Before the global pandemic arrived, West Coast-based 2nd AC Martin Rosas was working on everything from The Ellen Degeneres Show to Jada P. Smith’s Red Table Talk. And he was constantly traveling for work. Now, Rosas’ main sojourn is from his apartment in Hollywood, CA to his finacé’s house in Pomona (about 35 miles). He says that although it’s been hard to adjust to the abandoned streets and the almost non-existent traffic, the quarantine-imposed break from work has given him a lot of time to think.
Has being able to connect with friends/family in distant locations via Zoom revealed new aspects to those relationships?
Technology has been so important to me in these difficult times. The need to connect or socialize with other people has been key to staying, in a sense, alive. A phone call or a text doesn’t do it justice. During the harder part of the pandemic, I used these platforms to keep in touch with work friends to talk about anything, in one way or another. Since we are all in this together, we have to stick together. Social interaction via the Web has been that helping hand.
Any chance to improve your cooking skills – biggest success/failure?
It has been easy for me to find amazing recipes on the Web but executing them has been the real challenge. Before COVID, going to The Cheesecake Factory was a must-have, but I wouldn’t dare to try to recreate those just yet. Over my “staycation,” the restaurant released their most popular recipes to the public to recreate at home. Cajun jambalaya pasta is my go-to plate. I’m a novice cook, but all the basics are in my toolkit. I won’t burn the rice, but I’m a “overcook the pork chop just to make sure I don’t undercook it” kind of cook. The hard part for me is winging it when no recipe or ingredient list is in front of me. I like following directions when cooking is involved.
Has your streaming diet been inspiring, scary, weepy, or just pure escapism?
Online video content has kept me sane. I tend to change it up since I don’t want to overwork any genre. As much as I like masterful cinematography, I also like the fast-paced snapshots of reality TV. I pretty much defiantly enjoy pure escapism whether it be a scary movie or a chick flick. I’m the type of person that would put something on Netflix and let it run while I tend to other things around the house. Background noise has been part of my streaming diet.
Any old film classics on the TV? Favorites for cinematography?
One of my all-time favorites for cinematography and story has been Breaking Bad, a show that keeps reminding me this is the career I want to be in. To tell such an impactful story from very special perspectives has been one that has stayed with me since I watched the last episode. Another great series that has had me wanting more is Netflix’s The Money Heist. It’s with English subtitles, based in Spain, about a group of bank robbers, planning to rob the Royal Mint. It’s a masterful piece of work that has still managed to keep me on the edge of my seat still into Season 4. The visuals are stunning, the story is a strategic web that keeps you entertained at every turn. That reminds me, I need to re-watch it again before the new season comes out again. [Laughs].
What charities have you become involved in? Why did you choose?
The ICG newsletters have provided sources to go out and be active. I found that the L.A. Regional Foodbank was doing a drive-thru distribution and they needed volunteers. The experience was something that has me wanting to continue to give back. It was a hot day, but well worth the time. Seeing families drive-by receiving food gave me a feeling of happiness. My fiancé and I both went in with a great attitude not knowing how it would turn out. It exceeded our expectations. We wrapped the day with a new outlook, help when help is needed.
Once the restrictions are lifted what is the first thing you want to do?
My fiancé and I had started planning our wedding in January. We thought we’d have enough time, giving ourselves a year in advance. However, all those plans went on pause with COVID-19; and we have been anxiously waiting for the pandemic to pass to continue planning the big day. We are optimistic but at the same time realistic that at this point anything can happen. Therefore, we are hoping that our big day happens as scheduled and we can have an amazing day with all our friends and family soon.
What is the one thing you miss most about being on a film/TV set?
The morning rush. That feeling when you know what needs to be done and that people on your set depend on it. The satisfaction that everything you have done is working and running as it should; the teamwork that is put into every single moving part; the hustle that everyone works towards to create content that is so expensive to produce. Those feelings to me are one of a kind and only obtained by those who love what they do. At times, it’s as small as just getting that last push to get the first shot up.
How has the Union been able to help you through these tough times?
The Union has been an essential part of what has been one of the most stressful and uncertain times. As a Local 600 member, the resources provided to me have been essential. I was completely out of work at the end of March; I didn’t know what the future was going to hold, however, the union gave me a place to start. The hardship fund helped me through tough times. Just like the hardship fund, the IATSE platform also gave me the ability to help out. Once I was able to get my feet slightly above water, I knew I had to do something to give back. The group was there to provide me with the resources to give back, I attended the local food bank and volunteered my time, and it will not stop there.
Have you been able to do anything to keep your professional skills sharp?
Video meeting platforms have become an essential part of the tool kit not just for family members and loved ones but to get in contact with co-workers and the various videos/tutorials/ training sessions. Since we have access to the world at our fingertips, websites/articles/videos have become my best friend. There are times when I just browse the web for those cool behind the scene shots. So, if keeping my professional skills sharp means watching other crews work, then I think I’ve got the covered during the pandemic.
How do you think your outlook on life will change post-COVID?
This pandemic has changed the way we see the world. Our ability to trust, our comfort, has been thrown out the door. A pandemic of this scale has re-imagined our way of life. I believe we have been exposed to our vulnerability as our health and well-being is placed on the forefront. It has personally made me rethink where I am and where I want to be in the future. The entertainment industry is ready to feed the masses. We thrive on our industry to give it the escapism that they deserve to take them out of their normal lives. Whether it be watching a movie or going to a bar to have a drink. We as entertainers have to be ready to put on our visual work boots and get ready for post-COVID. The rise back to normality is slow but I believe we will all get back to being together on set.