Janet Ashikaga

Editor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour Archive interview, editor Janet Ashikaga discusses her career cutting some of television's most beloved programs. She begins with tales of editing the cult classic Sledge Hammer! and several The Incredible Hulk TV movies. Ashikaga then describes her years as the sole editor of Seinfeld. She comments on her favorite episode, "The Chinese Restaurant," and shares behind the scenes tidbits of "The Big Salad" and "The Subway" episodes, among others. She talks of her respect for writer and comedy great Larry David, and for writer Aaron Sorkin -- the creator of two other critically acclaimed shows on which she worked: Sports Night and The West Wing. Ashikaga also edited Ink, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and the pilot of My Name is Earl. She describes her preferences for certain methods of editing, what it's like to be a female editor, and details her theory on the musicality of editing. Dan Wingate conducted the interview on August 25, 2010 in Van Nuys, CA.

"Editing and using close-ups can really punch up comedy. I think that really good comedy is very musical, and that a reason why sometimes comedy works or a joke works, is because of the rhythm of it. And once you upset that rhythm, you're upsetting the humor. I think that people just naturally are very musical and that's what they're responding to in a lot of comedy."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Editor Janet Ashikaga on how she inspired "The Big Salad" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on her favorite episode of Seinfeld, "The Chinese Restaurant"
Editor Janet Ashikaga on the rhythm of great showrunners 
On acting with the eyes and how that influences editing
On editing styles
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences
On moving to California and her first job in Los Angeles assisting an editor; on enjoying editing and working on the cult show Sledge Hammer!
On editing TV movies of The Incredible Hulk and working with director Bill Bixby
On editing Seinfeld

Chapter 2

On editing Seinfeld
On the popularity of Seinfeld
On specific episodes of Seinfeld
On the cast and characters of Seinfeld; On the impact of Seinfeld on other comedies
On leaving Seinfeld when Larry David left the show and moving on to Ink and Sports Night

Chapter 3

On editing Sports Night
On working on The West Wing
On editing Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Frasier, My Name is Earl, Medium, Scoundrels, and Criminal Intent: Suspect Behavior
On how the editing field has changed over the years; on film versus video and digital editing
On advice for young editors and on editing today; on her proudest achievement and legacy
Shows

Bob Patterson

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on leaving The West Win g to edit Bob Patterson

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior

Curb Your Enthusiasm

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on Larry David's persona as who he is on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Frasier

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing the pilot of Frasier

Ink

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working on Ink

Medium

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Medium

My Name Is Earl

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing the pilot of My Name is Earl

Scoundrels

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Scoundrels for ABC

Seinfeld

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on getting hired on Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on her favorite episode of Seinfeld, "The Chinese Restaurant"
Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Seinfeld director Tom Cherones on "The Parking Garage"
Editor Janet Ashikaga on "The Subway" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on how she inspired "The Big Salad" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Parking Garage" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Subway" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Bubble Boy" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Pick" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Junior Mint" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Pilot" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Cheever Letters" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Opposite" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Hamptons" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Big Salad" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Race" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Soup Nazi" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Secret Code" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Rye" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Big Salad"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on how she inspired "The Big Salad" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Big Salad" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Bubble Boy"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Bubble Boy" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Cheever Letters"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Cheever Letters" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Chinese Restaurant"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on her favorite episode of Seinfeld, "The Chinese Restaurant"

Seinfeld: "The Contest"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Hamptons"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Hamptons" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Junior Mint"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Junior Mint" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Opposite"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Opposite" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Parking Garage"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Seinfeld director Tom Cherones on "The Parking Garage"
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Parking Garage" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Pick"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Pick" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Pilot"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Pilot" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Race"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Race" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Rye"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Rye" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Secret Code"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Secret Code" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Soup Nazi"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Soup Nazi" episode of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Subway"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on "The Subway" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing "The Subway" episode of Seinfeld

Sledge Hammer!

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Sledge Hammer!

Sports Night

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Sports Night - an Aaron Sorkin show 
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Sports Night
Editor Janet Ashikaga on the highlight of her career - editing Sports Night
Editor Janet Ashikaga on winning an Emmy for the "Small Town" episode of Sports Night  and wanting Aaron Sorkin to win for writing

Sports Night: "Small Town"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on winning an Emmy for the "Small Town" episode of Sports Night  and wanting Aaron Sorkin to win for writing

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

This is the Life

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on her role editing This is the Life

West Wing, The

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing and no longer being a sole editor
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing episode "Evidence of Things Not Seen"
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing episode "Twenty Five" - Aaron Sorkin's last episode
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing episode, "The Birnam Wood," in which John Spencer has a heart attack

West Wing, The: "Evidence of Things Not Seen"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing episode "Evidence of Things Not Seen"

West Wing, The: "The Birnam Wood"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing episode, "The Birnam Wood," in which John Spencer has a heart attack

West Wing, The: "Twenty Five"

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing episode "Twenty Five" - Aaron Sorkin's last episode
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on whether advertisers and Standards & Practices took issue with "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld

Emmy Awards

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on winning the Emmy for cutting "The Subway" episode of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on winning an Emmy for the "Small Town" episode of Sports Night

Technological Innovation

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on farming out special effects 
Editor Janet Ashikaga on different editing systems
Editor Janet Ashikaga on film versus video
Editor Janet Ashikaga on how computers and digital formats have changed editing

Women

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on women in the editing field and on knowing particular editing systems
Editor Janet Ashikaga on women in the editing field and on knowing particular editing systems
Editor Janet Ashikaga on being a female editor
Professions

Editor

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on being drawn to editing
Editor Janet Ashikaga on her training as an editor
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing with the Ediflex system
Editor Janet Ashikaga on the editing style of Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editors as part of production, not post-production
Editor Janet Ashikaga on "the walk and talk" style of Sports Night
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing
Genres

Comedy Series

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Sports Night

Drama Series

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing the TV movies of The Incredible Hulk
People

Jason Alexander

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Jason Alexander

Bill Bixby

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on meeting and working with director Bill Bixby
Editor Janet Ashikaga on meeting and working with director Bill Bixby and working with him on TV movies
Editor Janet Ashikaga on meeting and working with director Bill Bixby and working with him on TV movies
Editor Janet Ashikaga on Bill Bixby falling ill and on his legacy

Glenn Gordon Caron

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Glenn Gordon Caron on Medium

Larry Charles

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on a difficult question Seinfeld writer Larry Charles asked her
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Seinfeld with writers Larry Charles and Larry David

Tom Cherones

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Seinfeld director Tom Cherones on "The Parking Garage"

Ted Danson

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Ted Danson on Ink

Larry David

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on meeting Larry David
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing Seinfeld with writers Larry Charles and Larry David
Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Larry David and his personality
Editor Janet Ashikaga on how Seinfeld writers were involved in editing and what Larry David taught her about comedy
Editor Janet Ashikaga on Larry David using real life for storylines and extending an episode of Seinfeld to one hour
Editor Janet Ashikaga on Larry David's ideas

Diane English

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Diane English on Ink

Lou Ferrigno

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on "The Hulk" Lou Ferrigno

Robert Guillaume

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working on Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night with actor Robert Guillaume
Editor Janet Ashikaga on Sports Night actor Robert Guillaume's stroke

Felicity Huffman

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working on Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night with actress Felicity Huffman
Editor Janet Ashikaga on Felicity Huffman's acting ability

Peter Krause

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working on Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night with actor Peter Krause

Warren Littlefield

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on learning about the budget for the Seinfeld pilot from Warren Littlefield
Editor Janet Ashikaga on extending an episode of Seinfeld to one hour

David Rasche

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on David Rasche in Sledge Hammer!

Michael Richards

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Michael Richards

Richard Schiff

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on advice from actor Richard Schiff
Editor Janet Ashikaga on The West Wing  actor Richard Schiff

Thomas Schlamme

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working on Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night with director Tommy Schlamme
Editor Janet Ashikaga on Sports Night director Thomas Schlamme

Jerry Seinfeld

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on meeting Jerry Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Jerry Seinfeld
Editor Janet Ashikaga on extending an episode of Seinfeld to one hour

Aaron Sorkin

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on showrunner Aaron Sorkin's rhythm 
Editor Janet Ashikaga on working on Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night with Tommy Schlamme
Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Aaron Sorkin
Editor Janet Ashikaga on winning an Emmy for the "Small Town" episode of Sports Night and wanting Aaron Sorkin to win for writing
Editor Janet Ashikaga on Aaron Sorkin doing comedy and drama
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing based on Aaron Sorkin's schedule
Editor Janet Ashikaga on interpreting Aaron Sorkin's words
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing episode "Twenty Five" - Aaron Sorkin's last episode; on Sorkin's departure
Editor Janet Ashikaga on Aaron Sorkin's role in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

John Spencer

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on The West Wing actor John Spencer
Editor Janet Ashikaga on editing The West Wing episode, "The Birnam Wood," in which John Spencer has a heart attack

Mary Steenburgen

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with Mary Steenburgen on Ink

John Wells

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on working with showrunner John Wells after Aaron Sorkin left The West Wing

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