Update on ALIEN BOY – the documentary

Mike Quinn has graciously donated post-production services for ALIEN BOY, a documentary film about what happened to James Chasse produced by the Mental Health Association of Portland. Quinn is the co-founder of Mission Control, an internationally renowned post-production house here in Portland. Here he is in the “machine room” down there:


QUINN: “This video recorder cost $150,000.” BOO-YA!

“I’ve just got to post a Quicktime for NBC to look at, real quick,” said Quinn, when we dropped in this afternoon to take a look at the facilities. At his desk, three monitors stood next to a huge plasma screen TV, as a commercial for an electronics manufacturer played away. Quinn pushed a few buttons, called a colleague, and told him, “that file is on your desktop.” You get the sense he’s a man comfortable with complex technology:

CABLES:“These are all connected to something…”

Quinn started in television while at high school in Idaho. He got a job as a cameraman aged 15 at KALEW TV, after showing up and pretty much refusing to go away. For three years he was a photographer on the TV show Fishing The West, “and I was in my early twenties,” he laughs, “going and fishing the best fishing spots in the country with some of the best guides, but all I wanted at the time was to be in the city with my buddies.”

After 31 years in the business he now edits commercials for clients such as Nike, Nutrisystem, Coca Cola, EA Sports, Seadoo, as well as offering some of his many edit suites out to independent film makers. In the 1980s, Quinn worked with director Jim Blashfield on famous videos for the likes of Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush (Don’t Give Up), Paul Simon (Boy In The Bubble), and even Tears for Fears (Sowing The Seeds Of Love)—which won the MTV award for Breakthrough Video.

Hearing the list of Quinn’s clients was already pretty intimidating. But when he told us about those music videos, we were pretty taken aback. That Sowing The Seeds Of Love video, for example, is world famous.

Quinn shot the first ever music video, he thinks, for Portland punk band Poison Idea, back in the early 1980s, using a Portapak on loan from Jefferson High School. “It was a magnet school for culture students back then,” he says, of the ailing high school in North Portland, that is still famous for athletics, less so for having “the biggest TV studio in the city, including TV stations,” as it was back then.

EYE FOR DETAIL: Quinn Reviews A Commercial With Editor Matt Demarest

Anne Galisky, the director of Papers, a documentary about undocumented schoolchildren, was in one of Quinn’s edit suites this afternoon, working on color correction with Mission Control colorist Slater Dixon. “I love this place,” said Galisky. “They’ve been wonderful. We had a sold-out screening the other day, and people thought the film was shot on 35mm film, and that was the impact that this place had.”

“We’re about perfection,” says Quinn. “We try not to let anything out of the door that leaves any doubt for the audience about what they are watching.”

Mission Control will do color correction on ALIEN BOY, and add some graphics. “All motion pictures get color graded,” says Quinn. “We want to give the film a polished look.”

“Sometimes people are given power who aren’t necessarily ready for it,” says Quinn, when asked what attracted him to donate to the film. “This is an important project—knowing what happened to James Chasse, sometimes there are people who need to step up and pay for what they’ve done.”

Everything about Mission Control feels slick. From the multiple monitors to the incredible screening room (with Hollywood lights), to the well-stocked fridge in the kitchen. ALIEN BOY has hit the big time.