SFirm’s CEO Melinda Santiago, Is Ready To Conquer The Literary Industry.
Melinda Santiago is a serial entrepreneur in the entertainment industry. For over 25 years, Melinda has consulted, managed, and branded several celebrity clients to new successes. Integrity and respect are her driving forces in this once male-dominated industry. She is the CEO of The Santiago Firm LLC, an entertainment firm, and an umbrella for Santiago Productions LLC, a Film and Television Production company where she is the President and Executive Producer. The newest division created under the Santiago Firm umbrella is SFirm Publishing. This book publishing company allows her colleagues and clients to obtain other streamlines of income thru books called #SFirmCelebritySeries.
LS: A black woman who writes is powerful. What does that power mean to you?
MS: The power of the pen is where one can make an impact. Beautiful stories, memories, thoughts, and experiences can take a person’s imagination anywhere they want to go.
What intrigues you the most about writing and storytelling?
Writing has always been a strong skill, and some could say a passion. What intrigues me the most about writing and storytelling is the powerful messages that can come across on paper. People are enticed to know if it’s written down a fact or gives them a chance to release from everyday life.
LS: What writers have influenced you the most and why?
MS: Some writers that have influenced me are John Grisham and Stephen King. Ashley Antoinette was the newest author I have come across in the last couple of years. Beautiful writers of drama, suspense, and horror. Those are some pretty dope authors.
LS: Your book, “Til Death Do Us Part,” is a significant change from your successful Entertainment career? What is the inspiration behind your book and its characters?
MS: Inspiration for this book and its characters comes from my circle of friends, my experiences in the past, and my mother. It’s a good story and so relatable. I wanted to highlight friendships. I wanted to open up people’s minds to Different Ways of thinking about life. I want to let my comedic side flow in a very authentic way.
LS: How did your creativity flow while writing this book?
MS: The way I allowed the creativity to flow as I put on meditation music. As I was writing, I just thought about memories and what I thought would be funny. A lot of “what would you do “ moments. I just let it flow, and I laughed. I did some self-checks, laughed, and started creating a movie in my head, so I just put it on paper.
LS: African Americans are some of the most elite pioneers in the music industry. What is the best advice you have been given that helped your career? What have you learned about yourself?
MS: Some of the best advice given to me about my career is win-win or no deal. Both parties have to win. Both sides have to win both entities have to win. Integrity is key in this business. Relationships are essential in this business. And what I learned about myself is that I can do it, every bit of it, because I hold integrity to the highest level. I want to see others win; intern, I attract that same energy.
LS: What made you step into the Entertainment Industry?
MS: The entertainment industry honestly chose me. I was working a corporate job and just very platonically met a lot of celebrities. Athletes ,artists ,actors and actresses. I would put people together based on their needs for fun. I was, what they call it now, the plug.
LS: What is a unique skill that has helped with your success?
MS: A unique skill is the overload of multitasking. People think they can do it. They don’t see what goes on behind this. Still, multitasking is truly a unique skill, and I’m not saying multitasking is a bunch of busy stuff. You gotta have balance. It’s efficient execution on top of multitasking for a successful outcome And the ability to identify people’s needs before they even realize what they need which makes me successful.
LS: What is your biggest lesson about the Entertainment Industry?
MS: The biggest lesson I’ve learned about the entertainment industry is you can make it what you want. There is no ceiling for anyone. It is difficult? Yes. Is it tiresome? Yes. Is it boring? Not. Relationships are the key. People can try to help you if you’re lucky enough, or people will sabotage you. The key is ownership.
LS: Aspiring artists face many challenges that can be overwhelming and, at times, complex for them to handle. What advice would you give to encourage them?
MS: Some advice I’d give some aspiring artists is to understand what they’re chasing. Are they putting time into the skill? Or are they looking for a handout or a quick come-up? Based on what the work ethic they wanna put in will dictate their outcome. With social media, we’ve seen a lot of talent. You can either get lost in it or shine above it. Your work ethic will speak for itself.
LS: What are your top eight elements in creating a powerful brand?
MS: Eight essentials in creating a powerful Brand would be: 1. Time management, 2. Consistency, 3. Knowledge, 4. Vision, 5. Organization, 6. Problem-solving, 7. Accountability / Respect, 8. Honesty / Integrity
LS: If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be? Why are these changes needed?
MS: If I could change anything in this industry, it would be transparency. Transparency is critical, so everyone involved feels comfortable. The changes are needed because the biggest downfall is losing trust in the people you’re working with, which tears down brands’ and people’s visions and dreams. These changes are needed because it’s not hard to do. It’s a choice to be honest and open. Understanding your worth and being able to compromise without compromising your morals is important.
LS: If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
MS: If I could switch lives with someone for a day, it would be Oprah Winfrey. Why? Because she’s Oprah Winfrey.
LS: Moving forward in your career, what can we expect from you next?
MS: What’s coming next in the book. I will be shopping its story to pitch for movies. I hope to get this in the movie theater in 2023. Some reality show concepts I’m working on. Some more books are being published through the book publishing company SFirm publishing. I’m going to speak this into existence right now. All seeds I plant will prosper at the right time and place with the right people.