A Look Behind the Curtain with CharlieBack to Blog
Bright, dedicated, clever, talented, warm and fun—Charlie Harvey is an editor who we are very proud to call our own. Her reel is rife with energy and emotion, rhythm and dynamism—and she’s recently woven together a spot that we’re really quite proud to share.
Feeling so stirred by the piece—and knowing we’re not alone—we snagged a moment to chat with Charlie about the movement, structure and rhythm of the film and dig a bit further into some of what went on behind the scenes.
I’m kind of amazed by how much story and emotion you wove together in 129 seconds—what’s it like to basically craft a movie (and such a compelling one) in a 2 minute window? —The opening reveal, the playful build to the struggle toward that decisive exchange with his dad—“What are you going to do today Nico?’ ‘Play,” that launches his story into one of dedication and Life—Did you consciously decide to break it up into acts, or do you feel like you kind of uncovered that in the process of going through the footage?
As far as narrative goes, I was lucky enough to have all the elements you need for a good story – lows, highs, hope and success.
When I first started searching through the home movies, it was clear straight off that Nico was never pitied by his family. He was treated no differently from his brother and sister, always rolling around and wrestling with them. It didn’t take long to stop feeling sorry for him and start thinking he was just a really amazing kid.
I know there was a lot of footage to work with on this piece—what was that like from your position?
The footage was vast. Nico’s dad had been filming him and his siblings their whole lives. AG (the director) and I watched through countless Christmases, birthdays and football matches, trying to find moments that were emotive and exceptional but also just ordinary—shots that reminded us he’s just like any other kid.
We were lucky that so many moments in the footage were observational. Nico’s dad spent hours documenting the lives of his kids. Not just in run-of-the-mill home movie scenarios, but moments where Nico looks frustrated, angry or even isolated.
You do energetic and dynamic and visceral so well—does it feel different to shape more sequential narratives like this one?
The film is broadly chronological so you’re basically watching Nico grow up. Most of the scenes are just one shot so they need to work together well enough to tell a story that’s more than him just getting taller. Since dialogue is limited, a lot of the storytelling is nestled in the relationship between rhythm and sound.
Having said that, that rhythm and the emotional arcs are obviously still so strong in this story—is that something you were conscious of or does that process feel more intuitive to you?
I think part of it is intuitive but you need the emotive and dramatic moments to build around. A low point, a point of hope and then a moment of triumph. Everything between guides you to those moments.
There were some excellent snippets of dialogue as well. That along with some great shots and a nice music track dictated a rhythm for the edit. Otherwise, it would just be endless shots of Christmases, birthdays and football matches.
What drove your editing decisions on this project?
In the film the viewer’s first reaction is sympathy for Nico. He’s a baby learning to stand with only one leg and it’s heartbreaking when you first realize his struggle, but that’s not what this story is about. Nico isn’t someone to pity, he’s an extraordinary human being with extraordinary skills. We knew that—all we had to do was show everyone else…in just two minutes.
For the project overall, what were some of the challenges and triumphs?
Like all jobs, you want to make sure you’ve used the absolute best shots available to you—the shots that best tell the story you’re trying to create. We had great footage to work with so I hope we did that.