Emmy Award-winning Cinematographer Colin Watkinson Enjoys His Time Behind the Scenes and Wouldn’t Have It Any Different
Incredibly simple and self-deprecating, it took some cajoling for Colin Watkinson to agree to be spoken with. His story is as intriguing as he is talented. This amusing, captivating male chooses to avoid the spotlight … picking instead to let his amazingly stunning work tell the story.
You can see this skill currently in the epic series The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. Colin won an Emmy award for cinematography on the program, vanquishing other aesthetically stunning pieces such as The Crown, Stranger Things and Westworld. He likewise directed numerous episodes, expanding his substantial abilities even further.
It was 2016 when Colin got the call from Reed Morano about The Handmaid’s Tale. The show, developed by Bruce Miller, is based on the 1985 dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood. The plot happens in the future amid a totalitarian society where fertile ladies called “handmaids” are forced into childbearing slavery.
To visually equate such scary takes deep compassion. If you have viewed any episodes, you can’t help however be captivated by the stylistic work of art– each frame a masterpiece. Colin’s unflinching technique to storytelling has earned him important recognition.
Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Press reporter said The Handmaid’s Tale is “probably TV’s most breathtakingly shot show. For all the returning stars and writers and directors, cinematographer Watkinson practically deserves equivalent billing at this point.”
The story of The Handmaid’s Tale is a crucial one, states Colin when asked where he discovers the nerve to shoot what he does. And it’s one that frantically requires to be informed today. “Females have a perspective that is not seen enough. There’s a substantial change happening right now, and that’s great.”
Colin recognizes that genuine change will come when ladies are similarly represented on-screen and off. 4 of the 5 directors of the very first season of The Handmaid’s Tale were females, including Reed.
We carried out the interview by means of Zoom throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, and it was paradoxical that Colin remained in front of the camera for a modification. The last thing he wished to do was discuss himself, but I wondered about his unlikely journey from growing up in Liverpool, England– with aspirations of being a fighter pilot– to living in the South Bay and masterfully crafting acclaimed screen gems.
True to his self-deprecating way, Colin started by informing me that he was never proficient at anything at school, but the seed of his love for movie began growing when he was about age 9 or 10. “I had a friend who owned a projector. We created a screen utilizing the envelope of this massive card my mama had actually gotten for her birthday. One day we decided to take it to school to show animations at lunch break.”
They would fill a classroom filled with kids, charging 5 pence a show (which they provided to charity). It was a hit up until the teachers ultimately shut it down.
” Women have a perspective that is not seen enough. There’s a huge modification happening right now, which’s fantastic.”
Young Colin was consumed with Star Wars a lot that he ducked out of school to see the very first one in 1977. He must have seen it 30 times in the movie theater, consumed with the special results. Although Colin was passionate about movies, he didn’t see a future in making them in Liverpool.
He applied to the Royal Flying force at age 17. When his application was turned down, he chose to take a trip for a bit with a pal to take his mind off the frustration. That journey sparked a love of travel that would become a long-lasting theme throughout his adult life.
At 18 he got a job in London doing quantity surveying, making a degree while making a pittance. After about a year of that he got a deal from someone to be a “runner” for a couple motion picture producers. This unlocked to the world he had actually only imagined.
” Suddenly– for the very first time in my life– I understood what I was meant to be, but I had to fight my way into the electronic camera department,” he says. “I didn’t wish to be a DP [director of photography]– I was simply pleased to be there. I entered the union, however I was still kinda faking it.”
Colin didn’t have the very best equipment, nor did he study movie. But through what he would explain as luck, determination and getting in touch with the right people, he found a way in. A key player in altering the trajectory of his life was a man called Tarsem Singh.
Tarsem was a young kid who came straight out of Pasadena ArtCenter College of Style swinging. Colin had actually never satisfied anyone like him in his life. He had incredible confidence, and absolutely nothing could hold him back.
In 1992 he was accountable for the popular Levi’s “Swimmer” ad campaign, an account he acquired by revealing the company his storyboards, outfits and music for the idea– then requiring that it was all or nothing. Although he was just starting, he wasn’t about to enable others to alter his vision. This technique wound up being massively successful.
When the chance developed for Colin to take a trip the world shooting with Tarsem, he didn’t be reluctant. “I was just a kid at the time; I am not even sure if he understood my name.”
They worked nonstop year-round, and for the very first time Colin took pleasure in being a student. He took in whatever while he was helping on these tasks– enjoying Tarsem do his magic week in and week out. “His structure is astonishing, his motion flawless.”
It was the very best education he could get. “Tarsem had done all the years at movie school, exercised what he liked best, and I found out so much from observing him work,” Colin states.
Tarsem’s success afforded him the pick of practically any DP, and in 2004 he gave the job to Colin for his own film called The Fall. The filming took about two years and was shot around the world in South Africa, India, Fiji, Bali, Argentina, Rome, France and Spain. It was a beautiful film and there was a great deal of interest from financiers, however all the purchasers wanted to change it in some way. Again Tarsem wouldn’t cave, and the film earned minimal recognition– consisting of a cult following amongst film trainees.
Colin discovered great success in his personal life too. At the time he was living his dream, filming and traveling around the world.
She comprehended and assured him she could handle that. At the time she was 24, young and free, working full-time and enjoying the London city life. “She signed on open-eyed, but it doesn’t make it any easier.”
Cut to a few years later on. Colin was filming away on location for 3 months right after their very first child, George, was born. They were also busy remodeling their house. “It was really odd coming back to a totally new home and a child who I had actually been away from for so long,” he says.
That was always the most hard element of Colin’s work, as it typically took him far from home for months at a time. He is blessed with a really safe and secure, strong and independent partner in Jo, who has the ability to raise two kids with a husband who travels as much as he does.
In 2006 Jo and Colin unfortunately lost a buddy to cancer. It was the renewed perspective of the shortness of life that motivated them to make the strong transfer to America with their 2 young kids, George and Lola. On touching American soil, they deepened their commitment to one another by getting married in Las Vegas.
The couple’s introduction to the South Bay came from a buddy Colin had made in the industry, Steve Fredriksz. He welcomed Steve and his household down to Manhattan Beach. “I remember Steve got pizza delivered to the beach, and I believed that was the very best thing ever.”
Colin was working on the hit TV show Entourage when the young household discovered their home in Manhattan Beach. Career-wise, Colin was still browsing his way and trying to make a name for himself in a brand-new nation and culture. It was as though his previous work experience didn’t count and he had to make his stripes all over again.
He got some business work and video, along with “one devastating movie.” However, the silver lining of working on that movie came in the connections he made. He still works with a lot of those very same individuals today.
Colin has actually because been nominated 3 times for an Emmy; the very first one in 2017 was part of a clean sweep across the board for The Handmaid’s Tale. The very first season won 8 Primetime Emmy Awards from 13 nominations. It is the very first show produced by Hulu to win a major award along with the first series on a streaming service to win an Emmy for impressive series. When Elisabeth Moss won for outstanding lead actress, the very first person she thanked in her acceptance speech was Colin.
Of all the attractive experiences and awards, the story Colin chooses to recount demonstrates his self-deprecating style once again. At the first Emmy Award program, he didn’t think he would win.
During season 3 Colin received the extremely prominent American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award. Colin is now not just a member of the ASC however he likewise has a British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) accreditation. This recognition means a lot to him, given that only peers in the market are allowed to vote.
Although quarantine has stopped production on his existing job– an Amazon show called The Power (once again a partnership with Reed)– the break has actually offered Colin the luxury of time with his precious family. “What’s crucial to me throughout this time is being with each other, simply taking pleasure in having every meal together.”.
Showing on all his true blessings, Colin shares, “All of what I’ve been able to experience wouldn’t have been possible without Jo. I had just been away for 9 months when the offer came through, however she insisted I take the job. Prior to, when I came out from England to America to check out work chances, I was in seclusion.