The Art of Editing and Dan

Published on 2018-06-21

I never really fancied myself an editor, it was something that more or less just happened.

In film school, a polytechnic focused on production more than theory, I largely focused on cameras, lenses, and lighting. If you asked me in the final weeks before graduation what I hoped to do in film, what I wanted my role to be, I would have told you gaffer. I love light, I love lighting, and I love electricity, gaffing would be a natural fit, and I saw it as a less conventional route to what I really wanted to do, which was camera.

The years following graduation panned out a little differently than expected, though.

I landed two great jobs in a row, full time work with a production element built in, first with a Catholic school and second with a hospital; a combined six years of my life. In both roles I got to make and build and create, but I was almost always flying solo. On top of that I also began my own channel for video essays on the now-defunct Blip.tv. More creation, but again mostly solo.

I didn't think much of it at the time, didn't notice it happening, but at some point I looked back and realized that for all my aspirations towards being a cinematographer the bulk of my time, my actual creative output, was in editing. Over the course of the first decade after college I had spent maybe a couple hundred hours on set as gaffer, camera assistant, or director of photography, and maybe a couple hundred more pointing a camera at myself, but I had spent thousands of hours importing, sorting, logging, compiling multi-cam, conforming assets, cutting, and exporting.

Shortly after shipping a large freelance project for a corporate client, one that all told resulting in cutting over 600 videos between 2 and 13 minutes in length, I found myself at the client's Christmas mixer chatting with strangers.

"And what do you do, Dan?"

Well, there's what I think I do, but if I am what I actually do, I guess I'm an editor.