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

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Having spoken to and worked with hundreds of people worldwide over the last six months, if there’s one constant to the ever-changing landscape of 2020, it’s that this global pandemic has been a magnifying glass amplifying every tiny little detail about our lives (and society at large) that just wasn’t working. For many this intense awareness has been paralyzing while for others it’s been a motivating call to action.

So what’s the difference for those who feel stuck versus those who take action and see results?

Maybe you’re sick of being stuck on the wrong career path and feeling desperate to pursue your true passion, but you’re too afraid to take action because you’re waiting to “see how things work out?”

Maybe you’re anxious about work swallowing up what semblance of life you have outside your career…especially now that you’re stuck working from home?

Or maybe you are so overwhelmed about all the uncertainties and unknowns that you feel paralyzed and unable to focus on anything but just getting through another day. Yes, pandemic-induced procrastination is indeed a thing.

If any of these sound like you, I have three amazing guests on today’s show that know exactly how you feel. Ariel Fujita is an unscripted editor making the transition to colorist. Maxton Weller is a sound editor and composer for films and video games, and Kristi Shimek is an indie film editor transitioning to scripted television. This episode is a case study where I speak candidly with all three who are members of my ‘Optimizer’ coaching & mentorship community who have successfully navigated the challenges of being an introvert, who have battled the perfectionism that holds us back from accomplishing our goals, and who can relate to how imposter syndrome keeps us stuck in the wrong career path. And we discuss the strategies and methods they all implemented to work through these common pitfalls to feel confident and clear, not only about what they want in life but more importantly, how to actually live it. All three guests have recently completed my coaching & mentorship program, put in a lot of hard work, and have achieved amazing results…

…while, by the way, living through a global pandemic.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • The serendipitous timing of how Maxton ended up starting coaching with Zack when he needed it most.
  • The separate but eerily similar stories of how Ariel and Kristi both almost skipped Zack’s Networking for Introverts seminar because they were too shy and scared.
  • Why Ariel struggled with burnout and the mind-set shift she had to make to overcome the endless cycle.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Learning to ask the right questions will improve the quality of your life and the connections you make.
  • Why building confidence requires a deep dive into your psychology and your motivations.
  • The number one thing you need to get better at before you can even start networking.
  • How to stop waiting for focus to magically appear and instead learn to train it.
  • What you need to implement systems to improve time management and keep you accountable.
  • What a brain dump is and why doing it regularly will alleviate stress and anxiety.
  • Why doing a daily wrap up is essential for setting boundaries especially when working from home.
  • How Kristi got back her nights and weekends by setting expectations at the start of a job.
  • What Maxton’s IMDB spreadsheet revealed to him and how it led to a relationship with a composer he’s admired for years.
  • Maxton’s revelation about outreach emails: “It’s not IF people want to help you, it’s CAN they help you”
  • What transformed Kristi from being afraid to send outreach emails to doing it every single week and getting a 100% response rate.
  • The magic formula to writing successful outreach emails.
  • The Ben Franklin Effect: what it is and how it helps you build relationships.
  • Maxton’s advice: Don’t wait to see what happens. Take action.
  • Ariels’ advice:  Why not do the scariest thing at the scariest time to get where you want to be.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Enroll in the ‘Optimizer’ Coaching & Mentorship program

‘Insider’s Guide to Writing Great Outreach Emails’

The Ben Franklin Effect

Continue To Listen & Learn:

Want a Response to Your Cold Emails? Then Every Message MUST Do These 5 Things

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

Why Writing Cold Emails Is the Most Important ‘Soft Skill’ You Must Master (Especially If You’re An Introvert)

Ep64: [CASE STUDY] Overcoming Burnout and Imposter Syndrome | with Chryss Terry

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

Ep47: The Ugly Side of Depression, Burnout, and Imposter Syndrome | with Gen Malone

Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold 0:00

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

Hello, and welcome to the optimize yourself podcast. If you're a brand new optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you were inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about the show and help

Spread the Love. And if you're a longtime listener and optimizer Oh gee, welcome back. Whether you're brand new or you're seasoned vet, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you click the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show, and thus the more people that you and I can inspire, to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show, having spoken to and worked with hundreds of people worldwide over the last six months, if there's one constant to the ever changing landscape of 2020 it's that this global pandemic has been a magnifying glass, amplifying every tiny little detail about our lives and frankly, society at large to just wasn't working. For many this intense awareness has been paralyzing, while for others, it has been a motivating call to action. So what's the difference for those who feel stuck first

As those who've taken action and seen results, maybe you are sick of being stuck on the wrong career path and you're feeling desperate to pursue your true passion. But you're just too afraid to take action because you're waiting to quote unquote, see how things work out first. Or maybe you're anxious about work swallowing up what semblance of life you have outside your career, especially now that you're stuck working from home. Or maybe you are so overwhelmed about all of the uncertainties and the unknowns that you feel paralyzed, and you're unable to focus on anything, except just getting through your day. Yes, pandemic induced procrastination is indeed a thing. Now, if any of these sound like you, I have three amazing guests on today's show that know exactly how you feel. Ariel Fujita is an unscripted editor that's making the transition to colorist Maxton. Weller is a sound editor and a composer for both films and video games. And Kristi Shimek is an indie film editor transitioning to the world of scripted tell

Conversation with Ariel Fujita, Krisit Shimek and Maxton Waller made possible today by our amazing sponsors ever cast and arrow driven, who will be featured a bit later in today's interview to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview, please visit optimizer slash podcast.

I'm here today with Ariel Fujita, Kristi Shimek and Maxton Waller, all three of whom I've got to know very, very well over the last several months in my optimizer coaching and mentorship program, and I've specifically pulled the three of you out for a very good reason. All of you have just been more than willing to dive in, step outside your comfort zones put in the work and you guys are really, really seeing results and I've been nothing but a pleasure to work with all three of you and I love working with all of my students. So for those that are listening, thinking, well, how come I didn't get on I put in the work like everybody's putting in amazing work, but there's just something about

Each of your stories that I thought really resonated specifically with what's going on during the pandemic and everything that's going on in the world. And I just I wanted to share your stories with listeners so they can get value out of the journeys that you have gone through with me and the journeys that you're going on. Now beyond our time working together on the program, so Maxton, Kristi, Ariel, it is a pleasure that we could finally get together and record this interview today. So thank you so much for being here. Thank you. Thanks. So what we're going to talk about today is going to be some real uplifting, you know, lighthearted stuff like I don't know, imposter syndrome, and fear of reaching out and am I even taking any of the right actions with my career? And what the heck does the path even look like? Because it's so different for everybody. And we're gonna dive into some of this, because we've we've talked through a lot of these various areas, we've learned how to ask better questions of ourselves. We've learned how to better prioritize our time and our energy and our attention.

Before we get into a lot of the nitty gritty details and all the cool OCD stuff about Trello, and all that other things we could be talking about, I just want the listeners to get to know each of you a little bit better. So I'm just going to go one by one. And they just want a basic idea basic introduction of who you are, and what you do in the entertainment industry. So we're going to work in reverse alphabetical order. I'm going to start with maxton. So actually, you and I have been working together privately for God, I don't know what's it been like four or five months now?

Maxton Waller 7:29

Yeah, about four months. Yeah, I think.

Zack Arnold 7:31

So talk to us a little bit more about who you are and what you do in the entertainment industry. And even more importantly, where does that you're going.

Maxton Waller 7:38

I'm a composer, sound designer, and all around audio, and computer nerd. I work in film, and I love working in interactive as well. And I've been doing this for about five years now. Full time, and I like you said we've been working together for about four months. I found the focus yourself program the self guided course online a little bit before that, and the timing worked out super well. Because in the course you mentioned that you do private coaching. So then I looked it up and I think I reached out to you and you were like, Oh, well actually, I'm starting private coaching again in three weeks. So do you want to do this and it was kind of one of those like, easy decisions to make because the timing was so serendipitous and got a little bit of time to spare now and so it just kind of made sense. And yeah, and so here we are.

Zack Arnold 8:37

Alright, so you're you're specifically in the the music and composing side of the industry. Um, you've been doing stuff for films been doing stuff for video games for interactor for trailer so you kind of have your, your hands on a lot of different stuff in the music side of the business.

Unknown Speaker 8:51

Yes, that's

Zack Arnold 8:52

it and what we're going to find for anybody that's listening and thinking why I'm not in the music side of things, it doesn't matter. none of this matters. If I brought on

A fourth person to this call. And they said they wanted to become a professional basket weaver, we'd be talking about the same things. So it's not about these are the tips and tactics for assistant editors that want to become editors. But none of it applies to people that want to be composers like it really doesn't matter. But I like having a cross section of people that are not just saying, I am an assistant editor in unscripted and I want to move to being an assistant editor in scripting, because that's a very, very common conversation that I've had a lot. And people will reach out and say, well, well, what if I want to get into a different area? I'm like it really, it doesn't matter what you're doing. It's all about relationships and meeting people, but more importantly, getting all the crap in your head that's stopping you from doing the things you want to do. So moving on now to Kristi. Kristi, talk to me a little bit more about what you do in the industry and who you are. Yeah, I'm I'm a feature film and television editor. I've been editing for about 13 years. Yeah, I just finished up my first television show a few months ago, and then I'm about to start my second television show here soon in a couple of months. So

And then before that I was doing indie features. So what we're definitely going to be talking more about this new job that's coming up in a couple of months. We're not going to talk about it yet. But I'm very excited about how that whole process came to be and what the path was to get there. And we're going to deconstruct all of that. But I believe by the time this releases your when does your show come out? Because the first season of your shows coming out? In September, correct? It's October 6, October 6, god Okay, so then, so will not have come out yet. But what is the name of it? next number? Yes, on Fox, and this is your first scripted television show? Correct. making the transition from features to scripted. Mm hmm. But I thought you couldn't do that. I thought you couldn't transition from one thing to the other because we're all pigeonholes, and it can't be done the same thing a few months ago. Now, I think, what we call a limiting belief and we might get into that a little bit deeper. So transitioning now to Ariel, and by the way, just for a point of reference for anybody listening, it's taken me over three months to learn how to pronounce her name correctly. So this has been a learning experience.

Unknown Speaker 11:00

For me, but here we are with Ariel Fujita. So talk to me and my audience a little bit more about who you are and what you do in our industry. Hi. Yeah, um, my name is Ariel, I am I've been a unscripted editor for about five years. Prior to that, you know, I've worked my way through post production I started as opposed pa and moved up to coordinator I've been assistant editor in about a year ago, I decided to transition to online and I've been an online editor for on and off for a year. And my goal is actually to become a colorist not necessarily in scripted but more on scripted, you know, TV shows, maybe, you know, independent features. So, yeah, so now you're thinking you want to go from I want to do the creative side of the technical side, we'll come on. Nobody makes that transition. You can't do that right. Now. I know I used to, that was always my excuse. Like, I can never do that. I don't know anybody. Like it's literally

Zack Arnold 12:00

Impossible in one day, just ask myself, what do I actually like to do? Like? Let's just do it? Well, and I'm glad that you brought that up this idea of what is it that I actually like to do, because as all three of you have learned working with me, I have no interest in just helping people find the next gig. But it doesn't mean that I'm not here to help you find jobs. But what is the point of finding jobs if they are the wrong jobs, and they are not fulfilling? So we play a much, much longer game and we don't play a game of checkers, we play a game of chess. So it's a much, much longer game. And I'm sure that Kristi can certainly attest to this, because her first major chess pieces we'll talk about in a little bit was just put into place after six plus months of work. But I want to stick with you for a second Ariel. And I want to go into some of the the mindsets, the fears, the things that are holding you back, and I want to rewind to let's say, I don't know anywhere from a week to a month before you decided to work with me. What was going through your mind when you decided you know what? I think I want to be a colorist.

of an editor and assistant and in online, but it just it doesn't seem to me like this is something I can do. So let's talk about your mindset before you and I got started.

Ariel Fujita 13:09

Catch it. I actually discovered you through the editors Guild, there was a seminar that was happening that was titled networking for introverts. And it was like the beginning of the year, and I knew it was when I made the decision, like, you know what, I'm going to stop taking the usual jobs that I get offered, and I'm just going to try to pursue this color thing as long as I can until you know, the money runs out, and then I have to go back and get that paycheck job. So I thought, Okay, well, yeah, that's my biggest problem. throughout my entire career. I'm just terrible at networking. I don't like going to, like meetups. I don't like going to Office parties. Like just the thought of interacting with other people just freaks me out. And I avoided all costs. And the funny thing is, I signed up for the seminar in like 15 minutes before it was supposed to happen. I almost didn't go Because I was just so terrified of it. But then I thought, okay, if I'm so scared of this, like, there's something about it that I need to, like, discover overcome. And the only way I'm going to get to where I want to be is if I just take that risk. So I decided to go do it and I get, you know, so much information. And I started listening to your podcast, and the more I listened to it, I realized, this is perfect for me. These are, I have so many obstacles that are holding me back. Just the idea of like, I have to be perfectionist. I don't want to try for something until I know I master it, but I'm never gonna master it if I don't try and I just I kept finding myself in this endless loop of what if, but I can't do it. I don't know what to do.

Zack Arnold 14:49

Yeah, now Kristi, none of that sounds familiar, right?

That wasn't my experience at all.

Kristi Shimek 14:57

That was like my exact experience. I went to the same seminar. And I almost I was like telling myself if I can't find parking I'm turning around like I was so I was like so nervous I couldn't even go up to you after and tell you how much it meant to me it was still like took me you know you coming back and being like, would you be interested for me to like really take that step cuz I was so nervous about it. And so yeah, I just felt like I didn't know how in network like, that was like my same experience.

Zack Arnold 15:24

Well, just for those that are listening and may not remember this was an in person event and I'm going to put a link to Wikipedia to what it means to go to an event in person. This was actually pre pandemic and it seems like it was five years ago that I ran that seminar. Do think that that was in the same calendar year just doesn't even seem possible because that was the end of January and I swear that was five years ago. But I have done a couple couple similar sense online but definitely not the same experience. But I've met a lot a lot of really good people really nice people. From that one seminar alone, all of whom said exactly.

Do the same thing, which is Oh, God is going to a networking event. But for introverts, like, how does that even work? Right? So it was essentially a room of 100 people that didn't want to be there, including me. Because either way, I'm thinking, well, I want to talk about networking for introverts, but maybe I can come up with an excuse to not show up, maybe I can't find parking, or maybe something happened in my car, like, same exact thing. So for anybody that's, that's listening, that would find it surprising that I'm an introvert. I'm not just an introvert. I am like an introvert at the Olympic level. So the the pandemic has worked well for me, because all of the systems and tools that I built, so I can network and build relationships virtually and teach virtually, they all happen to work to my advantage. And now I'm able to continue interacting with people in a virtual environment, but I do I do still miss the in person events. So Maxton I know that a lot of this is relatively similar for you, but you you've you've got some other things going on as well. So let's let's rewind to, either before you even joined the focus yourself self contained program or before you and I started

together, what were some of the goals that you had in mind and some of the thoughts in your head that were stopping?

Maxton Waller 17:04

I think that at that time, I was I was assuming this was gonna last about two months, as most people were, I decided that I wanted to just polish up my productivity. And something that struck me, that's one of the first things that really struck me was that was talking about focus as a learned ability. Because my entire life I had thought otherwise. And I had thought that, you know, I didn't like school, because I couldn't focus. I didn't like doing homework because I couldn't focus because that's who I was. But the fact of the matter is that it just didn't make sense with why I was able to focus on certain things really well at certain times, but then other times, not so much. And so like that was basically the thought that was going through my head at the time. And my brother actually sent me a link to, I think one of your PDF guides from your website and I was like, Wow, this is awesome. And I just kept reading more and, and found the program and then and then found the private coaching. And there are definitely some similarities for me with you, Zach, in terms of, you know, like, you would not guess that you're an introvert and I feel like I have some tendencies in that department, but I'm one of those weird introverts who just talks more whenever they feel nervous or introverted. So, I mean, it works out sometimes. But then, you know, conversely, it's like something that you and I have spoken about a lot is after sending the email after making the connection, and then going back in your head going over everything that you've said over and over again, and sort of trying to change the perspective on making those connections with people into like fostering a genuine connection, so that that sort of helps that feeling subside? I think. And so those are my two big projects, I would say.

Zack Arnold 19:06

And I definitely want to point out this idea of focus just being something you either have or you don't. I think this is really, really important. So if we were to talk through one of the modules of the course, specifically, the the way that the focus yourself program is structured for anybody that is not familiar with listening, we use what's called the goal far framework. And this framework stands for goals, obstacles, focus, act and review. And when we talk about this idea of I'm just not the kind of person that can focus, or I'm just an introvert, whatever that might be. We talk about this and obstacles and there are three kinds of obstacles. There are challenges, there are limiting beliefs in their disabilities. So where does this idea of either I'm somebody that can't focus or I'm just an introvert or I am not good at networking, where do those fall

Maxton Waller 19:57

I mean, I would say that it most For me falls in the limiting belief department. Although I mean, there are people who really biologically struggle with focus and things like social anxiety where it does make networking just so much harder, you know, everybody sort of response those anxieties in a different way, I suppose. But in terms of my personal experience, it's all then what I'm continuing to learn is that it's a lot of limiting beliefs.

Zack Arnold 20:27

And I think it's really good to point out this fact that for some people, it's 100%, a limiting belief. And then for others, it's probably a combination of a limiting belief and a genuine disability. And the reason that I bring this up and this is something that I've talked about ad nauseam in the past and old podcasts and articles and whatnot. But for me, a part of it is also a disability where I was diagnosed with adult onset add in my mid 20s. So that means that I'm wired a certain way. But that also means that understanding that I can find ways to circumvent that and build systems around it, but I can't build systems around it until I can actually acknowledge that a lot of it is a limiting belief. I'm just somebody that can't stay focused. I'm just a mess. I'm just distracted all the time. Well, there is a reason for that biologically and genetically, and in the last few years, I've actually had very in depth genetic test done just to confirm a lot of the things that could not be confirmed 15 years ago, and all the things that were, I would say, not informally diagnosed, but 1520 years ago, they just looked at the the behaviors, they looked at the symptoms, and then if you got better with the medication, well, then that kind of confirms their suspicions. Now they can just look at your genetics and say, Yep, you check all the boxes, and I made sure that I actually do check all the boxes. So it wasn't just somebody randomly spouting their opinion but it's one thing to say Well, alright, got adult onset a DD I guess, I guess, it's just means my life is going to be a mess, or I can accept that's the case. But I can also say a lot of it is a limiting belief and I can build systems around it, which is a lot of the systems that we've talked about.

So let's dive a little bit more into this idea of this limiting belief and fear around connecting with people because Kristi, I know that when we started, you're in a little bit different place psychologically than you are now. So just described to me really get into your head beyond just I wanted to find an excuse to not go to the go to the networking event. But really, let's let's dig into your brain where you were six, nine months, even a year ago, when it came to connecting with people building relationships, reaching out asking for help and asking for advice. Yeah, I had major confidence issues. I would say I just, I had big imposter syndrome. I felt like even though I was working, when we met, I was working my first television job, I felt like I didn't belong there. I felt like I you know, even though I was excelling at it, I just still felt like, you know, I didn't have the confidence to believe that I was doing well and when it came to networking, I mean, I felt like, like all of the things I think everyone worries about at first which

Unknown Speaker 23:00

Like, they don't have time for me or they're, you know, they're not interested in what I have to say I have nothing to say to them that would, you know, provide value which I'm sure we'll talk about more, but I just felt like I had nothing to say and why would anyone want to, you know, hear from me or be in contact with me I really had, I wouldn't say major confidence issues on especially networking, but even in you know, even in the work that I was already doing, you know, I'm feeling this imposter syndrome for where I'm already at an imposter syndrome. Going back to Ariel. Now once again, this is something that doesn't even sound remotely familiar to you right? Did we didn't talk about this one bit in any of our sessions all the time. follows me everywhere.

Zack Arnold 23:43

So what what are some of these deeper thoughts and fears that you had in your mind because you're you're making a not an easy transition where you're going from one side of the industry to a very different one. It's one thing to say, I'm an assistant editor in reality and I want to become an assistant editor and scripted to a lot of people they just assume that That's impossible. And if you don't believe me, I'll show you a bunch of Facebook threads where I've talked about this. Oh my god, that can never happen. I've been in the business for 20 years. It just doesn't work. We get pigeonholed, excuse, excuse excuse drives me crazy, right? But what you are doing is a little bit more complex because you don't have a lot of transferable skills. You have some, but it's not quite starting over, but it's a little bit more challenging. So talk to me about some of the the limiting beliefs in the imposter syndrome and everything else that really was driving you and you and I first started

Ariel Fujita 24:29

Yeah, I think for me, it's, I always second guess myself, when it comes to doing anything like I have to be perfect. And that just comes back to the way I was raised. Growing up. My parents worked a lot. So my grandparents took care of my sister a lot and they had this attitude of, you know, in a minus isn't good enough. You just have to get an A plus like, why didn't you do that? So in my brain, it's like, you can't make a mistake because if you do that makes you a bad person. Or nobody's going to want to work with you again. And I think for me, I was just so afraid of making the mistakes that I just settled for whatever I was good at. And even when I was good at something, you know, I, I've managed to transition from assistant editor to editor and it was getting jobs and it wasn't a problem. But I always thought, like, I have to work harder to prove myself, even though you know, I'm working with companies and people I've had relationships with, but for some reason, in my head, it was some some sort of idea of like, you're just not working hard enough, or you're just like, you can't, you can't take a break. You can't relax, because for some reason, like someone else is going to take your job or like someone's going to discover that you're lazy or you don't know what you're doing. And,

Zack Arnold 25:48

yeah, well, is there any more dangerous combination than the gig economy, coupled with imposter syndrome where every single job is like starting over and you got to prove Prove yourself to new people, whether it's every three months, every six months every year, it just never ends. Right? Yeah, like an endless cycle that, you know, I worked with these producers and they know I work hard, but for some reason, somehow, they're just gonna figure out one day like, I'm lazy, even though I mean, I get there early leave late. For some reason, my brain I'm like, I just got to push harder and harder. And that I mean, that eventually led to just burning out and not like not wanting to do it or just losing interest in the industry. And I mean, there was even a time where I took a break completely. I went to culinary school, I just didn't want to do TV anymore. But then I also found myself in a similar situation of like, Okay, well, I just got to focus and just keep working hard at that. Like I have to change it up because I can't keep going like 100% all the time. Because there's going to be nothing less like I'm just going to be stressed out the whole time of like worrying like someone's going to discover that I don't know what I'm doing or You know, I'm pushing too hard, and I need to take like a mental break for, you know, three months, and then I'm going to lose my context. It's, it was realizing like, I need to have some sort of confidence in myself. And I think that was the thing that was missing. Yeah, one of the the most important things that I want to extract out of that is the B word, burnout. That's a big one. And I think what happens in our industry and similar industries that are structured, the way that the gig economy is, is we're always worried about finding the next gig, we always have to prove ourselves over and over again, which is exhausting. I know I've done that on multiple shows where I'll come off a show I've been on for several seasons. I've totally proven myself, but now I'm on a new show. And it's a first season so I got to show up earlier and I gotta stay up later. And if I want to plan a vacation, I got to plan the vacation around the job instead of planning the job around the vacation. Or you know what, maybe we don't even take a vacation this year because I don't know for sure what jobs are going to come up and I want to make sure I'm available and it's the

An endless loop this endless cycle that inevitably leads to burnout. And so much of that is driven by us setting and proper expectations of ourselves. This is something that we talked about in the program a lot, is that how after having both extensively researched burnout and depression, and all of the things that we talked about in the program, but also being a researcher, having researched and lived through it many, many times. What I've found and this is my own personal opinion, based on a lot of this research and experience is that burnout ultimately comes from one thing and it's just improperly setting expectations, if you can set a more realistic expectation of what you are capable of. And if you know that what somebody is asking of you doesn't align with it. Well, then it's an improper expectation and we need to set boundaries. But that's something that we all suck at. Oh my god setting boundaries and saying no, like, I've got a giant smile from Kristi right now. So if this were a video podcast, like she's just like, oh my god, yes. So how good were you at setting by

boundaries and saying no, Kristi, I was the worst at it very bad at it. I mean, truly you before we started talking, I just felt like I could never say no. I mean, and I had experienced burnout multiple times over the years, you know, and it's still like you're saying it was the fear, it was the fear and not having the confidence that I had, am doing great work. And if you need something to happen for your life, it's okay to say to say no, or to ask or to whatever you need to do, because you're still doing your best job, but you need something back. I believe, and this is something we've talked about extensively that a lot of the confidence if not all of it comes from knowing what the path looks like and where it is that we want to go. And without that we just feel like we're spinning our wheels which is going to take me to maximum and Max and I think he knew that I was going to transition to him next I could just see it on his face like oh my god, Zach's gonna call on me now and I certainly am. So Maxton one of the most important lessons that I hope

through in this program, your ability to ask ourselves better questions. I believe the quality of our life is dictated by the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. And you originally came to me because you had gone through focus yourself, you were getting really good with habits. You said, I never have routines and now I have routines, and I'm exercising more and blah, blah, blah. But now I want to take some of the next steps in my career. What was the question that you were asking yourself when you and I first started working together?

Maxton Waller 30:29

It was what do I do, I think was how it was framed in my mind, which seems really broad. But the scary thing is that that's, you know, a stone's throw away from what's the point, right. And instead of, I think, what what I'm still continuing to learn is why do I do it? You know, I'm working on that. And that is a that's a process and that's something that you know, I think it's worth mentioning too. Is that one of the things that you and I talked about a lot was, this is not a magic bullet. This requires work, this is going to take time. This is a process. However, if you are willing to put in the work if you're willing to put in the time, I mean, the days that I am in alignment with the things that I'm learning, it's a night and day difference between the days that I'm not. And it's pretty obvious to point to why, but a lot of the impetus of me, I guess, joining the program was also what am I doing? What do I do? You know, and I think that I had come to you times really flustered. And I think that the takeaway was, like you said that I had been asking myself the wrong question. What if I tried a different question and it was unbelievable to see How much not even answering that question but just asking that question factors into not just the type of projects you're working on or who you're working with, but the philosophy behind your networking, the philosophy behind the research that you do, and how all of that folds into your life in an appropriate way. And that, to me was the giant, I guess, takeaway from that?

Zack Arnold 32:30

I want to get a little bit more specific, because I think this is so important for everybody to hear, and how important the quality of the question is, and how it dictates the amount of time that you may or may not waste, whether it's months, years or even decades of your life. So yes, the question you came to me with was, what do I do? But there's an extension of this that's so important, and I think you're so far away from this now you don't even remember it. But this was a massive turning point. The question was What do I do to become a composer's assistant? Right? It was all about what are the action steps? Who are the people? What are the routines? What do I need to do become a composer's assistant and you, you just kept hitting a wall? And you remember the one question I asked you that turned everything.

Maxton Waller 33:19

Yeah, you asked me, did I really want to do that?

Zack Arnold 33:22

Do you want to be a composer's assistant that one question, and it was just like your face dropped? Yeah, you're like, Oh, my God.

Unknown Speaker 33:30

I don't.

Maxton Waller 33:33

Yeah, I mean, to the point where you when you just asked me, I didn't even remember, you know,

Zack Arnold 33:39

because that was the path and imagine how many months or years would have been spent doing all of the right things while asking the wrong question.

Maxton Waller 33:47

Right. Yeah, I can't. I mean, a lot.

Zack Arnold 33:51

I can't believe you literally forgot that conversation. It was like the seminal conversation of every single session we've had. It's like, Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.

Maxton Waller 33:59

Well, because It's so not what I what I want to do. You know, I think that it's because it's not my gut reaction. So that's probably why I forgot, you know, I'm very, I can be very myopic when I want to be. And so, you know, take that as you may I just, if I think that for me just stopping to consider for a second, do I want to do that, you know, or is that just what I thought I'm supposed to be doing? And I think all the different facets of the industry work differently, but similarly, in some ways, in terms of assist the the realm of assistance, um, but I think for film music in particular, you know, becoming an assistant isn't, it's not mandatory. It's not you don't you know, if you are, again, if you're asking the right questions, I don't know. I don't know that that you need to. And not to not, I mean, gosh, there's so many like assistants who I respect and admire so much. But I think it's just a different path of getting to, how are you going to answer those questions for yourself. And sometimes people like to have an environment that's sort of safer to play in. And I think that's probably why my face dropped when you said that because I, because I, in the same moment, I realized, Oh, yeah, no, I probably don't want to do that. And also, you know, this is going to be difficult. This is scary, you know, and it still is, but that doesn't change the motivation. And so I guess that's where

Zack Arnold 35:47

it ends up. So looking at this idea of the path and deciding this is the direction that I want to go instead of this other direction. I'm very glad that you pointed out that it's not a knock against people that want to be composers assistance are those Want to go up in the ranks of being feature editors or TV editor starting out as assistants, that's a path that makes sense for them. I went through the exact same experience six months out of college, I had been an assistant editor at a trailer house and I said, I'm not an assistant editor. This is just not for me. Number one, I am horrible at working for people really good at working with people, I am horrible at working for people. And I realized that this was not going to last long. And the path that I wanted to take to be an editor was to be an editor. And to a lot of people that's really scary, because what does that even mean? It's like the catch 22 Well, you need the experience to get the job but you need the job to get the experience and you know you it's the this chicken in the egg conversation. And I decided that I would rather spend years editing things even if I didn't get paid for them because I was learning how to be a better editor tell better stories, organize media better get more efficient in a timeline. And it still took me eight to 10 years to probably get to the same place that I would have otherwise. So if I decided to 22 years old, I want to try and work my way To television, and I want to start as an assistant editor, I probably would have been cutting the level of TV that I was at 30 years old had I gone that route. But instead, I spent eight years going the route of cutting my own stuff and cutting trailers and cutting featurettes. And whatever it was, I always made sure that the credit was editor, I did not take assistant credit, unless I was my own assistant, which I probably was for about five years, just uncredited, because it was so low budget that couldn't afford an assistant. But that in and of itself was really, really good experience. But I think that so many people get wrapped up in the fact that there is no clear cut path. But sometimes that can be a blessing, not a curse, because it allows you to design the path for yourself. But how do we do that? Like if somebody said to me that they were from a different planet? How do I become a doctor? Go on Google, you'll get the answer in five minutes. Everybody knows how to become a doctor. It's very simple. It's not easy. Not everybody does it but it is simple for us.

Unknown Speaker 38:00

The path is more complex because it has so many so many paths that we can go down. And I know that Kristi, you specifically went down a similar path as me where you've done a lot of indie stuff. And then you had to decide that you wanted to make the transition to television. So how important is knowing what that next step is and why you're doing it to actually having the confidence to move forward? Yeah, that was huge. That's huge for me, and I, what kept ringing in my head just now is what was the big question for me is why am I doing this? Because then it helped me answer what my next steps were. And I felt like before I couldn't articulate like what I wanted next because I didn't really I hadn't really examined why I was doing what I was doing it and it made me feel rudderless, even though like you said, I'd gone through this path of starting an indie films and I started really young doing editorial and not assisting like just like you and you know, I'd worked up that path but then I think it was giving me this feeling the imposter syndrome was coming from

Kristi Shimek 39:00

knowing why I was doing it, you know, it's like, what was my real inner self saying, you know, and so being able to discover that and being able to talk about that helped me discover what my true next step was because I didn't I couldn't even answer that question. When we first started together. It's like, well, like literally like in the next six months, where do you want to go? And I couldn't answer it at first because I just didn't.

Zack Arnold 39:23

I wasn't sure I didn't know Damion these difficult questions, right.

So Ariel, along the lines of these conversations, let's talk a little bit deeper about why it is that you would want to make such a non customary transition to becoming a colorist because that that's not a transition that you hear so often. My you and I really talked about, why is this something you want to put in the effort to do?

Ariel Fujita 39:49

I think for me, I like I always thought the color process and just like the final finishing process of film and TV was so cool and fun to work with. But then as I got deeper into I started realizing, like, ultimately, if I had that job, what would I want to, like accomplish after that? And I think for me, it was just helping in mentoring other people in the same way that I've, you know, got bits of mentorship here. And they're like, I just want, I want to be a part of the process to help directors and cinematographers, you know, create what they, they envisioned. But I also want to be able to pass that knowledge to other people and help them sort of fulfill their same dreams of, you know, I want to work in color one day, and I just don't know how to do it. And if I can help other people overcome the same sort of like problems and obstacles that I've overcome, like I feel so much better.

Zack Arnold 40:48

So how does that relate specifically to color because you could also apply that to everything that you were doing before. So what is it that really drove you to make the transition into a whole new area?

Ariel Fujita 40:59

I mean, I think It is I've done a little bit of color in my career before. And I just thought that like, that was the most favorite part of my process. It wasn't. I mean, I can edit. And I, you know, it takes a special kind of person to, like, really be passionate about that. But for some reason for me, I just, I can tell a story, but if I'm not into it, I'm just like, just going through the motions, and there's no sort of like, drive or passion for me. And for some reason, I just like, you know, not just doing one genre, either just being able to tell a story, you know, whether it's a period piece or whether it's like a music, video and whatnot. I feel like, that's just, it's something that appeals to me.

Zack Arnold 41:42

I don't know if that's enough. Yes. And I think the key here that I want to pull out is yes, first of all, it takes a special kind of weirdo to be an editor. I know you didn't want to say it, but I'll say it special kind of weirdo to sit in a room for 60 hours a week in the dark and do their own thing, right. But what you identified is that you didn't have a passion for the process. And you've talked about how the process of coloring is something that really fascinates, right? Yes, the world of entertainment. Specifically, we get so wrapped up in the outcome. I think so many people are driven by the most common thing. Everybody says, I really want to edit scripted drama. Well, when you really understand why they want to do it, it's because the next time they go to a party, and somebody asked them what they've been working on, they get the reaction of Oh my god, that's so cool. I love that show. But is that reaction really worth the 60 hours a week for 910 11 months a year? Like is it really worth it? For very, very few people it is, but they think that's what I'm supposed to be doing. Because I want to be able to talk about the shows that I work on and have people recognize them and admire them. But who cares if you hate the process, and you identified the for you sitting in a small dark room editing, not so much. But looking at vector scopes and waveforms and color histograms and all the other color stuff that I have no idea what it means. Like that's that's enjoyable and fulfilling to you. Correct.

Ariel Fujita 43:00

Yes, yeah. And I just like the idea of, you know, combining the really geeky technical aspect of it with, you know, some sort of artistic aspects, but I just like the to, like, I was always like the techie person, if you have any problem with avid, I know how to figure it out like, and I like to I'm also like, you know, researching different cameras and formats. I liked that kind of stuff. And I, it took me a long time to realize like, I don't have to just be a storyteller. I can combine different, different interests they have into like a dream job.

Zack Arnold 43:35

And for you, part of the dream job is helping the creative people that are telling that story being the support for them, so they can better tell their story. So you're still part of the creative process, maybe not necessarily in the timeline, but you're still facilitating that process, either on the tech side, or very creatively on the color side. Yeah, definitely. So talking about everybody's goals that they've defined and they really discovered what deeper wise were we of course covered all this in like the first few minutes of the first session. And then we got right into how do we rewrite our resumes? And how do I write an outreach email? And how do I work on my portfolio website? Because that's really what it was all about, like network network network. So we started all that like right at the beginning of the introductory program, because that's the good stuff, right? Everybody's everybody's laughing. We saw a version, you can just see through all this, like, he's crazy. And the reason I bring that up is to properly set expectations. When people reach out to me or even people that have started working on the program, and you guys haven't specifically been in the larger group program where I do the hot seat sessions with people, but they'll come week one, and they'll come with their resume. They'll say where I want to start as I want you to workshop, my resume and you guys are like, just all head slaps like oh my god, really, they have no idea what they're what they're asking. The idea is that you can't start working on outreach emails. You can't start working on resumes.

Updating your demo, reel your portfolio website until you truly understand what does the fulfilling path look like for me. Otherwise, you're just basically spinning on the hamster wheel, changing the fonts and headers of your site or moving this credit here or whatever it might be, but not having a real clear direction of what is the chess game look like as opposed to the checkers game. And a big part of this, whether you guys liked it or not, because they just kind of force fed it to you, is once you know what the goal is, and we identify what some of the obstacles are, whether in our head or externally that are stopping us. A major component of this became time management, which seems like why would I learn time management before I learn how to write an outreach email and network with people and land jobs like that seems insane. So Maxton Why did we jump into time management like why does that even matter?

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 every cast is that powerful. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with ever cast co founders, Brad Thomas and award winning editor Roger Barton, living this

Roger 46:17

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 whatever cast for me that first night, my jaw hit the floor. I'm like, Oh my god, this is what I've been waiting for. for a decade.

Brad 46:40

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

Roger 47:11

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

Zack Arnold 47:25

The biggest complaint and I'm sure you guys have heard this many, many times. This looks amazing. I just can't afford it. Tesla had to release the Model S before they released the model three. So by the end of the year, we are going to be releasing a sub $200 version a month of efficacy for the freelancer in indie creatives. Anyone who is a professional video creator outside of

Roger 47:46

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

Zack Arnold 48:01

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

Maxton Waller 48:24

all of the things that you want to do with your time in regards to outreach emails, and how to land jobs and updating your site, that all takes a lot of time. And if you don't know how to, again, manage your own expectations about what that looks like, then it's likely that you may get started but you're not really going to follow through on it. And that's really the key is making sure that you are actually following through on the thing that you set out to do.

Zack Arnold 48:59

I think one of the the misnomers that people have about this process. And either you Maxton or Chris, you're I mean, any of you can can speak to this. But I've had people that have reached out and they've said 12 weeks, what are we going to do for 12 weeks? That seems like a lot of time? Like, what what can we possibly cover in those 12 weeks? And Kristi, I know that you and I worked together for more than six months, and we're still working together. Do you feel like it should have taken way less time and it moves really, really slowly? And you just you feel like you should have gotten where you are so much faster? Not at all. I I wish we like we're still doing the weekly sessions meet means I finish up our weekly sessions. But um, I mean, it felt like it was scratching the surface and a lot of that is the self discovery process of the program. But I'm, there's just so much to learn about yourself and about the process and like when we first started I just have to laugh because I like rated myself really high on focus on time management. But then as we went through the process was like

Kristi Shimek 50:00

I'm like, good at certain aspects of it, but I'm really not good at other aspects of the focus and time management, like, like, I'm really good at finishing cutting my episodes, but I give myself zero time in the day, you know, and scheduling and different things that we and you know, that was all just the first portion. And like learning more about yourself and your, the way you focus the way you time manage, meaning name, but, um, you know, and then, you know, second portion of the program is then talking about how to, like, use those tools to, you know, get, do what you want for your career. And I just think, yeah, there's, we could spend years on all this and, you know, ultimately, I will be spending the rest of my life on it. You know,

Zack Arnold 50:41

I spent over a decade on all this and I feel like I barely just begun. I feel like the more I learn, the less that I know, it's just it's this endless rabbit hole. Man. there's so little about this stuff that I thought that I knew that I don't know at all. And I know that for you, you made some tremendous progress specifically when it came to calendars and time management and building habits. So if you were to share one tip or tactic that's been really helpful for you that somebody listening that's like, wait, I didn't even think that time management was something I needed to focus on. Although after the pandemic, I think a lot of people are much more keenly aware of how crappy all of us are at managing our time. But if you could share something that you find you're still using today that's been really useful that you weren't doing before, what would that be?

Kristi Shimek 51:22

One of the main things that I've been doing is truly time blocking my days, so that I can achieve things in multiple categories in my life, rather than only being able to focus energy toward one thing. Now I'm using my days at the, you know, their best their maximum potential. I'm focusing much better because of it and I'm achieving the outreach that I was not doing it all before. And I just kept telling myself I didn't have time for it, you know, I kept making the excuse of Well, I mean, I'm editing all day. There's, there's no way I could possibly fit in any of this other stuff into my life. And that just wasn't true. I just wasn't using the time management skills that I now have to, you know, get what I want done.

Zack Arnold 52:08

So then you were able to find more time in the day that Yeah, assuming because that's the only way to do it as we find time it just magically appears on our calendars, right?

Unknown Speaker 52:17

Yes, magically.

Zack Arnold 52:18

Oh, I looked in the corner, there was an extra four hours a week. Where did that come from? How did I miss that? Right. So what we've learned is that you can't find time you got to learn to prioritize it. And I think I've been talking about this for years ad nauseam. I've worn out my soapbox, I've talked about this so much, I have to replace it. But I think what's happened over the last six months, is everybody was so busy before the pandemic, that they didn't realize how much time was actually available if they prioritized it. And what they found is whatever the reason might be, whether it's outreach, whether it's exercise, whether it's diet, whether it's time with their kids, whatever it might be, time was always the excuse. I'm going to get to all that but I'm too busy right now. Then all of a sudden, the world just Took a giant dump and said, here's all the time in the world you're stuck at home. And they're realizing, oh, maybe time wasn't the excuse. And there's something else going on that's stopping me from doing all this. Right. So that I think that's why this conversation has changed for so many people because they're realizing how vital of a meta skills Time management is, whether it is outreach and networking, or it's learning new skills, or it's just being a better parent or learning the piano or whatever it is, if you if you don't learn time management, which by the way, don't get me started on this, but why don't they teach us this in school? Why is there not like time management one on one time management 235 time management 487 like this, to me is like vital foundational skills that we all need specifically as creative professionals, because there's nobody on the planet worse with managing time than creatives. And I say that myself being one of them, but we just we want to get in the zone. And we want to you know, do the work when inspiration strikes. And I'm not feeling it right now. But

I'm just going to wait. I'm going to sit here and wait for the inspiration to hit me. Yeah, it doesn't work that way. Right. So there's a quote that I know that I've shared with all of you that I'll share with the listeners. It's one of my favorite of all time from the writer, William Faulkner. He said, I only write when inspiration strikes. And it just so happens to strike at 9am every morning. And that's what we have learned how to do is how to schedule the creativity in the inspiration and the deep work and the focus. So like you said, Maxton focus has become a learned skill, correct? Yes. And I think that, I think that if you aren't willing to take care of the time management stuff to begin with, I think it can actually get kind of dangerous and morph into this limiting belief,

Maxton Waller 54:42

which was talked about on one of your other podcasts with one of your guests. I think the Spartan Race

Zack Arnold 54:50

with Joe de Sena, the founder of this partners,

Unknown Speaker 54:53

yeah. And, and

Maxton Waller 54:56

the idea that was posed was that successes is more of a mind said, then it is a place that you're going to get to. And so expecting that you're just going to redo your resume and apply for a job and get a job. And then you don't have to worry about how you're managing your time. I, you know, when you get the job, you're still going to have to know what to do with your time. And that doesn't mean that the the laziness versus productivity part of it is over by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I think the more that you advance, the harder that that gets, but you just get better at having to really adapt the managing your time, because it's an I'm sure everybody here has also experienced that. It's like an ongoing maintenance process. You know, I'm constantly adjusting my calendar to meet my needs for the week or for whatever I'm trying to accomplish. But yeah, that stuck out to me too. And so, yeah,

Zack Arnold 55:57

well, and one of the things that you're alluding to is this idea Having more awareness of how bad we are at managing our time, I think most people don't even realize that's the issue. But like you said, the more you learn, the more you realize, wow, I really am bad at this. But then you start to learn more of those strategies. But it is very much a maintenance and an ongoing issue where for me more than 10 years into it, I'm probably harder on myself, and my ability to manage time than anybody else. And you guys have seen my calendars, you see my Trello boards, like they're kind of insanity. I totally get it. Like when I introduced my my podcast publishing Trello board to a couple new members of my team, they're like, Oh, my God, what is this? Like? Are you kidding me? It's nuts. Right? Like there is a there is a bit of overwhelm. But then once you get over the hump, you realize, Oh, you know, this, this is all starting to come together and make sense. But I still have the awareness of all the places that I'm poorly managing my time. I just get better with all those pieces. But like you said, it's all about maintenance. This isn't something you're just going to learn once and you never have to learn again. Right? I think it's it's one of the best analogies I like when people talk about experience versus ability. All of us here, I'm assuming we all have driver's licenses, and we're all in LA. So we all we all have to drive. Right? But do you feel like compared to when you first got your license, and today, you are a much better driver than you were as far as your skill level? Yes, yeah. But do you feel like you're going to continue to get better at becoming a better driver from where you are now to where you're going to be in 10 years? Do you think there's going to be just a marked difference between your skill level as a driver today versus a decade from now? No, no, I'm getting I'm getting headshots. Right. The reason being, how many of us prioritize getting better at driving? Nobody, right. So when you're from 16 to 25, or 35? Yeah, there's going to be a huge difference because you had no skill. You had to learn the skills. How do I parallel park and I'm nervous about changing lanes and all this stuff. But then you get to a certain point of comfort, and it just is what it is.

But when it comes to creative professionals, a lot of times we just assume Well, I've been doing this for 25 years. So therefore I do the next level of my career. Well, no, you're not, not unless you're prioritizing getting better at those skills. I know plenty of people that have been working for 30 years, that are just about as good as editors as they probably were five years into their career, because they settled into something and then they just do the same thing over and over and over. So experience does not equal ability. But that's the misnomer. That's the misperception. So when we talk about time management, time management is so important if you actually want to improve your skill set. But once we get comfortable in one area of the industry, well, I don't really have the time to learn a new skill set or start over. Well, this just feels like a failure. I should already know how to do this stuff. So what why would I want to put time on my calendar? Well, then you realize how much there is to learn, which is why the time management becomes so important. So Ariel, I know that you were really active

all the Trello stuff, because you and I did some did some fun Trello workshops. So talk to me a little bit more about some of the systems that you use on a regular basis just to better manage your time manage your goals and really stay on task with this transition. Because the transition is not over yet. We've got a lot more work to do. But you've really kind of take into this new way of time management. So talk to me a little bit more about what's really working for you.

Ariel Fujita 59:23

Yeah, prior to this, I already use Trello for work. So I love Trello and their lists and checklists and whatnot. But I felt it was always hard for me to prioritize, because I just had so much on my plate are so many ideas like, wow, I want to do this and the middle of doing that. I thought like, well, what if I do this, and then I just have this long list and just I had this anxiety that just kept coming up because I felt like I could never focus on one thing and I had too many things. So just the concept of the idea of like a brain dump, like just get it all out. You're not going to just do it. Once You have to do it, you know, every so often regularly so you can get everything out and ask like, Okay, what do I need to do and also prioritize what's the most important thing to get done now, instead of just doing, you know, 30 things that you know, one thing counted and the 29 things, you just wasted your time because it was unnecessary.

Zack Arnold 1:00:20

So how useful has this process been for a perfectionist?

Ariel Fujita 1:00:24

It's been great, because I mean, I love doing things like I love prioritizing things. And it makes it manageable, and it makes it I have less anxiety because I know exactly, I can keep track of what I need to do. Don't have to worry about you know, what I'm going to do six months from now, because it's on my list. I'll eventually get to it. But it helps me focus on what I need to get done at the moment to get me to the next step.

Zack Arnold 1:00:51

Which is the whole idea of this time management system that we talked about is you're never going to get everything done. I think that is a I call myself a recovering perfectionist, still working on it to this day. But there's always this idea in my head even now, after 10 years of this, I still have to eradicate this. The idea that once everything on my list is done, I can relax. I just got to get everything done first, then I can chill out, hasn't happened yet. shocker, right? There's always something else to do. But as a perfectionist, oh, no, oh, I can't relax and slow down because I still have things that need to be completed. But then once you start to put everything together, and you realize, well, first of all, I'm never getting any of this done. And secondly, most of these things, realistically, if I'm going to set the proper expectation, remember going back to this idea of I don't want to burn out. This is how much I can realistically get done. So let me put all this other stuff on a Sunday pile. And then I can look at here's what I really need to do next, based on the goals that I've aligned myself with. Well, now I have more confidence that what's going on the calendar is actually worth my time, which alleviates so much of the anxiety doesn't fix perfectionism, but it certainly helps to just kind of get you to continually take those Next steps, but also disconnect. So if you found the same thing,

Ariel Fujita 1:02:04

yeah, I have, I mean, it helps me focus. And I also do the Was it the daily check in or just the daily review, especially working? I don't, I can wrap it up and not think about it anymore because usually the old me would wrap up from work. And then you know, two hours later in the middle of night think like, Oh, did I do this? Or did I remember this? And with the check in I sort of like check all these boxes, is there anything you know, that I need to take care of? Is there anything anybody's waiting on? This is sort of like just the process of something that I do every day so that I don't so they can check out and not have to worry about it and not interrupt my free time or my time with my family of just like worrying or answering this email. I know I got it all taken care of for the day.

Zack Arnold 1:02:54

And I would say that's a pretty important skill to have in a post pandemic world because I know There, one of the the big epidemics that's going on right now is people no longer have any boundaries whatsoever in their home life. Because once you're working from home, you're working from home, and there's no way to separate it. And that's one of the things that we talked about because I've frankly been working from home for 15 years for most of the time. And the joke that I made is that I, I have essentially practice social distancing at the Olympic level for about 15 years. So when all this happened, I was like, yeah, you guys call it quarantine. I call it Wednesday, no big deal. What I've had to learn over the years and get much better at is how do I separate the two because as both a recovering perfectionist, but also a constantly recovering workaholic, work is always there. I can walk from my couch, 10 steps away, and I can go back to work, I can put my kids to bed and I can go back to work. But having that daily shutdown ritual that we talked about and just having all the things to build the habit of turning work off. That's the difference between burning out and not burning out, especially if you're stuck working from home right now.

And it's also about setting those boundaries with other people setting those expectations with them. Hey, if you text me at 9:30pm I'm not available if you text me at 4pm on a Saturday, not available but because for so many people being home and working from home is new, you think well, it's not that hard I guess I could just walk into my office and I could just do this quick output or given this one scene or whatever it is. But we've got to learn how to set those boundaries otherwise like this, it's just going to be this this hamster wheel that just never ends. So Kristi, I know that this is an area boundaries that have have been a little difficult for you. How have you found working from home since we work together to now do you feel like a transition has been made as far as your ability to set more realistic expectations? Yes, definitely. I actually, I've been thinking about the whole last little bit. I've been done a couple of shows since I wrapped up on next and I was able to just out of the gate set the boundaries of you know, I'm don't answer any

Kristi Shimek 1:05:00

malsum phone calls on the weekend, just like you're saying. And before I was, you know, I just didn't feel like I could do that I felt like, you know, I couldn't set those boundaries, but just setting those boundaries up front, then everyone understands where you're at, you know, they, you know, they still want you on the show, they still want you to be a part of it creatively. So if you set those boundaries right off the top, then, you know, everyone understands where you're at, they don't worry about the fact that you're not answering on the weekend, they've sent it out into the world, and you'll answer it on Monday. And so, um, it's been really helpful for me, and it really helps me achieve what I want to on the weekends. Like if the week does get busy, I still have the time to put my energies toward the other things I want to do.

Zack Arnold 1:05:41

Or I want to transition to now because we've alluded to this, and I want people to at least walk away with a few strategies when it comes to networking and outreach. Because I think that the the big surprise here is Oh, you mean it's just not as simple as polishing the resume and writing the outreach messages and actually, I have to think about myself in my life. Oh,

That sounds awful and it can be. But now Now we are going to skip to the really juicy fun stuff. Ariel has just hit that that spot in the program where we're diving into writing the first outreach email, we've put together the spreadsheet of like the three 400 names, right? Like I'm sure that Maxton and Kristi, you remember when I said, put 100 names in a spreadsheet? You're like, what? 100 names? And then a week later, you're like, Yeah, I got 240, whatever, no bigs. She's right at that process where she's ready to write that first outreach message. But there's, there's still a little bit of hesitation, right. There's a little bit of fear of bothering people. And, you know, why would they help me and all that. So Max, then I want to talk to you first about our outreach process, because this was a really, really fun one. So if you could recap from the point that you decided, I don't think I want to be an assistant to a composer anymore, and I just want to go the composer route. Well, then the next question was, Well, great. What does that mean? And who do I need to talk to

To start to get advice about what it looks like to grow as a composer, so recap what that that portion of the program looked like for you.

Maxton Waller 1:07:08

So you definitely were right, I was super overwhelmed by putting a bunch of names into lists. And when I finally got around to doing it, it was almost I don't know, like put me in this weird catharsis of, you know, it's one of those things where I really felt like I was taking really great strides just by this simple task of organizing a bunch of things that I had never gone to the effort to organize before. And then I think that the, I think the biggest, most most eye opening part of that process was that as soon as it was in front of you, Zack, one of the things that I admire the most about you is that you are able to distill from what people say and what they show you like a like a wine like much like editing, you know, you're able to help people tell their stories. Really Well, and the probably the most eye opening thing was the top five movies that have popped up that these people who I intended to connect with had worked on, you drew a thread between them that I had no idea existed you, you were like, Oh, well, that's this is exactly why these are all the same in some ways, you know. And that was the most mind blowing thing to me because then that gave me this whole new sort of lease on looking at what I love about making music for film, and what I love about film music that I really enjoy, and, and just films that I really enjoy. One thing led to another. And, you know, with some of the exercises that we did, it took it took some practicing for me to get into a headspace of not feeling like I was being demanding being annoying, but rather that I, myself have intrinsic value in what I do. And I want to share that with people. And I it was, it was definitely super helpful to work on it just in like a the practical sense of drafting an email to somebody learning how to feel that way about yourself while you are writing the email instead of, you know, typing it in, then, you know, running out of the room screaming and then coming back and finishing it and, you know, this cyclical sort of feeling of that. So, yeah, that was definitely my biggest takeaway.

Zack Arnold 1:09:45

Well, to follow up on this, I think one of my favorite moments of working together was going from Okay, I guess I'll find some movies and you know, projects that I really like and I'll put a few names in the list. Then you went through the whole process that we talked about, which you know, you got a bunch of names. And all of a sudden one name kept coming up. You're like, I think I know who I need to reach out to. Right. And what we found was it wasn't just yeah, this name pops up more and more. And I, I guess I suppose I should reach out to this person it was, oh my god. This spreadsheet basically identified the person that when I was 10 years old, made me decide that I want to compose music for a living. Isn't that basically what happened? So talk me through that process of discovery.

Maxton Waller 1:10:28

I was older than 10 but yes, that was

Zack Arnold 1:10:30

okay. So maybe I got the age wrong but Tondo through that process. Yeah, yeah,

Maxton Waller 1:10:33

I was. I was 20. And I went and saw Do you want me to get really specific? Of course I do. You even need to ask. No, I just thought Yes.

Zack Arnold 1:10:43

No, let's let's dive in. Because I love this part of the story.

Maxton Waller 1:10:46

Yeah, it's it's a amazing story. So I was, I think it was 2021 and I went and saw Tron in at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. And it's like one of my most fondest memories with my dad. And it just struck me it just really struck me because I think that I hadn't done the research or hadn't paid attention enough to know that film music could involve this really, this this area of music that I am really proficient in, which is songwriting. Because if you listen to that score, which is Joe trapanese, and Daft Punk, you know, there's, there's a delicate balance between it being this really beautifully orchestrated and organized score and the melodies just being these powerful, anthemic songs almost and so that really struck me. And I didn't, I didn't know why. I don't think I knew why at the time, and I actually don't think I knew why until we started talking about it. But that kept his name Joe's name kept popping up on the list and And when I showed you that list, you said, Oh, this is really funny. This is really funny. Let me just add something into one of the fields. And it was that, you know,

Zack Arnold 1:12:14

Jeff, not only that I know him, he and I are pretty good friends,

Maxton Waller 1:12:17

right? Your close personal friends, ah, Joe. And I was just like, that's just too That's too much for me. It was too It was just too crazy for me to think about that. And then, you know, having talked to you about your path, and talking about the projects that you worked on and, and opening doors and stuff, and then and sort of learning about identifying that in people who you idolize or you admire, and learning how to learn that ability from them was in and of itself, worth the entire time that we spent The program because it just was so new to me. You know, I think before this outreach emails have been, Hey, can I send you some stuff? No. Okay.

Zack Arnold 1:13:10

You know, we call whatever. Yeah,

Maxton Waller 1:13:12

yeah, great. See ya. But I think that I but I think that the difference being that when you whether you actually know someone or not whether you have an actual connection to that person or not, I think that the biggest difference would be just the the manner in which you are, you're, where your perspective sits when you are approaching the situation, which is that regardless of where the conversation would end up, I just wanted to be friends with Joe. I just wanted to know him, because he's so fascinating to me. And now I know him. And that's, you know, that was like, switching my perspective to Wow, this is like a person who is going to respond to the contours of my email, the way that I send them, assuming that I'm, you know, taking the right steps and how I'm looking at writing this email. Yeah, that really just blew my mind wide open. And I never had that experience.

Zack Arnold 1:14:16

And the key here that I want to extract, which you kind of you kind of gave away a little bit, but we didn't just identify somebody and get them on a spreadsheet. Right? We actually reached out to Joe, and like you said, you now have a genuine relationship with one of the biggest names in the industry that's really driving you to do what you want to do that inspired you to do what you want to do in the first place.

Maxton Waller 1:14:40

Yeah, and and another thing that was very different was maintaining eye contact, and not feeling like I was bothering with that. But instead, getting to the point where I was maintaining contact and the next thing I know, he's like, helping critique my resume. And

Zack Arnold 1:15:01

unsolicited, by the way, I might add it.

Maxton Waller 1:15:03

Yeah. Yeah. He said, Send me a resume. I want to see it. You know, and that was so that was life changing. You know, I was like, Wow. So I'm not bothering him, you know. But it would, but it's, you know, I think that's something that was really helpful to in our sessions. Zack, was that when you put everything into the context of emails that you get, which are the tremendous amount of emails and sort of how you determine what, first of all, what are you even able to respond to? Right, because it all comes back to asking the right questions, I suppose. And then if it's not the right question or not formulated in the right way, that it's not about whether the person wants to take the time to respond to you. People want to help other people. I believe it's about

Zack Arnold 1:16:00

Can they help you? Can they even decipher what it is you're trying to ask them? You know, I mean, emailing somebody and being like, hey, should I get an agent? They don't know, you know you at all. So how can they possibly answer that question for you? You know, and that's not even really appropriate question to ask somebody in the first place. So it's more like understanding what position are you? Are you going to put them in when they first receive your email, so that you can make the experience streamlined and positive for them? I think, as I say, over and over and over and poor Ariel just heard this ad nauseum about two hours ago because she's at the exact point where I talked about this, but it's not that people don't want to help you. It's that you don't make it clear enough how they can help you. I firmly believe the vast majority of people you want to reach out to they do want to help, but we are so bad at asking for help. Hey, I was just

Okay, so you got to work hard. You got to pay your dues. You got to get really good at all the skills. You got to network network network. It's all about meeting people. I mean, that's, that's really the best advice I can give. So Best of luck to you. Thank you, Captain Obvious. I knew all of that. So if you ever find yourself reaching out to people and you're getting really, really crappy unuseful answers, it's because you're asking really crappy unuseful questions. So it goes back to the thing we talked about in the very beginning, we learn how to ask better questions. And once you learn how to ask better, more specific questions, you get better answers. And Kristi, I'm going to transition to you because you went from the point of I don't think I could ever send anybody an outreach email to being an outreach email machine. There was like literally, I would get multiple messages from you in slack per day got another response got another

got this got that. So talk to me about about you going from I could never send somebody outreach email to just getting responses on a daily basis like you're brushing your teeth.

Kristi Shimek 1:18:11

Yeah. Um, well, I yes, I have to laugh because I remember the first email, you were very patient with me, I spent like three weeks to send my first email. And we kept reading it out loud and kept by like, just felt I was so scared about sending that first outreach and email. And then of course, the response came back and was wonderful and nice. And we're still chatting. And, you know, and what I discovered was if, if you provide value, like you're saying and ask the right questions, then you I mean, I've had like 100% response rate, like everyone has written back because I'm asking the right questions, but I'm also like, showing how much I love their work right off the bat. I'm talking to them about something that they've done. That meant something to me and why it meant something To me, and so it's been fun because I've been reaching out to editors and reaching out to other editors, if no one ever talks to me, like, no one ever emails me, and I'm like, as an editor, I know that, like, it's lovely to get feedback on your work that's positive. And that's generous and kind, because it's like, that doesn't happen for editors very often, you know. And I think that so it's fun to be able to talk to, you know, Pete, my peers, and, you know, people that I admire and people that I hope to work with someday and just like you're saying, build a relationship, because the friendship that, you know, come comes from it is just great. And we're able to talk about multiple different subjects and it just feels so much less like a transaction, which I think I mean, that was my fear is like, I'm going to come off as like, transactional or, you know, before I learned these techniques of how to provide value, if, you know, it comes off like well, just read my resume, it's like, well, nobody just wants to read your resume, like they want to get to know you, and how can they help you? You know, because I agree with the sentiment that like, people want to help, they just don't know how. And if you show them exactly how you need help, then of course, they're gonna write back to you.

Zack Arnold 1:20:16

So the magic formula that I taught all of you, and again, Oreos, like, Oh, my God, I just heard all of this this morning. But the magic formula I give this away for free, is you have to be able to identify three things. I have this in my Insider's Guide to writing great outreach emails. We talked about this extensively in the program. And for anybody that's listening, this not familiar with that guide. I believe it's optimized slash email guide, I'll have a link in the show notes, but off the top of my head, I think that's what it is. But the magic formula is as follows. If you want people to respond to your message, you have to do three things. Number one, make it very clear. Where are you now? make it very clear. Secondly, where it is you want to be. But then the secret sauce is here is where I'm stuck. Here's what I know.

need right now. It's not a matter of. I'm an assistant editor and someday I want to win an Oscar editing. Well, great, good for you. No, no. This is where I'm stuck at the very second. If I just had this one question answered, I can get to the next step. And people want to help you. So if you can make it clear how they can help you that will help develop the relationship. And there's a concept that was brought to me recently by one of my students, as a matter of fact, so I haven't even talked about this with you Maxton or with you, Kristi. But there's this. There's a phenomenon that's known as the Ben Franklin effect. I just learned about this from one of my students, and I love it. So what Ben Franklin did is a technique to get to know people, specifically those that were on the opposite side of the political fence, people that he would see as adversaries, he would ask them for a favor. He would ask them if he could borrow a book or just something very, very simple, and by them providing value to him and him thanking them for that value. It lessen the amount of adversarial illness or confrontation in their relationship and they will then later become friends.

So imagine if that works for people that are on opposite sides of the aisle. What it does when you're immediately starting with people that are similar to you that you admire. So everybody just gets so lost in their heads like, Oh my god, I could never provide value like, does that mean I need to like, edit a month worth of somebody's scenes for free? Like, do I need to mow their lawn? Do I do their laundry? Like, how do I provide value? All you need to do is ask a good question such as they can give you good advice, and you can act upon it. That's really it. That's the magic formula. That's all it takes. And like you said, Kristi, you're getting roughly a 100% response rate. And of the few bits of outreach that you may have done before, were you getting a 100% response rate before? No, absolutely not. So now I'm going to bring it back to you, Ariel, because you're just getting another dose of what we talked about this morning, and you're right on the cusp. So we haven't actually worked through this yet. But we're just about there. So what are some of the hesitations that you still have that many people listening probably have when it comes to sending

outreach message.

Ariel Fujita 1:23:02

I think the biggest thing for me that I've been trying because I've read your outreach email guide, before I started the program, but I just couldn't make the connection about how to provide value. And I think I'm sort of at the cusp where I'm starting to get it and started make the connections of like, Okay, well, I don't have to do a grand gesture there. I just need to ask myself, What don't I have clarity about or what? What can I ask that this same person has experienced or has overcome that I am struggling with right now? And I think that's the connection. I'm still scared. I'm like, Well, what if they don't have the time? Or what if they don't care? Like, they don't know who I am? Like, I'm nobody like, why would they answer me? But I needed get over that.

Zack Arnold 1:23:51

Yeah, so you're still still battling the hoodoo. I think I am syndrome. Yeah, do I think I am reaching out to this person. This is not

We'll get you there. Don't worry, we're we're very, very close. But as Kristi and Maxton can attest, they were in the same place like, reach out to Joe trapped and AC. Are you kidding? Like Kristi has been nice enough not to mention some of the names that she's reached out to. But they're very well known, recognizable names, the very top end of the TV and feature editing game. And they're now all your buds. Yeah, right. So the but I think that the important thing to wrap up with here before we go to the final question, is that it's not like this has led to a bunch of job opportunities for you yet. But do you feel confident that if an opportunity arises that you are a good fit for the you will have planted the seeds that would lead to an opportunity that you have now created? Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So speaking of opportunities, I would like you to share your most recent success story because I'm very, very excited about this. All right. Well, it was interesting how it lined up because right at the end of us working together, we talked about interviewing

Kristi Shimek 1:25:00

Which is another thing that I have struggled with for many years, I get really nervous. And I've struggled with just how to prepare properly for interviews. And I think I had a similar problem that you had when you're younger, which is, I hadn't interviewed in like 10 years, I had just continually been passed around to different shows. So I wanted to talk about that. And we went through some things and talked about, you know, one of the major things being preparation, and, you know, really spent taking the time to prepare when an interview comes up. And then about, I think two weeks after we talked, um, the post producer from the show that I worked on earlier this year, came to me with an opportunity to interview for an upcoming Season Season Two of a new show. So yes, so about a week after that, well, I watched I did as much research as I could. I watched the first season of the show. I am, you know, looked up all the people that are involved. Tried to And just as much information as I could. And then about a week later, I interviewed with the producers and with the editorial team, and it went really well. I felt because of all the preparation, I felt super calm. And I was able to, you know, talk through all the different things that we talked about. And then, two days later, I interviewed with the showrunner. And then at the end of the week, I found out I got the job for season two. So

Zack Arnold 1:26:30

not only that, but got the job during pandemic might I add in everybody, and you and I talked about this multiple times, and everybody says it, getting the first job is hard. Getting the second one is even harder. Yeah. And you got the second major TV gig, which is a really, really hard one to land and you happen to do it during the middle of a global pandemic, as you should be. So what do you think was the major key differentiator if you could, if you could extract this takeaway that for somebody that's listening right now saying, well, I might have an interview or two coming up, but I really don't know. Like, what what I can do especially given present circumstances, I might as well give up. What was the difference for you? What do you think really landed you this job.

Kristi Shimek 1:27:14

And I would say the preparation that gave me the confidence to go into the interview, knowing more than I had ever known before about the people that I was interviewing with. I had never really taken the perspective of, you know, doing all of the work that could come in with knowing a show like truly, truly going into an interview, knowing what the show is about knowing what techniques they use, knowing who you're interviewing with what they've done before. All of that preparation helped me feel confident and calm, which has been the big thing for me in the past. I'm a big prepared, surprise, surprise. I like to prepare but you helped me see that been a next level of preparation, by like, going as deep as you can, will really help you be able to answer any question But it's going to come up in the interview. And then I, you know, you also said, explain the elephant in the room or let you know off the bat know what, you know, me only having one network show under my belt is obviously not what most people are looking for on that second show. But if you bring it up right at the top, and you just talk about how but my background is still in drama, it's still in doing other shows, I've been doing it for X amount of years, you you're able to show how confident you can be in their show and in their needs. And that's like one of the things with outreach emails that I think ties in is, you know, if you know enough about the person you're reaching out to and or the person you're interviewing with, you can know what their what their needs are, what their interests are, you you know enough about them to really make an impression and also make a relationship start like start a relationship. So I think it all ties together.

Zack Arnold 1:28:54

Well that that is a wonderful way to sum it up. I'm super, super excited for you and I love getting those

Messages provide a tremendous amount of value to me, by the way, because I just I love hearing that you guys took the advice, you follow through on it, and it ended up leading to positive results. That's kind of the whole whole point of all this. So I was very, very excited about all that. So to wrap it up just with both you Maxton and you Ariel. Maxton, we'll start with you. If we could extract one takeaway from this whole process, the for somebody listening, let's say they're about where you were four to six months ago. Maybe they're asking themselves the wrong questions. They're in a similar place. They were both mentally as far as their job. If you could give them a key piece of advice, what would it be? I would say that even though it sometimes feels like and especially now, you're just under this sort of dark cloud, and they're the things that paying you the most about. Your working and creative life are seem insurmountable.

Maxton Waller 1:29:58

That is not the truth. That, while you can learn the abilities that you need to make all of that more tolerable in your life, it also requires application, obviously. But it is the most rewarding thing that I think you can really do for yourself if that is the position that you're in.

Zack Arnold 1:30:24

So in the position that you're in Now, given that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, if you were to go back to four to six months ago, when things were just starting, we didn't know what was going to happen. Would you have been much better serve to just wait things out to see what happens first before you make your next big move?

Maxton Waller 1:30:40

No, absolutely not.

Unknown Speaker 1:30:43

No, I, I don't I don't think that ever in my life again, I'll do that. Now that I've had the other experience. And that was definitely something that I did for many, many years. And I think that's the same question. I want to post you Ariel, is that you?

Zack Arnold 1:31:00

I the the timing could not have been worse when I decided that I wanted to open the next round of enrollment in this program. Because I think enrollment was like maybe late March, early April. And it was the middle of March, everything started to lock down and I said, Oh my god, I am so screwed. Like all the work that I've been putting in it. Nobody's ever gonna sign up for this right now. Are these people crazy? We don't know what's going on in the world. And there were just a select few said, Nope. I think this is actually the best time instead of the worst time and you were one of them. So are you happy that you decided that at the worst possible human time, you are going to focus on yourself and your personal development.

Ariel Fujita 1:31:39

I feel like it was the best decision ever. Because if I waited till this was all over, I would be so far behind that would be months to like, hear more behind and why not do the scariest thing at the scariest time so I can eventually get to where I want to be.

Zack Arnold 1:31:59

I love it. I'm going to Make a T shirt out of that. Do the scariest thing at the scariest time to put yourself where you want to be. I love it. I was gonna ask what what is the best advice you could share, but you already beat me to it. It is fantastic advice. So I think you answered my final question. Well, this has been a tremendous pleasure. I've loved working with all of you guys over the last several months, you've all kept me company during me being stuck at home during my own little personal pandemic. And, you know, we've kind of grown into the this fun little family that we have in the slack community. But it has been so much fun watching, you guys learn and grow. And it's only because you guys put in the work. One of the very first things I say in the very first lesson is that there are two people here, only one of them can help you. It's not me. You guys put in the work, you guys get the results. So I really really admire all three of you for putting the work that you have. I really appreciate you being here. This has been a lot of fun, and I'm hoping that your stories can inspire others, in whatever way shape or form makes the most sense for their lives.

Take whatever first steps they need to, to do the scariest stuff and just make things happen. So Kristi Maxton Ariel, this has been a tremendous pleasure. Thank you all so much for being here today. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you for listening to this episode of The optimize yourself podcast to access the shownotes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one. Please visit optimize yourself. That means slash podcast. And a special thanks to our sponsors ever cast and arrow driven for making today's interview possible to learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame, and to get your real time demo of ever cast in action, visit optimizer slash ever cast and to learn more about Ergo driven and my favorite product for standing workstations, the total Matt stick around, they're coming up next. Now if today's interview inspires you to take the next step towards a more fulfilling career path that not only aligns you with projects, you are passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance, what a crazy concept. And especially if you would like support, mentorship and a community to help you turn your goals into a reality than you and I need to talk because this week only, I am opening Fall Enrollment for my optimizer coaching and mentorship program. And if all of the above sounds familiar, then you would be the perfect fit. Over the last three years I've now worked with well over 100 students, and I've seen stunning transformations. But the biggest obstacle for most has been the program was just too expensive, or it required too much time. Well, those problems are no longer an issue is I've made the program infinitely more affordable and a lot less time intensive for those with busy lives, but who need an extra push to make whatever the next major transition is in your life. To learn more about how the program works, and how you and I can work together one on one to help you take the next big step in your career, visit optimize slash optimizer applications closed this Friday, September 4, thank you for listening. Stay safe, healthy, insane. And be well. This episode was made possible for you by you guessed it airgo driven the creators of the Toko Matt, my number one recommended product if you're interested in moving more and not having sore feet, your height adjustable or standing workstation. Almost every new person that I meet in this industry starts our conversation with, Hey, I got a topo map because of you. It's changed my life. Thank you. Listen, standing desks are only great if you're actually standing well, otherwise you're just fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti fatigue mat. The toboe is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout your day, which helps reduce discomfort and also increases your focus and your productivity. I'm literally standing on one as I read this, and I don't go to a single job without it. And if you're smaller and concerned, the topo map might be too big or You simply don't have the floorspace. Well, there's a tobacco mini for that. To learn more visit, optimize slash tobacco. That's t o p o

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Guest Bios:

Ariel Fujita bio photo

Ariel Fujita

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Ariel Fujita is an editor with 15 years of experience in unscripted post production television. She got her start as a Post Production Assistant and has taken on many different roles throughout her career: Post Production Coordinator, Assistant Editor, Off-line editor, and On-line Editor. Ariel’s editing credits include Are You The One? (MTV), America’s Next Top Model (VH1), and Last Call With Carson Daly (NBC).

After working primarily in off-line post production, she has recently made the transition to on-line editing and she hopes to eventually pursue a career as a colorist for scripted television and independent films.

Ariel lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their five cats. When she’s not working, she enjoys watching horror films and she makes a killer mac and cheese.

Kristi Shimek bio photo

Kristi Shimek

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Kristi Shimek is a Los Angeles based Film and Television Editor. Within her first year of moving to Hollywood, she was cutting indie features in the LA circuit with stars such as Lou Diamond Phillips, Danny Trejo, Lea Thompson, and Nicolas Cage.

Recently, Kristi has edited on two breakout feature film successes. The Night Clerk , a character based thriller directed by Michael Christofer (Original Sin, T he Witches of Eastwick ) and starring Tye Sheridan, Ana de Armas, and Helen Hunt, which reached #5 on Netflix’s Top Ten List in June 2020. And Inheritance, a narrative commentary on patriarchy and privilege directed by Vaughn Stein (Terminal) and starring Simon Pegg and Lily Collins, which was featured at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.

In addition to films, Kristi has just finished editing on her first network television show, NEXT, a near-future tech based drama created and executive produced by Manny Coto and starring John Slattery, which is set to debut on October 6th on Fox.

Maxton Waller bio photo

Maxton Waller

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Maxton Waller is a composer and multi-instrumentalist living in Los Angeles, California with a formidable output and unparalleled work ethic. He has been writing and performing music professionally since the age of 10.

In 2007, he moved to Los Angeles and got his start in good old-fashioned rock and roll. After a few cross-country tours, he leapt to film/interactive and never looked back. You can hear his work across television and the internet; the Hulu Original Series “RocketJump: The Show”, Stan Lee’s animated series “Cosmic Crusaders”, Nickelodeon’s animated series “Rainbow Rangers”, and literally (not metaphorically) dozens of YouTube videos with views in the hundreds of millions.

In addition to this, Maxton has written songs placed in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s The Defenders”, CBS’ reboot of “MacGyver”, “Video Game High School”, “Sons of Anarchy”, The MLB network, and countless others.

He has studied at some of the greatest schools in the country; The Musician’s Institute and the Berklee College of Music. Maxton is highly-regarded for his deep understanding of audio, easy-going personality, and fast turnaround.

There’s a reason you’ll see the same studios hire him repeatedly – Maxton is a musical force of nature and he elevates every project he works on.

Show Credits:

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

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

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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).”