Network Event Blog #1: Martellus Bennett


Book Cover of Hey AJ, It's Saturday

For my first networking event, I attended a presentation in City Tech Pearl-114/115 of Martellus Bennett (Marty). Marty is the former NFL player of New England Patriots and is now an Animator, Illustrator, and Entrepreneur. He retired from NFL to pursue his career of illustration and animation. His first animation was released 2014 and his first book 2 years after in 2016. His goal is to bring diversity to the screen, to tell the story of colored kids. He wants to bring diversity to the screen so kids can relate to characters that resemble them. His main focus is to let kids know about the power of imagination, which is why he made the books and animation of AJ, who is based off his 4 year old daughter.

His presentation was really chill and fun, unlike most other presentations I went to. He was really casual and honest with us, occasionally telling jokes during presentations. He was willing to answer our questions regarding him, his career, and future plans. A few things/answers really stood out to me such as how he wants to be the “black Willy Wonka” because he wants kids to like his work and want to go see it like Willy and his chocolate factory. One question asked was “How did you know you want to change career?” and he answered that there is never a right time to follow your dream, just do it and it really stood out to me. He also told us that a skill he had before doing illustration was collaboration/teamplay because he was playing with a team in NFL. He said this skill helped him alot for his creative career because he had to work with others and that it allowed him to gain allies and help for his book and animation.

We then had some questions relating himself such as his greatest fear, which he answered losing his wife and kids and not being able to tell his stories. He made a comparison with the not being able to tell his stories, that its like throwing away a pen full of ink; wasting potential. Another question was his “next big goal” and he answered that he wants to own his own theme park named MartyLand.

Overall, this presentation was really enjoyable and educating because he told us how he changed his athlete career to creative career and his journey to make his book and animations. A joke that he said that stood out was that he liked football because he loved tackling other people and slapping others butt (joke). He then said that if you see it on sports channel everyone would love it but different story if it was on a news channel. Something that stood out to me most was when he was asked “What do you do about people who talk bad of you?”. He answered fuck it, you can’t do shit about that, not everybody will love your work. But there will be people who would enjoy your work, that it outweighs the haters. To focus on those that enjoy rather than dislike.

He is also a musician technically because he made a collaboration with Snoop Dogg and the song made it to Top 30 in Canada.

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