Tim Palen, who heads marketing at Lions gate, may be the only Hollywood studio exec who personally photographs his films’ posters. He’s shot more than 50, including Saw, Precious, and W. “It has made my job exponentially more rewarding,” says Palen, who began his career as a typesetter. He has carved out such a name for himself as an artist that his corporate and creative personas are sometimes mistaken for two separate people. “Recently, an ad agency I work with all the time was working on a Disney project and an art director said, ‘We should hire Tim Palen to do the shoot,’ ” he chuckles. “And they said, ‘No, we can’t hire him. He works at Lionsgate,’ and [the art director] said, ‘No, Tim Palen the photographer!’ “
Who is your sounding board for ideas?
I will take a note from anyone who cares to give input. I’ve been known to show comps and sketches to the cleaning crew that comes around at the end of a long day… a fresh perspective is a valued asset that can come from almost anywhere.
Palen directed this music video for Janet Jackson’s song Nothing.
The best advice I got was from a mentor who told me to ‘not make my passion a secret.’ He encouraged me to give my work away, paste it on the walls, and share it with as many people as I could.