We had the good fortune of connecting with Hugo Salazar, Jr. and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Hugo, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Simply put, more responsibility. It sounds crazy, but more responsibility is a good thing. Especially when you love what you do. Here’s why.

Before Salazar Productions was created, I worked steadily as an Actor / Host in TV, Film, Commercial, Theatre, and still do. Having been bit by the acting bug is the thing that changed my life. I have appeared in projects for: NBC, ESPN, Amazon Prime, ABC News, The Starz streaming app, The Investigation Discovery Network & The Travel Channel, as well as Off-Broadway work.

International Television work includes Telemundo, Netflix Latin-America, Colombian Network Television (RCN Colombia), and Bollywood / Tollywood movies (North and South Indian). Indie Film work includes films that have screened in Film Festivals nationally and internationally in over 40 Film Festivals.

Then the next bug came to bite. The Producer bug. There was a time when I helped friends and colleagues set up projects, doing everything from production assistant work to casting, coordinating, logistics, etc… This would primarily be in the areas of Film & Commercial. I would see these finished products and would feel so much joy for them that they were able to tell their story. This is when I realized that taking on more responsibility was fun, and I wanted to get busy behind the scenes as well.

Then, with the little experience I had behind the scenes, but seeing how much I loved that aspect of filmmaking as well, I knew I wanted to get into producing. I love being in front of the camera, but there were stories I wanted to tell from a Director / Producer standpoint. I realized that certain stories were not being told and I had to take the RESPONSIBILITY to get those projects made.

Through many conversations with myself and wondering whether starting my own company was a good idea, I was inspired to do so, despite the utter fear at taking a jump and working full-time for myself. I jumped, and in April of 2019, Salazar Productions was born.

Then, March 2020 rolled around and Covid happened. Everything shut down in literally every industry. All filming projects that Salazar Productions was contracted to ended up freezing. Anything I was attached to individually as an actor was frozen too. A very scary time for, not only myself and my company, but everyone. The future was very uncertain. One thing loomed over my head from the onset of Covid, “How will I / Salazar Productions survive?”.

To keep myself distracted from the worry, I had helped an acquaintance move from one location to another. A few days later, someone came to us and mentioned they heard of our ‘moving company’ and would also like help moving. My first thought was ‘well we’re not a moving company’, but then I stopped myself mid-thought and realized ‘well we ARE a COMPANY’. I then took all leads, and my wonderful crew and I did moving and home assembly for all regions in my area. Luckily, I already had all the equipment necessary from the TV / Film universe; hand trucks, ratchet straps, bungies, lifting straps, general tools, etc… Since I have been responsible for entire sets; camera equipment, lighting equipment, this was already in my arsenal. Not only did the moving jobs go so well, but we expanded into Storage Services as well!

Fast forwarding a bit, with things slowly re-opening since the start of Covid, Salazar Productions went back into full swing with commercials, film, and consulting work. All the while still maintaining the newly established Moving & Storage Division.
Seeing how I successfully pivoted and jumped into another industry completely different (just to survive), I realized Salazar Productions is not just a one-dimension company. We are a company for the people. Since I already bring different skills to the company, I train my team in those same skills, empowering the company even more.

To date, our portfolio includes project development for: “The Elevator”, on Amazon Prime, starring Oscar Nominee Eric Roberts, The Starz Streaming App, New York Fashion Week (for Mexican Designer Ricardo Seco), GMaherketing, The Car News Network, The Emmaus Skincare line, The K District, & Independent Fan Film remakes of, “The Caped Crusader” & “Catwoman”

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There are some highlights that have been major successful actions and the reason Salazar Productions is where it is today, for only 3 years in operation.

Be happy to fail. Failing can very well be the best teacher we can ever have. Failing could actually be a better teacher than winning. Still, I want all of you reading this to have wins, obviously. Winning will give you a good viewpoint in how you executed properly to pull-off a success. It goes without saying that winning will advance your career and what you do. Failing, however, will give you an ENCYCLOPEDIA-worth of information to see what did not work, so you can sharpen all of your skills & tools. The more losses you have, you actually shorten the learning curve in the life of you being a Business Owner / Entrepreneur, helping you in the long run.

If you’re having win after win, I applaud you and that is GREAT. However, the less bumps in the road that you run into, the less opportunities you are going to have to sharpen all your skills. Therefore, throughout all those losses are so many lessons to sharpen all these areas. All those skills sharpened will be crucial down the road when you face bigger and bigger obstacles, which you will (with more sharpened skills) handle with much more ease.

So even when a project goes great, celebrate! You did well to get that far. However, when a project tanks, or you do not close a contract you wanted very badly, STILL CELEBRATE! I tell you, from the bottom of my heart, the lessons, headache, and tears will be worth it.

As crazy as it sounds, being in love with what you do is more important than money. Business owners / Entrepreneurs are the type of individuals to go into working 80+ hour weeks for themselves over working 40-hour weeks for someone else (with the obvious goal of working less and making more). Once you truly love what you do it will never seem like “work”. Also, you will just operate at a different level of energy. A certain level of resiliency will come, it will be very hard to stop you, and you will find solutions for things in ways that will even surprise YOU. Being In love with what you do will be noticeable not only to other people, but to Clients as well. Believe me, they will smell it a mile away. That will breed trust in you, your company, and will lead to lifelong Clients. Clients that eventually become friends!

Get comfortable being uncomfortable. You will definitely get to a point with your own company that will lead you to get “comfortable”. Be very careful with that. Congratulate yourself first, for getting to a stable point in your company. Still, that comfortability can be deadly. With new skills and power your company gains, be very careful to keep your radar on newer and bigger projects to tackle. New / bigger projects will seem daunting and intimidating, and they WILL stretch you. They WILL make you uncomfortable because this is new territory for you. Trust me that this is EXACTLY what you want. You will grow so much faster in 6 months being ‘uncomfortable’ than in 2 years living the life of an Entrepreneur / Business Owner that does not take chances.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First, for dinner, we’d go to Rumi’s Kitchen at Colony Square. The food there is just amazing and gets you hooked immediately! Then we would go to Hotel Midtown for drinks and live music. The atmosphere there makes you feel right at home immediately. The live music is super entertaining and gets you right in the mood for partying.
To wind down from all the partying, we would then go to The Spa at Hotel Midtown. We would get all the knots out of our legs from dancing!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wanted to shoutout my mom and dad. Hugo (Sr) & Gloria Salazar. They are hugely responsible for all the amazing things that have happened in my life.

Since I was little, they always pushed me to try new things. No matter how crazy my ideas were, they always cultivated an environment of freedom of expression and adventure. One day I would be curious about learning an instrument, them BAM!, next day I would be in guitar lessons. I was curious about being involved in a sport? POW!, I was a gymnast the next week. Little did we know that the beginning of my involvement in gymnastics lead me to become a high level competitor as a gymnast, martial artist, and NCAA Springboard diver. These are disciplines that further molded my character and work ethic in life.

Granted, there are always family struggles every family goes through. However, their ability to keep pushing forward despite any obstacles is something that got ingrained in my bones and is something that has served as a life-long lesson and inspiration to me.

Website: www.SalazarProductions.co

Instagram: @HugoSalazarJr @Salazar.Productions

Linkedin: @HugoSalazarJr

Facebook: @HugoSalazarJr @SalazarProductions

Youtube: www.youtube.com/HugoSalazarJr

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