In celebration of The Girlfriend Experience Season 3, we interviewed the season associate producer and editor of the season, Nick Carew. Carew is an award-winning director, producer, editor and showrunner with more than two decades in the industry.
The new season of The Girlfriend Experience stars Julia Goldani Telles as a high-end escort who offers clients the ultimate “girlfriend experience” while leading a double life as a neuroscience major at a tech start-up in London.
Some of Carew’s previous credits include serving as the showrunner, executive producer and director on three seasons of Hulu/Viceland series Weediquette and as the director on Netflix’s Business of Drugs.
We chatted with him about what it was like editing and working on The Girlfriend Experience Season 3 during COVID, which included filming primarily in one location and editing on the go!
Chatting with Nick Carew about The Girlfriend Experience Season 3
Show Snob: To start, can you talk to us a little about what the third season is about and the central themes for this season?
Nick Carew: This season is continuing the franchise, honoring what came before it, but we had the opportunity to take it somewhere totally new this season. We’re following a character named Iris, who’s an American neuroscience researcher and she’s starting a new life working in the London tech scene and in the other world, she’s providing the “girlfriend experience,” so it’s really about the tension between these two worlds as they collide. We progress from a drama to more of a grounded sci-fi as this goes on.
Show Snob: How does The Girlfriend Experience Season 3 differ from the first two seasons?
Nick Carew: The international angle in this one. It has a global vantage point and I think as it progresses from a drama to a sci-fi it moves between these different genres and I find that different and enjoyable.
Show Snob: Did you guys actually shoot on location?
Nick Carew: Yes, this was all shot entirely on location in London. Because of COVID some locations changed and moved. We were able to use one location a lot more than we would have otherwise so we were able to remain inside one location for a longer amount of time which was useful for not moving every day between locations.
Show Snob: I know you had to do a lot of editing on the go, how is that different from work you’ve done in the past?
Nick Carew: It’s different than work I’ve done on other series in that I was actually editing on location in a car park at 3 a.m. or outside the queen’s house which was particularly enjoyable and quite different. It was great to work so quickly with a director and thought as it was happening. When it was needed I could cut minutes after a scene was shot to check coverage and see how a scene was flowing.
Show Snob: Can you talk a little about editing and creating the opening scene? I feel like it really sets the tone for the season with the sterileness of the white room where Iris interviews for The V.
Nick Carew: So, we begin, as you say, in this sterile white room, and she’s having an interaction with another woman who we don’t know quite who she is and we wanted to, as you say, set the tone with this room and create this otherworldly environment. When we began editing that scene it felt too real world and we wanted to be able to move between the subjective and the objective and look at it from Iris’s point of view and the viewer’s point of view.
We came up with an editing style for that where we move in and out of sync between these side angles and close-ups and it’s not until the two characters become in-sync with each other that we actually synchronize the audio sync of that room and ultimately we learn that we’re in a VR space and this really set the tone for Iris entering these different worlds and you’re never quite sure where you are.
Show Snob: I like what you said moving between different worlds because there are some other moments like that, such as a dream sequence in the first episode.
Nick Carew: Exactly, it was a lot of trying to build to moments in later episodes where that had to make sense with kind of where we were in Iris’s head so then being able to work backward so working with some dream sequences and memory sequences to make sure follow her internal trajectory it’s not just about what is spoken but what she is feeling in the world.
Show Snob: It looks like you guys made distinct stylistic differences between the scenes where Iris is working as an escort versus when she’s at the tech start-up, can you walk us through that a little?
Nick Carew: They were really different worlds that she’s ultimately trying to keep separate. We approached them quite differently but as they begin to collide these worlds merge more. I think using the environment of London to help explain her headspace was quite key in this series.
Show Snob: What do you think fans will be most surprised about going into The Girlfriend Experience Season 3?
Nick Carew: I think it’s where it ends up, honestly, in first reading the scripts it becomes such a page-turner it’s quite a mind-blowing experience. The journey by the time you get to the end of this thing is you’ve really landed somewhere completely different than from where you started. I think the scope of the season is something people will really enjoy.
New episodes of The Girlfriend Experience Season 3 premiere Sunday nights on Starz.