We had the good fortune of connecting with Nick Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nick, what’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
I believe anytime you say No it’s the hardest decision you have to make.
Whether it’s No to a project, friend, or family member it is hard to set your boundaries and stick to them. It’s taken me a long time to figure out that it’s ok to say No and I still have doubts if it’s the right decision.
Once you do say No, you realize it is not the end of the world and it forces others to respect your decision and time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m most proud when I’ve created the film I want to see. I always start with the audience of one. And the films I want to see and create are always focused on escapism. When I was younger that’s what movies were to me. My mother was a waitress who work 12-hour shifts, so after school and before my sports practice later in the day, she would take me to watch films while she napped in the seat next to me. I loved films because for that 90 minutes, all the issues of the outside world went away and I could escape and that’s what I am always trying to recreate with my work.
I’m a very team-oriented person (sports background) so I want all my crew to bring their expertise and really enjoy collaborating with them. I try to create an atmosphere that allows people to shine on my projects and bring ideas that I never thought were possible. I never want to be the smartest person on my team. As a Director, it’s my job to make sure that I know the story in the script better than anyone and that everything going in the camera is true to that story and script. But how I get there is a collaboration with my team and I want them to have ownership in the film also. I want to work with people that I am excited to be around for a 12-hour day.
As much as I love movies I never thought of it as a possibility of something I could do for a career. My mom was a waitress and my dad was a truck driver so I come from a blue-collar background. I had my Teamster’s card at 17. My parents did not want me to go into film they wanted me to get a stable job with health and welfare and a pension. It took me a long time to realize that I wanted to go into a more creative endeavor. But the good thing about having that blue-collar background was once I did find my passion my work ethic was really strong and something I took immense pride in. I was able to use that work ethic through all those tough years of learning how to be a filmmaker. The early years of filmmaking taught me that you have to lead by example. You have to be willing to do every job.
What I want people to know about my brand is I hope you remember my films more than you remember me. I’m always trying to entertain the viewer and make a quality product.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Best time ever? That’s a lot of pressure. I always tend to go to places with good beer and the ability to talk. Monkish Brewing or Highland Park Brewery are places I always take friends. I also love standup comedy so I’ll grab tickets to the Comedy Store or Laugh Factory. And if they just want to chill and walk around, Hermosa, Manhatten Beach, or Malibu.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I always start by thanking my mentor Ned Kopp, DGA. He was an old-school 1st AD/UPM who worked on “American Graffiti,” “The Right Stuff,” and “Fast and Furious.” He was the first person to see something in me that others didn’t and show me how to be a professional.
My wife Katie, who always has my back and showed me what real work ethic was by never taking a day off at her hospital during the pandemic.
Larry Schapiro, who always supports me and has helped me learn more about the business than anyone.
Barnaby Dallas, who I have been making films with for years. It’s always fun when you get to work with one of your best friends every day.
Darren Rae, who I co-run Roann Films with. He is an amazing talent who I learn from all the time. And when we work together it’s so liberating to know whatever I miss he will see, and whatever he misses I will see. Trust is the key.