Icons of Fright Interview with 7 MINUTES Director Jay Martin!

7MinutesPosterHaving started his career as both a music video director (his video for Atreyu’s “Ex’s and Oh’s” is a fave of mine) and a storyboard artist on films like AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 and CONSTANTINE, Jay Martin’s directorial feature debut 7 MINUTES is a heist gone wrong film full of tension and suspense. Dealing with jumping timelines, and a lot of energy, the Jason Ritter, Luke Mitchell and Zane Holtz-led crime thriller is now in theaters and is one wild ride.

Martin was nice enough to chat with Icons of Fright about his inspiration with the film, the transition of going from music videos to films and some awesome wardrobe choices for Zane Holtz’s character in the film. Read on!


I have always been interested in the heist gone wrong kinds of films, like DOG DAY AFTERNOON. Those are my favorite movies, so your movie had me at the very beginning. I’m curious what made you want to make a movie like that?

I grew up hearing all these stories, where low level criminals get mythologized, in little clubs and social connections. I want to tell stories where the guys in that kind of world, who tell stories like that about criminals, where they become these myths or fairy-tales about these rural criminals.

The way that the film plays out goes from a straight narrative to the back story. Was that your plan to jump back and forth with the timelines?

It was. When I was writing the script,I started writing 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, to start spacing the minutes and scenes, and I wanted to break apart the robbery to see how that would go down.

Were there any movies that might have inspired you?

RESERVOIR DOGS was on one night and it was late, so I was watching it on cable. I was trying to find a direction for the story and to figure out what it was while I was watching that. There are two narratives going on, the main narrative and everyone’s back story, and there’s the aftermath of the heist. That is a great way to tell a story. You can have one main through-line of action and spin off it in many different ways. It’s a movie I have watched a dozen times but that night it clicked with me, like “that’s the way I could tell the story, with that template”.

A lot of these movies have you stuck within the heist with a lot of tension and there’s a lot of tension in your film too. Getting those backstories really helped put you into the heist and actually care about the characters getting out.

Cool, that was definitely the intent, a way to get sympathy for the characters.

You’ve been all across the board, a storyboard artist, music video director. Have all of those roles helped in this film?

I think being a Storyboard Artist teaches you preparation planning and how to plan a shoot and with directing the videos, it’s really about managing your time on the set. You only have one day and never get to come back, and when you are shooting a feature like this, it’s the same, this is it, you only get one crack at it. It’s not like “we’re at the motel and we didn’t get it today, tomorrow we’ll figure it out”. You have to make it happen that day.

The cast was pretty solid, everyone brought their A-game. Were any of the actors in your mind when you were developing the script or was it mostly happy accidents?

I thought about Kevin Gage definitely, because his Waingro character in HEAT is such a great arch-villain. When we went to him, he just crushed it. I knew we were going to be just fine. Luke (Mitchell), Jason (Ritter), and Zane (Holtz) they just hit it off. When we got up there for a week of rehearsals they went to bars and hung out. They bonded a lot, those three guys.

There’s a real desperation to the film, and those are the kind of movies that are easy to latch onto, ones where every character needs this to work out. Was that part of the story from the beginning or when did that become a part of it?

Yeah, I was thinking of how to put everyone in a situation where the stakes are high and the tension going through it. It was like playing with the script and the tension was at a three. Each subsequent draft we worked on how to make the tension higher. How can we make more wrinkles, more problems, make it more painful with each step of the way.

For me, I love seeing characters that I can identify with on a personal level. Being a fan of a lot of the imagery that Zane Holtz’s character has on his clothes, and on his walls, it instantly brought me in. I grew up listing Converge and Alkaline Trio, so him wearing that Jane Doe shirt and having those posters and shirts, it was awesome. How did that come into the film?

I did a string of music videos for this record label called Epitaph, which I am sure you’re familiar with.

Hell yeah, I am.

I called my friend who is the video commissioner and I said, I have this character and I see him this way, is there anything you can do to help? They sent me a whole box just full of Epitaph merch, shirts, posters, it was awesome.

Right on Jay, well thanks so much for talking to us today, greatly appreciated!

Thank you man.

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