Behind the Title: Colorist Jim Wicks

NAME: Jim Wicks

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Color correction and color grading services for motion pictures, television, web.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Colorist

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I help filmmakers tell stories by digitally altering colors, hue, luminance and more.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
My friend, Gray Marshall, calls me the film whisperer. I am a bridge between the director or cinematographer’s vision and what the film wants to be. I work for my clients, but I speak for the film.

WHAT SYSTEM DO YOU WORK ON?
DaVinci Resolve.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Working with inspiring, creative filmmakers and professionals.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Working with a film that cannot be fixed due to poor production values or short-sightedness on the part of the filmmakers.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Early morning… very early morning. I am up every day at 4:30am. I shower, put a pot of coffee on and begin writing my Tao of Color http://www.taoofcolor.com newsletter. It’s a free weekly newsletter with more than 3,000 subscribers. I love helping keep our subscribers in the know with what’s going on in our business.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Producer of PBS’ Austin City Limits. I would be a natural. When I was younger I wanted to be Paul McCartney. But I soon realized that he’s better at being Paul McCartney than I could ever be. So I let it be.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I didn’t choose color — it chose me. I started working in film production and episodic television when I was a teenager. After I got married I needed regular work. A friend of mine knew I was looking for a steady paycheck, so I was hired to work in television news, first as a reporter and then as news anchor. It taught me how to think on my feet and be comfortable talking with people.

I liked the paycheck, but not the job. I learned to edit and shoot, and finally left that part of the business to work full time creating and producing commercials. That’s what I was doing when color and I met.

Carrie Underwood for Allmay (2015) - BeforeCarrie Underwood for Allmay (2015) - After

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Allmay Beauty commercials starring Carrie Underwood (above, before and after), TV pilots, a number of indie features. I am currently working on a high-profile feature-length documentary.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
I hold two color positions. In addition to being a freelance digital colorist, my other full-time gig is senior colorist and manager of film restoration at Olympusat, Inc.

Through this position I have had the good fortune to help build the color department and the film restoration department into one of the leading units of their kind. To date, my team and I have restored hundreds of classic Spanish-language motion pictures, including La Escondida (below), Susana, Rosario Castro and many more.

La Escondida (1956) - Original La Escondida (1956) - Restored

I have personally color restored a number of films from the Golden Era of Mexican Cinema. Including those by legendary directors Fernando de Fuentes, Luis Buñuel, stars such as Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, Pedro Armendáriz, María Félix, and Katy Jurado, and, of course, the famous Santo films.

On any given day of the week I am working in film noir, horror, sci-fi, drama, comedy and musicals. It’s a wonderful sandbox of creativity for the working colorist. The work and experience benefits my paying clients.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
I find inspiration through traditional and experimental forms of artistic expression, such as art, painting, photography, sculpture and classic motion pictures.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
The first thing that I can’t live without – is what I would term, organic technology: my eyes. My eyes are my moneymakers. I take care of them. Eye health and eye protection are so very important!

Next, my calibrated color monitor. I am partial to the Flanders Scientific models. I think FSI is among the best there is. I have FSI models in both color suites at Olympusat. I use the CM250 OLED in my color suite at home.

The third? My LUTs, hands down. I build them and customize them. Everything I learned about LUTs I learned from my friend, Dale Grahn.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Twitter, where I created a list called The Colorists. LinkedIn, Google+, Vimeo, YouTube, and lots more. The only one I do not follow is Facebook. It’s not a statement, just something that isn’t on my list.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Since I live in South Florida, I have a front row seat to the best show on earth. I sit at the beach and watch the sunset. My wife, a bottle of wine and some jazz playing on my UE-boom — that’s my Rx for de-stressing.


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