From the Cine-Philes: Miguel Martinez Is a True Video Prince

Most of the staff members at Facets work on outside projects that are creative, whether it be writing scripts, performing music, acting on the stage or screen, directing films, writing film criticism, or some other artistic venture. This makes the staff a unique, interesting, and highly entertaining group to work with, but it also informs their approach to their jobs here. They bring a passion for the arts to the job, which, in turn, becomes a resource for Facets.

With that in mind, “From the Cine-Philes” will be a semi-regular feature here on the blog to give readers, members, and customers the opportunity to meet the staff, and Facets employees a chance to talk about their work outside the job. Just like files of important documents can be a resource for understanding, so are the Facets Cine-philes (our movie-loving staff) our greatest resource.

Miguel Martinez graciously agreed to be the guinea pig to launch this series. Be sure to check out his recommendations for movies to rent at the end of the post.
–Susan Doll

SD: What do you do at Facets and how long have you worked here?

MM: I have worked in the movie rentals department of Facets Multi-Media as a Personal Video Consultant for the past 6 ½ years.

SD: Tell us a bit about your background. (continued)

MM: I was born right here in Chicago and grew up on the West Side. I survived Columbia College for about 3 months and had to stop in order to help out with the rent. I wasn’t too happy about it but it was something I had to do. Thinking back, it looks like all of my job choices have centered around renting movies to the public or presenting movies at a cinema. Just like Ray Liotta said in Goodfellas; “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” Just subtract “gangster” and insert “film maker” and that’s me. So watching, making, renting, talking and projecting films is my passion in life.

SD: What is an aspect of your job that no one realizes?

MM: No one realizes how much customer service plays into our line of work. You gotta keep them coming back for rentals so you have to be a video prince. You have to know what you’re talking about, and you have to be able to see both sides of an argument [about a film’s value]. I’m not saying that the customer is always right (which is a customer service ideal dating back to WWII), but the best employees are those who can handle the public.

SD: What is the most interesting, odd, or memorable moment on the job so far?

Actually the best time I ever had at Facets was the entire year of 2007. That was when we had more business, more employees. And, there was that insane creative burst of energy from film makers. Let’s see, 2007 gave us No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags Of Our Fathers, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, And 2 Days, The Assassination of Jesse James. . . , Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Grindhouse, Eastern Promises, and Gone Baby Gone.

SD: The economy is so tough right now, and arts organizations are struggling to attract new members and new audiences. Why should someone frequent Facets or even join as a member?

MM: I think the answer lies within the product. If you offer what the other video stores don’t, your chances of surviving Netflix is good. We give people an alternate option to fulfill their home viewing needs. You also have the added bonus of talking to someone instead of a computer or streaming device. I also believe people should seek out the product and not rely on just one company to send them every movie ever made. That’s impossible!
Let’s face it, Facets doesn’t have everything but neither does Netflix or Redbox or Odd Obsession. It’s a tough choice for people to make, so we have to find our niche and ride with it. And, yet, sometimes you have to offer what everyone else has in order to bring in new clientele.

SD: How has working at Facets changed or shaped your viewing habits or preferences?

MM: I still watch a lot of movies but working at Facets has allowed me to engage with new and interesting people. Everyday there is someone to talk to about movies and someone to bounce off ideas about creating movies. Working here has also made me fall in love with Classic Hollywood and Asian Cinema, two branches of the film world that I specialize in.

SD: Tell me about your creative experiences outside of Facets, particularly as a scriptwriter and/or filmmaker.

MM: When I first started at Facets back in 2004, I knew I wasn’t ready to make a short film yet. I still needed to watch more films and learn from the masters like Kurosawa, Godard, Welles, Hawks, Wong Kar-Wai, and Johnnie To. This year I finally finished a short script for a film called The Cold Romantic and I am currently producing it. [In the photo above, Miguel directs actress Elizabeth Skinner.]

SD: Do you think exposure to a variety of films at Facets has influenced your creative endeavors outside the job?

MM: Yes it has. I recommend it to everyone out there.

SD: What are five titles available at Facets that you would recommend to rent or buy?

MM: I recommend:

What’s Up, Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972)
Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
In The Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)
Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010)

All five have influenced me beyond anything else.
492 Total Views 3 Views Today

3 thoughts on “From the Cine-Philes: Miguel Martinez Is a True Video Prince

  1. Great interview! Miguel is totally the man when it comes to movies. When I rent a film that he says is good, I know I'm in for an interesting watch!

Comments are closed.