Where are you currently employed?
I am currently employed at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging on the studio lot in Burbank, California.
My current project involves remastering, in high definition, select Looney Tunes animated shorts. These are classic cartoons I grew up with and it's a pleasure to be working on them as an adult.
Describe Your Job.
As a staff colorist at a major studio, my projects have run the gamut from technical film evaluations to restoration of feature films, from color-correcting episodic TV shows to mastering in high definition. I love the new technology that is available to us and I am so happy that I work at a facility that embraces it as well.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
After graduating from San Diego State University and a short stint on the East Coast, I landed a job as a videotape operator and QC'er at a film transfer facility in North Hollywood. The colorists who worked there would stay for a while and then move on to better opportunities. I was extremely interested in the film-to-tape process and honestly, through attrition, gradually started doing one-light transfers and black-and-white dailies.
Who gave you your first break?
Two people I worked with in North Hollywood really helped me in the beginning. They both left the facility where we were working to do television work for Lorimar Studios. They were working on Dallas, Knots Landing, Midnight Caller, Falcon Crest and Paradise. The facility was expanding and needed somebody to work through the night doing dailies.
What was your first union job?
My first union job was at AME in Burbank.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
I think working on Warner Bros. animation has been the most fun. I grew up watching and have fond memories of Saturday-morning cartoons, and I'm glad to be able to preserve some of that digitally.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
Equipment and software upgrades are always a challenge, especially when you are in the middle of a project. I am lucky to work with a supportive and forgiving engineering staff.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
One year, the facility was conducting a tour of what we do. This was targeted for studio employees, executives, sales staff and others who really did not fully understand what we do. All the employees were given Air Force uniforms from the costume department. I was an officer with medals. The guests were grouped together and they walked through the entire process––from checking in a piece of film to delivering the final videotape. After a brief rundown, they even got a chance to color-correct a piece of film, record it, label it and check it out—with military precision… hence the Air Force uniforms. It was a lot of fun and people who didn't know what we did got some real insight.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I hope to continue working in the business of providing outstanding entertainment for the various distribution arms that are constantly unveiling themselves.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I love hiking with my wife and dogs, trying new restaurants with friends, traveling, cooking, skiing, Hollywood Bowl concerts, Laker games, NFL and all the Marleys including Bob, Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, Rita, etc.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
I really enjoyed the movie Go and the story that was told from the different perspectives of the characters. Three O'Clock High is also a classic for me. The camera angles and the style of the feature kept me thoroughly entertained. I have to say that horror movies are my favorite and, to this day and much to my wife's chagrin, whenever they air, I will watch Alien and Aliens without remorse.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
The Daily Show, because it is a great vehicle to get news in a humorous way. Curb Your Enthusiasm makes me laugh at totally ridiculous scenarios. The drama and music of Treme, set in post-Katrina New Orleans, is also a must-see for me. I found myself loving the serial killer Dexter. How good is that storytelling? True Blood is a sexy, campy vampire series set in the steamy Louisiana swamplands. Need I say more?
Do you have an industry mentor?
After having worked over 25 years in the industry, I can't really say that I have a particular mentor. Rather, I have a wealth of experience available to me in trusted friends and co-workers from which I can draw.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
The advice I would give to someone interested in getting into post-production would be to get hired first. No matter how lowly you feel the position would be, the best way to learn about the business you want to be in is by actually being in the business you want to be in. I have worked with entry-level people who are now videotape operators, QC'ers, dailies operators, MTI operators, film scanners, operations managers, etc. Once at a facility, they show interest in other areas and sometimes they can move in that direction.
Also, don't be afraid to take an opportunity. I left Los Angeles to take a videotape operator position 3,000 miles away in Alexandria, Virginia. I was on the East Coast for my cousin’s wedding and I saw a post house and I went in and made some inquiries. Two days later, I was offered a job. I didn't want to leave LA, but I did. After 18 months on the East Coast, I moved back to Los Angeles and was hired at a transfer facility in North Hollywood, where I eventually received my chance to become a colorist.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Through the Guild, I've received training on software applications that have enhanced my skill set.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
I encourage all to keep enriching themselves. Take classes offered by the Guild or by a third party such as Studio Arts. Learn a second language. These are challenging times, but hard times may be the catalyst needed to stay afloat or even to propel yourself to the next level, whatever that may be. The extra training or skills that you acquire can separate you from the dozens or hundreds of others that are competing for the same opportunities as you are.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.