From Hollywood Dropout to Here, We Are: Filmmaker Martin Goldman’s Wild Ride
The road has been long and travelled well (in a Porsche 911 and a ’66 Volkswagen Van) from New York to California to Vermont to Wyoming to Canada to Taos and most recently Ashland, Oregon. And wherever Goldman goes, he can’t help himself from making films.
“The only thing I wanted to do was make movies. It was like a drug,” Martin Goldman admits. He has successfully made art as a graphic designer, written and directed independent films and stayed married to his lovely wife Harriet which are fantastic accomplishments for a Hollywood dropout.
Inspired by seeing the British musical comedy, A Hard Day’s Night, starring the Beatles, he began writing screenplays and has not stopped since. His work on a major motion picture for Paramount called Legend of Black Charley meant he “made it” in Hollywood. But Goldman says, “It was difficult to take orders from Hollywood, so I went independent. It’s the only way to go.” To find out why he dropped out, those interested can read his memoir, Mad Ave to Hollywood, written in 2018 and on Amazon. It is a fast read based on the incredibly wild ride Goldman took to get where he is today.
One of Goldman’s original art pieces entitled, “Star Spangled Cowboy” once hung in the White House during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. When asked why he hung around the rodeo and sketched the cowboys, he explained what else would one do when the checks from past movies stopped coming in and he found out his accountant was dead? He sold a lot of prints in Jackson Hole but eventually the “movies would catch up with me.”
At the ripe age of 86, Goldman may have slowed down his speed, but he has no intention of halting the joyride. In fact, he and his wife are the stars of a film called, Here, We Are, about growing old together recently accepted into the Ashland Independent Film Festival (April 11 – 15). And when asked what he is working on now, he just chuckled.
Here is a synopsis of Goldman’s independent films in chronological order:
Dark August – A visceral horror flick that Goldman wrote and directed about a man who must face the consequences for accidently ending a young girl’s life filmed in Stowe, Vermont starring Kim Hunter, J.J. Barry and Caroline Barry. Goldman says, “I did it the old-fashioned way. I got a producer and we both found people who wanted to invest in a movie as a tax write-off. But after they saw the completed film, they realized that they had a real movie.”
He goes on to say, “I raised the money ($150,000) while sitting in my Manhattan apartment, projecting 35mm location slides against a background of music of from Pink Floyd along with me reading the script. It started out slow in sales until French HBO picked it up along with Wednesday Night at the Movies. The film eventually achieved occult status and has been re-issued.
Elliot & The Old Soul – (1984-85) Filmed in Mendocino, California: “It was a labor of love and everyone wanted to join in. The film traces the life of a man in the physical realm and beyond the grave where he tries to communicate with his wife while travelling through the seven planes of awareness.”
When Sunday Comes – (1996) “I used unknown actors chosen from the Meisner acting school. This time the background was the lovely waters of Hawaii. It compares the island of Kona to the gripping emotions of divorce.”
Legend of Spirit Dog – A film produced by the Discovery Channel in 1997 written and directed by Goldman. It tells the story of an Alaskan boy who becomes entangled in a battle between raven and wolf starring Morgan Brittany, David Richards, and George Charles. “It is based on an Inuit legend and the innocent love between a boy and his magical dog. With this movie I did something I swore I would never do again – get involved with the Majors again – but money and ego got in the way.”
The Reading – A 2016 film about getting old filmed in a single live reading and acted by Oregon Shakespeare Theater actors. Goldman withheld the script so that he could see the creative process in action unfolding in front of him. It won first prize in the 2018 Chico International Film Festival.