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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Carlos

PART I: Every Step Counts

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

The path to my juvenile ambitions was never paved for me. I had to lay it down but I was not bound to follow it. Here's my three-part narrative on how I went back to creating art.


Call me, Michelle, while I call myself an artist now.

The truth is, I didn’t want to be an artist. I wanted to make movies. At the first opportunity after graduation, I moved to Manila and worked as an unpaid production assistant in a movie about college girls working part time as prostitutes. Oddly it was like prostituting myself, too, only that I didn’t get any richer. In the first big movie project I had, I was fired for looking young—I was 23. Or was it disgusting film industry politics? Still I didn’t care. I was having a blast! I was living a hippie-happy-go-lucky life amongst other artists and squatting in a vinegar-smelling dilapidated three-storey film warehouse owned by the very same producer that fired me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a proper abode nor an income. It didn’t matter that I was educated and graduated with honors, I was learning about life and I was free.

Michelle Carlos sketches by a lake during a film shoot
Sketching during a break in between scenes: I was a wardrobe assistant in a TV commercial

Stepping back

Eventually that freedom came with a cost. Adulthood required responsibility. Unaccomplished and unemployed, I had enough of my penniless existence and went back home where I would rekindle familial relationships as well as abandoned friendships. I earned petty cash from menial jobs just enough to finance my second attempt to follow my big dreams in the big city.

Eventually that freedom came with a cost.

Distractions and Decisions

Little did I know that every decision I made counted. Every job I took from being a PA to a wardrobe assistant, then a production designer, later a graphic artist to becoming a digital intermediate colorist took me further away from my initial goal. I wasn’t making any art during this period—only commercial work and mainly digital. The best part however, was that I was working with colors and digital brushes and that half-a-decade stint as a DI colorist paved way to many things: one of those was travel. Realizing that I am no longer in the right place, I developed wanderlust. I was itching to go. (To be continued… )

Michelle Carlos color grading using DaVinci Resolve
For the most part of my professional life, I was a digital intermediate colorist. (Image credit: Warren Eagles)


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