Austin colorist Tom Parish has written a tale from the heart of why he is quitting the business of color grading after almost a generation of working in the digital media, seven of those twenty years in grading.
He is, he tells us, diverting into programming, a step back into his own past in some ways given he used to be an artificial intelligence researcher. In other ways, his new career will be a step forward into something relatively new, on the marketing side of “no-code programming”.
Tom’s story of sideways, forwards and backwards career jumps is a familiar one to many of us living in small countries, small cities or otherwise well away from the world’s media production hotspots.
It is also a reminder of the perils of being an independent without tight relationships with colleagues able to keep you in business, especially workmates who became close friends when working at former places of employment.
I have jumped from state to state, country to country, due to the demands of personal life, work and even health needs, and there are some work and private friendships I deeply regret losing when I had to go elsewhere in the world.
Had I the means to stay where those relationships were born, I know life and career would have been vastly different. I have seen brilliant former work colleagues undergo the same changes, moving from where their work was respected, often heavily awarded, to a whole new country for the sake of family, to find themselves perennial outsiders scratching for a living while their life disintegrates before their eyes.
It sounds like Mr Parish will not be going down that road, and I am glad of it. He has enjoyed the benefits of some amazing professional colleagues, the sort of people that anyone wanting to get to the bottom of top-end color grading would do well to look up on the web and begin following. But he is off to fields anew.
I once read, in yet another book by yet another business and working life guru, that one day all of us will have nine different careers in our lifetime.
In reality it doesn’t quite work out that way, as more often we branch forwards, backwards or sideways into fields that bear varying degrees of relation with each other. Just like Mr Parish is about to do after closing up shop on his color grading business in Austin. [bctt tweet=”Why Tom Parish is exiting the color grading business, just when grading is becoming exciting.”]
Why I’m Leaving the Color Grading Business
Via Tom Parish on Medium:
I’m closing shop after nearly twenty years of media-related projects, seven of which were dedicated to color grading. Why would I give up the excitement of grading films and the satisfaction of sitting in front of all that cool gear, doing what always seems like magic to me? What about the friendships and the yearly trips to NAB and the camaraderie of so many amazing colorists, DPs, editors? I’ve been wrestling with this question throughout 2015 while fretting over a gradual evaporation of color grading-related projects. A new inspiration has emerged during this journey.
In early 2015 I noticed a drop in my web traffic, and new leads fell away to zero. With brio and focus I redoubled my efforts to uncover new projects. I dug deeper into my contacts lists to reach out to folks I hadn’t seen lately. I dusted off a number of creative ways to expand my visibility, given the ever-changing nature of social media. I know this drill since starting SEO work on websites in the mid-1990s. It’s the same with post-production projects. You have to earn your right to be a professional, you have to patient with the ebb and flow of business, and you must get out and hustle for new business. My mantra is Always be improving yourself.
But soon I started down the path of saying yes to whatever came my way, even if it was for free. Yeah, I was that desperate. I felt sick about breaking a cardinal rule against taking any job ‘no matter the price,’ but I reasoned that working for free was better than sitting in the studio with nothing to do. At least I was staying current with the relentless pace of increasingly sophisticated color grading tools and video post-production in general, compounded by so many different digital camera technologies. Still, something was off for me personally.
Read full article at Medium “Why I’m Leaving the Color Grading Business”
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(cover photo credit: snap from Medium)