Share

What was your route into editing and was it something you had always wanted to do? 

I think I’d always been interested in editing before I even knew what it was. I loved Ray Harryhausen films and used to make my own terrible stop-frame films with Dad's camcorder. I worked out that if you pressed the record button twice really quickly you could shoot a few frames, and when you watched it back, there would be some semblance of movement… it wasn’t an exact science but it kept me busy.

A lot of comedy doesn’t necessarily rely on the joke itself but from the reaction of characters responding to it.

I went on to do a degree in Film Studies which was mostly theory, but on the practical side, I was drawn towards editing. We once had to take a film of our choice and edit it to music. I cut Praise You to Goodfellas, using these archaic machines that you could record VCR-to-VCR. It was painfully slow and the quality was terrible but I spent longer on that project than anything else in my entire course.

After my degree I was lucky enough to get a job at production company HSI, as an in-house runner. I loved the buzz of being in the office, but I just didn’t find the same enthusiasm on set. They were so supportive in trying to find the right path for me and put me in touch with Bill Smedley who was in the process of setting up Work Editorial. I’ve been there ever since… 14 years in May!

When you first became an editor were comedy spots the thing you gravitated towards? 

Comedy was a huge part of my childhood. I’m the youngest of four and was watching The Day Today with my siblings before I’d watched the actual news. Funny ads have always stood out to me the most, but I never put two and two together until editor Mark Edinoff joined us. I loved the work he was doing and it suddenly opened my eyes to the idea that you can make a living from trying to make people laugh.

To this day, I don’t think I’ve laughed so much making my selects as I did for the Katie Price film.

How/when did you first realise that working on comedic spots was a forte?

It’s an ongoing realisation. When I do something that seems obvious to me (that hadn’t occurred to anyone else). Those are the moments when I realise I’m doing the right thing.

Are you ever involved in the planning of the spot before it films?

I’ll often hop on a call with directors before they shoot, if nothing more it’s good to bounce ideas off each other and to start getting excited about it. It’s tricky to try and pre-empt what you’re going to need in the edit but just chatting it through can sometimes highlight a blind spot or throw up a new angle to try.

Jeff [Low] told me a long time ago to just make myself laugh when I’m building the assembly.

How much can the edit bring to/alter the feel of a comedic spot?

It depends on the style of the spot and how open-minded everyone is, but on the whole you can always bring some unanticipated laughs once you get in the edit. If it’s tightly scripted and shot to boards then it might just be throwing in the right reaction at the right moment, but if it’s shot a bit looser with more improv lines, you can really start creating gags that could never have been scripted. On the Barclaycard film for The Crystal Barn [below] I did with Jeff Low recently, he got a take of one of the owners giving directions to their shop. It hadn't been scripted, but as soon as I saw that I knew I was going to build the whole film around it.

Barclaycard – Barclaycard Business: The Crystal Barn

Credits
powered by Source

Unlock full credits and more with a Source membership.

Credits
powered by Source
Show full credits
Hide full credits
Credits powered by Source

What's the hardest thing to achieve when you're editing a comedy spot? 

A genuine, full-bellied laugh from the viewer.


Have you ever disagreed with a director about the direction a particular piece is taking; can that be a regular occurrence and can you tell us what it was about? 

I’d say it’s rare that I would disagree on the direction of the spot as a whole, but on a lot of jobs there’re moments that I really like that aren’t as important to the director. It’s just about recognising how those moments affect the overall spot, when to make my case for keeping it in, and when it’s time to let them go. At the end of the day, comedy is subjective so it would be odd if I always agreed with everyone on everything, there always has to be some give and take to end up at the best cut possible.

Kwiff – Kwiff: Caught Glass; Bedlam; Father and Son

Credits
powered by Source

Unlock full credits and more with a Source membership.

Credits
powered by Source
Show full credits
Hide full credits
Credits powered by Source

You have a long-standing working relationship with the aforementioned Jeff Low; how does that play out and do the two of you know each other well enough to know what will make you both (and therefore an audience) laugh?

I’m really fortunate that myself and Jeff have a similar sense of humour. We both love dark and surreal comedy and I think that comes through in practically everything we do, even if it’s only subtle. Ultimately, he trusts my instincts and lets me get on with it. I get a rough assembly over to him pretty quick to give us a starting point and then he’ll gently steer me with the right feedback. It’s a really great way to work. I get the freedom to bring my own flavour to the spot while he still keeps his hand firmly on the rudder. Jeff told me a long time ago to just make myself laugh when I’m building the assembly. It sounds like such obvious feedback, but it was a real 'penny drop' moment for me. 

Do you personally have to find a spot funny to be able to bring something to it from an editing POV? 

It doesn’t have to be funny, but I think I’m at my best when there is a story of some kind to tell. A lot of comedy doesn’t necessarily rely on the joke itself but from the reaction of characters responding to it, that translates across any story, I think. The smallest expression can be the most memorable thing in a spot if it’s used right.

Credits
View the full credits on

National Lottery – #PleaseNotThem - Katie Price

Credits
View the full credits on

National Lottery – #PleaseNotThem - Laurence Llewelyn Bowen

Credits
View the full credits on

National Lottery – #PleaseNotThem - Noel Edmonds

What's your favourite comedic spot you've worked on and why? 

I think i’d have to say the Lotto campaign I did with Jeff & AMV BDDO London. I loved the looseness of them, they gave me so much room to create laughs in the edit that went beyond what was scripted and having the freedom to send up these celebrities made it really special. To this day, I don’t think I’ve laughed so much making my selects as I did for the Katie Price film. Jeff gave each of the celebs an ‘assistant’ to bounce gags off and Ian Jarvis, who was Katie Price's assistant, is a real improv genius. Growing up on a diet of Reeves & Mortimer and Big Train, it felt like we were making some sort of sketch show rather than commercials. It was a real joy to be a part of.

Credits
View the full credits on

National Lottery – #PleaseNotThem - Vinnie Jones

Credits
View the full credits on

National Lottery – #PleaseNotThem - James Blunt

Credits
View the full credits on

National Lottery – #PleaseNotThem - Piers Morgan

Share