We Have Lift Off: Chimney North America and our new home in New York.
The countdown began many months ago. With our ignition sequence completed it was time for Chimney to blast off in New York City. Yeah I know, it's a rocket launch analogy. You know I'm a huge science fiction nut, so let me have that one okay?
I am now a senior colorist at Chimney North America (awesome!) but let me rewind a bit...
I arrived in New York many months back after having a VERY exciting conversation with Lez Rudge.
Now for those of you who don't know, Lez is an award-winning colorist veteran. Lez serves as Chimney’s head of color North America. He was a former partner and senior colorist at Nice Shoes in New York and has worked alongside the likes of Spike Lee and Darren Aronofsky, and on major brand campaigns for Maybelline, Revlon, NHL, Jeep, Humira, Spectrum, and Budweiser.
Lez got hold of me through my friend Ben Conkey. Ben, thank you so kindly for recommending me to Lez, I'm really grateful for that. We really should have drunk many many more beers before I left Shanghai.
Lez said they were setting up something pretty amazing and asked if I was interested in being involved. Although I knew of Lez's amazing reputation I still had to give it a great deal of consideration.
So, After about 15 seconds, I said yes.
Ed is the Managing director and he steers the day-to-day logistics of the New York office. He was the former head of production of Nice Shoes producing major campaigns for such brands as NFL, Ford, Jagermeister, and Chase.
When Ed and I first met I think we were...ah now this is awkward. I know the Australian term for it - I'm just going to do research in the building, wait a second.
OMG, the closest everyone around here could come up with was 'Banter' but the Australian term is a little more derogatory although ultimately it means the same thing. Anyway, very quickly the 'banter' between Ed and I made it pretty apparent it was the start of a beautiful friendship. He's bloody awesome and makes even the longest day filled with some giggles.
Marcelo. Where do I begin? Okay, I'm going to cheat a bit on this. I'll cut and paste what it says in the press release only because it kind of nails the business side of who Marcelo is:
“Marcelo has a proven track record of building and growing businesses in rapidly evolving and often turbulent industries, Possessing an entrepreneurial mindset and strong leadership instinct is necessary to lead our teams. Marcelo has a vision, which is key to establishing, but also growing Chimney in North America.”
I think that's actually a quote from Henric Larson who's the founder of Chimney. I think Henric will get his own blog post from me because he's such an interesting fella. Wait, wait - I know where you're going with that. ALL of these people I'm mentioning are really interesting but I'm trying to confine this blog to my introduction to Chimney in New York. Henric, you'll need to wait for now okay?
Where was I? Oh yeah - Marcelo. So you've got the overview of Marcelo from that quote and it really is spot on. I think it sums him up well. From my personal perspective though, well with the risk of being dramatic, I've never met anyone like him. His energy, drive, and imagination are something to behold. Really, he blows me away. Marcelo you really should start a cult or something because I think it would go really well. Sure, there might be a S.W.A.T team at the end but what a TV movie it'll make after it's over. A young James Caan could play you. Marcelo has this skill, I want to call it magic but I think that takes away from the intelligence of it. He consistently brings out the best in peoples skillsets and then unites them with other talented people so that a building starts to go up in front of your eyes. I don't know how else to put it. Probably 'far more simply' Marcelo would tell me. Ha! My blog so I can write it how I want.
Meanwhile, all of these conversations are happening while I was am still in Shanghai. I was winding up my contract there at MPC and had been making plans to relocate to the WEST Coast of the United States with my family - My wife Amelia and my 5-year-old boy, Felix. So, when the last of the Skype chats were had with Lez, Ed and Marcelo it came down to a family conversation to reach a decision of what was best for all of us. There was plenty to consider.
So, After about 15 seconds, we all said yes.
Then, because life is hilarious, we found out we were pregnant.
Relocating to another country with a baby on the way. We really knew how to put pressure on ourselves. What are you going to do?
Well, I headed off to NYC to start my new job and to try to find somewhere to live. Amelia and Felix and baby "Sparkles" began the task of packing up our lives in Shanghai. We would have to be apart for 5 weeks. I know many friends who need to spend even longer apart than that, much longer, and I take my hat off to them - with absolute sincerity - because it was the longest 5 weeks of my life.
Shortly after arriving in New York I was once again taken back by the energy of the place. It's not as simple as hustle and bustle, although it certainly has that. Shanghai had hustle and bustle too but New York, well it is something different again. Whatever the ingredient is that I can't seem to name I took to like, well, whatever it is I take to and really like. Not like water because I don't really take to water. Come on, you know what I mean right?
I met the team. Lez made me feel at home straight away - and it wasn't just the dive bar, although it is a weakness of mine. I also met with Kody Westcott who is Chimney's junior colorist and all-round smart person. He's also one of the kindest people I've ever met. I guarantee he'll go 'aw shucks' on that comment but it's true. I met Tierney Farrell who is the production coordinator at Chimney. Tierney is this wonderful dynamo who's one of the few in a production role who's creativity is perfectly wound throughout her role in production. Please check out some of her photographic work when you get an opportunity.
There's a whole heap of other incredible people I now work with because we expanded so darn quickly but I'll have to come and visit them with you all another time (I have to because they'll be grumpy with me if I don't!) as this blog is focussed more on my first introduction to New York and my beginnings at Chimney.
As I was settling in I had a visit from my very old buddy Warren Eagles. I'm popping this into the blog as well because he came through town just as everything was coming together and it coincided with Warren's new color tour podcast in which I was the first to feature. So, please check it out when you can.
My 5 weeks without my family flew by (never fast enough) and during that time I settled into super lovely suites at Chimney. I also had an opportunity to visit the Chimney Los Angeles office where I met another wonderful team of talented people. We now have an excellent remote grading suite set up with LA so if you find yourself in need of some Chimney color love but can't leave the West Coast, never fear! We can do it, we have the technology. This is also my way of pretending I'm working in LA so I'm kind of getting my cake and eating it too fulfilling my original plans of moving to the West Coast.
After about 50 million Skype conversations my family finally arrived. I was really enjoying New York but you can't really make a home without a family - Yes there are a whole bunch of exceptions to that but from my perspective that's how it is.
All of the excitement of relocating, meeting new people, starting a new job, Felix beginning at a new school, adjusting to another culture, coming to terms with the fact that many Americans still associate Australia with Crocodile Dundee, all of these factors and emotions had to make way for one event that wasn't going to wait for any of that.
The birth of our Daughter.
When Amelia was pregnant we made the decision, just as we did for Felix, to not find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. Felix however maintained throughout that he would have a sister and her name would be Sparkles. She is a girl and she does sparkle so he was pretty much spot on.
Seems like a good place to finish up for now I think. I left out so much.
Seriously there has been many many things happening since we've moved here. Visitors, lots of visitors, snow - our first white Christmas - Gosh. So much. If I was a writer I'd write it all but since I use 2 fingers to type it takes too darn long. Come and say hi and I'll tell you over a beer.