The Work That Made Me: Mark Meadows

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The Smoke & Mirrors and Big Buoy colourist reveals the ad that left a lasting handprint on his memory and the behind-the-scenes video that kicked off his fascination with filmmaking
The Work That Made Me: Mark Meadows
Mark Meadows has worked in the television industry for over 10 years, working his way up from runner to colourist. With a keen eye for detail and a particular love of beauty work he has established himself as an integral member of the team and has worked on both commercials, music promos and numerous long form projects. Mark’s commercial portfolio include L’Oreal, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Apple, Fiat & Virgin as well as promos for David Bowie, Bastille, Sean Paul, Take That, Craig David, Chase & Status and Jeremih to name a few.

Get to know Mark better below and check out the work that made him.

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…
There are two commercials that spring to mind, the first being Guinness, ‘Surfer’. I remember this advert clearly growing up as it was so different from anything else at the time. It was smart, stylish and had a fantastic trance beat that immediately grabbed the viewers’ attention, along with a powerful voiceover. The CGI horses made me cerebrate: “Wow. How is that possible?!”


The second advert was Tango, ‘Orange Man’… which I only recently discovered was graded by Smoke & Mirrors’ CEO, Gary Szabo! This was at the other end of the spectrum to Guinness. It was funny, totally bonkers and responsible for children in playgrounds across the country shouting “Ohhh TONY” and happy-slapping one another… myself included. That is possibly why it left such a vivid imprint - no, handprint - on my memory.  



The music video that made me want to get into the industry…

As a Christmas gift around 1991 I received the VHS, Making Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. It had the full 14-minute Thriller music video and then a behind-the-scenes look at how the video was created, including interviews with the director, production designer and all the special effects teams. I watched it constantly growing up, partly because there were only four channels on TV at the time, but also because I was fascinated with how the music video was created and I have no doubt that it aroused my interest in production and post-production. This eventually led to a degree in production design and my first job in the post-production industry. Thanks, Michael!

 
The film that I keep revisiting…

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. For me, this film is a masterpiece. It is a beautifully crafted modern classic, from the look, feel, music and, of course, the acting. The scriptwriting and obscurities of the dialect of the time really add to the authenticity and atmosphere, but my reason for continuing to revisit this piece of work is the cinematography. Roger Deakins, the DP, created hauntingly stunning imagery: every scene is like a grand landscape painting. To grade a piece like this would be a dream. 



My first professional project…

Virgin Money, ‘Ice Heroes’. This is the first project I graded for full rate paying clients. I remember being very nervous before the session, I think I had butterflies. Other than it probably taking a bit longer than it should have done, it all went well and the clients seemed happy.


The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

I not sure I can say that any work really makes me angry. I think nearly everything has its place. Even an annoying advert with a repetitive tag line does its job of ingraining the brand name into a consumer’s head, much to our dismay! 

Funeral insurance adverts are rather annoying though, to be fair. Also, things that are created purely for monetary purposes on the back of a trend or popular craze. Spice World The Movie is a key example of this. There was no real narrative, none of the Spice Girls could act and the film was only made to cash in on the band’s popularity at the time, but I am sure plenty of young kids enjoyed going to the cinema to watch it. As I said…it has its place. 


The music video that still makes me jealous…

This is America — Childish Gambino


The creative project that changed my career…

I think it is the directors, DOPs, clients (good and bad), and mostly other colourists that have changed my career, rather a project I can pinpoint.


The work that I’m proudest of…

I worked on a L’Oréal Paris Elvive Campaign, ‘A World Of Care For Your Hair’. It was a lot of colour work! There were 14 different personalities on seven different coloured backgrounds, all wearing clothes the same colour as their background and shot on three different cameras. Getting the colours on the backgrounds and skin tones to match as shots jumped between cameras as well as making sure the person stood out from their backdrop was tricky to master. There were 10 individual films and a 60-second mix edit, so lots of material. I was really pleased with the end result.


Also Grading David Bowie’s posthumous music video – ‘No Plan’ was a highlight…because it was David Bowie!



I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

As an assistant and junior colourist I worked on a fair few short films and music videos that were cringe-worthy, but thankfully I’m rather forgetful so it would be hard to name them!


The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

I worked on a campaign for the re-release of Adidas Predator recently involving David Beckham and some other famous footballers that was pretty exciting.
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