The 30 second Project by Matthieu Colnat


The 30 second Project by Matthieu Colnat

It has been a decade I am working in the dubbing industry, sharing my daily life with actors I periodically see.

So when I went back to my work with photography after a lull of several years, my hunger for pictures naturally drained me to this idea.

At first, I just had a handful of minutes, during a short cigarette break, then drawing my co-workers mischivous faces naturally became a part of my day. Portraits and actors are an old couple which would be vain to try and break up ; even in a modern world where quickly made autoportraits doped with gadget and dehumanising filters from social networks rule like totalitarian dictators. Because actors may use their gesture, body, voice – especially in the dubbing industry – they are faces, before everything else. Faces change and evolve constantly, just like a world forced to always be in motion by its remorsless ruler : the god Chronos.

The power of the artefact I possess to freeze time got me interested in using it on my dear little guinea pig classmates because their relationship to the lense is somehow obvious. Some of them may pretend « Ah, I don’t like it ! » or perform their favorite line « Why do you think I’m working in the dubbing industry ? », none matters ; cameras and actors attract each other, they hate each other, love each other, or get torn appart all the time, in short, it is passionate love.

The funny fact is our working environment is dark. Always. A recording studio is as such so we can see our working tools which are computer and TV monitors. It is safe to say dubbing is a shadowy craft. So when we ask these people to step into the light, it is undertsandable some may hesitate.

Everyone of them are different when facing stage fright ; which is nothing but the reflexion of their inner demons. There are almost as many ways to fight it as there are warriors facing it. But it would seem the most recurrent ones are shyness, humor or agressiveness. Or sometimes a little bit of all of them translated by a good deal of nervossity, which is often quite representative of these soldiers of emotion. Because as much as their social special regime, their everyday routine is unstable and agitated. They run from studio to studio riding their battle steed in order to juggle with countless parts and moods following the neverending requiests of the artistic directors and the omniscient clientele.

In concrete terms, after driving their children to school, the braviest and luckiest of them start in the early morning with a commercial, then rush elsewhere to dub a TV series, then they barely have time for a quick sandwich when migrating on the other side of the capital city to create of bunch of contrasted caracters for a video game, then finally proceed with doing the same on a cartoon. Then, instead of spending time back home with their dear offspring, these specimens leave that heavy task to their partner to fly to the rehearsals of their newest theater play… And do it all over again the next day.

Considering this, how should they show serenity and stability?

This is how I unshamelessly allowed myself to exploit their fragility and weaknesses to better fullfil this project of mine of the thirty second portrait. It is spontanuous, rarely flattering for the models, but this is about all the free time they can grant me at the end of a work packed day in this always in motion planet, nonetheless not as much as they are.

About Matthieu Colnat

Artistic soul since his youngest years, Matthieu Colnat first expressed himself at school with drawing before studying cinema, with an image specialisation.Graduating from ESRA Paris 15, he directed then a handful of short films which have been participated and got rewarded in international festivals. Afterwards, he became an artistic director keeping a close eye on photography which he eventually went back to. Born in 1979, Matthieu lives currently in Paris, France. [Official Website]

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