<I>How I Met Your Father</I>: Editor Russell Griffin, ACE
June 10, 2024

How I Met Your Father: Editor Russell Griffin, ACE

Hulu’s How I Met Your Father ran for multiple seasons and stars Hilary Duff, Christopher Lowell, Francia Raisa, Suraj Sharma, Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran and Kim Cattrall. The show follows Sophie (Duff), a hopelessly-romantic photographer, and her group of friends in Manhattan. The show is set in present day, but leaps ahead to 2050, where an older Sophie (Cattrall) recounts to her son the events that followed meeting his father.

How I Met Your Father ended its 30-episode run this season as one of the most decorated multi-camera comedies of current times, having been nominated for five Primetime Emmys (winning two), as well as two ACE Eddies (winning this year). Russell Griffin, ACE (pictured, left), worked on the show, including the series finale, and shared insight into some of the challenges he faced in cutting such an acclaimed show.

“It’s never easy to say goodbye to such a beloved series. But, it’s even harder to make sure that last farewell is done right,” says Griffin. “You’re saying goodbye to those characters, stories and worlds for the last time. It’s vitally important you create an ending that’s fulfilling, compelling, engaging and rewards your audience for the emotional investment they’ve made in your show.” 

Griffin points to the show’s high-caliber on-screen talent. 

“When you’re the editor dealing with talent of that caliber, you’re choosing between performances that are either wonderful or excellent,” he explains. “You are truly working with the best of the best. The difficult part is to ensure you’ve selected everyone’s most outstanding take as you begin to craft the episode out of all the shot material. As you move through the episode, you’re constantly massaging timing and pacing to ensure the performances are true to character and every moment is in service to the story.” 

Showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger created How I Met Your Father as a completely-new series that also happens to exist in the same world as the original How I Met Your Mother. In fact, the audience has been treated to a few special cameos of the original characters. 

“It’s a huge responsibility to edit the new series, knowing you’re continuing a legacy of comedy with these characters from decades past. It’s almost like you’re building a series finale on top of a previous series finale.” 

The show was shot in front of a live studio audience on the Paramount Studios lot. How I Met Your Father, says Griffin, is the quintessential multi-camera comedy. 

“Four Sony F55 cameras on dollies and peds, shot in a proscenium with the audience looking on from what they call the fourth wall perspective,” he explains. “When you think of a multi-cam sitcom, you think of the classic style of shooting a sitcom in front of an audience. Think Taxi, or Cheers, or even I Love Lucy. 

“But, the difference between those legacy shows and what we do today is night and day,” he continues. “Back then, it was almost a live-switched situation, where the editing was mostly cutting between cameras, leaving everything else to what they actually got on the stage. These days, it’s completely changed. Now you’re sifting through numerous takes within a shared-storage Avid-based system, with massive coverage from the four or more cameras used to capture the performances and story. You’re altering pacing, moving scenes, creating visual gags and stunts, and making everything much more cinematic. Meaning, a modern multi-camera sitcom is edited exactly like a single-camera sitcom. It’s essentially a single-camera sitcom on steroids, because you’ve got so much more coverage.”

The biggest, says Griffin, is that multi-camera editors have to do everything that a single-camera editor does, while also making their shows look like it was shot, more-or-less continuously, in front of a live studio audience. 

“Also, interestingly, while single-camera sitcoms use music as their soundtracks primarily, multi-camera sitcoms craft the audience’s reactions  - laughs - as their soundtracks. Although, on How I Met Your Father, we also got to use quite a lot of music for score, which was so much fun, and really heightened the emotional impact.” 

Griffin notes that How I Met Your Father, much like its predecessor, took the multi-camera format to another level by shooting numerous scenes outside of the stage environment. 

“We shot on the studio backlot all the time,” he recalls. “In fact, the series finale featured a huge, romantic night scene with hurricane winds and torrential rain. It was quite a challenge for everyone, including the cast and crew, but really raised the bar to a whole new level.” 

Looking back on the series finale and the show as a whole, Griffin concludes, “I’ll always treasure editing How I Met Your Father. It was such an honor and privilege. It’s incredibly rewarding when you get to be a part of creating something that special. I’m so very pleased with the series, and just tremendously proud of that incredible series finale! It’s a wonderful way to say goodbye!”