Every minute or so, someone rushes up to a particular A-list celebrity’s Walk of Fame star, cast in concrete in the sidewalk under the office window of Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on Hollywood Boulevard.
Their words are music to the ears of Martinez, also vice president of media relations for the chamber, which oversees the iconic tourist attraction called the Walk of Fame, made up of nearly 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass sidewalk stars along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. “That star, the nearest to my office, is one of the most popular, and it continually reminds me how much I love my job,” she said.
According to her Twitter bio (@WOFstargirl), Martinez is the “Queen of the Walk of Fame … handling the stars for many moons” or more precisely, 27 of the Walk of Fame’s 54 years. Also called Stargirl, Martinez has orchestrated the unveiling of more than 600 stars, as well as selecting, ordering and spreading the word from the heart of Hollywood.
The chamber of commerce creates an average of two stars a month, choosing celebrities from motion pictures, radio, recording, television, live performance and theatre categories.
“It’s the only award that a celebrity can share with fans,” said Martinez. “An Oscar, Emmy or Grammy goes on someone’s mantel, but the star is on the ground where fans walk. Fans can lie next to it, sit next to it, and photograph it. It’s there forever.”
Stars Behind the Scenes
Like stars in the universe, each Walk of Fame star must be initiated before taking shape and reaching its destination. First, a Walk of Fame committee embarks on a lengthy selection process. Once they choose the star, which costs $30,000 for installation and maintenance by the Hollywood Historic Trust, Martinez takes over to produce and launch the star, deciding where it will be on the Walk of Fame.
One of her office tools behind the scenes is her Epson® WorkForce® WF-3540, a hassle-free, high-producing all-in-one printer that replaced her older, less reliable black-and-white laser printer. Fast and affordable, the WF-3540 plays a key role to help her promote the Walk of Fame, with its reported 10 million visitors a year.
“I was like Dorothy stepping into the Land of Oz on the first day I printed a celebrity’s color photo on the printer to send with the press release,” she said. For the first time, she was able to create her promotional material in brilliant 4-color DURABrite® Ultra pigment ink. Her office is now full of color photographs from the printer, covering the highlights of each “star ceremony,” the highly anticipated unveiling of each new star with its celebrity namesake.
“I use the WorkForce printer for everything,” said Martinez. She prints, scans or copies documents on the printer such as press releases, tip sheets and media lists. Her printer generates important documents during the star selection process, helping the Walk of Fame committee sift through hundreds of nomination applications. When deciding where to locate a star, she can photograph possible locations and surrounding storefronts, then easily print to the WP-3540 directly from her smartphone using Epson’s free mobile app, Epson Connect.
On the Boulevard
With her smartphone, clipboard and dark shades in the bright California sun, Martinez controls every detail of the star ceremony. Live-streamed on the Walk of Fame website, the sidewalk event is attended by the celebrity, family, entourage, cheering fans, luminaries, journalists, bloggers, still photographers, film crews, LAPD and security. Sometimes she helps manage crowd control for up to a thousand people who turn up in droves to see the honored star. It is her job to tell everyone exactly where he or she should be standing.
“I can’t imagine a star ceremony without Ana, who is now as much a part of the event as any A-list celebrity receiving the tribute,” said red carpet event photographer Paul Smith of Featureflash, one of the agency and media outlets credentialed to cover the event. “Her professionalism, encyclopedic star knowledge and media info are exceptional for one of the best photo ops in show business.”
Before the big event, Martinez uses the WF-3540 to print documents that she sends and hands out at star ceremonies, including promotional materials, agendas and the speech for her boss, chamber president and CEO Leron Gubler. After heartfelt speeches on the sidewalk podium from Gubler, the celebrity and civic leaders, Martinez leads the star recipient to kneel or sit on the ground next to the star, where it is unveiled to loud applause. “Look this way, please,” calls Martinez, cuing the celebrity to face the flashing cameras. In an instant, the images of her star ceremony are all over the world. She then calls in the journalists, armed with her press info and their camera crews, to interview the celebrity next to his or her star. Tourists who witness the ceremony never forget that they shared an historical Hollywood moment.
Lights, Camera, Print!
To promote other chamber events – such as the annual State of the Entertainment Industry Conference and the 90th anniversary gala for the Hollywood Sign – Martinez has the option of using the printer’s automatic high-speed 2-sided printing, copying and scanning. The WF-3540 has wired and wireless connectivity for easy networking. On deadline before each event, she no longer has to stop to reload paper, as the printer comes with a 500-sheet paper capacity. Paper handling includes a 30-sheet duplex ADF, plus a rear paper feed to handle specialty paper including envelopes, labels and card stock. “My other printer used to jam a lot, so it’s really nice to now have the WorkForce to depend on,” she said. “Paper jams are a pain in the neck when I’m in a rush to get something out.”
Martinez’s ever-present smartphone starts ringing, and she’s off troubleshooting yet another detail for an upcoming star ceremony. “I love promoting Hollywood to the world, and having a printer that helps produce the high-quality materials I need in a fast and efficient manner makes it even better,” she said. “When I walk down our 15-block stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, I never get tired of seeing so many visitors to Hollywood having fun with our sidewalk stars – a permanent monument of the past and the present, and one of the best ways to celebrate Hollywood.”
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The Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Sign are registered trademarks of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Epson provided the Epson WorkForce WF-3540 to the Hollywood Walk of Fame for business use. EPSON and WorkForce are registered trademarks of Seiko Epson Corporation. All other product and brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.