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July 2014
Issue: April 1, 2014

Careers: The Room's Ben Murray

Ben Murray
Senior Online Editor/Colorist/Effects Artist
Principal
The Room NYC
www.technicolorpwny.com

As a student at Penn State, I did a lot of mountain biking. I thought I might make that my career. But then I took a film theory class — I thought it sounded awesome to spend school time watching movies — and I loved it. I realized that I wanted to work in film. It appealed to my artistic side.

I transferred to NYU and did an undergrad program in film and TV. To get by, I got a job as a bicycle messenger with Kosmo.com. I worked until 2am delivering DVDs and snacks, and got to see the insides of a lot of apartments and meet a lot of people. It was a great introduction to the city.

Then I got a job as a receptionist at PostWorks. At NYU, I was doing a lot of production, but not much post because it was so hard to get your hands on an Avid. I thought if I had a job at a post house, I could get access to gear to work on my projects. I took advantage of the opportunity to learn what I could. When things were slow in reception, I read manuals. I spent my nights at the facility trying to figure out how systems worked. That’s how it started. I continued to study and develop my skills and eventually I was in a room working with clients. 

The time I spent with clients during those early days was like a master class. I’d ask them what went right on the set, and what went wrong? What mistakes were made? What can be done in post to enhance their vision? It was exciting. It taught me that post production was not about pushing buttons. It wasn’t about technology. It was about collaboration, adding something new to someone else’s vision.

Post teaches you a lot about shaping stories. If it’s color, the process is painterly; if it’s VFX or online, it’s more subtle ways of enhancing the story. You are exposed to many different types of projects, and you learn from every one.