Jamie Coward – Editor

Who is Jamie Coward?

I’m an offline editor first and foremost, but I love grading, sound designing and composing too! I’m also a keen gardener, economics geek, intercity bike ride fiend, 80s R&B impresario and full-on barbecue maniac.

How did your career path develop?

After studying commercial music production at university I was producing twelve inches and mix tapes for UK hiphop artists and playing in various ska and funk/rare groove bands, but back in 2006, an editor friend of mine showed me how to use Final Cut Pro 4, and I never looked back.

The first thing I did was a volunteering gig at the BBC cutting together some internal voxpops for Children In Need, but only eight months later in 2007 I got a job as the series editor on a children’s show called “Horse Patrol” – a magisterial romp through the life and times of the ILPH and its long suffering horse patrol officers.

It was a real baptism of fire and surely contains some of the most shockingly conceived b-roll sequences in the history of British television, but I learned so much so quickly, and I also trained an assistant who is now a very successful editor in his own right.

What do you consider your greatest achievements so far?

The easy answer is that in 2012 I edited “Trashed”, a feature documentary starring Jeremy Irons with music by Vangelis, which was an official selection for Cannes and won the best doc feature editing award at the LA Movie Awards.

That said, by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done was two years as a listening volunteer with Samaritans. It wasn’t easy, but I’ll never forget a second of it.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

The most interesting film I’ve ever worked on is a 60 minute documentary I finished earlier this year called “We Were Kings”, which follows the heir to the Burmese throne as he tries to repatriate the remains of his great grandfather, the last king of Burma, from a makeshift tomb in the courtyard of a run-down state housing colony in small town India, where he had been exiled for one hundred years.

Filmed over three years, it tries to work out how an old royal family is supposed to fit into a new country and ultimately how an old, empire-ravaged nation, ruled by kings for a thousand years, is supposed to fit into the modern world.

A friend and I were also given the rare chance to take some recording equipment to Myanmar to capture some traditional Burmese classical music – an art which was awkwardly suppressed by the ruling generals and by the British occupation before them – and bring it back to London to rewire it into a bespoke score.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

This is hard! Actually, the odd thing is that whenever I’ve been the most successful it didn’t feel like a time when I’d improved as an editor. So, never lose heart! You really improve only when you get something wrong.

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