Teacher Spotlight: Yearbook and Video Production’s Adam Souza

Adam Souza hanging out in Downtown Portland. Whether it be music, film, or cooking, Souza puts his creative twist on it to create an art style like no other. Photo by Javier Perez.

“On the music side, I’ve been in a few bands—I play bass,” says Adam Souza, who started delving into live music when he was in his early 20’s, in a folk/pop band called Sunbeam. They were very serious, practicing three times a week. Sunbeam’s greatest accomplishment, in his eyes, was probably getting to perform at the Crystal Ballroom. After Sunbeam, Souza continued to play music, joining various songwriters’ bands and working the music out on his own, playing whatever needs to be played, and just being a good bandmate in general. His near future plans include playing some shows with a friend who just recorded an album. “It’s harder to do it once I started to have kids and I got busier, so that time when I was practicing three times a week was before I got married, and had kids, and other responsibilities,” he says.

As the Video Production teacher at Franklin, Souza also has a passion for filmmaking, but sometimes it’s not so easy as a teacher. “I haven’t been able to do a lot of [filmmaking], just because, as you teach it, and I’m teaching it every single day, the last thing you want to do is go home and do more of it, so it’s hard to get motivated,” Souza says. One of the biggest film projects that he has accomplished was done with his brothers. “I’ve always enjoyed working with my brothers because one of [them] is a cinematographer, so I’ve done projects with him, and my other brother is an artist.”

This big project involved walking from LA to San Francisco and traveling along the path of a proposed high speed rail. “The route originally was going to cut across my family’s property, and so we decided to walk the entire route… and put out a video every day.” The high speed rail route is a $64 billion dollar plan to put up 800 miles of track up and down California, proposed in 2008 and still under design and preparation today. “My instinct is that ‘Yes! Get a high speed rail in there, it’s better for the environment, more cars off the road; San Francisco airport is too packed,’” Souza expresses. An immediate answer before thought is to build the rail, but in doing so, there’s a lot of people who need to sacrifice their properties. “It’s a very complex issue because you have, like, all of these conservative farmers who are built on tradition and looking at their way of living and the way they’ve done things for years, really focused on tradition, and then you look at a more liberal side of things where people are wanting to improve the environment and say, ‘Hey, let’s come together and sacrifice together.’” It made Souza really understand how political movements happen and where people stand. That’s what he loves about filmmaking: it’s an amazing tool that helps people learn about the different perspectives one can take from a simple task; that’s why he loves to do it on the side as well as teach it.

Another hobby Souza enjoys is cooking for his friends or family. “I get so excited to do [cooking] and a lot of my students tease me about it ‘cause I tend to talk about it a lot in class.” Smoking meats and barbecuing with his friends involves him in the culinary art—it’s a very collaborative thing that helps build his community. Most of the reading he does are cook books, helping him understand more about cooking, but also the motivations behind it. “It’s a beautiful thing that brings people together, and it’s kind of like a service to your friends and family.”

Since Souza has these different talents and hobbies, bringing them together transforms the arts into an even more exciting thing to do. “Right now I’ve been going through Ugly Delicious, this documentary series about cooking,” he says. The show involves the history of specific foods, as well as the adaptations of it created by different parts of the world. “There’s one about pizza and about, like, ‘what is pizza?’ And there’s like a manifesto of what pizza should be and how America has… taken that and made it their own through all the different cultures.” Getting involved in the culinary arts has further inspired Souza, who recently introduced the idea of making a cookbook to his brother. Food has encapsulated his life. “It’s something I can do at home with my family a lot, whereas music I have to leave my home or a lot of people come in and we play music when it’s loud, and I have kids.”
“All three of those things are all things that I can do with my friends and family, so they’re just things that really connect me as a person because I’m just a very people-person.” Music, film, and cooking all make up a unique part of Souza in and out of school, allowing him to be as creative as he wants. From diving into each different artistic path, Souza continues to learn and create and evolve his own capabilities, finding and learning more and more things he never knew about what the world holds. “I think that’s my life,” Souza concludes.

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