CoM Quote 2023-08-28

Our deepest, darkest fears (and what we can do next)

Over the last several months – whether it be via online surveys, at in-person networking events, on social media, or talking candidly with my Optimizer students – I’ve gotten a very clear sense of where our deepest, darkest fears are regarding the future of the entertainment industry, content creation, and the adoption of artificial intelligence.

Just this past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at ACE’s EditFest titled “ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Exploring the Technology and Its Impact on the Art of Editing.” Needless to say this single panel stirred the pot, twisted the knife, poured salt in a very painful wound, and struck a nerve all at the same time.

Underneath all the chaos & uncertainty, I’ve identified five core fears that have been at the heart of every single conversation.

  • Artificial intelligence is going to take all of our jobs
  • When work returns, we have no idea what jobs will even be there for us
  • We’re losing creative control of our crafts
  • There’s no way to keep up with all the new skills we need to learn
  • We don’t know who the hell we are without our jobs

As I’ve stated ad nauseam since the beginning of this year, it’s a waste of energy to focus on things we cannot control.

Whether or not AI takes all of our jobs is largely out of our control. What is within our control is fighting like hell to make our opinions known to local leadership with our guilds, staying up to date with industry politics, and voting our voice when the time comes we have contracts in front of us. If you have the means, get out on the picket lines, because the writers’ and actors’ fights are our fights.

Knowing what jobs will be waiting for us when the market opens up again is completely out of our control. Anyone who says they’re an “expert” and states they know what the industry will look like in the next 1-5 years is full of shit. (including me)

Whether or not we lose creative control of our work to artificial intelligence is within our control inasmuch as we can continue to hone the human skills that separate us from the machines (e.g. problem solving, empathy, communication). Outside of that, there’s no telling what AI will be capable of over the next few years.

Keeping up with skills…now there’s a good use of our time right now. With this disruption comes the tremendous opportunity to both get a sense of what AI tools are capable of (at the very least so we understand what we’re dealing with) as well as really understanding what human skills will make us the most valuable in the emerging job market to come.

But ultimately I think the best use of our time is better understanding who the hell we are without our jobs.

Who Are We If Not Our Jobs?

At EditFest I was having a chat with one of my Optimizer students. Given he is unemployed like everyone else, we brainstormed how he could most effectively use his time. So I asked:

“What other interests, passions, or hobbies do you have outside of editing you could pursue right now?”

His answer was both telling and very depressing.

“I don’t have any outside interests. I’ve spent so long focusing on the next steps of my career, I’ve completely lost sight of who I am outside of my job.”

Ouch. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

However, this lack of clarity is also a tremendous gift because there are few journeys more rewarding than learning who you really are.

As storytellers we have honed and perfected our ability to engage audiences in meaningful stories of characters overcoming obstacles to get what they want. And along that “Hero’s Journey” we ultimately become invested in their transformation.

The ironic thing about our ability to tell these stories for others is that we suck at telling our own stories!

What I’ve found from working with hundreds of creative professionals all over the world in a variety of different fields & crafts is the following…

When you know how to clearly tell your own story, it becomes so much easier to:

  • Identify which skills are the most important to learn next
  • Set clear (and inspiring) career goals
  • Diversify your skills & abilities to generate multiple streams of income
  • Better manage your time so it’s in alignment with your values
  • Better manage your finances so they too are in alignment with your values
  • Know who the right people are to network and build relationships with
  • Strategize which jobs to pursue (and which to avoid)
  • Update your résumé or website
  • Know how to present yourself in job interviews
  • Set clear boundaries between your work and your life

You Are Not Your Résumé

If you’re interested in using this time to design the more balanced, more sustainable, and more fulfilling creative career you’ve always deserved, step one is better understanding who you are so you can write the next chapter of your Hero’s Journey.

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, Sep 9th – 9:30am PT

Next Saturday morning I’ll be leading a brand new live workshop (via Zoom) to help you more clearly answer the most important question that when clarified could change the trajectory of your entire career (and life): Who am I?

Keep an eye on your inbox starting next Monday (yes, I know it’s Labor Day) as I’ll be releasing a free 5-day email series to help you better understand how the intersection of your work & life experiences, your skills & abilities, your passions & interests, and most importantly your values can help you become an irreplaceable creative and survive the rise of the machines.

In the meantime I’d love to know…
How can I help you navigate the next steps of your creative career?

👉 Click here to provide your honest feedback

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”