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Inside Cobra Kai & Its Domination of Netflix with Zack Arnold
Happy New Year IFH Tribe! We are starting 2021 with a bang. Today on the show with have Zack Arnold, an award-winning Hollywood film & television editor (Cobra Kai, Burn Notice, Empire, Shooter, Glee), member of the American Cinema Editors, a documentary director GO FAR: The Christopher Rush Story, narrated by Mark Hamill), and creator of the Optimize Yourself program and podcast.
Zach has been working on the #1 Netflix show Cobra Kai since season 2. If you haven’t heard of Cobra Kai here’s the skinny.
Thirty-four years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, a down-and-out Johnny Lawrence seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai dojo, reigniting his rivalry with a now-successful Daniel LaRusso.
Zack and I talk about Cobra Kai, how he became a healthy editor, what it was like working on some of the top shows on television, and how he retired early from editing, except Cobra Kai, of course, to run his own lucrative online business helping creatives optimize themselves.
Enjoy my conversation with Zack Arnold.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Zack Arnold – Optimize Yourself
- Zack Arnold – FREE eBook to Write Better Outreach Emails
- Zack Arnold – Facebook
- GO FAR: The Christopher Rush Story
- DONATE to Feed America to help with people affected by the Coronavirus
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
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- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Filmtrepreneur™ Podcast
- Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind® Podcast
Alex Ferrari 0:57
Today on the show, we have Zack Arnold and award winning Hollywood film and television editor and the creator of the optimize yourself program and podcast. He is also the editor of the number one show on Netflix currently, Cobra Kai. Now Zach has been an editor with them since season two. And if you haven't heard about Cobra Kai, you guys have been living under a somewhere under a rock because you got to watch it. It's arguably one of the best shows in the world at this moment in time. If you want to check out the trailers. For that I'll leave I'll leave them in the show notes. But Zack and I talked about his time working at Cobra Kai and continuingly working on Cobra Kai, he will be working on season four as well, how he became a healthy editor, what it's like working on some of the top shows on television, and how he retired early from the editing game. Except for Cobra Kai, of course, and how he runs his own lucrative online business helping creatives optimize themselves. Zach and I geek out a bunch we will get into some editor geekness. But it is an amazing story about how he went from just trying to get his first editing job to editing the top show in the world and how he got that job because he started in season two. And how he fought to get hired as an editor on season two is is a remarkable story of perseverance. And the techniques he used can really help any filmmaker trying to get a job in the film business in any department or in any place you want to get a job in the film business Zach's techniques and what he did will help you so without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Zack Arnold. I like to welcome the show Zack Arnold man How you doing Zack?
Zack Arnold 4:39
I'm good. I'm so excited to be here man.
Alex Ferrari 4:41
I appreciate that. Man. I'm excited to have you here man. You reached out the other day and I saw what you're doing with your website and and just to be honest with you the the main reason you're here is Cobra Kai. I mean other than that, there's no other reason I would have you on the show. No Im joking!
Zack Arnold 4:57
Is there anything else to talk about? I mean come on? Really?
Alex Ferrari 4:59
No like, that was the that was the gateway drug for me to get into your world. And when I saw like, Oh, he's the editor of Netflix is excuse me Netflix is
Zack Arnold 5:08
Yeah, Netflix is Cobra Kai. Let's not forget that
Not youtube red.
Alex Ferrari 5:10
No, no, no, no, no.
Zack Arnold 5:12
Youtube Who, red?
Alex Ferrari 5:13
No, it's Netflix is Cobra Kai. I said, Well, and I you know, so funny cuz I was telling my wife, I'm like, I'm gonna go talk to the editor tomorrow of Cobra Kai. She's really cuz she's a huge fan of this show with me. So and like you were saying off air like there's two react one of the two reactions of people that that that you find out that work?
Zack Arnold 5:31
Yeah. So I've been on the show for just to clarify, I've been on it for two seasons. I wasn't there for season one. We can talk all about like how I discovered it how I got the job. Because as far as like, you know, indie film hustlers want to get on projects they want to get on I got a really, really good story for that. But I was on Season Two and on season three. And at the end of season two, when everybody wanted to see what I was working on or you go to a family event or you go to a mixer. what's what's the show you're working on right now. Cobra Kai, one of two reactions. It's either Oh my god, that is my favorite show. I love it. Or Oh, I've never heard of that. What's that on? Oh, it's on YouTube. Huh? Okay. Well, good for you. Good for you. Right? It's like, really? And then as soon as you say it's on Netflix, when is it coming out? It's like you chant you just change Netflix in YouTube. You You change them around, the conversation changes.
Alex Ferrari 6:19
It's no i and i would tell people like all the time, like, dude, have you seen Cobra Kai? Like, no, where is it YouTube? YouTube? What do you mean here on YouTube? Like the freedom like, no, it's YouTube red. What's that?
Zack Arnold 6:30
Alex Ferrari 6:31
Zack Arnold 6:32
And the hit. The funny thing is, I had the exact same reaction. So I'm not immune to this like anybody else. I knew nothing about the show, when it was in production didn't even know that they were making it. And then they're just starting to be all these whispers around the industry like, Hey, have you heard of this thing? Cobra Kai and this and then I'm like, No, what is it? Oh, the YouTube they remade this like TV series is based on The Karate Kid Saga. And they brought back the original characters. And my response was, how dare they? How dare they destroy my childhood, right? And then because of all the algorithms one day the trailer pops up in my sidebar. I'm like, fine, fine. I watched the trailer, right. And I watched the trailer. I'm like, Damn, this looks good. I should, you know what, I'm just gonna watch the pilot. That's it. I'm just gonna watch the pilot. And then it was, it was free, and the pilot was free. And like everyone else on the planet, I watched all 10 episodes at once because I couldn't stop watching it. And as soon as I finished it the first time I said I am cutting this show. There has never been a better fit for me creatively than cutting this show because the karate kid was essentially my Star Wars as a child. And as far as the technical skills and the storytelling skills I've been working on shows like this most of my career stuff like Burn Notice and Empire and like music and action and comedy all mixed together. So I said I'm, I'm perfect for the show. But the funny thing was, I was a naysayer, like everybody else until I actually took the time to watch it.
Alex Ferrari 7:56
Alright, so we're gonna get back to Cobra Kai in a second. So first, let's pick it back all the way back. So how did you get into the business?
Zack Arnold 8:03
Well, I got into the business originally my my love for it came about when I was a kid. So you hear about all the kids of the 80s they all have the same story running around the house with VHS camcorders, and shooting videos and whatnot. My older brother who's significantly older is like 1314 years older than I am. He was working at Best Buy. So he got a discount came home with a camera. I was maybe 10 years old. And we spent the entire weekend running around chasing each other with Nintendo guns. And we called our movie Duck Hunt. Right and I hated it.
Alex Ferrari 8:33
That's that's trademark. I'm sorry, can you
Zack Arnold 8:35
Trademark sorry about that? You'll have to bleep that out.
Alex Ferrari 8:38
Nintendo is a trademark
Zack Arnold 8:39
Exactly. But the funny thing was that when we were done shooting it, I said to him, I never want to do this again, like I've so I didn't realize it. But I've hated being on set and being in production since I was 10 years old. And I said what was the point of that was like 12 to 12 hour days for six minutes worth of material, just not interested at all. But then two weeks later, he comes back with a new VHS tape, and he had scored the whole thing with the score of the good, the bad and the ugly. I swear to God, it was like it was like seeing porn for the first. And I said, What in the world is this? How did you do this? This is the coolest thing I have ever seen. And he showed me how he hooked up one VHS player to another one and then fed the audio from a cassette deck into the record player play record player record. That was the next 10 years of my life. That's all that I did was deck to deck creating my own highlight reels and doing you know, montages from all my favorite comedic pieces for movies, whatever it was not really knowing that oh, this is actually something I can do for a living or I can get paid for it. So I went to the University of Michigan and I got into film studies, which is much more liberal arts education. And basically every class you have to write about Battleship Potemkin, and there wasn't a whole lot of production going on. But I became self taught learning how to do digital editing and got multiple internships learning avid and Final Cut Pro two at the time. The original Learning After Effects, and really wanted to get into the post world and then I was I had applied for one job. The week before my graduation ceremony that was out in LA just on a whim. I'm like, I'm just gonna send out a resume. It was a company that was doing smaller budget indie film trailers. And they had done the trailer and the TV spots for my favorite film of all time, which is momento. And Friday night before graduation, I get a phone call and they say we got your resume. We'd love to meet with you next week. Are you available? Mind you, I was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and they were in California. Piece of the story that I left out is I gave them a California Hollywood address because as you know, if you're not local, nobody's ever calling you. To the address. Give them the address of a friend of mine. I said, Yeah, sure. I can come out to for a meeting. No problem. hung up the phone. Mom, Dad, I got to go to Los Angeles. What? I've got a job interview next week. So I had my graduation ceremony Saturday morning. I got on a plane Sunday morning, had my interview early that next week, landed later that week, and they call them say can you start Monday and I've been working in the movie business ever since. So that was just short 20 years ago,
Alex Ferrari 11:08
And you're and you're hanging on your friend's couch. Or
Zack Arnold 11:11
I was not even on his couch. His couch was taken. I was sleeping on the floor between his kitchen in his bedroom. That's where my my journey to LA started because the couch was already taken I know. Right?
Alex Ferrari 11:24
It's now did they let me guess. Did he live in Van Ice?
Zack Arnold 11:29
No, he actually lived in Hollywood I'll never forget was on close. It was on Carlton way just off of Gower just short of Sunset Boulevard.
Alex Ferrari 11:36
So you were in the mix, sir. You were in the mix
Zack Arnold 11:39
Yes, I was. Right middle of it. Yep. From small town, suburban middle Midwest America, to Carl tafa Gower and sunset and Hollywood talk about a shock. Right. I almost needed a passport to travel because it was like going from one foreign country to another.
Alex Ferrari 11:54
I mean, I still remember the first time I came to LA, when I was just still doing recon to see when my wife and I was going to move out here. And I said to my friend, like we got to go to Hollywood Boulevard. And my friend who has been living here for about a year he was from Florida as well. He said, You know, you know. We got to go to Hollywood Villa want to go see the Chinese Theater we want to go he's like, hey, alright, I would It's not what you think it is. So we go down there. And we park where Madame Tussaud's is now. There was a parking lot before. So we parked there, right next to Chinese dinner. And we got out. And I'm not kidding you. Within the second we got out. We turn around and there's this girl there. And she's like, welcome to Hollywood and she flashes us. Okay. And then she just walked away. And my wife and I look at him. He's like, welcome to Hollywood.
Zack Arnold 12:48
And I tried to tell you guys I tried to tell you.
Alex Ferrari 12:51
And then as we kept walking down the street, it was just like, Oh, this is Oh, is that a needle? Oh god. This is not this is the Oscars.
Zack Arnold 12:59
Yeah. That's what Hollywood is like, are you have that experience all the time? Where when you have people that visit? Oh, they always want to see Hollywood or something else and you're like, please, no, I'll do anything but that
Alex Ferrari 13:11
I can't stand going to hollywood.
Zack Arnold 13:11
And they insist. And then they go and you're like, all right, I tried to tell you, right.
Alex Ferrari 13:15
It's It's It's just it's Yes, it's it's rough with the Elmo and the giant spider spider. Oh, god, it's just tourist trap to say the least. But anyway. So that's how that's how you began your story. Alright, so then you get into editing. And, and you just and you stick it? Yeah. You've been editing for how long? How many years?
Zack Arnold 13:38
It is about 20 years now. 20 years? And what was your first big gig? Like first like my first big gig? Was that like actually getting paid as an editor? Yeah. Yeah. So I actually made the transition from assistant editor to editor at that same company that I was talking about five months after I started with them. So I had extensive experience. As an editor in college, I'd worked for a couple of news stations and edited commercials that were broadcast throughout the Detroit Metro area, which, you know, not a huge area. But when you're a sophomore in college, and half a million people are seeing stuff you're cutting, like, that's real experience, you're getting paid for it, right. So I essentially started taking freelance editing work nights and weekends while I was being an assistant editor during the day. And I eventually started getting offers that were enough that I could leave the assistant editing gig and I said, Listen, I want to stay here. I want to say no to these other opportunities. But I'm not staying here as an assistant. So my first choice is to stay here and I become an editor or I'm going to take the other editing gigs. And that day I was promoted and I and the other ironic thing about this was that at the company I worked for at the time, they were doing some bigger, like studio level indie stuff like a memento, but they also had some smaller stuff. And there was a movie that had come in it was a paramount classic film had big stars in it, but it wasn't a good movie. And essentially all of the other editors were passing it Round and say, I'm not going to cut this. I don't want to work on this. Give it to the new guy, right? So they hand me this movie. And they're like, Here's your first trailer t Ha ha, ha, right. Six months later, I won the Golden trailer award for the Golden Fleece, which is essentially the Oscars for trailer editors. Very first trailer I ever cut one, the golden trailer was a movie that was called northfork. And for those that aren't familiar with the award, it's best trailer for the worst movie.
Alex Ferrari 15:25
No I've had the director on the show, sir.
Zack Arnold 15:28
Ah so Well, well, don't tell him that I won that award for that. But I mean, it's, it's public knowledge. But the point is that, it, it put me in a position where I could take something that other people weren't as excited about, and I could show my excitement and show my talent. And as soon as they saw what I was able to do with that. Now, the rest is history. So the the kind of kind of my claim to fame that got me from that level to the next one was I also did all the trailer and marketing materials for the Passion of the Christ. And that was, yeah, that did okay. Right at the time, everybody was, before it came out. Everybody was laughing and, and whispering behind people's backs. And you know, again, no company in town wanted to do the marketing for it. But we had a relationship with the distributor. So they handed it to us did the trailer for that it did well. And then from there, you know, the lot of things changed after that was on my resume.
Alex Ferrari 16:20
So you but you started off as a trailer editor, which is different scales, a skill set, then the narrative television, very different skill, calm, yeah, narrative, all that kind of stuff. It's very different.
Zack Arnold 16:31
And when people look at my resume, and they look at the path, and they try to kind of reverse engineer and figure it out, everybody says the same thing. I have no idea how you got where you are. It is such a scattershot mass of dots that don't seem to connect. So for me, it was two to three years of being a trailer editor. But I always knew I wanted to do long form. I really wanted to do long form features and drama that was and that's what everybody says, I want to do scripted drama, I want to do scripted drama, but I was going to do scripted drama. It wasn't like Well, yeah, I'm pigeon holed, I guess I'm stuck. I said no, this is what I'm going to do. So through a mutual connection, I was able to land my first job as a feature editor on a low budget indie. And I was actually working on that nights and weekends while I was editing trailers during the day, to the point where that just got to unsustainable. And I eventually decided to make the transition to the feature, even though I was getting really, really good offers to work at big companies in the trailer world. The reason being that I could see myself climbing higher and higher up the wrong ladder. And I had multiple colleagues that got to a certain age and said, Man, I don't want to be doing this anymore. But I just all I was focusing on was the money and climbing up and I didn't realize I was climbing a completely different ladder than I wanted to be. And I said, I'm 25 I'm single, like, why not pursue what I want to do now and worry about the money later. So I spent the next seven, eight years of my career cutting low budget indie films, just because I wanted to gain the experience, build the network and build credits on my resume. While kind of behind the scenes. I was cutting a bunch of trailers and feature ads just to pay the bills.
Alex Ferrari 18:01
Yeah, trailer, I mean, trailer, it can be extremely lucrative, especially here. If you get co Yeah, absolutely. If you get hooked up in the right circles. Yeah, I mean, I've worked some trailer editors, and I've been a trailer editor. But like, even when I was working with some other like really high end, guys, I'm like how much we get paid.
Zack Arnold 18:19
And I was getting those offers. And I turned them down for a job that was paying me flat $600 a week as the editor. And I was okay with it. Because I knew that I didn't want to climb to the top of the wrong ladder. I didn't want to be stuck there. And the funny thing was that and we'll we can maybe talk more about how I made the transition into TV in a second. But I've talked to colleagues recently that I worked with 1520 years ago that are still working on trailers, making a lot of money and they all say the same thing. I wish I had I wish I'd made the transition when you did because now I'm stuck. But when you're 25 years old, it's terrifying.
Alex Ferrari 18:52
Yeah, like you're a 50 year old trailer editor who's really well known, like the jump into movies at that point is going to be a tough cuz you've got to grind for another five years. Yep. Five, six, unless you get unless you get something that pops. But if not, you really got to grind and just the world is so different. Yeah, it's so different than it was when we were younger. Alright, so let's get into Cobra Kai man. So How the hell did you get Cobra Kai? And I just need another story.
Zack Arnold 19:20
Absolutely. Um, so like I said, the beginning of the story is that I identified the show just through the random YouTube algorithm and seeing the trailer. But as soon as I finished it, I said it wasn't a matter of how cool would it be to work on the show. It was a different mindset. I said, I am cutting the show. Like there's no question. There's no alternate reality where I do not edit Season Two of the show. So the first thing that I did was I did research. This is actually a process that I teach extensively in my program now. It's called going down the IMDb pro rabbit hole responsibly. So you target a show. And what you do is you start to build this concentric circle of network where you And find who are all the people that were working on it? And do I know any of those people? And if I don't do I know people that know those people. So it was a matter of you can't just go online and go on whatever the job website is, whether it's media match, or Mandy, and it's gonna say, seeking editor for season two of high profile Sony Pictures Television show called Cobra guide doesn't work that way. It's all about relationships. And one of the biggest misnomers or the biggest excuses, frankly, that people use, about not being successful in Hollywood is it's all about who you know, well, no shit, it's about who you know, gets to know people, right? Make it a full time job to build relationships and get to know people. You want to spend all day long in your small dark room learning avatar, Da Vinci or whatever it is, that's fine. But if people don't know that you're really good at your craft, you're never going to get hired. So I always tell my students, don't wait to be put in the right place at the right time. Put yourself there. Right. So I what I did was I started to research who all the people were, went through extensively every single name, and I found one person that really didn't even work that much on season one creatively, it was a producer, a post producer that was brought on at the tail end of it, essentially, just to keep the trains running, make sure that all the color was done correctly, make sure that all the delivery deadlines were met. And this was somebody that I had worked with on a pilot for a show called underground about three or four years ago. So I cut the pilot for that show. And we only worked together for I don't know, maybe five, six weeks. So we had a had a working relationship, but I hadn't kept up with her. And I thought to myself, how do I provide value to this person? That's always the first thing I'm thinking, I think that when it comes to networking, everybody thinks to themselves, oh, how can I get something right? And I'm thinking, How can I How can I provide value because ultimately, this show really hit me hard. And I know that it's it's something that's providing a lot of positive impact and value to others. So I want to learn, why did the creators make this show? What was their their deeper? Why? What was their purpose behind it so I can really crawl into their heads. And thus, I can connect with her. So I can demonstrate that I understand why the show was made. So what I did was I rewatch the whole season again. And this might be a unique situation that not a lot of people are in, but I wrote an extensive article about it. And it wasn't a YouTube review. It was here, let me break down all of the deeper themes of the show that you're missing and how you can apply them to your lives. So I would take quotes from the show. And then I would break it down using a lot of the theories and philosophies that I talked about with mindset. And it's only after doing that we're talking like this was probably four or five solid days of work, I blocked out my calendar for the whole week. And it probably just said, Cobra Kai, and we're remember that this is as an entrepreneur, you know how much happens over the course of a week when you're creating content. And I just stopped the presses. I'm like, nope, everything I'm doing is going to be going towards getting this job. And I wrote like a four or 5000 word article about the deeper themes. And then I reached out to this woman to this producer, just reintroducing myself, hey, don't know if you remember we worked together on the show a few years ago, I just happened to see your name and the credit roll for Cobra Kai. And I got to say like the show blew my mind. It was so fantastic. It must have been an amazing experience to work on. I love the show so much that inspired me to write this. insert a hyperlink here, right. And that was it. I didn't ask for a job. I wasn't Hey, attached is my resume for your reference. Could you please pass it? All? Right, right. hate that stuff. But that's the default mode that everybody uses with networking. I didn't do that I just provided value. Right? I wanted to make somebody's day. So they're like, I got I spent all this time in this, you know, dark room, and it was so hard. But it had an impact on somebody. That's kind of what I do at the end of the day is I want to have a positive impact. So I provided that value. She got back to me. Oh, yeah, of course I remember you. It's great to hear from you. Again, really impressed by the article and glad that you loved the show so much. By the way, just wanted to let you know, they might be looking for an editor for season two interested question mark. And I'm like, I'm in right. So as soon as you sent that I don't remember exactly what the response was. But it was probably a lot of all caps expletives. But whatever it was, it was like, Yes, I'm very, very much interested. I'm currently looking at a couple of their shows at the moment, which was true. But this would be by far my number one choice, is there an opportunity to meet with their creators of the show. She said, they're not really actively looking for editors at the time, meaning just because of the calendar, they were still in the writers room. And that was probably a couple months away. And I said, I totally understand that. But I have other opportunities that I'll probably end up taking. So if there's a possibility I could meet with them this week. That would be that would be ideal. So they kind of shuffle things around. They'd saw the article, they saw the background that I had, as far as the shows that I had edited, like yeah, okay, we'll meet with him, walked in there did the interview and I got the job in the room. And I've been working on the show ever since. And I actually if people want to hear much more about this from the showrunners, the creators perspective I did a 90 minute podcast interview talking about this process from their side of the table. So I go into this really in depth. Yeah
Alex Ferrari 25:09
So when we say you, did you interview them? Or they?
Zack Arnold 25:11
I did. Yeah. So I did a podcast with all four of us, because there are three guys that created the show. And I wanted to talk about number one, why they wanted to make it but number two, I wanted to talk through how I got on the show and what it looked like when I came to them from their perspective. So I don't know what what did you think why did you bring me on the show? What did you think about the the interview like it, so I wanted to deconstruct how it went from, they had no idea who I was to essentially being hired in the room so other people can do the same thing.
Alex Ferrari 25:39
But the thing that you're doing here, Zack is it's a lot of work. It is a lot of work. It's that's the first thing that I hear so much went like, Oh, well, how do you build an audience? Or how do you do this? Rather than like, Oh, you have to do this, this? This is gonna probably be a couple years for this to build out. And just like, oh, that just you just said, Oh, yeah,
Zack Arnold 26:03
Yeah. So it says the guy wearing a hat that says hustle off, right? Yeah, that's what I tell people on levels advocate. Of course, no, of course, I totally understand that. But what's really easy is sending a group email to 50 people that you've worked with before, saying, Hey, guys, just wanted to let you know, I'm available. I just finished XYZ show. And if you know of any opportunities, I get those all the time. I never respond to them, even if they're people I know on their friends, because I'm thinking really couldn't have even sent an individual bad email to me, you had to send a bad group email,
Alex Ferrari 26:35
You could have just copied and pasted and sent it to me.
Zack Arnold 26:37
Alex Ferrari 26:38
That would have been better.
Zack Arnold 26:39
Even that would have been better. Yeah. So I totally agree. But if you want to talk about work, that was one of the easier jobs that I've been able to get. So the way that I originally got into television was I'd been doing indie features for seven or eight years. And it was right around the time of the writers strike. And it was also the time on all of the studio indie studios were going like Warner independent and Paramount classics, like all of these that were in their heyday, all started to close their doors. That's what I wanted to do. That's what I was working towards. I'm like, well, crap, like, I can't do the stuff I want to do. Because it doesn't exist. I wanted to do those 10 to $20 million indie features. I didn't want to do the Avengers. Just from from a lifestyle perspective, which we may be talking about later. But I thought I really want to do character driven stories. And that was when the golden age of TV really started. I said, You know what? I'm gonna I'm gonna move into scripted drama on television. You can't transition from features to TV. You know, I think I've heard people tell me that before. They said I couldn't go from trailers to features. And I want to go from features to network and cable TV. So I worked on a web series at the time. This was in the early days of people like making legit web series. And I done more one for Sony Pictures TV for crackle. That was called the band in white
Alex Ferrari 27:55
I knew you would say a band in white. I've had him on. I've had Marco.
Zack Arnold 27:58
Oh no, no kidding. Yeah, yeah. No. Well, then it's crazy that we you and i n Connect. Because I've known mark for over a decade.
Alex Ferrari 28:05
How is it that you and I don't know each other?
Zack Arnold 28:07
I know. Isn't that crazy?
Alex Ferrari 28:08
It's crazy. It I had mark on. I've had more I had mark on like two and a half years ago. Wow. And I that's crazy. I worked with Robert Forster on my on films, as well. So he was telling us about Oh, yeah, I just worked on this this thing web series, they paid my heart. So I showed Yeah. So it was just great. I can't believe it. So yeah, it's such a small incestuous business,
Zack Arnold 28:35
Isn't it? That's that's what people need to learn. It's a very, very small business. And you have to be very careful how you conduct yourself and how you treat people. Yes. But it can also be very encouraging when you realize how small it is because you build a few select relationships, and you're in for life. So anyway, I cut the abandoned way. And as you know, as far as web series go, it was very, very successful, and of winning a bunch of awards. And I was told by multiple people, you know, and I said, What's Burn Notice? Like, dude, you've never heard of burn. Notice. It's this awesome, like spy show on USA Network. It's totally thing like, Alright, I guess I'll get out. And I watch it. I'm like, Oh, my God, this is the Bandon way on television. Like it's it's almost the same thing. So I thought this is the show, this is how I'm going to transition. So essentially, what I did is even before the band and way came out, it was when I just finished the the trailer and marketing campaign and that Went, went went public. And just for those that, you know, indie film hustle world, yes, I did all the trailers and marketing while I was doing the show while I was doing the web series because they have no money to pay anybody. So you just kind of do all of it. Which in this case, very much behoove me because I was able to to use that to my advantage. And again, I just went on IMDB pro and I looked at every single person involved with the show, and at least the ones that were in post production or in writing I essentially Facebook stalked every single one of them. And I'm not saying I advocated Doing so but that was the approach that I took at the time. And I got one response. And it was from one of the editors of the show, he saw the trailer for the band and way and he said, Dude, this looks really good. And it kind of looks a lot like our show, we should talk like, Okay, great.
Alex Ferrari 30:16
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Zack Arnold 30:27
So he and I got together for lunch, we hit it off, we had a good relationship. And at the end of the meeting, I handed him a DVD demo reel that had the first two episodes, and it's a web series. So it's like 15 minutes worth. What's his deep now? I said, What's his DVD? digital What? And your younger audiences like Wikipedia de VD? Yeah, whatever. We were talking about VHS tapes. 15 minutes ago?
Alex Ferrari 30:50
I'm talking. I'm way too young.
Zack Arnold 30:51
Yeah. No kidding, right. So I had handed in the first two episodes, and I said, all I'm looking for is just creative feedback. I just want to know what you think I really admire the style, you guys have developed on Burn Notice, I'm a really, really big fan of the show, cuz I'd started watching it. I think I'd had watched the first couple of seasons at the time. He's like, Yeah, no problem. I'll take a look at it when I get a chance to. He called me back a week later. And he's like, Dude, this is better than our show. Like, what is this? Like? Seriously, this is really, really well done. And I'm really impressed. And from there, he and I just stayed in touch. A couple months later, he called me up. And he said, I'm going to be going on to a pilot that I'm going to be editing format. Next, who's the creator Burn Notice, and I'm going to be missing one episode of season four. And I just want to I want to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Like, I don't think you have the experience. But I think that you deserve to get an interview just just so you can get in the room and start meeting people. And I thought, well, first of all, that's amazing. Thank you for the opportunity. And then I play hung up the phone. And I said, well, EFF this, I'm getting this job, like I am made for this show. Sure, sure. So you want to talk about hard work. Before that interview, I watched the entire series, which was three seasons of 42 minute episodes, 16 episodes of season, I watched the whole first three seasons twice. I basically rain manned Burn Notice. And I remembered every episode, I knew their transitions, I knew their style, I just, I basically absorbed it like a sponge. And when I went into my interview, I knew the show better than the executive producer did. And what I found out after the fact is they said that we were interviewing multiple high profile TV editors that had done shows like 24, and heroes that were doing these big time number one shows, none of them knew our show, none of them were willing to even watch it and understand our style. And we knew that we could hire you. And on day one, you could cut our show with no learning curve. So that's how I ended up getting the job. And from there, I got the one episode, they saw my editors cut. And they said, well, you're part of the family. And then I ended up staying there for the next four seasons until the finale. So again, it sounds like so much work. I blocked out two weeks of my life, to sit and watch television. But it that turning point has changed the last decade of my life, just that one decision.
Alex Ferrari 33:12
So I want I want the audience to understand what a point out is a couple things in your store, which are fantastic one, you do an immense amount of homework, and you're laser focused, when you go after something, you do an immense amount of homework and you're laser laser focused. And then when you are approaching people to get a job, you don't approach them to get a job, you approach them to build a relationship to provide value to be of service to them in one way, shape, or form to like, Hey, what do you think of my stuff? You know, because we already started that. You didn't start off with like a cold email, like, Hey, I just edited the band and way. Here's two episodes, I'd like a full report. Like you start the relationship that way. But once you build it up naturally, and organically to the point where he's like, you know what, I just talked to this kid. I don't think you're gonna get a guy, but I'm gonna let you come in. And that's the only thing you need. You just need that one opportunity. But so often, filmmakers and people in the business, they just, they don't use a scalpel, they use a sledgehammer, because it's easier to do a sledge hammer move. But the problem is that everyone uses a sledgehammer, and not many people actually take a time to do the scalpel. Is that fair?
Zack Arnold 34:27
Exactly. Yes. Oh, not dead. That's exactly the way that I teach it in my program. I use a different analogy, though, that when it comes to networking, and meeting people and trying to get jobs, everybody's heard of the shotgun approach, right. So the the best visualization I can give this is a horrible post pandemic visualization. It worked great until March, but you walk into a giant room of 500 people. And the mindset is I've got a stack of 500 business cards. I'm just gonna hand them all out. Fingers crossed, man, somebody remembers me and they it's just I just need one person, right? But if You were to do weeks of research and identify one target, and you walk into that room and you build a relay. That's no longer the shotgun approach. That's the sniper approach. Sure. So my approach to networking is on the sniper, where I will spend weeks preparing for one single shot, that everybody would say, oh, that shots way too far. That's over a mile away and your targets the size of a quarter. Yeah, but if I do the work, I can hit it. And how much how much energy Am I going to save in the long run? If I switch my mindset from the shotgun approach to the sniper approach?
Alex Ferrari 35:32
No. Amen. Amen. I mean, it's, I don't know how you how we've not met. I just don't understand how
Zack Arnold 35:38
I know Isn't it crazy? It's It's insane. We have now. I mean, we have to make up for all this lost time.
Alex Ferrari 35:44
I mean, it's like we were cut from the same cloth. You know, it's like, it's it's insanity. And we've been in town and you don't live far out. For me. That's even scarier for like I saw where you live, like, you don't live that much farther that me so I was like, we don't
Zack Arnold 35:58
We've probably seen each other Ralph's at least once or twice, and we just didn't know it. If you were wearing your hustle hat, I probably would have introduced myself.
Alex Ferrari 36:05
Yes I always walk around, generally with big signs up around me that says, Hey, I'm Alex. Hey,
Zack Arnold 36:10
Yeah, right. And you hand out copies of your podcast, because you want people to review and subscribe, right? Obviously, to my podcast, subscribe to my podcast. Can you imagine what people are doing? Doing via email? Right? Like, we were talking about this before that you go on social media now. And everybody in their brother has a YouTube channel and they have a podcast. My children now have YouTube panel. They're eight and 10. And they have their own YouTube channels. And like my, what I've seen them doing and their kids, so they don't know any better. But my son will send me an email saying, Can you please subscribe to my YouTube channel and I just laugh. I'm like, I know grown men and women that are doing the exact same thing right now. And you go on social media, and they're like, Hey, guys, check out my YouTube channel and subscribe. And I'm like, No, if you create content that is so valuable to somebody else, they will subscribe because they want more from you. So just focus on providing a tremendous amount of value to other people. You don't need to ask them to do anything for you. That's the paradigm shift that so many people don't understand.
Alex Ferrari 37:13
Yes, absolutely. Now, do you have any tips on working with like network producers, clients, things like that. Because I, I mean, for my client days, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. But I'd love to hear what you think.
Zack Arnold 37:27
I've got plenty of them. But I'm gonna throw this back at you and throw this back to your listeners as well, because this is something that I always talk about in my program, is that if you want a really, really good answer, you got to ask a really specific question. So instead of just I'm looking for tips to work with people give me specific instances. So give me a really specific scenario.
Alex Ferrari 37:46
So when you're in the room, and there's a producer who's such a pain in the ass, and you got to sit in that room for the next 10 hours, and they just don't know what they want. They're ignorant. They're idiots. They're ego driven. And they're, they're going to hurt the show. And you are the editor. And even even so to the point where they're arguing with the director, who's also in the room, and you as the editor are essentially Switzerland. You can't you want to creatively be with the director, but the guy who's paying you as the producer. How do you dance that line?
Zack Arnold 38:16
Hmm, that sounds so unfamiliar. I've never been in a scenario like that in my entire career. I wish I could be helpful. I really do. But that's a tough I that's rough. I mean, I know. Yeah. So the really the short version of it is how do you how do you maintain your sanity while dealing with people that just don't seem to know how to collaborate and don't know what they want and don't know how to communicate it. So the first strategy that I've used very successfully throughout my career is I do everything I possibly can to convince people to get out of the room. Because the best work is not going to happen when we're all sitting in the room. Right? So what I want to do is I want to collect everybody's feedback. And I want to give them the freedom. And again, I'm always trying to frame it as I want to provide you value and make your life easier. So instead of fighting about, oh, we shouldn't do this, or that or the other thing, I'll say, listen, let's all let's all bring our ideas together. You guys don't want to be stuck in this dark room all day long, while you just watch me hit the keyboard, right? Let's let's bring all our ideas together, give me a couple hours or half a day or whatever it takes to just work on this and then we'll have something to really respond to, and then you're going to be fresh. So the first thing is I do everything I can to get everybody out of my space number one, because I do think it's better for collaboration and creativity. Number two, you know, referring back to the beginning of the podcast and being introverts, just let me do my thing and get out of my room. Right. So that that's that's the first thing that I'll do. But then the second is that I will do my best to really try to get everybody to see this as we're not trying to figure out who's the most important person in the room. It's who has the best idea because the best idea wins. That's something I really try to facilitate in my edit room. So one of the the metaphors that I always use, and I even talked about this in my interview With Cobra Kai, because when they interviewed me, I interviewed them. I wanted to know, what's your process? How do you approach it to make sure that we are compatible? When you're young, you just want the gig and you want the credit when you get to a certain point, if the job is miserable, it doesn't matter what the credit is, or how good the show is, it's not worth it. So I always want to know, what's your collaborative process. And I said to me, as far as I'm concerned, if I have my door open, and I'm working on something, and the janitors cart rolls by, and they say, you know what, I would go with the close up instead of the wide shot. If my thought process is janitor, what do they know about filmmaking? Right? That's the worst way to look at it. But if I listen to them, I'm like, huh? He's right, Chloe, would be better, Oh, my God. Right? Those are the people that I want to work with. And if I know that I'm working with people like that, I can be more open and sharing my ideas, because we're all going to be very energetic and sometimes confrontational. But it's always with respect, because we're trying to fight for the best idea winning, not the person whose ego is the strongest and the most important that needs to be placed. Now, on the flip side, you are inevitably going to be in situations where that is no longer the case. And I will do my best to express what I think is the best idea, and then I just leave my ego out of it. And then it essentially becomes I'm an extension of the workstation, I press the buttons that you don't know how to press and I will give you whatever you want. And that's not a good place to be. But as soon as you as soon as you release your mindset from, I have to be the shepherd of this thing. And I have to make sure the best idea when sometimes you just have to let that go say all right, it's not your this is, this is the way things are going to be they're paying me to be a technician, right. And at this point, I'm the technician. And as soon as I accept that, it makes it easier, it doesn't make it easy, but it makes it easier. So for me, it's all about number one, give me the space to do what I do best, which is not with you guys sitting on the couch every two minutes on your phones while I'm trying to come up with ideas. But then if we are stuck in the room, alright, well, let's at least come to the consensus that the best idea wins, not the highest person on the call sheet or the the biggest name and the credits are who has the biggest paycheck. And if that doesn't work, well, then I'm basically here to be a set of hands to give you what you want. I'll express my opinion here and there. But if you don't want to hear it, collect my paycheck. I'm gonna go home. And I'm going to pass my resume and I'm gonna look for another show.
Alex Ferrari 42:22
Right? Exactly. And I what I always say is I always tell people offer to pay the check twice. You get your deal once doesn't get give it one more time. If they say no, move on. You can
Zack Arnold 42:36
See the in the way that I do it is very, very similar. I have a process that I talked about. That's almost the same as you know, editor Alan bell.
Alex Ferrari 42:43
Yeah, I know the name. I know the name.
Zack Arnold 42:45
Yeah. So he had done he's done the the last three Hunger Games films, he did the amazing spider man. He started out in the the Fox Searchlight and you know, indie film world as well, which is where he and I got to know each other. But he essentially said the same thing. But he said I do it three times. The first time, I'm very clear about what my idea is the second time, I'll just, you know, it's an hour later or a month later, and we're watching the same sequence. I'll put it out there again. And if they say no to Okay, that's fine. But then just one more time before we lock picture. Hey, by the way, guys, before we decided that we're done with this, I just wanted to bring up a BNC just just wanted to put it out there one more time. And then if they say no, well, then you move on with your life. But I had another editor that was on a panel once that said something that was really profound to me, and I actually heard it recently, and I'm really, I'm selfishly upset that I didn't come up with it myself, because it was so brilliant. And they said, at the end of the day, whatever work we're doing ends up on TV or on the screen or whatever it is like over 90% of those edits are our choices. We have to be okay with the other 10% belonging to other people. I was like, brilliant. So you sometimes you just have to let other people make their choices, even if they're cringe worthy moments for you knowing that you did your best.
Alex Ferrari 44:00
And would and this is a little trick I've done and I'm sure I'm not the first to do it. Do you leave a mistaken? So the guy with the ego has something to say,
Zack Arnold 44:08
Alex Ferrari 44:10
You leave a bad cut in or you leave something so obvious that they have to like a because they have to justify themselves being in that room. So you've got to throw some red meat at them.
Zack Arnold 44:20
Yeah, that. So there's a term that I that I came up with when you get those notes, whether it's the ones that you kind of intentionally put in or the ones that when you're reading through the notes, you know that it's just for the sake of them being in the room, I call those thumbprint notes, oh, this is a thumbprint note, because they just got to get their thumbprint on this. And one of the things that I've always wanted to do and I always say I'm going to and I never actually follow through but I want to create a short film. And it's only going to be like two minutes long. And it starts with the scene in the Edit room where you have the the executive giving his notes or whatever it is. But then you fast forward to like a month later, and he's watching the show with his wife or significant other in that moment comes up all for the reason of him being able to say He that, that was my idea. Yeah, that's what it's all about it, that's what it's all about, you just you got to give them that little bit and be okay with the fact that the vast majority of what's there, you get to own some of it, you just gotta you got to swallow that pill.
Alex Ferrari 45:13
Now I wanted to kind of get a transition into your optimize yourself, you know, company what you're doing, you know, as an editor, you you know, you sit in a chair in a dark room for 10 to 12, sometimes 15 hours, depending on the on the job a day for, you know, in our case, decades. And that is generally not the healthiest way to look at things, you know, and as again, when you're 25 you're good, man. It's all thank
Zack Arnold 45:47
You think bulletproof. You think you're a machine and you can do it forever.
Alex Ferrari 45:50
All day, man. It's all good. You have carpal tunnel, I don't know what that is. So um, but then as you start getting older, your body starts to hurt, and back problems. It's that. What is your advice on on dealing with that? Because I know you have a whole course about that. So can you talk a little bit about that?
Zack Arnold 46:09
I do this this is you literally if I were a doll, you just pulled the string on the back. And I might go for hours. So I'll keep my soapboxing to a minimum, sir. I'll make this more of a TED talk than you know, an entire lecture. But yeah, so the the realization that I had is about the age of the you alluded to at 25. That was when I was working on that first indie film that I talked to you about. And when I was in director's cuts, I was working from home because it's an Indian, you know, they basically exploit your your equipment, and they just asked you to work from home for free, obviously. And the way that the schedule worked in the midst of director's cut is 9am knock on the door directors at my house, she would leave at 1am. It was that seven days a week for two months straight, with zero days off with somebody on my couch. All that time she lived with me. I was living with my girlfriend at the time, I never saw my girlfriend saw the director 16 hours a day. And as soon as we had a break, where we were in the process of sending the current cut out to all the various studios in town to get distribution. I completely collapsed. I mean, I couldn't function at all. And I vividly remember spending at least the next two to three weeks on the couch 12 hours a day watching law and order SBU reruns. To this day, I still can't watch it because I get these horrible anxiety, flashbacks from remembering that. But there was one point that my girlfriend at the time who's now my wife, she had said, and I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was really simple. Like, hey, do you mind you know, cleaning up the the stuff in the kitchen and taking out the trash broke down in tears? Because it was just too overwhelming for me to be able to figure out how can I do that right now with the energy that I have. And I'm like, okay, there's a problem here, something is going on. And there's something wrong. And I started to meet with multiple specialists. And I was dealing with severe depression and anxiety and the B word which I had never really experienced before, which was burnout, which is of anybody in a creative field, they should be more afraid of this than anything else, because it destroys your ability to make a living. And I was completely and totally burned out. And if you paid me a million dollars, I could not have come up with an original creative thought. And I realized at that point, that the way I was doing things was not sustainable. I was sound like I was 15. I was 25 just starting my career saying, I'm not going to be able to do this for the next 40 years. So Something's got to give, because I'm just beginning and it's already destroying me. Before that I was in really good shape. I had done martial arts for about 10 years, I was into yoga. I've always been into learning about the athletes mindset and athletes psychology and just personal development has always kind of been a thing on the side. And I thought, well, what if instead of saying, Well, I'm working, I'm in tunnel vision, and I'm only working and I'll focus on all that stuff during hiatus, right? It's this idea of Oh, yeah, I'll get healthy when hiatus comes. Well, that never works. Because as soon as hiatus comes, you're destroyed. And then you say Hmm, I'm too tired right now. But I'll I'll focus on my health when the next job starts. vicious cycle that goes around and around and around. And I said what if I can find a way to blend both of these things blend all the things that I know about athletic performance, and me wanted to perform at the highest creative levels and I bring them together. And that started about a decade's worth of self experimentation. Just trying standing desks and sitting on yoga balls and trying juicers like all this stuff, like I went massively down the biohacking rabbit hole. And a lot of stuff didn't work. And I failed a lot. But then as things started to come together, people started to come to me and they say, How are you staying in such good shape and you're working on these big shows and you just had kids and it just it's it's just doesn't seem like it's possible. And I started to talk to them about all the things that I was doing. And really the the biggest area that I was focused at the time was how can I be active at my desk, because it's so hard to find the extra time and find is a big work. It's all about I need to find the time Guess what, guys, I know where your time is, it's on your calendar, just because it's on my calendar, we have the same calendar 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you're not going to find any more time. And I thought with the schedule that I have, I can't just go to the gym for an hour a day, if I have two kids, and I have to wake up with them in the morning, and I cut until 10pm. So my only choice if I really want to be active, and I want to stay healthy is I have to figure out how to move right at my desk. So I spent about two years developing an entire program. So it's not just about Well, yeah, I've got a standing desk, but my feet hurt all day long. Like, you get a height adjustable desk, there's certain mats, different types of chairs you can get. I mean, like literally, I have four different types of kettlebells sitting right next to my desk, I have an elliptical machine right behind me. And it's all things that are not for the sake of I need to stay trim. That's a side effect, it's I need to stay creative. So when I need to generate ideas, I keep myself moving, turn that into an entire online program. And then from there, it just kind of blew up and expanded into now what's talking about time management and productivity, and setting goals. And like you talked about, like you have to have a plan if you want to go anywhere. And then over the last year or two, a lot of people have really been coming to me for networking strategies and career development. Because it's I see the same progression over and over and over. I barely make it through the day, can function at my job. What do you recommend? You got to start moving, go take a walk, get a height adjustable desk, oh, I'm feeling pretty good now, like I've got some energy, but I don't know what to do next. Well, maybe it's time to talk about time management and prioritization. Oh, my God, I love this stuff. But I really know what I want to do now. But I don't know how to do it. I don't know how to make that connection. So it's been this kind of organic, organic evolution. Where if I had gone back six years ago, and you had said, so what's your business plan? Like how you gonna monetize this? And I actually had a friend of mine that said that when I just started my podcast, at the time, it was called fitness and post. And he said, so how are you going to monetize this? And like, What do you mean? How am I going to monetize it? Like, if there's no money in this? I'm just doing this because I'm passionate about it. And I'd started a hiking group of other editors and whatnot. It's like, no, you're onto something, but you got to monetize it, like, okay, I don't really know what that means at the time. But then, exactly. And I had another person that said the same thing to me, I done my first speaking engagement at an editor's conference. And this was the guy that was a big name in the conference world. He's like, and he was just, if you just think about like, the the biggest name in your industry, you're sitting and having dinner with him, you're like, Oh, my God, I'm sitting with this guy, and he just leaned over, he's like, I love what you're doing, you need a plan, you don't monetize, you're gonna die, you're gonna burn out. And I was like, Whoa, like, I hadn't thought about that. Like, it can be a passion and an obsession. But if there isn't something that's driving it, it will burn you out. You want to look at all the podcasts that have 15 episodes, and were last released two years ago, there's your answer. So that's when I started to ask myself, how do I package all the things that I'm doing, which brought me to the movement program, move yourself brought me to the time management productivity goal setting program, which is focused yourself, and now to develop developing the career advancement program. So there's, there's a lot of stuff that's been going on that's been very organic, as opposed to six years ago, this is exactly what the plan is. And I'm going to do all these things. But the the fundamental thing were all of this actually began was deciding that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life putting my kids to bed via FaceTime every night, is all about asking myself better questions. And the question I asked myself is, what about my life needs to change if I don't want to put my kids to bed via FaceTime anymore. And that's what really were all the start on a much deeper emotional level,
Alex Ferrari 53:43
I would have to say, the exact same thing in the sense of like, I would, because we but we do things were both cut from the same cloth. We're both editors. We both been doing this for decades. And I've been there I've been the exact 16 hour days working in I made my bones in indie film, so it's just like, constant indie film world. And it's always like use my gear come in there sitting on my couch, like sitting with all this stuff. And I jumped into color. And I jumped into post supervising and you know, kind of built out all that kind of VFX supervising and things like that as well. But a lot of the stuff that you're talking about pretty much covers all post anybody in post audio visual effects, anyone sits at a desk, Mm hmm. 10 to 12 hours a day. And even what we do now is still sitting at like podcasting and creating content on a computer that I'm sitting down 12 hours a day, you know, give or take, you know, and I break with meditations and I and I do work out in the mornings and, and I'm able to do it, but is there anything specific that you can suggest a couple of tips for someone who sits down all day on a computer that they can do to kind of just get the ball rolling?
Zack Arnold 54:57
Yes. So there are two tips that I give everybody If we're talking about square one, they have no idea where to start, what's going to have the most impact, they have to change two things about the way that they manage their day. Number one, no matter what, you have to stop eating at your desk, yeah, right, that's a big one. And for a lot of people, that's really scary. I had one client of mine that said to me, I was at a job where they literally told me, if I step away from my desk for lunch, they will fire me, I'm like, well, then you don't need to work there, first of all, but you you need to stand up for yourself and set that boundary. And he ended up quitting because of that. So it's a very real thing. I think for a lot of people, psychologically, they have that fear. And they just assume that's the cultural expectation. But you have to set the expectation at the boundary that no matter what I'm not going to be available while I'm eating. And yes, every once in a while, there's crunch time, there's something that if you don't get it up by three o'clock, you know, whatever, like, I'll forgive those once or twice a season, right over a four to six month period on a show. I'll forgive that a couple of times. But other than that non negotiable, I will not eat at my desk. Number two, you have to prioritize time to take a minimum of 30 minutes of walking during your workday. And people say, well, that's impossible. I don't have an extra 30 minutes in my day to go for a walking break. Do you know how busy I am. But what they don't realize is that it's not about working more hours, it's about working better hours. And what I found, and this has just become a rote habit for me now, even as a podcaster, and a writer and a coach and everything else, that in the afternoon, it's just like clockwork, I don't even need an alarm anymore, my brain just says about 3:30pm ope, gotta go for my walking break. Now. It's just become rote habit. But what I do is, it's called productive meditation. So instead of me just going out and talking to my friends, or whatever, what I'm doing is I'm collecting the thoughts for whatever my task is going to be at four o'clock, whether it's me cutting a scene, so I might choose a scene in advance and be intentional about it and say, Alright, here's what the scene is about, what are the challenges and I cut the scene in my head. Or if I'm writing an article from my website, or I'm going to be doing a podcast interview, whatever it might be like, just before our interview today, you know what I did, I took a 45 minute walk around our neighborhood, and I listen to your podcast, because I wanted to get a sense of, you know, what, again, it was just a matter of, I wanted to be able to really understand your voice and your mission and your passion. Because again, like I should have discovered you years ago, and I should have listened to every single possible episode you've ever done. But outside of when I discovered you a couple of months ago, I hadn't really jumped really deep into the work that you had done. But that got my brain primed and ready to be the right fit for this and know what the right topics of conversation are, I'll do the same thing. If I'm going to have a podcast interview with somebody else, where I'm the host. Well, I'm going to listen to past interviews that they've done. So I understand what's the most important thing for them, if I'm going to write an article, and I need to outline it, I outline it while I'm walking. So most of my article outlines or dictations. So I'll take a half hour walk. And I'll just dictate. Okay, so part one, I think needs to be this and this and this and transition to this. And oh, don't forget to add this quote from this one person. So by the time I sit at my computer, I don't have blank page or blank timeline syndrome, where I say, Oh, God, I have to start another scene. Now I've already started it in motion. And they've done numerous studies, that the number one way to jumpstart creativity is by walking. It's scientifically proven. So if somebody is going to start somewhere, you got to prioritize walking, and you got to eat away from your desk,
Alex Ferrari 58:28
I get some of my best ideas from walking, bike riding, and driving. Like I have a long commute your mind just starts? Uh huh. But if you want to get more physical, let's not drive, but biking, or or walking. I get the best I did. And also a meditation honestly, not moving. But still meditation does help with the mental. Obviously, it helps your mental mindset.
Zack Arnold 58:54
Yes, but what you're doing, what you're doing in all of those things is you're activating something in the brain called the default network. Because you're not feeding it stimulation, you're not in front of a screen, you're not actively trying to solve a problem. You're not passively scrolling through Facebook, or Instagram or news feeds or whatever it is, you're just letting your brain think freely, which is why we have the best ideas in the shower, washing dishes, taking bike rides, because there's really nothing else we can be doing except to be with our thoughts. And that's where the brain takes all the random things and it starts to connect them for you. That's essentially the definition of creativity. So if you're being hired to be creative, and make decisions all day long, why wouldn't you afford yourself the freedom to have better ideas? The only way to do that is to step away from the workstation and guilt free. So you're not thinking oh, well, I need to be in my computer all day long or they're not going to think that they're gonna think I'm not working and I'm lazy. We got to get rid of that cultural expectation. Right? I'll take you every single day when I was on Cobra Kai, like clockwork, you could have gone around the lot. 4pm there I am just staring at the floor like you. You would think I was like a crazy homeless guy. Alright. Got it, got it cut the next scene, you know, got to do this. This is what I'm going to do the montage, but I just I'm doing it while I'm walking, I walk into the database, right smoke coming off the keyboard, because all the ideas are already there. But I am by far in the office, the least of anybody that I work with on my teams. And it drives everybody crazy. It's like, how's he going home at 730? Every day? What's that all about? Once he's taken walks, and he's eating outside for an hour? How dare he right.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:26
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Oh, I got that too. I used to get that all the time. When I when I had, I only had two full time jobs, like actually, like hired staff jobs. Yeah, fired from both. I am an entrepreneur. Yeah, in the blood before I even knew as an entrepreneur. And I used to work at a network and I was the fastest editor there. And I would cut everything out to be done at like, Oh, I gotta catch the train. And people would be sitting there until eight or nine. And they just, I'm like, just, you know,
Zack Arnold 1:01:07
You're you're hiring me to get the work done. You give me a deadline, you tell me what your expectation is of the work, I will meet both of those. But don't tell me I have to be tied to my workstation, just cuz that's not how it works. Right? That that is the entrepreneur mindset. And my guess is you had a similar realization that I did where, and I've actually been told this by multiple producers and collaborators. They've said, I love working with you. Until I tell you, you have to do something. Yeah, no, no. And what I realized is that I am really good at working with people. I am horrible at working for people. Yeah, I can't work for people. But I'm really good at working with direct, which again, I talked about this in the the interview. In the podcast interview with the co worker creators, I made sure that we were going to be working with each other. We were going to be collaborators. Yeah, I know. They make more money and they get more prestige.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:56
And at the end of the day when push comes to shove, they're the ones that gonna make that Yeah, of course, it's not a matter of like,
Zack Arnold 1:02:01
I'm going to get Final Cut. I know that technically I work for you. But the collaborative process, I have to feel like I'm working with you. That's really, really important because I can't work for people I'm over it can't do it. That's why I do what I do
Alex Ferrari 1:02:13
when it's wired. And as we get older the tolerance for that stuff just goes
Zack Arnold 1:02:16
Oh, it's my tolerance is gone. There's zero tolerance left.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:21
I 20 at 22 I was like one of the highest paid editors in Florida, because I was obscene amounts of money in the in the late 90s because this is 90 so there was money. Oh, sure. Everywhere. It was everywhere,
Zack Arnold 1:02:33
White dust all over the cast
Alex Ferrari 1:02:34
Oh it was insane. It was insane. And I was like I walked into that first job interview and I said, Well, I need this much money. And I was so cocky because I was freelancing like crazy. I was doing commercials and music videos and stuff. And they wanted me to come on as a staff staff guy and I was like okay, I need X amount of dollars I need at least three weeks vacation and that's how arrogant and stupid I was. I go and I need two days a month off just to to recharge I can you imagine like I'm such an arrogant little crap little shit. And and they like Yeah, sure. And they gave it to me. And that lasted about a year and a half because and that was generally the turning point. It was literally about a year and a half before I just started to self sabotage. I started to be such an ass that I just you know, it was I would get angry and bored. So everyone listening out there if you're in a job that you hate, and you might you might have what we have is entrepreneur situs. And
Zack Arnold 1:03:33
I like that. Yeah, entrepreneurs is an affliction. There's no question
Alex Ferrari 1:03:36
It is it is an affliction. You are born with it. It is not something you learn. It is something that's in your blood. And I realized that early and I've been doing entrepreneurial stuff. God since I was out. I made money when I was 11. Garage saleing I'm like that's how I used to make my cash was just doing garage sales. I would just walk around with wads of cash for a 12 year old. I walk around with 100 bucks to go buy my baseball cards or comic books off. Sure. But it is it is definitely is definitely if you're thinking out there like maybe I'm an entrepreneur. Yeah, it might. It might be
Zack Arnold 1:04:12
Yes and when.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:14
Remember that guy, Foxworthy. Jeff Foxworthy. You might be a redneck if, yeah. If you don't like working for people, you might be an entrepreneur. Yeah. If you can't stand this or that you might be an entrepreneur we have to come up with like, yeah,
Zack Arnold 1:04:29
If somebody is going to give you a note and all you want to do is kick him in the nuts. You might be an entrepreneur.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:39
If when you're sitting alone at home, and you're thinking of ideas on how to build a business while you're working a job for minimum wage, yeah, might be an entrepreneur.
Zack Arnold 1:04:53
If all you do is sit around all day long thinking about the 50 different ways your boss is an idiot. You might Be an entrepreneur.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:01
Exactly, exactly. That's why I came up with the filmtrapreneur because it was just like, we need to have filmmakers start thinking more like entrepreneurs. Because I think yes, Oh, absolutely such a lack in this business that when we say business, we say the word business, it's called the film in their industry, the industry, it's Yeah, it's money, guys, you gotta,
Zack Arnold 1:05:23
Which is another, it's another thing that makes it so crazy that you and I've never connected because that's one of the foundational things that I talk about. So I when I, if I do a live seminar, if I'm talking to a group of editors, or other people in Hollywood, I always do a survey at the very beginning. I'm like, Alright, so how many people in the room are editors? Right? You get 50 6070? Hands ago up? All right, cool. So how many of you are a little bit earlier on? Maybe your pa is assistants, you know, support staff? Get a bunch of other hands go up. Anybody else that I didn't get? Yeah, I'm a sound make sure you got it. Okay, great. So how many of you in here are a business owner that sells a product or service? Nothing? Oh, okay. Hold on. Maybe the mic is broken? Um, how many of you in this room are business owners that sell a product or service? And I get this? I, some hands, maybe? Let me ask you one more time. How many people in this room are business owners that own that sell a product or service, and then all of a sudden, it's like,
Alex Ferrari 1:06:18
oh, wait a minute, that's all
Zack Arnold 1:06:19
He does. Oh, and then every single hand goes up, I'm like, you have to treat yourself like you're the CEO of a business of one. A CEO isn't just working on their craft, they have to market and pitch their product or service. And if all you want to do is sit in that dark room and learn the technology, that's great. But nobody's ever going to discover you. So you have to learn how do you think of yourself as a business, even if you're working for other companies, even if your staff, there is no world anymore. Where we come out of college, we start at the bottom rung of the ladder of a giant corporation where we work for General Motors or Ford or Microsoft or Google or whoever it is. We work for them for 30 plus years, and then we get a nice pension and we retire those days are Oh, verb. So you have to treat yourself like you're a business and you are constantly moving from one client to the next. And for some reason, creative people just don't seem to grasp that very well.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:11
Nope. And that's why there's so many areas in our business, that there are sharks, predators, and parasites who take advantage of the creative that don't understand that distribution comes to mind.
Zack Arnold 1:07:23
Alex Ferrari 1:07:24
And post comes to mind, I mean,
Zack Arnold 1:07:26
oh, post production, for sure. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:07:28
my god. So many producers who don't like these editors who just don't understand their worth. Like I when I was getting to I came out when I came out to LA, it's just my first job I had when I landed, I was editing, color grading a post supervising an entire feature for 10 grand. Oh, God, that's painful thing, but the whole thing I was I've been there. I was so happy though. And she was great. She was a great director. And we had we built a great relationship. And it was my first job. It was my first job in LA. So I landed with that job waiting for me. So I was so grateful for it. You know, and I know a lot of people like 10 grand. That's the I worked on that project probably about three months.
Zack Arnold 1:08:09
Yeah, you you you extrapolate for the amount of time and it's like nothing you could have made more if you were an assistant manager at McDonald's, and work less.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:17
Exactly. And by the way, that film never got released.
Zack Arnold 1:08:20
Yeah, that is usually the case in the indie world
Alex Ferrari 1:08:22
Never got a release ever, like didn't even get thrown anywhere. It's non existent somewhere. Yeah. So well, it's
Zack Arnold 1:08:30
Yeah. And it's funny, you bring up this idea of just the the exploitation of creatives and artists, I literally just released an article yesterday talking about this, because there's research that has come out that actually proves this is the case. And there's a term for it. It's called the passion tax. So they they actually did research a Duke University, and they found that it is deemed more culturally acceptable to take advantage of artists and creative people and those that are passionate about their work. And it's less acceptable to take advantage of somebody that doesn't enjoy what they do. It's just science at this point. So anybody that feels like God is, is it just me or do I feel like my good nature and my talents are being taken advantage of? Oh, no, oh, no, it's a real thing. And now even has the term. So it's very, very real. And if we do not learn how to use the magic word properly, it's just going to keep happening. So everybody asks, How do I how do I change things? How do I make things better? What am I missing? You have to learn how to use one word extremely well, you better learn the word. No, no, is the most important word. If you have any interest in pursuing a fulfilling career in this business, otherwise, people will chew you up and spit you out.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:41
And when you're starting out, you're going to have you generally eat some crow. When you're starting out when you're
Zack Arnold 1:09:46
Oh absolutely. You can't know from day one. But you can say no to things again, that are not the right opportunity. So for me at 24 years old, I will say no to six figure jobs in the trailer world, right because I knew it wasn't the direction I wanted to go. So that's not saying no belligerently like, I'm an ass. That's just you know what, unfortunately, this isn't a good fit. I would rather go down this path and climb this ladder instead, that was me saying the word no, in so many words, but everybody just wants to chase the next gig and land the next paycheck. And as soon as that happens, it becomes this vicious cycle of the lifestyle expands. And my network expands to be more people that have more of the exact same kind of work, then it's a decade later wondering, the hell am I still cutting reality? When did that happen? I never wanted to do this. It's because you keep saying yes.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:33
And I wanted to ask you something. Because I know this is something that a lot of our people in our business, I'm sure you know, a lot of them are going through this right now with COVID. You know, when you're working as a freelancer, and you working on jobs, like you know, going on Cobra Kai, or things like that, that's great, that's wonderful. But in a situation like we're in right now, which is obviously once in a generation situation, when you rely on someone else for your livelihood, it is a very dangerous place to be. And I've tried, I've been trying to say that to people for a long time, especially filmmakers, because when you have films, you own the rights, you set things up, right, you have passive income coming in from those those films. And if you create courses, you create other ancillary product lines. And that's the whole film trip earner book that I wrote, and all that stuff is about when this hit, I just saw and seeing still seeing film, you know, colleagues of mine, who are just like I don't, I just know where I don't know what to do. And I'm and it hurts me. And it's I'm like, I've been trying to say this for years. I'm like, Guys, you've got to build out something outside of this, you've got to have some sort of control of your destiny. Because when you when you work for a major corporation, and it could be any of the big studios or any big giant corporation in any field. They will cut you so quick. Generally speaking, to cut their bottom line or to survive, you are not top of their priority list. And I don't care if you've been there 30 years, they will do it. So can you talk a little bit about what you because you and I both? How long have you been doing optimize this?
Zack Arnold 1:12:13
Well, I met so I made the transition to optimize yourself and rebranded in 2017. So this has been about three and a half years. But I started The original podcast and the blog and everything else about six, six and a half years ago.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:25
So you've been down that path.
Zack Arnold 1:12:27
I Oh, yeah, I started down this path a long time ago for the exact same reason. So well, to go back to this idea of people realizing that their livelihoods depend on others. The first thing that I did the Monday morning after lockdown happened. This was in the middle of March, I had an all hands on deck zoom call with all the people in my coaching and mentorship community, all my students, we all got on the call. And I just I wanted to talk about what they were feeling. What's going on in your heads, like what can we do about this and the number one sentiment that I heard. And then furthermore, the number one sentiment that I got via social media and emails for the next several weeks was I finally had the realization that my entire livelihood depends on other people's ideas and projects. And that's terrifying. Because as a craftsperson, I can't just decide I'm going to wake up and make something for myself. Other people's ideas need to come to fruition such that they need me as a technician. Right. And that scared a lot of people I had the exact same realization but I had it six years ago, I had it when I was working on Empire. So this was it's you may or may not remember Empire was a huge cultural phenomenon I I've watched like, yeah, so that so the next several seasons, I mean, it kind of you know, took a pretty big nosedive. But the first season Oh, was a cultural phenomenon, amazing Empire first breaking decades of ratings records. And in the world of streaming and Netflix, it was appointment television, I remember going to watch the season one finale, which I cut in a bar that was standing room only and you couldn't get in and I had a line out the block for people that want to watch it live. It was an unreal experience. But I had the realization that I have now hit the glass ceiling. I'm in my I must have been about 3435 at the time, so it's about five, six years ago. And I was like, this is it. This is what I do for the next 30 plus years of my career. And if I can't find other jobs like this, I don't know how to make a living. The only thing that anybody has ever given me money to do since I was 13 years old, is edit. What if I don't want to edit anymore? And that was a terrifying moment of realization. I mean, like that level of me because I was just so blind to climbing the ladder to being a successful editor that I got there. 25 million people are watching what I cut and I'm like, Oh my god, this is all that I do. I have no other marketable skills. Now what? So I had the exact same realization. I'm just fortunate that I had it six years ago, such that I'm in the position now where I have other ancillary four forms of income. And as soon as the pandemic hit, you may have gone through something similar when everything started to go into lockdown, I had a three day period where I pretty much just stared at the wall. I'm like, Oh my god, like what in the world is going on? And like, what can I do about this? And am I ever going to get a client again? Like, Will people even care about listening to podcasts or reading like, Oh, my God, and then on Monday mornings, like, all right, this is it. This is the moment that I had been billed for. I have all the systems in place, I have an audience in place, I have the tools, I have the courses. This is the whole point of this, maybe I'm not completely ready for it. And I hadn't planned for it. But this is the whole point of why I made the transition. And since then, as you and I have already talked about gasoline on a fire, just mass explosion, because so many people have gone from Oh, it would be nice to have those strategies. But right now, I'm just too busy to too much work. I'm just too busy to worry about it. So there's nothing scarier than when you realize that your excuse for why you're not doing things is you don't have enough time. And then you're given all the time in the world. And you realize time wasn't the problem. Because I've got it all. And I still have no idea what to do. That's been a very scary realization for a lot of people.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:07
Yeah. And I agree with you, 110%. I had that realization five years ago, when I read a book called The Four Hour Workweek.
Zack Arnold 1:16:16
And oh, yeah, that's a big one,
Alex Ferrari 1:16:18
The Tim, the Tim Ferriss book, which I've talked about a lot on the show. And that was the book that that kind of opened my eyes to say, oh, oh, I could I could I could build an online business. Mm hmm. And, you know, the funny thing is, I had built an online business, I don't even think I've ever said this on the show, I built an online business in the 90s. I was I had a website to two websites in the 90s, I was selling banner ads for the site. And I was making, we were making four or five grand a month, me and my partners. The problem was, it costs four or five grand a month, just the server bills were so damn expensive back then. So it was just it was it wasn't a real business that can scale back then. Or at least I didn't understand that wasn't nearly as much as much information as there is now about it. But I always you know, I was doing Amazon affiliates in the 90s. I understood what that was. So it was kind of scary to step my foot back into it when I did indie film hustle. And you're right, like I was already I was editing, I was directing. I didn't post all that stuff during the building stage of the film, hustle, the initial building stage of any film, hustle. And then two and a half years ago, I just said, I'm done. I don't want to do any more post. I'm gonna shut down my post production company. And when people call me I'm like, yeah, I'm kind of retired. Yeah. And when I say that out loud, it's weird. Yeah,
Zack Arnold 1:17:40
It's scary. Because your your identity is tied up in that, right? It was one of what one of the things is both very rewarding. And also terrifying about when you're a creative professional, is everybody says the same thing. Oh, editing isn't what I do. It's who I am. Directing isn't what I do. It's who I am, right. And I get that I understand how that generates ideas and generates creativity, and it gives you ownership of your work. It will also consume and destroy you. Absolutely. If you tie your entire identity up and what you do, which is why so many people are having these horribly horrific come to Jesus moments because of the pandemic, because their identity was completely tied up in their work. Now they have no work. Who am I What do I do? What is my purpose? Right? That's it. That's a pretty big spiral to start going down. That's very scary.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:24
I mean, I was for for a decade. I'm a director. I'm a director that edits on the side. And that's, that's what I was, and that wasn't anything else in my entire world was that every time the directing did not work, which, oddly enough, it will happen a couple times. That the certain projects didn't show up. I didn't get the funding I that Bradley went down, I wrote a whole book on the first one that you know, when I were almost made a movie with the mob and all of these kinds of things. My whole world came crashing down, and it was just up and down, up and down. It was just it just brutal. Till I finally came to realize that like, I'm not a direct, I'm not only a director, I'm a human being that happens to a human being that happens to edit. And then I started adding more job titles to that. And it made me feel better. But first and foremost, I am a human, then I'm a dad. And that's more important than and all this other stuff. And I've met and you've I'm sure you've met them filmmakers who just like all I do is watch Kurosawa and Kubrick films all day and I am just that dude, and I'm gonna bring tyrian collection and I'm gonna, and I'm gonna do this, and that's great. And I was that dude, I'm sure you were at a certain point, like really went deep down the rabbit hole and that stuff. But that can't be the only thing that you are, because that goes away. You're left. You know, you're that's what like in going off topic. Like if you're a wife or a husband, and that's who you are. That's I'm only a husband. I'm only a wife and you get divorced.
Zack Arnold 1:20:01
What do you do? What do you do? Or you're, you're or you're only a mom and your kids go off to college, right? And then it's empty nest syndrome. So this is just people going through empty nest syndrome on a creative level.
Alex Ferrari 1:20:12
And right, and it's massive.
Zack Arnold 1:20:15
Alex Ferrari 1:20:16
It's really scary what's going on out there. And, and that's why, you know, and we were just talking, we're kind of joking about, like, how many podcasts have popped up, like all of a sudden, and it was like, You know what, I'm gonna start a podcast, and they have no understanding on what to do, how to do it. And they're just like, I'm just gonna start, you know?
Zack Arnold 1:20:34
Yeah I've had multiple coaching calls and community calls and friends and colleagues, just coming out of the woodwork late March, early April. Hey, do you mind getting on a zoom call? I'd love to learn more about how you do the podcast, or how does your coaching work? Right. So I had one person that when less than two weeks went from, I'm an editor, too, I think I'm going to start something to I'm already charging people for coaching calls. I'm just like, Whoa, like, that's ridiculous, right? But that that's the difference between this would be really cool. But I'm terrified versus I'm just going to put in the work. And I'm going to take action. But it's it's it's an area where you can't just say, I'm going to put up a few episodes and 1000s of people are going to download it. And well, I'm just I'm choosing to do something different. I think what happens with people so often, they become successful at one thing, and they decide now I want to become successful at something else. But it should happen right away, because I'm already successful. Oh, no. How long did it take you to get to where you are the first time for me to really say truly that I was a successful editor took me over a decade. I would say that when I was comfortably settled on Burn Notice, it was the first time I could own that. You know what? I'm an editor. I feel like I'm legit, a creative professional. I'm working on a high end show people will legitimately accept that I'm doing this. That took me a decade. Yeah. But if I'm going to go from doing that, to now being a podcaster, and a blogger and a coach and everything else, well, that should What do you think six months to a year because I'm already successful? It shouldn't take that long. Well, why should it take you any less time to do this new thing? And as soon as I realized that it took so much pressure off, because I had this expectation. I'm already successful at this, why can't I immediately become successful at that. But now that I look at it as well, you know what? I'm about six years into this. I'm just now starting to hit my stride. I'm okay with that. Because that's about where I hit my stride when I was climbing the editing ladder. Yep. So when I think about that, three, four years from now, I'll probably be at the equivalent of where it was as an editor on Burn Notice, or and from there. It'll keep building, but it's all about consistency. Right? People just want to jump in. And they want to be like, yeah, I'm going to do this, this and this. And they have 12 podcasts that come out in a week. And then they have 12 podcasts that come out ever. Oh, it's just too hard. That multiple people these new podcasts, this is so much work. Yeah, it is. You got to keep doing it every single week. It doesn't matter if you have a good episode, if you have a not so good episode, if you don't feel like it. You just have to keep showing up. So whenever and again it goes it goes back to this idea of Oh, God. I don't think a lot of work, right? It is when even when I was young, like just out of college, when I just made the transition from assistant editor to editor. People say How did you do that so quickly? And I would say it's the answer is not sexy. I just showed up every single day. I showed up five minutes earlier than I was supposed to. I left later than I was supposed to first in last out. I did the work and I was good at what I did. Oh, really? That's what it was. Yep, I was consistent. That is my secret weapon. And that's the magic bullet. And I just keep showing up every day relentlessly.
Alex Ferrari 1:23:46
It's all it is. Have you ever seen the movie Jiro dreams of sushi? Oh, yes.
Zack Arnold 1:23:50
Oh, yeah. That's what it's all about
Alex Ferrari 1:23:52
Great documentary. And I always tell people like, I don't know if you guys saw the documentary. But if you're gonna if you're going to become an apprentice of Jiro, you don't touch fish for three years. You just do rice. Mm hmm. So you want to be a sushi chef though the sexy stuff is like slicing and creating and he has no no. Three years of rice duty. So you have to master rice. And that's the thing that most people just want to go right to the three you know, the Michelin star sushi chef. They don't want to learn the rice. And that's where most filmmakers are. Most filmmakers want that dream that we were taught especially of our generation that was taught in the 90s which is the mariachi story, the you know, the paranormal activity that clerks you know, it's kind of like these magical, you know, lottery tickets, but it takes just immense amounts of work to get to any place in any field.
Zack Arnold 1:24:54
And that that's exactly the same thing for entrepreneurship. right as you know, going from the post world to being an entrepreneur. You thought there was a lot of tech and post? What you got to learn a few different leads, you come into the entrepreneur world, how many 27 different services? Do you have a monthly fee for where this has to connect to this and this API and this coding? Oh, like, what I when I went back to editing, I was like, Oh my god, it's just one program. This is so easy peasy, right? So simple. But But if you're again, going back to this idea of consistency, all I did was I said, I'm gonna get good at one thing, I'm just gonna learn one at the time it was I just want to learn MailChimp, I just want to get good at MailChimp. Great. Now I need to get good at what is a podcast workflow look like? What are the tools just for that once I'm good at podcasting, once I know MailChimp, what's the next step, then you add another tool, another step of the process. But I'm a big believer that, especially at the entrepreneur level, or the indie film level, you can't just be the guy, that's, I'm the visionary. And I surround myself with everybody else, you have to understand all the jobs at a certain level, you can't be an expert at all of them. Because I also think that's counterintuitive, and a waste of time. But if you're going to be able to communicate with people at their level, you have to use their language. So I'm not good at coding websites. But I can do the basics such that when I'm speaking to a web developer, I can say, I need to be able to do this data and the other thing, and they don't come back and say I can teach you how to do it. Yeah, but the The point is that I learned the language, and I do it enough myself that I can have an educated conversation, it's no different than I should know enough coloring. So I can speak on an educated level with a colorist correct, I should know enough about the finishing process that I can talk to an online person, I should know just enough about Pro Tools or just the mixing workflow. So I can have an educated conversation on a mixing stage, right? It's not a matter of I need to learn everything about all these, because at the end of the day, I'm not going to do my own brain surgery, I want to hire a brain surgeon, but I should at least understand the process. And as an entrepreneur, it's always been the same thing for me, where I'm trying to learn every single stage, just meticulously methodically, going back to the sniper approach, where for months, I'm just gonna get good at this one thing, once I'm good at this, then I move on to the next. But everybody's saying, Well, I'm going to start a podcast, and I'm going to have courses and I'm going to do coaching, it's like, good, you got to slow down.
Alex Ferrari 1:27:12
And you can do it all at once. And without without an infrastructure without a system. And once you have that engine running, then it's easy to start dropping things in and just let it go. Yeah, but without a system without understanding all the moving parts. And that's the thing with filmmakers, filmmakers don't understand. They only think about the sexy part, which is onset, shooting, you know, even even editing is sexy. Once that movie is finished, they should check out and out the like, Okay, I'm done now. Thank God, I have to give the distributor and I'll just get paid. No, right. I don't understand the whole process. Like you said, an educated conversation with a dp and educated conversation with a distributor and educated con conversation with a screenwriter just generalize things. So you can understand this, I've been saying that.
Zack Arnold 1:28:07
Yeah. And then the distribution side of it is a huge, just this dark hole that nobody understands, when you're on the creative side of the craft side. And I don't even know if we have talked about this at all or not. But I directed my own documentary film that I worked on for eight years. So I've been through the wringer from I have an idea to I have to raise the money to I have to shoot and produce this thing, too. I have to work with an editor to now I have to get digital distribution. And I need to somehow make some of this money back and I need to get it on multiple different platforms to get it in festivals. And as an editor, well, the way it works is you hand me footage, and then I hand you a cut. That's it one match, relax, I'm out baby, right. And I realized such a small part of the process. And for me, I knew enough about pre production and everything else that that wasn't that big of a revelation. But it was once the film is finished, you have barely just begun the process.
Alex Ferrari 1:29:03
And that's it. It's so difficult to get to that point. Mm, the feature film specifically or series or anything like that, to think of God have
Zack Arnold 1:29:15
Oh, it's not a few weeks. No, it's we're talking years. Yeah, years, like and I went through that process. And it's really disheartening when you don't see it coming in advance. But if you know that you want to make a film, you got to plan that into your expectations. Like it's not just a locked picture, and I'm out. I actually want people to see this and I'd like to be able to make money off of it. So you need to build that into the amount of time that you're going to prioritize and the plan that you create, because otherwise what was it all for? Like what was the point?
Alex Ferrari 1:29:43
Now do you have? Do you have the same syndrome, I do shiny light syndrome.It's a really bad thing shiny like
Zack Arnold 1:29:50
I call it squirrel syndrome, but
Alex Ferrari 1:29:51
yes, similar similar.
Zack Arnold 1:29:53
I actually I was actually diagnosed with adult onset add at 25, which is the whole reason that my program was built Cuz I needed it because I couldn't get anything done. Because Yeah, it's the, you know, squirrel syndrome, shiny object syndrome, whatever, oh, I'm going to do that next. Oh, but I can also do this, right? It's like, just yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:30:10
How do you stop? And we'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. How because creatives are like that we're filming.
Zack Arnold 1:30:26
Oh, god, yes.
Alex Ferrari 1:30:27
We have one idea here. We have one idea there. We have one idea here, and you just won't ever get anywhere. With any advice on that?
Zack Arnold 1:30:33
Yes so the advice that I have is that you need a place to number one, capture all those ideas. Because I think the biggest fear is, I'm going to have the idea. And if I don't do it right now, I'm never going to be able to realize this thing. So I got to take action. But that never gets you anywhere, and you spin in circles. So you need a system such that you can capture all the ideas, but give yourself the time to process them. Look at all of them at once and say, Well, what are all of the great ideas that I have? And which one should I really pursue next, such that if I pursue just that thing, leaving everything else on my someday list, it's going to make all the other ideas that I want to act upon easier, because I have accomplished and successfully finished this thing first. That's a really, really hard thing to do when you have shiny object syndrome or squirrel syndrome. But when you look at the big picture, and you just force yourself to stop and prioritize everything, you realize, in the long term, I might have to set my expectation that this thing isn't going to get done as soon as I want it to get done. But if I can do everything, right, instead of worrying about doing everything fast, imagine how much better things can end up working out. If you're patient.
Alex Ferrari 1:31:39
I am I'm so frustrated that I don't have four or five more of me.
Zack Arnold 1:31:45
I'm convinced you already have three. So
Alex Ferrari 1:31:48
It's multiplicity just like that movie
Zack Arnold 1:31:51
Exactly what I was just thinking, like I saw your podcast and like how many of you are there?
Alex Ferrari 1:31:57
It's, it's so funny, because I literally have the next two years mapped out of ideas and projects and things that I need to be pumping out. And it's so frustrating to me, like, I just want all of it done. Now I want it done. Now,
Zack Arnold 1:32:13
I'm the same way. I so what I talk about when we when I talk about with productivity with, with my students, I say to them, if I were to shut the world off, disconnect every form of communication. And I just worked from all of the things that I have on Trello. As far as my plans for the next few months or whatever, I have about four years of things to do, without getting bored, at least for years with the things that I want to accomplish with no new ideas, and no new external expectations. But the reason I don't have all the anxiety about it is because I have it all processed. It's all sitting there waiting for me when I'm ready. But I know what I have to do next. I know what my one thing is right now. And there's only so much I can accomplish in any 24 hours, or any seven days in a week. So let me just make the most of that time and know that the rest of it will be there. As it's waiting for me. That's the best that you can do. But it's very, very frustrating.
Alex Ferrari 1:33:06
It's so frustrating. It's I know, you're like you were telling me like how do you do all this stuff? Do you do like how many podcasts you have all this stuff? And I'm going I'm slacking, dude, I'm just such a slacker. I just there's a You don't understand. There's like 20 things sitting behind me that I could do right now. I feel like a failure. And it's so weird to think that things sometimes these thoughts are coming here like, oh, but I could do more. I could do more and it's a sickness. But it's if you know how to harness that energy can be very powerful.
Zack Arnold 1:33:33
Yeah. So what what what everybody else sees is what you've accomplished, what you see is everything you're not accomplishing. Exactly right. That's an entrepreneur. That's that's the way that we're wired. I know all the ideas. I know what it's supposed to look like on this day on the calendar, but you're not seeing all those things because I suck and I'm lazy. And I'm not hustling enough. And everybody else is saying, This is fantastic, right? Like I even told you, I looked at your podcast on all your websites and like, Man, I'm just accomplishing nothing with my life. What am I doing here, Mister, I'm releasing one podcast a week and you shut out a podcast like every three hours like, right? So I'm I I definitely have the same syndrome. I definitely get it.
Alex Ferrari 1:34:14
I'll tell you. I'll tell you a quick story. James Cameron story. So I had a friend of mine who's a director who we had on the show and he he got to shadow James Cameron while he was making avatar before anyone knew anything about avatar. And he's they're shadowing them and he's, you know, he's got the they're in that capture the capture stage and all that kind of stuff, right? And there's like, you know, you know, 50 people on the three, three levels with computers and wires, everyone he's got that camera that we all saw that he does, it's super cool. And he and he's just sitting there watching James and he's like doing the shot and he goes for the shot and he runs into a tree a digital tree. And he goes dammit, Bob, Bob, get this tree out and you see this giant mouse come in from like God takes the tree with roots in all and moves at 30 feet. Alright, let's go again. Like that's an that's an insane technology back when avatar still in the same technology, but it was insane like I was when he did it. So my buddy walks up to him and goes hey after like when the movie jams, man. It's pretty cool technology, like pretty insane what you're doing here. It's pretty great. And it goes, You know what would be great if this camera didn't have this damn cable attached to it. That's the problem. So everyone else sees that like, holy cow Look what you're doing James James only saw the table?
Zack Arnold 1:35:32
Alex Ferrari 1:35:32
That's it, that's where we're at.
Zack Arnold 1:35:34
Yeah, but he's he's an entrepreneur, right? Oh, it's the same thing. All we see are the things that we are not accomplishing. So it's definitely a sickness. And it's it's a tough one to get over. But the best that best advice I have is just focus on the thing you're doing next. And I just tell myself over and over and over, and it's really hard to listen to myself said, I just want to do it right. Before I do it fast. Quality over quantity. That's what I'm always working on. It's just I want to make sure is this the best it can be. But without being a perfectionist, because that's also another reflection, where then the imposter syndrome really crawls? Oh, no, this isn't good enough. Right? It's got to be perfect before I can release it. Just put it out. Right? Like if I go back to my first podcast, they're awful. Oh, my God, production values crap. There's no theme to them. They just ramble. But you know what, I wouldn't be here where I am today had I not put those out and gotten feedback. Just all kinds of feedback, positive and negative, which guides me to where I am today. So I I've released multiple courses, way before they should have been released to the public. But I do it in small cohorts with people that I trust. So I can say, Listen, this is not ready for primetime. I want to know what works and what doesn't know, like, Oh my god, I love this idea. This is great. But this one module made no sense at all, like, Alright, well, I guess I got to fix it. But if I waited until I felt like it was perfect, I still wouldn't have a podcast, I still wouldn't have a coaching program. And I certainly wouldn't have online courses. So you got to do it right before you do it fast. But you also just have to be willing to release things out into the world and iterate.
Alex Ferrari 1:37:07
Now I'm gonna ask you, if you because we could talk for at least another two hours? Oh, easily. That's not even a question. I have at least 10 other questions that we need?
Zack Arnold 1:37:15
Well, I was gonna say you have like seven other podcasts. So we might as well right? Is it actually
Alex Ferrari 1:37:19
Just roll right? We might be doing that. So I've been asked a few questions asked all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today
Zack Arnold 1:37:30
That they need to be specific about what they want to do? This is the this is such an easy thing is you can't go into the business saying I will do anything, because that is going to get you into nothing but trouble. Number one, it's going to lead you down the wrong path doing something that isn't fulfilling to you. But number two, it makes it impossible for anyone to help you. Right. So for me going back to this example of when I became an assistant editor right out of college, I didn't go into that interview saying oh my god, I'll do anything. I went into them. And I said, I think the best position for me right now is being an assistant editor to trailer house, there's no better fit for me, because what I really want to do is be a trailer editor. But I can't be a great trailer editor until I understand what an assistant does, bam, job in the room done. It's specificity. So when you're early in your career, and you want to break in, everybody just wants to do anything to get their foot in the door, get your foot in the right door. And sometimes that means saying no to things. But you got to be specific. And the only way people are going to help you is if they understand how to help you. That's a really big thing that I talk about, where especially people breaking into all these people that are successful. They don't want to help me. I don't believe that's true. I believe that people want to help you, but they don't know how. And it's your job to tell them how I can help you by being specific.
Alex Ferrari 1:38:47
And what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether the film business or in life.
Zack Arnold 1:38:56
We just talked about, it's this idea that I have to be okay with only doing one thing at a time. That's really the lesson that's taken me almost 20 years to learn. Because every time that I'm working on a big project, or I'm working on my own business now, again, I'm always focusing on what have I accomplished? What do I still need to do? And I think one of the most helpful lessons that I've learned in the last few years is I have to schedule regular time in my week to review the things that I have accomplished. Because it's so easy to say, well, it's Friday afternoon, here's all the stuff I didn't get done. What if I took some time to look at what I have done over the last week. Let's review it from the outside perspective of everybody else. And as soon as I forced myself to do that, it helps me rewire my brain to get to the point where I'm focused equally on what I have accomplished versus what I haven't. But it's taken me a long time to learn that lesson. And I'm still learning it to this day.
Alex Ferrari 1:39:52
And of course the toughest question of all three of your favorite films of all time.
Zack Arnold 1:39:56
Oh, that's not a hard one. I would say it would be momento. inception. And I know there's there's a lot in common there. I'm aware. The third one probably totally off the beaten path from those would be Field of Dreams. That's it, isn't it? I love that movie when it came out when I was like, 10. And then I watched it for the first time when I was a dad. Oh my god, it destroyed me after I had my son. Like, it was a great movie for years and years and years. But once I had a kid, I was like,
Alex Ferrari 1:40:32
Oh, I haven't watched. Actually, like, I just thought, from the dads perspective for a second.
Zack Arnold 1:40:37
Watch watch it as a father? Yeah, you watch it as a father., it's, it will slay you now that you're a father.
Alex Ferrari 1:40:45
Oh because I love what I saw it in the theaters.
Zack Arnold 1:40:47
Alex Ferrari 1:40:48
Zack Arnold 1:40:50
Yeah, it's magical. So those are those would be my top three.
Alex Ferrari 1:40:54
And then where can people find you and what you do and all the good work?
Zack Arnold 1:40:59
Absolutely. So they can go to my website, optimizeyourself.me. And I have a ton, a ton of free guides, I've got a couple of master classes that they can join. So what I'm going to do for your listeners, I'm just going to put everything in one place where they can just opt in, and I'm going to send them a link to all of it. So rather than having to randomly go around the site and find the ultimate guide to making it in Hollywood, or the Ultimate Guide to optimizing creativity, or Oh, shiny object syndrome, there's a deep work masterclass, so I can focus on my one thing, I'm just going to put it all in one place to optimizeyourself.me/indiefilmhustle.
Alex Ferrari 1:41:33
Okay, great. And I'll put that in the show notes, guys. Zack man, it has been an amazing conversation. And like I said, we'll have you back on my other seven podcast.
Zack Arnold 1:41:44
Absolutely. And you and you and I are going to have to start a mini mastermind because Boyd wife to pick your brain, I've got some stuff to learn from
Alex Ferrari 1:41:50
Vice versa, my friend vice versa. It's an absolute pleasure. And thank you for doing the good work you're doing man you are a a very cool voice in what we do. And it's it's rare to find. So I appreciate you what you do, man.
Zack Arnold 1:42:04
Well, thank you. And I appreciate you saying that as well.
Alex Ferrari 1:42:07
I want to thank Zack for coming on the show and sharing his crane kick of knowledge with the tribe today. Thank you so much Zack. And as a bonus to the ifH tribe, Zack has put together a free ebook on how to write amazing outreach emails, for you to get jobs for you to get an agent, a manager how to get attention from somebody you're trying to get attention to. All you got to do is go to optimize yourself.me forward slash indie film, hustle. And guys, Zack is a really impressive guy. As you guys know, now by listening to this interview, you should really check out his websites and links and things that he's working on. Because if you're creative, and you really want to get optimized and get healthy and become better, faster, almost like a bionic version of yourself, I definitely would check out his stuff. And you can get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, including how to get ahold of him, and his wares at indiefilmhustle.com/427 app, the show notes. And guys, as I mentioned, in another episode, I will be going on the two episodes a week release schedule for indie film hustle. For the next I think two to three months, there's just so many amazing guests that I have banked and other new guests that I'm getting that I just don't have enough, enough bandwidth to get it all out to you guys. So I'm going to have to do two episodes a week for a little while, until I catch up. And then I'll try to slow down as well. But there's just so many good stuff. And I have to tell you, I've got an amazing episode. coming out later this week for the indie film, hustle podcast. It's with a big, big star of stage and screen. And when you hear his name, you'll know who it is. When you see his face, you'll definitely know who he is. And I had an amazing conversation with him and I can't wait to share that episode with you guys later this week. So check that out. Thank you so much for listening, guys. I wish you all an amazing and healthy 2021 as always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there. And I'll talk to you soon.
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WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.