As a child, he grew up watching movies with his father. He graduated from Philadelphia's Greene Street Friends School in 1982 and Central High School in 1986.
Tichenor worked as Editor Geraldine Peroni's assistant on several films in the 1990s, including Robert Altman's film The Player (1992). His first credit as an Editor was for Altman's Jazz '34 (1996). Following Peroni's death in 2004, Tichenor stepped in to finish his mentor's editing of Brokeback Mountain (directed by Ang Lee).