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Paul Watts Cuts The Chapman Brothers' First-ever Foray Into TV

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The Quarry editor cuts 'The Marriage of Reason and Squalor' for Sky Arts

Paul Watts Cuts The Chapman Brothers' First-ever Foray Into TV

The Marriage of Reason and Squalor offers insight into the spectacularly creative mind of one of the world's leading renowned visual artists, Jake Chapman, in a way that's never before been seen on screen.

As Chapman’s first foray into television, The Marriage of Reason and Squalor is a screen adapation of his book published in 2008.

Taking inspiration from romantic novels of times gone by, The Marriage of Reason and Squalor celebrates the genre and offers a playful twist on tried and test romance themes.

Kelly Cook Jackman caught up with The Quarry's Paul Watts, who edited the drama series.


KCJ> It’s been described as “wildly-imaginative, hypnotic and strangely unsettling”, what was it like for you to work on The Chapmans much lauded new four-part drama ‘The Marriage of Reason and Squalor?

PW> Simply put, it was a load of fun. There was a lot to get my teeth into and working with Jake was fantastic.  We had a crazy deadline both in production and in post.  Not only was I assembling on set, I was trying to polish to a certain extent too.  Of course when everything came together for the first time, as always it was a pretty brutal viewing experience and there was a lot of reimagining and rebalancing, but we moved forward very quickly indeed.


KCJ> How did the project come about?  Have you worked with The Chapmans before?  Were they as kooky and quirky to work with as their art reflects?

PW> I met Dinos a few times to talk about the music but I spent most of the time with Jake.  I hadn’t worked with Jake before and the prospect was a little daunting at first given his extraordinary body of work, but within a day or two it was pretty clear to me that we spoke the same language.  Very importantly on a project with such a tight schedule, he was clearly a man who knew what he was after. He also had the confidence to go with the flow if a different and compelling idea presented itself, absolutely the ideal circumstances for a project as unconventional as this one.


 

KCJ> How does working on a drama series compare to TVC’s or features such as ‘Under the Skin’ and 'Keeping Rosy' that you edited for Jonathon Glazer and Steve Reeves?

PW> In some ways it’s all the same.  You’re looking for the moments that resonate and if those moments in the rushes aren’t in the script, then you deviate for a bit and find your way back.  The longer the form, the more room for deviation I guess.  In other ways, in the specifics, it’s all completely different,  every project offers up it’s own challenges.  There was a requirement on The Marriage of Reason and Squalor to break the whole thing down into eight individual eleven minute pieces to fit the SKY format which did present a few problems here and there that you don’t experience on a regular feature, but that’s something we contend with on TVC’s all the time.   

 

KCJ> Jake Chapman's book was first published in 2008, had you read this satire novel before?  How did you approach the edit?  What was the editing brief?   Did the edit go to plan (so to speak)?

PW> I hadn't read the novel.  I read a 2-page outline for the series that was like nothing I’d ever read and I loved it !    At that point there were no scripts for the episodes, but I didn’t need to see them to know that I wanted to go on Jake’s journey that was described in the outline.  As far as the edit was concerned there wasn’t really a plan and there wasn’t really a brief, we simply ran at it, embracing and housing Rhys’s fantastic unscripted moments wherever possible.  Sophie’s performances as Lydia and Chlamydia were faultless and her progression from timid mouse in a nightclub to a woman in control in the arms of the man she loves was really something.  As we cut their performances, I felt like we were simply supporting them rather than having to construct or contrive elements that were missing.  This was pretty remarkable considering the time available for the shoot and the very small ratio of footage to screen time, a testament to Jake and the actors.

 

KCJ> Was there a lot of footage?  How long did it take to cut?

PW> I’d say we had less than 30 hours in all.  I’ve rarely worked on a project where there are on average 2 takes, occasionally 3 and sometimes 1!   There would be coverage on angles, but never a load of takes from one particular angle.  As a result, the performances always seemed fresh.  I guess there’s a bit of necessity being the mother of invention here, but it really paid dividends on this project.

 

KCJ> What did you love most about working on this project and with Jake Chapman?

PW> Drawing the line between sanity and insanity, reality and fantasy is a very absorbing and enjoyable endeavour.  I loved that.  David Kosten, who wrote the only piece of music that wasn’t written by either Ilan Eshkeri or Dinos, said that he loved the fact that he was laughing at stuff whilst being disturbed at the same time. I hadn’t really articulated that thought previously, but clearly I’ve spent three months pretty much doing that on this project with Jake.  I feel privileged to have been let into his world of The Marriage of Reason and Squalor and to have been allowed to make a contribution to a properly bizarre piece of work.

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Post Production / VFX

Post Production Company: Dirty Looks

Production Company

DOP: Simon Tindall

Production Company: Morass Productions

Production Designer: Kristian Milsted

Production Manager: Serena Nutting

Producer: Colin Vaines, Andy Noble

Music

Music Production: Dinos Chapman and Ilan Eshkeri

Sound Design: Joakim Sundstrom

Offline

Edit Company: The Quarry

Editor: Paul Watts

Creative Agency

Copywriter: Brock Norman Brock

Genres: Storytelling

Categories: Media and Entertainment, TV and Radio

The Quarry, Wed, 17 Jun 2015 13:14:25 GMT