Frank DeMartini – My First 20 Years in Hollywood

Frank DeMartini – My First 20 Years in Hollywood

Today as an aside, I am going to write an article that is not political at all.  Well, mostly, that is.  I can’t write a commentary about Hollywood without some politics!  That’s just the way I am.

Way back in 1997, I, Frank DeMartini, decided to stop making law my primary source of income and to make it Motion Picture Producing instead.  That was a hard decision.  But it was worth it.  At least, until recently as Hollywood has changed in the last 20 years.  It has become intolerant to people who disagree with the mainstream.  If you’re a conservative in Hollywood, you are a marked man.  And, as promised, that’s it for politics.

From 1992 until 1997, my partner Steven Anderson and I ran a successful law firm.  But, for some reason in 1997, we decided, it was time to make a change.  Actually, the seed of that occurred way sooner.  In roughly, 1995, Steve and I optioned a script by Marianne and Cormac Wibberley entitled “Blue Motel.”  Up until that point, it was the best script I ever read.  Well, in 1997, that film became a reality.Motel Blue

My friend and client Director, Sam Firstenberg read the script as well in 1995.  He agreed with me.  So, together with Steven Anderson, we optioned the script and began the long, hard road to get it made.  Eventually, we got lucky.  Sean Young also agreed about the script.  So, assuming the financing could come together, we had a movie.

In mid-1997, it did.  With the help of Ami Artzi of AMCO Entertainment, we began shooting the film in late August.  It was done in early 1998 and premiered.  Steve and I were finally, producers.  I must also thank Eddy Chamichian, who helped us with some last minute funding, to make the film a reality.

Well, it’s been a long time since then.  In fact, it’s been 20 years.  I have since produced almost 20 films, including two theatrically released, “Mad Money” and “Mechanic Resurrection.”  Many of these films were made with the help of Avi Lerner and Millennium Films.  Without Avi’s expertise, I would not be as successful as I am today.  I must thank Avi for all the help over the years.

Avi Lerner Frank DeMartini
Avi Lerner and Frank DeMartini

However, a good portion of them were made without Millennium as well.  And, that seems to be where I am now.  As most of you know, Millennium and I parted ways in July.  So, now I’m on my own as I was in 1997.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it is probably a good thing.

In the immortal words of Jack Warner (paraphrased), my first 20 years in Hollywood are complete.  So, now I say, it’s on to the next 20 years.  Hopefully, I will continue to have the same level of success I’ve had in the past.

As an aside and in closing, Steve Anderson and I only made two films together.  In 1999, he chose to move back to the mid-west and give up his Hollywood career.  We remained friends until he departed this Earth just before Thanksgiving last year.  I miss him a lot.  He was and will always be in my heart.

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2 Responses to "Frank DeMartini – My First 20 Years in Hollywood"

  1. The movie “Blue Motel” was probably one of the first efforts by the Wibberley’s in their continuing careers. You gave them recognition, a foothold, and exposure and that is what mentoring is all about.

    There is a true antidotal story about one of the absolutes in the making of a movie, the screenwriter. It was on the set of one of the Bruckheimer movies, “National Treasure-Book of Secrets”, when Nicolas Cage and the actors where having a discussion about changing some of the lines in a scene. Bruckheimer, the producer, encouraged the creative evolution process.

    When they decided on a change, the actress Hellen Mirren turned to the Wibberleys and said parenthetically, “I think we need to ask the screenwriters if this works?” She is a marvelous actress, appreciated the “glue” of a good script, and wasn’t lost in an ego trip, well deserved by some.

    Screenwriters and producers are the absolute necessary seeds of creation for any movie. In the early days movies were made from the whole cloth of passion, talent and a demand for wholesome entertainment. It was all about “content”, something clouded in today’s movie industry CG grandeur. Why did “Spotlight” or “Moonlight (2017)” win an Oscar for best movie?

    Marianne Wibberley won a Jack Nicholson screen writing award while she was working her way through the UCLA screen writers’ school. The duo has given back by teaching several courses, now and then, at UCLA on screenwriting.

    Try making a movie without a script, a producer and a director. Thanks Frank, for the entertainment, for your contribution to so many in the movie industry……and from the audience.

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