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When Sonnenfeld and partner Mike Pethel launched
Company 3 in 1997, colorists—like editors before the advent
of the Avid—were largely seen as faceless inhabitants of
soulless postproduction "facilities." Ten years later,
Sonnenfeld finds himself registering as #41 on Entertainment
Weekly's list of "Hollywood's Smartest People." "I was very
excited to see that because what it meant was that people in
our business recognize that we were relevant to the process,"
he says. "That's what was so rewarding." Long the go-to guy
for high-end commercials work—which still represents 70
percent of Company 3's bicoastal business, and a large chunk
of Sonnenfeld's projects (which in 2007 included most of
Apple's commercials and effects extravaganzas like
"Snowball" for Travelers Insurance, out of Fallon,
Minneapolis)—Sonnenfeld has ridden a wave of directors
who relied on his boutique for commercials and music
videos, and insisted on using Company 3 when turning their
hands to features. Sonnenfeld helped set the look for Gore
Verbinski's Pirates of the Carribean cycle, Michael Bay's
Transformers, and Zack Snyder's ultra-stylized 300. These
projects, meanwhile, helped revolutionize postproduction
around an entirely digital workflow, with effects that have
reverberated back in the advertising world.
On his proudest accomplishment: "The thing that I feel
proud about is we definitely put ourselves on the map in
terms of showing how important the process was.We've
managed to show people that it's an important art form, that
it's integral to the process of postproduction and—quite
frankly—we can help make a project successful."