Today on the show we have returning champion Adrian Martinez.
Adrian Martinez has over 100 television and film credits including several standout sidekick roles -“Focus,” opposite Will Smith and Margot Robbie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” opposite Ben Stiller, “Casa de mi Padre,” opposite ‘Mexican’ Will Ferrell, “I feel Pretty,” as Amy Schumer‘s office buddy, ‘Mason,’ and as ‘Elliot’ the dog catcher in the CGI and live-action re-imagining of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.
Adrian also co-stared with Will Smith and Margot Robbie in the film Focus.
Will Smith stars as Nicky, a seasoned master of misdirection who becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess (Margot Robbie). As he’s teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame—now an accomplished femme fatale—shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of the high stakes racecar circuit. In the midst of Nicky’s latest, very dangerous scheme, she throws his plans for a loop…and the consummate con man off his game.
On the television front, Adrian recently starred in ABC’s crime drama series “Stumptown” alongside Cobie Smulders, Jake Johnson, and Michael Ealy, and in the CBS all access comedy, “No Activity,” produced by Will Ferrell and Funny or Die. Adrian was also a series regular playing computer hacker, ‘Dumont’ in “The Blacklist: Redemption,” on NBC, opposite Famke Janssen and Ryan Eggold.
Adrian’s directorial debut, “iGilbert,” a drama he wrote starring himself, Dascha Polanco (“Orange is the New Black”) and Raul Castillo (”Looking”) was recently released by Gravitas Features and currently available on demand and in select theaters.
“There is beauty among the broken in writer/ director Adrian Martinez’s iGilbert, a dreamlike ode to human connection at a time in which our phones keep us safely cradled in our own bubble of safety….” — Filmthreat.com
Enjoy my conversation with Adrian Martinez.
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Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome back to the show, returning champion, Adrian Martinez. If you can wake up, sir, I appreciate that. Thank you.
Adrian Martinez 0:21
Alex, it's an honor to be here. And I thank you.
Alex Ferrari 0:26
I thank you for coming back on the show, my friend. It's been it's been a few years since you've been on the show. You were you were on early early on. Because, you know, we knew each other from now leap and, and worked a little bit together on on that stuff back then. And I asked, I asked, you know, a giant in the field, like yourself to come and humb to my humble podcast to talk shop back then. And now you're back, sir. And I appreciate you then. And I appreciate you now.
Adrian Martinez 0:59
Well, I couldn't be more grateful to speak to you because you know, movies. Uh, you know, the price we all paid to make them. And so I'm grateful to be here.
Alex Ferrari 1:09
Yeah, we're going to talk about your new film, which is your directorial debut iGilbert. And a little bit, which is, which I love by the way, and I'm sure there's a couple stories I'm sure it was very easy to to make it random and very quickly. I'm sure the money just flowed in. And you shot it what in like, a weekend and got all the all the actors just showed up? It was great. Yeah. And yeah. And it got released right now like this is? So for people who don't, who aren't aware of your career, how did you get started in the business?
Adrian Martinez 1:45
I was a complete an abysmal failure and everything else. Then, I actually started as a teenager, and I was at high school Springer. And, believe it or not, and they were going around schools, putting up signs for a crime reenactment show called Unsolved Mysteries. And they were looking for sprinters. So my friend said, Yo, you're the fastest one here, you should do it. And I was like, I don't know. They're gonna pay you like $500 for the day. Alright, where do I go? So the whole audition was a sprint, literally, like a 40 yard sprint. And yeah, I was a medalist, and I left everyone in the dust tonight. And I booked it. And I became sag eligible. And now just 87 years later, on directly my little bit
Alex Ferrari 2:45
But we did you use? Did you? Were you method when you were right, when you were running? And sprinting? At the time, did you what kind of acting techniques did you use?
Adrian Martinez 2:56
I I said go for the money, go for the money and go for the money. I had an objective. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 3:02
There was an objective no question. Now you've worked with some of the best directors in the business over your long career. I mean, you're one of those actors who I constantly see pop up everywhere you just one of those actors who's always working and it's so funny
Adrian Martinez 3:18
I was standing behind you.
Alex Ferrari 3:21
You're like David Pumpkins you like standing right behind me. But it's true because I you know, I'll be watching a movie or a show on you know, on TV and with my wife and I'm like up there's Adrian. Oh, there's Yeah, it always puts a smile on my face. I'm like, Oh, that's awesome. He's still he's cranking along. I love it. And I love what you know, when you're doing your your thing. And by the way, there is nobody else like you like you have no competition.
Adrian Martinez 3:48
Let's just keep it that way.
Alex Ferrari 3:50
There's not an Adrian Martinez type, like you are a there is nobody else like you. You have such a unique energy to you, to you and everything you do so but all these shows you've worked on all these movies you've worked on, you work with some of the best directors in the business. What were some of the lessons you learned watching them that brought that you were able to bring into directing your first feature?
Adrian Martinez 4:11
Well, I tell you, when I worked with Ben Stiller, Sheikha Latifa Walter Mitty, I learned all about hard work. Because he produced it, he directed it, he started it. And he was the first one to show up the last one to leave and then he would go work on the Edit. And I just, I just stayed on him like, like white on rice, or, in my case, off white on rice. And I just really just tried to learn as much as I could, but extremely powerful hard work ethic. And then, of course, at the Pollak rescue piece that worked with him on the interpreter with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn and this is a man who was just so vs understated power like he ran the set. But but he did it with a whisper. And you don't have to yell at anybody. You don't have to be a dick. Just have to know what you want, and deliver the message with passion and commitment and authenticity. And he did that. And he knew how to speak to different actors, as if they were each a fingerprint. And I was nervous. I was working with Nicole Kidman, and he's an Oscar winner. And I was just I was nervous. I was kind of starting out. And he was just like, Dude, you got this. You got this. See that lady over there. And he's talking to Nicole. She's, she's, she's gonna be there for you. 100% This is a safe place to work. So just take a deep breath and joke. Yeah. That was it. That was it. You were done. It was just, I was so moved by that. I still fucked up. But
Alex Ferrari 6:04
I mean, you you almost brought the whole movie down. But but but at least you felt safe.
Adrian Martinez 6:08
But. But he was so generous to like he told me. I said, What about if I? Because I was worried. I was doing a scene with her. And I'm like, I'm like the sound man of this booth, right? And I said, What if she gives me the line? Can I leave my violin here? And I say, number one, stop flirting. It's not going to happen. And he laughed. He's like, that's absolutely ridiculous. But I want to shoot it. So you know, this was $100 million movie. And he gave me the generosity of shooting Matt. And I just, I'll never forget, I
Alex Ferrari 6:48
Did it make did it make the cut?
Adrian Martinez 6:50
No, of course not. It was absolutely ridiculous. But he gave me the time of day and he respected my idea. And you know, he believes in me not to shoot it. So I mean, they were spending $300,000 a day on that. Oh, yeah. So each take is pricey. And he still let me do it.
Alex Ferrari 7:11
And Nicole. And I'm assuming Nicole cracked up.
Adrian Martinez 7:16
She was like
Alex Ferrari 7:22
That's amazing. Yes. And it's and he was I mean, he was a master and, and you know, I've seen those directors who just just their mere presence commands attention. And they're, it's kind of like, you know, when you're Sydney Pollack, you know, everybody knows you're on set just by you walking on it. It's one of those things. Now, you've worked as an actor for many years now. And one of the things that actors have to deal with a lot is rejection. What is the mechanism that you use to deal with that? Because I mean, it's, I mean, as a director, when I when I do castings, I'm trying to be as nice and unkind to actors as possible. But you guys go, you know, sometimes on, especially when you start out, you know, five or 10 castings a day, and you're rejected from almost all of them, if not all of them, almost on a daily basis. And so you go through 100 upside. Stop crying, stop crying. Stop crying agent. It's but but I'd have a month, you might get one, you might land one if you're lucky. How do you deal with the rejection?
Adrian Martinez 8:24
Oh, my God, I'm having that Oprah moment. Dude, just just the life I chose. And like my mother would say, nobody's forcing you. Shoot, it's true. She would crockery finger like dollar. Nobody's forcing you, right? Thanks, man. But look, resilience. That's all it is. I was watching this documentary with Rita Moreno. Yeah. The one that just came up. Yes. Great. And she was like, you know, because she admits that she was actually raped right by her agent, what she was just a teenager and kid she fought through that fought through that football, that racism and ageism in the vicinity. And they asked her how just you have to be resilient. That's it resilience. There's no and some people have a capacity for that more than others. And I understand that a lot of my friends no longer are no longer in the business and I respect that. But you just have to fight and be resilient.
Alex Ferrari 9:33
And I think that's something that every every person in every part of our business needs to understand from directing to gripping to screenwriting to acting, it is resilience and and that's what they don't teach you at film school. And they don't announce that they don't sell that Hollywood doesn't sell you that they sell you this. I always say they have they're really great at the sizzle but they suck at the steak.
Adrian Martinez 9:54
Alex Ferrari 9:57
Now you you also worked with With, with one of the biggest movie stars, if not the biggest movie star in the world at the time with Will Smith as a co star on focus. Were there any valuable lessons you learned from working with, with will and you know, just being around someone who is so not only so famous, but how he works and how he got to where he is with any valuable lessons you learned.
Adrian Martinez 10:25
Two quick stories about him I, my first day, just seeing I'm in an ambulance on a gurney. And sitting over me is Margot Robbie, and Will Smith. And we have no air in this ambulance. We have lights right over us. And I'm like in a polyester suit. And I'm dying, I'm dying, I'm sweating my ass off. And Will Smith reached into his pocket, took out his personal handkerchief and dab the sweat off my head. And that was day one. We were in New Orleans. And I'll never forget. And I said to myself, I'm going to be good on this movie, I'm going to be safe. Because if the biggest star in the world had the humanity to do that, I'm going to be good. So that's what Smith that you don't read about. But he is like a parade float. He is larger than life. When we were in Buenos Aires. He came out of his trailer just like frogs and people like the Beatles just came after him. But what he taught me is treat everybody, everybody with respect. Because you don't know who they are where they fit. me tell me that. But he showed me that just by dabbing my forehead.
Alex Ferrari 11:51
That's a great, great, great lesson. Now, I want you to tell you, you've been talking about I Gilbert for a couple years. Now I remember, you know, we threatened to work with each other a little bit on that on the post end. When you guys were trying to get something going or finishing up the film. How tell me first of all, tell me about the film. I Gilbert, what is it about?
Adrian Martinez 12:14
Well, it's a personal story for me, because I there was a long time in my life when I felt completely disconnected to everyone. Just just being Latino in this business, being a big guy walking into, you know, a drugstore and just having people look at you just because you're paying or whatever. And I just kind of like, let that simmer inside me. And then one day, I'm on the subway in New York. And there's this guy sitting opposite this attractive woman. And he starts just taking pictures. And then he kept doing and it's just like, what did that What are you doing? He didn't say anything was just dead. And then you got off the next stop. And I thought to myself, Who is this guy, that he is so dead on the inside that he could, you know, dehumanize someone in that way. And just keep moving. So that stayed with me. And then of course I have a daughter, you know, she just turned a teenager and I'm like, Who is she going to wind up with? This is the dating pool. You know?
Alex Ferrari 13:31
I know the feeling brother.
Adrian Martinez 13:35
And you know, I reached the point as a person and as an actor that I just wanted to tell stories that mattered to me. And what I felt was this growing disconnection between people. I mean, listen, we all love our phones, and we all love social media. But it can be very isolating. So just like in Taxi Driver, the metaphor for loneliness was the taxi. Today, to me, it's the phone. And so that's how I started cultivating the story.
Alex Ferrari 14:09
And how did you How long ago did you start this process?
Adrian Martinez 14:16
I wrote this maybe 10 years ago. And I shot it in 2016 and 2020. I had to do reshoots last in 2020. And then post production was a real pain in the ass. I couldn't find the right composure. The good the music was so essential to this movie. But finally, it was an act of God because that was I was in Savannah, Georgia. I was shooting lady in the trap, the remake and I'm just walking around and I see Leonard Malton the film critic heading towards the screening over Scott and I just like Linamar antics, I walked up to him, I said, it's the mountain. I love your books. They were really instrumental to me just was say hello. And you said, Thank you. Thank you so much. And he's with his family, couple friends. And I was so desperate, I just blurted out. Does anybody know? composure? Yeah, like it was a total non sequitur. But I was just so like, I couldn't stop thinking about any other composure. you compose. I was on the subway. I didn't, you know, composers. And then somebody said, Oh, I know somebody New York. His name is Gil, Tommy. Okay, Tommy. And I went to Apple Music and I started guild Tommy and I heard this song that he wrote called time, like rain. And it was like a lightning bolt. It was just like, that's, that's the tone of the song. That's the tone of the music I need for this for this one. That's it. I reached out to him. And the rest is history. He and his partner. You sell a full sell the vestry. She's from Spain. compose the most gorgeous score. It is when you see the movie. That's a beautiful spot I got. Yeah. And I kept trying to trip him up like, it's got to be sexy, haunting, sad, but beautiful. Like I just confirmed
Alex Ferrari 16:32
And creepy, but fast but it's slow.
Adrian Martinez 16:37
And I swear he like took a leak came back and boom, there was this fantastic score. And props to my wife, who, who wrote the the the end call song and the song in the flashback. But that was it. We were off and running after I got that score.
Alex Ferrari 16:56
So how how did you get the funding for the film?
Adrian Martinez 17:01
Well, that was hard. That was the hardest thing I've ever done. I move the money from savings to checking.
Alex Ferrari 17:10
Did you finances yourself finances yourself?
Adrian Martinez 17:12
I did. I don't recommend. I told my kid Listen, the good news is that he's making a movie. The bad news is you're not going to college. Yeah. But we'll see.
Alex Ferrari 17:29
But isn't it isn't it amazing though, as as filmmakers you know, I call it the beautiful sickness because we you know, once you get bitten by the bug, you're done. You can't get rid of it. It's it's in your blood you. It can go dormant for years and still pop its ugly head somewhere. And I had I had I had a director on the show who literally mortgaged his home for his first film, the movie bombed. He lost his home had seven kids had to move back in with his parents and his seven kids and his wife. And he said the only thing I could think of is like, oh my god, I'm never gonna get the direct another movie. And I'm like, that's, that's sick. That's that's absolute sickness.
Adrian Martinez 18:13
Yeah, but essentially, for me, it was same thing. I had property. In New York, I sold it to finance the movie. And I have no regrets. Because for me the choice was, am I going to be an actualized? Landlord? Collecting rents? Or am I going to be a naturalized filmmaker? Wow. Living my bliss. And you got on your comeback? Yeah, you know, if you look no worry about it.
Alex Ferrari 18:44
Exactly. Exactly. You did it. So it so but you so what took you so long? Then if you had if you had the funding, why did it take so long from the moment you wrote it to the moment it's been released almost 10 years later?
Adrian Martinez 18:57
Because at first I did try crowdfunding. I tried all kinds of, you know, I reached out to friends in the business. I mean, I went the route that you would, because who really wants to, you know, but it just came clear that, you know, it wasn't gonna happen. And then I had a window and I said, That's it. I'm just gonna shoot it.
Alex Ferrari 19:20
And you just and you ran it. You grabbed it. You grab the few friends as actors and brought him in and amazing cast by the way. Great cast.
Adrian Martinez 19:28
Well, I feel like this is the best thing. Dascha Polanco, Stan with all due respect to our interest in new black she she just gives such a subtle powerful performance
Alex Ferrari 19:40
It's beautiful beautiful spir It's haunting it's always haunting
Adrian Martinez 19:42
Yeah, yeah. And then you get people like well Sean Maher know from House of Cards coming in and help me out she was terrific money Kernan as the doctor I love her. She's gonna be on the show ghosts down. She just was on power. Whereas a regular, just good people, you know, good people, and of course, Raul Castillo, who I met on a movie called, Don't let me drown that went to Sundance. And we've always just stayed in touch. And I'm like, Dude, he's a creep. But I need you to bring that heart you bring to everything. And he did.
Alex Ferrari 20:21
Now, as a director, you know, there's always that day on set, that you feel like the entire world is coming crashing down around you. You're like, Oh, my God, you happen every day. So what am I? What am I doing here? I'm going to lose all my money. I, you know, and it could be for many different reasons. What was that? What was one of the many days that you had on the set? And how did you overcome those those moments? Because it's crippling, I've had it. I mean, I've literally had panic attacks. When I was first directing. It's It's It's horrible.
Adrian Martinez 20:54
Yeah. But it's also wonderful. Yes. That your story? Yeah. The way I was able to do it was like, I shot some short films in college. And so I said to myself, I'm going to do one short film a day. Okay, that's it. I'm doing one short film a day. And I did that 20 days. And then I said to myself, like, I remember one time we had, we had a scene change, and wardrobe forgot the change of clothes. And she was in Chelsea, we were in Harlem. It was rainy. Everything just sucked. And we're just sitting around, just kind of like waiting for the clothes. And I said, let's just grab the camera. And let's just walk the streets and do some pickup shots. And in those pickup shots, and I found some, some real gems. And it reminded me of who directed Babbo was the narrative.
Alex Ferrari 21:57
Adrian Martinez 21:59
Yeah. He was like, you know, just shoot, like, the screenplay is like the newspaper that just changes every day. Just go out. If you see something industry, interesting, just shoot that and be open to the miracles. So I was, and I wound up having some really nice shots, kind of like B roll stuff that that we use while waiting. We just got to keep going.
Alex Ferrari 22:25
Now there's there's some shots in the movie that I you know, I know, because obviously, this is not $100 million movie. So I know you didn't get to lock off grand Central's are not Grand Central is Grand Central. Jason, what's the name of? Grant says, right. So I know, you didn't lock off Grand Central and I know their scenes in like, you know, there has a lot of production value. I'm assuming some of that was, quote and quote, stolen?
Adrian Martinez 22:51
Not Grand Central.
Alex Ferrari 22:52
How did you do it? Yeah. How did you do? How did you do the Grand Central CMN?
Adrian Martinez 22:55
They will not let you in the you got to do you got to get permission. And you got to pay them. They have their own movie person. Okay. Okay. One night. And that was $1,000. Wow. Yeah. And I for that you get a platform, you get access to one train, not news. And you get access to the main area, but they won't lock it off. So
Alex Ferrari 23:23
I said there were people those were real people just walking around.
Adrian Martinez 23:26
Yeah. And then I said, Okay. Now originally in the Cass Gilbert Gets his phone. And he, he nervously is recording someone, and that he drops it into a subway track. And originally, I had it in his mind that he goes into the track to get the funnel. As the train goes by, it really jumps out of the way. And the MCC, the NTA said No fucking way. Because they were like, We don't want copycats any of that. So then I had to improvise. I said, Okay. He just records the person. And he walks away. And then the stress of it, because he's not in good health comes in and he passes out. And that's the movie. That's the scene in the movie, you see. But originally, it was a different kind of trauma.
Alex Ferrari 24:29
Well, there was, I mean, for $8,000 Actually, that's not bad. For the price. Gorgeous. I mean, I mean for what you get, I mean, try to build that set. Yeah, you know, the production value is not that bad for a day and they get a you get the train and it's not a bad it's not a bad deal. But there were some scenes that were on the street. I'm assuming you kind of run a gun did a lot of a lot of those kinds of scenes, or did you? Did you always have a permit? You always had permission? Because I mean, I've talked I've talked to filmmakers who made 100 million out movies that run a gun?
Adrian Martinez 25:02
Yeah. No, a lot of it was running gun. And but sometimes if you're going to shoot something that's instrumental to the story, like the Grand Central, you got to just pay the price. Sure, sure. I mean, but yeah, something that was running. And interesting John Carr, the DP, he had a segway. I think that's what you call those things you scoot on. And so we would, he would, we would use that for dolly shots. He would just segue from one place to the other. And we tried doing that at Grand Central and they said, now you can use the same way. But
Alex Ferrari 25:40
Is that is that a direct impersonation?
Adrian Martinez 25:45
Questions right here.
Alex Ferrari 25:51
No, it's so yeah, the segues then is this generations wheelchair which was made famous by Robert Rodriguez in mariachi, you know, using the wheelchairs a dolly now you could use a Segway as a dolly, you put that with a Ronan, you put that with a ronin, and you've got like, you know, almost a techno crane.
Adrian Martinez 26:08
Alex Ferrari 26:09
Now, um, what are the skills that you brought as an actor to directing in this film like me all this experience you've had as an actor? Were any of those skills used in directing this film?
Adrian Martinez 26:24
Well, absolutely. When speaking of actors, because I get it, I know the price they paid, right? And acting. It takes a lot of courage to be an actor. It's, you're lending your emotional life to the character to the story. And that process is harder for something that for others. So I knew going in, to speak to actors. And I know each actor is different. If you're talking to like, and I've seen Morgan Freeman say this, like, what do you want from a director? Nothing. I know, I know what I'm doing. I don't want anything. Alright, that's Morgan Freeman. Other actors want to get deep into conversations about objectives and backstory. Cool to talk about and as long as you want on this set, dacha was very much into Jada she, she could connect to her story. And we would talk about her body dysmorphia and the characters party's dysmorphia and, and, you know, rebel, was playing someone who has PTSD and we want to talk about that. And you know, the price you pay to be a soldier and then come back out of that and to be back in the regular world and not being able to connect with the people that matter to you. So it was just like, each person had their own their own journey to take and you just have to be this.
Alex Ferrari 27:59
That's a thing that a lot of directors especially young directors coming up don't understand when working with actors, because working with actors is very mysterious. It's almost like a it for many for many, you know, unseasoned directors, they look at what the actors do as, as magic almost like how do you just turn it on, turn it off. I think one of the things you just said is so important for people listening to understand is that each actor is different and wants to be spoken to differently. Some come with all the confidence in the world, give me as literal as much as you want. And you're good to go. Others are much more neat, not needy, but want more interaction with the director and, and some need time to get into seeing other others can just pop, turn it on, like in a dime. Some are methods that are not, but that's such an important part. And I'm assuming, you know, you working with the insane list of actors that you've worked with and collaborated over the years. I'm sure you've seen the gambit from everything I just said right.
Adrian Martinez 28:59
100% and whatever it is, give it to them. Because at the end of the day, people will see the memory. See the performances, you know that no one's ever said, Well, I really love the gaffer on this. The Gaffin was fantastic. I appreciate the gap, but we can't do it without it. But your moment was sink or swim on the performances. So whatever the the actors lead on the day, it would just be that without judgment, just give them up to me.
Alex Ferrari 29:29
Now have you I'm assuming on your during your your travels, you've run into performers who might either have given you not giving you as a director, obviously, but you've seen actors who've acted up on set or not give you like, you know, either ego or insecurity. How do you suggest directors deal with trouble like you know, not troublemakers, but just people who might not feel safe? Because I know that for a fact that if an actor does feel safe they start acting up sometimes depending on who the actor is and where they are in their career. And others. You know, I just always love to hear any tips that you could hear, because I know that's one of the questions I get asked all the time, like, how do you deal with a difficult actor? If they're like the star? Or if they're just how do you deal with them? So what do you what's your suggestions with that?
Adrian Martinez 30:19
Well, if you're another cast member, just like walk away, and then let the other people do with it is not your battle. Right? If you're the, if you're the, if you're the director, you just got to pull them to the side. And hopefully, there's a room somewhere where he can just let them ban because you have to keep the space safer everybody. One guy going off, it's just that it's just like, it just brings everybody down. So if at all possible, you just pull him to the side, validate his feelings or feelings and say, Okay, tell me everything you got to say just let it up. Just let me hear it. And hopefully the person just leaves that moment. I was working on a movie was a Baton Rouge and Jeffrey, Jeffrey Tambor lost his ship. I mean, he just went crazy. And he just totally lost his patience started screaming at everybody. And the director was just like, okay. 100% I get. And, yeah, you just want on the 10 minute rant. That was it. We went back to the, to the shot. And the whole, the rest of the day felt icky. You know, next day, he came back, he apologized to the casting crew. And we moved on. But that rarely happens. I haven't seen too much of that. Jeffrey losses. Yeah. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 31:49
I mean, it's rare. It's my experiences. I mean, it's, you know, obviously, that's what the attention goes on to those kind of scenes, and, you know, the, like the Christian Bale, you know, break down and those kinds of things. Yeah, but in my experience being on set, as much as I've been, I've never really seen that it that's most of them. Most people are professionals, and they don't act on professionally, at certain points, you do have breaking points. And it could be the cast, it could be the, the crew, it could be the environment, it could be financial, it could be you just got divorced. It could be, it could be a million things, it could be a million things, you never know what's going through an actor's head
Adrian Martinez 32:28
Keep your side of the street clean. That's it. You know, for the moment you show up and keep your side street clean, you're on time, you're prepared. You work and you go home. And you do that. That's the discipline. To me, I wish the whole world was run like a movie set, where everybody knew their role. And for the most part, nobody complains, we all do our job at That's it.
Alex Ferrari 32:55
And you get in and get out and move on. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from a from I forgot which director told me this, but he's like, if you want to know how actors are feeling, you become best friends with hair and makeup. Because they're the ones are going to know, they had a rough night, they just broke up with their girlfriend, they, you know, they just got dropped from their agency or something like that, you're going to be the first to know they're going to be the first to know so always ask hair to makeup. How's Adrian today?
Adrian Martinez 33:24
There all like therapist. I mean, what's how much I was a day player. That's something I sat down. And they're like, so you married? What's goin on? Fuck, they go, they go right into it. And sometimes they catch you vulnerable when you actually feel like talking about your business. And you may say things. But yeah, that's a good, that's a good analogy.
Alex Ferrari 33:54
That's a good piece of advice for anyone listening out there make friends with hair and makeup, because they will know. And I think you were talking about it earlier is like I think as directors, this is one thing they don't teach you in film school that we are almost psychology, you know, psychologist and therapists on the set, because we not only have to deal with the actors and their emotional toll depending on the scene and the character and what they're going through in their own personal life. But you also have to run the set and all of each individual event crew member has that kind of stuff, too. So you've got to kind of the politics of it all as well is something that they don't teach you. Is that do you feel the same way?
Adrian Martinez 34:31
Yeah, but don't let them see that. I mean, like, oh, yeah, go to the bathroom, and scream. And just like, do whatever you got to do. But once you're back on set, everything is fine. Oh, yeah. He went, even if it isn't, because they look to you to know where this shift has gone. And so that's really important that you set the tone, you know, like a conductor with an orchestra. You set the tone, you said I love keeping it light. I love keeping it funny. I crack jokes all day at night, even though we were shooting the trauma. I was making jokes all the time. And you just got to keep the light and keep it moving.
Alex Ferrari 35:14
No, no question, I think. And that's a great piece of advice, because I remember my first film that I shot, day three, I excused myself, went to the bathroom and literally had a panic attack for 15 minutes, and had to go through the whole thing. And I came back out. I'm like, I knew even at that early part of my career, I can't show what's going on. If not, the whole ship goes down. And it's tough. It's not It's not easy being the captain. It's not. Yeah, but everyone thinks they could do it better. But everyone thinks they could do it better than you can.
Adrian Martinez 35:46
And maybe they're right. Yeah, sure, sure day, I'm the captain.
Alex Ferrari 35:51
For better or worse, we're on the ship. Now, I always love asking actors who direct how they're able to direct themselves, especially human, you're the lead of this movie. So how in God's green earth can you not only direct your first feature film, but then also have the ability to direct yourself be separated from yourself as far as performance is concerned? Be objective, because I've done it two or three times, and I'm not an actor, and Terry was horrible, horrible experience for me. How did you do this on a day to day basis?
Adrian Martinez 36:27
It comes very easily to me, I very intuitively had no problem with it. I would block the chain and my standing Walter Walter crews would sit in and he would just figure out what we're going to do. Then I would step in, I would perform. I maybe take a moment just to kind of like remind myself of what really matters to me in this scene. I'm just kind of like, go there. And shoot it. Cut. Check the viewfinder. Look at what look at the playback. Okay, would I be willing to see this in a movie? Is this interested enough to me? Do I want to make an audience sit through this? Yes. Good. Let's move on. No, do it again. And that comes easily what came hard for me was producing because I don't I mean, I love you know, having some money, but I don't. I don't like money. Like I don't like dealing with my taxes. I don't like you know, I don't like any of that. Just so I remember like shooting scenes and then just before an emotional scene, I can't have someone come up to 18 You have to sign these checks. Oh, yeah. should have seen him. I know. But we got so so you're signing the checks. That kind of shit just but writer director not I don't have a problem with it.
Alex Ferrari 37:58
I when I was doing my demo real. Shooting commercial. I shot $50,000 commercial real back in the 90s when we had to shoot on film, and that destroyed me nuts. Like, okay, you sign these checks. I had my UPM come over. And I'm like, but I'm in the middle of the creative process. And you need me to sign frickin checks. Like, no. Oh, God, it was it's absolutely brutal. But hey, you know, if you want to get it done, man, you got to do what you got to do.
Adrian Martinez 38:24
Yeah, these are as long as you you know, like, because what is it? They say? Pain is temporary film is forever.
Alex Ferrari 38:31
Yep. Yep. It's, it's like it's like Kubrick you so he say? He's like, you know, we're already here. We're all set up. The lights are on the cameras are here. You know, let's do it again. Let's, let's just do it again. See, see? Let's just do it again. Because we all we all got here. This has taken a long time just to get us here. For this moment. Let's take our time. Let's do it again.
Adrian Martinez 38:57
God bless Shelley Duvall.
Alex Ferrari 38:59
Oh my god. That's Oh my god, what she went through when the shining. Used to use Shelley Shelley. God bless Shelley. Absolutely. If anyone's not seeing the making of The Shining, get the blu ray go online. 20 minutes of just watching Stanley Kubrick absolute decimate Porsche lead of all I love.
Adrian Martinez 39:17
I love Kubrick
Alex Ferrari 39:18
Oh no, of course. But I think it was also but I think it was also his technique. And this is something I've always I mean, I've heard Coppola do it. You know, and other directors do it where they abused their actors because that's what the feeling they want in the scene, or things like that. And I don't I don't personally like doing that. Kubrick obviously did it with Shelley it you know, for better or worse at work because she was an absolute mess in that movie. Looking why you know what her character was? I know cool. People have tried to do it with with Winona Ryder on Dracula. Yeah, and all that kind of stuff. What What's your take on that kind of stuff? I mean, I always like just like let the actors Do them if they if they need me to yell and curse at them. There's something wrong. That's my opinion. What do you think?
Adrian Martinez 40:07
Again? It's the fingerprint thing. Oh, you're right, you're right. If an actor needs that, and they're okay with it, I mean, I'm not going to be abusive, right? That's where you draw the line, of course. But sometimes, you know, you do need an actor just to be in your face to say, Listen, this is what it is, this is what it is. This is the scene what you let her know that you're tired of a fucking fucking nail it, whatever it is. Right, right. And you got to do what you got to do. And then sometimes you go up to an actor, and they're like, yeah.
Alex Ferrari 40:48
Exactly, exactly. Now, what, what surprised you the most about yourself, during the process of directing and producing this film,
Adrian Martinez 40:59
That I could do it I mean, I took on a lot. I took on a lot. And it came at no small price. I mean, there were times when I felt tremendous despair, and, and terror. Because, you know, all kinds of things happen, people came and left. Locations came and left the food didn't arrive meal. It just like, it was just a series of tsunamis that you just have to grab this, your your surfboard, and just just keep going. But it affected me, you know, Peter Brooks says, actors are athletes of emotion. And I feel everything as a person, you know, like I take everything in. So to be able to compartmentalize that as a director, producer to stand back and see the bigger picture to allow myself to feel that our agony I was in or whatever bliss I was, and just keep coming back the next day, as if each day is a miracle. That was That was hard. But I did it. And I did it mostly because of the crew, and the cast that back me up every day. Without even knowing it, you know, like, and sometimes knowing it, but just knowing that they were there for me that they believed in the story that they gave me their time. No one got compensated a lot of money. But they were there. And just just by the fact they were there was was an affirmation of my vision and destroy. And that kept me going.
Alex Ferrari 42:41
It is the his the beauty and the terror of being an artist is what you just explained is the UPS the peaks and the valleys, the bliss and the despair, that could happen within a minute, a second of each other. And one moment, one moment, you could be at the highest of the high and the next moment, you could be at the lowest of low and it could turn on a diamond. And that's a unique that's unique to the filmmaking art. You know, I'm not sure it is like that with photography or with, you know, painting. I don't know, even with writing, I definitely think it is, as you know, could you wrote this? How long did it take you to write this by the way?
Adrian Martinez 43:21
So I write very slowly and very quickly. And by that I mean I was I was just cooking with this idea for a year or two. And then I banged it out in a weekend. So I mean, of course, obviously that was the first draft. And Jose Rivera who wrote and got an Oscar nomination for the Motorcycle Diaries. He's my up on a movie. And he has a writing group where I brought it in. And I would have other writers from different parts. And Muslim or no was in that writing group at the time. I knew I wanted her in the store. I just love her. I just love her look her presence. She's so smart. But yeah, they're the script took different stories, different lives. So like, let's just call it a year.
Alex Ferrari 44:18
Okay, fair enough. Now, besides composing, was there any other part of the post production process that you would like to warn filmmakers that never made a feature about like the kind of a couple of hiccups or pitfalls that you might be able to fall into in the post production process of this?
Adrian Martinez 44:39
Just remember that when you catch the movie, you're not just casting the cast. You cast the crew, and you're casting the post production people you got to be with people that are highly vetted, that come from personal referrals, people you trust like it was. It was Oscar winner Shaka king who taught me about the post people In iMovie, he said, Yeah, go here. Go to this guy. That's it. I believe he shocked. But this is before you blew up. But he, we did a movie together called newlyweds that went to Sundance his first movie. And he's been very, very helpful. I thanked him in the credits. Good man, smart man. But that's that's definitely the the truth. You got to really go with people that are vetted and recommended. And trust them and work with them. Make sure they're collaborative. Make sure they get what you're trying to get after. If you get any whiff of this guy doesn't know what he's doing. Go walk work. You bet. Yeah, that's not the one for you.
Alex Ferrari 45:53
The the the main question, I have to ask you, would you do it again?
Adrian Martinez 46:01
Yes, but not with my money.
Alex Ferrari 46:07
I think it was Peck and Buzet. Peck and power John Ford or somebody Africa it was like, never use your own money. Never.
Adrian Martinez 46:13
Yeah, I say that. But I just shot a trailer. Kind of like a proof of concept. For a pilot. I'm pretty together with my own money. So but that's I told him I told my wife That's it. That's it. Not gonna shoot pilot. Oh, yeah.
Alex Ferrari 46:35
For everyone that not watching this, Adrian just rolled his eyes and which insinuates that there might be a potential for music is it's a sickness, man.
Adrian Martinez 46:48
I just watched it, man. I don't want I don't like waiting for permission from anybody. I don't like you know, I mean, obviously, there are limits. So I'm not gonna shoot a series for all of my time. But sure. But I can shoot a trailer for a proof of concept. And that's what I did. And we'll see how it plays out.
Alex Ferrari 47:09
Now, you haven't you? I think you have an announcement for your next project. Isn't it called Redfield? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Adrian Martinez 47:17
Oh, yeah, very exciting. Just came out on deadline yesterday. I I'm going to be Aquafina psychic in this movie. So it's me and Aquafina versus Nicolas Cage as Dracula. And because I don't know how to pronounce his last name. Forgive me. Nicholas helped out. Okay. As Renfield it's gonna be good. It's directed by crispy, crispy. Kay, who did? Tomorrow wars. He's really smart. Wow. It's gonna be funny. Is going to scare the shit out of people. It's gonna be good.
Alex Ferrari 48:02
It's it's Nick. It's like, it's I mean, it's gonna work. Have you worked with Nick, have you worked with Nick before?
Adrian Martinez 48:08
I did. I did a movie. Called army of one. Yes. Where he? Larry Charles directed it. I don't think it went anywhere. But it was fun to meet him. It's fun to shoot it. And it's about a guy who who wants to kill Osama bin Laden. So he just like it's like this. This guy from the Midwest just got himself to the Middle East to try to try to kill a sound a lot. And the comedy ensued. But yeah, I worked with him a very nice man. Very nice man. And a real artist. People really, I mean, Nicolas Cage, you know? He went through this patch where he was just doing whatever to make money. But let me tell you, this guy can act. He's a wonderful actor. And he's got this movie coming out where he plays himself.
Alex Ferrari 49:02
Oh, I can't wait to see it. I can't wait to see it. Oh, yes. Like I'm the greatest actor in the world or something like that. It's like an amazing title. And I think he's sell like he's acting for like a billionaire off like some form Billy. Oh, I saw the trailer. I was just like, yes, he's gonna have a double. I mean, I just I can't get enough a nick. I think Nick is
Adrian Martinez 49:22
Yeah, no, we're at a we're at the precipice there but not another Nicolas Cage renaissance and Ren fields part of that. I'm really psyched.
Alex Ferrari 49:28
Oh, that's amazing. I can't wait. I can't wait to see you. You work with him and Aquafina she's, I mean, she's amazing.
Adrian Martinez 49:36
I love her. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 49:38
I just saw her in Shan-chi and she. She likes steals every scene. She said she steals it. She's fantastic. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
Adrian Martinez 49:45
I'm just gonna try to hang in there. That's it.
Alex Ferrari 49:48
Now where can people see i Gilbert?
Adrian Martinez 49:52
It's everywhere streaming right now. So Amazon Prime and iTunes and movies. You to IMDb TV, like it's everywhere it's streaming. So just write i, Gilbert and enjoy the movie. And let me know how you feel that my Instagram taste of Adrian,
Alex Ferrari 50:09
Which is a fantastic handle, by the way. I've always loved that handle.
Adrian Martinez 50:15
I mean, it's just a taste. You know?
Alex Ferrari 50:17
We can't take all we can't take all of Adrian and it's too much, there's too much too much you have to taste now, I'm gonna ask you a few questions. Ask all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker or screenwriter trying to break into the business today?
Adrian Martinez 50:35
Don't waste time. Time is the enemy time doesn't give a fuck. Time. Just keeps moving on. So grab your phone, if you don't have a camp, just grab your phone. Shoot. Don't make excuses. No one's interested. Just, oh, I don't know how to write. Find somebody who does and collaborate. Just keep going and don't waste time.
Alex Ferrari 51:04
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?
Adrian Martinez 51:09
Don't waste time. I wasted so much time. That's why I'm saying. Absolutely. And also be professional. I mean, you know, we all know this. But it really matters to be kind like people remember kindness.
Alex Ferrari 51:28
Well, the best advice I ever got in the film business is don't be a dick. So yeah, that's a really bad. People underestimate that. By the way. Yeah. On your first interview, I asked you that question. You know what your answer was? No pressure,
Adrian Martinez 51:45
Eat. Eat salads. I can't remember.
Alex Ferrari 51:47
It was I'm enough.
Adrian Martinez 51:50
Oh, yeah. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 51:52
I'm enough. And I was like, wow, it just hit me like a ton of bricks when you said that. And most people don't realize they go through their whole life thinking that they're not enough. But when you realize that you are enough, it's pretty liberating. So I thought it was I just wanted to bring that back because it was such a wonderful answer. And it was the first time anyone had ever said that. On the show it many people have said it afterwards. They probably all stole it from you, sir. But but it was a very profound answer. So I wanted to, I wanted to thank you for that.
Adrian Martinez 52:21
Yeah, like, I mean, not only are you enough, but who else can you be? Like, I forget who said it? Like, I think it was Oscar Wilde. Be yourself. Everyone else take it.
Alex Ferrari 52:32
Adrian Martinez 52:35
So amazing. It's really it's really about embracing who you are, and bringing that gift and trusting it. Trusting who you are. And just really, there's a light inside you that that people want to see. So just get out of your own way and show it.
Alex Ferrari 52:52
And last question three of your favorite films of all time. Man as of right now,
Adrian Martinez 52:59
Well, yep. What build number ones always Shawshank Redemption, amen. Amen. me too kind of like with the same you know, like get busy living or get busy. Yep. A special I love Juncus out is a hugely inspirational actor to me. So I think of Fredo in The Godfather. I think of him. Show the Godfather wanted to. Okay, I'll throw in number three, because I just feel like gaffa three gets a bad rap. But the new kind I liked a lot.
Alex Ferrari 53:35
I haven't seen the new cut yet. But
Adrian Martinez 53:37
Yeah, it kind of streamlines everything more.
Alex Ferrari 53:41
Have you been looking after Godfather one and two, it's really tough. Like Godfather one was a tough follow. Then they beat it with Godfather two in many ways or even equal that or beat it? I mean, how many times can you hit lightning?
Adrian Martinez 53:53
Yeah, it's tough. Yeah. And how many more I gotta give just one. One more ship. This boy,I Gilbert, which I just saw.
Alex Ferrari 54:09
I hear good things about that one,
Adrian Martinez 54:11
Really spoke to me.
Alex Ferrari 54:13
I heard the act that the lead actor was, but the rest of that heifers the cast in the direction was fantastic.
Adrian Martinez 54:19
If you just fast forward his performance. He just really got a really classic film.
Alex Ferrari 54:27
Mute his performance, mute his performance. unmute it when it comes up. I appreciate you coming back on the show. I I wish you nothing but continued success in everything you do. I'm so glad you finally got this film made because you've been talking about it for a while. You've been talking about it for a while and it has just been I'm just so glad that it's finally done. It's out in the world and the you survived it. Yeah, and you're threatening to do it again.
Adrian Martinez 54:59
Yes. Last Man Standing that mean I swear the Martians can drop the bomb and annihilate the earth and out of the rubble my hand will count with my demo reel take it to your leader motherfucker.
Alex Ferrari 55:17
Oh you got in the Will Smith comes out for some strange reason some from somewhere. Always, always save the day to save the day. Adrian continued success, my friend. A pleasure.
Adrian Martinez 55:27
Yes. Thank you for having me. Thank you. Don't wait for years again.
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