About The Film Editor - Janelle Ashley Nielson

When cutting a difficult scene, it helps to have a brick wall nearby 

Welcome to my site! This page is a little synopsis about what influenced and inspired me to pursue film editing as a career. My love for films, TV and computers came in my early childhood years. At the tender age of 5, my babysitter took me to see "Tommy" on its premiere night at the local theater. This was the first "big people" film that I had ever seen, and I will never forget Tina Turner's head of snakes and the giant pinballs glimmering in the sun. I became obsessed with knowing what was outside of the frame/screen that I couldn't see, and how the images were showing up on the screen. I wanted to know everything about how movies were made, and I wanted to make them. After that, going to the movies was always a treat and I always saved up my allowance to catch at least one movie a week. I think I saw E.T. a total of 16 times in the theater the summer it came out. As far as television was concerned, I was a latch key kid and watched a LOT of TV after school. Ricardo Montalban, Jaclyn Smith, Carol Brady, Rod Serling; these were my dutiful babysitters. I was fascinated by film, and would sit with my View-Master and try to figure out how each frame was designed and how it created the story on those little tiny reels. My love for computers began after playing Pong and other VERY simple games on my dad's Texas Instruments Computer, and after taking computer programming classes in summer school. I also was an avid reader and wrote hundreds of my own plays and stories during elementary school, and I was determined to become the next famous child writer. Creativity was a daily activity for me.

I decided that I wanted to be a Film Editor in high school, when I stumbled upon my mother's old 8mm video projector and several of our old family films. I took the reels, "spliced" them together, made a music mix cassette tape to match the action, and presented it to my family for Christmas. The following year, I was babysitting for a sound mixer who happened to have a tape-to-tape editing system in his house, and I was allowed to practice editing while I was there. After a few hours cutting on the system, I knew that I was meant for this career. I then pursued a degree in Film Studies at the University of California, Irvine, where I learned the basics of film language; story, production and theory.

After college, I moved to Los Angeles where I have since been working in the Film Industry. Visit my resume page for my credits. People always ask, "How can you sit in a dark room all alone for hours on end, watching the same footage over and over again?" Well, my answer to that is that I LOVE Film Editing. To be able to create moments between two people that may have never existed during filming, to bring about emotion or laughter with the right music, to tell a story that can only be told with the eyes, these are all things that I love doing on a daily basis. I sometimes catch myself with a huge grin on my face or getting teary eyed while cutting a scene, and hours can pass before I realize what time it is.

If you want to know more about me, then you're just gonna have to get to know me! ;)  To find out how I became an Editor and how I got into the editing "biz", click here .

For a list of questions and answers sent to Janelle about film editing, visit

Ask the Film Editor

Janelle Ashley Nielson is a Film Editor in the Motion Picture and Television Industry.


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