On My Radar: Nick Armstrong
The Cut+Run editor sings the praises of 30-second spots, loves being entertained by the magic of the cinema and extols the virtues of Mad Men.
What’s the best ad campaign you’ve seen recently?
I’ve watched Stacy Wall’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Play Like You Own It advert over and over again since it came out. The edit is so well crafted and tight. I usually have a problem with editing awards always being given to the fastest, most kinetic cut (usually something sport- or butter-related), but this is just awesome.
What website(s) do you use most regularly and why?
I spend most of my internet time binging on new visuals, which gets me excited for what I’m going to do in the day ahead. Either that, or reading about what new music I should to listen to, or what films I should watch when I get a window… so a steady diet of Any Decent Music, Booooooom, Colossal, David Reviews, Fubiz, The Guardian, Kottke, The New York Times, Pitchfork, pigeons and planes, Promo News, shots, Vimeo and YouTube.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought and why?
I have a toddler running around at home so the record player and vinyl are temporarily stowed away. I always like to have music playing, but I’m not too keen on being listened to by the tech giants, so I bought a lovely digital radio where I can turn a dial from 6music to Saturday Night At The Movies.
What’s your favoured social media platform?
It's probably Instagram but I’m still really into Twitter. It’s great for breaking news and it’s easy to share articles and your latest work. Plus you can actually paste a url (not just in the bio).
What’s your favourite app on your phone?
Kodak Reel Film is great for finding out what movies have been shot and/or are being projected on film near you. It’s also really nicely designed and aesthetically pleasing; makes choosing a film that bit more enjoyable.
What’s your favourite TV show and why?
I think it’s Mad Men. The film craft is incredible and Matthew Weiner’s writing is so smart, bordering on profundity, laden with pitch-black humour. Let’s not get started on the ending, but the Carousel scene [below] is one of the best things I’ve seen on TV - or the episode that ends with “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Anything that has the chops to use The Beatles without appearing trite is art.
What film do you think everyone should have seen and why?
This is always a near-impossible question for me; I’d be useless on Desert Island Discs too. Let’s go with Ruben Östlund’s film Force Majeure. It is such a visceral black comedy, has plenty to say about modern masculinity and it is so stylish, dark and uncomfortably funny.
Where were you when inspiration last struck?
In the cinema. I love going on my own and sitting in the dark without distraction, solely to watch a film. Any edit niggles will be solved after leaving them at the door of the cinema for two hours.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
The fact we have screens in our pockets means we can review our work when we get on the Tube or at home; something I definitely don’t sit up at night doing over and over (and over) again...
If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
More celebration of the 30-second advert. It’s great to cut a beautifully shot 90-second or a two-minute film, but it’s the humble 30 that runs on television the most. It’s the advert that your mum sees and should be the one that get the highest accolades, as it’s the hardest to make well.
What or who has most influenced your career and why?
So many people whom I’ve worked with. Some of my favourite work I’ve done was with or under the creative direction of Phil Lind. I took a lot of invaluable knowledge from my friends I’ve worked with along the way too. I’ve spent hours with Rich Martin at Envy Advertsing picking up sound design tricks and talking about how music worked and all of my visual effects skills I use in the edit were stolen from Marcus Dryden at MPC Advertising.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.
Despite my deceptive accent, I’m actually from Newcastle.