Geoffrey Quinet, GEM ESC 2015, met up with Baptiste Audet, GEM MIB 2006, to talk about his unconventional career path …
Involved in GEM’s student associations during his time as a student, he contributed to various projects with Zone Art, ICO and Planètes. He also served a as judge for the 15th annual short-film festival “Une Nuit trop courte”. In 2011, he directed his first short-film in New York “The Yellow Dress” – and later worked with renowned filmmakers including Pascale Pouzadoux, Line Renaud, Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Kassovitz, Jean Rochefort, July Delpy, Patrice Lecomte et encore Jean-Paul Rappeneau…
Geoffrey – Before we begin in earnest – do you miss Grenoble Ecole de Management?
Baptiste - GEM is really something else, effervescent and burgeoning, lending itself to endless international networking. The life that follows is a whole new adventure. It’s difficult to make connections with so many diverse groups of people in such a short span of time.
In 2018, you were a judge for short-film festival “Une Nuit trop courte”. Can you tell us about that?
I attended the inaugural year of this short-film festival because I’d been invited to work on the kick-off. You have to keep in mind that it’s a student-run event, but it’s organized with a lot of passion. Since its creation, I’ve been a judge 3 times. The festival is still running 15 years later, and it continues to interest the public as well as makers of short-films. It’s always a pleasure to come back and participate.
What motivated you to study music and film after graduating from GEM?
In the music and film industry, the manager is the one who gives advice, takes care of contracts, public relations and the artist’s wellbeing. Each artist has a complex profile that comes with a unique variety of needs.
The MIB program mostly focuses on management and intercultural relations. Film was a dream that I always had in the back of my mind, so I looked for a way to bring together management and helping aspiring artists.
How did the MIB contribute to your career path in film?
A film is a business with a much shorter lifespan, but still requires fundraising. Today we’re noticing that there are increasingly less profiles that are learning “on the job” and more and more profiles that come from law backgrounds or business schools such as GEM.
What are the 3 most notable memories from your time at GEM?
My first time at GEM, I was really impressed by the sheer number of students and staff at the school, in a very modern building.
As the only French person in my cohort, during the first few months I experienced total immersion in an international environment. I remember thinking to myself on my way back from Lyon: I’m glad Grenoble is relatively close to France since it leaves such an impression of being abroad (laughs).
The third important point is the student associations. They are very present and we could really get engaged in the projects. I had one foot abroad and the other in the student association hallway.
You shot your short-film in New York (The Yellow Dress) and worked in Paris. What inspired you to relocate to Lyon?
Lyon was the first city to have film projections thanks to the Lumière Brothers. Of course there is Paris and the rest of the Ile-de-France along with Lyon and Marseille that compete for the title. The Auverge Rhone Alpes region is pretty active in film with its Pôle Cinéma AuRA and the Pôle Pixel, bringing together audiovisual and other industry businesses. It’s in the development process and so it’s interesting to be here to be involved in what’s going on and also for the future.
Who are your film inspirations?
I was very influenced by Luc Besson’s films, from Grand Bleu to Léon. I love the aesthetic appeal of the camera movements Akira Kurosawa uses. But above all, I’m a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick.
What I like about Kubrick is that before making film, he visualizes each image as a photocopy. He left academics early so he could work as a magazine photographer. That enabled him to create and cement his style and acquire the knowledge about setting up an image that we see in each one of his films.
What are the 3 pieces of advice you would give to a GEMien who wanted to get involved in the film industry?
First and foremost, get to know the different roles before you choose one. There are many ways to work in film beyond directing or acting. Other possibilities like production or distribution require special skills sets that one can learn at GEM. With dematerialization and internet, today we can produce and share our creations without economic constraints.
Secondly, don’t hesitate to get further training on the side, even short workshops. This allows you to get more comfortable with the industry and open a lot of doors. They provide ways to find internships and sometimes the possibility to work on more concrete projects such as full length films.
Lastly, multiply your opportunities! One door that is easy to open is being an extra, something you have to do at least once if you’re passionate about film. It takes a lot of patience and could result in participating in very simple scenes, but, it is a real chance to observe and learn how the industry operates, get your foot in the door and start networking. The person who manages the extras is usually also the person who manages the small parts. It’s a good opportunity to take advantage of.
Do you have any advice about making the most of the Printemps du Cinéma?
It’s important to prepare in advance like with any festival, to carefully choose the screenings and to include a wide variety of film styles. The number of foreign films screened in the original voiceover version is increasing and it’s a great opportunity to give them a chance, especially considering that they don’t have the same marketing budget as blockbusters.
You also work in digital marketing. Do you plan on linking this together with your career in film?
My goal is to tell stories and direct. Nowadays there is no industry that isn’t concerned by digital with its numerous careers, tools, and best practices. The ability to wear many hats along with management background allows me to better prepare production and distribution. It also probably gives me a different way of working with film and influences my directing.
Have you kept in touch with GEM?
Once GEM, always GEM! My experience at the school as very positive, both on a personal level and in terms of my education. I will always have a personal connection to the school, even if I am a bit far away as far as social media goes …
All you well-versed in the GEM Alumni Network?
When I graduated in 2006, the network was still in the process of being developed, but I’m glad to see that it’s coming along. I’ve met up with alumni at GEM’s Paris Campus that didn’t even exist at the time. All of this reconnects me to the school and I’d be happy to contribute something of my own to the network at my own level.
How to you see GEM over the next 10 years?
What makes this school stand out amongst the rest is its rapid development and the success in the domains it’s carved out for itself. There are strengths that make up GEM’s DNA and I hope that the school will continue on this trajectory. It’s important for the school to position itself economically speaking, in this region, and that it keeps actively working towards assuring a successful future.
Any final comments?
Never give up and always set yourself up for success by staying prepared. The first step in making your dreams a reality is never losing sight of them. Sometimes you have to learn to fail. But the winners are always the ones who weren’t afraid to fail. That’s often how we recognize them.