Meeting new colleagues.
It's been another busy week in Shanghai. Winter has been snapping at everyone's heels and as a result the heavy coats have begun to come out. Although no complaints from me because I love the big winter coats.
I have had two new commercial clients this week who both come from film backgrounds. I'm always delighted to meet new people but selfishly I get kind of excited when folks with a film aesthetic step in. More often than not there's going to be some passionate conversation about filmmaking and cinematography. I wasn't disappointed.
At the beginning of the week I worked on a 3 x TVC productions with director Rain Li.
I had known Rain's name from her collaborations with one of my favourite cinematographers, Christopher Doyle. I don't want this to turn into one of those name dropping and idolizing type of deals although I suspect it might. I then discovered that Rain was the Cinematographer on the Film 'Paranoid Park' with the most amazing and wonderful Gus Van Sant, Yes, okay I'm not holding back on the idolizing am I? He is bloody awesome though. Don't even get me started on the Jim Jarmusch connection or this will just get emotional.
So, by the time Rain finally came into the grading suite, I was feeling a little excited and maybe just a bit anxious too. The latter concern evaporated after about 30 seconds. Rain was so lovely and laid back that we became old friends before we'd even sat down.
We had a crazy schedule for the 3 TVC's but Rain had a crystal clear vision of where she wanted to go with the color grade which, given the time restraints, I was really grateful for. Also, because of her solid background as a cinematographer the attention to detail on crafting each setup was spot on and we quickly fell into sync with where the pictures needed to be.
Rain is based in Beijing but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll be back in Shanghai soon so we can work together again.
I had a whole bunch of little jobs filling in the gaps of the days but I've finished off this week working with another new client, director Shih-Ting Hung. I am working with Shih-Ting on a much longer spot that has a bucket load of VFX - all of which tick off my nerdy science fiction checklist.
Shih-Ting is a lovely soul who instantly puts you at ease. With another crazy schedule ahead of us it maked it so much easier to work with people who have their feet on the ground and like a good laugh.
Now, Shih-Ting is a film nut. I'm sure she won't mind me saying that. She has the kind of film brain that can access a scene from a film and break down into its components of composition and color without missing a beat. That isn't that surprising at all given that she is a graduate from the University of Southern California and, oh, did I mention the Academy winning film "Viola: the Traveling Rooms of a Little Giant" of hers? Yes, she knows what she's doing.
So twice in one week I'm a little anxious about meeting a director. But, once again, I needn't have worried. Shih-Ting is a story teller through and through. This is obvious from her work but it certainly crosses over into her telling me stories in person. I love laughing all the way through a grading session. Sure, we had a difference of opinion over Lana Del Rey but that's another story!
I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product on this one, especially once all of the VFX have been finished. It's going to be good.
I'm (hopefully) off for a short holiday to Los Angeles and Vancouver with my family in early February next year so maybe I'll catch up with Shih-Ting when I'm there to glean a bit of local knowledge.