do in the coming future! 

What do you love most about your job? 

What I love most about my job are the experiences/opportunities that come with it. I've found even travelling the world with a camera in hand has sparked so many spontaneous conversations and connections that I feel otherwise might not have developed the same way.

The places that I've gotten the chance to visit, the people I've gotten the opportunity to meet, and the incredible collaborators that I've gotten the chance to work with are what makes the job so rewarding and ever-changing, which I love so much.

What’s been the proudest moment in your career so far?

It's hard to say what the proudest moment is in my career has been so far, but I do have to say just being on set and seeing so many friends around me really make me feel proud and happy.

Seeing how those friendships have grown, and those work relationships have developed over the years is sometimes easily overlooked or forgotten but is so rewarding to see. 

Having the right people support you and have your back is something that comes with time and experience. I've caught myself a few times being on set, just stopping and looking around me and just smiling. Just seeing how lucky we are to be on set, working on these projects and doing what we love feels super rewarding and gratifying.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into the industry? 

If there's any advice I could give, it would be to work hard, aim to do work that moves you, learn from others, find who inspires you, learn from them and strive to create your own work/opportunities. Starting out you have to do as many projects as you can, meet as many people as you can and try learning from each and every one that comes your way. I felt I had a similar approach starting out and still carry the mentality of learning and taking something away from each and every project. The film industry (like many) forces you to constantly have to keep learning new things, keep tabs on new technology and constantly require evolving both personally and technically. It's a tough industry, and sometimes it can feel quite daunting and exhausting, but I truly think there has never been a better time to learn and grow as a young filmmaker. 

Every year there's a growing number of new online courses, youtube tutorials, breakdowns, conversations, live chats, mentorship programs, sponsorships/scholarships, grants, awards, etc., out there that are really aiming to help foster the next generation. Still, it's up to you to take full advantage of what's out there and make the most of it. 

Who were your biggest inspirations growing up?

My biggest inspirations growing up have unquestionably been Steven Spielberg, Derek Cianfrance and Spike Jonze (as well as David Fincher, Cary Fukanaga and Christopher Nolan in later years). Their films have moved me immensely and helped me find my own voice and taste as a filmmaker. Spike Jonze also coming from the skate world and transitioning so effortlessly and brilliantly into the big studio motion picture world/commercial world has always been incredibly inspiring not only to me but I feel like also to all the other filmmakers that also came out of the skate scene.

Out of everything, I would also say though the Vimeo community has inspired and shaped me the most. Throughout highschool and university I would spend full days just browsing through Vimeo staff picks or going through the likes of some of my favorite filmmakers. It's still something that I catch myself doing, and I hope the platform is one that lives forever. I think Vimeo is such an incredible and brilliant platform that has hosted an amazing global community around it. There are so many filmmakers/creatives that I've met or have been moved by over the years by discovering them on Vimeo. Because of that, I've been utilizing it ever since I first remember being interested in film and hope to continue to do so for long as I can.

Has covid affected your work much this year?

Covid has definitely affected my work this year. I've found it's been quite difficult to get some projects off the ground or have found several projects as a result were either cancelled or postponed, sadly but understandably. It's definitely been a tricky year for everyone, but at the same time, it's one that I'm extremely grateful for.

With everything happening around the world, I've still been given some incredible opportunities. I have had the chance to work with some pretty incredible people while also learning a lot about myself, which feels so rewarding and makes me feel blessed.

I've also learned to take some extra time off to unwind, learn more about a new topic or find ways to learn even more about myself. I try not to stress about when the next project is coming, but that's not something that comes easy, and I often find myself falling into that trap. Reminding yourself that not many people have the luxury of having time off for themselves or the opportunity to take that time to learn or create art for themselves is important to remember in those in-between moments.  It can be scary sometimes as a freelance creative, but at the same time, there is often something around the corner sooner than you even know, and if there isn't - I've just learned to figure out ways to help cultivate it myself. 

And finally, what are your plans for the upcoming year? 

My plan for the coming year is to take things day by day. It's easy to get caught up in goals and aspirations for the future, but I'm hoping to take each day as it is and continue to make the most of everything as it comes. I'm hoping to definitely shoot another feature film in the coming year and hopefully aim to do more music video, commercial and narrative projects. 

Another bucket list goal of mine was always to go on tour with an artist at some point. That mix of the music and film world feels so interesting to me and  is something I've always wanted to explore - but who knows what the coming year will look like.

For sure, the best thing we can do is remain positive, empower our community and those around us any way we can and do the best we can individually to build a better version of ourselves to help build a better tomorrow.

Thanks Adam for taking the time to talk to TravelFoodFilm.

Be sure to follow Adam and his work on Vimeo and Instagram

All photos in this post are property of Adam.

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