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Past Featured Members

JOHN EAKIN - STILL LAB TECHNICIAN

May 2011

Where are you currently employed?

 

Film Solutions, LLC., a technology company catering primarily to the motion picture industry.  The core business of my division is the convergence of technology with traditional photo lab services to create ease in workflow for photographers and marketing/publicity teams.

 

Current Project?

 

As usual, too many to list.  Some lively ones include Cowboys & Aliens, Hugo Cabret, Now, Life of Pi, Safe House, 47 Ronin, Prometheus. 

 

Describe Your Job.

 

Among other things, our outfit manages the delivery of still image assets in digital form as well as physical form––that is, prints.  I work in creating and overseeing these elements as well as performing prodigious amounts of retouching and compositing.

 

How did you first become interested in this line of work?

 

Since I was a kid, I've been a visual person and intensely interested in visual arts.  Other than tending bar briefly, most of my professional years have been spent in photography––both shooting and printing. 

 

Who gave you your first break?

 

How far back do I get to go on this one?  Probably to a pair of ex-Navy guys, Jerry Luther and John Zacher, who were running the photo lab at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenessee.  It was there I learned the most basic and most essential part of my photographic skills.

 

What was your first union job?

 

That was at Warner Bros., where I went from digital technician to digital supervisor.   

 

Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?

 

My gigs are not like those of editors, who are typically consumed by one project at a time.  At Film Solutions, we handle several exciting projects at the same time.  This creates some hectic moments while trying to meet deadlines, but my team and I in the pit––making it happen––is what makes me proud. 

 

What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?

 

It’s all about leadership.  In my various supervisory positions, it's often challenging to get the job done right, and on time, while keeping team morale and motivation at good, healthy levels.  Solved it?  I think that would be pure hubris to say so.  I believe every day is a new opportunity to make things work better, and I apply myself to that end. 

 

What was the most fun you’ve had at work?

 

Well, there was that one day when my boss…  Wait, I can’t tell that story!  Seriously, I get the most enjoyment of making the impossible possible with my team.  I'm extremely lucky to be working with talented people I really enjoy, both clients and fellow employees.

 

Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?

 

Continuing to help photographers and filmmakers tell their story, even if it is one frame at a time…out of sequence.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

 

Chess, history, languages, astronomy, drawing, painting, sculpture, camping, walking around in the city and out in the wild.  Oh, yes, and photography!

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

 

Also too many to list but here are a few: Gladiator, The Matrix, Casino Royale, the Bourne series.

 

Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

 

Firefly.  Yes, and all 14 episodes of the sadly cancelled show from Joss Whedon back in 2002. 

If you have to ask why, no answer will suffice.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

 

Dan Margulis––hands down the best color corrector alive today.  With good reason he was the very first inductee into the Photoshop Hall of Fame.  Not a day of imaging mayhem goes by that I don't use something he has taught me.  If you're the least bit interested in color adjustments in Photoshop, you should Google him.

 

What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?

 

You gotta have your own fire and a hot one—one that drives you to be relentless in your learning.  The “doing” end of our business is about nothing if not change, so set yourself to learn about what is, what's been and what's coming.  I mentioned above my interest in history so here I'd like to point out that the changes from film photography to digital photography are really just an echo of the advent of photography when painters ruled the imaging world.  So don't forget to look back.

 

Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?

 

Every day.  Between benefits, health care and training, the Guild has much to offer.

 

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?

 

I agree with Harry Tuttle (from Brazil): "We're all in this together."

 

- Compiled by Edward Landler

Editor’s Note: To recommend a member (including yourself) to be featured on the home page of the Editors Guild website contact edlandler@roadrunner.com.

 


Interested in Being Featured?

Tomm Carroll
Publications Director
323.876.4770, ext. 222
tcarroll@editorsguild.com