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Quarantine Q&A: Chris Roebuck, TenThree
One of the top music video editors in London, Chris Roebuck was preparing for an exciting move into editing drama - and then the lockdown hit. But he has found plenty of consolation working from home.
With a young family - here's Chris with his daughters, five year old Orla (right) and five month old Edie - it's given him more time to be Dad, and wonder if this may well be a better way of working.
And it's also resulted in him directing his first music video in years...
What were you working on before the lockdown?
The last music video I worked on was React for The Pussycat Dolls with Bradley&Pablo. In a way, this was a great thing to have done in February because with B&P being in LA and myself in London, it was great practice for the social distancing lockdown. Lots of screen-sharing and phone calls. However, I did have the added bonus of spending the entire night (editing) with Nicole Scherzinger in the edit suite. She is lovely! That was one hell of a long day.
Just before lockdown, I had been editing a beautiful film for Co-op’s Easter campaign directed by the all-round legend Joe Connor at Rogue for agency Lucky Generals. Unfortunately and quite understandably, Co-op deemed Easter eggs to be a non-essential item during the pandemic so donated the commercial’s air time to the cause. They have it in the back pocket for next year though.
Coronavirus destruction didn’t end there as after Co-op, I was about to begin cutting Series 6 of Peaky Blinders, alongside the brilliant drama editor Paul Knight, with director Anthony Byrne at the helm. Lockdown and safety of the cast and crew put a stop to that. But we will be able to get going on this again soon we hope! I’m very excited.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am working remotely on a series of TV commercials for ASDA’s Creating Change For Better campaign with AMV BBDO. iPhone footage galore.
What's the most surprising, or least predictable thing, that's happened to you during quarantine?
There are two things that have surprised me the most about being in quarantine: Just how successful working from home can be; and feeling closer to family, friends and colleagues than before lockdown.
I had often taken projects home to make changes or continue working after a day at the office, but I hadn’t really considered the prospect of doing whole jobs at home. It feels like 2020 has been the year of Zoom but it really has revolutionised editing with directors who can’t attend edits for whatever reason. Obviously this has been discovered out of necessity in the current situation, but it has worked so well that I am wondering if things will ever go back to the way they were. I’ve really enjoyed it because I get to work on cool projects with great friends without leaving the comfort of my own home. Result!
Zoom really has revolutionised editing. I am wondering if things will ever go back to the way they were.
Zoom has also brought me closer with my family and friends. We’ve had numerous quiz nights and catch ups which has been great as the rest of my family live in Nottingham, so I didn’t get to see them that often with working long hours in the suite. Now my suite is at home - it’s much easier to find the time.
It’s also been easier to chat with the rest of the guys at tenthree. Everyone is so busy at the office usually, that some days you can go into the edit suite and not see anyone else all day. However, as it’s not physically possible to see everyone at the moment, we’ve made a point to do a weekly company catch up on Zoom on Friday’s. It’s bring your own booze of course but resident mixologist Blaine Pearson is on hand with some cracking cocktail recommends!
What's the favourite part of your daily routine?
When I have a job on, my favourite part of the daily routine is spending time with the kids at meal times and when waiting for client feedback. It’s so nice to be at home and be able to see them more - they are so much fun!
When I don’t have a job on, I go into full Dad-mode which I have loved being able to do!
Are things getting harder/better/staying the same?
It’s hard to say at the moment as I’ve been fortunate enough to keep busy on projects. It took a couple of days getting used to working in lockdown, and having a five year old daughter and five month old baby girl around but I think we’ve sort of found our ‘new norm’.
Juggling work, home-schooling and trying to keep everyone’s spirits high is hard work! My wife Sarah is the secret weapon though, she is a reception teacher on maternity leave, so we have a little advantage when it comes to home-schooling. She’s amazing!
What have you learned about yourself during quarantine?
On Day 12 of lockdown, Orla, my daughter came up to me and asked “Dad, can we make a music video...?”. It was so cool that she had taken an interest in what I do as a career so of course I said yes.
Her favourite band is Little Mix and she really wanted to make a video to one of their songs. I was 17 the last time I directed anything, so I also found it pretty exciting to do something I didn’t do everyday. We had a blast making it and I really enjoyed co-directing it with her so you never know, maybe I’ll have a go at directing something else in the future.
You can watch the video we made here...
Best meal you have eaten/are regularly cooking (send photo, if poss!)
We’ve been getting creative in our house and making some killer scone dough pizza’s - so tasty! It’s great because the little ones can join in with adding their own toppings etc. They are a real treat!
Best thing you’ve watched, or heard, while on lockdown, and why?
BBC’s Line Of Duty is something that I’ve always wanted to watch. I’ve missed every series so far, so Sarah and I binged watched all five seasons in the evenings in a matter of weeks. So good! Unfortunately Series 6 of the show had the same fate as Peaky Blinders at the start of the pandemic, so it’s on hold for now but I can’t wait to see what the next series holds when they are allowed to shoot it!
How's your Work/Life balance at the moment?
Pretty great at the moment! Being at home and being able to instantly rejoin my family in down time is the best feeling ever! It’s so easy to throw yourself into a project and get in the zone that hours can pass by and you can become so disconnected with life going on around you. Being at home has changed all that and made it easier to regain a healthy work-life balance.
Whatever happens with the future of ‘new working normals’, I need to remember this experience and not drop into old bad habits!
• Chris Roebuck is an editor at Tenthree, London. See more of Chris's work here.
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