Communicating the Greatness in All Stories with Editor Nadia Bokareva

Nadia Bokareva – photo courtesy of Anton Bogdanov

The same elements are found in most stories; drama, tension, comedy, and love. Less than once in a generation does a truly original concept or idea come along, likely even less often than this. So how is it that streaming services, online content, and traditional entertainment are more prolific than ever before in history? It’s because the art of telling the story continues to advance. The manner in which a tale is presented is the part of the process that most deeply attracts us. A gifted storyteller like Nadia Bokareva possesses a talent which lures an audience, regardless of the subject matter. An editor with experience in numerous production styles, it’s the eclectic opportunities which continue to come her way that excite Ms. Bokareva and feed her own need for creative outlets. From hit television shows to fast food commercials, crafting something that makes the audience stop and take notice is Nadia’s forte and the reason so many directors and producers prefer to work with her over all others. Editing at its most impactful level is an aspect that most of us don’t realize is effecting us but one which industry professionals recognize instantly.

The McDonald’s “Yours is always tastier” campaign tackled the misconception that its products were only from foreign suppliers. The idea was to connect with the Russian public and to do so in a way that was modern and exciting to watch; not necessarily an easy approach. The concept of “everyone can be a farmer” was illustrated with city dwellers, rural farmers, and even astronauts. From VR plant cultivation on a desktop computer to a Narnia style pantry to astronauts caretaking vegetables while french fries float in a spaceship, the visuals of this ad rival any Hollywood film. Displaying the modern capabilities of growing food alongside traditional ones, “Yours is always tastier” related that everyone can have a part in creating their own food. The production received both an Effie Award and a Big Fish Award for its dynamic and cinematic style. Ms. Bokareva notes that the commercial was shot using Unreal engine creation tool which was also used for shooting The Mandalorian series by Disney+. Scenes like the one in which the audience perspective “flies” over a fantastically long shelf in a food closet are imbued with a sense of warm excitement, instantly transporting the viewer back to a time of childhood wonderment. The astronaut scene is the most visually captivating moment of the advertisment. Nadia worked with the CG department essentially around the clock, integrating the space footage into the scene and adjusting it with various graphic elements to attain the ideal pace and aesthetic.

The opportunity for creativity is the aspect of her role as an editor that stimulates Nadia the most. There’s immense power in the editor position to shape a story and create a specific mood for the audience to absorb. When tasked with the editing for a spot on the Trivial Pursuit Hotel by Hasbro, Ms. Bokareva took the tactic of presenting the glossy media hype around this hotel and then steering viewers into an immersive sense of reality with actual footage of hotel visitors and their experiences there. The message clearly stated, “This is not a staged commercial. You can experience this for yourself.” Leveraging social media posts also added a familiar connection for viewers to trust that the Trivial Pursuit Hotel was a very real structure that they could visit. Graphic elements and infographics found throughout this production yet again reinforce that we are living in a world which blends the physical and the digital. This production received Silver and Bronze from the Cannes Lions Awards as well as Silver Drum from the Golden Drum Awards.

All rights belong to Leo Burnett Moscow

Proving that there’s no limitation for the type of story that can benefit from the use of her talents, Nadia took an editing role on the stand-up comedy meets reality TV relationship program We Need to Talk About it Seriously. Hosted by comedienne Yulia Akhmedova, the show mixes Yulia’s stand-up routine with a type of real-life intervention for couples having issues. These disparate emotional points are connected by both the show’s host and Nadia’s editing. Balancing the two in a way that is not abrupt is a surmountable challenge. Bokareva informs, “To keep the balance of humor and adequacy, as well as to make the transition from reality to stand-up show in the studio, we came up with some mini-rolls between scenes, similar to promos before any TV show. They broke the story in half and gave the viewer a chance to reboot and tune into the new format. These videos consisted of fast, intense montages similar to trailers. It was very cool and interesting to come up with new transitions and effects between cuts. I was given freedom to do whatever I wanted to do and edit how I wanted so I used this opportunity.” The color grading in various scenes also plays a big role in establishing the different moods of the show, bright and dynamic for stand-up segments and cool and calm for the relationship based moments. Nadia added her own elements of humor with the integration of things like text bubbles for thoughts and ideas coming from the couples. The personality Ms. Bokareva has crafted for this show is inseparable from the public’s sense of its emotional tone.

Nadia is ready for her next challenge which is a documentary about creative people in her industry: directors, actors, production designers, and of course, editors. The fact that this film is being shot on VHS presents her with a highly unusual work process in 2022 but that’s part of what makes it worth doing for Nadia. Ms. Bokareva is a creative professional doesn’t seek repetition of the same pattern but rather explores unfamiliar areas to discover fresh ideas, even if that means doing so through a dated technology like VHS tape.

Writer: Arlen Gan

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