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Years ago, Jose Martinez took an intensive, one-month filmmaking course. He gained filmmaking experience, but quickly realized that in order to keep the ball rolling on his career, he needed to connect with like-minded people with whom he could collaborate on future film projects.
When he found the Digital Film Academy, he knew it was the right place for building that kind of community.
“I developed a really good network at the DFA,” he says. “We all help each other out with our different projects, help to move one another forward in our careers.”
Thanks to his prior filmmaking experience, Martinez was able to enter the Advanced Digital Filmmaking Program. In addition to connecting him with a group of filmmakers at his same level, the program offered another big perk: free access to a Red camera. Martinez has been able to make good use of this, checking out the Red for shoots.
Currently, Martinez is working as both a photographer and videographer, and bringing in enough income that he no longer needs a full-time, regular job. He’s done work at weddings, parties, for restaurants, and even capturing images for business cards.
He’s also working on the completion of his thesis film for the DFA, a short about a young man’s internal struggle about whether or not to seek revenge after his brother is shot by a local gang on their walk home from school. “I love stories, and getting to see them come together during the process of shooting and editing,” he says. “My favorite things are operating the camera and editing. Magic happens there.”
Magic aside, the most challenging aspect of working on his thesis was shooting a scene at a gas station – not the easiest spot to set up a film crew in the bustling metropolis of New York City. Apart from the noise (a common on-set problem even in “quiet” locations), Martinez’s cast and crew had to be ready to go at 7a.m. on a Sunday, the only time the gas station would allow them to shoot.
Despite these occasional challenges, Martinez’s love of stories is beginning to take him places, both in his film career and literally. He recently got back from a 3-month trip throughout Central America, where he was both scouting locations for future shoots and shooting commercials for a telephone company in El Salvador.
“The company is called Claro,” Martinez says. “My cousin does administrative work there.” When his cousin heard about Claro’s need for a filmmaker, he was quick to suggest Martinez.
The gig is another valuable step towards Martinez’s future goal: developing his own home production company.
When asked what advice he would give to young filmmakers just starting out, Martinez simply says: “Keep shooting, keep uploading.”
We look forward to him doing more of the same!
To view his work, please visit http://www.josemmartinez.com/.
Blog post by Sara McDermott Jain