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This year the ASE are introducing a new Technical Excellence Award for people working in technical roles within the editorial department. Andy Finn from the national Committee explains the thinking behind the new Tech Award.

Why has the Guild introduced a Tech Award?

All of our current awards reward the creative side of editing – as it should. But offline editing is not the only role in the editorial department. There are so many other people working in our department, taking care of incredibly complicated things, solving problems, and helping to make sure the project gets finished.

This award is designed to acknowledge and encourage excellence in those roles. And interestingly if you read our ASE Articles of Association, it’s one of the things the guild was originally established to do.

How long has this idea been in the pipeline?

I’d been thinking about it for years and had pitched various versions of it to different people at Sundowners (now Sydney Social). I would also annoy my colleagues at work by canvassing them for their opinions. Based on that feedback, I wrote up the proposal and pitched it to the national committee in June of 2023, with the aim to develop and make it an official part of our awards for 2024.

We did quite a lot of research on how it might work, and looked at how other awards like the Oscars and BAFTAS do their technical awards before deciding on this format.

What sort of production would be a good fit to meet the criteria of the Tech Award? 

At its core this award is about problem solving. We want to see entries that identified a complication and then came up with a great solution for it. The scale of the production doesn’t actually matter, inspired solutions do.

I imagine there will be some incredibly complex workflows involved, but I also hope to see some elegant and simple solutions in the mix too.

So any production is suitable. If you encountered a technical headache and then solved it, we want to hear from you.

Any advice for a team as they put together their applications?

Remember that just like the Ellies, you’re being judged by your peers. The judges for this award are very experienced people working in the same technical roles as you.

They know the job and the work, so don’t be shy with your technical terms, don’t dumb anything down. They will absolutely understand all the complexities that you are talking about.

And the last piece of advice for people thinking of entering is just to do it. If you think you’ve come up with a clever little workflow for something, chances are you probably have. Put it in, you might just win.

Best of luck!