[Tig] from James Wicks - Learning the trade

James Wicks jim at jimwicks.com
Sat Aug 11 23:21:17 BST 2012

Thanks Joy.
At the core of your story is drive and determination.
You share a similar story with a young Steven Spielberg who tells his story better than I ever could:

From what you have written here, I probably would not be alone in saying that your experience in film will serve you well in whatever endeavor you choose to pursue.
Things are changing, no doubt.

To you point, any kind of change can be scary no matter who you are and no matter how old you are.
We leave behind what we know to be safe and set forth on a journey that may or may not end up where we hope it will lead.
There are some of us who are risk takers.

As I said, there is no one way up the mountain.
The danger, in my opinion, lies in not trying, or not getting back up when life knocks us down.
Sounds to me like you're still moving forward and upward like the rest of us.

Best, J

James Wicks, COLORIST 
digital, film, television, web 
Website: www.JimWicks.com 
Phone: 561.721.5187 
| Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin

On Aug 11, 2012, at 5:12 PM, "Joy  Gaston" <joig at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Hello James,
> Your posting inspired me to reply to you. I starting working in post
> production in 1979 at MGM labs on the MGM lot. Probably the best lab in the
> world. To get my job I made up a false resume, lied to the receptionist to
> speak to the person hiring and read whatever I could find about film
> processing. I went to Kodak seminars, took classes, went to film festivals
> to advanced my learning. When the opportunity presented itself, I took a job
> at a video post house as telecine assist and less then two years later
> became a colorist. Over the next 20 years, I worked at a variety of post
> houses doing a variety of projects. But what I loved the most was doing
> dailies. It was the first project in the door and most DP's cared as much
> about dailies as the final. The bar was high to deliver in a timely matter
> an almost final product.
> But times have changed so much just in the last two years with the use of
> digital cameras and film being more obsolete. The craft I have worked so
> hard at has been reduced to "it's good enough" or just apply the lut. Or all
> the work is going on-set. The new workflow, business model is changing to
> cost first, quality somewhere down the line. I took a lot of pride in my
> work and it breaks my heart to see these changes.
> With all this said, your story about applying yourself and not giving up is
> an important mantra for me.  Being passion about your work is key to
> success. At this point in my life do I apply myself to a new challenge. Do
> something else that I feel passion about and try to figure out a way to make
> a living at it....which scares me at times or stay in my field and adjust
> and just do whatever I can to keep a job. I guess I need to do some soul
> searching. I do appreciate those who care about our craft and have worked so
> hard work and are so dedicated.
> Thanks and best to you and all you do,
> Joy
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "James Wicks" <jim at jimwicks.com>
> To: "Telecine Internet Group" <tig at colorist.org>
> Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2012 2:05 PM
> Subject: [Tig] from James Wicks - Learning the trade
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> ====
> It's been my experience that there is no one way to climb the mountain.
> My story started out 30 years ago in film production, deviated to on-camera
> talent, and then transitioned to post-production as a Colorist.
> I started working full time in television in 1981 in Toronto, Canada.
> Prior to this I had worked summer jobs on both television and motion picture
> productions, mostly as a production assistant.
> In 1981, however, the only job opened to me was as a television news
> reporter.
> Funny thing, that. The number 4 rated station, number 3 rated station, and
> the number 2 rated station all turned me down because I lacked experience.
> The man who hired me at the number 1 rated station said he did so because he
> liked my tenacity.
> I moved up the ranks and soon was a television news Anchor.
> Yet, throughout the early stages of my on-camera career I can truthfully say
> that I was never fully accepted because many felt that I was inexperienced
> or untested.
> But I kept at it, honed my craft, learned, watched, and was mentored by some
> of the best in the business.
> My tenacity and belief in myself paid off.
> By 1989 I accepted an offer to move to the United States and worked steadily
> as a News Anchor.
> Throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s I worked for network affiliates in
> top 20 markets.
> My on-camera career careered over a cliff in late 2007 due to the economic
> recession.
> Younger and cost-efficient talent became all the vogue to cost concious
> television stations, and I needed a job.
> Fortunately, I had a strong creative background and had been shooting and
> editing for years.
> I landed a job as lead Commercial Producer at my local CBS affiliate.
> Yet, my being there raised eyebrows from people who knew I was an
> experienced television News Anchor and an unproven commercial producer.
> Initially, people were skeptical that I could produce a :30 second spot.
> Like I did before, I kept at it, honed my craft, learned, watched, and was
> mentored by some of the best in the business.
> Within my first two years I had racked up a number of awards and nominations
> for producing top flight TV commercials.
> Additionally, I learned that clients were swinging their production budgets
> to the station citing the quality of my work.
> Unknown to the station and the clients was one of my secret sauces to making
> quality commercials: color correction and grading.
> In spite of the fact that we used high-end, brand-new, state-of-the-art HD
> cameras, the camera output was not stellar - in my opinion.
> I began researching, and soon learned about the art of color correction and
> grading.
> I jumped into Apple Color, and learned it.
> I read everything I could about color correction and grading.
> In the process, I struck up an internet-based friendship with Colorist Jack
> Tunnicliffe at Java Post Production in Western Canada.
> Jack became not only a friend, but soon he was my mentor.
> I traveled to Jack's post house, which I paid for myself, and became his
> first student in a Master Class training session.
> Jack liked something he saw in the way I graded, and urged me to consider
> color correction as a full time career.
> I sought out and studied under Patrick Inhofer and Warren Eagles, yet in my
> mind I wondered where all this was going.
> I have lived and worked in West Palm Beach, Florida, for 15 years. This is
> not known as a mecca for Colorists.
> A good friend of mine, an independent film director, pointed me in the
> direction of my future; he brought to my attention a job listing for a
> Colorist …in West Palm Beach.
> I interviewed for the position, and found that it was more than was
> advertised.
> The company I work for hired me to create the color department from the
> ground up, design and create the color suite, and help hire and train junior
> Colorists.
> I am in charge of the color correction and color restoration of hundreds of
> classic Spanish language films from the 1930s - 1980's destined for U.S.
> distribution.
> The New York Times, one of my former employers, has written about the
> restoration work being done on these old movies now appearing on the Verizon
> cable channel.
> To summarize, I can say that throughout my career, I was never taken
> seriously when I started down a specific path simply because I lacked the
> work experience.
> Looking back on it, I can say that I never believed what they said. Yes, it
> hurt to hear it; but I never believed it.
> I always believed in myself and what I could do if I had the chance.
> Like I said before, I kept at it, honed my craft, learned, watched, and was
> mentored by some of the best in the business.
> It's something that I still do, even now: tutorials, reading, helping,
> asking, and so on.
> The learning never stops. The passion never dies. It pushes me on to be
> better than I was yesterday, and to learn from my failures.
> Keep at it, believe in yourself, and don't give up!
> Best, James Wicks
> Senior Colorist,
> Olympusat Networks
> West Palm Beach, FL
> James Wicks, COLORIST
> digital, film, television, web
> Website: www.JimWicks.com
> Phone: 561.721.5187
> | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin
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