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Student Blog: Manny Martinez

Director Manny Martinez stands next to the Starry Night.

Second year student Manny Martinez collaborates with hometown friends on SVA film project. You can view the Seed and Spark for Manny’s latest project, Dawn of Time, here.


Actor Daniel Martin stands in the middle of lights, a camera and a microphone.

When I was in high school, my friend Danny and I would pass the time by making short silly videos together.

We played exaggerated versions of ourselves, performing absurd jokes while trying to make each other laugh. By the end of senior year we ended up with a list of shorts we had written but hadn’t shot. After my first year at SVA I was still interested in some of those ideas, so I decided I wanted to incorporate them into a larger project. Danny and Manny: Anything and Everything is the story of two best friends who go on wacky adventures together. Things like time travel, shrink rays, evil doppelgangers and haunted houses are all too common for the two friends. However, when Danny realizes the true danger in these shenanigans they argue about whether they’re worth going on.


Visual Effects by Hui Chih Chen

Initially I wasn’t sure how to adapt our many skits into a short film.

An episode of Community called “Paradigms of Human Memory” inspired me to use the framework of flashbacks. The script was finished in early May and I started testing the effects soon after. Once I accumulated the props needed and had the effects ready, we began filming. 


Director Manny Martines takes a photo of actor Daniel Martin as he stands around equipment set up by DP/Assistant Director Paul Wechsler. Actor Daniel Martin stands in the middle of lights, a camera and a microphone.

Danny and Manny is my most ambitious film yet with multiple set locations and special effects I never attempted before.

I assembled a small crew of local friends with varying experiences in filmmaking skills suited for their roles. We shot entirely on an iPhone using limited resources, including a moment where we had to use a sock as our microphone’s wind protection, but we all worked together and surpassed any complications. We accomplished a lot with what we had and I’m very proud of how the film is turning out. 


Director Manny Martinez on the floor covered in dust.

This film reinforced my belief in planning as much as you can as that was one of the things that helped us the most.

I did many rehearsals and tests and for the visual effects beforehand, and although there were still unexpected discrepancies the planning set us up in a good place to improvise when needed. It also taught me how much a good crew can make filmmaking easier. When you love the people you’re working with, the difficulties are a lot easier to overcome. 

I’ve been editing the film since August and am getting very close to a final product. I’m hoping to have it completed in early 2024. 

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