Capitol Communicator is featuring “Best Crew,” a profile series brought to you by Eli Meir Kaplan, a Washington, D.C.-based commercial photographer and director. The series “Best Crew” features talent behind the scenes of photo, film and video productions. This profile features producer Carleen Martin.
How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
Sixteen years ago, I spent two months studying in Barcelona. I fell a bit in love with the European idea of taking real holidays. I promised myself when I returned to the States, I’d find a way to do work I loved and still have time for myself. I went freelance and never looked back.
Who are some of your clients and why do they love working with you?
Some of my corporate clients include TED, PBS and Under Armour. I also work with numerous agencies, photographers and directors. Clients love working with me because I come from a place of yes. I want to make things work. Also, I have the experience to know the difference between a crisis and a small change in plans and will act accordingly.
What is your most invaluable tool?
I’m perceptive. I am very good at reading the room, running scenarios and troubleshooting in advance.
What gear/kit purchase have you made that you wish you didn’t?
I bought some dicey walkies a few years ago. I definitely had to upgrade.
Who inspired and helped you along the way?
My mentor, Suzy Jurist, SJI Associates, inspired me to go out on my own. I respect how she runs her business and balances it with her family life. And, my teammates, Cat Mayes and Faryn Seiden, make it possible to produce more without compromising on quality. My husband is the world’s most overqualified and undercompensated PA. Collaborating with so many talented and creative crew helps me improve and keeps me inspired.
What do you love about the work you do?
I love it all, but my heart belongs to preproduction. Looking at a concept and figuring out how to make it possible is my absolute favorite thing. The spreadsheets, the whiteboard, the negotiations, the scouting, casting– all pieces of the puzzle and I love putting things together.
What was a favorite production you’ve worked on and what made it special?
Is this a trick question? That’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid. I don’t have a favorite. One of the best things about production is we often work with different people which means fresh ideas and new inside jokes. The people make each job unique.
What advice would you give to others who are starting out in your field?
Attitude trumps everything. People are happy to teach and work with someone who’s helpful and eager to learn. For production assistants, see if you can get a checklist of responsibilities before the shoot. If you can’t, make sure the cooler is always cold and water is available; trash bags are easy to find and never overflow; and lastly, don’t lose the car keys. Everything else is totally negotiable.
What are your top five favorite movies?
|I only have two favorite movies, The Color Purple and Friday Night Lights. I’m definitely more into television series. I loved Insecure and am an absolute sucker for Kdramas and Ted Lasso.
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Photos by Eli Meir Kaplan, a Capitol Communicator sponsor, at DC Studios at Photogroup.
And I can attest, Carleen IS THE BEST!!!!
Working with Carleen means that not only will the final product be incredible, you’ll have a total blast on the set. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Simply the BEST! Amazing at her craft and an even more amazing human!
Carleen Martin is a pure rock star! She makes everyone around her better. So well-deserved!
Carleen is the best producer I’ve worked with (hands down)!