The Alliance of Documentary Editors (ADE) is a working group of documentary film and television editors and assistant editors nationwide that campaigns for best practices within the industry while improving members’ career sustainability. The ADE promotes a better understanding and acknowledgement of the documentary editor’s unique position as storyteller, writer, and artist, as well as technician. We advocate for better working conditions and codified ethical standards, and champion diversity, inclusivity, and mentorship in documentary post-production.


In August of 2018, a documentary editor sent an email to a few dozen of their peers.  They were forwarding a job posting for an upcoming documentary series on a premium cable network.  The production was seeking an “Editor with an elevated sensibility and documentary experience, great work ethic, and a magic touch for ARCHIVAL storytelling”.  Among the listed job requirements:  "12-hour days. [NON NEGOTIABLE]”…

One of the other editors reply-all'ed with the message:

“12-hour days?!?”

“My thoughts exactly!!!” The next editor chimed in.

Forty-three reply-alls later, the Alliance of Documentary Editors was born.  Editors from that email chain decided to meet up in-person and talk about how they could start taking steps to address persistent issues in the profession (issues like: frequent burnout, shrinking post schedules, the decline of mentorship opportunities for AE’s, wage exploitation, and other shared challenges).  That meeting went well and a few more people showed up to the next one.  And then a few more people showed up to the meeting after that.  Over the course of the next year, ADE created an online community message board, formed numerous committees to address specific issues, built a website, hosted expert Q+A sessions with a lawyer and an accountant for its members, conducted a wage survey, generated a deal memo template for editors, formulated a governance structure, elected a steering committee and defined a collective mission.  ADE has now become an active community with hundreds of members across the country who support each other and provide guidance to their collaborators in the documentary space.

Fiscal Sponsorship for ADE is provided by: