What happens when you give an "enthusiastic" gambler £12,000 to play with? Jonathan Rendall could tell you, as he's done it twice.
Rendall's story began in August 1997 when he was given £12,000 by a publishing company and told to gamble with it whichever way he chose. Any profits he made were entirely his, but even if he lost everything the publishers wanted a book based on his experiences. This year, Channel 4 decided to repeat the challenge, and commissioned Diverse Productions to tell the resulting story, which would cover gambling methods from dog racing to poker, and ranged over many different countries.
Director Paul Wilmshurst was hired and proceeded to assemble a team of long-time collaborators - including cameraman Chris Titus King and renowned Resolution editor Frank Burgess. Paul, whose "White Tribe" series for Diverse Productions has been highly acclaimed, allowed Frank extensive creative input into the style of the programmes. Frank chose many of the music tracks used, and the commissioned original music composed by Daniel Pemberton was based on the "feel" of the music that Frank had selected.
Frank commented, "One of the great things about this kind of programme is that, in order to bring out the best in your subject, you really start to get under his skin - I spent so much time in the edit suite with the "virtual Jonathan" that I learned an enormous amount about his character and really started to bond with him." Frank admitted that he became so immersed in the project that he caught himself unconsciously imitating Jonathan's walk and speech patterns!
The process of putting the three programmes together was made easier by the use of Avid Unity at Resolution City. "Using the Unity meant that the two editors could work on different programmes but were able to dip into the same media simultaneously," said Frank. "It saved a tremendous amount of time and greatly facilitated the task of editing two programmes at once."
Paul added, "We had lots of material and at the beginning we weren't sure which material would fit best in which programme. It was vital to be able to access all of the rushes, and Unity enabled us to do that."
Another aid to the smooth-running of the post-production was the Resolution City office itself. "It was a great place to put the programmes together in terms of its environment and equipment, but more importantly the dedication and enthusiasm from the staff there was wonderful," said Paul.
TX for the first episode of "The Gambler" was Wednesday 6th December at 10.30pm on Channel 4.
For more information, please contact Wendy Mattock on 020 7437 1336 or by e-mail at WendyM@resolution.tv