Q1 2020

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22 C I N E M O N T A G E about giving back to my community when I can and mentoring younger peo- ple to follow their dreams. Many younger people today seem a bit lost and can use that guidance. Q Favorite movie(s)? Why? " T h e B i g L e b o w s k i " ( t h a t 's m e ), "Jaws," "Goodfellas," "Office Space," "Fargo"-- because they are awesome. I have too many to mention. Additionally, two of those were shot by one of my fa- vorite cinematographers, Roger Deakins. I have had the pleasure to work with him here at DreamWorks on the "How to Train Your Dragon" franchise. He was our visual consultant. Q Favorite TV program(s)? Why? "The Sopranos," because most of my family grew up in Brooklyn, and I heard many stories about the mob and how they took care of their neighbors. My parents and grandparents lived in the same apartment building as the drivers and bodyguards of some famous mobsters, including Lucky Luciano. Another show that relates to my family's New York connection is "Seinfeld," a "show about nothing" that's both brilliant and stupid- ly funny. And of course, "Breaking Bad," which I have watched three times for its fantastic writing and cinematography. Th e re we re d e f i n i te ly s o m e ca m e ra moves that were one of a kind. Q Do you have an industry mentor? My father was a huge influence on me during his life. He was a very hard- working cinematographer/director who W H A T O U R M E M B E R S D O 'After working with Roger Deakins, I realized how he visualizes each scene and is not afraid to go bold.' creating looks for the final picture with the DP, Dante Spinotti. Now all films shot digitally are doing this process, so it was cool to be on the forefront of that. I also enjoyed working on "American Beauty" because it was director Sam Mendes' first award-winning film, and it was brilliant. He was also a truly nice guy. Q What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it? Since I work only on animation now, I would have to say it's in the final days of a schedule when we get shots that are done by various artists or need to be lit differ- ently than originally intended. During final color correction, we have to make them look correct and consistent. One of the most challenging animation projects had to be "Penguins of Madagascar." The lighting had been done in India at our other studio. I was changing colors of clothing and sometimes completely relighting sets and characters so they would match as closely as possible the creatives' vision for the finished movie. Q What was the most fun you've had at work? Typically the wrap parties, especially seeing the crew finally cut loose after working on a film over several years. We actually have fun most of the time, even in crunch. I work with a terrific group of talented people. Q Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now? Just what I do now. Maybe also get more involved in setting cameras and generating look development for future projects. I love my job and work envi- ronment. I work for an excellent team in Post and a wonderfully talented crew of artists. Also, as I get closer to retirement, I'd like to start selling some of my own photography. Q What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions? Besides photography, I like travel, golf, scuba diving, photography, skiing, and river rafting. I am also passionate did mostly industrials and commercials. He retired from Local 600 in the 1990s. I learned how perseverance would usually get you where you wanted and the jobs you would enjoy working on. He also taught me everything I know about cam- eras, film types, exposure, and shooting in tricky lighting. He was an extremely talented and skilled individual who al- ways had a workaround, if not a solution, for any challenge that came before him. That must have come from his being in the Navy in World War II. For the inva- sion of Iwo Jima, he was one of six men in the first landing party to place the light beacon on the beach. A n o t h e r m e n to r w o u l d b e R o ge r Deakins. After working with him, I real- ized how he visualizes each scene and is not afraid to go bold. He always wants to push the envelope when it comes to contrast and saturation, which many in animation have been apprehensive to do. This is changing, though, as I'm now able to encourage creatives to consider going bold to make prettier images. Q What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work? Start early and remember that being a colorist isn't something you can learn from a book or a classroom. Also, it re- quires a lot of patience and a given talent. Q Is there anything you'd like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement? As I would tell anybody, everyone is born with a special skill and talent. I urge people to search for that in their soul. The ones who do not end up at college or are just working to get by, make a living. The ones who find their talent in their hearts love their work and live to work, not just collect a paycheck. ■ Compiled by David Bruskin.

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