Robert James Ashe - head of post production Conan O'Brien, animatic editor beavis and butt-head

Ep 57: Robert James Ashe – Hollywood Editor & Title Designer

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Welcome to Episode 57!

Our guest for STIMY Episode 57 is Robert James Ashe.

Robert James Ashe is a 4-time Emmy nominated editor and title designer, best known for being the Head of Post Production on Conan for nearly 8 years. He has also worked for Conan O’Brien on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour, The 2014 MTV Movie Awards, and his show CONAN on TBS. Rob also served as the announcer, title designer, and lead editor for The Pete Holmes Show on TBS.

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    Who is Robert James Ashe?

    Robert shares how he grew up as an army brat and Disney kid, what life was like in musical theatre, and how he ended up working in post production in Hollywood. 

    • 2:43 Being a Disney kid
    • 4:40 The realities of being in musical theatre
    • 8:45 How Robert first got into production in Hollywood
    And then what happens is if you stick around Los Angeles long enough around people who are active they start working, so their friends now become higher up so slowly but surely I would start getting calls from leads from television shows.
    Robert James Ashe - head of post production Conan O'Brien, animatic editor beavis and butt-head
    Robert James Ashe
    Former Head of Post Production, Conan

    Working on the Conan Show

    Robert spent over 11 years working on Conan, from being a video editor to eventually the Head of Post Production for almost 8 years. 

    He shares some of tricks of his craft here:

    • 15:51 Designing the original Conan logo & incorporating his daughter’s silhouette into it
    • 17:40 Delivering a 42 minute show in 19 minutes
    • 20:06 Knowing what to cut
    • 22:59 The most time-consuming parts of travel segments
    • 25:27 Why editing is like speed chess
    • 27:09 Finding a rhythm to editing
    • 29:47 Cutting for the Notebook 2 with Ryan Reynolds & Conan O’Brien
    • 38:09 Most memorable parts of working on Conan
    Robert James Ashe - head of post production Conan O'Brien, animatic editor beavis and butt-head

    Moving on from Conan

    Conan O’Brien’s late night show ended after nearly three decades in the summer of 2021. Robert shares how he first heard that the show was ending (and why it wasn’t a surprise!) and moving on. 

    As well as what it’s like being parents to three very special children. 

    • 38:09 How Robert first heard that the Conan show would be ending
    • 41:05 Advice for people who want to make it
    • 44:31 Figuring out how to ace interviews in Hollywood
    • 45:48 Caring for children with physical challenges
    • 51:14 Advice for parents looking to adopt children with physical challenges 
    • 55:06 Breaking into Hollywood through charities

    If you’re looking for more inspirational stories from creatives, check out:

    • Nick Bernstein (Part 1, Part 2): Senior Vice President of Late Night Programming, West Coast & executive in charge of the Late Late Show with James Corden
    • Karl Mak: Co-Founder, Hepmil Media (SGAG, MGAG, PGAG) – on what it takes to run a company that creates & sells memes!
    • Oz Pearlman: Emmy-award winning mentalist, magician & America’s Got Talent finalist

    If you enjoyed this episode with Robert’s you can: 

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    Send an Audio Message

    I’d love to include more listener comments & thoughts into future STIMY episodes! If you have any thoughts to share, a person you’d like me to invite, or a question you’d like answered, send an audio file / voice note to sothisismywhy@gmail.com

    External Links

    Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:

    Robert James Ashe - head of post production Conan O'Brien, animatic editor beavis and butt-head

    STIMY Ep 57: Robert James Ashe - Head of Post Production, Conan

    Robert James Ashe: So man on the street comedy, it's about watching the relationship between the two people play out in real time. Scripted comedy is about hiding the reaction of the relationship between the two people.

    I'm Michael Scott from the office. You have the camera on me. I say something crazy that would normally get me punched in the face. I wait until the absolute last second to cut to Jim or whoever's listening to them, to give that look to the camera. To let the audience know that Jim feels exactly how they feel like, oh, can you believe this guy? That's scripted comedy.

    It's about hiding that relationship because you're playing with the rhythm of that to really punch whatever joke you're trying to do in terms of the story. Sometimes you run into a situation where you could really have to help things aesthetically but it's rare.

    Scripted comedy on the other hand, it is about the structure and how when you hide things who's got the power and whatever the scene is playing out, that sort of thing.

    Ling Yah: Hey everyone.

    Welcome to episode 57 of the So This Is My Why podcast, I'm your host and producer Ling Yah. And today's guest is Robert James Ashe, who has spent almost a decade as head of post-production on the Collins show, which included garnering 4 Emmy nominations, and has also previously worked on the Pete Holmes show, the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and the 2004 and MTV movie awards.

    In this episode, Robert shares how he went from being an army brat and Disney kid to working in theater before eventually moving to Hollywood and finding himself in the world of post production.

    As well as what it's like to spend nearly a decade working in late night on the Conan show, such as delivering a 42 minute show in 19 minutes and incorporating the silhouette of his daughter's head into the original Conan logo. We also talk about what it's like being parents to three amazing children who are physically handicapped And the realities of balancing life as a parents with working in Hollywood.

    Are you ready? Let's go.

    Robert James Ashe: I was born in Washington, DC. I was an army brat then we moved to Syracuse for a couple of years, but the vast majority of the time growing up was Orlando, Florida, because my father worked for Disney for 35 years.

    He built the point of sale computer system for Epcot center and just incredible amount of stuff after that.

    So yeah, I grew up in Orlando, Florida. Was a Disney child through and through. Like, that was pretty much my playground growing up cause my dad worked there. We got free tickets all the time.

    Ling Yah: So you were probably one of those kids who were sick of Disneyland.

    Robert James Ashe: Oh yeah, I was that child who was like, oh yeah, haunted mansion, , spoiled to the rotten core.

    I look back now and , I'm up in California right now, right near Disneyland and any chance I can take to take my children to Disneyland, I don't even hesitate. It's a very important place in my life.

    Ling Yah: I saw this beautiful piece that you wrote about bringing your kids to Disneyland, how it's their favorite thing and how I think Elsa and Anna, they made the day for you, even though it started not being so great, but then at the very end of it, something really magical for your kids.

    Robert James Ashe: It really is. it's a funny thing.

    My two daughters at the time, I have three children now, but I only had two at the time. We had this terrible day at Disneyland it was hot. The kids were just in a mood and, , we're just getting on each other's nerves and there's this area in California venture.

    That has all these television screens, they're all over the place. And it's my oldest daughter's favorite place. she's non-verbal but she loves screens. She loves everything that's going on screen. So it's also my favorite place because it's the most air conditioned place in all of Disneyland.

    we would hang out there and just watch the videos a lot. And one time we were there and we were tired. It was the end of the day. And my wife and other daughter came in, we're just, , hanging out, trying to cool down and slowly but surely we're noticing people leaving the building because we figured all their closing But as they're leaving, a bunch of employees are coming in, we figured it out must be like employee training that's about to happen or anything like that. And all of a sudden, when the employees comes up to us and goes, look we've been noticing you guys around the park. Looked like you had kind of a tough day.

    We'd like to cheer you, you up. And They brought their character versions of Anna and Elsa and to play with my daughters. One of the animation teachers made a drawing for my daughters. It was just this they called magic moments that Disney provides and. It was one of the most special days, , as a family that we've ever had.

    when you have days like that, you can't help , be a lifetime fan.

    Ling Yah: Going back to your childhood, you had all that exposure to Disneyland, you were also doing musical theater as well?

    Robert James Ashe: Yeah. So I grew up going to Catholic school.

    we moved and it was my first chance to go to a public school, but the public school itself, I happened to be at a magnet school for the performing arts. And I showed up there and I ran into an old friend that I knew from like the third grade, his name was Eric Garvis. And he just, , dragged me into the theater.

    He was like, this is what you're going to do. Now. I was like, , and just immediately, I got in with these people and we started doing these shows and I went to high school with this just incredible array of talent from like members of the Mickey mouse club to members of Louise Fonzie. Who did a Despacito.

    I wasn't in class with them, but on Wayne Brady, we went to our high school just, , great, great talent, , musically and acting wise.

    That's all we did, was we would do these shows. We would do these musicals and it was how we just had fun. And it it's so strange to think about now that, , that's how I enjoyed my life because I'm, so not that I now.

    Haha But that got me my start in the entertainment world. And, , I was doing that. I was volunteering at a local improv theater in Orlando, Florida called a SAC theater where I would volunteer to be an usher.

    And they would put on improv shows and Bohemian night shows and, , that just got into for me, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

    And it was time to go to college and I got offered a scholarship to I guess you would call it a trade school wasn't necessarily a college.

    It was AMDA. AMDA.

    Ling Yah: The American musical and dramatic cademy.

    Robert James Ashe: I wanted to go because I've always been a big proponent of just kind of knowing what I want, but then wanting to know everything about it.

    So, , I decided that this was the school I was going to go to because, , first off it's going to bring me to New York city. That's where all the theater is happening. And secondly, it's just what I want to do. I don't want to take calculus. I just wanted to do shows. That's all it came down to.

    And then I would sneak away, I would cut classes to go to Broadway auditions. And the worst thing that happened to me during this point was I would get callbacks, which, , to a young guy who doesn't want to be in school anymore.

    That's enough false hope, , really be like, oh, you don't need school kid. They already watch it the reality of it is I'm a very large human six foot seven which makes me an unusual, in a theater world. So, , people call me back just to give me a second.

    Look, I can look at that now. Been through a lot of it, but I started working in shows. I convinced my parents to let me drop out after a year of AMTA. And I just started working and I worked for like four years straight. And in four years I maybe have like two weeks off. And I was doing shows everywhere, just regional theater, national tours, was really easy to get work.

    I was never the star. I was never, , like a headline or anything like that, but it was always unique enough that, , they, , would stick me in the back somewhere usually is, you know, , oh, we need to tone. It looks like they can beat someone up. , And by the fourth year I got really miserable.

    I was just tired of traveling.

    Like I said, my dad was working for Disney in and they offered him to move out to California permanently and my mom was going to go and the weekend she needed to move, she threw her back out.

    So I was on the phone with her and I was miserable on the tour I said tell you what, I want to quit my tour.

    I'll come there. I'll, I'll help you move up. I want to come with you and they'll look fun. So made the Trek out to California. Hooked up with a bunch of friends who were trying to be out here, be performers as well. Tried the acting thing and discovered that as easy as it was for me to get work in theater, it was the exact opposite. When it came to film and TV, no one wanted me cause a big difference between film and theater.

    Is that in theater? I can play a Viking or I can play an old man it's theater. we can make you look a certain way. We can maybe dress you up a certain way. , the help convince the audience that you have a certain skill set or whatever when you try out for see what was one of my biggest first auditions was married with children.

    try out to be a basketball player for married with children. They actually get NBA players to come to the audition. And then you go, oh, you don't want someone who pretends actually want someone who actually can do the job. So when I slowly started learning that it was going to be a lot harder than that.

    But one of the first things you gotta do when you come out to act is you got to get an agent. So my friends and I got together and we started, , just handwriting agents and stuff like that. And we got some responses and all the agents said the same thing. Where's your demo reel? Or like, oh, well what's a demo reel?

    Ah well, demo reel is a bunch of clips of you, , acting that we can send to casting directors, sort of thing. So they could see what you look like on camera. See if you can act so and so forth. none of us have any of that. , we all worked at Florida where everyone knew each other, so you never need anything like that.

    So we decided, well, what if we just filmed a couple, one minute scenes, just get ourselves on tape. Well, this was 19 99 before cameras started getting remarkably cheap.

    We went to a couple companies I think we pitched them doing like five, one minute scenes and they wanted to charge $50,000 do the whole thing.

    Yeah. Because back then, that's how much you could charge for that kind of work. Sort of like, ah, you know,, we're all 20 years old, 21 years old and we're like, oh, we could do this. So we all got to go together and we decided, okay, let's rent a camera rental life, rent up, boom mic, ? And so it just came down to, okay, who's going to hold the camera or, , the camera who's going to hold the mic.

    You hold the mic up, we'll switch off. And then at the end, it was like, well, who's going to put this all together? Yeah I'll put it together. How hard could it be? So, downloaded Adobe premiere and put this stuff together is real simple stuff. Like, , a master shot, a closeup, ?

    But I put it together. So we all got our little one minute scenes and then it got passed around because they would have their scenes and they would show it to their friends. And one of the first questions that they would ask, well, who did that for you? Oh my friend, Rob. Oh, okay.

    And then what happens is if you stick around Los Angeles long enough around people who are active they start working, so their friends now become higher up so slowly but surely I would start getting calls from leads from television shows.

    I'm submitting myself for the NAACP awards. Can you put together a reel for me? Oh yeah, sure. And then those calls turned into producers saying, Hey, can you put together this little presentation for me? , that sort of thing. And then as the years went on, people called me for acting people, call me for editing, just started.

    And then, and by the time it was about probably 26, 27. I got fired from a visual effects place for not knowing my software. It was an editing job and they asked me going in there, like we have this thing called final cut pro, do you know it? I was like, oh yeah, sure. I, , went in there and I tanked it was terrible they rightfully let me go.

    Like, just without a doubt.

    When they let me go, I remember I drove away from the place and I pulled by the school I used to in Burbank called video symphony. Video symphony taught e very form of post-production avid premiere pro final cut pro And it pulled over. And I went in there and asked for a tour and I decided that day that I was going to be an editor because I walked away mad from the job for firing me.

    I analyze that. I was like, oh, that actually hurts my feelings that they thought I wasn't good at it. Maybe I really like this. And so I decided then that it was like a year program decided I was going to put everything into it, to just make the most of it. So I was living with my parents at the time, , so, they, , helped out immensely.

    I worked like in the warehouse at best buy. while going to school during the day, and like using the lab as much as I possibly could. And I did the year program in like six months just cause it was there so much. And then I got out of there and hit the ground running and all of a sudden I started working all these visual effects gigs, very small jobs, but on big productions Peter pan the Hawk the Angley version of the Hulk.

    And I mean just the most minor of jobs, but enough to get accredited, which helped for the next, because once you have the big recognizable credit, you can get a bigger job on a smaller thing. So that started lifting and I was getting all this work and through the facts and then it just stopped.

    It just died.

    And I couldn't figure out why there was no real reason. And I just hit the slump, but strangely enough, right when I hit the slump, I get a call from the school and they said you've been doing really well out there. I was like, oh, thank you. Well, do you think you could teach how, you did well?

    Like, could you teach the students how that works out? I was like, yeah, I think so. I think I could do it. So I spent the next year at that point teaching when I could the students about, , what it's like out there in the real world working on projects. And they also asked me to help the students find jobs which I tried to do as much as I could.

    And then probably about a year into that. my wife, who at the time was working for David Kissinger and Alex Rockwell. Now David Kissinger is the president of Conan Brian's production company Conoco, LLC on ad in the paper that said, Conan, O'Brien's moving out to Los Angeles to do the tonight show.

    I just asked him, I was like, Hey, could you put my name in for it? And he was like, oh, I'll try it. Sure. Some teaching a class one day. And think it was like a Monday and they call me and they're like, Hey, is there any way you could be here in an hour for an interview? So I asked my buddy to cover the class and I went down there and they're like, oh, Hey David gave us your name.

    We have a bunch of editors moving out from New York. But we were looking to get started on stuff. So we need you for about two weeks. Would you be up for that and was like, yeah, sure, man. I figured, hey, it's easy. It's the tonight show. It's an easy credit. I get to work for them two weeks. I get to walk out saying I worked for the tonight show.

    I didn't even give him like a rate. I didn't even know how much I was going to get, because it was two weeks. Who cares. So I worked the two weeks and I w I work on I remember I was there mostly to do, it was the gift shop promote for the tonight show which is still one of my favorites.

    And at the end of the two weeks, the end of that shift on Friday is that Hey Monday, could you come in and work on this other piece? I think Conan was like driving a car. It was like a music video type thing.

    We're done that a week. Next thing , they're like, Hey, can you come in Monday and work on this? Yeah, sure. 3, 4, 5, 6 weeks go in. We had months of prep before the first tonight show three months later, it's still there. And it's the night before the first show. And I finally asked for a meeting with one of the producers, Tracy king, and hadn't had a lengthy conversation with yet.

    I had a real quick one going in. She was like, Hey, what's up? You okay? I was like, do I work here. And she was like, yes. Oh my God. And so 12 years later kind of worked my way up the food chain, so to speak and went through the tonight show with Conan and went through the transition when he did a alive comedy.

    Across the U S worked with Roberts, Michael who's a triumphant. And so comic dog worked with him on videos on that which brought me to the birth of my first child shortly before Conan started. And once she was born, I really realized I needed to make as much money as humanly possible.

    So I I got together with our lead editor at the time and our head of graphics Eric mil, Eric McGilloway, and we decided to try to take more responsibility on the show. And the quickest way we can think of doing that was to design, like the opening titles, the logos, the marketing materials, all that stuff, which would normally go to like an outside company.

    we did like a lottery approach. So each one of those came up with three pieces.

    So we came in, we presented nine pitches and they just, they picked mine. And so that kind of set the standard of how the next 12 years would go, where we were given this added responsibility because we offered it honestly, and that was a big lesson for us that like, , sometimes you want to be recognized for your creativity, it's like, you got to just, , go for it and just, create.

    Ling Yah: Didn't you also design the original Conan logo? And you incorporate that your daughter into it? How did that happen?

    Robert James Ashe: original pitch of the Conan opening titles was based off of a title designer called Saul bass. Now Saul did a lot of the double oh seven Alfred Hitchcock. Type titles, which made a lot of use of silhouettes.

    Cause I was trying to think at the time, especially Carl was so huge on the internet and I was just trying to think of ideas that were both classic and modern at the same time. And to me, I was like, okay, internet, internet, internet icons, you see icons all the time. App icons, share icons, play icons, pause, , all this stuff.

    And it was like symbols. Okay. So I thought, okay, wouldn't it be interesting if like, was like an app that was the first thing I just thought I was like, and everything had a symbol, every guest comes on, they have some sort of symbol that represents them. Okay. , well what about our regular guys?

    Oh, Landy is the announcer. So she should have a microphone. The band, , Jimmy has got his guitar, so it should be good. What was Conan him? Well, he has his hair. So the hair wasn't supposed to be part of the logo. The logo was just supposed to be the word Conant, just Gotham font.

    , it wasn't supposed to be fancy at all, but they saw the open and he liked it a lot. But little did they know? I hid a little Easter eggs for myself in the opening design. So if you look above the word Conan in the black silhouette, you'll see kind of an angled shot of what is an outline of my daughter looking up to the sky which was way more incredibly obvious when it was just part of the opening title.

    But once I learned they wanted to be part of the logo, I did a real, , I made it way less descript. but it was fun. It was fun to, , hide that in there. And i hung that over Dan dome especially. I told them up top, I was like, Elliot's in this open by the way.

    And he could never figure out where it was, which is good because, , I was definitely afraid that someone was going to buzz me on it.

    Ling Yah: When you were first working with Conan, what was it like to have to deliver a 42 minute show in 19 minutes?

    It must been quite terrifying.

    Robert James Ashe: it was, and it's funny too, because at the end, the show was the most relaxing part. I guess there's just how it goes, but Yeah. I mean, when I first started on the tonight show, we had some hairy nights cause we would film at four 30.

    I'm pretty sure. So you're done at five 30 filming and you're on the air at eight. So you have two and a half hours, but in NBC because at the time their equipment was older. I don't even know how it's like now, but the time their equipment was older. So you actually had to get them to show my seven because they had to re composite the show.

    Know what I mean by that is they had to rerecord the show and while they were recording, they would lay in all the NBC logos and the commercial breaks and all that kind of stuff. So they had to have. By a certain time, they wouldn't have to have the whole show necessarily by seven, but at least the first act, because the first act was always like 20 minutes and it was a way to, , buy us some time.

    But there's one night in particular where we were sprinting down the hall to get them a tape in time because every night we would broadcast, we would actually have it playing digitally from our studio in case the feed ever went bad, they could switch over to us and we literally turned it in probably about nine seconds before we hit air.

    So we had a couple of nights like that. there was one it's such a short bit too, but president Obama. He was doing an interview. Somebody, there was a fly flying around in the interview and it was just quick little gag of like a large tongue coming out of his mouth.

    Like, , eating like a frog and something went terribly really wrong. And I don't remember why, but they wanted to fix the shot. And we turned it in literally a half a second before he called for it on stage.

    I remember that particularly now because myself and the head writer at the time after we turned it, we both like just fell to the ground and just of laid and just like stared up to the ceiling and just waited for, , a laugh to come.

    But it's one of those things. you start. To really get a talent for breaking down how long an hour can be and how you can cut minutes out of what you're doing all the time. Because as tight as that schedule sounds on an atypical night, it wasn't that hard because we knew what we were doing. We knew every little step we could take to get things to where it needed to go as quickly as possible.

    When the nights were challenging. Oh yeah. It didn't feel great.

    Ling Yah: Is it possible to put into words what you are looking for that allowed you to speed through and figure out what to put into the show and what to the cut?

    Robert James Ashe: No, because the priority would be different according to this show, because. Yeah. The thing about television is it has to be a certain amount of time.

    , you can't call it oh, the network and be like, Hey, our show is really good tonight. Can we have five extra minutes? Then they go, no, we have this many commercials we need to play. It needs to be 42 minutes or whatever it was at the time. I think it was 42. so comedy was always the thing you've tried to save.

    So normally the time would come out of the interview, could on particular nights where the interview went particularly well, , comedy pay the price that night. I mean, these days, especially towards the end. I mean, everything ends up online anyway. I mean, everything's important. You just need to get your show version done and then do your exports for YouTube and all that kind.

    Especially in the interviews now, because towards the end Conan would do 30 minutes straight with a guest. We wouldn't even like, stop the interview to be like, we're going to cut to commercials, see in a second, like we never did that anymore to keep the flow of, , the conversation going.

    it's sometimes things you'd cover mistakes. Sometimes people said stuff they shouldn't. It would really just kind of depend.

    Ling Yah: Do you feel like your work has evolved over time? Because as you said earlier, when you first started, it was 42 minutes. Now you can put everything online. So You don't have to feel as like no one will ever see this really good bit, because stuff of a lack of time.

    Robert James Ashe: Yeah, no, it was never about that.

    What made it more challenging would be the more versions of something that you have, the easier it is to mess it up. Because if the tonight show days, you turn on your show and that's it. That's all you're doing well towards the end. We were gonna do the show, now you got to do the web highlights.

    Now you gotta do the extras. Now you gotta do the serious monologue export for that, day. Now the people who arranged the sponsored segments need copy of this segment. That sort of thing. So that's where it could get crazy because your laundry list of things to do, would change.

    Running around like a chicken with its head cut off, but especially be challenging on the times when we would be doing not just the late night show, but also Conan's travel show. There might be a pilot happening at the same time. There might be an award show on being worked on at the same time that that's where things would get very challenging.

    But the hope is that you have people around you that (a) support you, which I did all the time. Wonderful editors at a wonderful post coordinator had a wonderful associate director of posts. And we would always work towards the common goal of getting everything done and try to get everything done in a way that people didn't have to split their attention, too much.

    So what I mean by that is like, if today I need you to work on a travel show. I'm trying to create an environment where you just work on the travel show and not have to do for other things. But that meant I'm doing all the late night show, that sort of thing. So everyone had their part to play but everyone always did such a great job.

    Ling Yah: For those travel segments. What was the most time-consuming parts of it?

    Robert James Ashe: Ingest, always ingest.

    You don't necessarily know what's important. just by pure length where a late night show. Yeah. You have your multiple cameras, but it's being done through a control room.

    It gets routed, it gets ingested just like a TiVo or DVR. It's very simple, but when they hand three cameras of 18 hours a piece and you're going to be on the air in eight days, you go home.

    So ingesting that first assembly. Cause it's that first run through of going through everything, looking at what you got, figuring out where the issues are figuring out of course, where the funny is which is the most important part of course.

    But yeah, once you got that first cut done almost everything after that. Is way simpler because you, try to bring it to a place of here's everything that I think is funny now let's sit with it, fine tune it, make it shorter because longer is never the answer. then it just becomes the question of, do you need this?

    Do you need this? Do you need this? , that sort of thing. And the luxury, we of having a plethora of jokes to pick from, then you start going, well, can this segment hold audience for 10 minutes? Or can I hold them for five minutes? Because if we can hold them for five minutes, I may have a bunch of A-level jokes, but it was not going to hold them.

    Some of them got to go, so let's kill some darlings here.

    Ling Yah: And how challenging was it to do that Haiti segment, where they were filming for four days and you had a one week editorial schedule?

    Robert James Ashe: That one in Greenland were the hardest ones to turn around.

    Because they both had the same challenge, which was their book based on new stories that were happening at the time. So you had to do them quickly before the world forgot the new story, because the worst thing would be for the show to air to be like, , oh president Trump said he was going to buy Greenland three months ago.

    We just made a show. No, , it's gotta be in a week, but the plus in both those approaches where we could cut to the heart of things quicker. And what I mean by that. is that if I gave you an hour to do something, everyone could turn out a great thing in an hour.

    Would it have been better if you had three hours? Might have been. But what you turned out was great in an hour. And sometimes, yeah, it might've been better at three, definitely would not have been better at seven. See what I mean? It's like sometimes fiddling with something for too long does it no favors either.

    So that became like the ultimate version of speed chess on the show? What's funny. What's funny. And then also trying to fill in what we could authoritatively in terms of history, facts about the nation, what message we're trying to have for each piece, that sort of thing.

    Ling Yah: You mentioned the words speed chess. What does that mean?

    Robert James Ashe: Did you see-

    Ling Yah: Queen's Gambit?

    Robert James Ashe: No, that's a, that's a good thing to bring up, but I didn't see Queen's Gambit so I can't actually comment on it. But did you see a Pixar's soul?

    There's a version that they talk about in creativity when you're in the zone on something and you just kind of get lost in the thing that's kind of what speech S is.

    You don't necessarily know. I know why you're making the moves you're making you just make them without thinking too hard about what you're doing. I'm a prime, prime believer and not judging any piece until it's completed on a timeline. Not finished, completed. Till I have the whole beginning, middle and an end on a timeline to look at where I understand how all the cameras are relating to each other where I understand what all the jokes are, where are the out the strip comes into play, how the actors come into play. So I will do everything in my power to get anything on a timeline as quickly as well.

    A lot of editors tend to worry about the planning of what that is and how things should be laid out.

    And I analyze each take and they're looking at things are relating to each other without it being in a timeline, without seeing how it relates to an person and another, it's almost like a fear of being wrong. I don't care if I'm wrong, if I'm wrong, that's fine. do it on the next pass, but I need to have something to look at so we know what we're dealing with and that's what speed chest is.

    You can't even really put it into words. 12 years of cutting a late night one of the most common things you would be asked to edit is a mock commercial.

    I would dare say that towards the end. I could do those without ever having to read a script again, because I know the rhythms and there's comfort in the rhythm specifically to the rhythm, because it allows the audience to be in on the presentation.

    You want them to come on this journey with you. You don't want them to be worried about where they're going. So you give them the comfort of having the structure.

    Ling Yah: What do you mean by rhythm?

    Robert James Ashe: A mock commercial - tired of having blue cups to drink for all your water? Try red cups.

    That sort of thing.

    So mock commercial starts, you put a creepy drone, kick it in. Rob Ashe doesn't want you to have a red cup. He thinks you should be drinking in the blue cup. Well, let's show him music changes by bringing him bread cups for $2 and 50 cents. Go down to the, you know,, sort of thing.

    There's a rhythm to it. So you do the setup, you flip it with music, you show the product, you make your three to four jokes reflecting the product or whatever message that you're trying to get for the cross. You show the product again. You have the tag.

    Red cup. Get yours now only 9 99, 99, 99.

    There's a rhythm to it.

    Ling Yah: And one thing you mentioned before editing comedy. It must be very different from editing something that isn't comedy.

    Robert James Ashe: There's a couple of different ways to look at it.

    So there's men on the street comedy, which is different than scripted comedy.

    Man on the street comedy, if you watch a lot of it, a lot of shots tend to be wide on main street comedy, a lot of shots to jumpcuts. Man on the street comedy, because you're not bound to a narrative structure, not bound to be shot like a film. And also you want to stay wide as much as possible because it's about the relationship between who is talking and who is listening.

    And you want that to play as live as possible. You don't want it to seem edited because if it seems edited, it will seem fake.

    So you're doing as much as you can to keep it energetic if the bit is like ridiculous, you still want the presentation to look real because I'll take the audience out.

    There'll be like, ah, you're trying to trick me with your editing. , it really comes off that way.

    So man on the street comedy, it's about watching the relationship between the two people play out in real time. Scripted comedy is about hiding the reaction of the relationship between the two people.

    I'm Michael Scott from the office. You have the camera on me. I say something crazy that would normally get me punched in the face. I wait until the absolute last second to cut to Jim or whoever's listening to them, to give that look to the camera. To let the audience know that Jim feels exactly how they feel like, oh, can you believe this guy? That's scripted comedy.

    It's about hiding that relationship because you're playing with the rhythm of that to really punch whatever joke you're trying to do in terms of the story. Sometimes you run into a situation where you could really have to help things aesthetically but it's rare.

    Scripted comedy on the other hand, it is about the structure and how when you hide things who's got the power and whatever the scene is playing out, that sort of thing.

    Ling Yah: And what was it like cutting for the Notebook 2?

    Robert James Ashe: Oh, that one. Wow. We just did that like two hours before the show. Did that one, that one to me was very special because I love Ryan Reynolds and I just loved that particular piece so much.

    And the day that we had to cut it, and sometimes tight turnarounds can be hard and sometimes they're not and that time, it wasn't because I knew what it was going to be right away. I had the script before they filmed it. So I was already picking music, already made the graphics, already made the titles.

    And I , kind of imagined what they were going to film and what shots I would probably want for each thing. And so when it came in, I just filled it in, , I had it turned around less than an hour easily. like once again, when you're turning around a piece of that quickly, not a whole lot of time to think.

    Sometimes the most obvious answer is the answer that you want.

    Ling Yah: Do you feel like the process? I mean, it was different for you when you went from 42 minutes to 30 minutes.

    Robert James Ashe: Uh, Me personally, no. Because my main duty on the show has always been the comedy on the top, the monologue, the sketches, the ads.

    When I started on the show, I mostly did interviews and stuff like that. So, , if I was still doing interviews, absolutely. The format would've changed. Probably would have been tougher for me too, because it had more to cut.

    Ling Yah: There's this segment that's commons show is the most known for, which is clueless gamer. And then wonder what it's like, just having to edit those sort of segments

    Robert James Ashe: So what's great about cutting gamer is usually allowed a little more time. Usually they would film those maybe about a week ahead of him. Because it was a little more involved multiple cameras, a little bit more of a complex presentation in terms of, , your picture and pictures and stuff like that.

    And, it was always a fun balance to figure out how much of a video that you're making about a game versus how much you're really, you're just trying to tell some jokes, what I mean? And what that balance should be. There's something to be said for when you need in comedic structure set up very often.

    It's very important, if not the most important thing I mentioned it, go with this.

    Let me give you an example of something. Okay. It's not a gamer, but it'll make my point.

    There was a remote that Conan did with Jordan's. Slansky where the did an escape room. It was called the detective an escape room.

    If you don't know, it's like you go into this room and there's actors and it's all role play and they give you a bunch of puzzles in order for you to escape the room. Really good idea for really good comedy. There was one problem with that piece though. Escape rooms are all written puzzles.

    Written puzzles on camera are really boring because if you film it in real time, I'm just doing this. Talk to the man who's got the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Not very fun on camera, right? But i n order to make the jokes about where they were about what they were doing, you had to get that information. So it was like, how do we make it interesting?

    Well, this is where editing can help. So I had the idea, I was like, did we get copies of all the clues? They're like, yeah. And they handed me all the pieces of paper. So I scanned all of them in. So while he would be reading them, I would just do like quick flashes of all like the words and like a very old detective style and stuff at that really overwhelmed the audience because that was the joke.

    The joke was, this is a crazy amount of information, ? So he reads all these things and I'm flashing like 80 different pieces of paper. And then the end of the flash, he just goes, what?

    And it's a big laugh and stuff. Yeah. Those are the instances where you could really help. So now clueless gamer is the same in that fact that you got to show the game, you got to make it make sense to the audience.

    So if you're showing a character, you got to tell people who he is and wouldn't make fun of them because otherwise you're just going ha ha funny picture. , it has to be a logic to it.

    Ling Yah: Where do you get your inspiration for how you want to cut certain things, to make it more interesting and you've said before you like to parody this stuff late night infomercials as well.

    Robert James Ashe: Crazy Eddy stuff. Which is an old style of late night commercials done in New York a number of years ago.

    There's always like a joy in trying to present things very cheaply because there's a lot of the style of us growing up, watching television A lot of it in the job for late night sketch editing too has to do with parodies.

    So sometimes you have to understand different styles and what they're trying to present. I mean, ads were always kind of simple because a lot of them were very crazy at ease, but if you're doing a parody of mad max, you had to understand what made mad max mad max, and what does it look like? What does it sound like?

    A lot of the fun would be figuring these things out and seeing if you can do it like mad max, if your piece looked like the matrix while they're fighting, that sort of thing.

    Honestly the most obvious inspiration for some of the pieces were just the things that they were making fun of.

    Other than that when something's really just kind of a sketch, there's really no place to draw from. I always think of things like songs, , like when I'm reading the script, like I kinda see where the versus a C where the course is, I see the parts where you need to punch. And I just kinda feel it like music and just kind of lay it out that way.

    it's a very hard thing to describe sometimes.

    Ling Yah: Do you feel like your style has changed from say the time when you were editing for puppeteers for Sid & Marty, all the way until now.

    Robert James Ashe: Sounds so silly to say, but it's true. It's like, no, I don't think about it too much anymore. One of the main things you can do as an editor is not unlike a painter, you know, like any other kind of artist is that. You develop your tool set so well that you don't have to think about it anymore.

    And so the joy of it, as you get older, you find joy in different ways, the different challenges of getting something done, , Hey, we're going to Haiti. We have seven days, how do we do it?

    Hi, there's a global pandemic and we want to be on the air in seven days. How do we do it? And then of course having a crew and, trying to relate to them, trying to help them be their best trying to let them help you be your best. That's a big lesson as you grow. And that was one, that's a wild one.

    Honestly. Yeah.

    Ling Yah: And speaking of the global pandemic, when was the first time you heard about it and realized that it would impact what you were doing?

    Robert James Ashe: I was trying to think about it and I don't remember when I first heard about it, but I was one of those who, when I did hear about it, because I remember it was like that prior November, I was like really sick for like two weeks. And so when I heard about the thing, I was like, I already had it. And that's what that was.

    And I do remember we started doing bits about it and on our show, and then each day it's getting worse and worse.

    And then My wife and I in this probably last week of February first week of March around, there it was on my wife's birthday and we went to Disneyland and it was not crowded at all. we're doing a show and occasionally you would have hiatus from the show. You have like two weeks off, three weeks off, something like that, or about to take a two week hiatus.

    And I remember , I gave everyone the day off in the trailer except myself and our engineer, and we're kind of closing up shop and I looked at the engineer and just kind of talking about it. And we were like, I don't think we're coming back. It was just like a feeling we weren't sure.

    And then, a week goes by, we get the first email. Hey, we're gonna, take an extra week. Okay. Third week goes by, , and , we're still sitting at home just trying to figure it out. I want to say was probably the fourth week where we got the email where they're like, we want to be back in the air.

    , no one can be by each other. How do we do this? And that came this mad sprint of trying to figure out what, could we do? How could we do it? What the strategy was, and that took, , the most brain power of everything figured out because you're constrained by a lot of things, , pandemic don't get beat by each other.

    Conan, w Who's not technically minded at all is filming himself. So what does he know how to do? What is he comfortable with? That was one of the first things I established and he knew zoom. Like they just started using zoom, I think like two or three months before that. And he knew that. That was like, he knows zoom.

    All right. Well, your interviews are not going to be done on zoom. So let's start there.

    And then sending messages to his son to make sure he knew how to film himself during a monologue, you know,, stuff like that, real fun stuff. But then once we got our show on the air, then it was about refining what we're doing, making it a little better.

    As time went on, things got a little looser. We figured out a little bit better tech, , they moved the show to Largo. because no one wanted to do it from his house anymore. And it got a little better than, , we got our crowds back then we're done.

    Ling Yah: I wonder if there's anything in particular that's happened that was really memorable for you behind the scenes of working on shows like Conan.

    Robert James Ashe: Lot of the happiest memories for me were the times where I helped the most. I didn't necessarily know if I was going to, or if I could prove people wrong on things. It's by favorite.

    There was one piece in particular. Bob Odenkirk came in, he was going to be a guest that night and they were going to have him do a mock commercial. Real simple studio presentation, It was like Gables, peas, and It's like a three minute presentation talks to an actress.

    It's one of those like, hi, I'm Bob Odenkirk. What I like to eat out. I like to eat Gables Luke and all that sort of thing.

    The plan was they were going to film him being terrible also as a behind the scenes on the thing.

    So it was like Bob was going to come out. Hey, I did this really cool commercial, , you show the commercial and then the plan was after it'd be like, well, I heard you were kind of a jerk and , to play a clip. Well, they went on for probably about 30 minutes. I want to say to just doing weird outtakes.

    And that became such a panic. I think that got done at 3 45. We're taping a four 30. And everyone was like, well, guess, that part it'll be for the web. Like, that'll be for digital. And I was like, no, I grabbed, I was like, it's gotta be on air. And I just grabbed it. No one like, believe me.

    And I just like, , just blaze through the thing and no one believed that I got it done. And then I called him the second, the producer, who I adored Dan Ferguson and he saw it. He was like, holy shit. And then he called Bob in. And Bob took a look at it.

    I'm going to, Bob's a legend and he liked it. But then he was like, can we came? Can we make some changes? I was like, yeah, dude, let's do it. ? And that became like a real, like in the zone kind of thing. Well, if we did this, yeah, let's do it. Alright, cool. Well, what if we flip this air, man? Totally. those are the parts that are unforgettable, where you really helped you really made something better.

    Cause a lot of times, especially when you're working with people of this caliber, sometimes, , you're kind of relegated, you kind of hope put it together and , , sometimes you can really stake your claim and be like, no, like I helped make this and then occasionally you would be asked to well you wouldn't be asked to, but you'd be welcome to like suggest things.

    And , I got to suggest the cold open to the last Comic-Con, which was like a spoof on into the spider.

    And I literally suggested it because I saw they weren't doing a cold open. I loved their cold opening. And I asked the head writer, he was like, why do you got an idea?

    I was like, yeah, man. Like, it was just spider verse, like, which is like one of my favorite Marvel things. And I sent it to him like Conan loves it. How do we do it? We need an animation company. Okay. Who, I don't know, call somebody. All right. , and then four weeks later you have this awesome five minute animation thing.

    Then , of course being able to do all of this and pay for a mortgage and my children, , I've been able to reflect past couple weeks about a lot of this, but I swear my only regret was not being able to enjoy what I was going through more.

    I did enjoy it. I absolutely enjoyed it. I wish I enjoyed it more because I'm grateful that I got to do these things and still raise a family and , all that kind of stuff.

    Ling Yah: I mean, you did the show for 12 years, which is a very long time in the industry.

    When did you first hear that this show was going to end?

    How do you feel about it?

    Robert James Ashe: Oh I want to say it was February, March, But I wasn't surprised at this point, it, it felt like, , the last couple of years , the trains coming to a halt.

    I think at this point we only had like a year left on our original deal anyway.

    So, , I mean, it definitely, wasn't like a left field type thing. And then, , you hear the announcement and you can just kind of look at everything and go, okay, well, what do I want to do? , and, , climb this mountain, what's the next mountain to climb. And then just trying to figure things out from there.

    Ling Yah: Do you have any advice for people who would love to have career like you?

    Robert James Ashe: I would say don't try to have a career like mine, mine was an accident. It was not planned. I was supposed to be a performer on the stage and now I make videos with sketch comedy players.

    And, I think what you really need is to find it's hard to phrase this in a way that doesn't sound remarkably cheesy, but it's fine. The thing that makes you, you, and be able to turn it up 110%, then let the people that you want to work for know that you're excited to do so.

    What I mean by that it was, I spent years getting booked on talent, but then not succeeding very often.

    And it was something that confused me until I worked at a visual effects place with a buddy of mine. Got me a job there. And I remember being miserable because like, no one would talk to me and yeah, it was just kind of boring, honestly, like outside of the actual work, the work was fine, but like, , when non-toxic, it's just kind like.

    And I remember one day he pulled me down in the hallway. He was like, cut it out.

    I was like, whoa, what are you talking about? And he was like, you look like a jerk. You're like walking around the hallways. You don't talk to anybody. You're looking at the ground. You barely smile. Like, can you just act like you're happy to be here. Maybe like someone will talk to you.

    And I figured it out because , part of the thing, like I said about me is like, I'm a humongous human being.

    So if I walk in a room and affects people in a certain way, and I decided after that, because a lot of young people trying to do this for a living, they get obsessed about being fake. That's a big thing. I don't want to be fake. I don't want to be Hollywood. I don't want to kiss butt, man, I want to be me.

    Well, you gotta be nice.

    So people were worried about kissing butt, but there's a way of doing it and being real. So I can't walk into a room and pull off salesmanship. I just can't, it doesn't work, , and capability. Hey, how are you? Nice to meet you. I'm Rob. And I'm going to take care of your movie. I'm going to be your editor.

    Oh, , that kind of thing. Cause it's fake. I can't pull it off. What I did figure out that I could pull off is to be the protector of your project. So if I'm in an interview, that's the way I pitched myself. It's I will protect your movie, protect your sketch. I will do it the way you want it. If anyone else messes with you, I got that.

    And it was a way that I could realistically sell what I can do, because it would be true.

    I'm a big proponent of it's your project. You tell me how you want. I'm going to get that done for you. That's also a big lesson, by the way, for people who want to do editing is while you may end up doing pieces that you also director, right.

    When you were hired to edit, you were hired to edit for someone and is their vision right or wrong, and you were there to guide them. It's not your piece.

    Ling Yah: How did you figure out that that was your role?

    Robert James Ashe: I just tried it in interviews.

    Man, I would tell fake stories all the time. You know, , it was almost like, it's a psychosis, but I would just try different things in interviews and it was like some short film and some producer came in during the interview and kind of butted heads with the director and left and tried to kind of look to me. I was like, oh, it was like, oh, what's up with that? And it kind of told me what was going on. And I was like, dude, I got you, man. Don't worry about her and we'll do what you want.

    And I got it like right there. he was like, yeah, you're the one. Okay. And the next one, I just took that attitude.

    Really, after every interview I try to reflect on what went right, what went wrong because to me a perspective is much more important than facts when it comes to like interviews or anything, it's like, how did you see me?

    Cause an interview is really based on like, what can I convince you that I can do? So perspective is everything. So , down to the shirts I would wear in an interview, where the blue shirt brings out my eyes, it makes me friendlier. What I mean? It's all little things like that.

    You learn them over time. You try stuff. People are so deathly afraid of getting everything perfect. Every time I'm not afraid to go into a job interview and just bomb. , I've been around long enough that I think I can bare minimum duty, decent job every time I go out there now, but there's something I want to try.

    I'm not afraid to do so.

    Ling Yah: And before we wrap that, I would love to talk about your family, your daughters, cause you're very passionate about them. your oldest daughter was born in 2010 and she has arthrogrypos is. I wonder if you could share a bit about what that means.

    Robert James Ashe: Thank you for saying it right first off.

    That's a rarity. So my oldest daughter was born with arthrogyposis multiplex, congenital type a myoplasia where the easiest way to, make people understand is she was born with stiff joints. So when she was born, her arms were completely straight. We could barely find her elbows. Her legs were crossed and you could not straighten them.

    So she's had 12 surgeries at this point on different joints to either loosen them or just anything that we got her to the point where she could walk which she can now with the use of orthotics and she's also non verbal.

    Once we got her into a place where she was kind of on our path, we started thinking about adding to our family and we had this idea in our head I won't be able to explain it like yeah, in a wonderful way, but here's the basics of it was if you have a bunch of kids and one of them is into soccer and play soccer after school, or they got to go to practice.

    Which means you've got to pack all of your kids into the car because it can't be left alone, got to go to a soccer practice, won't it be great if all your kids played soccer. So we figured we had a really good medical team for my daughter, and we figured out that we could handle more. So we looked into adoption and we had adopted our second child also daughter from China and three, four years later after that we adopted her son from China and my second daughter and my son also have special needs.

    They are verbal.

    Ling Yah: What is it like being the parents of three children who would need more assistance than some children might?

    I mean, a lot of parents would probably look and go, but I can barely look after myself now, long three shoes on here needs so much infant for me.

    Robert James Ashe: I think, , I hear this sort of thing.

    A lot people downplay their own resolve on things. everyone's more capable of doing more than what they think they can do. I mean, it's your family, like, what else are you going to do? Are you just really the choices then, you could just be bad at it, which like, I didn't want to make that choice.

    You know What I mean? I think that the ball game changes for everybody according To their circumstances. I think that as challenging as our oldest can be with being non-verbal there's also an ease in our purpose. Our why for her is that our priority is for her to be happy. And once we figured that out, a lot of things came in easier.

    I mean, there's certainly other conditions and other things on this planet that would scare us, that we would not be up for. But we found after going through everything we went through the first time around, we were pretty decent at it and we were able to do more. And so we did.

    The best way you can describe our situation is one of my favorite stories. My oldest.

    After one of her major surgeries we worked in therapy for a long time to help her to express when she would have pain one of my big worries was.

    She had a stomach ache. How was she going to tell us who she, , for? She broke her leg. how was she going to tell us, , so, so far, so she speaks on the iPad. She uses a program called Proloquo to go, and that's how she communicates. She communicates what she wants, where she wants to go, what she wants to eat.

    So we worked with her to identify body parts, head, stomach, eyes, ears, all that kind of stuff. So she really never used a casually, whereas almost everything else we would work on. I want chocolate milk. I want to go outside and wants to go to the pool. She got to express all those. No problem to one day we get a call from the school.

    The school says Ellie's crying. And she keeps saying on her iPad had stomach had stomach. Could stomach rolling. Oh, oh, all right. Well I'll come get her. Yeah, absolutely. So we go and go to the office, , to bring around a wheelchair she seems all right, like she's not giving any kind of indication that she's sick or anything like that.

    And labor on her. I was like, yeah, she keeps her head stomach. She was crying. I was like, go ahead. So load her up in the car. And she puts on her, yo Gabba, Gabba, favorite TV show. And then she starts laughing like really hard. I was like, what are you laughing at? And I started looking at her and um, I was like, you just faked being sick.

    Didn't you? And she starts laughing really hard. And I was like, good for you. So she got out of going to school, just like any other kid. She just did it in her way. And that's the real difference with all of this. we're hitting all the same marks as everybody else. We're just doing it in our own fun way.

    My youngest talks her ears off. He's the sweetest kid in the world. Loves Harry Potter, loves swimming. Loves making friends loves playing video games already because it's a pandemic and not much else to do. And , in our middle child, Fiona, she loves games.

    She loves the iPad. , she loves a Monga. She's a great artist. She makes small pieces of art. She loves small models, like picking like little chairs and little tables.

    Ling Yah: She drew the Simpsons. It was so good.

    Robert James Ashe: I know, I know. Like she keeps doing these things lately and , she shows him, you're like, did that.

    It's not a doubt of her talent. It's like, just like, man, I can barely draw a stick figure.

    So yeah, that's the absolute best way I can describe it all. We're playing the same game as everybody else. We're just playing in a different ball field, but that's all it is.

    Ling Yah: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of perhaps adopting a child with physical challenges?

    Robert James Ashe: Be absolutely sure that the challenge is something you're up for. Be absolutely sure that you are aware that when you adopt that there may be more challenges that you won't be aware of and it is no different than when you have

    a pregnancy it's no different. What if my child can't walk? What if my child can't see? What if my child can't speak? What if they can't hear, what am I going to do? Ask yourself the same questions. Cause the game's no different just because you're handed a file. Doesn't mean that all the information's in the file, the kid is still young.

    there was never any difference.

    When I met Fiona, I just knew she was my daughter. And when I met Conan, I knew he was my son. There was no hesitation. I mean, hell when we remember the, file they gave Fiona week is our first adoption. I mean, we didn't know. It's like, how do you know when they're your kid?

    And one of the things that our file was, they said she tattle tales on all the other kids in the orphanage. We just found that hilarious. And we're like, yeah, yeah, that's the one. And I just loved that so much. So I love my kids.

    Ling Yah: Well, thank you so much for your time and sharing everything. I normally love to, and all of my interviews with these questions. So the first one is this. Do you feel like you have found your why?

    Robert James Ashe: No. And that's okay, because if I'm doing things right, it shouldn't be about my why anymore.

    It should just be about my children.

    Ling Yah: And what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

    Robert James Ashe: Legacy? Wow. I'm not a huge fan of the show bay. You know, the show doctor who I'm not an anti fan, I just haven't watched it that much, but there's a phrase, think, a song, a meme or something, and just thought it was just so lovely.

    It was just like, we're all stories in the end. Just make years of good. There was a lot of comfort in that phrase to me. And I think if, when I'm done, if more people just can't please everybody. But if more people found my story was a good one, then not, then I've done a good job.

    Ling Yah: And what do you think are the most important qualities of a successful person?

    Robert James Ashe: Choice. Absolutely. Knowing what you want willing to be wrong, but going for it anyway without hesitation and without fear, I shouldn't say without fear because there's always fear. I think without hesitation is important.

    Ling Yah: And where can people go to find out more about what you're

    Robert James Ashe: doing? I'm on most of the social things at a Robert James Ash e. That's A S H E. Other than that, , hopefully be on a show soon. Hire me, people are listening.

    Ling Yah: Is it hard to transition between late night shows?

    Robert James Ashe: Well, I will say our show was kind of an anomaly because I think in 12 years we only had in post, man. We only had a turnover like three or four people which is very unusual for any show. But the tendency for any of these positions is it's kind of like a pirate ship.

    Like this is a bad comparison, but it's the only way I can describe it that it's like, you'll get the first mate job when the first mate dies. You know What I mean? So there's this sense of, and , people get this wrong sometimes when it comes to Hollywood, it's like, they go like, well do you need an editor?

    No, we got it. Or, , we have them we don't need more, we'll call you if one is not available, but most things in Hollywood really it's about being the simplest solution to a need for someone and to be there at the right time. , I became the lead of Conan a fter Dan Dom, because I was already working there and I was already a lead of another show.

    So I was the easiest solution in the moment. So in terms of jumping into the other show, there's gotta be a need first off. Probably much easier to jump on a new show show. That's just a starting out. So we'll see what happens there.

    Ling Yah: For people who are looking to break into Hollywood quote-unquote and they don't have any connections.

    How did I even start?

    Robert James Ashe: I was a big believer and this helped me , like no one wants to work for free. Like I can, I understand that. But I found a compromise, which was to work for charity especially in Hollywood because. One thing I figured out pretty quick, was the people running, the charity events were Hollywood people and Hollywood people who were actually doing stuff like real shows. That's a big piece of advice for me is like, , work for people who are doing things like real things.

    So if there was a event for a children's hospital, let's say like, , you would get a chance to do work for three or four people who are actually in the know would be grateful when you were done and more prone to recommend you to something after that led to a lot of career improvement for me.

    It was good for the soul after, , you completed the work. It was stuff that people actually wanted to do the people you're working for is stuff that they actually wanted to do. And most people, especially, we were just so grateful that you helped , it just made you feel good about what you're doing.

    Ling Yah: Do you still feel that it's necessary for people to move to Hollywood to get these opportunities?

    Robert James Ashe: Yes, but almost no. We're close. We're so close. And I do, I do wonder in the future too, because like I could see myself getting to the point where I don't need to live here anymore. This is about knowing enough people that are still going to call you anyway.

    But I wonder about that breaking in process, how that would work when you don't live here. I don't know. Maybe it's a thing. Maybe it's not.

    I will say once ingest, so recording to whatever media your cameras are recording to. Once that's on the cloud, then it doesn't matter anymore because mostly it's an issue of getting people media, and that's the reason why you have to be in Hollywood.

    But once that goes away and we're close, the tools are already started. So that makes it probably three to five years away. But honestly, I don't know. I'm just kind of bullshitting. Sorry.

    Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 57. The show notes and transcript can be found at www.sothisismywhy.com/57, alongside a link to subscribe to the weekly newsletter for this podcast. And stay tuned for next Sunday because we would be meeting an extraordinary celebrity makeup artist who has worked with the likes of Michael Buble, Gigi and Bella Hadid, editorials like Harper's Bazaar and GQ. And also been a judge for miss universe Australia and Australia's next top model.

    Want to learn more?

    See next Sunday.

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