Andi Armaganian ep126

Ep126: On the Importance of Building Relationships, Asking Questions, and Never Giving Up | with Andi Armaganian


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Today’s episode is the second in a series of three where I talk to editors who’ve made the challenging transition to director (here’s part 1 with David Rogers). Andi Armaganian is a seasoned editor, who’s edited such shows like Smallville, Supergirl, and Arrow (here’s her IMDb page). In the past two years Andi has successfully transitioned to director and has added shows such as MacGyver, Hawaii Five-0, Legends of Tomorrow, Flash, Blind Spot, and Stargirl to her list of directing credits. She has done all of this by building genuine friendships with the people she works with. She believes in working hard while also teaching and sharing her knowledge and experience with anyone who wants to learn. Preparation and a willingness to ask stupid questions have earned her the respect of her colleagues and built a reputation for being easy and fun to work with. By her own admission, Andi simply doesn’t know how to work in an environment where the cast and crew are not like family.

For many of us working in creative industries (and even those that aren’t), we assume that competition simply comes with the territory of becoming successful. We have been taught the only way to get ahead is to push others out of the way as we climb the proverbial ladder to the top. But it doesn’t take long to realize this only perpetuates the stressful and high pressured environments that lead to burnout, exhaustion, and downright depression. With so many of us working from home now, it’s more important than ever to foster mentorship and create learning environments with our co-workers and colleagues. These are the types of environments that allow people to learn the skills they need to transition to new roles and advance their careers.

If you want to learn what it takes to make a major transition in your career and how to do so by building lasting friendships and being nice (rather than stepping on others to climb to the top), then Andi has a multitude of knowledge bombs to inspire you to forge ahead and take the next major steps in your career.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Why Andi hung out with the cast of Caddyshack as a kid and what it had to do with her getting into the film business.
  • Andi’s unusual trajectory going from producing to editing.
  • Lessons Andi learned from raising $40 million to edit an animated feature only to get the plug pulled before it was completed.
  • The one thing Andi attributes to her ability to learn and get new opportunities. HINT: I talk about this all the time.
  • How Andi made an impression as an Assistant Editor on Smallville and set a new standard of work for everyone.
  • How Andi fosters a team environment in every show she works on so that by week 2 everyone feels like family.
  • The importance of making friends even in competitive situations such as re-cutting a fellow editor’s work.
  • The secret to keeping good connections and maintaining a network of colleagues and friendships.
  • It’s more valuable to be the most recent person rather than the most qualified person when it comes to networking.
  • How Andi deals with imposter syndrome as an editor turned director.
  • Her best advice for being a well liked and successful director. HINT: It involves getting in the trenches.
  • What the catalyst was for making the transition to directing.
  • The secret to building strong relationships with creative people from actors to producers.
  • How Andi feels about being the “token female hire”.
  • Andi’s thoughts on ageism and how it affects the work environment.
  • Her best advice for young editors and directors starting out – BE SPECIFIC.


Useful Resources Mentioned:

Caddyshack trailer

The Antiquity of Film

Film Bin

Andi’s website

Continue To Listen & Learn

Ep125: From Scraping Up Cigarette Butts to Editing, Directing, and Producing Emmy-Winning TV Shows | with David Rogers

Ep106: On the Vital Importance of “Being Nice” | with Jesse Averna, ACE

Ep113: The Importance of Setting Boundaries, Advocating For Yourself, and Asking For Help | with Janace Tashjian

Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold 0:00

My name is Zack Arnold, I'm a Hollywood film and television editor, a documentary director, father of two, an American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of Optimize Yourself. For over 10 years now I have obsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits, writes or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you.

Hello, and welcome to the optimize yourself podcast. If you're a brand new optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you were inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about the show and help spread the love. And if you're a longtime listener and Optimizer O.G., welcome back. Whether you're brand new, or you're seasoned vet, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you click the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show, and thus the more people that you and I can inspire to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show. For many of us working in Creative Industries, and even those that aren't, we assume that competition simply comes with the territory of becoming successful. We've been taught that the only way to get ahead is to push others out of the way as we climb the proverbial ladder all the way to the top. But it doesn't take long to realize that this only perpetuates the stressful and high pressured environments that ultimately lead to burnout, exhaustion and downright depression. With so many of us working from home right now, it's more important than ever to foster mentorship and create learning environments with our co workers and our colleagues. These are the types of environments that are going to allow people to learn the skills that they need to transition to new roles and advance in their careers. And that is what today's episode is all about. This is the second in a series of three episodes, where I talk to editors who have made the challenging transition to director. And if you missed part one with David Rogers, it is one of my favorite interviews ever. I highly recommend it. It's right before this one. But in today's episode, I speak with Andi Armaganian, who's a seasoned editor that has edited such shows as Smallville, Supergirl and Arrow just to name a few. And in the past two years, Andi has successfully transitioned to director and has added shows such as MacGyver, Hawaii, five-O, Legends of Tomorrow, Flash, Blind Spot and Star Girl to her list of directing credits. And she has done all of this by building genuine friendships with the people that she works with. She believes in working hard while also teaching and sharing her knowledge and her experience with anybody who wants to learn from her preparation and a willingness to ask stupid questions have earned her the respect of her colleagues, and it has built a reputation of being easy and fun to work with. And by her own admission, Andi simply doesn't know how to work in an environment where cast and crew are not like family. That my friends is a world that I want to live in. If you want to learn what it takes to make a major transition in your career, and how to do so by building lasting friendships, and frankly, by being nice, rather than stepping out others to climb to the top, then Andi has a multitude of knowledge bombs, to inspire you to forge ahead and take the next major steps in your career. If you are inspired by today's interview, and you would like to up your networking game so you can get the attention of the right people who can help open the right doors that lead you to a more fulfilling and rewarding career path. But your outreach email game is a bit weak. Well, then I invite you to download my Insider's Guide to writing great outreach emails. In this extensive and free by the way guide, I'm going to teach you why cold outreach is the most important soft skill that you must develop if you want to advance your career, which is important now more than ever that we are all stuck at home and cannot network in person. I will also show you the five most common mistakes that people make when writing their outreach messages. And I will bet that you've made at least one of these yourself in the past. And then finally I'm going to break down step by step in a simple to follow checklist how you can structure an amazing outreach message that is going to provide value to your recipients help you build a lasting relationship instead of feeling like you're just bothering this person and actually get a response to your outreach. So you can then seek advice. Connect with a potential mentor set up lunch meeting. and possibly even land your next gig. If you would like to download this brand new guide for free, just visit optimize yourself.me slash email guide. That's all one word, no dashes slash email guide. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with director and editor Andi Armaganian, made possible today by our amazing sponsors Evercast and Ergo Driven, both of whom are going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview. To access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as just subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview, please visit optimizers.me/podcast.

I'm here today with Andi Armaganian who is a Los Angeles based editor and now director whose credits include show such as stargirl, DC legends of tomorrow, Hawaii, Five-O, Supergirl, Arrow, Blind Spot the Flash MacGyver. I mean, frankly, I could probably go on for 10 minutes about all your various credits and accolades, but I would rather let you talk about them. And I just must say, first of all, I really appreciate you taking the time to be on this call today, especially with all the travels and things that you're doing. So it means a lot to me. They're here to share your story and your sage advice. So thanks so much for being here.

Andi Armaganian 6:13

Thanks for having me.

Zack Arnold 6:15

So what I would love to know with to start is I want to go all the way back to the beginning. There are a lot of really, really great takeaways, I know that you're really big on mentorship, specifically, trying to help other women get into the industry and move up to the ranks where you are now, but it all starts somewhere. And I would love to know why you made the choice to enter Hollywood of all places.

Andi Armaganian 6:36

Well, I grew up, my mom was an actress. She wasn't and not a lot of stuff you would have seen but Caddyshack is her claim to fame I think I've heard at this one. And so who did she play in Caddyshack? She played Dr. Bieber's girlfriend, and she's most famous for being the lady to sit in vomit in the Porsche. Oh, yeah. Everyone knows her for that. I was gonna say

Zack Arnold 6:59

what a story you must have told 1000 times but

Andi Armaganian 7:01

I was actually pretty little kid. But I remember the cast were the only locals so the cast would hang out of their house. So Rodney Dangerfield Chevy Chase, they just hang out at our pool? never bought Bill Murray. That would have been amazing.

Zack Arnold 7:16

Yeah. Well, I would say that still Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield, I did not have them hanging out of my house growing up.

Andi Armaganian 7:22

Yeah. Ken grant was the one I remember the most because he was just so polite and nice and just a good person. But that kind of started the bug. My mom made my sister and I both do mother and me actress, casting tryouts which were torturous and horrible if you are not someone who wants to be in front of the camera. And I was very shy. So that didn't work out. But um, it did make me want to be one of those people over there. So I wasn't sure what it was, you know, did the whole went to college and in college learn to produce I actually started as a commercial producer and University of Florida and did low budget stuff.

Zack Arnold 8:03

So well, going back a little bit in speaking of people that don't really want to be in front of the camera. And that would rather be behind the camera. I would say that that's probably going to help us segue to where you started your career because you haven't been a director your entire career. Right? So where did it all start for you? What was the direction that you first headed?

Andi Armaganian 8:21

So I started well, actually, I started as an indie producer, I moved out to LA and raised $100,000 to do a movie and promptly ran out of it. Because it cost more than $100,000 to do a movie here and taught myself the avid weekend courses and set it up in my closet, and edited the movie on avid and then managed to get some assistance editing jobs to get me in the Union. I interned during college in post production. So I had some nice connections from a movie called gone fishing. And gosh, that all worked out the assistant editing segwayed into editing animation. And I did a movie for three years that never came out and had to do a step back and become an assistant editor, which I'm sure a lot of people have had to do at times, and was an assistant editor on Smallville and edited that after Gosh, I was on that show nine years. So I think editing six of the nine and bounced around the DC, shows arrow and all of those before I started directing.

Zack Arnold 9:29

Well, we're gonna go into all that because that's it. That's the nice little condensed version. And I love to just dive deep into all the various nuances and the steps and one of the things that really frustrates me about this industry and I know that people that are listening, and I'm sure you've encountered this as well, when you look at somebody that's in a position that you'd like to get to and you hear their story, you think, well, that's never gonna happen to me that is so unique to their circumstances and there's no real blueprint. So well that's it. There's no way it's gonna happen to me It happened to her. It's not going to happen to But I know that as somebody who's a fellow mentor, you can probably better break down all the various steps and kind of understand, well, this was really the takeaway from this transition, or this one or that one. And I want to break all those down. But the first thing I'm really curious about is very rarely does somebody decide that they want to be a producer, and then get in front of an avid and just not absolutely hate every moment of the process. Most producers will sit down with the avid and say, I can't believe I have to cut this. I'm going to muscle through it. I'm never doing that again. And yet, here you are. So what was it about producing, transitioning to editing that actually made you say, you know what, I think I want to do this instead.

Andi Armaganian 10:38

They paid me

Zack Arnold 10:39

Oh, well, that's, that's certainly one thing for sure.

Andi Armaganian 10:42

Yeah. When you're producing Indies, and I was paying my crew $50 a week. That's a deal I made with a bunch of the unions, it was a, you know, you don't actually eat. So because I could pay them $50 each week, but not me and $50 a week. I mean, imagine doing it, but it was, so like my dp had been a camera operator, and to move up in the Union. It was willing to work for that just to be able to get the credit they do same thing. Like they all everyone did it just to move up. So yes, I started to get paid for editing. But even in film, school, I loved editing, like that was my favorite part of it, I could spend hours just last and telling the story. And we actually cut all of our film projects on film. And when I

Zack Arnold 11:30

put a link in Wikipedia to what that is for all of our younger listeners,

Andi Armaganian 11:35

yeah, because even when I was an intern, and on the movie, it was a film movie. So we would sync dailies, you're gonna have to put pictures of what a bin looks like. So they actually know where the name came from on an avid, and why things are in 24 frame, and we would sync the audio to the video. And that was my job. I had cuts in my hands from all the razor blades having to do it,

Zack Arnold 11:58

there's something very unique about a person that will sit in a small dark room with no windows with a computer for hours at a time. That just has to work with little little tiny bits of footage and this frame and that frame. Most people it drives them crazy. So what is it about the process that you fell in love with and said, this is really what I think I want to end up doing, at least at that stage of your career.

Andi Armaganian 12:20

Oh, it's the storytelling part because someone can shoot it. And so the writer writes it, the director then takes it that story and creates their own vision. And then it comes into the editing room. And we have to create a story with just what we have. And it's not always what the director wanted, or what the writer thought it would be. I mean, I've taken scenes where it it just wasn't working within the story, and taken out 100% of the dialogue and told the story visually, just from looks just to create something that actually was working to tell the bigger picture of the overall, let's say, an episode of television. So that's what it is. It's just all about storytelling. And that's what I liked about producing, it's the puzzle pieces to put together to create this really cool image. And in post, we do the same thing. We take these pieces that someone has created for us and then retell it in our own vision and hope are somewhat close to what the director wants.

Zack Arnold 13:19

So I'm sure then you've heard the saying that you basically make a movie three times first you write it, then you shoot it, then you edit it, and all three are completely different than you ever envisioned. Exactly. And one of the things that I love about your perspective, and the reason I wanted to bring you on is you're not quote unquote, just an editor you've produced, you've directed, you've edited, and you see how all the pieces come together. And it's such a collaborative process. And I want to talk more about those transitions a little bit later in the episode. But now I want to learn a little bit more about this opportunity that you had very early in your career to work on animated film, because you were kind of like, yeah, I worked on this animated film for three years, it didn't go. But there's some really key details that really make this a lot of a juicy your story, then you let it let it off to be. So talk to me more about this opportunity to edit this animated film for three years.

Andi Armaganian 14:08

So I when I was in Florida, in film school, I was an intern on a movie called gone fishing. The director of that went on to produce this animated film that he raised the money for and also wrote, and he had known that in the process of me moving to Los Angeles, I had had a lot to do with visual effects. My well my ex boyfriend started an effects company and I had an I have a lot of hand in that. So he hired me to come in and help set up this animated film. And a lot of the reason I think is that I'm not afraid to ask stupid questions. And so even though I had no idea what I was doing, I knew how to put an animatic together because I done that in visual effects for commercials and such. But coming into this process, it was a vertical learning curve. So lovely. He trusted Did me. And also like we go into these meetings, I could ask anything because everybody knew I had no idea what I was talking about. So I would walk in and I learned about motion capture and facial motion capture. And this was the golden age of that it was before Polar Express even came out. So we had built these, we raised $40 million. And so we built stages. And I would, I was involved in every single aspect of it, even though as an editor, that sounds really, really weird. But it just the opportunity of him meeting me as an intern, and getting to know me, and then we kept in touch through the years, knowing that I had worked on these visual effects movies as an assistant editor, and just that trust and bringing me in, it was lovely. It was like a $15 million movie, sadly, that a guest.

Zack Arnold 15:52

Well, and that's the part that I find really, really intriguing. I love this idea. First of all, that as an editor, you're somebody that loves to ask questions, I think that's very common of a lot of great editors, is they're willing to ask questions that maybe are going to make them look stupid. But who cares? Ask the stupid question anyway. Because if you can leave your ego aside, you're going to find a better result and better collaboration because of those questions that you ask. But what I can't imagine, is having this opportunity, and it's not like, Oh, it's this little side project, it's a passion project is $50 million. And you're thinking to yourself, oh, my God, I have the lead editing credit on a 50 million and oh, what do you mean, it's not coming out? So I'd love to learn a little bit more. And you don't have to go into any like juicy details or anything private. But what the heck happened?

Andi Armaganian 16:39

So this movie was based on the internet, and in the late 90s, early 2000s, the internet tanked. No one actually thought it would continue. But we were funded by one, you know, Yahoo, Amazon, they were our funding sources. And when the the internet fell, the money ran out. And that's basically what happened. So it just all dried up. We had a, you know, huge, you know, data farms, and we had built a building. But, you know, you still need a lot of funding for that. So that's exactly what happened.

Zack Arnold 17:16

So well, it clearly sounds like this was perhaps the right film at the very, very wrong time, because I'm guessing if it had been made just maybe five years later, would have been in a very different circumstance. And scenario. I mean, who knows?

Andi Armaganian 17:27

Oh, yeah, it was totally groundbreaking. The people that we brought into it were people that had done tests to do there was a movie that Jim Carrey was supposed to do that was animated. And they done years of test to make the motion capture work, and the facial motion capture work. And we brought in people from all of these technologies, also, you know, we had developers in India, just to create this technology that no one had seen before. And it I mean, like, it was so new that the test is on me like I'm the character. So I did learn that, you know, people who speak English don't lose their upper lips.

Zack Arnold 18:04

Oh, interesting.

Andi Armaganian 18:05

So now you're gonna look at that.

Zack Arnold 18:07

I'm sure I will be like, what's wrong with your upper lip? Yes. But and then the funny thing is, as you alluded to a little bit earlier, that ultimately became all the work that Robert Zemeckis did for years, and I'm assuming it's a lot of the same technology with Polar Express and Beowulf and A Christmas Carol, and now the things that James Cameron is doing, like, it just sounds like it was a little bit too early for its time.

I think it was a little too early. And the you know, when the topic was really super cool is just about the internet and learning about the internet again, sadly, now it's too late, because everybody knows it. But yeah, like my husband actually worked on it. That's how I met him. He and I set up the whole movie together. And he went on to do Polar Express and Beowulf and moved to Sonoma County to work on those films up there with Robert Zemeckis.

Wow, talk about a small world. Yeah. What I'm curious about now is how you handle that, because that's, that's got to be tough to think, I've got a calling card. This is really gonna get me somewhere and then somebody slams on the brakes. And it's not just a matter of you spent three years on a big movie that failed. You spent three years on a movie that nobody knew existed, that's a completely different atmosphere. So what was your mental state? And how did you overcome that and just keep moving forward?

Andi Armaganian 19:22

Yeah, it was, it was really hard because a lot of us put our lives into it. And to stop me, even the director, we all had to start over. So I just had to call everybody I knew and yeah, that was like, Hi, what do you have? What do you have and I reached out to most of the people who had worked on the indie film that I produced, because we had stayed there was the first people I knew when I moved here, and one of the DPS of that the camera operator gave my name to a movie and I wound up editing a low budget horror movie called shutter scares killing snowboarders. For being on their mountain, but ultimately, the low budget movies, you know, you can't pay your mortgage. So a guy that I've known forever since film school, he said, Listen, I'm taking this TV show. I know you haven't been an assistant editor in a really long time, but it's a job. And it's your union credits. And so I went and jumped in with that. And I've never worked in television before, it's a completely different environment, very, especially at the time, it was a faster pace. At the time, the visual effects weren't tempt out, they would just put a black title that would say, cool, whatever happens here. But since I came from animation, I could create all this stuff in the avid. So I would just cut out little things and make stick figures and create all these temps in the avid, which I don't know if everybody loves that I would do the other system editors because it really upped the game. But the producers then loved it. So then it was a whole different ballgame. And so for three years, I was his assistant, and it was harder because you know, you make a lot less money. And and TV pays a lot less than features. So it was a rude awakening. But it was on Smallville. And the people there were just lovely to work with I still in touch with 90% of them.

Zack Arnold 21:26

And my understanding is that when you worked on Smallville, it was just this little one and done superhero show and there was never going to be another one like it cuz superhero shows. nobody's really interested in those that would you say that's fairly accurate?

Andi Armaganian 21:39

Yeah, I don't think anybody realized what the world was going to become at the time. I mean, Smallville had this huge following. But no one really knew what, what to do with that. And so then we tried the Aquaman pilot, which I edited. And that didn't go because that was what people aren't going to want to watch this stuff. And that's the year that heroes went on to be the number one show, and after heroes took off, like, that's when all of the shows took off.

Zack Arnold 22:10

So before we dive into all the stuff that you've done, since there's one, one little kernel that I think is really important to pull out of this, and it was the part of the story where you said at the time, the visual effects, the temp was just insert Flying Dragon here or whatever it might be, right? And you stepped in and you said, You know what, I think I can take this to a different level, you didn't necessarily build 3d comps and do the visual effect. But you just took it to that extra step to help them visualize the story, it probably made it easier to come up with the timings or whatever it might be. But I think the key here is everybody else stepping in and saying, Why are you doing that? You realize that's making us look bad. And my guess is, that's not the last time you stepped into a situation and said, I think I can add more to this. But that'd be accurate.

Andi Armaganian 22:58

I don't want to make anyone Look, I don't want to

Zack Arnold 23:00

make anyone look bad either. But one of the things that I talk about so often is that if you're somebody that wants to go the extra mile, that's within your control, it's not within your control how other people are going to be made to look, if they don't want to put in the same effort. So what I'm trying to help people understand is you shouldn't be holding yourself back. If you have ideas that can help enrich the storytelling process. You are there to make your other assistants look bad. You're there to provide value to the directors and the producers and the other editors. That's very early in your career. And my guess is that's a pattern that's led to where you are today.

Andi Armaganian 23:35

Yeah. And I do everything I can I like to be ultra prepared. I like to engross myself in the story. And a lot of people just go to work. But I'm never afraid to teach other people. So like the other assistant editors were like, Oh my God come in at first. Obviously, it made their jobs harder, because on tomato, we only had three habits. So we had three editors, three assistants and three avid. So if you couldn't get on your avid, when are you going to build these temps. So that in itself was a hard thing, once everybody started to realize what it did for the show, because, you know, we were cutting, we were actually cutting negative to match. So the shows had to finish early. So once we realize how much the timing was helping everyone else would jump in. And I'm never afraid to teach people it's like if you want my job, great, that means you'll work harder at your job. So that's everyone came in, we show him how to do it. I mean, I'll still do that. To this day. It's like hey, you you want to learn this? Come on, I'll show you there's there's so much work right now, you know,

Zack Arnold 24:40

and I think that's, that's a really important component of this. Because if you were the kind of person that said, I'm gonna go above and beyond, and I'm gonna make everybody else looked bad and as soon as they come in and say, Hey, How'd you do that? A lot. I can't show you because then I can't be the favorite or the one doing the extra work that that's where I see the problem. But for you, you brought an idea. You weren't afraid to take it to the next level. And as soon as people felt like wait a second, now I have to do that teach me, no problem. Let's all do this together. And I'm sure it maybe you have or have not experienced this because I know you've had a group of people that you've really moved forwards with for a lot of your career, maybe not all of it, but a lot of it. But it's very common in the editorial space. And as you've been a guest director, you've probably seen this, where there's a lot of competition, it's like three separate islands of editors, who can get the attention to the showrunner, the producer, I want this director to like me, and that it's it's a competitive atmosphere, which I just don't get like, we're all making the same show. Why are we at each other's throats, which is why I love your approach to which is, let me show you how to do this so we can all get better together.

Andi Armaganian 25:43

Yeah, it's funny. I've only worked on one show where the team felt separate. I'm not very good at working on those shows. I went into a show and the other edit team had their door shut, and I was new, they'd fired an editor brought me in to take over the end of this, you know, for the end of the season. And I just had never worked in an environment where people didn't just like got to lunch and hang out together. So on the first day, I just walked into this editor's room, plopped on the couch and said, Hey, where are we going to lunch today? And he just looked at me like, What are you talking about? And every day, I just come in, hey, okay, so I found this place, let's go here. And then by this, like, first second week, it became a thing and we'd all like, hang out and go to lunch. And so I'm not really good. I've never been in an environment where after a week or two, we all our family.

Zack Arnold 26:34

And unfortunately, it's more common than you would think. And I love the fact that you haven't been exposed to it that much. But it is more common than you would think. The other crazy thing about your story is, what do you mean, go somewhere for lunch? I thought lunch happened in front of my desk, how dare I go out for a break? There's there's just too much work to do. How can you possibly think it's okay to go out and grab lunch?

Andi Armaganian 26:55

Oh, my gosh, your brain needs a rest. Your brain needs a rest. So sometimes just walking, you know, on Supergirl, we started and every afternoon coffee walk. It wasn't long. But the editors and the assistants would just take a walk. And we'd all walk into Starbucks or commissary coffee, whichever, whoever won that day. And it was so nice, because then we would know Oh, where's your show? Oh, you're missing that, Oh, I just got a visual effect that you can reuse, you just might have to flop it. But why don't you put it in there. And we learned so much. Because you're just thinking outside the box. You're just, you know, what are you working on? And so I don't know, like, I don't be environments where people don't talk to each other. I, I just don't see how they work. Because I mean, so many times I have been like, okay, I can reuse all of these shots. And then I'm like, hey, I need to spin take it. Because you have this episode, you're going to save $100,000 because you have arrows shooting and a close up in costume. You know? I don't know. Thankfully, I haven't I haven't been in those situations.

Zack Arnold 27:55

And I think a lot of it is the reason you haven't been in it is because you don't foster it. And you're fostering a different environment. And I think that that that says a lot where a lot of times people just walk into the environment and acceptable. This is just what it is. Right? I see everybody's at their desks and they're all eating, nobody talks. So I guess this is just the environment. I'm very much a rebel. And I've just walked in like, nope, this is not the TV show, I'm working on you. You were going to lunch now. We're day one, let's set the tone. And some people are rubbed the wrong way, that's fine. But I don't want to be part of an environment like that not because I'm selfish. It's because it's not conducive to the creative process. It's not the setting me up to be the best creative version of myself and giving the best work that I can. And ultimately, that's why you and I are being paid.

Andi Armaganian 28:39

Exactly. And quite frankly, we spend more time with these people than we do with our spouses. I mean, I've spent more time in an editing room 12 hours a day and then driving home an hour and a half because I've commuted from Burbank. So if I'm not talking to them, you know, who who am I going to talk to? So you form these bonds that if I yeah, I'm stumbling. But I think you're understanding what I'm saying that I just can't

Zack Arnold 29:08

it just it just seems like why wouldn't Why would you do that? Like why why wouldn't we just all be friends and work together? That's my feeling, too. I just, I can't even comprehend it. But I've, I've actually been on shows where the creators, the show runners actually fostered an environment of competition, where they would give the same people the same scenes. And then they would choose so they just created this environment of, well, if you want to stick around, you better beat him at this scene and just like no, this, this is not an environment for me.

Andi Armaganian 29:33

I worked on a pilot like that. I was brought in for a couple of weekends to help out because the editor hadn't had a day off in 40 days. And they had me recut scenes and then they wanted to bring up what I cut and then bring up what he cut and pick one. And so after the first day of that I was like No, no, no. And so I talked to the editor who's like worked his butt off on this. I was like What are you trying? What are they? What are they bumping on? And what Aren't you accomplishing that you want my help on, because I'm here just to help you. And to make this a really good story, I'm not here to take your job because I had a full time job. I was working on the finale of Smallville during the week. So it was like on the weekends, I was helping out on this pilot. And so that actually helped the environment because I walked in the door, didn't know who I was. And here he thinks I'm trying to take his job after. And you know, when you're exhausted and you're doing a pilot, you've been there 24 hours a day. You just you don't think exactly straight, and then someone coming in to try to approve everything you've done. Yeah. But it actually worked out. It worked out well. So,

Zack Arnold 30:45

and again, I think your approach was I'm just here to help. I'm here to provide value. I'm not here to compete and take all of your glory and get the showrunners and the directors to love me better than you. I'm just here to provide value and support. And again, I think that's such an important mindset to walk into a project with no matter if it's day one or day 40 or otherwise. What I would love to know next is going to where you were finishing with Smallville, which at the time, nobody's ever going to make superhero shows again, clearly looking at your resume, that's not the case. So from that moment, up until the point that you transition to directing. We'll get to that in a second. But what do you think some of the or the main key is to you consistently, going from one successful show to the next and building the resume that you had up until making the transition? My sincerest apologies for the interruption in the middle of this interview. But if you are a content creator, or you work in the entertainment industry, not only is the following promo, not an interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life. Because collaborating with ever cast is that powerful. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with ever cast co founders, Brad Thomas and award winning editor Roger Barton,

Roger 31:52

Living this lifestyle of a feature film editor has really had an impact on me. So I was really looking for something to push back against all of these lifestyle infringements that are imposed on us both by schedules and expectations. When you guys demoed whatever cast for me that first time my jaw hit the floor, I'm like, Oh, my God, this is what I've been waiting for. for a decade,

Brad 32:15

I also had the same reaction, when I first saw ever cast to words came to mind game changer. Our goal, honestly, is to become the zoom for creatives, whatever it is, you're streaming, whether it's editorial, visual effects, Pro Tools for music composition, LIVE SHOT cameras, it's consistent audio and video, lip sync, always stays in sync, whether you're in a live session where you're getting that feedback immediately, or you can't get it immediately. So you record the session. And you can share those clips with people on the production team where there's no room for any confusion. It's like

Roger 32:45

this is exactly what the director wants. This is exactly what the producer wants. What matters most to me is it makes the entire process more efficient, which then translates to us as creatives who spend way too much time in front of computers, we get to shut it down, and we get to go spend time with their friends and family.

Zack Arnold 33:01

The biggest complaint and I'm sure you guys have heard this many, many times. This looks amazing. I just can't afford it.

Roger 33:07

Tesla had to release the Model S before they released the model three. So by the end of the year, we are going to be releasing a sub $200 version a month of efficacy for the freelancer and indie creatives. Anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood, I think what we've learned over the last few months is that this technology can translate to better lives for all of us. They give us more flexibility and control while still maintaining the creativity, the creative momentum and the quality of work.

Zack Arnold 33:37

I cannot stress this enough ever cast is changing the way that we collaborate. If you value your craft your well being and spending quality time with the ones you love. Ever cast now makes that possible for you and me to listen to the full interview and learn about the amazing potential that ever cast has to change the way that you work and live. Visit optimize yourself. That means slash ever cast. Now back to today's interview.

Andi Armaganian 34:01

It was all about connections. To be honest, I was really nervous about leaving Smallville, because I only had that credit as an editor that actually anyone ever heard of. And so I was lucky enough that the creators of that created the Charlie's Angels series, very small, but so I went with them to go do that. And then one of the writers from Smallville started a show called perception. And when Charlie's Angels got cancelled, he reached out and immediately hired me on perception. And then from perception, the editor that I shot on his couch and said, hey, let's go to lunch. He actually was on a show and he got a pilot and he called me and said, I have this pilot. I'm about to start the show. Can you take over for me? And so it's all just been these connections and just putting myself out there. I love the writer so I love to go and ask them questions and I invite them into my Bay if the show runners are not alone to it, I think it makes them better writers if they know what their characters can say and can't say. And so I tend to get to know them. And a lot of that is really helped me. And I also keep in touch with people, I don't like to reach out to them when I'm looking for work. Because then they know I'm just looking for work, I like to reach out to them all the time I, I care about them as human beings. And so when I do need something for work, they know that that's not the only reason I'm reaching out to them, they don't dread that email.

Zack Arnold 35:32

And that's This is such a key point, like, you've just want to talk about identifying the wound and shoving a knife in and just twisting and turning it. This is such a huge thing for people in our industry, specifically editors, because as you know, the majority are very introverted. They're kind of anti social. There's a reason we chose small dark rooms to do our own work and are in peace. And the biggest thing is, well, I'm so busy. So how can I maintain the habit of reaching out and connecting with people, I always feel like I get busy, I do a job. And then it's two weeks before, I'm freaking out about being unemployed. So now all of a sudden, everybody's my best friend. But I just feel like I'm using them. And I'm needy, and I'm asking for jobs. So what do you do to just make it consistent, even if you're busy? And it's not about finding work and taking from people?

Andi Armaganian 36:17

Well, if I think about somebody, there's, like, recently, I had a, I had a friend whose my dad passed away in February, and I saw that his father passed away. We don't know each other very well. So, you know, I just reached out to him and said, I see that you're going through this. And so for like, once a week, I would just send them a text. Hey, hey, how are you hanging in? And so now we've gotten to actually be really good friends. Or you know, you're in a conversation with somebody, and you mentioned somebody you've worked with? And you say, Oh, yeah, you know, this writer, blah, blah, blah, blah, that he's that memory. So just say, Hey, I was thinking about you today, what have you been up to? it? And it's really nice when they say, what have you been up to? You know, like, Oh, I'm on this job.

Zack Arnold 37:01

And I'm guessing that a lot of those just that very simple outreach, which is about I just honestly want to know how you're doing as a human being. I'm guessing them more than once, that probably did end up leading to a job. Oh, I'm so glad you reached out. Because this one thing is coming up. You'd be a perfect fit. I'm so glad I thought of this.

Andi Armaganian 37:19

Yeah, people don't. People forget you. It's not that they don't love you. And they don't love your talent. They just forget you. They've got a ton of stuff going on. Someone just handed them 100 resumes. Everybody sounds great. And they don't know that you're unemployed. They just assume if they haven't heard from you, they assume you're employed. I actually have a friend who I reached out to him, saying, Hey, I, a friend of mine is looking for an editor. You know, everybody, you know, who do you do? How do you recommend? And he said me? And he's a huge pilot editor huge, like, does everything does HBO and I said, What do you mean, you're looking for work? He's like, everybody thinks I'm employed right now. So I was like, yeah, I'll give you your name. Obviously. It was just that minute of me reaching out because he'd never said, Oh, I'm looking. But I just happened to email him looking for somebody for something else.

Zack Arnold 38:15

One of the things that I talk about whenever I do speaking, or I do seminars, or in my program, as I tell people, that it's not about being the most qualified candidate, it's about being the most recent, you need to be at the top of their mind, because I think we get it in our heads that Oh, I've I worked this person two years ago. But it was such an amazing experience that of course, I would be number one on their Rolodex, why wouldn't I be? And I'm just gonna sit in wait until the next opportunity. And they have a very organized spreadsheet of all the people they've worked in the past, categorized and organized by priority. And who's the first call? Who's the second? No, they're not. They're a mess. They're just thinking, Oh, crap, I need somebody tomorrow who do? Oh, this person that I talked to last week? Let me see if they're available. Just be the most recent in their mind. Yeah,

Andi Armaganian 38:56

yeah. They I actually a friend of mine, who's a pilot director, he showed me the amount of emails and texts that he was getting in a day, because I was saying, You're not replying to this stuff. And I was cutting a pilot. And I said, You're not replying. Like, I need to know this information. Now, because we're building stuff that you need for set. And I, you know, I'm trying to cut it so that you know what you're going to do with the rest of the scene cuz it was like, it was it was a big visual effects thing. And he would, he just showed me, he came into the cutting room after shooting all day. And he showed me the amount of emails and approvals and stuff he had. So we started a code that in the subject, I would just write must look at this tonight. And then he would know but other than that, he knew that it's just information. I needed him to have any look at it on the weekend. So that's the people we're dealing with. If he's just the pilot director, imagine the show runners that are trying to get the show together. They're looking at casting, they probably got 100 things coming in. They're looking at sets and it's just crazy. So yes, if you're not Good last person there. They're not remembering what they did two years ago.

Zack Arnold 40:03

And I think the other important factor of this too is when you are the person that's sending the message and you're not getting a response, the immediate assumption is, oh, I bothered them, they don't like me, like, it must not be the right fit, like I, I could never follow up. And 99% of the time, this person would love to hear from you, they would love to help you. They've just got so much going on, you have to be willing to put yourself out there again, and politely follow up, given some time, like, I've had people that have followed up with me 48 hours after and said, You know, I got to be honest, I'm really upset about the fact that I sent this nice email you didn't follow up? Like, that's kind of rude. I'm like, it's been two days, would you like to see my inbox? Like, nobody gets a response from me in less than two days. But we oftentimes make the assumption that lack of response means lack of interest. Sometimes you just got to put yourself out there again, and they're gonna be like, Oh, my God, thank you for following up. This wouldn't have occurred to me. You're the perfect fit. But you got to put yourself out there.

Andi Armaganian 40:58

Yeah. How many times? Have you looked at an email and thought, okay, I'm out. But when I get home, I'm going to reply to this. And then a week goes by you've completely forgotten about it. So and if nothing jogs your memory, there's no way I mean, I do that with text messages. Someone will say, like, I totally reached out to you and like, Oh, my gosh, you did, you know, but you don't, everyone just has so much going on. And I think that's the one thing that social media and texting and emails has done to us. It's created this, we need to hear from you. Now, secretaries Take a chill pill, you know, if if it's life or death, you're going to hear from me right away. But other than that, like it's okay. Deep breath, deep breath.

Zack Arnold 41:37

I'm right there with you. I'm a big fan of making sure that I'm intentional about the time that I'm responding to emails to text to social media, whatever it is. But as soon as somebody sends me a message, it's like, they're waiting for the little three dots, the ellipses? are they responding? are they responding? are they responding and like, I don't even get notifications, I've turned everything off. So I can say, you know what, this is email time, or this is text message, or this is what I'm going to catch up with social media notifications. But I feel like so many people are in reaction mode thing, Oh, I got to do thing got to do this. You can't be creative. I mean, we're hired to be creative. We, it's our ideas that people are paying for. We can't generate them if it's our lives are dying every four minutes.

Andi Armaganian 42:17

Yeah. And those people know, like, especially when I leave to direct, that I disappear off the radar, because I have to live in the story. And if I'm not living in the story, then I start to stress out like, Oh, no, do I have everything done that I need to do? But when I walk on the set with the cast, like, I want to have no, I want to be in the store, I want to be able to answer all of their questions. Where are they going from here? Where did they come from? What does this actually mean? You know, because a lot of times, they're, they're walking in and out of three different sets. And the stories are jumping all over. They're walking from an episode that shoots, you know, that's like episode five, and I'm shooting episode three. So it's, you know, that you just have to live in it. And I think that yeah, if someone's texting me during that, there's no way I'm gonna remember to get back to them.

Zack Arnold 43:06

Exactly. So speaking of directing, this is what we will call the perfect segue to two fellow editors here that are very good at transitions. I now want to talk about the transition from editing to directing. Because this is a very difficult transition for many people to make. And most people just assume, it's never going to happen. Either. It's not for me, or I'm a woman, or For this reason, or that reason, or one of the biggest ones. It's too late. I'm too old. Yeah. So it's all the young people are better the directors, so I missed my chance. So talk to me a little bit more about your transition and how you made that happen.

Andi Armaganian 43:42

Sure, um, I switched 50. So you can there is life after that. But for me, I surrounded myself with some really supportive people. And when I was on Arrow, Mark Guggenheim was hugely supportive of me. He always pushed me to do bigger and better things. And then moving over to Supergirl, it was the same thing. Andrew kreisberg also was very supportive of me wanting to direct and then Greg Berlanti got involved and said, Yeah, you want to do it, let's make it happen. So it was really just those relationships and the trust. And I think it started on the cutting room, because in the cutting room, I would say to them, I'm not afraid of ever losing my job, because I can't work harder or try harder than I do. So when I'm saying to somebody, hey, I'm cutting this line, it's going to make it better. And I know they wrote it and I mean, it. It's not like I'm insulting them and they know I'm not insulting them. So it came from a lot of trust in and just editing because as you know, we get our episodes, sometimes they're 12 minutes too long, and making those decisions to cut it down or very, very difficult and still tell the story without making a butcher So I think it started really from that trust and knowing that I didn't hold back and I was very direct and honest with them. They were great. And then I'm shadowing a lot. The directors on Supergirl, season one we're in LA. And so open and inviting. If I would say, hey, eventually I want to direct How can I come to your set? There really wasn't one director who said no, everyone said, Yes. Some of them would send send me their shortlist, which we don't generally get as editors. So that was really great. And I have combined a couple directors shortlist to create what I use now. But um, it was just really having these great mentors. And when I would walk out, none of them made me feel small, insignificant, or that I shouldn't be there. Even though I might have walked out feeling Oh, my God, what am I doing here? I'm an editor. There's 100 people, they all know what they're doing. And are they looking at me, like I don't belong, because that is the hardest feeling. And it happens like I've, you know, you walk out your shadowing, you have no place to be there, no part in it. And you still gotta just smile and hang in?

Zack Arnold 46:20

Well, you told me a specific story about this this time that you were just getting ready to do your first tech scout. And you're like, so I guess I'm the director and I'm in charge. So to talk to me a little bit more about that moment, because it's, you're we're talking about this thing called imposter syndrome, where people just get it in their heads that eventually they're going to discover that I don't know what I'm doing. And I'm gonna get fired like, So talk to me about this, this experience that you were telling me on this tech scout?

Andi Armaganian 46:47

Yeah. So when you're prepping on a show, you have all these meetings that are this small crew, it's like your dp your ad and you get to know them like family, they are with you all the time. But on the tech scout is the first time you meet the crew. And it's mostly dudes. Everybody lives in

Zack Arnold 47:06

understatement, I'm guessing.

Andi Armaganian 47:08

It is. But yeah, it's mostly dude. And I just remember like, Where do I sit on the bus? Who do I talk to? What do I do? What do I say? And the night before? I don't think I slept at all. Like, I made sure I had all my notes. And but they were just so great. The first time the ad just introduced me shoved me forward. And you know, here I am. I'm not I mean, I'm five, seven, but I'm small. was like, Hi. But it was great. I mean, I lost my voice because I'm not used to speaking out loud and loudly. But um, yeah, that was, I think the scariest moment and after that, and I realized that everyone there just had questions, they would just come over like, Hey, what are you thinking of this? Where do you want that? Which way? Is the camera gonna fail? And then it's like,

Okay, I know these answers.

Zack Arnold 48:01

And my guess is that going all the way back to the very, very beginning of our conversation? You took this mindset, I'm not afraid to ask stupid questions. I bet you didn't try to pretend that you knew everything. Something tells me you're like, you know what? I've never been here before. I bet the DP can answer this better than I can. I'm gonna ask what he would do.

Andi Armaganian 48:21

In fact, the show I'm about to do the DP has so much experience and we were talking about lenses. And I said to him, I'm like, I might just show you a picture and say, This is the look I want. Because I'm not necessarily sure if that's 100 millimeter or a 50 millimeter. That's what he's an expert. He's been doing this forever. So I'm not afraid to just say, Hey, this is my idea. How can we make this cool? Because I, I just how do we make it cool.

Zack Arnold 48:49

And I think that that that's one of the major barriers for many people that want to transition into directing, you probably know more so than I because you've actually made this transition. But it's this fear that I have to know everything. I now have to understand set design and production design and casting, lighting, like I have to know how all of that works and have the answers. Otherwise, they're going to find out that I'm a fraud. And you don't have all the answers and somehow you're still successful.

Andi Armaganian 49:13

Well, the crews have been doing and you know, the people you're working with, you just have to faith and trust them. And yeah, sometimes I sit there and I say something that is the dumbest question ever because I didn't realize that what that term meant. And I don't know all the terminology. Now I'm getting significantly better. But now I know the difference between a crane and a techno crane and a scissor lift. But at first I didn't I just would be like, Oh, I want one that does this and goes up and down. I didn't know I'd never been on sets before. I mean, I come from posts were in dark rooms. So you just have to not be afraid to look stupid or sound stupid. I mean, I'm not very coordinated. So I've fallen in mud on my face. I'm also not afraid to get in there with the actors if it's pouring rain out. I want them out in the rain. I'm standing in the rain. I'm not like in a warm tent. If it's snowing, I'm in the snow. Even, you know, things are zapping. I tried the wires for Melissa for Supergirl, because I don't want to ask her to be in wires that I don't know how bad it hurts. I took archery lessons for arrow. So because I had a new actress who hadn't been the new green arrow before, and I didn't know how hard it is to pull, it's hard. So I took our tree, it's fun. It's fun, like I just want to be able to learn. So I'm not afraid to say how do you how do you do? How do you shoot that arrow.

Zack Arnold 50:34

And I think it's really important to really break that down and understand that you're willing to put yourself in somebody else's position. So you can see what they're doing from their perspective, as opposed to I don't really care. Just this is what I need from you, without having that empathy for Oh, this is way harder than I thought it would be. Now maybe there's another approach where we can collaborate and solve this problem together, because now I see what you're going through. That's fairly rare for directors I believe. I don't know, when we know that this funny thing about talking directors, they said the same thing. I don't know any other directors, we never see each other. We're all busy working all the time.

Andi Armaganian 51:07

Well, it's kind of like editors to like I had no idea what other editors delivered as their editors cut. Until now.

Zack Arnold 51:14

Yeah, until you didn't television.

Andi Armaganian 51:16

it well. It's also vastly different from like I could I've done, you know, multiple episodes of certain shows with different editors. And each editor delivers their editors completely different. Some people have a lot of music, some don't. Some have sound effects on attempts. It's amazing what editors all how they're all different. So I'm imagining it's the same with directors too. So I mean, I think it's the same like me walking in the DP doesn't know who he's getting. He's doing every episode, but he doesn't know if I'm gonna be like, No, I don't want that. I don't want to hear you. This is my idea. And he doesn't know that until I'm there. But it's also the act, you know, you're asking everybody to give 100%. And so you just got to know what they're going through.

Zack Arnold 52:01

One thing that I'm curious about to go backwards just a little bit, I think it's it's fairly simple to hear the story that you've told about the transition from editing, to directing, for somebody to say, Well, that was lucky, she was just around a bunch of people that wanted her to direct like, it just happened for you. It's never gonna happen that way. For me, something tells me that there was a catalyst for all this. And this catalyst is the piece that so many people miss. So what was the very first catalyst that got this conversation started? Because my guess is this did not just fall into your lap?

Andi Armaganian 52:31

Oh, gosh, I don't know, I think it started with, like me cutting scenes together and saying, oh, gosh, this isn't gonna work. This isn't going to tell the story how I think the director wants or the writers want cutting it together, slugging it out, sending it to set and thank God, the directors have all been open to it and not saying, oh, you're trying to tell me my job. They've all gone, Oh, my gosh, you're right, that'll make this better. Or I wanted this to be a jump cut, you know, but either way, I think it started with that. And then I've literally walked on set before with my laptop and seen slugged out. Because there, you know, I tend to do all these big visual effects. So you have these empty plates. But then sometimes you need the real people. So you can tie in the sides. So it's like, Okay, I have this plate, it'll work with this, and it'll tie to this. But if I just can get a close up of, you know, Supergirl right here that'll tie this together and bring us back into the real world. And so it just really, that was the catalyst. And I think that the people around me really saw that. And we're like, oh, okay. And, you know, I still do that, like, when I'm editing, I'll video it on my phone, maybe you're not allowed to, and text it to the director saying, you know, hey, this is the scene. I tend to on the first day, though, send the look how great you're doing. Because, um, this has created business and all of us are insecure, like, so even the most experienced directors are insecure. So it comes down to just that little video, I always said like, look at this amazing scene, you just shot and I sent it to them before I send that. Okay, so I really need you to grab me a close up. But so going

Zack Arnold 54:16

back to this transition, once again, editor to director, we know that this had a lot to do with you putting yourself out there asking questions, making the intention clear, I think I can do this and I want to learn shadowing everything else. There's another perspective. Oh, yeah, you were just the token female hire, they just needed to meet a quota. So what what do you say to that? Because I think that that's a very real argument that I think you've probably heard and is very much out there right now, especially, guys a lot. I've heard no. So let's talk about let's just take the gloves off and let's be honest, and let's talk about this because you had some really good advice and we talked about this before.

Andi Armaganian 54:53

Okay, hopefully I remember it.

First of all, great if someone gets me in the door, and I'm not token female, fine. It's not what got me asked back. And it's not what kept me there. But if it got me in that door, who cares? People say that to me, you have no idea I'm losing work because of you. And if they aren't bringing us in and letting us learn it, we aren't going to it's a minority thing to if you aren't hiring somebody, how are they ever going to learn it? So you just have to buck up and do it. So that was, I think the biggest advice. Um, but yeah, maybe I am the token female and the timing worked out. Fantastic. But um, I also have been editing for 20 years and telling stories for 20 years and tend to walk in knowing what I want. So I mean, I've had a lot of people who are very entry level will walk up to me and say, like, Oh, yeah, that's what you're here because you're a token female? And I'm like, Yeah, no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I've been telling stories for 20 years. It's not like I come from, you know, beach cleaning.

Zack Arnold 56:02

And I did the thing that I think is so important for people to hear what you've already said. And I just want to emphasize it again, if I got the job, because I was the token, hire great. The key is getting invited back, nobody's going to invite you back if you don't deliver, provide value, and you can't tell the story that they want you to tell. So sure, you might have walked in day one. And I don't believe that was the case at all. But let them Blitz make that assumption, let's make the assumption you got to just because they had to check a box off. And Yep, gotta have a female director this season, let's just assume the worst, you you're not going to be able to show up, and not do the job and get hired back for a second episode because of that, because they're not going to waste the money. So you

Andi Armaganian 56:43

don't hire you because they like you, at least not the second time, they might hire you the first time because you are great in a meeting or you're the token hire. But that I mean, that has I've actually taken a lot of general meetings lately. And they said that's the one thing that they've wanted to meet me for is that they can see that I keep being asked back. And that's the key. It's also when I look at others resumes, to if some editors on something for one season, and they're not brought back. And you know, it's a long running show. And they were off for a while. I think it's an goes across everything. It's like something happened.

Zack Arnold 57:17

And another thing that I've noticed too, not to go on too much of a tangent, but I've noticed and have worked with people and they will remain nameless, because they don't want to call anybody out. But you see a whole bunch of amazing shows on their resume. And then you work with them. And you're like, but hold on a second, I thought you worked on this and this, but I'm looking at your cuts. And I'm like there's something off here, then you see the pattern. It's all seasons where they were on for one season for two episodes for three episodes, but they're never asked back. So you can look at the credit list on a resume and make assumptions. But I'm a big believer that if somebody has three shows and 15 seasons worth of three shows that's worth a lot more than 15 one season credits, because people want to continue inviting them back. And that's what you focus on being good enough that they're going to want me back over and over and over and not focusing necessarily on how I may have gotten there. Although in your case, I have no doubt that it had nothing to do with quotas, because you clearly had built amazing relationships.

Andi Armaganian 58:10

Thank you. I hope so

Zack Arnold 58:12

the other assumption that I want to talk about I'm sure you've also had this happen more than once. Well, but this is a show that has stunts an action in visual effects. And this isn't really a woman's world. Is this a conversation you've you've been in the middle of at least once

Andi Armaganian 58:27

I have. But the great thing is, is that at least on the shows that I've done, a lot of them have been shows where they know me as an editor. So they know walking in the door that I that it's like, Okay, this is the visual effects. It's actually my strongest part. So this is how we're going to break it down. This is how many times I'm gonna use this shot. And I think it's usually they can assume that up until the first effects meeting. And then after that, it's like, Okay, and then it comes down, which has been really nice, but I have had people try to explain to me like, okay, so if you whip pan off and then with pin, you know back on, it looks like one shot. That's like really

Zack Arnold 59:10

magic. Tell me more. How does the editing process work? Yeah, I can only imagine the egg on their face when they look at your resume like Oh, wow. So I sound like kind of an ass bringing that up. Alright, nevermind.

Andi Armaganian 59:26

We just laugh it off.

Zack Arnold 59:27

So I'm curious about what your take is on this because I have a lot of people that have reached out and asked me this question, especially given the lack of work and everything else is going on. Do you think that ageism is a real thing? Is that something that you've encountered and is a real thing in Hollywood because there's so much focus on sexism right now and racism and everything else? But I feel like a conversation that's slightly lost is ageism.

Andi Armaganian 59:50

I actually really think so. I don't think I've experienced it, but I don't know. Maybe someone didn't hire me because of it. I just don't know. But I am the oldest person on set a lot of times.

Zack Arnold 1:00:03

And by the way, nobody would ever know it by looking at you. So I'm very, very surprised by that, like, just your your energy in the way you speak. And I mean that even though this is an audio podcast to the listeners, like you definitely have taken very good care of yourself.

Andi Armaganian 1:00:18

Oh, well, thank you. I mean, but to start directing at 50 I shadowed at 50. And my first episode, you know, walking out there's, it's crazy because food of thought you can start over. But you know, three years later, 53 is still kicking. I don't know how long it'll take for me to get all the benefits like the editor skill because I have the 20 some odd years there. But I can't promise that. I don't know if I need 20 years, I'll be another 17 years. That means I'd be 70. I'm not sure about that. But there definitely I think is some ageism. I I don't know how he is portrayed. I do know that maybe they think if you're older school, you don't understand a lot of the newer technologies. But I'm hoping that thankfully, I've kind of avoided that. But you know, I do know I'm always older. You see the youngest one which is crazy.

Zack Arnold 1:01:16

But I feel like the one of the keys here is you don't carry yourself as the old out of date crotchety director like you come in, vibrant, full of energy, young, ready to learn, ready to ask questions. So I feel like even though on paper biologically, you might be the old, oldest person there. My guess is there are people that are biologically much younger than you that you're running circles around with your energy and your enthusiasm.

Andi Armaganian 1:01:38

Oh, yeah, you have to walk out smiling every day. I mean, the cast feeds off of it, if you walk out, tired bait, the whole, everyone shuts down. So like I have, I don't have them up here. I bought bright red glasses, because you won't be able to see my smile when I'm directing. Because I need something to like to, you know,

I try. Thank you.

Zack Arnold 1:02:02

I want to be very, very respectful of your time. We're both time management experts. People that time is our entire livelihood. But I do have one more question. For anybody that's listening, no matter the stage in their career, where they're trying to make a level of trying to make a transition, whether it's producer to editor, Assistant Editor, to editor, editor to director, what would you give us the best advice the area where they need to focus their attention to make that transition happen?

Andi Armaganian 1:02:28

Let people know that's what you want? If no one knows it, how are they supposed to figure it out? So ask for what you want. work your ass off.

Zack Arnold 1:02:37

I couldn't say it any better myself. That's the advice that I give people all the time, you have to be intentional about what you want people around you need to know it. The only thing I might add is to also be specific. Because if you say I'll do anything, well, that doesn't help anyone. But if you say, here's my unique ability, and here's how I can provide that value to you. And by the way, I really want the opportunity to do that. Then again, like we talked about, Oh, I didn't even occur to me. But you know what, you would actually be a really good fit for this. But you have to make it clear that that's what you want.

Andi Armaganian 1:03:07

Yeah, completely agree. Ask for what you want. No one else is gonna assume it. And yeah, I guess you're right. Be specific about it. Even if you're just starting out. I mean, I have so many people, I teach students once a year. They're like, we just want to work in the business. It's like, No, I can't really help you, then

Zack Arnold 1:03:23

yes, if you expect people to help you, you have to make it very clear how they can help you. that's a that's a really, really big part of the process. As I I firmly believe that the vast majority of people that have gotten to where you want to be they want to help you get there, too. There's always this idea of Oh, well, they're up there. And people want to keep me down here and nobody wants to help. I don't believe that I Vaseline firmly believe people want to help you. The problem is you're not making it clear how they can help you.

Andi Armaganian 1:03:48

I There you go.

Zack Arnold 1:03:50

Well, this has been absolutely lovely. I can't believe how quickly this one, I can't believe it's already been well over an hour. This is just

Andi Armaganian 1:03:57

I know, I can't believe it either. So

Zack Arnold 1:03:58

much fun. It's just like getting lost in a small dark room and cutting when you're like where did the time go. So this has been an absolute pleasure. I can't thank you enough for taking this time, especially given that you're going to be disappearing off into the ether for months going to your next directing gigs. So I just got super lucky grabbing you at the right place at the right time. If somebody wanted to reach out, connect, learn more about you. Is there a place that we can send them just to find you and start that first connection?

Andi Armaganian 1:04:23

Yeah, I have a I have a website, Andi Armaganian. And if they can spell it calm, and

Zack Arnold 1:04:28

we'll put a link in the show notes as well. So they don't have to worry about that. But I just I want to make sure it's okay that if somebody is inspired by you, they feel that it's alright to reach out and start that first.

Andi Armaganian 1:04:37

Oh, yeah, they can reach out they should just write in the subject so that it doesn't get lost because I do get a ton of mail. But yeah, they can reach out to me. No worries. Awesome. Well,

Zack Arnold 1:04:45

this has been an absolute pleasure. And once again, I cannot thank you so much for taking the time to be here and share your wisdom with my audience today.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:52

Well, thanks. It was nice to see your face to you. Take care.

Zack Arnold 1:04:59

Thank you for listening. to this episode of The optimize yourself podcast to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one, please visit optimize yourself. That means slash podcast. And a special thanks to our sponsors ever cast an arrow driven for making today's interview possible to learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame, and to get your real time demo of ever cast in action, visit optimizer chef.me slash ever cast. And to learn more about Ergo driven and my favorite product for standing workstations, the total Matt stick around, they're coming up next. If you are inspired by today's interview, and you would like to up your networking game so you can get the attention of the right people who can help open the right doors that lead you to a more fulfilling and rewarding career path. But your outreach email game is a bit weak. Well, then I invite you to download my Insider's Guide to writing great outreach emails. In this extensive and free by the way guide, I'm going to teach you why cold outreach is the most important soft skill that you must develop if you want to advance your career, which is important now more than ever, that we are all stuck at home and cannot network in person. I will also show you the five most common mistakes that people make when writing their outreach messages. And I will bet that you've made at least one of these yourself in the past. And then finally, I'm going to break down step by step in a simple to follow checklist how you can structure an amazing outreach message that is going to provide value to your recipients help you build a lasting relationship. Instead of feeling like you're just bothering this person and actually get a response to your outreach. So you can then seek advice, connect with a potential mentor, set up lunch meetings and possibly even land your next gig. If you'd like to download this brand new guide for free, just visit optimize yourself.me slash email guide and that's all one word, no dashes slash email guy. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy, insane, and be well. This episode was made possible for you by you guessed it Ergo Driven the creators of the Topo mat, my number one recommended product if you're interested in moving more and not having sore feet, your height adjustable or standing workstation. Almost every new person that I meet in this industry starts our conversation with Hey, I got a topo map because of you. It's changed my life. Thank you. Listen, standing desks are only great if you're actually standing well. Otherwise, you're just fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti fatigue mat. The toboe is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout your day, which helps reduce discomfort and also increases your focus and your productivity. I'm literally standing on one as I read this, and I don't go to a single job without it. And if you're smaller and concerned the total map might be too big, or you simply don't have the floorspace well there's a Topo mini for that. To learn more visit optimize yourself.me slash toboe. That's t o p o

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Guest Bio:

Andi Armaganian bio photo

website link

Andi Armaganian is a Los Angeles based director whose credits include Stargirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Hawaii Five-0, Supergirl, Arrow, Blindspot, The Flash and MacGyver.

After watching her mother on set as an actress (Caddyshack, A Night in Heaven) Andi grew up with a desire to work behind the scenes. She started as an independent film producer and moved over into editing shortly after moving to Los Angeles.

Since, she has edited more than 100 episodes of television, as well as features, documentaries and animation. Andi became a director in 2017 after completing the Warner Brother’s directing program.

She enjoys being a mentor and role model to up and coming women in the industry.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Debby Germino and published by Glen McNiel.

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

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Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, and the creator of the Optimize Yourself program. He helps ambitious creative professionals and entrepreneurs DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time, your energy, and your creativity so you can produce higher quality work in less time (and ultimately become a productivity ninja). “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people, things, and passions in your life…all without sacrificing your health (or sanity) in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”