TBS spoke with frank realist, John Waters fanboy and silver screen sage at The Back Door Cinema, Andrew Mercado, about the importance of finding your true passion.
TBS: What do you think the key factor is in you ending up where you are today career-wise?
AM: Working hard and not expecting overnight success. I have never assumed any promotion was forthcoming without first showing some dedication and loyalty. Plus I’ve been prepared to start again from the bottom when changing course. Be patient and good at what you do and only then will reward follow.
TBS: Who do you consider the most intriguing public figure to watch at the moment?
AM: Malcolm Turnbull, because it’s great to finally have a Prime Minister who isn’t a narcissist egomaniac (like Kevin Rudd) or an embarrassing fool (like Tony Abbott).
TBS: What is the worst way for a person to try and get your attention on social media?
AM: Any “single” girl who says that she “really wants to know me” clearly doesn’t know much about me at all because, a) I’m not looking to be scammed and, b) they are all barking up the wrong tree – LOL!
TBS: If you could determine the exact influence you have on a young person, what do you hope she or he would gain from observing you?
AM: Hopefully that you can make a living doing something that you love but you must have a proper plan. People often ask me for advice on how to get onto TV so I ask what their specialty would be and nobody has one. Reality TV makes everyone think they can become overnight stars by doing nothing, but there is no career longevity in that.
It is imperative that you figure out what your real passion in life is and then see if you can incorporate that into your career path. And if you don’t have a passion or hobby, stop living your life through your mobile phone and go out and experience life.
TBS: What advice would you give a 15-year-old Andrew Mercado?
AM: Your acne will clear up. You will get better looking as you get older. And don’t ever worry about what other people think of you – keep it real and be authentic.
TBS: Tell us something no-one knows about you…until now.
AM: After 13 years working in corporate travel, I decided to switch to a career where suit and ties were not required. And every job I’ve had since has allowed me to wear thongs and board shorts to work, so it’s amazing what you can achieve with a goal – even one as lazy as that – LOL!
TBS: What is your favourite pretentious word to say?
AM: “Dichotomy,” for use in unrelated situations.
I just tried to say dichotomy out loud and messed it up, so it’s best I keep things simple.
TBS: What is the one gift you pretty much always will re-gift.
AM: Alcohol. I am not a big drinker and don’t like wine, so any bottles I get given are always taken to the next dinner party I attend.
TBS: What is your favourite inspirational quote or person, as cliché as it may be?
AM: My favourite movie director is John Waters who made crazy movies like Pink Flamingoes and Hairspray.
Given I now have a new cinema business, I am particularly inspired by this quote:
“Remember that a no is free. Ask for what you like, and get used to being turned down. Rejection is hard, but to get acceptance you have to put up with a lot of rejection. If you really like something, don’t ever think, “Can I do this?”. If you think “Can I?”, you won’t. You have to say, “I’m gonna do this and nobody’s gonna stop me!” But you have to believe that, you can’t just say it. It might take a really long time because people never say you’re good at first.”
TBS: If you could explain what you have set out to achieve with The Back Door Cinema in one sentence, what would it be?
AM: The Back Door Cinema celebrates classic movie milestones in a fresh new way, at unique locations – see you at one soon!