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Editor Malcolm Clarke talks storytelling and ‘Love Island’

Film editing, for Malcolm Clarke, is like working on a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle with infinite outcomes. It is like being a chef, where the camera crew comes to him with ingredients and he has to make the dish. No matter the metaphor, Clarke knows just what it requires to take endless hours of footage and turn it into a mesmerizing story.

“This will sound really corny, but I think editing chose me. I couldn’t help myself. Once I had discovered the role, I couldn’t leave it. I remember editing films in my early twenties and not leaving the edit suite for hours. I was glued to the desk, obsessed with working out how to create something, to tell the best story, to use all the effects and manipulate the footage,” said Clarke.

Clarke came from the small town of Morrinsville and has now risen to the top of the United Kingdom’s television industry. New Zealand has an approximate population of 4.8 million, and now that is about the number of people watching his shows, triple that with I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. He has become an industry leading editor in both his home country and the United Kingdom, having worked on shows like Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK, and The Bachelor and So You Think You Can Dance in Australia. He has no plans on slowing down.

When asked about the highlight of his esteemed career, Clarke recalls when his editing team won the Royal Television Society Award for their work on Love Island. It was a tremendous honor, because Clarke worked hard to create a good percentage of the show. There are always lots of people working on the shows that he is on, but on Love Island he was a core team member with a large percentage of the broadcast material being his own work.

Love Island is a British dating reality show. The show follows a group of contestants, referred to as Islanders, living in isolation from the outside world in a villa in Mallorca, constantly under video surveillance. To survive in the villa the Islanders must be coupled up with another Islander, whether it be for love, friendship or money, as the overall winning couple receives £50,000.

“I love ‘love’. At heart I’m a soppy, hopeless romantic and I get excited when I see people falling in love. While Love Island is very well known for all its drama, the whole point of the show is about people finding love. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of that. I get bewitched enjoying all those initial flirting moments. It’s fascinating turning the sound down and watching two people who are attracted to each other and how their behavior reveals and says everything. As humans our behavior says so much more than our words do. Wherever possible I always try to make the most out of that footage. I love editing moments where the islanders reveal their feelings in a heartfelt way just as much as the arguments and drama that inevitably unfolds,” said Clarke.

It is a revival of the earlier series of the same name, which aired for two seasons in 2005 and 2006 on ITV. The revival launched in June of 2015 and gained massive popularity. Unlike the original series, the contestants are members of the public rather than celebrities. Seasons one and two of the revival are also now available on Netflix.

“I really do feel very proud that Love Island has done so well. I’ve been part of the reboot team from the beginning and I care a lot about the success of the show. It’s always very rewarding when people recognize your hard work and enjoy the shows that you have helped create. I was in New Zealand after series three and many of my friends had seen the show there. They were really eager to know more about the show and this kind of interaction is really heartwarming,” he said.

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