Ep195: When Being a “People Pleaser” Goes Too Far (and How to Set Boundaries) | with Lisa Robison, CCE

» Click to read the full transcript

“You have to learn to take pride in being the first one to say no.”
– Lisa

Lisa Robison CCE, is a camera assistant turned award-winning editor best known for her work on “Loudermilk,” “My Life Without Me,” “The L Word” and “Firefly Lane,” and most recently she edited the Tribeca feature, “American Dreamer.” Even more impressive than her credits, however, is Lisa’s story of growth and perseverance in the face of massive adversity.

While we will each have our own unique paths to success, you’d be hard-pressed to find a story more unique or inspiring than Lisa’s. While it’s certainly rare to make the transition from the camera department into post-production, what is even more amazing is that this transition was because of a near-death experience that Lisa shares candidly in today’s conversation. Not only has Lisa persevered through extremely difficult times, she has come out of each experience with a greater understanding of who she is. What really inspired me from this conversation above all else was Lisa really recognizing the true cost of being a ‘people pleaser’ and over committing to too many projects her entire career and how she can set better boundaries in her career going forwards.

If you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over (particularly when it comes to burnout and overcommitting to too many projects), or if you feel as if you’ve been ‘paying your dues’ far longer than you anticipated, this conversation is for you. You’ll not only learn how to better determine your non-negotiables in order to set yourself up for more sustainable success (and less burnout), but you’ll also learn that success is never lost at the placement of your boundaries. In fact, setting boundaries is in fact where your success will most likely begin.

Want to Hear More Episodes Like This One?

» Click here to subscribe and never miss another episode

Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • The story of Lisa’s near death experience and how that was the transitional point between her career as an aspiring Camera Operator to an Editor
  • The mindset it takes to push past the limiting beliefs of others and not adopt them as your own
  • How to handle the identity shift that occurs after a sudden career change (whether it was planned or not)
  • The mindset and steps it took for Lisa to make her shift into the Editor’s chair, and STAY there
  • A simple way you not only stand out, but advance your career on any show you are working on
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: We all have times in our career when we are overworking simply for the sake of not letting ourselves and other people down. This is normal, but it doesn’t mean it’s the it needs to be
  • The deeper reason to why you might be people pleasing, even to your own detriment
  • What signals you can look out for within yourself (and others) that mean you’re headed towards burnout
  • What actually leads to burnout and outbursts, and what you can do about it
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: If you want to prevent burnout, you have to develop the skill of saying ‘NO’ to protect your boundaries around proper workload expectations
  • The importance of determining (and sticking to) your non-negotiables when it comes to your job so that you can maximize creativity and lessen the amount of time you’re ‘surviving’
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Harsh deadlines and extreme working hours keep happening because people keep saying, “Yes.” We have to learn the only way the industry changes, is with us sticking to our non-negotiables
  • The ONE thing to ask yourself when you’re deciding whether or not you should work for free (and yes, sometimes it’s okay to work for free)

Useful Resources Mentioned:

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

Dear Hollywood…We Create Entertainment For a Living. We’re Not Curing Cancer.


Lisa Robison: IMDb

@lisarobison100 • Instagram photos and videos

Continue to Listen & Learn

Dear Hollywood: We Don’t Want to “Go Back to Normal.” Normal Wasn’t Working.

Ep128: How to Have a Successful Career Without Sacrificing Family | with Farrel Levy

Ep168: Hollywood On the Record: What’s REALLY Happening On Set? | with Shay’La Banks and Nickolaus Brown

Ep11: Making It In Hollywood as a “Creative” (What They Don’t Teach You In Film School) | with Norman Hollyn

Ep141: Michelle Tesoro (ACE) On Playing Chess With Your Career (Instead of Checkers) – pt1

Ep142: Michelle Tesoro (ACE) On Playing Chess With Your Health & Well-Being (Pt2)

I need help making a career transition | Optimize Yourself

Ep134: Leveraging Your Skills to Get Hired (When You Don’t Have the Experience) | with Steve Lang, ACE (pt1)

Ep104: How to Keep Working As An Editor (After You’ve Made the Transition From AE) | with Susan Vaill, ACE

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

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

Ep127: Chasing After the Next Gig vs. Building Your Career | with Kabir Ahktar, ACE

Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold

My guest today is Lisa Robison who's a steadicam and camera operator turned award winning editor, best known for her work on Loudermilk, My Life Without Me, The L Word and Firefly Lane, and most recently, she added the Tribeca feature American Dreamer. Even more impressive than her credits, however, is Lisa's story of growth and perseverance in the face of massive adversity. Now while we each have our own unique paths to success, you will be hard pressed to find a story that is more unique or more inspiring than Lisa's. While it's certainly rare to make the transition from the camera department into post production. What is even more amazing is that this transition was because of a near death experience that Lisa shares candidly in today's conversation, not only has Lisa persevered through extremely difficult times, she has come out of each experience with a greater understanding of who she really is. Now, what inspired me from this conversation above all else was Lisa recognizing the true cost of being a people pleaser, and over committing to too many projects her entire career, and how she can set better boundaries in her career going forwards. If you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over, particularly when it comes to burnout, and over committing to too many projects at once. Or if you feel as if you've just been paying your dues far longer than you anticipated, this conversation is probably for you. You're not only going to learn how to better determine your non negotiables in order to set yourself up for more sustainable success, as well as less burnout. But you're also going to learn that success is never lost at the placement of your boundaries. In fact, setting boundaries is in fact where your success will most likely begin. All right. Without further ado, my conversation with award winning editor Lisa Robison. To access the show notes for this episode with all the bonus links and resources discussed today. As well as to subscribe, leave a review and more simply visit optimizyourself.me/episode195. I am here today with Lisa Robison who is an editor best known for her work on Loudermilk, My Life Without Me, The L Word and Firefly Lane. And you also recently worked on the Tribeca feature from this year, American Dreamer starring Peter Dinklage, Lisa, for many reasons that the audience is going to find out a whole lot more about. I am excited about talking to you today. And it is a pleasure to have you here on the podcast.

Lisa Robison

Thank you, Zack, it's an extreme pleasure for me to be here. I love your podcast.

Zack Arnold

That means a lot to me. Every time that I hear from somebody this is Oh yeah, I follow you or listen, I live in such a vacuum that it doesn't occur to me to this day, that the work I'm doing in my tiny little room working from home actually reaches real people. I just get so wrapped up in the details and the files and the dates and this needs to go and like oh yeah, this is actually going out in front of people. So I still am like, oh, wait, you listen. So it just warms my heart to know that that is reaching you and other people like you. So I appreciate you saying that. So anybody that listens to the show knows that I don't talk to editors about editing. I talk to editors about life, and the mindsets that are required to be successful, overcoming obstacles, everything except for the craft of editing. That hadn't been said somebody reached out and said, Hey, you should really have Lisa on your podcast. And my reaction was, I mean, she's she seems like a pro. She's got some good experience. But I wasn't jumping over the moon thinking, Oh, I can talk to another writer about editing because that's not really my thing. I usually pass them off to other shows like artists, the cutter, the rough cut, or whatever it might be. So I had said back, you know, just give me a little bit of sense of her story just so I can see if it's a good fit for the show. And within about a sentence and a half of that response. I'm like done, get Lisa on Booker, she and I need to talk. So framing it that way. Let's start with a little bit of your origin story because you took a very, very uncommon path to be in the editor's chair today. So let's talk about where the whole origin story begins for Lisa Robison.

Lisa Robison

First of all, I started off in the camera department, but how I got into the camera department was helping my brother in 1986 shoot a documentary running around with the cameras and that was so great. And then I went back up to Whistler bc I was a ski bum and then he said, What are you going to do with your life? And you know, that day we ran around with the cameras. It was so awesome. And he was like What? No, that's all guys in the camera department. You don't want to do that. And I was like I just loved it. I love the physicality of it. I love the getting those shots and and so I was a camera assistant for about five or six years and I worked mostly with same team and we were really tight team, my focus puller. He was like a brother and the operator was like an uncle and that was all I wanted to do and I wanted I had hopes of becoming one of the first female camera operators in Vancouver because at that time, this is the 90s There weren't that many. And there actually weren't that many female camera assistants either. And I'm five, two, I mean, you know, lifting that 1000 foot mag is always arms bent. And I was like, I don't need to go to the gym. I love the physicality of this, and this is just the best job. And then I have asthma. So, and I had always known that working out was the best thing for my asthma. And even though

sometimes it's

exercise induced, and sometimes it's allergy induced, but I knew I stayed fit. And I was on a feature film called Little Women, but it was back in the day with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon, not the remake. And we were shooting in Victoria Island, and the plant and broom came into bloom. I didn't on that same weekend, they sprayed the acreage that we're on with this white foam that airplanes landing when when airplanes crash, they try to put the phone when they think the airplane is gonna crash, they put the phone down. And so I'm walking out and I'm just pushing my car, that's the beginning of the day, nothing strenuous. And suddenly, I feel the tightness in my chest and I give the motion to these fellows that I've worked with, for six years that I have to go do a puff and I have to go to the camera truck, unfortunately, in the camera truck was the camera truck driver who saw me do the hit events Lin and I I passed out my you know, my lips wind blew the whole deal. They tried to get craft service. And craft services giving me oxygen wasn't working, ambulances are being called. And they are taking me to a small town in Vancouver Island. And I basically died, I saw the white light, talk to my dead step dad, who said,


I get it 30 years later. And he said it's not your time. It's not your time. And and I got, I woke up. And I was in the hospital for a couple hours. But I had, they didn't know where I was production didn't know where I was. So I literally went out, guy got dressed, I went out to this little tiny reception, finding out where I was. And it's you know, the old days when you could remember a telephone number. And I called the production office, and they were like, oh, that's where you are. And then they sent a Teamster for me, and got me off the island as soon as they could. And I was able to finish the film. But after that, I kept getting lung infections. And my doctor said, either

you start doing your job, or you find a new doctor.

So I didn't know what to do. And I had to stop working. So I spent about six months at home, honestly, drinking beer and watching absolutely fabulous. And just my life was plummeting. I just I didn't care about anything. And then my brother who is editing out of the pilot for outer limits. He said, Why don't you come by? And watch me just hanging out in the edit suite. And I came by and I sat behind him going oh, yeah, that's kind of cool. I could do that. You know, and I was bored because it's the editing room. And if you're not allowed to add edit, there's nothing else to do. So I picked up the manual. And I started reading the manual. And because I'm a little, a little bit geek, I was walking down the hall and the two assistants that were working on the show were like, I don't get PC this like dark. The format did. And I said guys, it's you know, it's it's dos slash backslash format. And they were like, what? Get in you so then they get me on and production wouldn't hire me because they don't so I realize this was something to keep my head focused and keep me from sitting at home drinking beer and watching absolutely fabulous. So I started offering to pick up the

dailies and I

washed cars and walked people's dogs when they would bring their dogs to work all that stuff, get lunches, go back and get the right meal and and the hang around for the fish flight. I just didn't give up. And the other fear was that at this time I was 31. So it was like what are you going to do? I didn't feel

I wanted to go back,

well go back to university or taking courses, I really loved my original job. So I just dug in and

then focused on

this job. And I had so many great people that supported me along the way, just when, because when you hit a wall, you think I can't do it. And then you have somebody that says you can

do and you feed off.

Zack Arnold

Well, essentially, that's why I've made the major career transition that I have, because I love being that person, I realized is just a gift that I have that I'm very good at seeing potential on others. And people aren't very good at seeing the potential in themselves. It just seems to be a rampant epidemic that we have, where people just don't believe that they're capable of the things that they want to achieve. And they need somebody else, not to tell them that they are, but somebody else to help them believe themselves that they can. And I'm very glad that you had people like that in your life, because I think it's very important that we surround ourselves with the right people that are going to support our goals and not try and really push them down. And I would imagine that going back a little bit earlier, even before we get to the the inciting incident of our story where you know, you have your near death experience and you make the transition to post. I would guess there were a lot of naysayers that were saying, Lisa, you're five two and you're a woman, camera operator, huh? Yeah. Good luck with that. Let me know how that works out. So if we rewind all the way back there, where did you get the mindset from to not listen to that, and instead continue to pursue your goal of being one of the first female camera operators.

Lisa Robison

I, when I was a teenager, I had a stepdad and I have four older brothers, and they all drove stick. And you know, they're the cool Buicks and things like that. And I was like, coming to that age of trying to learn how to drive and I was like, I can't, I can't yell drive stick. And he was like, if you're dumb brothers can drive a stitch, you can do it too. And I his voice comes into my head, a lot of there's no reason why you can't do something, if you want to do it.


yeah, little angels.

Zack Arnold

Yeah. Isn't it amazing? How just one little moment, right, one moment in time, I would guess that most likely stepdad maybe remembers it. But usually the moments that we remember that define us, we share them with people years later. And like I said that I don't remember saying that. Like, are you kidding? My entire life's work is based on this one sentence? Well, it sounds like good advice. I never said it. I don't remember it, right. But I really believe that our life is nothing more than a collection of moments and your ability to see that moment, get the value out of it and get so much mileage, no pun intended, maybe a little. But no pun intended, getting the mileage out of that and applying it to so many different obstacles and all the adversity like I just I feel like so many people don't value enough the voices that we have in our heads. And oftentimes, the voices are the ones that are telling us we can't we shouldn't be doing these things. And what I help people do is replace those voices with people that are saying that you can't do them. But you were fortunate enough to have somebody early enough in your life that was like, no, just do it. Don't worry about it. So once you had that mindset in place, the seed was planted that I can do it. What was the experience, like once you actually got into that world, you're working with the Teamsters, you're working with other people that are really old school, they've got this vision in their mind of what a camera system is supposed to look like, what a camera operator is supposed to look like, what continues to drive you, knowing that most of the people are looking at this saying, like this is ever going to happen.

Lisa Robison

Ah, you know, that's, that's such a great question. I think it was just the just doing putting my head down and doing my job. And just then going, really, she's gonna take that tripod up the mountain. And then it was just like,

watch me.

And I did it. And it was like, oh, and just slowly, not winning them over, but just slowly watching them go, oh, and then earning that respect. And I actually liked that I had to earn the respect. It wasn't like, Oh, she's a girl will help her carry the battery. It was like, Oh, my God, she did it. She's, she's tough. And she's and you know, the great thing about working on set is it's such a team. And if if you're willing to help out somebody else, they'll help you out. And like there's a maybe it's a bit different now but back in the day, it was you, you know you you help the grips, clear out their stands at the end of the night and they helped you so I think it was just the building of that team. And then maybe testing me which is fine. And we sort of living up to the test.

Zack Arnold

So When you were first, I mean, you'd like even way back in the day where you're running around with cameras with your brother, which by the way, if you don't know your origin story is almost identical to mine. Same age set, you probably had the same Zack Morris camera on your shoulder, right? VHS tapes and the VHS C tapes. People are like what's VHS C? Never heard of it. Look it up. It's on Google. So united, such as similar origin story, I would imagine. And you can correct me if I'm wrong. But you got to a certain point where it's not just a matter of my professional goals that I want to be a female camera operator, it becomes your identity. Did you get to a point where you became so wrapped up in the work that you did that you almost lost separation with yourself? And who I am? Is the person on the path to be the first female camera operator?

Lisa Robison

Oh, exactly. Yeah, totally. That was it. And then when I couldn't be that, it was just like, What am I going to do? I've invested all this time all this energy. People are gonna mock me it just complete failure. Yeah.

Zack Arnold

Let me ask you this. I think another question that people ask That's even scarier, rather than just what am I going to do? The question is, who am I? Did you ever ask that question after you would realize, and the reason that you left that part of the industry? So valid, makes so much sense and you made the right decision? But I would imagine at the time, it's not just Well, now, what do I do to pay the bills? It's, this is who I've been in my mind for decades. Who am I now? Did you find that you're confronting that thought as well?

Lisa Robison

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

I don't even know what to say after that accent. Yes, it would, it was such a it was such a loss, for me, a loss of my identity, a loss of as you say, my job and my income. But it was also this like a void in my soul.

Zack Arnold

The reason that I bring it up is because I think even though the details may be different for everybody, we've all had our six months of watching. Absolutely fabulous. And drinking beer, we've all had that version of our life, right? So I think that's what so many people get wrapped up in is this idea that I have failed, or whatever it is, and they don't understand why can't I just get up off the couch? Or why can't I get out? I just got to check the job listings, I just got to send my outreach emails. Everybody says you got to put yourself out there network network network. Why is it so hard? And from what I found digging into so many people's challenges, that is usually some attack to their identity? It's like, How can I reach out to them and tell them my story if I don't even know who I am anymore?

Lisa Robison

Right? Yeah, yeah, that's true.

And then have it in the, I don't know, if it's just this industry, I think a lot of people feel that way. When they're really encompassed into their career. They just once if they lose that career, it is their identity. For sure. It's very insightful.

Zack Arnold

Given all of that. Now, let's go back to where we kind of put a pin in the conversation before which is there, you're working your way into the post production industry. So talk to me about the gap between I walk in the office, I tell them about dos and the backslashes. And I'm making all of it up because I know nothing about Dawson PC, I am that Mac person is like I don't get any of it. But you go from that moment you prove yourself you provide some value to where you are now I'm editing Tribeca quality feature films and all these other great iconic projects that you've worked on. What's the trajectory from that moment to where you are now in a nutshell,

Lisa Robison

I assisted again, my brother went to the union and my brother at that time was such a huge mentor, he is still mentor for me. He was like, you know, we'll get you in you will do your time. And then I was so nervous that I had to live up to that, you know, it's not wanting to let anybody down. So I assisted and then i i liked assisting it was comfortable. I knew I knew how to do the line script. I knew how to do all that the bins. I liked learning from Lightworks totally dating myself if absolutely fabulous. didn't date me already to you know, the app and the you know, and then somebody said to me, you should add it. And I was like no, no, I don't want to add it and it was on Highlander. The Raven post supervisor said Lisa can edit one episode and they literally set me up in the closet aside the furnace like I had a cup with headphones on because that was the only way I could hear anything. And I was like, they're not going to do it and I worked my butt off. And I'm one turned into three episodes three turned into eight.

And then just

somebody said once you edit if you want to edit don't assist so I just I hung out and just up applied for editing jobs and when editing job led to another, and I've just been really fortunate with the people

that again, believed in me to put that little oomph

under me. And then once I was given the opportunity, I was like, I'm not letting anybody down. And I'm going to be going to cut this episode the best I can like, I would carry the tripod to the top of the mountain. And yeah, for somebody who didn't go to editng school, I lucked out.

Zack Arnold

I was gonna say, so what do you think it was that they noticed? Because there are I can tell you there are countless number of people that have been clawing and scraping as assistant editors for years or even decades that just cannot get into the editor's chair. And I'm sure to hear your story. They're like, come on, like you didn't even want to do it. And somebody is like, No, do it. It'll be fun. And all of a sudden, you've got your four credits, and you're on your way. But I firmly believe it wasn't just luck, there was something that they recognized. What was it that you did that put yourself in that position? Because I don't believe it was all luck?

Lisa Robison

Yes, I

know you hate that word, or you don't like that word.

Zack Arnold

I don't like that word in most contexts, because people use it as an excuse. I do believe that luck exists. People think that I say that luck does not exist. I don't agree with that. But I believe that there are a lot more things we can control that we believe we can't, and we use luck as an excuse. So were there components of luck that were outside of your control and the circumstance maybe, but I don't think luck plays the percentage that maybe you or others might think there's something that puts you in that editor's chair. And I want to better understand what it is so that others can see similar traits in themselves.

Lisa Robison

So on the Highlander, the Raven, because it was a spinoff from the first one. I didn't start working on Highlander from the first get go. But I watched all the episodes at lunch. So I knew that show. I knew that show. And that show was famous for doing bottle shows or clip shows, you know, where it's like, oh, remember when and, and I would I could go? Oh, that's from Episode BA. And that's from episode and they were like, how do you know that? And I was like, because I absorbed I watched it. I watched on there like, and then I, I would you know is the days when we digitized everything. And we you'd sit and watch the dailies go in real time. And when my editor had a problem or like, you know, do you remember that shot, we need that shot? I'd be like, That was from that episode, or that was from day four of blah. And they'd be like, what? You remember that? And I'd be like, yeah, I totally remember that. And I think I think because I showed a keen interest. And I was always there for even though I was assigned to one editor I would I would help out the other editor or I'd help out the other assistant. So I was very much that team effort from being on set came with me. It wasn't just oh, this is my editor. And I'm only going to help that. That wasn't how that wasn't how I operated back then. So I just as an assistant, it was like everybody gets everything.

But I think it was because I remembered the shows and

I was keenly interested in it.

Zack Arnold

It's once again it's becoming eerie how similar our journeys and our stories are, because what you're describing is exactly the way that I made myself indispensable for my first TV gig on Burn Notice, I was brought into Burn Notice to edit one episode while somebody was editing another pilot. And that got delayed and then they needed somebody for a second episode. But essentially, I had seen at the time I was hired for the beginning of season four. And just for the job interview even before I even had the job I watched the entire series twice, three seasons 16 episodes a season 42 minutes an episode that was a lot of watching tiata. Right, but they essentially called me the Rain Man of Burn Notice because they would say I need that one shot of him snapping his fingers. And there's an explosion behind that was at the end of Act Three and episode 311. They're like, what like, just go look, you're right. It was at the end of Act Three and episode 311. And because of that, I was able to provide a lot of value to the other teams because they were looking for shots Burn Notice was so much repurposing of B roll of bombs and all this other stuff that we constantly needed to access the archives and I was just always the person whose door they knocked on and I made myself indispensable. And it sounds like that's one of the traits that you possessed that made you valuable as an editor so it wasn't just luck you had decided I'm going to know everything about this show where technically that's not really in your just your job description. I think most people specially nowadays and maybe it's just me becoming old and curmudgeon II and like Well, back in my day, we did it this way. I don't know. But I feel that everybody's like, Hey, this is my job. I've done my duties. Now I want to go home. And there's a fine line that we'll talk about later between just doing your job doing your job exceedingly well. And then doing your job so exceedingly well, it's to your own detriment. But at least for now, you're going beyond the requirements of your job. So you could provide value in other places. That's not luck. Okay. All right, well, then then perhaps we will agree, we will agree to disagree.

Lisa Robison

No, I was a, but it's funny. I didn't realize I was doing it at the time. Like, I didn't sit down and go, I'm gonna watch this. So they I know, I just was like, I should know what the show is about, you know,

Zack Arnold

which speaks a lot to your character traits, character traits that I think are both incredibly valuable for what you do. But if we're talking about what it also means for the quality of your life for your health, mental and physical, being both a perfectionist, and a workaholic, are great. Until they are not.

Lisa Robison

Yes, until the House of Cards. Yeah,

Zack Arnold

and anybody that doesn't listen to this regularly, you should know this is a matter of it takes one to know one, because I am both a raging recovering workaholic, and a recovering perfectionist. So it comes from experience to be able to talk about it. But this is something that I know is very near and dear to your heart that this has been a struggle of yours your entire career, has it not?

Lisa Robison

Oh, for sure. I'm getting choked up as we talk as you talk about it. And I'm just

trying not to get choked up.

Zack Arnold

What is it that's choking you up about this specific subject?

Lisa Robison

Oh, I think Oh, geez. Um, it's not wanting to let people down?

Zack Arnold

Yeah. What is it about letting people down? That scares you so much, and makes you so emotional?

Lisa Robison

I guess not wanting to disappoint anybody. So I'm super hard on myself. Yeah,

Zack Arnold

well, let me assure you, this is a very common challenge. Frankly, if this weren't a common challenge, I probably wouldn't have the podcast and the coaching business that I do now. Because at least half if not more of the clients that come to me that say, I'm burned out, I can't do the job anymore. Whatever it might be, they've lost their creative passion. It's usually because people pleasing has just crossed this line of there's just, it doesn't matter how far I push it. I just I have nothing left inside of me. So it's a very, very common challenge for people. Yeah. So I just want I want to make sure you know that and I say this both to you, but anybody else that's listening. It is not just you. And that was something that I needed to hear when I first started, not because I'm a people pleaser, but because I gave everything and then some and I couldn't hack it. Not hack it professionally. But personally, I just I couldn't keep up with it. I wasn't sleeping, I was dealing with horrible depression. And I kept thinking, Why does everybody else have this figured out? But me? Everybody else seems to be able to work these hours. And they've got these great careers. And they're winning awards. And they bet smiles on their faces until I realized, oh, it's all bullshit. None of you can do it either. I feel so much better now. Right? But it's taken years to discover that. So what you're going through is very, very common. I literally have this conversation with people every single day. So if you don't mind, and we don't have to, I'm going to leave this up to you. But I think that for others that feels emotional about this as you might I would like to dig into it a little bit further, because I think it could be a value. Sure. Sure. And again, you tell me when it's like you know, let's let time to change the subject. Okay. But I'm curious, very similar to this mindset of, I'm going to do whatever it takes, I'm not going to let somebody tell me no, because I was learning stick. And he's like, No, you're going to learn this. Because if you're dumb brothers can you can write that stuck in your head? Like, no, I can do something if I set my mind to it. I'm curious, is there a similar experience that has gotten it into your head, the importance of pleasing others, even at the cost of your own health and well being? I'm sure there

Lisa Robison

is. I'm sure it's just

trying to keep up. And

can you ask

the question again?

Zack Arnold

Yeah, sure. I'll, I'll ask it in a slightly different way. there and I'm gonna give a little bit more background this time. So as somebody who has said that you listen to the podcast, you may already be familiar with this conversation. But I had a conversation with Gretchen Rubin. And we talked about a topic and an idea that you created called the Four tendencies. And we'll we'll make sure to link in the show notes to that episode. But essentially, there are four ways in which we respond expectations. There's not personality traits. It's not everybody belongs in buckets. And everybody's the same because I don't believe in that stuff. But there's some truth to this idea of the four tendencies. And essentially when it comes to expectations, there are four basic types of responses. There's the upholder, and the upholder is Somebody that when somebody asks them to do it, they do it because somebody told me to. So I wouldn't I write very rigid. This is how things work. We stick to our schedules, we show up on time. That's an external expectation internally. I'm going to exercise I'm going to eat well, I'm going to get eight hours of sleep a night, and I'm going to do consistently done because I told myself to do it. Never will I understand those people to this day. That's definitely not me. Because if I say no, I need to exercise and eat well, none of it gets done. The only reason I maintain the habits and the regimens I do is because of external accountability. upholders don't need it. Then you got questioners, questioners response to everything is Yeah, but why helped me understand, right? That's the way that I'm wired. It's why I have a podcast where I talk to hundreds and hundreds of people to better understand their life, how they're wired, how they do the things that they do, right? I don't know how to not ask why it's actually very exhausting. That's me responding to expectations. Yes. But why are you asking me to do that? And what is the benefit? Is there a better way? That's the question in my head 24 hours a day, I wonder if there's a better way to do this thing. Right. So then another tendency would be the rebel, and the rebel immediately upon either an external or an internal expectation, the response is not going to tell me what to do, I'm going to do it my own way. And then the fourth tendency is the obliger. And the obliger is one that when external expectations are put upon them, the immediate answer is always yes, of course, whatever you need. The internal expectation to whatever I need myself is usually I'll get to that when I meet everybody else's needs. I have a pretty good feeling. I know which one of those you resonate with the most?

Lisa Robison

Yeah, I think so too.

Zack Arnold

Seems pretty obvious. Right? Door number four? Yeah. So the reason I reframe it this way for you, is to really ask the question, I have found through talking to many, many people, that there's a nature versus nurture. There is the nature of I'm wired this way. Versus I'm wired one way, but I've been conditioned through environment and behavior slightly differently. So knowing all of that, does that help jog any memories or ideas about potentially where the seed was planted, that I must appease the needs of others, even to my own detriment?

Lisa Robison

Yeah, yeah.

I think it's, I'm,

I think it has to,

it must be because I can't even say it, but being the youngest

in the family.

And my dad died when I was eight. And I think that I think I just wanted to be the person that made everything easier for everybody else

as opposed to being the rebel

right. Yeah.

Zack Arnold

Well, first of all, thank you very much for having the courage to share that because I know that it wasn't easy. The reason that I like to have these kinds of conversations and not talk about well, explained to me that the music choices in American Dream are and what inspired you, right, those are great. That's the kind of conversations that I find is valuable. This, to me is a conversation that I think is both valuable and can change lives. And the fact that we're willing to share that I think is immensely valuable. But the reason that I want to have this conversation is that I have found with myself included, and so many others, once they realize that this perspective comes from somewhere, they can better understand it, it doesn't mean you have to change, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the way that you do it. But when I had my own realization, similar to this is like, Oh, now I get why I do this thing all the time. And that's why,

Lisa Robison

why I can't say no,

Zack Arnold

right? Because at a very young age, you experienced one of the most extreme traumas, if the most extreme trauma that an eight year old girl could experience losing your father, and you took the role of I'm going to make sure that everybody's okay. That's a lot of weight for an eight year old girl. Yeah. But now think about does it make some sense that you are also the little five two girl that shows up on set and like, I'm going to carry all the heavyweights watch me. Yeah, yeah. And then the giant wall comes crashing down. Nope. Can't achieve your dreams not going to happen for a very good reason. And what do you do when you take a few months to regroup and then you just start proverbially picking up all the weights and carrying them again? Yeah. So what I'm curious to now that we better understand where a lot of this behavior comes from, and just to be very clear, both to you but everybody else I'm not judging this behavior is good or bad. I just have to understand it. I'm the questioner. Why do things work the way that they do? It used to be how does the story work on the screen all right now I've learned as an editor how to put the pieces together. I'm still editing now we just do it where the dailies are people's stories in their own lives. Same process, still editing, right still understanding the story arcs. So what I'm curious about is where have you found it most valuable to have these character traits where you feel that I'm the one that's going to make sure that everything is working great. And we all get through it versus this is costing me?

Lisa Robison

Oh, well, the job I do, and my

my life, I feel

I have immense pride that I'm the go to person. And just recently in this last year, be that go to person. II did I did strike burnout. And I did you know, I, I was doing two very important jobs at the same time. And I ended up snapping at, you know, producers, embarrassing myself. And that's where it falls apart. Just being totally drained, and not in check. And that's where I,

you know, fortunately, everybody was forgiving.

Because when you're, when you're in the position of as the head of department, and you're losing your mind,

it's not cool. Basically, it's not who I want it to be.

Zack Arnold

Yeah. And I would, I would guess that anybody that saw this happen with you, the media reaction was, this is not Lisa. They're like, Who is this person? So it's not so much like, how dare they is like, what is going on? It's almost like shock rather than anger. It's just like, something's gotta be wrong, because I would guess it's very out of character for you.

Lisa Robison

It was, and they, you know, and it was a zoom call, and it was one of those. And the response was,

if you're not

in the mood to do this, let's not do it. And it was just such a great response to me. And

I really respect that person even more for not challenging me not getting mad back at me just taking a breath of an I could, you know, it's the saying of how do I want to be represented in this moment, is what they did. It was I, they just took a breath and responded back to me and and, and it just deflated the situation and was a huge lesson for me of a my, my watermark, my point of being exhausted, and also how to

respond. So I gained a lot from that from being overworked.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, well, I'm glad that you're willing to share that because again, I think it's so easy for those that are still trying to either break into the industry or climb the ladder, to see people that are doing well and succeeding, thinking, well, they've got it all figured out. They're not they're not having the outburst like I'm having or dealing with the burnout that I'm dealing with. So I must be doing something wrong. And this isn't the kind of thing that you talk about on Tribeca panels, right? No, no, I think it's important to get that stuff out there to know that even the seasoned pros that are very successful are dealing with all the same challenges.

Lisa Robison

Yeah, it seems I find, even with 20, some odd years of editing, the demands are, the demands are greater, and my demands are greater is that I, you know, I want to keep growing, I want to keep experiencing different challenges. And then when you have two conflicts, you you don't want to let anybody down. Because it's not fair. It's not fair that schedules got crazy or overlapped or whatever.

Zack Arnold

Well, I want to dig into that a little bit further. So again, this isn't about judgment, saying it was right or wrong, I just want to better understand what led to that outburst. Because I think it's very, very common for people to be at that point where they're just like, I'm done, the filter is off, I just cannot do it anymore. We've all hit that moment more than once. So the angle that I want to take, knowing that we've talked a little bit about your tendencies to be somewhat of a perfectionist and workaholic, and a people pleaser, versus what you said, which is that the schedules are tighter and the budgets are smaller and things are getting harder. Which of those two do you think contributed more to you reaching that point? Was it more your own tendencies? Or I'm doing the best that I can but the confines of the project push me here or both?

Lisa Robison

It was a bit of both it was I going from production five days to production meeting six days of me which never was the plan. And I have a saying that I've learned I can't do any more than three six day weeks. It's like I just I shut down.

I don't care. I'm exhausted. I'm just watching cuts go by. So that had been extended to the reshoots and revisiting meetings and not wanting to lose the old project, which had reared up again, and wanting to really start off and season two. So it was just unfortunate overlaps. And sure, maybe it was a bit of my pride.

You know, a lot of my pride of I'm going, I'm the i It's my baby, both of them are my baby. And then I just had to say no, to both. And you know what, everybody has to wait. Everybody has to wait, the project that's come back up is like, you know what, we're just gonna have to wait a couple of weekends. When I want my life on this show. That's my current baby is

calm again. And I wasn't confident in me to be able to say no, from the get go.

Is that a treehouse away? And

just the Yeah, yeah, I can do that. Yeah, I can. You know, and that just wore me out. And it was huge, unfortunate lesson for me to learn. But there's you have to take pride in being the first one to say no, before you embarrass yourself. And you know, fortunately, I'm working from home. I'm not driving exhausted. Or, you know,

I just put myself in danger.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, well, as a as a people pleaser, if there's anybody that understands the danger of the word. Yes. It's you because yessing everybody to death puts you in a very precarious position. And I think one detail to clarify here that I think is really important, because so many people have taken on more than one project and overlapped. To clarify with these two things going on at once. It was technically to project but it was kind of for the same people. Right. So it wasn't a matter of you had it was almost like you had one job, but two separate projects in a way Correct? Or not,

Lisa Robison

it was two separate two sector productions.

Zack Arnold

Oh, it was because I remember at some point reading about how you were actually balancing too, but it was kind of the same supervising producer or something.

Lisa Robison

That's that's how I ended up getting. I needed to be for American dream. I was I was at that time I was doing. Two, three, and then it became Can you volunteer your time?

Zack Arnold

Oh, so this was another time that you were overlapping multiple projects at once. I'm confusing all of them. Yes. Interesting. All right. So that Well, I definitely want to get get into that in a little bit. But having gone through this experience, probably more than once. What would you say? Are the boundaries that you are non negotiable? What are the things that if you're going to take on a new project, you know that you're going to be a people pleaser, to a certain extent that I'm going to do the best I possibly can for you? Because that's what I do. But having become more seasoned at this and seeing the detriment of that, do you have certain non negotiables? Where if you are going to go on to another project? What are the things that they're going to say to you? You're like, No, unfortunately, this is not going to be a good fit for me anymore.

Lisa Robison

Well, one I learned a long time ago is I won't drive more than half an hour. That's just crazy. I know. It's crazy. I know, if you lived in LA Yeah, I wouldn't be driving anywhere. But now that I work from home, I love this. It's this this six day week thing. I'm not and I I limit myself when I do when I work with a director, producer, but maximum I do is 10 hours. And they I find the directors or producers are from out of town and they're in a hotel room they want to work owner because they have nothing else to do. And I'm like no, I 10 hours, I'm sorry, I'm I'm mush. I anything I do after 10 hours, I'm going to redo the next day. That's how I feel if I'm making music choices at the end of the night. Boy, I'm replacing everything. And and like I said the three six day weeks.

I I'm and that's pushing it on good. Maybe too. But, you know, with what

we do, and I think this doesn't just apply to editors, I think anybody that does a job inside, you have to get out and experience the world be able to storytel to be able to crunch numbers and whatever you do as an office job, I think you're a better mindset.

If you've been outside, you have to get outside. We're not made to be in these environments.

Zack Arnold

No, we have not evolved for the last 100,000 years to sit in front of glowing screens and dark rooms with recycled air and no windows. It's just the level of absurdity of the work that we do. And the level of creativity and problem solving that is required. Knowing what it takes to maximize creativity from a physiological level. Knowing that motion is required activity is required. Being able to step away and take breaks and have room in your brain to think freely and activate what's called the default network. So you can connect all these random ideas together and other ideas, which is the sheer definition of creativity. So to maximize that, I know, let's put somebody in a dark room for 16 hours a day, and put the pizza under the door when they're hungry. And we wonder why we're in the middle of the problem that we're in the middle. And I've just I've never understood the logic, which again, is all about logic for me, because I'm just one of those annoying questioners. But it never made sense to me, which is why I started all this. Like, you want me to be good at my job, but you're setting me up for failure, you're doing everything you possibly can to make me fail. And it takes everything that I have just to not fail, doesn't take everything I have to succeed and be my best just to not fail. takes everything inside of me, because those are the conditions that we've been put in.

Lisa Robison

Yeah. And it's not just us. I mean, if you think about people that are frontline workers working in hospitals seems like that, though, you know, they're in the same inside heavy pressure,

always having to be alert jobs. Like they have no idea. I have no idea what they do. But I have no idea

how they do it.

Zack Arnold

The difference is, and somebody needs to send this memo to all the executives and the studio people, they're literally saving lives. Last time I checked, we make entertainment for a living, which to be clear is important. And anybody that was locked inside for the last two years know how important entertainment was to our well being and our mental state. But we're not saving lives. And we're not curing cancer. But I often feel like that's the level of importance that's put on all of the urgent things that need to be done. Like I've I don't know if anybody else has ever said it this way. But I have essentially coined the phrase that ASAP is a verb. You can be a Sapt all day long. Oh, I just got a sap the ASAP to me, right? It was never a verb, but it's a verb because people are doing it constantly. It's like we're not saving lives. So if you really think about it, are the six days even really necessary? They're not. But that's really the core foundation. And fundamental reason why we're in this place, is that the studios arbitrarily say, it's on the calendar. So we must make it so.

Lisa Robison

Yeah. Why? Right.

Zack Arnold

So here's, here's my, my hypothesis, the reason they do it comes down to the same conversation we've already been having. Because people continually say, yes. And they make it happen. And today's miracle. Well, that just becomes tomorrow's expectation. Yes. All right. Yeah. So it's just the word yes, has been very, very dangerous for all of us collectively. And that's why I want to talk about how on a personal level, it can cause the issues that it does, but how we learn to set better boundaries. And I'm not coming to you because you're an expert at setting boundaries. And I'm not either, but you're somebody that's seasoned enough to have seen the consequences of potential in that setting enough boundary. So now you have your set of non negotiables. If I said to you, I just saw American dreamer, you are our next editor, there is no question. But here's the thing, we're going to need you for at least 12 hours a day, it's going to be a long string of six day weeks. And it's going to be a little bit of a drive. We're going to pay you whatever you want to make it happen. Is this even a conversation

Lisa Robison

no no

And I have fortunately, known I have turned down jobs that have been a little kooky just because it's no why would I? Why would I do that? Why would I, you know, and we've all you know, it's unfortunate, we all get the notices of editors that have passed away because they're not moving and they're not getting out. And they're, they're stuck at their desks and whether it's, you know, whatever disease it is, it's not healthy for us. And I think, you know, that letter you wrote to the motion picture about enough is enough, basically. That was one of the first articles that I read that you wrote, and I was just like, Yeah, this dude is sticking up for us. And we have to say, No, we have to stop being afraid of if we say no, somebody else might get the job. Well let them get the job.

You know, you

Zack Arnold

you dissect just about anybody's career path to success. And that path is paved with a endless series of no's what I really wish they had was an alternate page to IMDb because IMDb I know for a fact all of the projects that you said yes to maybe not all of them, but the ones that are legit credits. I know your yes resume. I want to go to IMDb and see a whole listing of credits of all the films you said no to no to. Right, because that's a much more fascinating journey. When people say well, what have you said, you said no to that and that and that. That's that's a much bigger part of the journey, but we just assume we shouldn't be doing that or we should be taking anything that comes along.

Lisa Robison

To be perfectly honest, I've made

I've made three really bad choices in my career, where instead of saying no, at the beginning,

I quit.

And that wasn't cool. But I ended up saying, you know, I'm not driving an hour and a half, and then driving an hour and a half home, and then being told I have to work till two in the morning, and why am I not back in the chair at 9am?

And then I

was mad, and I was tired. And I blew up, and I quit. And that wasn't the right way to handle it. If I just said no, from the get go, if I just listened to close friends that were like, Why are you doing that you don't need that gig. Because I was insecure, I gotta keep working, I have to be leased to the editor. And that's, it's really hard to break that chain.

Zack Arnold

So really, it wasn't just the outside voices pressuring you saying, Oh, you're perfect. You can do this. It was the inside voice that says, and this is so important. It goes back to where we started. But I'm Lisa, the editor. Who am I if I'm not working? Exactly. So did you know before that job started that the commute was going to be 90 minutes each way? Oh, yeah. Okay. So it wasn't something where you had been told one thing you agreed to it and a change, you knew what you got yourself into?

Lisa Robison

Yeah. And that's why I now say, I don't drive that car. Because if I'm gonna stare at a screen, like we do, I'm not, I'm, I'm dumb. And if I drive home at night, and you know, in Canada, it feels a little darker. At four o'clock, it's like, dark. I don't want to do that drive for my own safety.

But that was why I checked that box now. So making mistakes,

just making mistakes, left, right and center.

Zack Arnold

And I would guess that at some point, even though maybe in the short term, you put them in a bit of a position where they're like, well, we just lost our editor. And now we got to scramble and figure it out. But I bet in the long term, it was probably more valuable to them, that you decided to replace yourself. So they could find somebody that either was closer, or could put in the hours that they required, whatever it might have been. But ultimately, you leaving probably was more valuable to them in the big picture.

Lisa Robison

You know what it was it also? Well, you know, what I am going to say, I'm gonna say the day I quit, a whole department quit. So I, I was there was other issues of why I quit. But the distance was one of them. And how I was being treated was I just was like,

I'm not

going to be part of a process where they brag that they kept people's 72 hours or 48 hours on set, doing like the painters work. I'm not going to be a part of that. And it did, it did allow somebody that was closer to take the job, which was great. And yeah, I left them in the lurch. But I had to do I had to do what I felt was the best for me.

Zack Arnold

Yeah. And I think that that's the important part. And that's where so many people get stuck, is they fall into that loop that you have talked about a lot, which is this people pleasing loop, I have to keep everybody together and keep the peace at all costs, and make sure everybody's okay. But then you reach that line of Yeah, but it's not this is no longer healthy. And it's actually unsafe for me to do this. So at some point, I'm just gonna have to cut the cord and realize that it's probably going to be better for everybody. But it's still a very, very scary feeling when you realize I made the wrong choice.

Lisa Robison

Yes. And it's, it's yeah, it's a

hard thing. And it's a humbling thing.

Zack Arnold

But what I appreciate about it is that you learn from it, because I feel there are some people that make mistakes like that, and they don't have the perspective or the awareness to look back and be like, Oh, maybe I just shouldn't take jobs where I drive 90 minutes each way. And they just keep repeating the same pattern. So yes, you made a mistake. We all make mistakes. But you have the awareness to say, now I've learned something that I'm not going to do again. Yeah, to me isn't a failure. It's just feedback. And you're just going to move forwards having that feedback.

Lisa Robison

Yeah. And

the, you know, just coming to terms with with what I do, I

need to get out I need to exercise and things like that.

Zack Arnold

So while we're on this topic of exploitation, long hours, kind of giving everything that we have to our own detriment. There's something else that I want to dig into a little bit deeper, which is this idea of potentially and this is what I want to get your perspective on potentially being exploited by either doing free work, or doing very, very low paid work because you had a full career as a camera assistant on the way to camera loader, 31 years, everything kind of falls apart totally out of your control. It's just circumstances. It is what it is. But now all of a sudden, you're going back to making like 400 bucks a week. And some would say well, once you're that age, like You're just being exploited if you're paying that much, and you should never ever, ever take free work because it devalues everybody. I'm curious what your thoughts are about both of those.

Lisa Robison

You know, I, if people ask me, How can I get in, and I always say, if they there's nothing wrong with interning, it's a, it's, I mean, that's how I got into the camera department was volunteering and doing stuff and mugging gear and figuring out if I wanted to it. The benefit for me of, of being a volunteer slash intern was I got to test the waters without having to go to school, I got to test the waters. And really get the sense of what it's like. And I was making the call, I was like, I will, it was my choice to go and pick up the dailies, it was my choice to stay late. And if I didn't want to do it, I

could have failed.

What I do something for free now,

I would have to do it as a passion project kind of thing for a friend, which isn't a bad thing. But I do think it's a great way to get your foot in the door.

Zack Arnold

It's funny that you say that about working for free, because my understanding is didn't some free work get you to where you are now on a Tribeca Film.

Lisa Robison

Yeah, exactly.

Zack Arnold

So talk a little bit more about that. Because given somebody that says yes to everybody, let's talk a little bit more about that. That free film that you decided to do and how that maybe wasn't so much. What somebody might think is, oh, it's exploitation, and they're taking advantage of you. How is this valuable to all parties involved?

Lisa Robison

i Okay, that's I was working on two projects, the same producer, the same post supervisor, and they came to me saying, the post supervisor came to me and said, I have been approached to do a film that's for making a film Foundation. And it's written by a young boy that's dying

of cancer. And my dad died of cancer. I have a lot of friends that died of cancer. So it's a bit of a thing to touch point. And they said, What you got it? And I said,

you, you you're like, when, like now or like when I'm done this? And they were like, well, it's starting now. But it's just a short. It's like 11 minutes. And I said, Yeah, I will do it. But you know how busy I am like something's going to be tabled. So I can do that. And they were like, Yeah, okay, well, we'll put your name and, and when there's three directors, and I said, Okay,

I Yeah, sure. I'll do it.


I didn't know who the directors were. I never heard of making film foundation, but I thought it was a really great idea for kids who are sick, that you know, what an awesome thing.

And then he said, Oh,

you have to interview with Sam Raimi? Catherine Hartwig and Ted Melfi, and I was like, what? And I was like, this is for the makeup sometimes isn't nice and yeah. And I interviewed with them, and

they hired me.

I was great. I was I'm still amazed that they hired me. Like, anyway, I'm grateful. So we did this film, and Dan Murphy was finishing Hidden Figures. So he directed and did a little I think he did sent me some notes. We chatted briefly. I worked with Katherine Hardwick for like a day or two because it's a short film. It's like 11 minutes so they and then Sam Raimi finished it and he was awesome to work with. And it's a zombie film and the things we did in that zombie film for Anthony Ponte who unfortunately passed away before it was completely finished

but I edited the film but what was really great was this kid was sick and hotel room. So my FaceTime with him and I showed him my dogs in Vancouver. And it was just I loved it is if we have a scale to give a pack and sometimes it doesn't matter where sometimes

you want to take them for everything because their work in your heart or it's ridiculous or whatever. And sometimes you

want to give back how was very fortunate that somebody saw and be able

to give back So anyway, I do the short film, I have that brief moment, chatting with Ted Melfi and then cut to literally five or six years later, the same post supervisor came to me and said, I have a film. Can you are? Do you want to read the script, and I'll see if you want to put your name for. And I read the script, I was like, Oh, my God, I love this is great. And ironically, the when they sent me the PDF of the script, it didn't have the cover page on it. So I didn't know who wrote it. I just love it. And it turned out that Ted broden

or Ted co wrote it. So the director called me, I've never met the director before. So we had a phone call. And

then I got a call back. And I just said, I love this film. It's just, it just really hits me, it just is so much of it I relate to. And the director said, Well, Ted,

the one thing you intend

worked on is this film back then. And I was like, Oh, my God, because I still didn't know. He was attached to it. I just had the director's name and to Maui. So that was wonderful. Because the director said, Well, Ted, is either Ted suggesting you for this film, and are you available. And so if I hadn't had done that film, for where the sorry, not speaking on the making film foundation, I might not have had that connection. So doing that one freebie, even though it is very near and dear to my heart for emotional reasons, obviously.

It's connections are important. And that people see, your passion is important, I feel maybe not so much, too much.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, I'm very, very glad that you shared all that. The reason being is that I have number one, I have many, many soap boxes. The joke that I've said over and over is that I have added in addition to my house to hold all of my soap boxes. And one of my soap boxes is people screaming from the rooftops in the Facebook group saying don't take free work, because it devalues all of us. And I'm going on the record saying to people take free work and take free work all the time, with the following caveat. These people need to value you and respect you. And there needs to be something you're getting in return. It doesn't have to be money. It can be connections, it can be learning new skills, it could be access to equipment, access to experts, access to mentors, there are going to be so many reasons that you're getting the value in return for the skills that you're providing that don't have to be money that in my opinion, enrich your life so far beyond what that paycheck would be. Now however, if you're a major studio financed by a mega global corporation, you're going to pay me every dollar that I'm worth. And then some because it's a different playing field. To this day, I still do free work. I still do free projects. And I now have a very close friend and mentor. And that relationship started because they said, Hey, I know that you're really good at editing, I had this project, I'm horrible. Can you help me use this thing for like elementary school kids write footage wasn't very good. They really had no idea what they were doing. It's something I whipped up in a couple of days. And it helped me build a friendship, but I never thought to myself, they can't afford my rate. And I'm not going to let them exploit me. Right, because it's all about intention. And the intention was we want to tell the story. We want to have a positive impact on the world. We have no budget, but we want to bring you on board. And wouldn't you say that based on whatever amount of time you put into it. It sounds like you've been paid back about a hundredfold and return.

Lisa Robison

Oh, yeah, I mean, I worked with Sam Raimi on Christmas Eve, which isn't usually a holiday or Boxing Day or whatever it was. And I don't regret

that at all. You know, to the point where I

he's just a great guy, and gave me great tips. And I it's just to meet people like that is it's a gift. And then to have that memory of Anthony, and seeing him beam when he was like, nobody's sending me cards and I just, you know, don't tell anybody. But I would FaceTime him the cards and he'd be like,

Oh my God, it's awesome. And to be able to like that just is like, it sounds corny, but it really warms my heart.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, that, to me is invaluable. There is no way to quantify an experience or a memory or a moment like that. Which is why I really think people need to go out of the way to be more open minded about the opportunities that are available that don't always have to be about whatever your day rate is.

Lisa Robison

Yeah, you don't have to take

every short film. You don't have to but if if there's a lot of really great short film scripts out there, it's hard to To write a short film, and if one touches you and you want to be involved, you can set your limits don't

look at me telling people to set their limits.

Zack Arnold

I know isn't that funny how that works? Well, one of the things that I've learned through developing and coaching practice that rings so true, is that you often coach what you need to hear and learn the most. And everything that I talked about, it's like, I might as well just put a mirror up, right there. Listen to it myself. Because it's all I say all the things that I need to hear more than anybody else. And I'm glad that you brought up the fact that you're like, yep, set your limits, knowing that that's something that you're currently working on, and in the progress of improving just like everybody else. Yes. So given everything that you've learned and accomplished, and now can feel proud of the fact that you've gotten where you are being settled and established as an editor, I have an exercise that I want you to go through very, very quickly with me, you may know what it is, if you listen to my podcast, it's not something that I do with every guest. But I think it's very apropos in this circumstance, which is that I want you to jump in a time machine. And I want you to go back in time, I don't want you to sit on the couch with yourself. While you're watching absolutely fabulous drinking beer. What's the conversation, you're gonna have

Lisa Robison

to put down the beer, and to get outside and to believe in me, and that somehow I have it me, too.

Do what?

You know what, because I wouldn't have known. I think it's not, you might not know what you want to do. But you have to believe in yourself that you will succeed. And you just have to really embrace the doubt, even though I have dealt 1000 times a day is just to stop and shake your head. And look ahead. Don't look behind, just keep looking forward.

Zack Arnold

I could not say it any better myself, I would say those are very, very wise words for anybody to live by editor, camera operator or human being. So on that note, as you may already know, because as I've learned today, you already follow and listen to the podcast. So I might be repeating this to you. But for anybody that listens that doesn't know this, I spent a lot of time working with creative professionals learning how to build relationships with others, connect with them, how to potentially learn more, maybe have a mentor, whatever it might be. So are you the type of person that's open to connecting with others? And if so, how can they get ahold of you? How can they find you or your work or connect with you directly?

Lisa Robison

They can. My email is on my IMDB

page. And or


Zack Arnold

Well, that's simple enough, that you have no idea how many people I've had to workshop and spend days finding somebody's email address, and in this case is like there it is, piece of cake.

Lisa Robison

I'm there, I'm there.

Zack Arnold

Yeah. So I think people get it in their heads like, well, I can't bother Lisa. She's too busy. And she's not going to respond. And why would she want to help me? Something tells me you're the kind of person that somebody reaches out with genuine outreach provides you a little bit of value. You're the kind of person that's going to respond and help them?

Lisa Robison

Yes, I do. I have in the past, and I usually try to do it within 48 hours or so.

Zack Arnold

It usually takes me a month or two.

Lisa Robison

Well, Zack, you have

way more things to juggle than I do. I I also if it gets too far down, I will forget about it. So I tried to even if it's I see your email, I can't get back to you, but I will. That kind of thing. I and then I follow up.

Zack Arnold

Right? Well, I can't thank you enough for being here being so honest and so candid about sharing your story and allowing others to experience what you've experienced and take some of the lessons from it. So thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

Lisa Robison

Thank you, Zack. It's been a pleasure.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Guest Bio:


Lisa Robison

Follow on Instagram linkedin website link

Lisa Robison has been in the film industry since 1987. At the start of her career, Lisa worked as a camera assistant for 7 years. “Little Women” (Winona Ryder, Christian Bale & Susan Sarandon), “Short Time” (Dabney Coleman) & “Gold Diggers” (Christina Ricci and Anna Chlumsky) are a few of the many productions she assisted on. In 1995, she changed careers and started working in Post Production. She was very fortunate to get her first editing job in 1998 and has been editing since. Fierce determination & strong work ethic as an editor has bestowed Lisa with 17 nominations and 11 awards. She is particularly proud of her work on “Firefly Lane” Seasons 1 & 2 (Netflix), “My Life Without Me”(Sony Classics), “The L Word” Seasons 1-5(Showtime), Loudermilk Season 2 & 3 (Amazon Prime),“Unspeakable” (CBC Limited Series, R.L. Stine’s “The Haunting Hour” Seasons 1-3(Discovery Family), and “Continuum” Seasons 2&3 (Syfy). Lisa is a member of IATSE 891, A.C.F.C., Canadian Cinema Editors, Vancouver Post Alliance, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

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).”