Sunday, November 17, 2013

Filmmaker Derick Martini

Derick Patrick Martini (born December 2, 1976) is an American screenwriter and film director. He is of Italian, Jewish, and Irish heritage. For more information visit his Wikipedia page.

Follow Derick on Twitter @derickmartini

What is the current project you are working?
I'm in post production on a film I directed from a script co-written by me and Bret Easton Ellis called "The Curse Of Downers Grove".

What is your opinion on crowdfunding?
If by crowdfunding you mean 'rounding up a crowd and raising money from said crowd to fund a film', I don't know how I feel about it personally because I haven't done it.  My films have been funded in a more deliberate way, with usually one or two people, or companies financing the film.  The financing end has always made me cringe, and I have successfully avoided dealing with it in most cases.  However, being able to avoid it is just luck and having great producers like Jon Cornick, Michele Tayler and Leonard Loventhal who've  that heavy cross.  I've been able to simply write and direct.  However, in all reality, that luck can't possibly continue in this market and I am prepared to deal with the pains of being more involved with the financing process.  If crowdfunding is narrowed down to a crowd of 6-12 people who will not be hurt financially if they lose their investment, I'd feel pretty good about that.  If the crowd is made up of a group of people who will be hurt financially if they lose their investment, I'm not comfortable with that.  There are many, many safer and less confusing investments than film.  Or, as my friend Leo so succintly puts it, and I am paraphrasing, "the film business and its finances are irrational".

If by crowdfunding you mean 'kickstarter', that frightens me to death.  I've noticed filmmakers out there utilizing kickstarter and I can say this:  they are braver than I!  It's just too public for me, personally.  I have a hard time when I have actors and myself attached to a script with no funding and it's being shopped privately, within the industry.  That always kills me and I try to avoid it as often as possible.  I can't imagine exposing my actors and material in a public manner, looking for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people to invest.  I have nothing against the filmmakers who put themselves out there on kickstarter, like I said it's brave, but it's just not for me.

Why do you prefer using film when shooting your movies?

This is a great question John!  Back to the stuff I love.  Like most filmmakers who prefer film, it's ultimately about the look.  I love the grain that film organically provides and I miss it when its not there.  Grain adds a texture to the end result, the look of the movie, that digital does not.  With digital, you wind up adding grain in post production, imposing it onto the image as opposed to it organically existing as a natural flaw.  On my current film I'm about to do just that because I have to.  We shot it partially on 35mm film and partially on digital for financial reasons and I can't say that I dislike digital because that would be a lie.  I like many of its advantages, I just dislike its seemingly only disadvantage -- no grain.  But the jury is still out on the grain issue and I am withholding judgement because my hope is that my film comes back, with grain, and I won't know the difference between film and digital anymore.

What is the best way to make it in the film industry?

I don't think you ever truly 'make it', John.  It's always going to be from story to story, or movie to movie.  Just a wild guess, but I'd bet all of those filmmakers who seem to have 'made it' all feel like they haven't -- they still have something to prove, or another story to tell.  I think maybe, just maybe, you've made it when you have run out of stories to tell. 

All that being said, you have to start somewhere.  I am a firm believer in making a micro budget feature legnth film to start.  Write your script, keep it simple, fund it just like you would a short film; on credit cards, borrowing, etc, and make it guerilla style.  Today, unlike in 2000 when I dove into film with "Smiling Fish & Goat On Fire", digital is an extremely cost friendly way to make your film.  Festivals are everywhere.  Do your work and then get your work seen, forget everything else.  That is the best advice I can give.

What has been the best moment of your film career thus far?

That's a tough one John.  I can't pin it to one moment and I'd rather not weigh the downs versus the ups, so I'll generalize a bit:  my favorite moments have always been what happen between when I say 'action' and 'cut'.  Working with the actors.

How has becoming a father changed the way you create films?

Becoming a father of two little daughters has definitely changed me as a filmmaker.  Isabella (4yrs. old) and Alexandra (2yrs. old) are starting to curiously pick up dvds I have hanging around the home office, which is really cute until Isabella asks "what is this one about?".  What comes racing to mind are all of the wonderfully dramatic yet very dysfunctional relationships most of my characyers have in common.  That's when I cringe.  I know one day they'll see these films and I'll have some explaining to do.  If I keep going with the darker material, I can always show them "Louis" and have a shot at redemption.  

Why did you decide your create your short film "Louis"?

I didn't.  My dear friend and fellow filmmaker Dan Pritzker said to me one day back in 2006, "Derick, I have an idea…".  Dan is a very creative guy and he is very passionate when it comes to music.  He was telling an origin-like story of Louis Armstrong and how he wound up with his first instrument.  I'm really glad he came to me to help him bring it to life because it is such a rare gem of a film (I can say that without being a complete braggart because Dan directed it, I co-wrote it and did some second unit shooting).  The way he wanted to do it, "silently", is truly is a remarkable idea and a what we wound up with is something I am very proud of.  A convergance of meaningful storytelling through music, sound and image.  It's precious, and that's how Dan chooses to show it, at limited engagements, as he should.

What is your favorite film of all time and why?

This is another tough one John.  I study films obsessively, bad ones, good ones, great ones, which makes it difficult to pick a single favorite.  The films I can view over and over again and still remain engaged by the story while breaking down every angle, edit, lighting cue, sound effect, score cue etc. would be considered favorites, I guess.  But it's a pretty long list and it would still be a strain to pick an ultimate favorite.  I encourage anyone who wants to gain a deeper knowledge of film to study the greats -- Scorsese, Hitchcock, Leone, Truffaut, Chaplin, Kazan, Ford, Capra, Powell, Lucas, Powell, Peckinpah, Nichols, J&E Coen, Cassavetes, Spielberg, Sirk, Coppola, Wilder, Sturges, P.T Anderson, Kurosawa -- take in a variety of styles in all genres, don't limit yourself.  You may find you're only attracted to a single genre and style and that's fine.  Watching these filmmakers' work is a process of learning and discovering who you are as a filmmaker.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
P.S  After you're done watching all of these filmmakers' work, re-watch Marty's stuff again to set the record in your mind straight ;)