AME Awards Grand Jury Spotlight Interview: Paul Cartlich

Each week the AME Awards interviews a member of the 2017 Grand Jury, comprised of the industry’s most award-winning creatives from five regions around the globe. Their job is no easy task; it takes experience, brilliant creative chops and dedication to their craft.

In the interview below, AME spent some time with Paul Cartlich, Senior Creative Editor/Producer for Giaronomo Productions and asked him to share his insights on working  as a visual storyteller in the industry. He is passionate about film and is recognized as one of the leading lights in his field.  During his career, he’s been responsible for several high profile television and film campaigns ranging from The Walking Dead Comicon trailers for seasons 1, 4 & 5, TV Campaigns for Breaking Bad and Mad Men and trailers for Filth and Louder Than Bombs and is also the editor behind the critically acclaimed Rust and Bone trailer.

Keep reading to find out what inspires Paul, his favorite ad, a defining moment in his career and more.

AME Awards: What inspires you?

Paul Cartlich: I get a lot of inspiration from music. I’m constantly listening out for new sounds/bands and thinking about how I can use them in my work. For me inspiration is pretty much everywhere. In New York, there’s a mini drama on every corner and sometimes just watching the way two strangers interact triggers something that ends up making it’s way into my work. I’m also really lucky in that I work with other great editors and producers. Sometimes they’ll see a completely different way to spin the narrative that I hadn’t considered, and that definitely energizes me. I’m also inspired by anyone brave enough to realize his or her vision from script to screen regardless of the end result. That level of commitment is truly inspirational and means I’m always ready to watch pretty much anything that someone’s taken the time to create.

AME Awards: In your opinion, what is your favorite ad that embodies both creativity and effectiveness?

Paul Cartlich: A good ad is fine, but a great ad can be cinematic, epic even. I'm passionate about short form and know all too well the challenges that condensing meaning and evoking emotion over two and half minutes brings. But further distillation to sometimes just 30 seconds can be a far greater challenge. So when someone gets it right it's spellbinding. It’s no surprise that lots of feature directors start out directing commercials, as it’s an art form that requires huge narrative discipline and brevity. Established movie directors, such as David Fincher and Jonathan Glazer still direct commercials now on occasion. I think it’s a passion that stays.

If I had to pick my favourite ad of all time, it would be the Jonathan Glazer directed Guinness "Surfer" ad from 1999. The fact that I still remember it in such detail 17 years later speaks for its effectiveness. And it’s not just me. It permeated popular culture and became a real talking point. It was/is an incredible piece of filmmaking. And whilst looking for perfection in art is a fool’s errand, this for me is pretty much the perfect commercial.

This multi award winning commercial had everything. It was beautifully shot, had metaphorical imagery with the horses representing the power of the ocean, (inspired by Walter Crane’s Neptune’s horses) and depicting the surfer as a god. The copy on the advert is genius too, (using many lines from Moby Dick) and finally the amazing track by Leftfield. It was rich with history and contemporary at the same time. It felt like a film, which in those days wasn't common so it was definitely groundbreaking.

AME Awards: What’s your favorite ad that you created?

Paul Cartlich: I really love working on Indie films and I’ve cut and produced a lot of indie trailers over the years, but my favorite is for a French film called “Rust and Bone.” Firstly I absolutely loved the film. Released in 2012, directed by Jacques Audiard who has directed some outstanding films such as Un Prophete and The Beat That My Heart Skipped. It stars Marion Cotillard and is such a beautifully written film.

I chose the song "My Tears are Becoming a Sea" by the French band M83, which really elevated the piece and encapsulated the emotional intensity I wanted for such a powerful film. I have a particular fondness for this, as I cut and produced the trailer and also wrote the copy, so it really felt like my baby. It was a real passion project.

AME Awards: What was a defining moment in your career?

Paul Cartlich: It's always nice to win awards and I loved winning a Golden Trailer for the Frost Nixon trailer, but a real pinch yourself moment was when I was working on the trailer for Ridley Scott's Sci-Fi epic “Prometheus”. I chose a track for the piece by a composer that I love called Max Richter. A piece called "Sarajevo" that I'd had up my sleeve waiting for the right project to come about and this was it.

Ridley Scott liked the track I'd chosen so much he got Max Richter to rescore it and then a full 90 piece orchestra came to the famous Air studios in London to re record it so it sounded exactly how we all wanted it to for the trailer.

Having a composer I love recreating a song I love to a trailer I'd worked on all under the eyes of Ridley Scott was incredible. I remember thinking " That guy directed Alien. And he's into something I've created." Yeah that felt pretty good.

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