A. J. Martinson is a film director, editor, and cinematographer who skipped college in order to pursue a self-taught career in filmmaking. Six years later, he's worked on hundreds of projects through his own production company, Section Three Films, including countless national and international commercials to feature length documentaries. The American Entrepreneur is included in that and a narrative feature film entitled Blackmark, which he wrote, produced, and directed at the age of 21.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 036
American Entrepreneur Film – https://americanentrepreneurfilm.com/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[01:52] Tom's introduction to A.J. Martinson [03:14] What A.J. does for a living [04:04] A.J's first job was with his dad [10:04] Tips for young people that want to be their own boss [16:37] Getting screwed over in business as a young entrepreneur [20:21] Getting paid for his first film [24:34] Working on The American Entrepreneur [28:12] Best and worst thing of being your own boss [29:23] Sponsor message [31:36] A typical day for A.J. and staying motivated [39:11] Parting thoughts for us Screwballs
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Section 3 Films – http://section3films.com/
A.J.'s portfolio – http://aj.section3films.com/
Film Sales 101 – http://filmsales101.com/
American Entrepreneur Film – https://www.facebook.com/AmericanEntrepreneurFilm/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Recruiting Geeks – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/37-geeks-are-your-friends/
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Episode 036 – AJ Martinson
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody it's Tom here with episode 36 of screw the commute podcast. We have a really great guest today he's a great young man out of California. A.J. Martinson is his name I'll tell you about him in a minute but I hope you didn't miss episode 35. The guy I interviewed was as corporate as it gets. And he chucked it all and started a farm he's milking cows and running chickens and all kinds of stuff. If you're old enough to remember the TV show Green Acres. This is the guy he's never been happier you just got to listen to episode 35.
[00:01:13] All right. The sponsor and the way that I met the young man we're going to talk to today is the American entrepreneur film. And you can check it out the trailer that this young man did including whenever I'm not sure when you'll hear this but the entire documentary may be released by then. But he did a documentary and you'll find it at least at Facebook.com/Americanentrepreneurfilm and of course everything from today's episode will be in the show notes episode 36.
[00:01:54] Now I've got to tell you this young man has renewed my will to live. I've seen so many youth go down bad paths and their only marketable skill is protesting something. They even get credit for that in college now. So this is crazy. Well this guy didn't go down that route and he should be an inspiration for any of you out there that have teenagers growing up. So make sure you have them listen to this episode too.
[00:02:23] I'm talking about AJ Martinson. He's the film director editor and cinematographer who skipped college in order to pursue a self-taught career in filmmaking. Six years later he's worked on hundreds of projects through his own production company Section three films including countless national and international commercials for feature length documentaries. I think the American entrepreneur is included in that, I'm not sure. And a narrative feature film entitled Blackmark which he wrote produced and directed at the age of 21.
[00:03:02] Aj You high testosterone age group guy are you ready to screw. the commute. Tell everybody what you're doing out there.
[00:03:16] Well so I think at my core you know the best way to explain what I do is that I'm a storyteller yes I'm a techno geek. I love my camera. I love being an editor. I love shooting movies but movies are always secondary to telling stories and I've kind of had this obsession with storytelling since a very early age of course you know you can't really pay the bills just sitting there and telling your friends stories you have to make money somehow. So to do that I've decided to specialize in corporate non-profit and narrative feature films and that is you know branched out to include documentaries as well as branded content for brands and things of that nature. And that's basically the gist of what I do.
[00:04:04] That's great. Well A.J. I know you're a young guy. Did you ever have a job.
[00:04:09] The only real job I've ever had other than all the various freelance gigs that I took working my way up through the ranks as a filmmaker was in high school where I worked for my dad my dad runs a audio manufacturing company. He designed a product called Flying faders which was sold in high end studios.
[00:04:29] What is a flying fader.
[00:04:33] It was the first maybe not the exact first but kind of the first mainstream console automation system in the world. So basically robots for recording for sound recording. Yeah it was a huge revolution in the industry back in the time and my dad he's also. He skipped college as well. Taught himself calculus and then design these insane products that revolutionized the industry.
[00:05:00] So he's been a screw the commuter too.
[00:05:03] Yeah you should get him on the show.
[00:05:05] I should have him on here one of these days I told you I wanted to meet him.
[00:05:09] Yeah. He'd have a great story for you. He's great. He was my first job.
[00:05:13] You work like a job or was this a nepotism thing where you could take off.
[00:05:20] Oh no this was eight hours a day five days a week for the three months of my summer vacation for three or four years paid as an employee so that we could put stuff away in the 401k. You know get that retirement started early.
[00:05:35] He's got you started on a retirement account before you could drive a car at 16.
[00:05:42] Yeah. Talk about forward thinking. The guy's a genius. So anyway but I had to go into work and this isn't you know hey A.J. sweep the floors this was you know soldering you have an 800 degree soldering iron in your hands putting parts into circuit boards for you know eight hours a day. I'm pretty sure I was his worst employee but he thankfully kept me on and that was my. That was how I earned my allowance so if I wanted to go to a concert or see a movie I would have a little spending money you know earning minimum wage putting you know grinding transistors all day. That was incredibly formative experience. It was kind of the moment doing that that I realized I did not enjoy having a boss especially with my dad because I was treated as an employee not as a son. It really got me thinking in high school you know how can I avoid doing this for the rest of my life. How can I find a better path that's more fulfilling.
[00:06:44] Because it's cool as it was to work for Dad you start to realize that life has very little meaning when all you do for the rest of your life is put you know transistors into circuits. If that's your thing some people really enjoy that. But it wasn't for me. So I got to my sophomore year in high school and I was sitting around and I thought you know I'd be really fun is to sit in a chair all day and tell people what to do. That sounds great. How can I do that. So I decided to become a filmmaker from a laziness perspective that was sure a mistake because filmmaking is one of the hardest things in the world. And I didn't realize that at the time but it really resonated with my sense of story and my desire to be a storyteller which I got from my grandparents. They would always explain and tell stories as a kid you know we'd sit around listening to these oral traditions of the family of these great experiences they had. And so I kind of adopted that. And the first few months out of high school I got my feet wet into the industry and said hey I this is a lot more work than I thought but I really resonated with it and it's fulfilling so let's go full at it let's do this.
[00:07:51] Were you still living at home or did you have enough money to get by. What was the situation like when you decided to do this.
[00:07:59] Yeah I was still living at home. Thankfully my parents were really generous and let me kind of stick around while I figured out what I wanted to do. It kind of helped that my dad's parents were the same with him when he decided to skip college.
[00:08:13] Makes it hard for him to throw you out on the street.
[00:08:19] Exactly exactly. And he was super supportive about film I mean he did the same with audio. He went and started his studio at 18 you know he was recording in my grandmother's basement with his console. She eventually got tired of that and said You have to go find a property and that's how he got started. And so he did the same for me. He helped me work through what cameras I should invest in. Nothing was really handed down. It was OK we were going to help you a little bit but there's going to be some process of either your time in creating advertisements for the business or working on my stuff. But you're going to have to pay some of this equipment back. But we're going to get you started and help you figure out what the best stuff to do is and where the best route to go is for what you want to do.
[00:09:06] And we talked to a whole bunch of people in the industry that my dad knew because we'd sold consoles to Fox and Warner Brothers and all these places you know. So the summary advice was don't do this this is an insane thing you know you'll never make a feature film ever. And so of course that was my goal. The first thing out of high school is in four years I'm going to make a movie and I did.
[00:09:30] No wonder we kind of hit it off so fast because you know the story of the American entrepreneur because you edited it. So you know my dad got me started being an entrepreneur. Same thing helped me get going. Taught me that hey you gotta work for what you're doing. You know this isn't a free ride it's not a silver spoon in your mouth. You've got to do this and pay us back. It's the same story I'm so thrilled that he did that for you because it's made you what you are today.
[00:10:06] So what tips would you give any other young people out there that are thinking that sounds like the life other than being a filmmaker they might not want to be a filmmaker but what are some of the business things you had to learn as a young man to do your own business.
[00:10:22] I think the most important thing is learn how to write stuff off for taxes. That's such a super geeky thing to start with but I actually fell in love with doing taxes because it's like a puzzle that you get together every year about how you can manage these write offs.
[00:10:41] But in most puzzles that you put together There's no threat that some agent is going to come in and seize your bank account. A little different kind of a puzzle I'd say.
[00:10:54] Well I like high stakes puzzles it's like poker with the government. Everything is above board but I think the number one thing I've learned is really and this is kind of I don't know I'll just say you got to be careful when you decide to start your own business and make sure that you actually want to be an entrepreneur and not just a technician. I'm a big fan of the book The E-Myth. I just got onto this last year. And yeah it really clarified a lot of things for me you know in film. It's a lot easier to choose one goal one role and to just go to work for someone. But what you tradeoff in that is the freedom to do what you want. And so if you're looking for a fast dollar if you're looking to make just a stable secure livelihood quickly the traditional route of going to a job and working has a lot of advantages. But if you want that true sense of freedom where you can wake up every day and decide the projects you're going to work on turn stuff down not have to take stuff. I know a lot of camera guys who miss their kids little league games because they have to take one more job and that's not a great place to be in. So. I think to me really evaluating what your priorities are what your goals are and making sure that if you're going to go into your own business that you're really prepared to take on all the aspects of running a business and that you have a business model in place something where you can be a boss and hire five or six employees to work for you rather than you taking on the jobs of five or six employees which will simply leave you overworked and underpaid and feeling kind of miserable and my career has swung between those two extremes as I've gone and thankfully I found kind of a happy medium where I'm at right now.
[00:12:51] All right so they got to learn taxes they have to learn higher skills you don't get totally bogged down in just operating the business rather than having a business what else did you learn as a young man starting your first business.
[00:13:05] You know this was a really interesting tip. This is pretty specific towards film. A lot of people when they get started in film they start to avoid unpaid or low paid work. They immediately try to target the top that their classification can earn and go right for that path. Weirdly enough I've found that every single unpaid or low paid job that I've taken especially when I was getting started has led to some of my highest paid work ever. And so I think something I think the take away from that isn't that you should give away your time for free. I think the takeaway from that is that you need to always show up when there is something to do when you're called to do something. Step up to the plate and give it 110 percent.
[00:13:54] Every time that you're asked to do something whether it's for ten dollars or for a million dollars and when you carry that attitude to all your clients no matter what they're paying then doors start to open a lot faster than when you simply sit back and say well this guy's not paying so much so I'm going to have this kind of B level attitude towards this project that doesn't get your name and your reputation out there as much and it doesn't earn you favor or respect amongst those people and those are the people who will often turn around and give you your best work if you show up and give it 100 percent.
[00:14:31] Are you sure that your name really A.J. and not Sam Antion Because boy that sure sounds a lot like my dad talking to me through you. He's always says same thing be excellent no matter what you do. Be professional at it no matter what. I don't know if you saw that story about where in the depression. He just started loading apples for free because he wasn't going to sit around and do nothing when the country needed them so and then he got hired and got all his cousins hired because he gave before he got. And that's kind of what you're saying here.
[00:15:06] That's exactly it Tom and that's why resonated so well with your project your dad was a lot like my dad. That was the exact message at home is if you commit to something you follow through and you always follow through because your word and your reputation is worth more than gold and you hold that in high enough esteem if you protect that then you will go a lot farther than if you just kind of get a reputation as being someone who brings half of his game. Seventy five percent of the time.
[00:15:38] And that's interesting because the reason I'm talking to you right now and the reason that you ended up finishing this project is because somebody else didn't have that attitude.
[00:15:52] And that person is like blackballed from me and the producer of the production company of everything because they they just pooped out on it. And I mean I'm fortunate that they did because I got to meet you. But still you see the opposite. Like I'm doing everything I can to promote you because you proved yourself. He proved himself in a different direction. So it's going to hurt him forever and yours is going to keep going up and up and up and up. So good for you.
[00:16:25] I was just going to say thanks Tom and you know I've already picked up I think two extra clients just through this production. So it just goes to show you know that it always counts.
[00:16:37] So now on the downside. Have you ever gotten screwed over in business.
[00:16:42] Ah well this plays right into exactly what you're talking about what we were just talking about the first job I took in the film industry after high school. Other than the five month internship which I took which I won't count that as a proper screwing because I knew what I was signing up for.
[00:17:03] But I went to work on a production that was shooting in Texas and it was a three week production and they were paying a dollar an hour for my role.
[00:17:15] And I went to learn and I went as a second assistant director which was supposed to be you know one step higher than a production assistant P.A. is the grunt of the shoot who runs and gets everyone coffee every hour and that didn't have much appeal to me on this you know independent production. I wasn't watching you know Martin Scorsese direct as a P.A. I was getting coffee for people who were five or six years out of film school who were trying to build their reputation. But still I needed to learn and I signed up for it and we get out to Texas. It turned out that they didn't hire any production assistants. I ended up being a second AD and five production assistants at the same time. And then by the end of the shoot they were asking me to do things like pay for the gas that I was putting into the producer's car. After driving across Texas.
[00:18:19] I'd of Poured all that coffee in there and taken a bus home.
[00:18:26] So that was the biggest the worst screwing I ever got was on that show and I have to say even though they kind of screwed me on the rate. And it wasn't the best experience. I learned so much and I actually some of my fondest memories and my worst memories but also some of my fondest memories from working in film happened on that shoot. So I've been kind of blessed that that's the worst thing that ever happened.
[00:18:52] Well that's the thing. You know some of the worst people in my life have taught me things and they always say you know people can be an example they can be an example of what you don't want to be or an example of what you want to be as long as you look at it like you just looked at it. You learn and you take whatever good you can find out of it take that into the future and that was what makes you what you are. Like you know I could have done without all those bikers trying to kill me at the nightclub. And luckily they didn't do it but it kind of makes me what I am today. Scared of bikers.
[00:19:32] Yeah exactly. And part of what you know when I went to go make my own feature film because this was a narrative feature that I was working on in Texas. I took at least 75 lessons that I learned on that shoot and said OK here's what we aren't going to do. And you know the first one is we're going to pay people properly. And the second is we're going to stop working after 13 hours because we were working 16 hours a day. And you know I drove a car for 24 hours across the state of Texas. It was just nuts.
[00:19:59] So you know we took those lessons we learned them and then when I applied that to my own film it made the situation a lot better not only for myself but all of the people under me because they may not have always gotten along with me but they knew that on a certain basic level I was respecting at least their basic needs you know for sleep.
[00:20:23] So, You actually made your film you got your goal that you had out of high school but then you distributed it and got paid for it. Tell everybody about that story and how you figured that out because a lot of filmmakers a lot of people never figure out how to market their stuff. You know they just don't and you did it as a kid. How did you do that.
[00:20:44] Yeah well this was a pretty nuts story so let me back it up. I'm a film festival reject. I make short films that can not go to film festivals for some reason. When I write and direct to film this isn't the stuff I edit it goes wherever the stuff I write and direct Film Festivals just don't like it. I don't know why I can't explain it. The reason a lot of people don't really connect with distributors is because they're hunting for distributors in the wrong place and traditional advice has been make your film and then spend two years trying to shop it to film festivals. Hope you get into one of the top 4 film festivals and then hopefully they're out of the 57 screenings that happened that week. One distributor or sales agent will walk into your movie say I like this and it can come call you. Well that's kind of like playing the lotto.
[00:21:39] And not only that but when I did get distribution I went to my agent. I asked them I said do you actually go to film festivals and they laughed and they say no that's a waste of our time. Why would anyone do that.
[00:21:51] So when I made my film I realized it was a cold war spy thriller it's like actiony and adventure and not at all arty and has no like you know big sweeping social theme. It was just a fun film. And I said OK this isn't right for Sundance. What can I do. How can I tackle this from a different business approach. And in talking to some people I got the advice that you need to send your movie to the distributors rather than hoping the distributors come to you. So I started cold calling every sales agent in L.A. and I emailed and called about 30 different sales agents got responses from 28 of them got deals from 26 of them and signed with the one who gave us a check in hand cash for the film. It's a really simple process but it's one that people don't think about doing because they think they need validation for their art. A lot of filmmakers I've actually talked to some of my peers who say well if I can't get into a festival it's not worth being seen. And unfortunately that's it. That's a pretty bad attitude to have I think. I think instead of having validation from your art. Let the money be validation and then go get investors make your next film and maybe that one is going to go to festivals. Maybe not but the festivals are secondary to being a profitable producer or director which is what when you get hired for the industry when you go work at Hollywood Warner Brothers that's what they're looking for. They want to make sure they can turn a profit on your work.
[00:23:24] Too many creative people just get tied up. I mean I've gone through that my whole career on the internet my websites are nothing fancy to look at but they make money and people say oh well that's why I can't believe you're a big shot internet guy. Look at that thing. OK here's how much it brought in last month how much did yours bring in and they shut up. But still everybody's tied up in the looks. Well even the Oscars and stuff you know a lot of those films aren't commercial successes. Right.
[00:23:56] I think that they definitely appeal more to the artistic crowd.
[00:24:00] Right. That's what I mean. Yeah. I mean you can make a how to video and sell it and make a million dollars on it. Teaching people how to do something you know. I've got loads of them made a million on all of them. But I mean they'll never be seen or cared about by any artistic community. It's just you can make it happen. And what amazes me you cold call because I'm so much against cold calling but it made sense. In this particular thing because you know just throwing it at a film festival and crossing your fingers doesn't make sense to me either. So tell them about your work on the American entrepreneur. Tell them how that went.
[00:24:40] Well so I was called in to the American entrepreneur originally just to pick some music for it. Our producer Terri Marie saw some of the work I did for a non-profit in Ethiopia last summer. Which is a whole 'nother story but she really liked the music from that piece and so I was called in to kind of be the music supervisor and you know we just started cutting on this thing and found ways that we could bump the production up another notch and tweak things and take it to the next level and really give it that shine and polish that it needed. So we spent three or four months going through that film one last time and you know reworking some scenes and just really bringing it up a notch and I'm really excited about what we did and we've kind of touched on this but I clicked with the project because it was like seeing my dad and my story right back on screen. So it was like OK well this is going to be easy to go in and work today on you know because I get to deal with a topic that actually resonates with me. So that was pretty cool.
[00:25:41] Yeah I really want to praise you because you were very professional. Like I said, that's why you gave me the will to live because I see so many young people not professional not on time don't care about the quality of their work. You were just so opposite of that. So anybody out there that needs this kind of service what kind of services do you actually provide to the public if somebody needed something what would they call you for.
[00:26:07] So I advertise our company as a full service production company. You can check us out at Section3films.com and then I have my own portfolio. So we advertise a full service production company that means you can walk in and bring us a film basically at any stage of production and we can pick it up and take it from there and get it to the finish line.
[00:26:35] So if you come to us with a script we've got our crew that can go take that script and turn it into a film. That's what our narrative feature was also trying to prove was our methodology for doing narrative production. That's where my heart's at you know we took a script and worked it from beginning middle to end. So I can confidently say that we've got a great team who can do narrative features but if you have a corporate project that you need to have a three minute video for to show off to your clients. You bring in your concept your treatment and or we can create a treatment.
[00:27:12] Yeah just a basic creative brief or just you know even like five sentences about what you're trying to express and then we'll work with you to put that on screen and to create video content for your company.
[00:27:24] I know that the one I have is a half hour long and it's brought in at least you know I can't say exactly but a minimum of five million dollars. I've got very little amount of money in it. We did a lot of the stuff in-house. We didn't have somebody like you around at that time. I think you were in diapers.
[00:27:48] But yeah these can really help promote your small business and your competitors do not have these things. I kind of call them candids some of the the film we go behind the scenes. Show them what we're doing to help people. And even if other companies are doing it too they didn't take the time to show them in this compelling manner on video. So you could use them for something like that. So what's the worst thing of all of being in business for yourself. We know the best thing is your freedom your expression and all that. What's the worst thing.
[00:28:22] Definitely the worst thing is when you don't have a team behind you and you're juggling those 17 different hats when you're playing accountant bookkeeper editors cinematographer writer director and like you also have to do your dishes at some point and clean up your office do your laundry that can be pretty overwhelming. And also realizing that you're not going to finish every project in one day. And so kind of fighting against the temptation to just keep working. Like I really get absorbed in what I do and so I will need to set boundaries with my work actually and say OK at 9:00 o'clock we have to turn everything off and like go read a book. Otherwise I'll just work through.
[00:29:11] So I want to tell them a little bit about from my perspective the American entrepreneur film and then when I get done with that when I want to do is get you to describe what's a typical day look like for you and how you stay motivated. So folks I was very honored. I thought you had to be dead to have a documentary done about you apparently Hollywood is lowering its standards. Because I'm still very much alive. Terri saw me a long time ago. Terri Marie's the production company real mountain pictures. I don't remember what episode she's on here but you had her on and she saw me do a memorial for the lady that got me started speaking. And you know I just met her very nice lady and that was the end of it. But apparently she's following me and watched me over the years and then pitched this idea of doing a film called The American entrepreneur. She had done 37 other documentaries on Olympians and all kinds of people.
[00:30:10] So of course I had to jump in at that time and say well if you're going to do this because even though I have respect for the artistic end of Hollywood I'm not sure they're all great marketers like A.J. So I said look you know all this stuff I got to know or she's just a sweet lady. Said you should put how to do it documentary together. So she did. She put this enormous great course so that you can get started doing your own documentary.
[00:30:39] So we got that you'll hear about probably over at the American entrepreneur film by the way that link again Facebook.com/Americanentrepreneurfilm. By the time you hear this we may have already had our big online premiere party but I'm using it as a promotional tool. She's selling it wherever she can sell it. And it's just the really great thing that none of my competitors will have. This is a very serious film. People like A.J. And we have sound editors and a bunch of people shoot video all over the place.
[00:31:13] Yeah it was just really something I'm really proud of. Really honored to be in and The best thing is that the kind of honored my father and you know really A.J.'s father to and all fathers like them and mothers too. That gave the entrepreneurial spirit in America to the people like me and we can all pass it on. So I'm thrilled that I got to meet A.J. Tell us what a typical day is like for you and how you stay motivated.
[00:31:44] Well it's hard to say what a typical day is because I try to keep everyday a little bit different somehow.
[00:31:49] Makes it fun because you're an entrepreneur and you're screwing the commute. Exactly.
[00:31:58] So I live up in Pasadena which is about nine miles east of L.A.
[00:32:02] It's still one giant traffic jam the whole place.
[00:32:05] Which means that to get to L.A. to go those nine miles takes about 30 minutes and to get anywhere where there is actual film shoots going on takes like an hour at best. For my typical day I try to map out a day the night before where I set you know kind of my urgent and important goals. Big fan of the Stephen Covey time management system what do I need to accomplish that day. Map out times to do that and then time to spend working on things that I want to do personal projects or personal improvement or maybe that means just watching TV for a couple of hours. Although I actually need to do more of that.
[00:32:45] Few people suggest watching more TV is good for you. I guess in your field it's a different story.
[00:32:52] Yeah it's research actually and you know when you don't make time to watch movies as a filmmaker you get behind on the style. So you got to stay current. But yeah I try to map out my day the night before make some personal time in that schedule and then first thing in the morning I'll get six phone calls and they'll all go straight to hell. But I try to keep on the task and if I don't get to it all then all pushed the next day and then sometimes the weeks get broken up by having shoots in the middle of that chaos because we'll go out and shoot and then come back and edit. And so all of the shooting time kind of augments the editing time and vice versa.
[00:33:32] So we'll work four days on edits and then one day on shoot or two days on shoot in three days on edits or however it kind of shakes out.
[00:33:39] I understand you just came back from Europe.
[00:33:41] Yeah we were we were shooting a documentary on the Mona Lisa. I think it's called The Search for the Mona Lisa. It's going to be narrated by Morgan Freeman.
[00:33:53] I think the Mona Lisa had the best PR person ever. Because I went to see the Mona Lisa by the way I'm kind of mad at the French people because I waited my whole life to go to the Louvre you know to see the Mona Lisa I show up on a Tuesday.
[00:34:13] It's closed. Who closes anything on a Tuesday. What world is that. And so you know to get back at them. I went down to the south of France and ate at McDonald's. So I went back on Thursday and I went down this hallway with the 60 foot high enormous paintings and I get down and then I'm like where's the Mona Lisa. It's like two it's like two inches high. Back in the far end of this place and then a bunch of foreign people standing around taking pictures of it like she had a good PR person. How did she get so famous. That's what you're Going to tell us in the documentary.
[00:34:59] Yeah it's you know we kind of go through the history of who Mona Lisa was. She was an actual person living in Florence and we talked about the different copies and versions you know the Louvre Mona Lisa is actually not as impressive as the Mona Lisa that's hanging in the Prado mostly because in the Prado in Spain you can get about two inches from it and the colors are beautiful.
[00:35:23] I didn't know there was more than one Mona Lisa. Are they twins.
[00:35:32] We believe I may be butchering this I was just the camera guy not the art historian. No but that was what their what the the company would do. That's how DaVinci would make money is making copies. Did you know that there's a second last supper.
[00:35:56] Yeah. King Louis the 12th came to Italy. Wanted to get a copy of the last supper because it was on the wall and this in this monastery and he was going to blow the wall out and take it back to France on a cart and his advisers said no we can't do that that's going to destroy it.
[00:36:14] So he basically forced DaVinci to paint with his studio a copy of it on a basically like a 30 foot high IMAX screen canvas. And it ended up in a monastery in Belgium and I got to go shoot that that was the year before.
[00:36:31] And this is like screw the commute history lesson. Now when you say forced daVinci did he hold like a musket at his head.
[00:36:40] More or less DaVinci had a bunch of contracts with the state of either Milan or Florence at the time and King Louis basically said sorry you know we're taking him we're going to have him do this project with his studio. Well they took over. So yeah his pupils did most of that. But we think that two of the figures on there were they didn't have any under drawings. So our theory is that those were done by da Vinci itself.
[00:37:10] You're hanging out with all these people.
[00:37:16] It's not a bad life to live honestly getting to hang out in Europe like studying art history from a Ph.D. who's the best selling author from National Geographic. It's a good life.
[00:37:26] Was the pizza any good.
[00:37:28] You know I don't like it. So I'm going to get murdered for this. But Italian food in America is better because we use so much more butter.
[00:37:41] And gluten I was thinking about buying up all the gluten that nobody wants anymore. Cornering the market on it. Then when they decide it's good I'll have it all and I'll sell it back to them for a fortune.
[00:37:55] You know this has been really great. Tell them how they reached again if they want to ask questions or maybe pitch a project.
[00:38:05] The best way to pitch a project is through my Web site Section3films.com. You can see my personal portfolio. This is kind of my curated top videos that I've done at AJ.section3films.com and then right now I'm actually producing a masterclass on how to distribute films following my very simple method but also going in-depth on things you need to prepare in preproduction and things you need to watch out for in post production when you sell your film and that's going to end up at FilmSales101.com and probably releasing most likely by the time that this podcast is out.
[00:38:44] Yeah and just a little warning for everybody now AJ's demo reel. I don't know what you call portfolio is real. You have to be careful because some unscrupulous people will grab other people's work and put it in their own reel and claim it as their own and they don't have the competence to do it so you've got to be very careful about who you deal with and this guy's the real deal. You have any parting thoughts for all our screwballs out there that might be thinking about starting a business.
[00:39:12] I mean definitely screw the commute. If you live in L.A. I spent there is one month I was spending three hours in the car and that's like the worst thing ever. The biggest waste of time I would say most of all. Follow your passion follow what you enjoy most but always always always realize that the grass is greener on the other side and whether or not you're your own boss.
[00:39:40] You want to try to find happiness where you're at because in my own experience happiness and being happy and being content with where you are is tied to things that are beyond your career and where you're at now certainly going to Europe and having flexibility in your schedule can help with that and give you time to process things. But you know I've had conversations with lawyers earning ten times what I make. Who are just not happy. I've had conversations with people who are their own boss who are unhappy. And I've had conversations with people who work 9 to 5 who are extremely happy and vice versa. So I think the biggest most important thing in all of this is remember that the American Dream is about the pursuit of happiness. And if you can put that first let that dictate where you should end up in your life. If you are your own boss work that to your maximum advantage. If you are a 9 to 5er work that's your maximum advantage and enjoy where you're at and if you're not if you can't make it work then switch it up. So I think that's my closing thought.
[00:40:41] Great advice A.J. And I really implore everybody listening to this. If You have young people I mean even middle schoolers. Really get their mind in this. There's a big world out there if they do things correctly. If they treat people right if they're honest if they're prompt if they're trustworthy the world they won't understand. But the world is their oyster. So thanks so much A.J. for being on. We really appreciate it. Thank you so much. We'll be hearing more from you when we do our premiere party I'm sure for the American entrepreneur.
[00:41:18] So everybody that was episode 36 in Episode 37 I'm going to be doing one of my weekly in-depth training session. That's our next episode. This is one of my favorites and that's recruiting young geeks and propeller heads. These are people that really help your businesses where to find them how to recruit them how to pay them. I recruited my first geek in 1997 and he's now a millionaire in Los Angeles and got 50 million dollars in funding for his latest venture. His name is Ilya Posen. And we'll have him on in a future episode so you're going to learn how to recruit these kind of people. And I'm still to this day using things he taught me. I mean one is just one of the things he taught me saved me. We tried to figure it out seven million keystrokes.
[00:42:09] So these young people are extremely valuable to you. I'm going to show you how to recruit them. That's it everybody we'll see all you screwballs on the next episode. Catch ya later.
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