We had the good fortune of connecting with Elliot Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Elliot, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process on starting my own business was: I know what I want to do, but the opportunities necessary to get from here to there aren’t coming my way by working a job. So what can I do to make that happen? I plotted it out and took the steps necessary to pull it off. I knew I wanted to be a colorist full time, I’d worked in a post facility previously, but was knocked out by a mergers and acquisitions type of situation combined with a car wreck. The place I was working had good people and a color bay, but no interest in allowing me to color, at least not in a reasonable time frame, as they already had other good colorists to pick from. So I used the job I had as a part of my plan, and I saved my earnings so I’d have a financial buffer, studied on their gear, and built up my own color system at home. When the time was right I made the leap, quit my job (diplomatically), and started coloring as a freelancer. I’d had a lot of training from elite colorists and basically free rein over the color bay at work for the remainder of my employment. I got lucky early on in finding more gear affordably to round out my setup. I also had support from other colorists, mentors, colleagues, and friends sending me clients, I was busy from the start and pretty much have mostly stayed that way. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Well I love doing color. I’ve thought about it since I was a little kid, well before I knew what it was called. I’ve always been interested in art and technology and I found a way to do both. Photography laid a great foundation for me and is useful to all artists. I credit photography for training my mind on how to craft a good image, and developing opinions on images. Even if someone’s asking for a style that’s not my first choice, I understand that style and can give it to them. Exposure to art and visual media is also big. Growing up I worked in a comic book store and contemplated the different drawing and color styles of all the different comics. That helped me develop opinions that I later used in doing color subconsciously. I find myself looking at fine art and experimental art on Instagram these days, I’m just visually minded. Growing up in the 90’s when color grading was a nascent craft I got to see and ponder a lot of experimental color in music videos back then without really knowing it. Styles aren’t as extreme now, color is usually a lot more subtle today, but it’s also better in a lot of ways. I’m a collaborator, and Hollywood is a collaborative world. I work with cinematographers and directors to help complete their vision and enhance it in some ways. I’m sure they’d love to do the color themselves, some do, but most can’t practically color as well as me in a reasonable timeframe, just like I can’t do color without them going out and shooting their movie first. Plus it’s funny: when you involve multiple skilled people to do a task, sometimes things come out better than expected.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
York Boulevard in Highland Park is the one of the coolest spots in the city, hands down. I like going to live shows at The Hi Hat when times are normal, also Figueroa over in Highland Park is cool as well, I’ll go to The Lodge Room over there, and sometimes you might see me at the bars, who’s to say? Over on the West Side I’ll go over to Manhattan Beach and cruise around Rancho Palos Verdes because I like scenic drives. Downtown I like the Arts District. In Hollywood all the post people know about Jameson’s Irish Pub, and there’s a few other places around, but I don’t want to give up all my spots. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Colorists Bryan McMahan, Mike Sowa, Jonny McPheeters, Stephen Kuns, and Gareth Cook. Editors Brett Houston, Johnny Bacchelier of HenryLA. All the alumni of Laser Pacific, The University of Texas at Austin, Graz, and the fine folks of the HBA and the HPA.

Website: http://www.elliotthecolorist.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elliotthecolorist/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elliotthecolorist/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElliotTheColorist/

Image Credits
David Auner – Photographer – https://www.davidauner.com Waldmann Collection – http://www.waldmann.co John Pingry – https://www.johnpingry.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.