Malcolm Clarke Perceives the Majesty and Importance of Every Story

Malcolm Clarke

Every story is about challenges and the attempt to rise above them. Whether a slapstick comedy, film noir, or reality TV, the element which is so connective is the desire to see someone claim the best version of themselves. What so few of us comprehend in a conscious way is that it’s the skill and creativity of the storyteller themselves rather than the actual story that bonds us to it. Malcolm Clarke is particularly aware of this and gifted in it as an editor of many productions. From the most popular and beloved television shows to moving feature films, Malcolm has continually exhibited that he is highly perceptive of the emotional center of a story and equally as skilled in crafting it. Equally impressive is Mr. Clarke’s ability to manifest pure moments of comedy, tension, anguish, and catharsis; it’s this skill which has made him so desired by the elite of producers and directors throughout the world. Vacillating between different emotional tones is what keeps this editor gratified and interested, all to the betterment of the entertaining productions that delight millions and millions.

Anyone who knows television will instantly recognize the shows which have utilized Malcolm’s editing skills. The Voice (Twice BAFTA Nominated), Britain’s Got Talent (Triple BAFTA Award Winner), I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here (BAFTA Winner and National TV Awards Nominated), and others vet Mr. Clarke as an editor who is sought out to contribute to the largest network’s most important programs. Editing shows like these requires more than skill, they require instincts and instantaneous judgment calls about what choice to make in order to make a story resonate with the public at large. The dichotomy of a show such as The Voice and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here might imply the need for a completely different mindset or even a different editor. Malcolm rebukes, “These shows both provide a fantastic platform for people to learn and grow. Whether that’s the battle performance between Rihanna Abrey and Donel Mangena (edited by Malcolm and is still one of the most watched clips on YouTube for The Voice UK) or the Celebrity Cyclone Challenge between Jacqueline Jossa, Roman Kemp, Andy Whyment, and Kate Garraway (also edited by Malcolm for series 19 of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here). We all love to see previously unknown talent go for their dream and similarly, the humanizing of the celebrities we all know.”

 The tone which Malcolm attained for Loimata illustrates just how essential an editor can be to a film. Being sensitive and respectful to the real subjects of this documentary while balancing the dark material with a hopeful light was the approach Mr. Clarke strived for on this production. The film follows a working-class Samoan family in contemporary Auckland as one of the daughters (Ema), stricken with terminal cancer, deals with the molestation and rape that caused her to turn to a life of drugs and self-abuse. In this family’s experience, the audience is given a vantage to understand the personal and communal price that is paid for such a painful injury. Malcolm immersed himself with the footage, seeking to connect with the pain of Ema and her family. Immensely difficult, this tactic allowed Malcolm to use his skill to place the audience within the emotional temperament of Ema. He explains, “I was experimenting with some music and some footage of Ema, the main subject, while she was packing to take her family to Samoa. I used some subtle string music, and a lot of diegetic sound and a very subtle manipulation of Ema’s breath, just a little bit of reverb added to the out breaths as she was packing. This technique made us feel very close to the material, there’s a contemplative aspect to the scene that allows the viewer to consider what is happening and also feel so very involved in the process. Malcolm adds, “Working with Loimata’s Director Anna Marbrook, we discussed a lot about what we wanted to achieve, and it was really important for both of us to lead with the light, the subject matter was very dark and so we had to maintain a sense of hope with the story. We also wanted to simply show how working together as a family is important for overcoming trauma, past and present.”

Everyone has a story to tell about their life: the joy, the pain, the struggles. When we know that individual personally, it becomes important to us. What makes Malcolm Clarke so extraordinary is that he is both massively skillful and seemingly predispositioned to recognizing the emotional touchstones which enable the public-at-large to feel connected to the experiences of strangers. It’s an incredible talent which must be witnessed to fully appreciate.

Writer: Arlen Gann

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