Sommer Martin

Director, Producer, Screenwriter

As an Indigo child, I was quiet, reflective, and highly empathetic--and often mislabeled as shy. The truth was, I found it challenging to navigate a world where my personality was not represented. In response, I spent many evenings secluded in our family room, connecting to television, seeking an understanding of my true self. To most, it would appear to be a melancholy, lonely existence, or even a cry for help, but it wasn't. I found my purpose and my peace in the night.

My love for television began with watching the Oprah Winfrey Show after school. As I studied the budding media mogul and how she actively listened to each guest and affirmed their experience, I began to discover how to express myself. As the final episodes of my favorite show came to an end, I found interest and solace in iconic Spike Lee Joints like Malcolm X, Mo' Betta Blues, Crooklyn, Jungle Fever, Do The Right Thing, and Girl 6. Each film fed my appreciation of jazz, history, coming of age stories, and the beauty of my Blackness.

After exhausting all Spike Lee Joints, my desire for horror films began to blossom. Wes Craven's films didn't scare me like the other kids but filled my stomach with a tinge of excitement, which would leave me craving the next jump scare. Horror helped me understand issues centering the human experience and how they would overcome adversities or an obstacle. Watching their decision-making symbolized with a trip and fall always became my focal point, and private joy.

I kept my love for horror my secret to avoid being known as crazy by my family, schoolmates, or church friends. I already felt like an imposter, and I surely did not want to be perceived as a "weirdo." Had I known then what I know now, I was the cool one.

Endlessly watching horror films inspired me to write. This journey began when I took a risk and submitted a short horror story in a pre-teen writing class, which led to earning a seat in a writing class with more seasoned community members. However, I didn't write my first screenplay until my early 20s. Nothing was going the way I had imagined, and I was in a dark place--what I felt was too big for a short story. I needed something longer.

I set out to write a screenplay without any formal training or an instructor--just me, my laptop, and my bad attitude. To help me process, I poured everything I was feeling into the characters I developed and their dialogue. Screenwriting was escapism as I allowed my characters to become my alternate reality, saying and being what I thought I could not.

Producing short films and projects came naturally over the next few years after building a stack of feature-length screenplays and soon, I began to direct.

Directing seemed like another natural progression, but I am surprised at its impact on my life. I find directing therapeutic as I bring my visions in to fruition and connect with the talent to make them feel comfortable and fearless.

Writing, directing, and producing have led me to a plethora of varied opportunities including, 15+ years in non-profit, 15+ years of filmmaking, 8+ years of photography, 5+ years in marketing and public relations, storytelling, and strategic communications.

I spend my free time writing feature-length screenplays, doing voiceover work, producing, directing short films, and volunteering with the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) Diversity Committee, Portland Film Fatales, and the NW Documentary.

My goal is to become a Creative Director and the Queen of Horror in Hollywood. I cannot imagine doing anything else, so I will be resilient, creative, transparent, inclusive, curious, optimistic, and a forward thinker despite rejection. There is no rest for the weary. Freddy Krueger taught me that.