The relationship between the director and editor is a sacred one. The editor must operate as a technical extension of the directors brain and be the final writer and producer of ideas - like that of a cup bearer. An editor must also be the voice of reason or the voice of insanity. However, at all times, the editor must be a co-creator / collaborator. And for a successful and effective film, an editor should never be a technician, exclusively. Simply put, the editor must be a filmmaker willingly and joyfully sacrificing to the vision of the filmmaker.
In my opinion, the role of the editor is to keep the conversation with the director at a conceptually high level for as long as possible. Discussions on character development, pacing, vision, spine, goals, feelings, and emotions are topics to live in. There will come a time for discussions about frames, outputs, and technical requirements. However, if a director walks into my suite and we start talking about lower thirds, on trimming this shot or that shot, I have missed the mark and now must work to get us back to that high conceptual level.
A film is never as good, and yet always better than a director expects before walking into the editing suite. The hard work in the that space will test the footage, story, and the directing. A good editor leans into that responsibility and privilege with grace and gentle guidance. Uncovering what is in the directors mind, and then translating it to screen. The editor in many ways is a translator of thought and emotion - the bridge between the director and the screen.
…a good director always has the leading influence on the editing of his film, the value of that influence being proportional to their instinct for and knowledge of editing. - Edward Dmytryk
It would appear that film editing is the art of filmmaking. - Baron Rothschild
Furthermore, an editor must identify, maintain, and advance the director’s voice in the edit. The director’s unique fingerprints can be observed in the rhythm of a film. It is their film dialect. The voice of the director must be made clear in the editing - not invented or discovered, but made clear. Polished. Revealed. So much so, that when the editor accomplishes this and the director depends on the sensitivity of that voice, the director will return to the editor for the rest of their career. It is in the sensitivity to the director’s film dialect and pushing the refinement of that dialect from one film to the next that causes a director to feel the desire, and sometimes the necessity, to maintain the same editor from picture to picture.