For 12 seasons, “The Deadliest Catch” has plunged audiences into the dangerous world of Alaskan crab fishing. Yet fans of this Discovery Channel hit show may take for granted the blood, sweat and tears that go into making each episode, as detailed by editor Josh Earl in our recent video chat (watch above). “It’s quite a process,” he readily concedes, and indeed it must be: as much as 30,000 hours of footage can be shot per season, all of which must be sifted through before a story arc begins to emerge. But the effort is worth it as Earl has won the Emmy for Best Picture Editing (Reality Programming) for five years running.
As Earl explains the editing process, “what this show really is driven by are the stories that are happening, the characters that people have grown to love.” He takes us through the massive undertaking of working with the executive producers and showrunner to find that through-line within the vast seas of material.
“It’s kinda crazy,” he admits, “because it’s a doc-style TV show, but there’s so many genres built into this world, There’s definitely adventurous moments, but then there’s just moments of human reality that you get to play with. There’s drama, there’s comedy, (and) it’s kinda fun because you get to use all those muscles as an editor.” He adds, “each episode can have so many different ways that it goes. You’ve gotta feel what the footage will let you do, and then that’s sort of the genre or the vibe that you’re gonna attack. Each one has its own individual challenge, which is fun.”