10 Questions with Filmmaker Marti King Young
What inspired you to get into the film business?
My dad worked for NBC, so I sort of grew up around it... television, at least. I've always loved to tell stories, and to be honest, I got sick and tired of seeing remakes. I want fresh stories, so that's what I strive to tell and bring to people.
What has been the funnest project you’ve worked on?
I had a blast working on Will Trent and I'm so thrilled it's coming back for Season 2 once the strikes are over. I adore my producer (Ellen Blum) and everyone on the production team. We got work done but had a fun time doing it. It's rare to have that much fun on a show. I also had a great time working on The Conjuring 3. I was in the Locations Department on that one and learned a lot while having a great time.
What traits do you think a good director needs to have?
Oh gosh, I'm a director so this was an inner check! I think for a director to be good, they need to be a good listener... to the producers, the writers, and the actors. I think to take other's opinions into consideration is huge for all involved. Example: Your DP says this scene will be more romantic beside a fountain rather than at the cafe. Pending your Sound Dept doesn't have a conniption over the noise, sure, go with the DP. They have an eye for great shots. However, I do feel like a good director will also need to know when to draw a line or boundary. For example, I had a producer want me to film a reverse angle and it didn't make sense and didn't match the overall tone of the project. So, I had to put on my diplomatic hat and politely refuse with reason. I'm never rude, but I can be firm. Usually when it comes to producers all you have to say is, "This will cost extra money" and you're good. HA I also think good directors need good attitudes because like it or not, you're steering that ship and all eyes are on you.
Out of all the jobs you’ve had on a film set which one has been the hardest?
I worked on Class of 09 for FX/Hulu. That show was particularly difficult for a variety of reasons, one of which was Covid. There was a lot of turnover with crew. There was a lot of confusion. The end product came out looking beautiful, but it was a long haul. I think we were supposed to wrap in January but we went all the way into July.
What are the biggest challenges in getting a movie greenlit?
Getting to the right place at the right time, for sure. It's such a Catch 22: producers want to know who's attached; actors won't attach without knowing it's being funded. Somewhere along the way, in all the meetings, you'll click with someone who can move your project along, or.. even better: Champion it for you. That's why it's always good to be kind and professional on set. Make friends with the assistants! We are in these positions because we're learning and today's assistants are tomorrows Executive Producers.
Who would you love to work with and why?
Oh Spielberg for sure. I'd love to watch his projects from conception to release. I'd love to be able to work with Nicole Kidman at some point. I've met her and she is so lovely to all around her. I wouldn't mind working with Brad Pitt either. Or Jason Momoa... for reasons. HAHAHAH No, all of them are great people and they elevate anything they touch.
How would you say the film industry in Georgia compares to California or New York?
The one thing I hear over and over and over again from producers and directors are: Georgia has more diverse locations than anywhere else. Need a lake? Got it. Ocean? Yep. Back woods? Dusty trails? Farm houses? Mansions? All yeses. In Class of 09 our "Montana" was a farm and we piped in the snow. I think that's a huge perk for us here. We also have folks here that are just as qualified as on East and West Coast and that's helpful as well.
What are some films that have influenced you creatively?
I'm a sucker for a great shot. There's a shot in Jaws where Spielberg pushes through one of Quint's shark mouths and you see the guys in the boat headed out. *chef's kiss* The Moulin Rouge is gorgeous. Anything Wes Anderson I will watch over an over and over. He has such a distinct style, which was a gamble but look how it's paid off. It's HIS. His niche. So in terms of trying new things, Wes's movies and Baz's (Moulin Rouge, Elvis) are in the forefront of my mind. I love Spielberg movies because no shots are ever wasted. If I can watch a movie with no sound on, and I know what's going on, it's great (to me). As a writer, The Departed really amped me up in storytelling. The twist was superbly executed. Also Shutter Island in terms of pacing. Scorcese. Great director.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring filmmakers what would it be?
Be kind to everyone. Circle the sets and make friends. The lowliest PA will be a powerhouse director one day, you never know. I can't tell you how many jobs I've gotten because of recommendations and word of mouth just because I was kind enough to tell the wardrobe PA she was doing a great job. Or the Covid PA I appreciated how hard he was working to help keep us all safe. The film industry is nuts. Today's production assistant is tomorrow's Head of Development, you just never know... and you never know how fast someone will rise. But, if you're appreciative of the crew and all the hard work THEY are putting in, they'll remember that AND you.
Also and this is IMPORTANT: work in every department you can. 1. You'll learn something new and you may find out you like it there. 2. You'll have a new respect for what that dept goes through so when you're in charge you can remember that 3. the best advice I ever got was from William M. Akers, my mentor and now dear friend: learn how to do everything and you'll always have a job. That one piece of advice has never steered me wrong.
Are there any upcoming projects your working on that you can tell us about?
Sure! I actually have a script adaptation from a book that WME is packaging to sell now (sorry I can't drop the name yet)... I have a series ready to go once the strikes are over called Zeus is Dead and it's also based on a book of the same name. The author (Michael Munz) and I get along very well and have the same quirky sense of humor. (Yep, it's a comedy). I'm also working with Edward Aubry to bring his book UnHappenings to life on a streaming platform. That's in development with the two of us, nothing with that one is ready to be pitched yet. It's a new way to look at Time Travel. I had never read or heard or seen anything like this story, so that enamored me. I'm really excited about it. I have a couple of feature scripts in producer's hands that are laying in wait for the strikes to be over. I'm taking this time off to write and create and edit and polish. I can't sit still so I always have something cooking!