I'm sitting on the plane right now returning to Cincinnati from Dallas and I have no idea where to begin talking about Marty Ingels. He is a wonderfully complex man with a storied career. A comedic genius formed on the streets of Brooklyn as a kid and alongside the Hollywood legends as an adult, Marty shared stories from these formational periods whenever the cameras weren't rolling.
As you saw in the trailer there is something magnetic to Marty when the camera turns on. He steals nearly every scene he's in. Part of that I think is just his natural magic. He has "It." But there's a very detailed method to his madness. He would show up on set every day with a notepad full of insane-looking scribbles. They were his notes for every little thing he wanted to do. His magnetism is both nature and nurture.
But I would be lying if I said it was all gumdrops and candy canes with Marty. We had our wrastlin' matches. One of them changed the course of the shoot for me and perhaps my future career. After our most ambitious day of shooting when everyone was celebrating I was receiving a very blunt lesson. See below.
He explained how I wasn't doing a very good job being an "actor's director." From his perspective I wasn't connecting the actors to the scene as well as I could've been. I could've argued with him on this but I chose not to. I listened. He explained how the relationship forged between actor and director can be a beautiful thing that translates on and off camera. And I was blowing it from his vantage point.
I looked him in the eye. It was a moment I could've pointed out that we just shot more pages in one day than an extremely optimistic person would've thought possible. The cast and crew were connected on and off screen that day for 13+ hours straight. We were rock stars and I should've been popping champagne celebrating. Instead, I was receiving some hard truth. And that was a choice I made. To receive. He's forgotten more about the business than I have yet to experience. So I told him he was right and that I would do better.
And he was right. For the rest of the shoot I forged some beautiful relationships with the actors, particularly with him. I've long said your best friends are the ones you've boxed. (Ask my college roommate, Tyler.) Marty and I went 12 rounds together while he was in Cincinnati and I have the scars, smiles and stories to show for it.
This April, Isaac and I visited Marty and Shirley in their home in Encino, CA (1.5 years after we last saw each other). After hugging Shirley outside in the driveway, I walked inside and saw Marty. We both grinned and shook hands.
I'm proud of Marty's performance on screen, but it's the wonderfully complex relationship we have off screen that I'm really proud of.