The danger is that the more proficient and experienced…you become, the greater the danger that you will become a ‘technician.’ -Kazan
My theory is that an editor must be a technician but a technician isn't necessarily an editor. It stands to reason that when defining an editor, we must use words like “technician” in conjunction with “artist.” Then we begin to get a glimpse of a true editor. Editing cannot survive without the technician role.
As we gain experience, knowledge, and technical prowess we begin to lose the wonder and awe of filmmaking. Just look at the greatest filmmakers of our time. They become giddy when they talk about what inspires them and the dreams they have for their films. The best filmmakers are the ones that perceive the danger of primarily becoming a technician and actively fight it.
This is the risk for any position in filmmaking that requires a high level of technical knowledge to complete the job. Editing is among these crafts that run the highest risk of merely becoming a technician.
How does one fight this seemingly inevitable outcome? Through passion. Through the realization that the technician’s existence is irrelevant in a real film. Through intentional surroundings (films, music, art, books, hobbies, relationships). Always looking for opportunities and activities to participate in that will enhance their editing, but not directly. Approaching editing as a lifestyle, not a duty, or job.
Everything in life is pertinent to the editor because everything in life is edited. We live and receive edited versions of reality - in conversation, in outings, in walking the block, in vacationing, in reading, in all the things we perceive and actively forget in our lives to retain the useful and meaningful bit and then toss out the irrelevant and drab moments. Our minds are always editing. It is in this way we can learn the craft of editing in everything.
Why do we only remember this moment?
Why have I forgotten that trip but remember this trip?
What is this author communicating to me through the edit?
In every way we are living in the edit and the sooner we understand this, we can adapt to the tricks and craft of the universe to our cuts. And by doing so, we resist the technician.