Temp Check: Social media creative Grant Martin

Temp Check: Social media creative Grant Martin

Grant Martin is a well known face in Aberdeen. For the last few years he’s been making his name producing funny and often brutally honest YouTube vlogs. He hasn’t stopped there though, becoming a presenter on Original FM, featuring on BBC social media channel, The Social, and now turning to stand-up as a regular host at Aberdeen club, Breakneck Comedy.

His first moment of fame came with a video in which he bared his sole about being bullied at school. Determined not to pass on the chance it gave him, Grant grabbed every opportunity that came his way. This has lead to some fantastic videos. He’s outgoing, ambitious and forthright but as we approach Christmas, we wanted to take some time to dig beneath the surface and learn more about the real Grant Martin.

Grant Martin is waving to a young boy in a push-chair. He's smiling and holding a camera. Both are in the street with people nearby.
Grant Martin at work

We’re all trying to find a new normal in our lives right now. It can leave us feeling a little exhausted and even anxious. How are you doing as you navigate through your world? Did you cope well through lockdown?

I’m doing well. I’m not going to pretend that everything is hunky dory, because I have down days like most people, but I try to keep in the light of life because it’s too easy to live this world depressed and down.

In the beginning of lockdown I had this rose tinted view of the pandemic. While some people were down I was trying to be perky and upbeat. However, a few months in everything went sideways and I was no good, but thanks to an amazing support system, exercise and making the choice to stay grateful, I’m getting better.

Who is your support group?

My immediate family. There literally is no one else in my life that means more than my five best friends in this world (Darn, you’re going to get me emotional)

I stop and actually physically switch my phone off at night…and just be.

You first came to our attention when you started making videos for BBC’s The Social. How did that happen for you?

Well it was a mutual meeting. I had just came back from cruise ships and wanted a new chapter in my life. I contacted the team at BBC The Social, and coincidentally they were contacting me to join too. With them I managed to create amazing mini doc videos to inspire and make people smile.

You’re a busy man, putting in long hours to create. How do you switch off at the end of the day? We know InstaGrant…who is regular, day-to-day Grant Martin.

InstaGrant, I love that. I have recently been more strict with myself to relax more. That sounds like an oxymoron but I always used to chase something else in my free time, be it an event, or video, or friend. Now I stop and actually physically switch off my phone at night, schedule all my posts and just be. The gym is my relax time. That and time with my family.

Grant Martin stands against a backdrop of an ivy-covered bridge. He's wearing a blue baseball cap, word backwards, a great t-shit and a black backpack.

You’ve made the move into live comedy, hosting weekend nights at the Breakneck Comedy club. What does that give you that your online work doesn’t satisfy?

When I was 21, working on cruise ships, I would be in front of crowd of people every night. So when I came off the ships and started Vlogging and working in radio, I missed that human interaction and the reaction of a live audience. Let me tell you it’s so addictive.

What motivates you to create videos? What challenges do you face to get your work seen?

I used to try and force my content. I’d find random things to talk about and make “content” but I felt it was becoming unauthentic. So what motivates me to create is when I think about what makes me excited, scared or passionate. Yes that means there are gaps of time inbetween my posts, but it ensures good quality work instead of, I dunno, talking about going to the supermarket for shopping.

My biggest challenge is creativity block. I know I’m not the only one that gets this. Also the transition of script to screen. I can write down a great idea but when trying to present it on camera sometimes it’s a struggle because I work best off the cuff.

What is your process when you make a YouTube video and what keeps you motivated?

Write a foundation for the idea/script and go film it. Don’t put it off and procrastinate. Once you’ve filmed it you either need to begin editing immediately while it’s fresh, or stop take a breath then approach the footage with a new head. Then you might begin editing it with a different approach.

My brother said this to me that my motto should be “Never make a boring a video” and that has stayed with me. The moment I feel bored of my own work, then something is wrong. (I know that may sound egotistical) But your work should entertain you and you should engage with it and if you do then your audience will.

Grant Martin at Pride Winter Parade 2021

Who do you look up to as a creative? Tell us about them and what it is you respect about their work.

Wow, there’s a list, my creativity is my own if that doesn’t sound arrogant. I’ve never wanted to be like anyone but myself. I don’t copy but I am inspired by people. First would be Oprah Winfrey…I LOVE her. Someone that promoted staying true to her own style of hosting. Davina McCall is another authentic presenter I love. I think the best presenters are personable genuinely fun people. But my comedic heroes will forever be Lucielle Ball and Robin Williams who inspire my zany side.

Do you think you were always an entertainer?

You should ask my mum that. Yes. Always. I used to want to become an entertainer for the fame and validation side, but as i’ve grown I genuinely adore just making people smile. It’s the best gift ever. If I do become famous, I want to become famous to make an impact not for validation. Did I make the person smile? laugh? feel good? Then my work is done.

I think we all agree that social media isn’t always positive. With content and channels as positive as yours, do you ever get negative comments?

I now and then receive the odd homophobic or right wing comment, but I don’t care. Because I managed to reach a level of security to know my content is good and what people think of me is none of my business.

You make a lot of videos at the gym. It comes across that you exercise as much for your mental fitness as your physical fitness. Is that right?

Yes absolutely. Listen we as human beings are supposed to run two miles a day for our food, lift heavy rocks and hunt animals. We as humans have cheated the system with modern living, but we have to keep that inner caveman active and fit. With physical fitness comes mental fitness, to quote Elle Woods from Legally Blonde “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t”

Grant Martin stand with his back to the camera with his hands spread wide. In the distance are a loch and snow-capped mountains.

What’s are you are most proud of?

Not my work, not my “online presence”, but reaching a place in my life where I am authentically happy with who I am and loving myself. Don’t get me wrong, there are some days it doesn’t feel that great, but when I hit 30 years old I just let go of so many “F-words” in my life. I’m just be grateful for the family I have, the health I have and the fact I’m working.

Do you make plans for yourself? Goals you’d like to achieve professionally and personally?

Always, if you don’t have a “why” when you wake up then what’s the point? “What’s your why?” Now your goal may be to become a parent, the manager of a supermarket, Prime Minister, or maybe to just be the best version of yourself that day, it doesn’t matter. Goals and ambitions are what pushes us in this world.

My dreams I think will always be job oriented though, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

It’s no secret to anyone that my biggest dream is to become a TV Presenter. When I was 19 I went to London and stood outside ITV studios and put out to the universe that I would one day walk through those doors as a TV Presenter. Now it doesn’t have to be ITV, but the dream is presenter or produce television for the sole reason to make people smile or to make an impact.

You’ve been very open about the tough time you had at school. How much did that drive you as a person?

To prove the haters wrong. And I feel I’ve been doing a great job so far. By the time I was 29 I had travelled to 65 countries, 140 ports of call, worked for Oprah ‘frikkin’ Winfrey, had my own radio show and made it on BBC Scotland, and I’m only 30 so there’s still more to come. I’m still that same odd queer kid from Harlaw Academy and it’s clearly worked out for me.

What would you tell a younger version of Grant Martin, struggling with bullying?

That the social side of school isn’t real, it’s like a live action social media. What people think of you doesn’t really matter. It may suck right now but before you know it they’ll move onto something else. That thing that makes you weird and different is going to be your best asset.

I think we can all agree with that…so finally, what makes you happy?

Staying true to who I am and not changing for people anymore. Without a shadow of a doubt my family make me happy. Throw in a weekly trip to the Aberdeen Art Gallery and we’re set.

Where to find Grant Martin

You can find and follow Grant wherever you see great content online. Expect daft, heartfelt and very funny videos.
– Instagram

About POST

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They therefore focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers; the people at a local level that make a positive impact on our city each and every day. So they use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community, and to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes interviews with We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam; Paralympic gold medalist, Neil FachieChef, an Aberdeen rapper who is pushing for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9.