Assistant colourist at Big Buoy reflects on his youth in France, his favourite part of the job and the general ignorance the world has for colour grading
He took a break from the darkness of the grading suite to chat to LBBO about his discovery of post production and his masochistic love for short deadlines.
Q> Where did you grow up?
Alexandre> I grew up in the North West of France in a small town named Château-Gontier. Don't worry if you never heard of it, most of French people don't know it either…
Q> As a child, what did want to do when you grew up?
Alexandre> Definitely something creative, but I wasn’t particularly good at art, so I thought I might have like to do something with sport. I feel very grateful that I’ve found my way into the advertising industry and that I’m doing something creative.
Q> When was the first time you were aware of our industry?
Alexandre> Well, I have been aware of the post-production industry since I was 15, when I learnt about it during cinema courses at school.
But I have only been aware of colour grading since I was 20, during my Film Studies degree at The University of Rennes 2 in France. I loved university, but our course didn't cover a lot of practical techniques - 90% of it was about history and concept. I had to be self-motivated and teach myself, but thankfully I was also a member of a student cinema association, too, which helped.
I think that the advertising industry - and grading in particular - is still an unknown art to school kids and should be introduced into the curriculum earlier so that pupils are aware it exists.
Q> What first grabbed your attention and made you want to work in our industry, namely in grading?
Alexandre> I’ve always been into films, and have always been impressed to see how easily you can change the mood and the emotions of a scene by playing with colours and contrasts. I love that feeling of excitement I get when I manage to achieve an aesthetic that was briefed to me, or that I imagined in your head beforehand.
Q> What’s your favourite part of your job?
Alexandre> I love being very busy with multiple projects and lots of short deadlines, working against the clock to ensure each job is finished perfectly, and on time.
I also love getting the footage for a new project. I enjoy that feeling of seeing something for the first time, and imagining where I could take it. It’s exciting!
Q> What inspires you?
Alexandre> I like spending my spare time observing new releases and researching the work of established colourists. I think it is also important to venture into other creative forms too-photography and painting are so inspiring to me.
Q> What would you say is the proudest part of your career so far?
Alexandre> I have only been grading for a short time, but I have just recently completed my first long-form project which I am pretty proud of. It was a lot of hard work sticking to a consistent grading style throughout.
Q> Lastly, what advice would you give to someone setting out in the industry?
Alexandre> I would advise anyone who wants to be a part of this industry to be as curious as possible. Talk to everybody, absorb all the experiences that people share with you and practice as much as you can. Your sociability and honesty will make all the difference.