Editor Dylan Tichenor shares his expertise on how to navigate the process, pace, and politics of cutting features.
Key Insights

  • The editing process often starts during principal photography as soon as footage is available.
  • Watch all of the dailies and take lots of notes. Start with a string of selects and edit down from there to form the basis for a scene. 
  • Editing is a balance of taking into account the director’s preferences on concept and takes, and listening to your own gut when determining what elements are needed and how their pieces fit together.
  • Be prepared to explain your editing decisions and bring the director and producers into your thought process. Together, everyone will explore ideas that don’t work until you find the ones that do.
  • Editing is a jigsaw puzzle. Use a scene board to see the layout of all the scenes, to visualize the movie, and make adjustments as needed.
  • “Friends and family” screenings are very useful – it’s important to get people who aren’t familiar with the project and haven’t read the script so you’re getting unbiased, objective feedback.
  • Every film has a pace. An editor’s job is to shape the pace and rhythm based on scene length and number of scenes.
  • Editing is a political process where solving creative conflicts and addressing notes from various sources are par for the course, but ultimately, working through these creative differences strengthen the outcome of the film.
  • Disagreement in the editing process is healthy - the best ideas come to the surface when the interested parties are arguing strongly for their beliefs. 
  • Surround yourself with intelligent people who have who have good taste so you can trust one another.

Mr. Tichenor got his start in the craft of editing with editor Geraldine Peroni who brought him on as apprentice editor on Robert Altman’s THE PLAYER. His recent projects have been CHILD 44 (Daniel Espinosa), TRIPLE 9 (John Hillcoat), AMERICAN MADE (Doug Liman), and STRONGER (David Gordon Green). Tichenor’s latest release is another collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson, best-picture nominated PHANTOM THREAD. more...

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