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Light gaffer from Digby part of Emmy-winning team of Handmaid’s Tale

From left: Director of Photography Colin Watkinson, Key Grip Adam McDonald, and Light Gaffer Jonathan Gaudet.
From left: Director of Photography Colin Watkinson, Key Grip Adam McDonald, and Light Gaffer Jonathan Gaudet.

TORONTO, ON – A man from Digby is part of the team that won the 2017 Emmy for best cinematography for A Handmaid’s Tale, and he’s feeling pretty proud.

Jonathan Gaudet grew up in Hillgrove and pursued a career in audio, studying at NSCC in Halifax.

Little did he know that, after a switch to digital technology led to a decrease in audio jobs, he’d end up in lighting, and that he’d meet Colin Watkinson, director of photography on the show and start working as a light gaffer.

“It really was a fluke, in all seriousness. I was discussing lighting techniques with someone, got referred to Colin, and got this job,” says Gaudet.

 

Sensing some success

The show, based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, won eight Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series. Watkinson accepted the cinematography award on behalf of the crew.

While Gaudet didn’t himself attend the Emmy’s, he says the feeling of winning was still something else.

“There’s definitely a buzz around the office since the big win happened,” says Gaudet.

Gaudet’s light gaffing job consists of running the electric and lighting department and working with the Watkinson, the director of photography, to light and compose shots properly.

Though he never could have predicted the Emmy’s sweep, Gaudet says he and other crewmembers could feel the show’s potential as soon as filming started.

“We had this really good feeling at the show’s beginning that it was really taking us somewhere,” says Gaudet.

The show has just started shooting it’s second season.

Fresh off the awards season, expectations are running even higher than normal, says Gaudet, after last season’s successes.

“Winning awards can be a double-edged sword. We’re definitely stepping it up this season,” he says.

 

Shedding a light on Nova Scotia

A slash in film industry funding was not what drove Gaudet to move from Nova Scotia for work, but instead, a sense of adventure.

“I knew if I moved to Toronto there would be more opportunities for what I was looking to do, so it just made sense,” he says.

He’s visited home several times since leaving, seeing his mum Barbara Gaudet, who gushes over how proud she is of her son.

He’s also found some Nova Scotia connections away from home, in his fellow crewmember Burton LeBlanc, formerly of Yarmouth, whom he’d never met before working together on set.

“When you work sixteen days on set for seven months, you get to know the crew pretty well, pretty quickly,” he laughs.

Even some of the show’s producers have had their own experiences in Digby from producing Dolores Claiborne, starring Kathy Bates, which was shot in Digby and other parts of the province.

They were baffled to learn it’s Gaudet’s hometown.

“They heard me talking about going back to Nova Scotia, and said they’d been there once themselves. I told them I was from Digby, and they couldn’t believe it,” says Gaudet.

He urges other Nova Scotians seeking to get into the bizz to dream big, but to have an open mind.

“My biggest advice is to never close yourself off from any path, and to be open to all the avenues that present themselves,” he says.

 

See also: Former Yarmouth County resident Burton LeBlanc’s connection to The Handmaid’s Tale

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