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The Work That Made Me: Claire McGonigal

The Work That Made Me 168 Add to collection

Final Cut editor on collaborating on an ABBA experience and the warped and rhythmical work of Chris Cunningham

The Work That Made Me: Claire McGonigal

An award-winning editor represented by Final Cut, Claire McGonigal edits across the board; commercials, music videos and longform. This year, Claire has worked with director Tim Godsall on Booking.com's Super Bowl LVI campaign, starring Idris Elba, and director Jake Scott on an Amazon campaign starring kids being cute. She recently edited a number of concert visuals for ABBA’s groundbreaking Voyage concert, working alongside editor Struan Clay.

Claire’s narrative film work has been recognised by international awards bodies and film festivals. Her short film 'Filling' earned her a Best Editing award at the Kino Film Festival. Recently, her work on “I Wish For You,” starring Jeremy Irons and Maxine Peake, was awarded with a Gold for Best Editing at the Cannes Short Film Festival and Vegas Short Film Festival.


The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

Windowlicker by Chris Cunningham. It came out in 1999 when I was at the end of my teenage years. The full version is 10 minutes long, warped and rhythmical. Right up my street. Might not share it with my son yet though.

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

Before joining Final Cut in 2003 I was really into the films of Lynne Ramsey, especially Morvern Callar. Samantha Morton was my acting hero. As an assistant editor I found myself doing changes on a music video by Lynne Ramsey and she came into the edit!

Little did I know, 10 years later I would be editing a short film directed by Samantha Morton's daughter, Esme Creed-Miles. I thought, I've come to the right place.


The creative work (film/album/game/ad/album/book/poem etc) that I keep revisiting…

I have watched The West Wing many, many times. I even named my child after Leo McGarry. For me, most work written by Aaron Sorkin deserves a revisit to appreciate the fast paced dialogue and the long 'walk and talk' scenes.


My first professional project…

Well not to brag, but the first piece that I actually got real money for editing was a black and white Right Said Fred acoustic piece. Think I got 8 pounds.


The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

Music videos that use really tricksy FX that don't work, commercials that try too hard to be stripped back and 'real' they make you want to puke, and feature films that could be an hour shorter.


The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that still makes me jealous…

Can I say something more recent? I just finished watching Euphoria. It is experimental without being at all cheesy. The editing in the last episode is mind blowing, weaving a staged performance about the characters’ lives with real life scenes.


The creative project that changed my career…

The first ad I cut with proper FX was a Sky Bet commercial when I was still an assistant editor. It was a massive learning curve and Jim Weedon the director gave me a stepping stone into commercials that I am eternally grateful for. Each scene has such a different style and it gave me confidence with green screen and animation.


The work that I’m proudest of…

I’m really proud of The Klaxons music video I cut with Tom Beard, which is all frame cut and totally mad. I also did the most bizarre piece for the Tate with James Lees – it was a split-screen extravaganza.

Sometimes these low budget pieces allow us a little more freedom - we think they’ll take a few days of editing, and then they grow into something unique and totally surreal. When you’ve been more actively involved in the entire style of a piece, it’s hard not to feel proud of the work.


I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Where do I start! Although I do not want to offend. Let's just say Final Cut runs a Hall Of Shame night where we screen our most embarrassing work and I am twice victorious. I even have an award.


The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

Fellow editor Struan Clay and I were involved in the ABBA experience that has just started in Stratford. It was a totally new way of editing. We cut the back projections that match the 'Abbatars'. I also had to use old Waterloo footage mixed over three screens to create a fast paced trip down memory lane.

Seeing 3000 people at the premiere watching it on the biggest screens I've ever seen made me nearly pee myself.

Check out Claire’s showreel here.

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Final Cut London, Thu, 14 Jul 2022 09:52:36 GMT