WELD Artist of the Week: Omar Godinez

Career: Digital Cinema Colorist
Website: www.colourcafe.tv
Mantra: To visually interpret and develop a client’s vision.
Interview by: Kristin Read

Share what makes you THE color expert . . . What sets you apart?

I’m incredibly passionate about what I do and the work I produce. Successfully managing every person in my color suite throughout the creative process—hearing their ideas, expectations, capturing their vision, delivery—it’s an art, in and of itself. Also, being in this line of work for many years, it’s easy to get stuck in ruts. So, I’m a constant learner—researching new techniques and styles, staying on top of ever-changing technology. I also think that colorists have to be somewhat OCD . . . a passion that ensures your work has to be just right. You pay attention to every detail, and in a timely manner, arrive at exactly what you were looking for.

What has been your proudest moment thus far in your career?

Creating my shop, Colour Cafe. After working in Dallas for the entirety of my career, eight years ago I decided to take a risk, at the age of 50 nonetheless, and packed up to move to Austin. Even though I’d been a professional colorist working in broadcast television for 21 years, it felt like I was a rookie all over again. In this niche, like any art form, it’s hard to work for someone else. When I worked in a corporate environment, management never really knew what I did, as they were focused on the success of the business. There’s freedom in my work now—the focus isn’t on the bottom dollar, but on the personal satisfaction of contributing to my client’s project.

What memorable responses have others had to your work?

The overall appreciation of my work changed as I shifted from working for agencies to independent filmmakers. Indie clients offer more validation, as they have the final say and don’t have to answer to corporate authority. People have shared their hesitation to initiate contact, fearing budget limitations, etcetera. But after discussing the goals for their project and budget, we were able to begin the fun stuff.

Did you know you were artistically gifted at a young age?

I definitely believe that artistic capabilities are developed as a kid. While it may not have been taught to you in school, it’s just a part of who you are. If parents would recognize it in their children, develop it, and encourage it—we could help teach kids to be passionate about things at a young age. Sure, we could learn various trades, but will we be happy when we’re 40? My dad wanted me to go to college and be an attorney, like he did, but instead I went to work at a TV network two weeks after I graduated from high school. I like to say my career in filmmaking found me. I certainly wasn’t looking for it.

How do you feel you’ve benefited from working around other creatives?

A friend working in the space recommended I check it out. I was excited about the opportunity to be part of the creative community, garner new knowledge from the surrounding talent, and give what I know back to the community. I jokingly refer to myself as the elder WELDer . . . but you know, I am highly impressed by the diversity of talent here. Even if we’re artists in our own medium, we all have our special talent; we’re never creating the same thing.


How have you noticed your technique and end product change over the years?

I’ve never stayed the same. Because of the talent I work with— producers, directors, cinematographers and editors—whether up-and-coming or seasoned filmmakers, we're always collaborating on new techniques. During our initial meeting, they might mention an idea I hadn’t thought of, and we try it. It's like getting a group of friends together and cooking a special dish sans recipe, and the end result tastes so much better because it was made from the heart. Being a colorist is no different. You start with an idea. You add some touches and voila! You create a work of art. If I’m asked to re-create this exact 'look' months down the line, I wouldn’t be able to do it. And that’s the beauty . . . because next time, it can be even better.

What do you like/dislike most about this industry?

I have a love/hate relationship with the ever-changing technology. Now that software and cameras have been democratized, and equipment is easily accessible, people purchase what they want and label themselves filmmakers. It really irks me when I feel that they don’t truly appreciate the craft. As far as working with independent filmmakers, I feel like it’s hard for them to stay ahead of their work. Color seems to be the last thing young filmmakers think of, and they either run out of money or time. On the other hand, I love being a part of the storytelling process. Knowing that an audience has been impacted by your work is very satisfying.

What do you hope to leave behind?

A legacy that has nothing to do with how much money I’ve made, but rather what I’ve been able to leave behind with young artists. It’s what I believe to be part of my journey.


For other examples of film work by Omar, please check out: www.colourcafe.tv

Doug Klembara