Kirk Baxter, Final Cut/New York

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The latest campaign fromTBWA/Chiat/Day/SF for Fox Sports Net introduces us to Bert and Ernie-not the puppets-but sports-loving twins congenitally joined at the finger, hilariously documented in Gummo style by Czar's Lionel Goldstein, the directing duo behind the similarly "found" wackiness in Microsoft Xbox's "Ear Tennis." This campaign was the pair's foray into U.S. advertising, and cutting the doc-style spots was editor Kirk Baxter's pilgrim voyage into Lionel Goldstein's sensibilities. Baxter, who started editing in Australia and then moved to Final Cut's London office before founding its NY outpost, is no stranger to comedy and also cut accompanying Fox Sports Net spots directed by Baker Smith, which "were very much like jokes, whereas the 'Twins' spots were all about discovery," he explains. Given Lionel Goldstein's documentary approach, "you had to work through the footage and find what there is, and he with the most patience wins. The style of editing wasn't creating the story in close-ups or pausing for funny moments. It was about getting out of the way because the scenarios are funny played out in wides." Also, "the spots look rough, as if they haven't been polished," Baxter continues, but keeping it "real" actually involved plenty of re-jiggering as voiceover and music were folded in. "The goal was trying to maintain the quality as if it's found in the ground, even when everybody wants to improve it here or there." As much as the process was one of filmic discovery, Baxter notes this particular job was largely about learning his way around the directors and gaining their seal of approval. "They first referred to me, in their crazy accent, as 'the American spy, he's only going to do what the client wants to do!'" he laughs. "We were in the basement of the agency for two weeks and it was like being caught in a bunker-no windows, the doors are closed, you just go, go, go, until you impress the guys, they relax and say, 'Oh, Kirk is okay.' We started out with distrust, but ended up with something like gay love. That to me was the most fascinating element of the job."
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