Bars and Tone

Ariel Martin

How did you get into directing?
Got lucky at age 19 with production funding for my first short film script. Looking back, I’d kill to have a budget like that again. I probably blew a lot of it on unnecessary things due to being a naïve filmmaker. The experience, however, was priceless.

What is your most recent project?
I just shot a short film called The iMOM which is set a few years from now. The iMOM is a robotic mother substitute that raises your kids so you don’t have to give up your social life when the first child arrives. Shot in Los Angeles and Sydney, the film depicts a day in the life of a family who have recently purchased an iMOM, and who discover how technology is threatening to far exceed humanity.

What is the best part of being a director?
Crew speaks nicely to you. After years as a production runner, you really notice the difference. Working with incredibly gifted and enthusiastic people who are all committed to achieving a common goal is also pretty sweet.

What is the worst part of being a director?
When the film sucks, there’s no one else to blame.

What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
I love the autonomy of movies (in my case, short films). However I have relished the experience of collaborating with agencies on commercials and been enlightened by the discovery that I’m not always right. Working with experienced creatives has been an awesome learning curve.
I love finding the offbeat comedy in serious situations–that’s my favorite.

Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates most with you?
David Denneen at Filmgraphics Entertainment, Sydney, is a wonderful mentor who always has the time to discuss projects. His eye for visuals is invaluable when approaching a shoot, and I certainly make use of his advice every time.

Who is your favorite director and why?
Scorsese. His main characters are relentlessly pushed to the limit. His films made me want to be a filmmaker.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My favorite commercial is Nike’s “Write the Future” by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. I love its incredible energy, its massive scale, and its comedic depiction of football’s effect on pop culture. What a masterpiece.
Taxi Driver is my favorite movie.

Tell us about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in the suburbs, an hour outside of Sydney, Australia. I shot movies with the family camcorder since I was 10. Straight out of school I worked as a clothing store attendant, a pizza boy and a tour guide before I took on my first running job. Being a production runner was a great way to learn about the filmmaking process from within the industry. From being the IT guy at Filmgraphics Entertainment, I was fortunate to be given the chance to direct my first commercials after receiving invaluable support and encouragement from EP Anna Fawcett and founder and director David Denneen.