Born in Transylvania, Andra Matresu is a cross-media video and film producer who has studied in some of the best film academies in the world (La Fémis, NFTS London, Ludwigsburg Filmakademie and HFF Potsdam). She was selected for the Atelier Ludwigsburg-Paris training programme for budding European film producers and was awarded an Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Scholarship at the age of 24. Andra is the founder and creative producer of ‘2030, WHENiGROWUP’ a project that uses audio-visual media to foster children’s personal development and help them get one step closer to achieving their dreams. In this blog post, Andra tells us about her project and how she got to where she is today, and gives some advice to other young entrepreneurs thinking about starting their own businesses.
Originally from Sibiu, Romania, I started out on my entrepreneurial journey with nothing more than a camera, a laptop and a dream. My goal is to help children get one step closer to their dreams, using film-making to support them on their road to fulfilment.
As a kid, I was always coming up with new inventions and creating different things: from clothes, movie scenes and poetry to various events and activities. Later on, as a student I used to work for the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that’s where I realised that Romanian politics was more about preaching, and less about truly taking action. It was then that I figured out I could use audio-visual tools, the power of cinema, to educate and help people take action. I chose to use my talents not to chase after trophies and parties in Cannes, but to try to improve people’s quality of life, through cinema.
This is why I created an interactive participatory film-making platform where children can express and create their dreams and visions about their future through the power of cinema. The first of their kind in Luxembourg and, who knows, maybe the rest of the world, I organise and conduct “eduTational” DIY participatory film-making workshops for children, under the name of ‘2030, WHEN i GROW UP’, which was selected as one of the 10 projects livestreamed at the national stage of the Ideas from Europe Competition 2015, held in Luxembourg. I’ve coined the term “eduTational” because I believe that entertaining, personalised learning and interactive participatory education are values that our future generations will evolve on.
Using a camera, paper, toys, household objects, pens, mom’s make-up, dad’s necktie and whatever they can lay their hands on, children learn how to reach their dreams through the art of narrative film-making. Using these materials, they create a small web series in which they offer their creative solutions to everyday adult life… All of this in the hope that, once they are grown-ups, let’s say in 2030, they can refer to these stories and find guidance from their inner child.
Why do I do what I do? Because I strongly believe that we all – parents or not – have a moral responsibility to establish creative foundations for future generations to evolve on. Children, in particular, need support in expressing themselves and becoming the best versions of themselves that they can be. They owe it to themselves to live the life they have dreamed of. Not the life that their parents predicted for them. Not the life that the media tries to sell them. Not the life that society forces them into. But the dream life they once expressed as children. And that’s why ‘2030, WHEN i GROW UP’ is there to provide long-term support to these kids in creating and pursuing their own journey. The children who participate in ‘2030, WHEN i GROW UP’ are already playing a vital role in creating their own futures.
The best part of my journey as a founder and producer of ‘2030, WHEN i GROW UP’, is that I engage in these activities more as a child than as an entrepreneur. I’m the children’s voice. Unfortunately, there are children around the world who have no voice. So how can we expect them to turn into well-rounded adults if they don’t even have healthy creative foundations to express and start their hero’s journey? That’s where ‘2030, WHEN i GROW UP’ can make a difference and change lives.
I am not enamoured by the idea of entrepreneurship. My purpose is not to be an entrepreneur, but to live my dream through entrepreneurship, while using cinema for educational and personal development purposes. What I like about being an entrepreneur is that I feel the excitement, the adrenaline and the fulfilment every time the stories I produce inspire somebody. As a film producer, I measure the quality of my work by the response of my audience. This is my greatest reward: to use storytelling clips and videos in order to inspire viewers on the Internet and beyond to become the best versions of themselves that they can be.
You get to experience the joy and pride of a great success achieved through hard work and discipline. And you can only work hard if you believe in your business and love what you do. Otherwise, I could not do it. What I like and dislike about being an entrepreneur is that I can work constantly without a break. I let everything in my life slide in order to work on my business all day, every day and, if possible, even late at night. I really enjoy all aspects of ‘2030, WHEN i GROW UP’ and when I immerse myself in the business, I tend to completely neglect my life outside, because I love what I do. So, if you’re planning to be an entrepreneur you need to have the sense to ease up and balance out your life: love life, money, health, activities, family, friends, and sport. Otherwise you’ll lose control over your life.
My top advice for all young entrepreneurs out there is to fall in love with the process and look at working hard as part of a “luxury lifestyle” instead of as something you have to force yourself to do. Think about why you are doing what you do: is it because of the process or because of the result? Enjoy the process. Don’t fantasise too much about the result, otherwise you might end up on the wrong path.
Learn to accept rejection, to target the right clients and look at your pitfalls and hardships as a privilege and not as a chore. And, if you want to grow, keep your eyes and ears open and never stop learning. If you are truly willing to battle through the hardships and if you enjoy this thrill, then you have the right stuff to be an entrepreneur.
Andra Maria MATRESU
Film Producer and Online Video Marketer
Founder and producer of ‘2030, WHEN i GROW UP’