Editing Process & Experience 

Written by Emma McGavisk 

When I was approached to edit 'The Angels: Kickin' Down The Door' by director Madeleine Parry and producer Peter Hanlon, I was both excited and terrified. This was an opportunity for a team of mainly young female filmmakers to bring a fresh perspective to a very masculine story. "That's a lot of pressure," I told myself, but it was also a chance for me to step up in a very competitive industry, so that's what I did.

Although The Angels are Australian icons, they did not reach the same global success as bands such as INXS or AC/DC, so what we didn't have in terms of beautifully preserved archival footage became a creative opportunity for us to create our own rules. With Maddie at the helm, anything and everything was on the table, and from that starting point it became a genuinely creative and exciting challenge to craft an aesthetic within our own parameters and vision to match the narrative.

The first half of the film outlines the rise of the band; they're young, naive and rebellious, so we had to ensure that whatever we created would visually reflect this. The result was a cacophony of animation, AI, differing aspect ratios, split screens and 'Angela Anaconda'-inspired photo puppets (created by DOP Liam Somerville). I also used my background as a dancer and choreographer to intuitively form a sense of pace and motion in the edit, and since this was a music documentary, I felt it came second nature to me, which was exciting. As the band matured, so did our aesthetic. We made a conscious decision to leave behind the quirky animation and unconventional framing and lean into the tonal shift that this would ultimately create; making room for emotion and drama.

ASE members Lauren Wells-Jones & Renee Diprose were very important to the whole process. Lauren came on board early as both the Assembly and Assistant Editor - a mammoth task for a project that had hours upon hours of old performance footage and VHS tapes provided by band member and lead guitarist, Rick Brewster. Renee joined the team a little later in the project and picked up where Lauren left off, helping me throughout the turnover period. It was very exciting to head up a fully female offline editing team and I couldn't have done it without them.

I was also supported by fellow ASE member, David Scarborough  ('The Last Daughter' (2022), 'Embrace Kids' (2022)) who mentored me throughout the process. He was a great source of knowledge and also provided very important emotional support (particularly during the early stages of the edit!)

It was a tough 7 – 8 months but I would say that my first feature film experience was a success. I certainly learnt a lot and very much look forward to the next project.

eNews 113 - December 2023