Alumni Spotlight

20 Questions with Shawn Pinner


Shawn Pinner, CSI

What is your name?
Shawn Pinner, CSI

What was your major/minor?
My major was Radio, TV, Film and my minor was English with a focus on film and literature.

What degrees did you earn and where did you earn them?
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Communication at USA.

When did you graduate? 
I graduated 2005

Where do you live?
After 7 years in Los Angeles, we have moved and settled down in Raleigh, NC.

Where do you work?
I am working at Trailblazer Studios onlining and coloring documentaries, commercials and such shows as Kate Plus 8, Counting On, Bringing Up Bates, Sister Wives, Salvage Dawgs and Minnesota Salvage.

What is your position?
I am an online editor / colorist.

What are your duties?
I handle the technical online process and color grading of feature films, documentaries and television shows, oversee and develop workflows from production, to  postproduction and FX, through to delivery, and make sure they meet required standards and specifications before broadcast and distribution.

What do you like most about your position?
I enjoy the creative atmosphere and the rush of a tight deadline.

What has been your biggest challenge since graduation?
As you push through life, you constantly find obstacles and challenges in your path. You may often hear in your mind, "You can't do that. Just let it go and stay where it's comfortable." It is a challenge to push past these feelings, to get past the fear of the unknown and whether or not you can achieve what you have set out to achieve. I face it every day, but I  put my head down and push through. I learned to enjoy the rush of fear.

What is your best memory from attending USA?
There are so many memories from when I attended USA, from marrying my wife, Robin, in my last year at South, to the great friends I made. I loved hanging out on campus, shooting short films, playing music with the band Gray Logic, hanging out and talking film with Dr. Ward, and catching South Alabama basketball games.

What organizations were you involved in while attending USA?
I was General Manger of JAG TV, and the distribution manager of the Vanguard.

What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the “real world”?
This is a difficult question to answer. I already had a good grasp on the "real world" before attending USA, and felt quite prepared to face it when I graduated. I knew it wasn't going to be a picnic, and if I wanted something, I was going to have to go after it.

What professional organizations are you currently involved in?
I was admitted into the Colorist Society International last summer, 2016.
Colorist Society International (CSI) represents a unified voice for the professional colorist in the film and digital entertainment industry, and promotes the creative art and science of color grading, restoration, and finishing.

The CSI is the first professional society devoted exclusively to furthering and honoring the professional achievements of the colorist community. It is not a labor union or guild, but an educational and cultural resource.

What advice can you give current students?
Networking starts with the person sitting right next to you in class. Be cool to everyone and stay in touch. It would have been 10 times harder for me to get going in this industry if it weren't for the great friends and contacts that I made at South.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself growing and improving as a colorist and I am working closer with independent filmmakers now, and plan to be more involved in producing and directing independent features within the next 5 years.

Where do you draw your inspiration (personal, professional role models/influences)?
There are many forms of inspiration in my life from my wife Robin, to the music by the likes of Bjork, Les Claypool and Daft Punk, to the cinematic creations of Guillermo Del Toro; his film, Pan's Labyrinth, changed the way I look at film. I am also seriously influenced and inspired by the art of Salvador Dali and tend to lean towards surreal films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Big Fish, Inception and Adaptation.

Do you have any personal life updates to share (i.e. achievements, big life moments, etc)?
I married the love of my life, Robin, and we have an incredible five year old boy, Kade.

If you could do anything differently, what would it be and why?
I stand by the decisions I have made and though some paths I took were probably more difficult than others, they got me to this moment. If I were to do anything different, I would probably have started out less reserved, more confident, and taken more chances and seized more opportunities to achieve my goals.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Be uplifting to others, stay focused on your goal and face fear head on.