I am not sure if it is what you would call an age old saying, but I can guarantee you that I have heard it from a number of people in the entertainment industry in one fashion or another, ‘If you can do anything else other than acting, do it. This field is unforgiving and is not for everyone.’ That is certainly paraphrased by me after hearing it in a number of iterations over the years, but the advice remains clear for anyone pursuing the arts on stage or film. Those that choose to act, must do so sometimes against their own better judgement.
So why would Kevin Martinez, the Producer of the upcoming production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, and also its lead actor in the role of CB, decide acting was the way to go.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Martinez says through a smile. “But seriously, I had
tried everything else and I thought, if after all that I still want to pursue this. Then,
there is something truthful about that.”
Martinez has in fact “tried it all.”
Martinez will be the first to tell you that he did not study theatre in high school or
college, and instead pursued sports and academics instead of the school’s Spring
“In high school, you were not allowed to try out for any of the school productions
unless you were in one of the performing arts,” Martinez explained. “I had dropped
out of choir after 9th grade, so it was not something on my radar anymore. But I do
remember seeing the school’s production of Little Shop of Horrors and thought to
myself, I could do that.”
That acting bug would not strike Martinez again until well into Graduate School,
where after obtaining his Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Marketing from Texas
Tech, he pursued a Master’s of Business (MBA) at Indiana University. However, prior
to his graduate pursuits, Martinez worked as a Life Guard, Camp Counselor, Mentor to High School Students through a program called Upward Bound, and even served as a Tutor. But after getting to college, Martinez would find himself in a completely different field of interest – one might say a completely opposite one compared to the arts.
“I was working in Public Relations for college athletic teams,” remarked Martinez. “I would over the course of a few years, work for three different Universities serving as a PR agent for their college athletic teams. That included writing articles, being a press agent of sorts for the athletes and coaches, and event managing Big 12, Big 10 and NCAA Championships for a number of sports, including Volleyball, Wrestling, Gymnastics, Basketball, Football, Golf and Tennis.”
However, while Martinez said that he enjoyed his work and got his MBA in General Management with the intention of moving up in his field – including trying to get a job with the Indiana Pacers – there was a common feeling that followed him from one University to the next.
“I think everyone wants to put their mark on the world,” Martinez said reflectively. “And I started to realize that I was writing about and keeping track of other’s athletic marks and accomplishments, but not my own. And once I was able to place that feeling, I realized that I would never be completely happy in the PR world. But I will say, I have sports to thank for how I eventually got to acting. A mentor of mine, Cassie Arner, was a Media Relations Director at the University of Illinois, my final college that I worked for, and she inspired me to do a ‘Bucket List’ of sorts. So, after modeling my list after hers, I embarked on completing 365 Things to Do in a Year.”
That list, Martinez described, involved things that fit into 5 categories: Things he had never done before; Things that conquered a fear; Things that Bettered him as a person; Things that were philanthropic; and finally, they had to be things he wanted to do – eliminating the pressure to get a tattoo in a place he might regret. In that list were a few big-ticket items, including trips to Washington, D.C., and New York. Not to mention, to finally audition for his first show, which would be a local theatre’s production of Man of la Mancha – which he actually booked but had to turn down because of the time commitment.
Though Martinez would eventually end up in New York, he would take a detour in the Nation’s Capitol after trips to both of the iconic cities.
“I cannot tell you why, because I was actually not very politically charged at the time,” Martinez said, “but I fell in love with the energy of Capitol Hill. So, I decided to leave the Sports world and moved to Washington D.C. to work for a Congressman.”
He admits his work on Capitol Hill was short-lived after realizing it was not the place for him, but he followed that stint by pursing a position with one of the top Financial Planning Firms in the D.C. after being invited by one of the youngest and most successful partners in the Firm to be his personal protégé. Martinez, however, realized after a few months that despite the fact that he was getting good at the job, he had no interest in becoming great. So before leaving the city, he decided to push one last pursuit and worked for a Non-Profit that did advocacy for abused and neglected children in all 50 states.
“My work with the non-profit was great,” Martinez explained. “I actually loved it. But unfortunately, our organization was hit with a few years of less-than-ideal fundraising prior to me arriving, that we had to shut down operations. It happened that fast – they had a meeting on Monday, told us Tuesday, that our last day was Friday.”
But it would not be long before his eyes would turn to New York.
Cast Member Chelsea Stavis talks Dog Sees God and just why she could not finish the script the first time she read it ...
“I was waiting tables in D.C. after leaving the non-profit when I caught wind of this opportunity to audition for a panel of industry agents, casting directors, school admissions offices and labels,” Martinez remembered. “I actually did it on a whim. I was living with family in D.C. at the time, and I thought it would be a cool outing for me and their 2 kids. I knew the kids would love going to perform a song and monologue for some people, so I used it as an outing one weekend.”
That outing would prove to be the change in the wind that Martinez was looking for, as that opportunity is what led to an audition for the New York Film Academy Musical Theatre Conservatory, which would be the catalyst to bring Martinez to the Big Apple.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Martinez smiled, “I got here and realized I had a lot to learn. I might have had some natural talent but it would not get me far enough. So, I found my voice teachers Martin Sola and Kristy Cates, I got connected to Matthew Corozine Studio for my acting, got the waiter and bartending jobs to pay rent and even flirted with the idea of the professional world in New York by serving as a Project Manager and eventual Marketing and Social Media Director for a multi-million dollar NY Data Management company. But throughout all of it, I kept acting in my sights.”
Those sights are what led us to today. Martinez is producing his first project in New York, but he comments that he surrounded himself with some pretty capable minds and talent in the industry to make this project truly come together and not feel so freshman.
“I did wake up one day and say to myself, I want to produce my own opportunity,” Martinez said. “So, I sought the advice of my career coach Tessa Faye, and she helped me map out a plan of hiring a talented and Broadway-experienced Director in Michael Bradshaw Flynn, we decided it would be amazing to take the project and stage it at my acting studio Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre (MCS) where I honed my craft, ask my teacher to co-produce it with me, and then to do it with fellow MCS actors that were my contemporaries and that are current students to showcase the talent that this studio produces year in and year out.”
Martinez also acknowledges that his current ‘Survival Job’ career of NY Real Estate with Bohemia Realty Group – though he smiled and noted that it is a pretty adult job for it to be categorized as a survival job – is a huge reason why he is in the position to produce. But regardless of the means, he reflects on the path that he took to get here and confirms he could see no other road to continue to travel down but this one.
“I know to the chagrin of my parents who I am sure have said to themselves a few times that they wished I would use my MBA and settle down more and maybe move closer to Texas,” Martinez laughed, “I still continue to pursue acting. That is also not to mislead you into thinking my parents don’t support me. They were some huge donors to this show and my career both emotionally and financially. But I also don’t think they would be good parents if they didn’t some of the times question my choices and ask me to ask myself what exactly is my end goal. But I keep saying to myself all the time. I have done everything else, I just still want to do this.”
You can catch Martinez’ performance in Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead when it opens, running February 2-4 | 9-11 at Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre, located at 357 West 36th, #202, New York, NY, 10018. Tickets are on sale for $18 at www.BrownPaperTickets.com, and the show will last 90 minutes with no intermission.