In the world of cinema, the unsung hero is usually the character actor – the guy with the face that everyone recognizes, but whose name escapes the memory. In the past, Rooster Post Production editor Chris Parkins has played that guy … but no more. Parkins work for agency Red Urban Toronto on Fortnight Lingerie’s Super Sexy CPR “Abdominal Thrusts” helped it take Best In Show and Online Gold at Toronto’s coveted 2011 Bessie Awards. Also, his work on Red Urban’s Richmond Optometry “Buck” and “Glue”, helped win them two Television Golds. Parkins is more than ready for his well-deserved turn in the spotlight.
300 Seconds sat down with Rooster Post partner/senior editor Chris Parkins to discuss why concepts = awards, and why the big idea still matters.
Congratulations Chris. Wow. Best in Show and an Online Broadcast Gold for Super Sexy CPR “Abdominal Thrusts” plus 2 Television Golds for Richmond Optometry is a big win. And both campaigns were done with hot agency Red Urban Toronto. You must be happy about that.
I’m very happy. It’s great to see smart ideas being recognized and awarded. I’m especially happy for creatives Christina Yu and Daniel Bonder. They’ve been very supportive and Red Urban continues to bring Rooster some of the best creative work being done in this country. Super Sexy CPR is a great example of break through work. I’ve certainly never seen anything like it before. That’s why I think it’s been so successful.
Speaking of Super Sexy CPR, you worked with Untitled Films director Curtis Wehrfritz. What was it like to work with him?
I love working with Curtis. He’s a conceptual thinker. We always discuss the concept before he shoots – that way I really get a chance to see his, and the agency’s vision before I get the rushes. Once I receive the rushes, Curtis and I sit down together and discuss the footage, the techniques and music options etc. Because we have a good relationship, he leaves me alone to explore the material. He knows I’ll come back with edits to bounce off of him. It’s good because this way, I can get his input and fine tune the cut.
When did you know that doing commercial editorial work was what you loved most?
I knew at a young age … almost immediately. I’ve always loved the creative process. The fact that every new spot has a different challenge – be it a comedy spot, storytelling spot, visual spot … you’re constantly learning new things and sharpening your skills. I love the challenge of trying to tell a story in 60-seconds or less.
How was it working with the creative team and producer from Red Urban? What was the process on the spot?
The folks at Red Urban are wonderful and very easy to work with. Once Curtis was happy with the cuts, we presented them to the agency to get their feedback. It was all very positive and collaborative. Red Urban had some great ideas for the super typeface … which is very dominant in the spot and sets the tone from an art direction perspective. It worked really well with the look of the film. One of the best things the agency gave us was the freedom to pretty well try anything we wanted. They expected us to bring the same high standard of creativity to the project as they did. Track & Field VFX flame artist Andrew Rolfe also did a great job.
When you first saw the script for Super Sexy CPR “Abdominal Thrusts” … what went through your mind?
I loved the concept. But I’m a guy – what’s not to love about girls in lingerie? The idea was very clever and of course … sexy. Right away, I knew this concept was going to get people talking, as break though work always does, and I definitely wanted to be part of it. And not just because of the lingerie! (laughs)
Why do you think Super Sexy CPR was liked by both men and women? 10 years ago women may have been offended by it.
Well, it’s just my opinion, but I think the world is a different place than it was 10 years ago for sure. Nowadays barriers are been pushed in ways they’ve never been before. People are more open minded and liberated. They accept more today. Or so it seems. I think people also “got” the concept behind the spot. There was a smile served alongside the eye candy.
What’s your favourite part of the edit session?
My favourite part is probably the creative process … exploring the footage, exploring different types of music and sound design – seeing an edit come alive. And of course the people! I get to work with some of the most creative, engaged people in the business.
You also won 2 Television Golds for your work on Richmond Optometry. Besides the obvious male/female differences, what was your experience like working with director Wendy Morgan?
It was a pleasure to work with Wendy. She’s very smart and full of great ideas. We spent the day cutting and exploring possibilities before presenting the rough cut to the agency. It was truly a collaborative effort. I enjoy working either way – on my own or with the director. They’re both great processes … just different paths to get to a similar ending.
Is it nerve-wracking presenting a rough cut to the creative team and agency producer?
It can be a little intimidating working with a creative team you’ve never worked with before, because you never know how they are going to react to your first edit. But I have really good relationships with the teams that I work with. I always say to young editors that if you’ve done your homework, and you’ve explored all the options, and you’re confident in your work … there’s no need to be nervous or to second-guess what you’ve done. You’ll be fine!
What was your reaction to the Richmond Optometry scripts?
I loved the fact that they were brilliant, smart … yet simple spots! As soon as I saw the boards I wanted in on the project. The spots are funny yet crazy smart. In no way was I NOT going to do this campaign. I hate passing up good work because I’m already booked. Luckily we could make the schedule work.
What are some of the biggest challenges today for emerging talent in the editorial field?
Probably it’s getting that big break, gaining someone’s trust … letting you cut their spot. There are so many great editors in the city right now, and that means there are a lot of great choices. You have to find a way to stand out. You have to be very technical, creative, and original. You also have to network … get out and meet people … just like in any other profession.
How do you keep up with work other people are doing?
I’m no different than the agency creatives. I watch other people’s reels, watch local and international editors reels, I check out the award shows online … it can be very inspiring. There’s a lot of passion for ideas out there. And I second that passion. It’s what makes our work better and helps us win awards.
To see Chris Parkins full reel click here