Ep146: [CASE STUDY] From “Out of Ideas” to Becoming an Idea Machine | with Paul Del Vecchio

» Click to read the full transcript

When filmmaker Paul Del Vecchio reached out to me six months ago, he had a successful career as a high-end commercial editor, director of photography, and colorist. He had climbed to the top of the ladder in his corner of the world – the trouble was that he was at the top of the wrong ladder and didn’t want to be there anymore. How did he end up there like so many others do? Simple – Paul said yes to practically every opportunity that came his way his entire career, an answer driven largely out of fear. He found that every time he tried to pursue his true calling of writing and directing, he had nothing left to give his own projects because he gave all his mental, physical, and creative energy to other people’s projects. In fact, Paul struggled so much to get into the rhythm of writing again that he convinced himself he had run out of ideas.

Here’s a Slack message that Paul sent me recently after working through his many fears and obstacles in my Optimizer coaching & mentorship program:


Not bad for a guy who was burned out and “out of ideas.”

So how did Paul become an absolute productivity ninja? We talk all about the strategies he implemented in todays episode including:

  • Alleviating his financial fears of not being able to afford saying no to the wrong jobs (which was total BS he was making up in his head)
  • Implementing a system of external accountability and financial management to have confidence he could turn down the wrong projects and focus on the right ones
  • Building in new daily habits to help reignite his creativity that would inspire him to go back to writing again (a habit he had all but given up on).

Paul’s ideas are now abundant and he’s no longer “busy” doing everyone else’s work, but rather he’s productive and focused on his own work. Paul is here today to candidly and honestly share his story and tell you in his own words the steps he took to turn his career around and rediscover his own creative flow so if you’re stuck in a similar place you too can get back on track.

Want to Hear More Episodes Like This One?

» Click here to subscribe and never miss another episode

Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Paul’s obliger tendency led to him climbing to the top of the wrong ladder.
  • The key mindsets Paul implemented to begin making changes in his life.
  • The film contest that Paul won but didn’t bring the opportunities he hoped for.
  • How Paul began to create his own opportunities.
  • Paul’s reaction to his own words played back to him about how stuck he was 6 months ago.
  • Paul admits to skepticism in the beginning of the program but decided to trust the process and see what happens.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY:  The smallest of steps lead to big changes.
  • How Paul uses accountability to keep himself writing and working towards his goals.
  • The finance system that allowed him to let go of his fear and feel confident about saying no to jobs he didn’t want to do.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Saying yes to something means saying no to many other things such as time, freedom and creativity.
  • Paul was terrified of beginning the outreach process in the Advanced Networking program.
  • Paul shares the secret to not feeling like you are bothering people when you reach out to them.
  • Paul describes his experience of writing, sending, and getting a response to his first outreach email.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY:  Make your outreach emails easy to respond to by asking if you can ask a question.
  • What Paul learned from a connecting with a director via cold outreach.
  • Why asking for advice is not the best way to get the most valuable information from people.
  • Paul reflects on the changes and progress he’s made over the last 6 months of being in the Optimizer community.
  • Paul’s advice for anyone wanting to make a change in their life.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Myspace – Wikipedia


Ep75: The Four Tendencies’ (aka ‘The Matrix’ For Understanding Yourself & Others) | with Gretchen Rubin

Continue to Listen & Learn

Ep144: Redefining What It Means to Be “Productive” (and Aligning Your Values With Your Time) | with Tamara Torres

Ep55: How Tiny Changes Can Create Remarkable Results | with James Clear

Ep132: How to Pursue Fulfilling Work and Find Your ‘Calling’ | with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar

Ep105: Ramit Sethi on Forging The Path Towards Your Own ‘Rich Life’

Ep86: How to Become ‘Indistractable’ | with Nir Eyal

[CASE STUDY] Why I Said No to a Job (A Great One)…During a Pandemic

Ep119: [Case Study] Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, Better Managing Your Time, And Making the Most of This Pandemic | with Ariel Fujita, Kristi Shimek, and Maxton Waller

Want a Response to Your Cold Emails? Then Every Message MUST Do These 5 Things (optimizeyourself.me)

The 5 Most Common Mistakes You’re Making With Your Cold Emails (and How to Fix Them) (optimizeyourself.me)

How to Find the Right Type of Mentor For You (and When You Should Seek the Best)

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, rights 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're 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 vets, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you clicked 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. Well, actually, before we get to today's interview, I wanted to make a brief announcement and address a comment that I've gotten from quite a few friends, listeners and readers. When are you going to update the intro to the show, you're no longer at American Ninja Warrior in training, you're an American Ninja Warrior. Now, for those of you that don't know, I recently completed my rookie run on American Ninja Warrior. The experience was amazing. But I'm just gonna say this the outcome. It's not what I've been working for these last several years. So while technically Yes, I have run the course, I always feel like there's more training to be done and a bigger goal that I have yet to achieve. Which means that for now, I'm going to keep the intro as is also going to do my editor a favor not making fix it. This actually reminds me of a shirt that I used to wear when I was running Spartan races, and it said on the back Spartan in training, and when I would wear to races, people would say to me, Hey, you wore the wrong shirt, you're not training anymore. You're here at the race. And my response was always Yeah, but I'm here today training for that next race, which I believe is a good mindset that we need to have for any goal. There's always more to learn new skills to acquire more people to meet and more to be done. Now, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't reflect upon and be grateful for what we have already accomplished. But life is ultimately about the journey and not the destination. And I find that my life is the most fulfilling when I have a challenge ahead of me, no matter how far I end up making on the show. If I am lucky enough to get on future seasons, I am always going to consider myself a constant ninja in training. So on that note, we can move on to today's show. When filmmaker Paul Del Vecchio reached out to me six months ago, he had a successful career as a high end commercial editor, a director of photography and a colorist, he had to climb to the top of the ladder in his corner of the world. The trouble was that he was at the top of the wrong ladder, and he didn't want to be there anymore. So how did he end up there like so many others do? Well, simple. Paul said yes to practically every opportunity that came his way his entire career, an answer that was driven largely out of fear. He found that every time he tried to pursue his true calling of writing and directing, he had nothing left to give to his own projects, because he gave all of his mental physical and creative energy to other people's projects. In fact, Paul struggled so much to get into the rhythm of writing again, that he convinced himself that he had run out of ideas. So then how did Paul become the absolute productivity ninja that he is now? Well, he is here today to candidly and honestly share his story and tell in his own words, the steps that he took to turn his career around and rediscover his own creative flow. So if you're stuck in a similar place, you too can get back on track. If today's interview inspires you to take the first step towards designing a more fulfilling career path that not only aligns you with work you're passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance, and especially if you would like to support mentorship and the community that can help you turn your goals into a reality. I am excited to announce that the spring semester of my optimizer coaching and mentorship program will be opening soon to learn more about the program and all that it has to offer and how we can help you achieve your most important goals without sacrificing your sanity in the process. You can get on the waitlist and apply by simply visiting optimizeyourself.me/optimizer. Please keep in mind that I review applications in The order that I received them, and I fill slots accordingly. So the earlier that you apply, the better your chances of getting into the program. applications will be reviewed and accepted until Friday, April 23. All right. Without further ado, my conversation with editor writer and director Paul Delvecchio made possible today by our amazing sponsors ever cast and arrow driven, who has always are going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview, to access the shownotes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview. Please visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast.

I'm here today with Paul Del Vecchio, who is a promo and commercial editor and you're also a colorist in the New York City area. You're also a dp and you happen to be currently making the transition to becoming a director, a writer and a producer for feature films and scripted television. Which means we're gonna have a lot of different things to talk about today. Paul, it is a pleasure to finally have the opportunity to have this conversation with you today.

Paul Del Vecchio 6:03

Yes, this is awesome. I'm excited. It's gonna be fun.

Zack Arnold 6:06

Yeah, I'm excited as well. And I'm going to tell you something that I haven't told you yet. I knew six months ago, we were recording this podcast. I knew six months ago when we had our introductory call way back when when you reached out you and I we've known each other in the past we'd been on at That Post Show episode aeons ago, I don't even remember what decade ago. But it was a long time ago, you and I were, you know, guests on the same post production show. And we've kind of kept in touch via social media. And from a distance, I know that you were every once in a while leaving a comment about a podcast or an article or whatever it might be. And I just I always kind of had this gut feeling. I'm like, when the time is right, I think Paul is going to reach out. I just I have this feeling. And then you and I had our introductory call. And I knew as soon as I was done, I wish I'd written it down to prove it. But I'm like, oh, Paul's gonna be on the podcast, I can still see this coming. And here we are. So I'm so glad that that premonition came to become reality.

Paul Del Vecchio 7:00

That's awesome. You know, it's funny, because one of the first things that when I reached out I thought, you know, when we talked when we talked about the program, I knew just from talking to you that I didn't want to be, I guess, like a student. And I don't know, if you've had students like this, I'm sure you know, you've had maybe you know, a couple, but a student that goes through the program and then just disappears and you never hear from them again.

Zack Arnold 7:25

So I've got those, I'm not only into that, I definitely have a handful of students that poof, gone, never hear from them again. I can only do so much I can lead a horse to water, I can give them the best water in the world, I can teach them about all the various forms of water and how to optimize their drinking habits. I can get them to drink. So yes, it happens even to me. I knew you wouldn't be one of those though.

Paul Del Vecchio 7:45

Yeah, I kind of, you know, just from the first conversation, I was like, okay, you can't like, I don't know, I just, I felt like, I need to make Zach proud. I don't want him. He's gonna he's gonna spend what is it? 12 weeks,

Zack Arnold 7:59

I was now been 20 weeks 20 of 24 weeks. But the initial program that we started with was 12 weeks. Yes.

Paul Del Vecchio 8:05

Right. And I didn't want you know, you to feel like, okay, I spent 12 weeks on him. And now he's gone.

Zack Arnold 8:12

I go out of my way to make sure that that doesn't happen. And I'm not successful all the time. But I do my best to maintain a community where people want to stay engaged, they want to provide value to each other. We all lift each other up and grow. And I have some people that have been actively engaged for years, others that are brand new, and yeah, I've got some that do the 12 weeks and never hear a word from them. Again, no responses to emails, I'm totally fine with that everybody's journey is the same. But I want to bring up something that's really important already about our conversation, this mindset that I've got to impress Zack, we talked about this extensively. And there's this framework that I've talked about many, many times called the four tendencies. What's your tendency, Paul?

Paul Del Vecchio 8:52


Zack Arnold 8:53

You my friend, are an obliger. And this is where we started. To quote one of the very first things you said in our intro call, I accidentally fell into what I'm doing now. Because I'm always trying to meet other people's deadlines and work on other people's projects. So let's start there. I want to talk about why you came to me in the beginning and where your career was and how you ended up there.

Paul Del Vecchio 9:16

I mean, I came to you because I just wasn't happy where where I was at in my career. I guess a lot of other people would say, oh, wow, you do some pretty cool stuff. Because you know, I'm working on commercials and promos, and some of them are for, you know, bigger brands. And I guess some people would feel that. That's success. But to me, it didn't feel like success because I didn't want to be in that arena. You know, like I climbed the wrong ladder, I felt like and so I heard you talking about this on a podcast and I was like, okay, that's me. He's talking about me. So I was like, I have to I have to reach out out to Zach. And you know, I want to hear more about the program.

Zack Arnold 10:03

So what do you think led you to accidentally climbing to the top of the wrong ladder? Because you're pretty high on a specific ladder. And like you said, from the outside perspective, a lot of people will say, gee, must be nice to be Paul working on these huge branded projects for huge companies, and you get to be a dp and a colorist, and you're doing 3d modeling, like, man, I would kill for that. How can you How can you not be grateful for all of that?

Paul Del Vecchio 10:25

I definitely am grateful. The thing is that it's just not where I ultimately want to be, you know, and I got here, you know, so I started out making films, and then it just, it just kind of led into Well, you know, it was like, Okay, well, now I have to make money. So I have to figure out, you know, what I can do to make money. And it just, you know, commercials being in New York commercials and advertising is huge. So I was like, Okay, well, I'll try to get a job in that. And then it just snowballs from there. And I just, you know, I kept on going down that path. And then I realized, this is not where I want to be.

Zack Arnold 11:04

What was the magic word that helps you continue to climb the wrong ladder? It's an obligers. favorite word in the English language?

Paul Del Vecchio 11:11


Zack Arnold 11:12

Yes. This is something you and I have talked a lot about, you talked about this idea of finances. And I need to keep saying yes to the next paycheck. And one of the things that you and I dug into pretty deeply. Is this fear of saying no, because I don't know if I can afford it.

Paul Del Vecchio 11:28

Right. Yeah, that was one of the key things. Certain things happen in the past, like, I had a car repossessed at one point because I couldn't pay my bills. And, you know, so I'm sure you know, people have been there or at varying degrees of that, you know, when something like that happens, you're like, well, I got to make sure I do whatever I can to not make that happen. But there was no strategy behind that. It was all fear. You know, so what you taught me was strategy, and the fear, just controlled everything. And that's why whenever a new job came along, I would never say no, I would say yes, yeah, I'll do it.

Zack Arnold 12:05

And ultimately, like you said, it was much more of an emotional decision that I to have been in exactly the same place where I was making emotional decisions, essentially out of PTSD from having gone through similar situations where that anxiety and that whether it's depression, or it's guilt, or its shame, I was feeling all of them. And this isn't something I talk about a lot, but I've mentioned it on the podcast. So it's not like I'm revealing something I've never talked about before. But I started to build my own post production facility, like a small boutique house that had like five or six editors and assistance. And it was all my own money, and six figures worth of debt, right before the economy crashed in 2008, and 2009. And I lost all of it. And I lost my house all I was having my first kid. So I know what it feels like to be wrapped up in financial anxiety and feeling like your entire world is falling apart. And that's still to this day drives my financial decisions, where if you were to look at me saying, I don't know, if I want to buy that as too expensive, they might look at the bank account and say, dude, like what are you worried about? But that that PTSD that post-anxiety of having gone through that it's never going to leave? But now that I have a strategy, I can let the rational mind take precedence? And yes, the fear and the anxiety will always be there. But because I have a strategy, and more importantly, I have a system. We've talked a lot about systems in the program. I have a financial system, so I don't really have to worry about it. It's like, yeah, I feel it, but I'm not going to listen to that voice or that fear anymore.

Paul Del Vecchio 13:32

Right? You shared with me a system to use, and I implemented it right away, you know, I read, you know, I think was like two books that you recommended to me, them read them. And, you know, I had a slow January, you know, it was like, small things here and there. But usually I would freak out. And I would be like, Oh my god, I have to you know, what am I doing? I remember, it usually happens like every, every year or so there's always like a slow point at some point. And it's usually at the beginning of the year. And I just remember, every year and for the past, like 510 years, whenever I hit that point, I'm like, this is it. And I'm scared and I don't know what to do. This year. It was nothing. I was like, Okay, well, it my mindset was different. Because I was like, okay, you know, you have a system now. And you know how long you're going to be able to hold off for and not take or you know, not have a job for? And so I just was like, Okay, well, I know, you know, I'm good until this month, and you don't really have anything to worry about. And, you know, in the meantime, you can work on other things, you can work on your scripts, you can work on, you know, fixing your reel, improving this, whatever. And it was liberating in a way, you know, because I just felt that I didn't have to be afraid because I knew something else was coming in. And, you know, the beginning of the year is always slow for most companies, especially now. Advertising because you know, most people are, you know, just coming out of the new year and trying to figure out what they're going to do for the, you know, for the following year or the coming year. So it was, it's pretty, pretty amazing.

Zack Arnold 15:12

Well, I love to hear that. And by the way, PS anybody listening, this is not a paid endorsement. I want to make that very clear. But, you know, I'll let you say what you want to say honestly. But I'm certainly not not asking you to to endorse anything. One thing that I'd mentioned you before we start recording, I want to make sure that anybody listening knows, I want to go a little bit deeper into these tactics, I want to talk about what were those books that I recommend? And what are some of the systems you put in place. And when we talk about writing and writing habits, I want to get into that stuff. I just don't want to get into the weeds yet. So I'm going to put a pin in that. So somebody is like, well, that's great. But what books what system like, tell me, I'm going to I want you to walk away with all those resources. But where I want to go backwards a little bit first. And I want to go to the fact that you're not just quote unquote, an editor and a colorist and a dp, you have directing experience, and there was a point in your career, when you were thinking to yourself, oh, man, I think I've got my calling card. And now the opportunities are just gonna start coming. Let's talk about that point of your career, because that's been really pivotal, understanding that and taking a different approach now.

Paul Del Vecchio 16:16

Yeah. So I made a short film for the diary of the dead. It's a George Romero film. So it was for the DVD release of that film. What happened was, and I'm gonna date myself here, but it was the Weinstein, Weinstein Company, George Romero, and MySpace.

Zack Arnold 16:38

Wow, yeah. But dating yourself with all those in one little bundle.

Paul Del Vecchio 16:41

MySpace was like, kind of the driving platform behind it. And they put out the word that they were doing this contest, George Romero, fans, and filmmakers could make their own film entered into the contest. And then The Weinstein Company would pick the top 20. And then George Romero would watch those, and he would pick well, his, you know, the, the top five, and also the grand prize winner. So we ended up winning that contest. And that was the point where I didn't think people were going to come, you know, like pounding and knocking down my door saying, we got to work with this guy. But I thought it would open up doors, you know, I thought it would be easier to start conversations. And it was, but it wasn't, the opportunities weren't what I thought they would be.

Zack Arnold 17:28

And one of the things you mentioned in one of our earlier calls, and this was very specific, I called it out on the very first time you and I talked, you said to me, the opportunities weren't coming. And I remember telling you on that call, we need to change that approach and that mindset, because if you're waiting for the opportunities to come, they're never going to come. And I want to teach you to create those opportunities. And you're not you're not directing the next George Romero zombie project yet. But what's changed in the last six months in your mind and your approach between? Why is none of this coming to me? What's your mindset now?

Paul Del Vecchio 18:04

Well, now it's, you know, you have to create your own opportunities. I know, I have to leverage that, you know, it was something that that happened. And you know, we won the contest, and that's a great thing. But it's on me to leverage that. And so that was a mindset shift. Like, I already felt that, you know, I needed to create my own opportunities. And that's why I was making short films. I guess the the mindset shift was more, doing more to create your own opportunities, you know, like reaching out to people and things that I wasn't doing, because, frankly, I was afraid to do them.

Zack Arnold 18:43

I think it was a combination of being afraid to do them. But also you kept telling me, I don't have the time, kept saying, I just don't have the time for this because I'm commuting. And I'm doing this and I'm giving everybody my ideas. And there's just there isn't enough hours in the day, because I'm just exhausted.

Paul Del Vecchio 18:57

That yeah, that that was another thing. Yeah. That that came about when I started doing more freelance work. Because, you know, obviously, I was scared to say no. So that led to, you know, always being booked. And then when I wasn't booked, worrying about how what I was going to book next. So it just was this vicious cycle of, of like, I need to find time. And I know you hate that, because there is no finding-

Zack Arnold 19:25

Oh, yes, that's one of my pet peeves. There's a lot of things you can find out there, time isn't one of them. You want to find time, open up your calendar app, everybody's got the same amount, we all have the same cards that were dealt 24 seven, that's it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you're not gonna find more, you got to learn how to prioritize it, or better manage it, which is, you know, obviously something that you and I have have dug into deeply over the last six months. So another thing that you brought up and I know that I have, I have kind of been very politely nudging this on Facebook to you more than once, because anybody that follows you on Facebook or social media, you've become Frankenstein's monster, like every day wrote another 10 pages, look at my Trello board. I'm doing this, I'm doing that. And I, what's the thing that I have been nudging you about more than once?

Paul Del Vecchio 20:15

Productivity porn?

Zack Arnold 20:16

Well, yes, that's one of them. But that was kind of a side thing. But and I'm actually going to play this for I want you to listen to your own words and your own voice six months ago. Oh, no. Okay, and I want you to pick out the key phrase the You and I have beaten the crap out of since you said this was back in September of 2020. So I want you to listen to this. And I want you to tell me, what really sticks out for you.

Paul Del Vecchio 20:41

Yeah, I mean, I, I could wake up a little bit earlier. So I can get that half an hour in and do exactly what you said, I could, I could put my notepad either right next to the coffee machine, or, you know, at my desk, or better yet, where I eat breakfast, you know, at the table, I just always have my notebook there. And I can, you know, write ideas for 30 minutes, which it's interesting that you also brought up executing on my own ideas versus other people's. Because when I first I was such, I was like, you know, so in the habit of doing work for other people, that when I started trying to do my own work again, which was kind of, like last year, or, you know, early last year, it was so hard to get into the rhythm. And I never used to have that problem. But I was like, oh, wow, I have no ideas.

Zack Arnold 21:34

I have no ideas. You were convinced that you couldn't become a writer or a director? Because you're out of ideas?

Paul Del Vecchio 21:42

Yeah. I'm so glad you actually brought this up. Because this is wow. Yeah, this is, it's funny to me now that I actually thought that way. Because now I have, I feel like I have so many ideas that I can't keep up with them.

Zack Arnold 22:00

Because I'm like, God, I love to hear that.

Paul Del Vecchio 22:04

Because I've been doing the work. Now, when I first sat down to do you know, um, you know, just even a little bit of writing, it was hard. It was very hard. You know, I was like, Alright, I'm gonna do three hours of writing today. And then, you know, we're going through the program, you were like, you're gonna set yourself up for failure that way. So I was like, okay, in your like, what's the easiest thing that you can do? So and, you know, I said, Put the notebook by on the breakfast table, so I can write down some notes. So I did that. And then it from there, it went to I'm going to write for 10 minutes today. Even if I feel like I can do more, it's just gonna be 10 minutes. And then quickly, that became 30 minutes. And then from there, it was like, Okay, try an hour. And this is all within two weeks, I would say.

Zack Arnold 22:54

Yeah, I was gonna say this was week two, when we talked about what's the easiest when that gets this started? And I said, just put a notebook next year, your cereal bowl, you're like, Really? That's it? Like, yeah, that's where we started, right?

Paul Del Vecchio 23:07

Yeah. Well, yeah. And it's funny, too, because I remember thinking, that's so small, though. That's not going to do anything. Yeah. And thinking back on that now, I was so wrong. Because that's the start of it. And then it's snowballs. So yeah, it as small as it sounds. That's the beginning part of the strategy.

Zack Arnold 23:29

So you were still working in the commercial job. And granted, it's the pandemic and things are, you know, probably a little bit lighter than they used to be in your commuting. But at the same time, even if you had pockets of area in your calendar during the day where you could have been doing it, you didn't believe that I actually had the capacity to do it. But then you just you started these little pieces. And like you said that build some momentum. And then we threw gasoline on it with a tool called Trello. So talk to me a little bit about how Trello has changed your process, because you have taken this and run with it like wildfire.

Paul Del Vecchio 24:02

Yeah, it's weird, because when I first started using Trello, and learning about it, and I've never told you this, but I was like, give me a break. I have to prepare to prepare. I was like, but you know what, Zack knows what he's talking about. So I'm going to trust the process. But I thought it was insane. Because, you know, there are so many people who are, you know, I see Oh, productivity, Evernote, and all these different things, you know, Trello, and calendars. And I was just like, it's all of it is just prepping and scheduling to do the work. Why not just sit down and do the work? But then I thought, well, you're not sitting down and doing the work. So listen to Zack and do the first step. So it did. And yeah, Trello at first, it was a little complicated to to figure out like you know how to structure it and everything, according to the, your method, but then once you learn it and do it. Now it's like second nature. Every day, I mean, they're just, you know, making a checklist, basically. And then taking those things and putting them on my calendar blocking out the time for them. And, you know, now it's like, holy crap. It's like, it actually works.

Zack Arnold 25:15

And like you alluded to anybody wants to see some writer productivity porn, just go to your, your Facebook page, and just scroll through it every day now, and you can put a hashtag accountability. Here's my Trello. Board, here are the pages I wrote, this was the goal today, I didn't quite reach the goal, I surpassed the goal. But I have a running diary of your writing process read on your Facebook page.

Paul Del Vecchio 25:36

And actually, that's why I did it. Because that's why I posted because that keeps me accountable. I don't, you know, I don't really, like I feel kind of weird when people will see my Trello board and my calendar, and, you know, they'll be like, Oh, that's what's on there, you know, and like, what else is on there? But, um, the reason why I post it is because I want to have for myself to a record. And you know, how Facebook kind of shows like, you know, this is what you're doing a year ago, I want to I want to be able to look back and go, Oh, yeah, you know, I was working on that script, and or whatever. But, um, it also keeps me accountable. Because I know, I've had a few people comment and reach out and say, Hey, you know, you, were you, you're working on the script, you know, what's it about and blah, blah, blah. And then I know that if I stopped posting, they'll say, hey, whatever happened to that script you're working on. And the last thing I want to do is come back with an excuse me, oh, well, you know, I got busy. But I'll jump back into it soon. I just, you know, I have to find the time, you know.

Zack Arnold 26:39

Life got in the way, right life just gets in the way it happens.

Paul Del Vecchio 26:42

That's why I post that stuff so that people will see it. And, you know, there's the potential of people holding me accountable. So I'm like, you know, doing this trick where, if, you know, I can hold myself accountable, but other people are going to hold me accountable to because they're seeing what I'm doing. And then if I don't have any more, you know, news on it, then they'll ask me, and then, you know, if I say, Oh, you know, I'll get back to it. That's, that's not where I want to be, you know, so.

Zack Arnold 27:12

Right, which is exactly why you didn't learn Trello. On week one, you learned your tendency, and you realize I'm an obliger. And if I'm going to follow through, I need some form of external accountability. And you decided it's going to be Facebook is you know that that works best for you. Because what a lot of people will say is, Oh, god, I'm an obliger. And I say yes to everybody. Can you help me fix that? Can you help me undo it? No, I can't. It's who you are. And I want you to embrace that. But I want you to learn strategies, turn it into your superpower, as opposed to your kryptonite. And now, you know, I'm an obliger, I accepted. And one of the tools in my toolbox is I need external accountability. And now Facebook is helping you write that script.

Paul Del Vecchio 27:49

You know, it's funny, I didn't even realize that a lot of the Enlightenment just continues.

Zack Arnold 27:57

Well, speaking of speaking of enlightenment, and another one of the things that I want to bring up or revisit from earlier in our conversation, is that it's not as simple as I put the notebook down. And I wrote down my first few ideas, and it was hard. But then the idea started to come. And then I learned Trello. And now I'm writing 5, 10 pages a day. There's a big giant component, and between those two things that we had to work through, which was the fear of saying no to the next opportunity, because if you said yes to everything that came your way over the last few months, would you have had the time to do all the writing that you're doing? No, no. And as we already alluded to, you remove that fear, I don't want to say removed, but you vastly alleviated that fear because you identified the one thing, if I just attacked this one thing, it's all gonna start to come into play. And that was I got to figure out my finances.

Paul Del Vecchio 28:48

Yeah. And I didn't even know that was the problem, which is it was insane. I just I had no idea. The fear was always there, but I just didn't know how much it was, you know, affecting my my, my day to day life. So when you pointed it out, I was like, Oh, God, now I have to work on that I have another thing I have to work on. So yeah, it was it was crazy. Finding the root of the problem.

Zack Arnold 29:15

So once we found the root and it took a little while to get there It probably took us a month or two and you're kind of going back and forth and just examining what are the different fears what are the obstacles? What kind of a tendency do I have? I think I'm an obliger but then as soon as it kind of stuck and I could see the week that the look in your eye was like I know what it is now I think I don't know the exact timeline but it was within days. Okay, so I bought the the profit first book by Mike mccalla wits and I bought I will teach you to be rich by Ramit Sethi. And I've gone through all of them. And I've started organizing my bank accounts. I'm like, Oh, yeah, this guy's gonna be just fine. So, go a little bit deeper into some of the practical steps that people listening might be able to take if they were in a similar position and we can't get too deep into the weeds, but just some basic steps that you had no idea that you should be doing that made a huge impact on alleviating this fear that I can't say no to jobs.

Paul Del Vecchio 30:06

Yeah, just a lot of it is, when it came to the finances, it was just dividing up every single paycheck that came in to different different bank accounts that have different jobs. So for instance, like, you would take 15% of every single paycheck, and put that into your investments, or whatever percent, you know, you want to do, whether it's 1015, five, whatever, you know, whatever you feel comfortable with, and then you know, part of the finances would go into a savings account, part of it will go into a profit account. And then part of it would be for spending, and, and spending as far as like, you know, just random things like going out to eat. And, you know, if you want to buy, I don't know, new sneakers or something like that. It's like guilt free spending. And then there, there's an account for expenses. So, yeah, I have, I have, I don't even know how many bank accounts I have. Now, there's, you know, there are at least, I want to say, four checking accounts. And two or three savings accounts and a money market account. You know, there's just so many different accounts is something like that. Um, and, and that was, the key thing for me was just to divide up the finances. And, you know, instead of going, Oh, well, you know, I made you know, this much money on this job, I can buy a new light, I can buy a new camera, you know, I just got to the point. And, you know, it was during the program where I got to the point where I was like, I don't need any more cameras, I don't want any more cameras, you know, like, you know, do we really need six 8k 12k 14k, all that stuff, I always felt like I had to keep up with the latest thing. And that wasn't doing my career, any justice at all, like it did nothing for me. So, by dividing up my finances, I realized, like, you know, it put an end to that immediately. And I just, you know, realize, okay, well, this is how much I have to spend on, you know, just random things. So if I want to buy a camera, it's going to come out of this account. But, you know, having the finances divided up, you can see, you know, you have this much money in your, you know, frivolous spending account, do you really want to spend that on the next camera that you don't need? You know, rather than having one huge chunk in one checking account, you have it divided up and it just, you know, your your judgment is actually better because of that. So you're not, you know, you're not spending on stupid things.

Zack Arnold 32:42

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 Evercast 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 33:04

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 infringement that are imposed on us both by schedules and expectations. When you guys demoed Evercast 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,

Zack Arnold 33:27

I also had the same reaction. When I first saw Evercast, two words came to mind game changer.

Brad 33:32

Our goal, honestly, is to become the zoom for creative, 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 this is exactly what the director wants. This is exactly what the producer wants.

Roger 34:00

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 our friends and family.

Zack Arnold 34:13

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

Brad 34:18

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 Evercast for the freelancer and indie creatives. Anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood.

Roger 34:34

I think what we've learned over the last few months is that this technology can translate to better lives for all of us that give us more flexibility and control while still maintaining the creativity the creative momentum and the quality of work.

Zack Arnold 34:49

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, Evercast now makes that possible for you. 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, optimizeyourself.me/evercast. Now back to today's interview.

Exactly. And the The other thing that I've noticed in going through this process is I'm always thinking not just about the cost of something monetarily, but any fairly major purchase. It's also costing me freedom. Because without that money in my account, I have less time to say no to the wrong opportunities. And that was a big thing for you is when you started to put the numbers together. For a lot of people, I want to make this very clear. If you look at the numbers, and you have to say yes to the wrong jobs to put food on the table and pay your your bills, no shame in that whatsoever. But you discovered very quickly, I'm only saying no out of fear, because the numbers telling me I need to be saying no, a lot more often.

Paul Del Vecchio 35:51

Yeah, yeah, it was, you know, I was saying, I was saying yes to jobs that I hated, like rotoscoping jobs. And I don't even you know, visual effects is something new that I just do in my own films, but I never wanted to get into that. And especially not something like rotoscoping because that is like, Oh, my God, like it's painful. You know, and, and object removal and screen replacements and things like that, you know, like logo removal on sneakers when someone picks them up. It's like, I always wanted to say yes to everything that came to me. And just, you know, knowing how much was in my account, and, and how much you know how much runway I had. Now I can confidently say, No, I don't need to do that job. So don't say yes to it. Because you need to write your script.

Zack Arnold 36:42

Exactly. Because that's the thing. That's what the if there's a major mindset shift that I try to teach people, when you say yes to something, you have to identify everything you're saying no to. Because if I say yes to the next huge TV editing opportunity, I have to say no to a lot of stuff, which is why I've become so selective. And the perfect opportunity. The Dream package for me is Cobra Kai. It's the reason it's the only show that I edit anymore. And I say no to everybody else. Because creatively, I'm a total nerd. I just love the show like karate kid was my Star Wars. I've told everybody like, I'm such a nerd, because it's almost like the popcorn version of all this enlightenment self improvement stuff that I talked about. Anyway, it's just the popularized fun version of with karate and jokes and you know, 80s nostalgia. But beyond that, I have complete autonomy of my time. That doesn't mean that I spent two hours a day working on Cobra Kai, it's, it's a bitch. It's a hard show. But I told him flat out, I need autonomy of my time. As long as I can kind of work as I please and meet your deadlines and meet your expectations, then this is a good fit, like, hell, yes, we don't care do your thing. Alright. So in that sense, it's also a good fit. But I say no to everything else. Because the cost is my time, my freedom, my health, my well being when I'm with my family, because that stuff is all consuming. But people never think about those costs. I think about this is what I'm getting when I say yes. What are you saying no to? And you are saying no, to the creative ideas that belong to you that were yours that you could execute? And you were saying no to though, or saying yes. To the other things and saying no to that for a long time.

Paul Del Vecchio 38:16

Right. Right. And what's shocking to me now, looking back at it, I see that it's not just the time, it actually was, um, a creativity suck, where I was so exhausted, because you know, my commute into New York City is with no traffic, it's 45 minutes, but there's never no traffic, you know. So it was always two to two and a half hours, maybe three hours in the morning. And then at least in our home. And so after a 10 hour day, adding that on top of it, there is no time and energy left to to even have your own creative ideas. And I was just in this cycle where it wasn't just pulling my time away from from me, it was pulling my creativity away from me too. And that's why I thought I had no ideas, because I just didn't have the energy. And I didn't have the time to sit around and watch something that might spark an idea. So it was bad for both time and creativity. And looking back on that now and realizing that is pretty shocking to me.

Zack Arnold 39:18

Well, I can't wait to see where that realization is going to take us when we have this podcast interview in about three years from now, which is going to be the segue to the next portion of our conversation. So if I do a very quick review, you came to me I accidentally climbed to the top of the wrong ladder because I said yes over and over and over. We started to dig in and you realize that yes is your default answer is the way you're wired. You're an obliger for me, yes is a lot easier thing to to avoid because I'm mostly rebel and questioner but I still I still want to say yes to the right things and I've said yes to a lot of things I shouldn't have. But it's your default setting and it's really hard to rewire. But we identified yes is a really difficult word for you to avoid but we've understood why you're saying it. One of the root causes is fear of financial failure, fear of financial ruin, I never want to get something repossessed from me again, I never want to feel that pit in my stomach. We started to slowly remove that throwing some financial systems, all of a sudden, you start saying no to the wrong opportunities, you go into your little notebook, you start generating ideas that holy, these are my ideas, where are they coming from? snowball starts to careen downhill, we throw gasoline on the fire with Trello, your writing machine. But okay, now I got to reach out to people. And I got to introduce myself, and I've got to build a network and like, make relationships, I can do that. So let's talk about the transition to that portion of the program for you. Because this has been a tough one for everybody. And once again, you run with it. But I want to go back to where we first started and how you felt about reaching out and building these relationships and creating opportunities as opposed to having them come to you.

Paul Del Vecchio 40:58

Yeah. Oh, God. I mean, I'm still going through it right now. And it's It is, it is scary. It is one of the scariest things that I have ever done. I think it's just, it's terrifying to me, just reaching out, because I feel like I'm a nobody. And I'm reaching out to someone who is, you know, super successful in their in their career. And it's like, oh, god, why? Why am I on this call? Do they even really want to talk to me? What am I doing? Yeah, it's it's a, it's a very scary thing for me.

Zack Arnold 41:31

So having said that, let's start at the beginning of this process, you are terrified to reach out? because, frankly, who am I to bother this person? You've said it yourself? I'm a nobody? Why? Why would anybody want to help me? What have you learned so far? That is maybe that helped you eradicate this fear. And we're gonna go through some of the more succinct concrete steps. And I want to talk about the latest when you've actually just had this week, at least as of recording this interview. But let's start with where you started.

Paul Del Vecchio 42:02

Where I started, I wasn't doing anything I was, as far as outreach I was. Well, as far as you know, directing, I was not doing any Outreach at all. That's where I started.

Zack Arnold 42:12

And from there, you came into my program, and what did I tell you needed to fundamentally change? What's the fundamental mindset shift that we started with that I tell you on week one, here's the template for you to copy paste to start sending people emails?

Paul Del Vecchio 42:25

No, no, it wasn't that it was the mindset shift of you can provide value to people, even if you think you can't, because you know, whatever it is, they're there at a high level, you know, they're a big director or whatever, producer, you can still provide value to them. It's just, you know, you have to do you have to do it, right.

Zack Arnold 42:49

So on that note, to do it, right. How long did it take you to write and send one email?

Paul Del Vecchio 42:56

Oh, God, was it two weeks, three weeks, something like that? Was it longer than that?

Zack Arnold 43:01

To write and send was actually six weeks.

Paul Del Vecchio 43:04

Six weeks, okay. Yeah.

Zack Arnold 43:06

Because remember, the process doesn't start with I open Google Mail, and I hit the Compose button and I start writing. There's a whole lot that went into it before the first step was, I have to reshape my mindset that I'm not bothering this person, if I can provide value and make their life better first, right? Then we talked about Well, yeah, but who can I do that with? Like, there's a million people I get to reach out to and I'm a nobody, and I just do editing and color correction and rotoscoping. Like, I can't reach out to big name directors. So one of the first things you did was you did research. So talk to me a little bit about your research process. And who was the we identified? The you felt like, God in a perfect world shocks? it? Sure would be amazing. If I talk to this person. Talk to me a little bit about that.

Paul Del Vecchio 43:46

So the research was picking and you want to get like very specific-

Zack Arnold 43:51

I want to dive right into the weeds. Yeah.

Paul Del Vecchio 43:53

Okay. It was picking your favorite shows. And identifying there? Well, for me, it would be directors on on those shows. And then you'd have this really awesome spreadsheet. So what we do is we we cut and paste their info and you know, things that they've done, and the spreadsheet works out a score. And whoever's at the top of the list is basically the spreadsheet identifies who you should contact, and then you don't really, there's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes in the spreadsheet. So you don't see a lot of of that stuff, I guess. But then you start to realize like, Oh, yeah, that's right. This guy is the perfect person because for me, it identified someone who was moved up from assistant editor to editor, and then to director. So that is kind of along the same path that that I am traveling, where I'm an editor and I'm trying to transition or sorry, not trying to. I am

Zack Arnold 44:58

Another mindset shift. I want I want you to say that one more time because I beaten this into your brain. And I didn't have to correct you this time. So say that again, without me interrupting you.

Paul Del Vecchio 45:06

Yep. So I am an editor, currently transitioning to director in scripted television, and film.

Zack Arnold 45:14

You're no longer trying, hoping maybe like, all a bunch of it in your head that doesn't need to be there. So you are making the transition. So sorry, go on.

Paul Del Vecchio 45:22

Yeah. So it, the spreadsheet identified someone who basically traveled that same path, or a similar path. And that was the person I reached out to.

Zack Arnold 45:33

And one of the things that you told me at the very, very beginning of this process in your introductory call, is I feel like I have wasted so much time, because I didn't know the path. I just took this job and that job, and I had no idea what the path is. And I need to figure out the path. I don't know your path. But if you can find somebody is close to walking the path that you have, then they might be able to help you along the way. I believe there's a word for somebody that guides you along those paths. What are they called?

Paul Del Vecchio 46:01

A mentor?

Zack Arnold 46:03

Called mentors? What's another word for them that we talked about in the program?

Paul Del Vecchio 46:06

Oh, sherpa.

Zack Arnold 46:07

Yes. So you you needed to find a Sherpa, I would consider myself a mentor to you. But I can't be your Sherpa because I have not walked the path that you want to walk next. So we identified who is your Sherpa. And all you did is put in a whole bunch of names and IMDb and added criteria significant to your specific goals. It's not going to work for everybody with the same criteria, but based on shows you enjoy and people you've connected with, or whatever it might be a name just came right to the top of that list. whose name was that?

Paul Del Vecchio 46:41

You want? You want me to mention him?

Zack Arnold 46:42

Oh, yeah. Well, I wanna I want to dive right into it.

Paul Del Vecchio 46:46

Yeah, his name is Dan Liu, he is now a he, you know, he was an assistant on the walking dead. And then he became an editor. And then he became a director. And now he is directing on, you know, bigger, you know, a lot of the bigger shows that are out now. And some of some shows that actually haven't come out yet. So he's, like, kind of exploding right now. And it's, that was who I reached out to.

Zack Arnold 47:13

So let me get this straight. You direct one short film, like 10, 15 years ago, that has something to do with zombies, and George A Romero. And now you think you can reach out to Dan Liu, who's directing the walking dead in bigger shows? Like, who do you think you are? Aren't you just gonna be bothering this guy? Like, why even bother?

Paul Del Vecchio 47:32

It's the whole thing we talked about about the mindset shift is that there's a reason why people like, you know, especially us in this creative field, there's a reason why we do what we do, you know, we want to affect people, whether it's emotionally or just entertain them, or whatever it is. So you can reach out to someone to provide value, just by saying, like, Hey, your career path has inspired me or, in this episode, when you did this, it really, you know, inspired me and, and I thought it was like, such a great moment, or, you know, it made me cry, or whatever it was, and you're providing value to them. Because you're, I mean, you're essentially giving them what they what they the reason why they do this is, you know, to, to evoke emotion and entertain people. So you're, you're letting them know that you were personally affected by their work. And that is a way of providing value.

Zack Arnold 48:34

Really, it's that simple. Come on, it cannot be that easy. That seems ridiculous. Like you didn't tell the guy you're gonna mow his lawn for a month. You just have to tell him, you're inspired by his work. Come on, but it's you know what, this all sounds good in theory, but it can't actually lead to results. Right?

Paul Del Vecchio 48:52

Well, that's, that's what I thought, too. I was like, Well, that's it. And then, you know, I tried to put myself in, in his shoes. And I said, Well, what if someone reached out to me? And they said that, you know, and they commented on my work, and they said, Hey, I was really, you know, inspired by your work. And, you know, first of all, you know, for me, if if someone said they were inspired by my work, that to me is like, holy, you know, like really affected you that much. When you provide value to someone by saying that, you know, their work inspires you or it affected you emotionally. Yeah, I mean, that's all it really, you know, that it's one way of doing it, but it's an effective way of doing it.

Zack Arnold 49:34

Let's talk about results. Because this all sounds great in theory, and it all sounds great for an Ultimate Guide to get people to, you know, join an email list. But let's talk about results. This is the part that I'm really excited about. So you mentioned this idea that you took weeks to write this message. And I want to talk about something that we talked about either as in today's class, or maybe it was yesterday on the hot seat. I can't remember but how much time did You spend after drafting providing value you workshop this thing to death? And then you knew all I have to do is click the Send button. I want to talk about that experience a little bit. Let's share with the audience what was that like looking at the computer getting ready to hit the send button to Dan Liu?

Paul Del Vecchio 50:17

One word, terrifying.

Zack Arnold 50:21

So paint the picture for me.

Paul Del Vecchio 50:22

Okay. So I finished the email, you know, we workshop it, I posted in the group, you know people there provide feedback, I implement that feedback. And then I you know, I do a hotseat session. You know, we workshop it. I actually even before that. So let me start from the very beginning as I write the email. Then, during one of the classes, he said, Does anyone have their email ready? And so I raised my hand, and then, you know, we workshopped it there and it was like, it was huge. It was like a page long. And I knew it had to be cut down. So it got, you know, the, the, the axe there. And then I posted it, I made some modifications, posted it in the group. People gave me their feedback. And then I also did a hotseat session, where we took it further, and I picked apart the actual email and then the response. And then I was like, Okay, it's time to send it. And I copied and pasted it into Gmail. And then I sat there for 20 minutes, I go reading it over and over and over again, and then modified, like one or two more things. And I was like, okay, dude, you've been sitting here for 20 minutes, you have other things on your calendar, you know, you got the alert, you know, you have to start writing your script and just send the damn email. So I was like, Okay, I gotta do it. So I sent the email. And then 19 minutes later, I got a response saying, hey, yeah, sure. I'd be happy to answer any questions. Let's jump on a zoom call. And then when I got that first, my first thing was like, Oh, my God, this is why I don't reach out to people. And I just freaked out a little bit. And then I was like, Okay, well, you have to do it now. So let's go. Let's do it. So I wrote back within 10 minutes, and we scheduled a zoom call.

Zack Arnold 52:13

So one of the things I want to dig into a little bit deeper here that I think is really important for people that didn't see the multi week process to get you to hit the send button. Did you ask him if he had time for a zoom call?

Paul Del Vecchio 52:25

No, I didn't actually, I asked him, if it was okay for me to reach out and ask him questions through email, one or two questions through email. And he came back immediately with his response of, you know, let's jump on a zoom call. And what more could you want?

Zack Arnold 52:47

And I can't remember if it was your email or not, because I workshop a lot of these over the course of any given week, but I know it was with our class, it was either with our class, it might have been in a breakout room right, might have been a hot seat. But at least one or two people in their first draft, it said, if you have time available, would you be okay, setting up a call to jump on zoom? So I could ask you some questions. And what did I tell them?

Paul Del Vecchio 53:09

Don't put that in there? Ask if you you know, ask permission if you can reach out, but maybe I forgot? Well, you know, he said something like 60 50% of the time or something like that, they'll ask you to jump on a zoom call.

Zack Arnold 53:22

If you make the Ask less, they're going to offer to you what you would have asked anyway, the whole purpose of that first message is just to start the conversation to get a response. And the question I asked you guys over and over and over, we break this down sentence by sentence. Does this sentence make it more or less likely they're going to respond? Does this sentence make it more or less likely they will respond? And we said, if you're going to have in your final question, I would like to set up a zoom call versus Could I ask you a question or two, which one raises the likelihood of getting a response? Clearly, it's making it simpler. But I also said and it could have been to you or to whomever else it was, if you just have the smallest ask most likely, they're going to offer the call, which takes all of the pressure off of you to feel like you're bothering them because they offer it. Right. And then that happened, you and I think it happened to two other people in our group the same week. They're like, I got a call to I didn't ask for it. Yeah, that the key is you got to ask for as little as possible by providing value first, and asking just a little tiny bit in return. And usually, people are more than willing to help.

Paul Del Vecchio 54:28

Yeah, and plus, you don't want to make them feel like, you know, if they get a message and they're like, Oh, can you can we jump on a zoom call? And they might be like, you know, I would love to, but I'm in the middle of like 20 things, you know, for the next month, and I just don't know if I'm gonna have the time. And then, you know, a lot of people they just don't want to say no or so they'll go, Oh, well, I'll get back to this. Maybe I can find time. You know, it just takes the pressure off of them. Because if they don't, you know, if they don't actually have time to do a zoom call, at least They'll say, yeah, you know, feel free to send, you know your questions, and I'll answer through email. And, and that's fine too.

Zack Arnold 55:09

There's one other component that I think made you get a response in 19 minutes. And I think it's hilarious that you spent more time deliberating hitting the send button than it took to get a response. There's something about the math of that. That's just magic. I spent 20 minutes, if you just hit the send button, you would have gotten your message one minute before you actually hit the send button. So I, I love the way that that adds up. But the point being that let's say that you provided all this wonderful and personal value. And you were reaching out with a question or two, would he have been likely to respond if he didn't understand where you are? And how he can help you?

Paul Del Vecchio 55:40

No, probably not. Because they, you know, if he said, Well, can I just reach out with a question material? They're like, Well, I mean, I know nothing about you. So I don't even know if I can actually help. So it lessens the if they don't know enough about you, then it lessens the chance of you getting a response.

Zack Arnold 55:57

Exactly. And that's an area that we workshopped ad nauseum for weeks. I am a firm believer, I've said it over and over. And I'll say it again, I believe that everybody, maybe not universally every single person. But in general, I think everybody wants to help everybody else. The problem is you haven't made it clear how somebody can help you. Because it's all about me, me, me, as opposed to, I want to provide value. And in return, here's a little bit more about me as it relates to you and your journey. And this is exactly where I could use some advice or where I'm stuck. We spent forever just on like those few sentences. But as we got clarity for it took us all of 19 minutes for Dan Liu to say I'm in the middle of a huge show right now. And I'm on set and I'm dealing with this and this and this, but I can totally help this guy. And I can do it fast. And the fastest and easiest way is let's just get on a zoom call. So I'm assuming that that's going to happen at some point in the future when Dan is available, and maybe you'll reach out in a month or two. Right, you'll get a chance to talk to Dan.

Paul Del Vecchio 56:52

Yeah, that actually happened last night.

Zack Arnold 56:54

Oh, wait, hold on a second. You had a call the same week that you sent the message?

Paul Del Vecchio 56:58

Yeah, it was funny, because he was like, Yeah, I can I can jump on a zoom call after 6pm. You know, anytime this week. So I was like, Okay, cool. And I didn't want to be like, Oh, well how's tonight, you know, so I wanted to give a little bit of time. So I was like, well, how's tomorrow or Thursday or Friday. And he was like tomorrow works.

Zack Arnold 57:18

So let me ask you a question. Did Dan seem like he was standing on an ivory tower? And you had absolutely no business bothering you're talking to this person? Or did you discover that, oh, Dan's just a guy. And he's working hard, just like I am trying to figure all this out.

Paul Del Vecchio 57:34

I mean, you know, obviously, he's an extremely talented guy, but you psych yourself out. And when you start going, like, Oh, my God, you know, I'm reaching out to this person, and I'm a nobody, and they're not gonna want to talk to me. Yeah, I mean, he's just a normal, normal guy, you know, just just like everyone else. It's like, they have the same worries and fears and some of the things that he told me about his journey. It's, you know, enlightening, because you see some of the things that he went through, and you're like, wow, I'm going through that, too. So, yeah, if you know, the main thing is that you psych yourself out. And there's no reason to do that.

Zack Arnold 58:14

The biggest question that I always have, when somebody reaches out via email that have a zoom, call, whatever it might be, it's awesome that you got a response. And it's super cool that you got to talk to Dan. But ultimately, at the end of the call, or the end of the email exchange, none of it really matters. Unless you got good actionable advice. And you know, what's next? So having talked to Dan, do you have clarity and more confidence about what comes next on your path to get closer to where he is now?

Paul Del Vecchio 58:40

Yes, I do. There are things that he brought up that I didn't even think of that I didn't know, that I was eligible for. And it wasn't just, you know, saying to him, Hey, how do I do this? It was more so like, asking him questions about his journey, so that I can find the answers in his story. That was the most enlightening part about it. Was that was seen what he went through, and pulling, you know, things that that I find, I guess, useful to my own journey. That was more useful than than asking, Hey, you know, how do I do this? Or how do I do that? You know, it gave me more clarity than just straight up asking for specific advice.

Zack Arnold 59:27

Yeah. And that's an approach that we taught in the program that I want to make very clear to everybody is a really important approach with anybody you want to build a relationship with. I think that we have the tendency to think they're an expert, and I need to seek their expertise. But I don't think Dan Liu thinks he's an expert. He is for you. Because Dan is on the exact same path or very similar path as you he's a few years ahead. So in your tiny little world, Dan is your expert, but I don't think Dan would say that. He's an expert. If you treat them as such, and you ask them what, what's the best advice you could give me to be successful in my directing career?

I don't know, dude, I'm trying to figure out my own life. I don't want to give you bad advice and feel guilty. So that's when you end up getting really generic advice. But instead, you said, You know what, I'm going to be a journalist. I just want to learn about Dan, and I want to get Dan to talk about himself.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:00:20

Yeah. And, you know, like I said, the stories that he told me were way more useful, as far as like, from a confidence perspective, and also from a practical, strategical approach. Just seeing what he did. It provided answers for my own journey.

Zack Arnold 1:00:42

And the key word here, and this kind of is going to wrap it all up in a nice, neat little bow, for me, is the word confidence. So that was going to be kind of my final official question is, if you were to look at your confidence, and now about whether or not you're going to succeed as a director, versus where you were six months ago, talk about the before and after difference in your confidence.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:01:02

Oh, God, um, yeah, it's funny. Like, just even looking back at six months ago, because back then, it really felt like I, I just, I didn't think that I started believing all these things. And I didn't think that I would even really have a shot at it, just because I didn't know what to do. I was like, well, maybe I'm not really cut out for this, because I don't have any ideas. And, and I just, I just don't have the time to do it. And I don't, I just can't see myself ever, you know, breaking out of the cycle that I'm in. And then now, I don't want to sound arrogant or whatever. But I feel that if I play my cards, right, it's probably just a matter of time. You know, so it's, you know, obviously, I have to put in the work. But I know that for me, that never really has been the issue. It's just finding the things for me that I have to improve and improving them. And, you know, just keep on taking steps forward.

Zack Arnold 1:02:08

And can you control the amount of effort that you put in?

Paul Del Vecchio 1:02:11

Oh, yeah.

Zack Arnold 1:02:12

Damn, right. Can Can, can you control the timing under which this is all going to happen for you?

Paul Del Vecchio 1:02:17

No, not really. I mean,

Zack Arnold 1:02:18


Paul Del Vecchio 1:02:19

You know, no, I mean, overall, no, you can't, but you can control the amount of effort that you put in. And when the time is right, it'll happen.

Zack Arnold 1:02:27

That's right. And it's not going to just come to you, you will have created it, right.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:02:31

It's not just like, Okay, well, when the time is right, I'm gonna sit back, you know, for now, I'm just gonna sit back and when the time is right, someone's gonna magically plucked me out of obscurity, and I'm going to become the next hot director. It's like, No, no, that that's not the approach, the approach is put in the work. Do, you know put in all the work in the effort that you can? And when the time is right, that's when it'll happen.

Zack Arnold 1:02:52

And that's when you get to become an overnight success.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:02:55


Zack Arnold 1:02:56

Through years and years of hard work and focus and dedication and reprioritization and saying no, and reorganizing your life, you land that opportunity. And everybody says, Paul is an overnight success. And you say, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:03:09

Yeah. Thank you so much. Look at my Facebook.

Zack Arnold 1:03:13

I love that. That's a great response. Yeah, go ahead and look at my Facebook.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:03:16

Yeah. And then you'll see overnight success.

Zack Arnold 1:03:19

Yeah, that's hilarious. So are there any other questions that I haven't asked or anything else that's important for you to discuss or bring up about this whole journey? Before we wrap for today?

Paul Del Vecchio 1:03:29

I think that that really covers it.

Zack Arnold 1:03:31

Alright. So then final piece of advice. We have the next Paul Del Vecchio, he's listening right now. And he's thinking, Oh, my God, this is me. Because there was a time when you listen to a podcast not so long ago, and you said, Oh, my God, this is me. There's another Paul, I guarantee this listening right now. And they're thinking it, it sounds like this might be something I want to do. And it could be helpful, but I'm scared. I just I don't know if I should do this. Maybe it's not the right time, or, you know, it's not the right fit, or you know, it's an investment. What do you tell the Paul that's listening right now that saying, This is me, but I don't know what to do?

Paul Del Vecchio 1:04:06

Yeah, let me tell you about it not being the right time. Because it wasn't the right time for me for 10 years. And then I forced myself to do this. I forced myself to join the program, and take steps because I knew, you know, 10 years, it's been 10 years, if it was gonna happen, you know, it would have already happened, probably. So I would say, you have to actively put in the effort and run towards the fear. And, you know, if you want this to happen, then you have to find someone to either guide you and then take the steps to, to make it happen. Or you could, you know, just go back to what you're doing, and hoping that someone will pluck you out of obscurity because it has happened, right? I mean, it has happened But what's the more interesting story that you really want to tell? Oh, yeah, someone handed me an opportunity. And I got lucky, or this is what I did. And these are the steps that I took. Go look at the proof. You know, I put in all the hard work. And I feel like I put in all the effort and, and I earned it. So

Zack Arnold 1:05:19

You earned it. That's the key, you earned it. And I also have a future t-shirt idea that I'm going to steal from you run towards the fear, right? I could tattoo that on my forehead. That's the story of my flippin life right now.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:05:32

Yeah, I mean, that's exactly what I've learned from you that, you know, certain things you brought up, and I was like, Oh, my God, we really have to do that. Are you kidding me? And then I was like, You know what? You run towards the fear. That's it. That's all you have to do?

Zack Arnold 1:05:46

Well, and and here's where running towards the fear has gotten you so far. And I cannot wait to revisit this conversation in a year in three years and five years. Like, with the amount of effort and focus and intensity you're putting into this, I have no doubt this is going to happen. I don't know when. But I've no doubt that it's going to happen. It's all going to come together.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:06:04

It's a scary thought for me actually, to think about that. Because just seeing how far I've come in six months, you know? Yeah, like three years is, wow, it's like, it's scary. It's scary thinking about that.

Zack Arnold 1:06:16

And it should be but I want it to be nervous, scary. I want it to be good, scary. lean into the fear. Scary, right? So that's what I'm excited about. For sure. What, at the end of the day, I may have helped to mentor and answer a few questions here and there and recommend the book or show a few tricks in Trello. But ultimately, you did all this. The very first thing I say in video one on day one. There's two people in this program, two people on this call right now, only one of us can help you. And spoiler alert, it's not me. So you're here because of the effort that you put in and the focus and the time and the learning and the intensity. So I just want to make it very clear that you made this happen, not me. I was just there to shorten your learning curve a little bit. That's all

Paul Del Vecchio 1:06:56

You say that's all like it's a you know, yeah, that's it. But it is a huge part of it, for sure. I think, in my opinion,

Zack Arnold 1:07:02

Well, I appreciate that. So on that note, as somebody that focuses on time management, I do want to be very, very respectful of your time. But Lastly, if anybody listening to this is inspired by your journey, and I guarantee you there's at least one new Paul out there this listening, if he wants to connect with you, he wants to learn more from you. He wants to send you some good outreach and provide you some value. What's the best way to connect with you directly?

Paul Del Vecchio 1:07:25

Email, you can reach me at Paul@Pauldv.net. And then on Twitter, you could do @PaulDV. And then that's also the same for Facebook. And then Instagram is PDLV.

Zack Arnold 1:07:40

I love it. All right, well, I have a feeling you're going to get at least one or two outreach messages in your near future and knowing how to read the matrix behind the outreach message, you'll know whether or not it's good or bad outreach. But I will warn anybody that wants to reach out to Paul, you should at least look into the Insider's Guide to writing a great outreach email, because Paul's gonna know if your outreach isn't good. He knows the formula now. So you know, I wouldn't rush and I would give yourself some time to connect with Paul, but I have no doubt that Paul, you would be willing to to help other people that are in a similar position as you.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:08:11

Oh, yeah, for sure. And yeah, you know, it sounds scary. It's like, oh, Paul's gonna know. But just you know, it's, I wouldn't feel too afraid.

Zack Arnold 1:08:19

All as a regular guy that just wants to help other regular guys. That's all of we're all in the same boat together. Yes. So on that note, I cannot thank you enough for being so honest and open, and most importantly, putting in all the effort to earn the position to be on this podcast today. So I really appreciate that. Thank you.

Paul Del Vecchio 1:08:34

Thank you. Thank you for having me. This has been a lot of fun.

Zack Arnold 1:08:38

Before closing up today's show, I would love to ask for just a couple additional minutes of your time and attention to introduce you to one of my new favorite products created by my good friend Kit Perkins, who you may recognize as creator of the Topo Mat, here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Aero driven co founder and CEO Kit Perkins, talking about his latest product, new standard whole protein

Kit Perkins 1:09:03

I'm into health and fitness generally, but I want it to be simple and straightforward. bout a year, year and a half ago, I started adding collagen into my protein shakes. And man the benefits were like more dramatic than any supplement I've ever seen. So I thought if I can just get this down to coming out of one jar, and it's ingredients that I know I can trust and you just put it in water and you don't have to think about it.

Zack Arnold 1:09:22

When people think of protein powders. They think well, I don't want to get big and bulky. And that's not what this is about. to me. This is about repair.

Kit Perkins 1:09:29

So a big part of what we're talking about here is you are what you eat. Your body's constantly repairing and rebuilding and the only stuff it can use to repair and rebuild is what you've been eating. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by everyday getting out of bed, it's like you know two or three creeks and pops in the first couple steps and that I thought you just sort of live with now but yeah, when starting the collagen daily or near daily, it's just gone. So for us job one a here was make sure it's high quality and that's grass fed 100% pasture raised cows. And then the second thing if you're actually going to do it every day It needs to be simple, it needs to taste good.

Zack Arnold 1:10:02

Well my goal is that for anybody that is a creative professional like myself that's stuck in front of a computer. Number one, they're doing it standing on a topo mat. Number two, they've got a glass of new standard protein next to them so they can just fuel their body fuel their brain. So you and I, my friend, one edit station at a time are going to change the world

Kit Perkins 1:10:20

And even better for your listeners with code optimize on either a one time purchase for that first, Subscribe and Save order 50% off. So if you do that, Subscribe and Save that's 20% off and 50% off with code optimize, it's a fantastic deal.

Zack Arnold 1:10:35

If you're looking for a simple and affordable way to stay energetic, focused and alleviate the chronic aches and pains that come from living at your computer. I recommend new standard whole protein because it's sourced from high quality ingredients that I trust and it tastes great. To place your first order visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard and use the code optimize for 50% off your first order.

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. Don't forget to visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast. As a quick reminder if you're interested in learning more about working with me as your coach and mentor to become more productive and design a clear path towards your goals enrollment open soon for the spring semester of my optimizer program. To learn more get your name on the waitlist and apply visit optimizeyourself.me/optimizer. Applications will be reviewed and accepted until Friday, April 23. And a special thanks to our sponsors Evercast and Ergodriven 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 Evercast an action visit optimizeyourself.me/evercast and to learn more about Ergodriven and my favorite product for standing workstations the turbo mat visit optimizeyourself.me/topo that's t o p o and to learn more about Ergodriven and their brand new product that I'm super excited about new standard whole protein visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Our Generous Sponsors:

Struggling With Real-Time Remote Collaboration? Meet Evercast

As work begins to slowly trickle in again, perhaps the most pressing challenge we as creative professionals face in our post-pandemic reality is real-time collaboration. Zoom is great for meetings, but it sure doesn’t work for streaming video. Luckily this problem has now been solved for all of us. If you haven’t heard of Evercast, it’s time to become acquainted. Because Evercast’s real-time remote collaboration technology is CHANGING. THE. GAME.

→ Click here to see a free demo of Evercast in action!

This episode was brought to you by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat (my #1 recommendation for anyone who stands at their workstation) and now their latest product. New Standard Whole Protein is a blend of both whey and collagen, sourced from the highest quality ingredients without any of the unnecessary filler or garbage. Not only will you get more energy and focus from this protein powder, you will notice improvements in your skin, hair, nails, joints and muscles. And because they don’t spend a lot on excessive marketing and advertising expenses, the savings gets passed on to you.

new standard whole protein

Guest Bio:


Paul Del Vecchio

Connect on Facebook twitter Follow on Instagram

Paul Del Vecchio is a Promo & Commercial Editor, Colorist, and DP in NYC who has done work for companies like NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, USA Networks, TNT, Conde Nast, and Viacom on brands such as Furious 7, The Hunger Games, Mr. Robot, Crimson Peak, Hennessy, Michael Kors, Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Bon Appetit, and more.

As a Director, his film, “The Final Day,” was hand picked by legendary filmmaker George Romero and The Weinstein Company as the Grand Prize Winner in the “Diary of the Dead” contest. The film is in the special features of the “Diary of the Dead” Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Release.

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).

Like us on Facebook

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 & 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).”