Annette Davey, who most recently worked on the hit Netflix series Maid, is a seasoned editor who has notable credits including Transparent, Better Things, and Glow. Annette is also the editor on Lionsgate’s recent film, Lady of the Manor, starring Melanie Lynskey, Judy Greer, Justin Long, and Ryan Phillippe in a supernatural buddy comedy that follows a tour guide for a historic estate.
In our latest interview, Annette discusses technical challenges, favorite scenes and plugins and tools she used to made the series come to life.
PH: Which scene was your favorite to work on in Maid?
Annette Davey: It’s very hard to isolate one favorite scene, so I’ll pick two. The first scene appeared in 104, when Alex has the texting conversation with the Tinder guy before he comes to the house, an exchange playing with fantasy and reality. It was challenging and exciting to find the right amount of texting versus the fantasy of the guy responding as if he were actually there. I had a great time trying different ideas and making this fantasy feel grounded yet exciting for Alex. My second favorite scene to work on was the opening scene in 109 where Alex is depressed and lost in her depression on the sofa as Regina comes to the door.
PH: Describe this scene and the significance it has to the rest of the Maid.
Annette Davey: This also was an exciting—albeit unhappy scene—that portrayed Alex’s deep depression here, showing how Sean was behaving through all of this.
Both of these scenes are significant, as they are both mixtures of reality/fantasy and echo how Alex is feeling at the time, and how she is dealing with the challenges of her life.
PH: What tools, plugins, or instruments did you use in your production of this scene?
Annette Davey: The first fantasy/Tinder scene used a lot of text on the screen and used words not spoken by the character necessarily. I also had to flip a few shots to keep everything feeling consistent stylistically with the whole scene. Finding the right mix of text, dialogue, images and blending this all together into one seamless scene was a great experience.
PH: What technical challenges did you encounter while working on this scene?
Annette Davey: Technical challenges were not too complicated, but finding the tone for the scene was the most complex aspect. We experimented a lot with music and different SFX to signal that there was some kind of fantasy element in the scene, but I didn’t want the SFX to be obvious or driving the scene too much. I also didn’t want the audience to be able to necessarily identify the fantasy element too quickly. Something subtle in terms of the sound work was needed, I took the same kind of approach with the music. These elements needed to help the scene feel not quite real and a little edgy and dangerous, especially as the scene progresses to the point where Alex invites the Tinder guy over. Pacing was important in the scene, as this helped with the inherent tension within the scene that I wanted the audience to feel. It was also a scene where the graphic elements, such as the text titles needed to be consistent with the style of the show while being used in a way that was intriguing and compelling, helping the scene move forward and adding to the tension. These elements were important in developing the scene in the direction it needed to go in.
PH: What was the dialogue like between you and the Maid director or showrunner regarding this scene?
Annette Davey: Nzingha Stewart, who directed episode 104, did a fantastic job on this scene and gave lots of different angles and set ups to work with, which was fantastic. We spoke about the scene and she had lots of great insight into the approach of the scene— given it could go in so many directions— which was an exciting opportunity as an editor. The showrunners were very open to all the different permutations of the scene and had a clear vision of how the scene should play out. The scene turned out really well and it was a great example of all the collaborators’ hard work. It’s definitely one of my top favorite scenes in Maid.
About Annette Davey
Annette Davey is an editor originally from Australia now based in LA & NY, she has worked in both TV & film. Annette is currently in post production on several TV projects including MAID for Netflix & Warner Bros, starring Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson & Andie Macdowell. Next up is Pam & Tommy for Hulu starring Lily james, sebastian stan & Seth Rogan.
The film Together Together is currently in cinemas and on Amazon featuring Ed Helms & Patti Harrison. Lionsgate is releasing the film “Lady of the Manor” directed by and starring Justin Long, with Melanie Lynskey, Judy Greer, Ryan Philippe and Luiz Guzman. She has worked on a wide selection of TV, including Transparent, Better Things, Glow, and recently was a consulting editor for the UK/Australian co production,The End a 10 part limited series screening in the UK, Australia & the US (Showtime originals) with Frances O’connor & Harriet Walter produced by SeeSaw films, Foxtel & Sky Atlantic.