jumP NY assistant editor on an obsession with art, directorial aspirations and the joy of piecing together a story's cogs
Daniel Techy is the first in his family to pursue a creative career, but that's hardly surprising given his lifelong obsession with art in all its forms. Reading, writing, drawing, painting, shooting films, car design, fashion... they're all very much up his street. By day though he's an assistant editor at jumP in New York, having moved to the city from Sao Paulo in his native Brazil.
LBB's Addison Capper picked his brains on all things editing.
LBB> What drew you to editing? And specifically commercial editing as opposed to long form?
Daniel> It all started when I was in high school. A group of great friends and I decided to make some videos for school work and I was the one who put them together with Windows Movie Maker. Seeing the positive reactions of the other students and the teachers while watching our videos was when editing really captured my full attention.
After studying film and TV in Brazil and working for a TV channel, I moved to New York to continue learning and building my career with the best in the industry.
I have a background working with TV shows and long-form films but what drew me to commercial editing was the fact that it was uncharted territory for me — and once I started exploring, I got hooked on the fast-paced environment and the creative freedom.
LBB> What's your starting point when beginning to piece together the different elements of a story?
Daniel> After studying the script, the boards and making all the footage selects, I start by visualising the edits in my head.
I like to create an initial rough cut without focusing too much on a specific time limit, so then I have more space to explore ideas and different edits.
And from there, I start shaping that cut to fit the desired length that the client wants.
LBB> What advice would you give someone trying to get into editing in 2019?
Daniel> Anyone interested in editing could start editing today. In our pockets, we carry phones that are capable of shooting high quality videos, and they are even powerful enough to allow you to edit the videos on that same device — without needing a high-end computer.
Use the resources you have as your starting point. Experiment, get the hang of it, create some sense of cut points and pacing, figure out which shots work and which don't, and overall just dive right in.
And if you have something already edited and you feel happy with it, put it out there! It's so easy to share your work today. Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo are there for you to showcase your work and be seen.
LBB> As an editor, do you have a specific method of working or does it differ dependent on the job? And if there is a way of working that you stick to, what does it involve?
Daniel> It does differ a bit depending on the job, but even so, I do have a workflow that I try to follow as much as I can. I like organising the footage and all other files in my project in a very detailed way, so that I can easily recall and find specific shots that I'm looking for. When the editing starts, I like to quickly piece together an initial rough cut without focusing too much on a specific duration, so then I have more space to explore ideas and different edits. And from there, I start shaping that cut to fit the desired length that the client wants.
I also find it helpful to step away from the computer for a while — allowing the work I've done to simmer and my mind to clear a bit, and through this practice I usually find new ideas start to emerge.
LBB> A big chunk of your role is the communication of a story efficiently and clearly – what are the most challenging aspects about getting to grips with the nuts and bolts of storytelling?
Daniel> There are many ways we can tell a story, and I think one of the first challenges in the editing room is to really explore and familiarise oneself with all the footage, figuring out what you are working with and how you can achieve your goal using that material.
Another aspect I find important to telling any story clearly and that I use to guide my process is maintaining a strong sense of intentionality around every shot you are choosing to include. As an editor, every shot and scene I am selecting and constructing should be in the cut because they serve the story — they show characters' emotions or subtext, they move the plot forward, or they express an idea — and it's not included just because it's a cool looking shot.
LBB> What do you enjoy about piecing those cogs together?
Daniel> It's really joyful when you take all those hours and hours of footage that grant you endless possibilities and that you can basically piece together in any which way you want, and you arrive at a cut that when you finish watching you think to yourself, 'wow, that looks pretty damn good!'.
And then sharing with other people or an audience, and watching them having a similar reaction — that's a priceless moment.
LBB> Which projects that you’ve been involved in are you most proud of and why?
Daniel> Recently, I've been editing some Maybelline spots and they are really my first BIG commercial work, so they are special to me and are cuts I am proud of.
On the film side, I have two projects that I've found most rewarding. One is the first short film I did in Brazil, called '3AQ7'. While I didn't edit it, I did write and produce it, and it was really exciting to experience a script of mine coming to life on the big screen, especially because the film went on to get selected for various Brazilian festivals.
The second is one of the short films I edited here in New York, called 'The Kobal Report'. It was a super fun action thriller to work on, and the director gave me freedom to experiment with the editing and visual effects (where I started learning some tricks on After Effects) and I was really happy with the results. Also the film was selected for many festivals in the US and Europe, including Cannes Short Film Corner — it even won some awards in a couple of those festivals.
LBB> Where did you grow up and what kind of kid were you?
Daniel> I grew up in São Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil (and the concrete-jungle as some say), so naturally New York was really easy to adapt to when I moved here. I think growing up in such a big city really expands your mind. Being surrounded by so many different people and different cultures, all the things you can see and do really enriches you.
Ever since I was a kid, I've always been captivated by art. I would spend long hours reading, drawing, painting, taking pictures and making videos with my dad's camera, playing piano with my mom, and basically experimenting with any outlet I could use to express myself — I even tried my hand at writing a fiction book, but sadly that file was lost on an old computer. I also always practised sports growing up, either at school or with friends on the street.
LBB> If you weren't in advertising, what would you be doing?
Daniel> It would definitely still be a career related to art. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a car designer. Later I wanted to be a writer, but that changed to fashion designer. So you can see the pattern. But a future plan of mine is to write and direct a feature film... and I will leave that to someone else to edit.
LBB> Who / what are your biggest creative inspirations?
Daniel> The biggest one would be my parents (I know it sounds so cliche, but it's true!). I'm basically the first one in the family to follow an artistic career, and all the support they've shown with my decisions, including moving to another country, is something that always keeps me moving forward.
Aside from my parents, two other people that inspire and drive me creatively are my wife and my best friend. With my wife Jenna, we made a pact to carve out 'creative time' during the weekends where for a few hours we focus on working our artistic muscles — such as writing, painting, playing guitar, reading and learning new things. Through my friend Luciano, who is an entrepreneur, seeing him act on a bunch of his ideas and succeeding is really inspiring. Even living in different cities, we've strived to work on some projects together.
Also, I'm a big Tarantino fan.
LBB> Outside of work, what do you like to get up to?
Daniel> Three things that I'm really into are sports, nature, and live music. I love following different sports — like soccer, tennis, racing and football. And I also enjoy practicing sports, with boxing sessions during the week and soccer and tennis pickup games on the weekends.
Whenever the weather is good, I love going hiking and exploring new places! Which also involves traveling, and I have a trip to Yellowstone just around the corner.
And I try to go to concerts as often as I can, with four or five already booked for later this year.