My name is Adam Madrzyk, and I’m a freelance cinematographer currently living in Toronto, Ontario. My parents immigrated to Canada over twenty years ago and raised my older brother, my twin brother and I in London, Ontario. Personally, I am a NYC $1 pizza type of guy. I love music and am constantly trying to discover new songs/artists. I don’t workout (yet). I also stay up way too late every night watching Vimeo videos/ thinking of new projects.
From that moment forward I have tried to … only invest time into creative work.
Originally, what inspired me to pursue filmmaking was skateboarding and photography. Although London’s fairly small, it had a really tightly knit skate community that I got involved in from a young age. My talents never lent themselves naturally to skateboarding, so instead I would film a video of my friends every few weeks with my mini DV handy-cam camcorder.
What I loved most about skateboarding was the community and passion that surrounded it, and the fact that it taught me to look at things differently — every location had a unique opportunity for skating and filmmaking whether it was a regular staircase, a park bench, or an underpass. It presented the notion that creativity in tandem with passion can propel you forward both personally, and professionally. I think taking a new perspective on regular mundane life definitely translates into my work today. I definitely credit some of those videos and experiences for sparking that initial passion for filmmaking.
After a few years, I put skateboarding on the back burner and focused on solely on photography. I knew I wanted to go into a film/photo related career, but I was still unsure of the path I wanted to take to get there. I worked on one feature film at the age of 16 and again later on one at the age of 18. Working on big budget projects allowed me to witness the massive creative process that goes on behind the scenes. It was at that time that I knew I needed to pursue a life behind the camera. I shot a few small projects throughout high school, and my passion only continued to grow. I worked a part time job (at the local pizza shop) in between classes all throughout high school to save up for my short films and invest in gear.
My parents moved to Canada with only a suitcase in their hands — this really helped me appreciate how hard you have to work to get where you want to be.
My first short film was called ‘Awaken’ and it was selected amongst a handful of festivals across Canada and the US, which to me was a big accomplishment and a really positive reinforcement at the time. I was lucky enough to have Canon Canada recognize and showcase one of my photographs that same year, and they gifted me a trip to Toronto with my twin brother. Toronto always felt like my dream city, and coupled with the fact that it was a collaboration with such a notable brand like Canon, the opportunity really felt like a push in the right direction. This helped me build confidence, meet the right people and finally allowed me to start envisioning a career as a creative. Seeing a brand like Canon believe in me from the beginning really solidified the fact that I could potentially prove successful in this industry (if I hustled hard enough).
From that moment forward I have tried to remain persistent, and only invest time into creative work. I made a pact with myself to only work film related jobs (which every young student and creative knows can be tough). My parents moved to Canada with only a suitcase in their hands — this really helped me appreciate how hard you have to work to get where you want to be.
I’m really interested in making work that tells someone’s story. We’re all looking to relate to something or someone especially in today’s world; it’s easy to feel like an outsider or feel discouraged by the competitive nature of the industry. I think character profiles show people that celebrities or people of influence are living relatable lives just like us. Some celebrities come from nothing, and they know the hustle it takes to achieve their dreams.
Working hard at one project can often lead to the next — this industry is built off of word of mouth.
The thing that really thrills me as a filmmaker is the process behind the craft. I also love aspects of documentary shooting because it allows me to explore people’s lives in a candid, personal and not always polished way. I love the perfect imperfections you sometimes capture only through documentary-styled cinema verité shooting.
Shooting the Great Big Story for CNN was an extremely rewarding moment. The opportunity came about because I was working for a local film festival and shooting their content. It was there that I met Sarah Mortimer who kindly passed my name along to the team at CNN after she wrapped her own project with them. This reinforced that working hard at one project can often lead to the next — this industry is built off of word of mouth.
I’ve always wanted to ride in a helicopter, and this opportunity was finally my first time. On the drive to Buffalo it was actually established that the other camera operator was going to be chosen to shoot the content in the helicopter. Once we arrived at the scene, the CNN team decided otherwise and sent me up instead. This definitely called for an awkward ride home. I felt bad that we both couldn’t have shared the experience, but to the same token this allowed me to fulfill one of my bucket list dreams.
Funny enough, when I was in grade 11 filming my first short film (which ended up being my application work for Ryerson) drones weren’t in the mainstream yet but I was insistent on getting my own aerial shot for the opening scene of the film. Instead of using stock footage, I decided to put forward the money I earned at the pizza shop to rent a small plane for a portion of the day. Just as with the CNN project, it was less about being afraid of heights, just a fear of not landing a good shot.
Staying humble, working as hard as I can, sleep, eat, repeat.
I don’t specifically have one dream project in mind; I’m currently more in pursuit of just new inspiring collaborations. I always make goals/lists of musicians, creatives and brands that I dream to work with. I really do strive to make those relationships in order to make those collaborations happen, even if that means cold calling.
Last April I had written on my whiteboard that I wanted to work with The Creator Class again, and the opportunity came. Those are the milestones that mean a lot to me as a creator. Of course I could sit here and go on about shooting the next James Bond film to fulfill my childhood fantasy, or working on the next big Drake/Weeknd video for example. But I think for me it’s about appreciating the little milestones, because I feel so lucky to even have the chance to be a creative. I don’t think I would be at the stage that I am at without some key figures who have supported and acknowledge my work along the way. I think everyone has a few of those people and they should never go without credit — a big thank you goes to my mentor Rick Perotto.
I’m still in school at Ryerson for film and am finishing up taking the maximum course load to get ahead. I don’t actually mind sacrificing my social life in order to stay on track, and I’ve learned this will most likely be the case for the majority of my career. Staying humble, working as hard as I can, sleep, eat, repeat is a pretty fair description of my schedule as of now, but I can’t complain.
And Drake, I’m always available for you.