James Bond, aliens, Jason Bourne, George Smiley . . . all in a day’s work for Kirky movie maestro

Craig McArthur
Craig McArthur

THE name’s McArthur – Craig McArthur – and he’s one of the unsung heroes behind the camera helping to get the crowds flocking to see the latest James Bond epic.

Talented editor Craig has gone from Kirkintilloch to being on Her Majesty’s Secret Service – whetting the appetite of film fans with carefully-crafted trailers.

Skyfall

Skyfall

One of his short films – ‘50 years of Bond’ – was recently chosen by Sony to be screened before the world premiere of new James Bond film ‘Skyfall’ at the Royal Albert Hall, with the likes of Prince Charles, Daniel Craig and the cream of Hollywood in attendance.

The three-and-a-half-minute montage had the audience shaken AND stirred with 007 producer Barbara Broccoli thanking him for handling the Bond legacy with the pride it deserved and the head of Sony Europe confessing it made him cry with happiness.

But Britain’s leading spy isn’t the only megastar Craig has worked with – he has crafted trailers for ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’, ‘Prometheus’, ‘Cars 2’ and ‘The Bourne Legacy’.

The former Harestanes Primary and St Ninian’s High pupil is truly blazing a trail(er) . . . and he’s loving it.

Craig (25) told the Herald: “My official job title is editor and involves, rather luckily, watching the films we’re selected to work on and cut the trailers or TV ad campaigns.

“I’m getting more used to seeing my work on screen, but at the beginning it was bewildering to see my work on TV.”

Youtube and websites devoted to movie trailers have helped to make the short films famous in their own right, with many racking up millions of views within days.

Indeed in many cases the trailers can be better than the films themselves!

It’s the job of Craig, who works at Empire Design, and colleagues to distil a movie down to its most potent, exciting essence – cherry-picking the best lines and scenes.

They have to be careful about not spoiling the twists or the story, but they are free to express themselves.

“A great example was Prometheus,” said Craig, referring to the sci-fi epic by director Ridley Scott.

“We used some footage of pyramids and ancient wonders of the earth when we were throwing rough ideas down and Fox loved the feel and the idea so much they made the assistant director fly to Egypt and film material especially for the trailer.”

Although Craig and his colleagues deal with directors more than actors, James Bond star Daniel Craig had a huge say on ‘Skyfall’ and was quite particular on how he was portrayed.

By their nature, trailers have to showcase the elements which best show the type of film it is – for example, horror, action and comedy.

It’s not uncommon to feel disappointed by a ‘comedy’ which only had two or three belly laughs – all of which were in the trailer.

However, the fact the trailer got you to the cinema in the first place is a feather in the cap of Craig and colleagues . . . even though it means a few less quid in your pocket.

Craig says when trailers are done well “they give the audience maximum excitement, the right amount of exposition and do away with 90 minutes of filler – you get the meat and bones without having to search”.

His favourite trailer produced by Empire Design was for cult movie – in every sense – ‘Martha Marcy Mae Marlene’ (“subtle yet haunting”), while his favourite of all time is the first teaser for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

He said: “The sound design in the trailer is truly a thing of beauty. They also manage to weave four or five narrative strands seamlessly alongside each other, whilst also building tension.”

Craig has been crafting movie trailers – also known as short-form editing – for two years and working on ventures for eight years.

He revealed: “The favourite film for me that I’ve personally worked on is probably ‘Prometheus’.

“Even though I have some reservations about the final film, there was something quite humbling about being able to watch through the raw rushes from the shoot and see Ridley Scott on camera directing some of the world’s top talent.”

Craig studied cinema at UWS campus in Ayr and then completed a masters degree in editing at Bournemouth University.

He said his chosen career “rose out of a love for the cinema and a desire to not get sucked into a monotonous clerical job”.

Hopes for the future include continuing to make his mark and perhaps move into feature editing.

Unlike James Bond, Craig hasn’t signed the Official Secrets Act, but he is bound by a 007-like code of silence when it comes to new trailers he’s working on.

However, he can reveal that he is working on two large-scale productions in different genres.

His advice for anyone looking to break into the industry is to get an education and experience – and keep watching films and trailers.

Unfortunately it isn’t a job that’s going to get your name up in lights, but there are perks – such as getting to see ‘Skyfall’ a week before Prince Charles!

Craig’s family are all delighted with his success – from grandparents Jim and Betty Church to his youngest cousins. Mum Angela and step-dad John live in Lenzie, while dad Lenny is in Milton of Campsie. Craig has an older brother, Bryan, in the Armed Forces, and a younger sister, Joanne, who is studying dance.

Angela said: “Craig has always been a clever boy – a straight A student.

“As Craig progressed with his studies I could see that he absolutely loved working with films and his knowledge is amazing. When he was given the post at Empire I thought it could be his break.

“We are proud parents of three wonderful children.”

There’s only one burning question which Craig has to answer – who is the all-time best James Bond?

“My favourite Bond is, rather controversially, Pierce Brosnan,” confesses Craig.

“I know Sean Connery is a fellow Scot, but my first real memory of Bond was being blown away by ‘GoldenEye’ so Brosnan always wins for me.”

If you want to see Craig’s Bond montage trailer visit http://clients.empiredesign.com/guest.php?id=63487195531j3c6v7y8f2w3p6.

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