Joshua Martin found an opportunity at Notre Dame at just the right time in his career. When he was ready to transition out of his position as a production manager at the University of Miami, he asked a friend about possible openings at Notre Dame. That friend knew of one. Why Notre Dame? The Pine Forge, Pennsylvania native was familiar with the University and the area, as a graduate of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he had worked as a student photographer and videographer. Perhaps you’ve seen Joshua at work on campus; here’s your chance to get to know a little about that guy Behind the Camera.
NDW: Where are you from originally?
JM: I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, but we lived in Pine Forge. I lived there through elementary and high school.
NDW: What did your parents do?
JM: My father is Chief of Finance for the Allegheny East Conference of Seventh Day Adventist. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, but she's also an artist. She raised my sister and me and she homeschooled us until the sixth grade, which was probably the best thing that's ever happened to me. My parents have been totally supportive of whatever my sister and I have done. A lot of parents don't really support their kids who are interested in filming or photography as a career. But right off the bat my dad was the one who helped me finance my first camera. My mom was always there for me, because she was an artist herself. So, I had that support early on and the confidence that I could actually deliver good, meaningful work. That's what got me here today.
NDW: How long have you been at Notre Dame and how did you come to work here?
JM: I’ve been at Notre Dame for two years. I had always admired the content that was being produced here. I thought it would be a great opportunity to continue to grow my career, especially with my track record, working with universities. I wanted to see what it would be like to work at a place like Notre Dame.
NDW: What does your workday consist of?
JM: I work in Video Services, which is an arm of Marketing Communications or MarComm. Our overall client is the University and we do a wide range of projects for various areas within the University — from the president’s office to departments here on campus, the dining halls to the Mendoza College of Business. The clients come to Video Services with an idea, or we come up with an idea to highlight a particular program, and we tell their story. We meet with the client to understand the needs of the project. A videographer is assigned, and in my case I see that project all the way through, shooting everything from the interview, the B-roll (video), and editing. We work through the whole process, revising and editing and if it's all well and good, it gets delivered as a finished video that’s typically posted on the University’s website.
NDW: What is the best part of your job?
JM: The best part of my job has been the wide range of projects. There's never a dull moment here for sure. When I first got here, it was quite daunting, looking at the types and range of projects. But I’ve learned that challenge leads to growth. We have projects that range from, what I call, ‘eating our vegetables’ — you know, the things that we need to do, all the way up to the best projects—the ‘cherry-on-top projects.’ These are all projects I’ve learned to appreciate.
NDW: What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve shot?
JM: I had the opportunity to travel to East Africa last year with the University Folk Choir. I was with them for three weeks in Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda. We worked on a seven-part mini documentary series showcasing the different parishes in East Africa, watching the choir members interact and in this cultural experience through music. A student worker and I were filming every single day. It was fantastic. It was also great to get to know the students — living with them for three weeks, getting to know different personalities and getting to hear beautiful music theory. The most exciting thing was being able to create beautiful imagery and a beautiful story in conjunction with this sort of pilgrimage.
NDW: What is something you would like to film?
JM: I would love to get back into a helicopter and film shots of the campus. That's just like a bucket list type of thing.
NDW: What do you like to do outside of work?
JM: A business partner and I have a small production company called Joshua Martin Studios. We create social media content for different brands such as camera companies, lens companies, etc. But we're moving into more of the documentary and narrative space. I tend to work on small docs, but I’m currently working on a larger, scale full length documentary, which focuses on African American stories in a certain organization. We are also hosting our first film festival, or film contest, called the 10K Film Challenge, in celebration of me reaching over 10,000 followers on Instagram @joshuamartinstudios.
I also review camera gear and create videos — editing tutorials — for YouTube, just for fun in my spare time.
NDW: What about hobbies outside of film work?
JM: My wife and I love traveling. We also enjoy raising our 11-month-old daughter. She's been a world changer for us. My hobby is being a father.
[Pause for that sweet sentiment.]
NDW: How did travel become an interest?
JM: I was in a high school exchange program called People to People, International Travel Programs. I went to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. That's what really kicked off my interest in photography. I was just entering my senior year in high school and it was an opportunity to really see the world in a different way, to experience it through my lens. Since then I started traveling almost every other year up until now.
NDW: Do you have any tips for amateur videographers? Types of cameras or editing programs?
JM: Just get yourself shooting something, either on your phone or a small DSLR point and shoot [camera]. The more you fail the more you learn and realize what you need.
As far as cameras, whether it be photography or video, the best camera is the one that's with you. Most of the time it's going to be your phone. Phones today, even phones that are only three or four years old, still have high quality video to work with. So, you shouldn't let technology hinder you if you have a story. Tell that story.