Producers, Editors Have Similar Roles
If you are a musician or a writer you may have heard these two words before – producer and editor.
Both words aren’t interchangeable, but somewhat have the same duties.
Not every musician and writer needs a producer or editor because they know how to achieve getting more listeners and readers. It’s as if it comes natural to them.
But others do need producers and editors because even though musicians’ and writers ‘ideas may be great, their presentation is what needs work.
A producer will be the first to tell a musician that he is off pitch if singing or his musical phrase just will not work. The producer also will note when an instrument isn’t tuned properly.
It’s the same for a writer, an editor will help make the writer’s prose pop. Some writers are terrible with spelling while others don’t use homonyms correctly. Still other writers need help in the grammar department.
It doesn’t matter what the situation is, both the producer and editor are after the same end result – they want to make their artists sound and read better.
And that’s where a producer’s trained ear will be helpful. It’s his job to get the musician out of his own way and out of his comfort zone.
The same for an editor. It’s his job to get the writer to try new approaches to his article. Maybe it’s a couple of questions that ask for clarifications or maybe the writer is using an incorrect verb tense or has a problem with subject verb agreement. What about fragments?
Author Stephen King commented in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, how he listened to John Gould, an editor. In high school, King said, Gould edited one of his papers and told King “I only took out the bad parts. Most of it is pretty good.”
And that’s how editors make writers better. Editors know what are the bad parts.
As a musician or writer it is incumbent upon you to ask questions. Don’t challenge or display a confrontational tone. Rather ask questions with the intention of gathering information for future use. You may find yourself in a similar situation, but because you have had a similar experience, you will find a resolution quicker. Make sure your ideas don’t get buried and be prepared to defend yourself when someone tries to steal your idea and say it was his. There are people who will try to gain currency off the backs of others. And make sure you don’t do that to anyone else.
In the end, producers and editors are kind of a safety net. If a musician or writer starts to fall, they will be there to soften the landing. And once a relationship is forged, the producer may call on that musician for more gigs, and the editor may hand out more assignments to the writer because he knows the writer can handle it.
Look at David Foster. His documentary on Netflix, “Off The Record,” lets the viewer see how Foster became one of the most influential producers of the last 40 years. He made it look easy, although there were bumps along the way. He comments on his success in a youtube interview, youtube.com/watch?v=9VWjwxOBqQE, with radio personality Brad Blanks.
“You should be humble when you’re starting out. And then you grow into being arrogant. I’m probably still a little bit arrogant. I sort of started hard, and then as the success came I lightened up on myself which made me sort of an easier person to deal with,” Foster said.
Being a musician and a writer comes with a certain stress level. Producers and editors can make a musicians and writers job more stressful or not. After all, a producer or editor attained their position because they have experience with getting good results.
You have probably heard the phrase: a writer is only as good as his editor. There is some truth to that. It’s always good to have another set of eyes or ears review your project.