Ep160: Convincing People You Can Do The Job (When You Don’t Have the Credits) | with Chris Patterson

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When editor and 1st AE Chris Patterson reached out to me earlier this year, he was stuck trying to figure out how to convince his colleagues he was ready to edit. He knew he had the skills, but he didn’t have the experience (or the credits) such that people were willing to take the chance on him. Not even six months later after working with me in the Optimizer coaching & mentorship program he posted this in the #wins channel in our Slack community:


Editor Chris Patterson has spent much of his career as the lead 1st AE working with some of the biggest names in editing & directing. A short list of the features he’s worked on includes Ready Player OneThe PostRoyal TenenbaumsZero Dark ThirtyThe Town, and Analyze That. And Chris has worked with editors such as Michael Kahn, Dylan Tichenor, Billy Goldenberg, and many more.

But when Chris decided it was time to make the transition into the editor’s chair, he hit more than a few roadblocks:

One of his biggest fears was “bothering people” in his outreach.

Another fear was “selling himself” without sounding egotistical about his level of skill and experience in the industry (I mean c’mon…he’s worked with Spielberg!).

And ultimately he didn’t know how to address the “elephant in the room” that he didn’t have enough editing credits for someone to take a chance on him.

When the pandemic hit and Hollywood shut down, Chris recognized that he was ready to make the transition to editor. Yet his fears of bothering people and asking for help left him feeling stuck and unsure of how to make the change. That’s when he joined the Optimizer community and learned some valuable lessons and tools which led him to getting a job editing his first feature.

In today’s conversation, Chris talks about the challenges he faced with networking, the mindset shifts he made, and the a-ha moments he had to get him unstuck and moving to the next level of his career. And in the later half of the interview you’ll hear me put Chris on the Hot Seat as we prepare him for how to confidently sell himself as a capable editor that any producer would hire for his next project.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Chris got his first job working with Michael Kahn
  • Explanation of the two traps that keep you stuck in a career you have outgrown.
  • What practical questions you need to ask yourself when making a career transition.
  • The final straw that got Chris to say no to the assistant jobs and risk going for an editing gig.
  • The most valuable lesson that you don’t learn in film school.
  • Chris’s strategy for convincing people that he can be an editor.
  • The lessons he learned by working with the best editors in the business.
  • The key takeaway Chris got from my Advanced Networking class.
  • An exercise anyone can do to sell yourself with confidence.
  • How to structure your story so that your skills sell your ability when your experience doesn’t yet.
  • Set realistic expectations to set yourself up for success and not failure.
  • Chris’s advice to anyone trying to succeed in their career.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Optimizer Coaching Program

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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're inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about the show and help spread the love? And if you're a longtime listener and optimizer O.G. welcome back. Whether you're brand new, or you're seasoned vets, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you clicked the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show. And thus the more people that you and I can inspire, to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show.

When editor and first a Chris Patterson reached out to me earlier this year, he was stuck trying to figure out how to convince his colleagues that he was ready to edit. He knew he had the skills, but he didn't have the experience or the credits, such the people were willing to take the chance on him. However, not even six months later, after working with me and the Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship program, Chris posted this in our wins channel in the slack community. Hey, everybody got a gig editing a low budget indie feature from an 85% cold outreach email that I sent out just last Friday. Thanks to everybody in the community for all the help the feedback and the support. Now a little bit more about Chris. Chris Patterson has spent much of his career as the lead first AE working with some of the biggest names in editing and directing. Just a short list of the features that he's worked on includes Ready Player One, The Post, Royal Tenenbaums, Zero Dark Thirty, The Town and Analyze That. And Chris has worked with editors such as Michael Kahn, Dylan Tichenor, Billy Goldenberg, and many more. But when Chris decided that it was time to make the transition into the editor's chair, let's just say he hit more than a few roadblocks. One of his biggest fears was that he was quote unquote, bothering people in his outreach. Another fear was selling himself without having to sound egotistical about his level of skill and his experience in the industry. But I mean, come on, the guy's worked with Spielberg. And ultimately, Chris didn't know how to address the elephant in the room that he didn't have enough editing credits for somebody that was going to take a chance on him. When the pandemic hit, and Hollywood shut down, Chris recognized this was the time to make the transition. Yet his fears of bothering people and asking for help left him feeling stuck and unsure of how to make this change. That's when he joined The Optimizer Community. And that is where he learned some valuable lessons and tools, which led him to getting a job editing his first feature. In today's conversation, Chris talks all about the challenges that he faced with networking, the mindset shifts that he made and the aha moments that got him unstuck and moving to the next level of his career. And then in the latter half of the interview, you're going to hear me put Chris on the hot seat as we prepare him for how to confidently sell himself as a capable editor that any producer would hire for their next project. Now if today's interview inspires you to take the next steps towards designing a more fulfilling career path that not only aligns you with work you're passionate about but also includes some semblance of I don't know, work life balance maybe. And especially if you would like support, mentorship, and a community that can help you turn your goals into a reality. I am excited to announce that Fall Enrollment is officially open for my Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship Program. To learn more about all the program has to offer and how I can personally help you design your path and determine your next steps towards your definition of success. Without Of course sacrificing your sanity in the process. You can learn more by visiting optimizeyourself.me/optimizer. Enrollment closes Monday, September 13. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with editor Chris Patterson made possible today by our amazing sponsor Ergodriven, who is going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview. Please visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast.

Chris Patterson 4:58

It's not enough to do good work. You have to put it out, if you want to move into the editor share, if you want to do something else, you have to put it out there, you have to talk to people about it. And you have to find the people that are willing to help you do that. Because you can't really make that. I mean, it's very rare that you can just be like, bam and make that move without anyone else's hands helping you a little bit. You can't I mean, it's in this. I don't know about other industries, how it works. For me, that's what I found is everybody that I've talked to, you know, how did you get to this position? It's always with the help of A with the help of B. It's not like, I'm a superstar, and I just did it. Presta was someone always, you know, there's always some, so you have to ask for the help. I mean, that's that's a big thing. I think,

Zack Arnold 5:45

well, on that note, I couldn't think of a better way to start the interview then with that. So that having been said, I'm here today with editor and first assistant editor, Chris Patterson, you've got over 20 years experience working on some of the biggest films with some of the top editors and the directors in the field. I'm going to take a big breath because this could take me a while. You've worked with Michael Kahn and Steven Spielberg on Ready Player One and the post. You've recently worked with Roger Barton on The Tomorrow War. You've worked with editors such as Dylan Tichenor, and Billy Goldenberg on Zero Dark Thirty, Andrew Mondshein on Analyze That. I got to be honest, Chris, I'm wondering right now, why in the world, aren't you interviewing me? Why am I interviewing you? Like you should be the star of the show tonight. But that resume, it's pretty impressive.

Chris Patterson 6:35

Yeah, I don't know that. You know, it's funny, you say that, for me. There was this funny documentary I saw a few years back on Netflix with I was about John Houston. And he would just say it's just a job of work. And that's the way it's just a job. It's just like, jobs that I've done. So what? Like, I don't know. That's the way I look at it. So

Zack Arnold 6:56

I knew I knew that you were going to respond that way. And that's why I put together such a grandiose entrance, because I know you'd be like, Yeah, whatever. It's, it's just work. It's just a job. And on that note, that's why I'm having you on the show, because I love your humility and your approach to the industry. So Chris, welcome to the podcast. Thanks. That's nice to be here. So the the main reason, full disclaimer that I have you on the podcast is because over the last nine months, you and I have gone deep, deep into the weeds talking about networking, building relationships, and how do we better tell our own story, I'm going to let you tell a longer version of this. But essentially, you came to me about nine months ago at the beginning of the year, and said, I am ready to make the transition from being a first assistant editor on big name features to being an editor. And there were a lot of barriers that we're going to talk about. But what I love about the story already, and nobody heard this, because we were recording off the record before the show. But you are so crazy busy editing a feature right now, that nine months ago, it seemed like how in the world are we going to make that happen. And that is what today is going to be all about is how you made that happen. So on that note, I want to give people a little bit more of a background of just your general career trajectory. And it doesn't have to be beat by beat every credit every movie. But how did you get to the place where after a 20 year career you're sitting in the same room with Michael Kahn and Steven Spielberg?

Chris Patterson 8:20

Yeah, I mean, it. It I can you can do the this job led to that job led to that job. And I can trace it all the way back. I mean, but honestly, that's how it happened. You know, I started in New York, actually started I worked at avid, like in the mid 90s in Massachusetts, and then got into the assistant editing world in New York and did that and then moved to LA and yeah, the Michael Kahn thing happened because I assisted on a random TV show and made friends with another editor that was cutting a different episode. I didn't even work for him. And he had worked on warhorse, and they were looking for people. And he remembered me and sent my resume. And that was it. Like, it's just like, if people know you and you vouch for people, then you get the next gig. That's kind of how it works, which is going to kind of be the theme that we began with with the the opening of the episode is that people have to know that you're good at what you do.

Zack Arnold 9:18

Right. And I feel like that's an area where you struggle for all the best reasons possible. Because we've had many conversations and one of the things that's hardest for you to do that you even had a hard time with, as we were doing the introduction of this episode is talking about the fact that you're great at what you do. Yeah,

Chris Patterson 9:35

I mean, you know, I like to sit in the room and just do the work and let the work speak for itself. I don't you know, so that's. Yeah, so yes, it is that the promotional part of it is something that I'm not used to I've never enjoyed, but I understand that it's part of it. And I don't even like to use the word promotional. It's just like, you know, it's it's networking. And then also in this COVID time, it's like a weird. Networking is totally different now it's, you know, so you don't see people. It's pretty weird. Yeah,

Zack Arnold 10:10

so we're gonna go back in time to about, let's say, nine months, or even a little bit more than nine months ago before you and I officially connected I think the first time that you and I had kind of unofficially connected was I'd done a workshop for the editors guild about the the philosophy of networking and how to approach people on how to provide value, I think it was sometime in 2020. There was a couple of them there was that one in an IMDb pro one, I think last it was, it was kind of at the beginning of the pandemic kind of fall ish. So what I want to do, I want to, I want to jump in a time machine, and I want to go back to that period of time. And I want to dig a little bit deeper into some of the fears and the hesitations and the doubts that you had thinking to yourself. Even though I'm in this place, as a first assistant editor on these huge features. This is scary. And it's a struggle, because I think on the outside, most people that have a lot less experience than you do would just assume when I get to that level, all I have to do is raise my hand and say, Hey, guys, I want to edit now and you get to edit, but you have a lot of the same fears, doubts and hesitations being in the place where you want to make the transition is anybody else in any point in their career? So let's rewind a little bit. And let's dig deep into what some of those fears and doubts were back. Right before you and I met.

Chris Patterson 11:23

Yeah, I mean, there were, you know, there were financial fears, you know, you can make more money first assisting editing on, you know, tomorrow war, and you can make cutting an indie movie, it's, it's just, it's, it's the economics of it. So there's that. And also you brought up, you know, first assisting on a movie like that is 12 months, whereas cutting an indie is like 10 weeks, and then that's on so the next thing. So there's financial things, it's a, that was a big part of it. It was also, you know, how to get those gigs, how to convince people that you can do it. I mean, my, and it's funny that you say, you know, once you've been doing it for 20 years, you just raise your hand. So many people that I've met, and sought advice about how like that I've, that I've met, like that are cutting that weren't cutting five years ago that are cutting now. And I've sought their advice. They said the same thing. That's how I thought it worked, too. And then I realized it didn't. And you know, it doesn't work that way. It's you know, you can become an editor at 28. Or you can become an editor I've met a, I have a very good friend that didn't start really cutting till his like mid 50s. And he's a great editor, he cuts huge movies and stuff. But you know, he assisted for a long time. And then just the the opportunity came, I mean, there's, you know, so yeah,

Zack Arnold 12:47

there's a couple of traps that I feel a lot of people fall into. And I want to talk about both of them. Because I think in certain ways, from our past conversations, you fallen victim to both of these, at one time or another, the first of which you've already alluded to, which is the idea of, I make really good money as a first assistant editor. And not only is it a good weekly rate, but when you commit to a job on a first assistant on one of these huge films, it's for three months, it's not for six months, sometimes it's like for what a year, year and a half, maybe even two years. So it's like a really well paying full time job.

Chris Patterson 13:20

Yeah, yeah, no doubt. No doubt. I mean, yeah, Ready Player One was like almost two years, it was great. You know, I remodeled this, and you know, did that was, you know, like having a real job.

Zack Arnold 13:31

And you remember that term that you used? And we talked about that? It's not you didn't make it up. But it's a fairly commonly used term for when you're stuck in that position,

Chris Patterson 13:37

Oh like the golden handcuffs.

Zack Arnold 13:38

Yeah, the golden handcuffs. That's a trap that I find a lot of people fall into at every stage of their career, where what happens. And this is not just editors, or assistant editors, or people in Hollywood, it's just human nature. But there's an actual term for this called lifestyle creep. Where as you're starting to expand and make more money, well, you don't, it's not like all of a sudden, you have all this money going into savings accounts, your lifestyle expands to fit the space in which you allow it with the new money, then all of a sudden, you start to get comfortable, you have a larger mortgage, you have a higher car payment, whatever it might be. And then all of a sudden, you realize, Oh, I'm not sure I want to keep doing this. But I have to because I can't afford to do less.

Chris Patterson 14:19

Right. So that was one of the things that I had to work out was you know, maybe we don't want to talk about this on the podcast, because it's boring, but like the practicality of it, like how many banked hours do I have? How long can I go until I need to get a union gig to have health insurance? Because I have a wife and kids that are on my health insurance, you know, just practical things. How long can I go before my bank account runs out, you know, things like that. I mean, luckily it was kind of weird that not not that I'm have anything positive to say about the pandemic but because of the pandemic. I got to like kind of push some financial things around and kind of take it Few more risks that I maybe wouldn't have taken if, if it was just like regular work. And, you know, so I got to cut a few more things like I cut a TV show and a couple little movies and stuff. So, but yeah, that's a huge thing is the financial thing.

Zack Arnold 15:14

So I know that you said, I know you said it was boring. And yeah, some of it is just moving accounts around. And you know, I know during the pandemic, some people were able to like kind of delay a mortgage payment, I know that I delayed my car payments for like six months, like, I took advantage of the system. And I don't feel guilty about it at all. Not at all. So everybody was able to do that. Yeah, if we talked about what money went into one account, yeah, that might be a little bit burdensome, and maybe people don't want to hear the details. However, what I do want to dig a little bit deeper into before we get to the second major trap or major hesitation, is, from a psychological and an emotional standpoint. When was the moment that you overcame the fear of You know what, I'm too afraid to say no to something, even if you don't want to do it, because it pays well, what was finally, the moment where you're like, you know, what, I have the power and the confidence to say no to the wrong things. Because I know I want this new thing badly enough. Like the exact movie that I did it on are the exact movie the exact thought like what changed between I'm too afraid to say no, versus I'm afraid to say no, but I'm going to,

Chris Patterson 16:16

I think honestly, and I don't want to like be I think it was, you know, I started taking the class, I started doing the outreach, and kind of figuring out that I did want to add it, you know that it wasn't just like that when I was doing these smaller things, I was happier than I was assisting. I mean, I don't mind this, this thing I like it, I I'm just happy that I get to do this instead of work at Target or whatever it is. But I felt like it was time to take the risk. I mean, why not? And I had a few opportunities, you know, hopeful opportunities coming down the pike. So I didn't want to commit to another big feature. So I kind of at one point, earlier this year turned down, started turning down assistant gigs, which Yeah, that's hard to do. It's hard to do. But that has paid off. As of now I've been cutting a few things. So it's, it's kind of paid off

Zack Arnold 17:11

without putting any words into your mouth if you tell me if I'm characterizing this incorrectly. But you and I have had many a hotseat session, we've had many, many conversations. And you've also been a fantastic mentor in the group as well. So it's kind of been a nice reciprocal mentor mentee relationship. So again, don't want to put words in your mouth. But I think one of the things that I've seen from you is that on a practical level, your life hasn't changed that much from the time that you and I started to where it is now, because it's been the pandemic the whole time. And you've moved a few accounts around here and there. But what I've seen is that the transition from I don't know if I should say no to some of these really big opportunities, to the point where you say, Yeah, I can say no to a big time, first assistant job on a feature film that goes for 18 months, because now I have the confidence, I'm gonna land in the editor's chair. That's the difference I've seen in you. Would you say that's fairly accurate?

Chris Patterson 18:03

I think that's somewhat accurate. And I think it's also that like, because the pandemic forced everything to slow down, like, I mean, for 22 years, I was, I'm on a movie, this one ends on Friday, the next one starts on Monday. No, you can't go on vacation. You know, I have to basically quit, the only vacations I took, and I I'm exaggerating a little bit, but not really, if you look back at the last 20 years, I took a vacation when I broke up with an editor, because it was always like on to the next one on to the next one. And so I never had time to like, stop and say, Wait, do I still want to do this? And I had the time to think about it. And, you know, doing the class and doing other things. And I just had the time to think about it and realize, yeah, I do want to start cutting. So let me start trying that now instead of you know, and the thing about it is is that I felt I've been fortunate over the past 20 years I worked with most of the editors I worked with allowed me to cut and taught me how to cut and I've learned things from everyone that I've worked with. And I'm only here because I've learned all those things like that's why I have the confidence that I can count. I've learned stuff from Michael Kahn, I learned stuff from Dylan Tichenor, Andy Mondshein, Francoise Bonnot you know, like, I mean, some of the greatest editors in the business. Yeah, I feel like I realized thinking about it and realizing I've learned I, I have this set of skills, and I want to use them to help people tell their stories. As corny as that sounds that sounds like a web page or something?

Zack Arnold 19:40

I don't think so. I don't think it sounds quite as corny as you think it does. And that is actually the perfect segue to talk about the second trap that I feel a lot of people fall into the first of which being that they put themselves in a position where they're terrified to say no for financial reasons. The second trap that many people fall into that I feel you did as well that you and I've talked about before. That you put yourself in a position where you're so good at what you do. People don't want to promote you because they want you to keep doing what you do. Where you're really good as an assistant editor. And it's like, I mean, sure, we love the guy to cut, but we'd much rather have him just be our first assist, because he's awesome. And it's harder to replace him to do that. Right. So you, you put yourself in that trap as well.

Chris Patterson 20:19

Yeah, definitely. And with some of the editors I worked for, I learned to cut so much that they liked it when I cut that'd be like, right, it's like having a you know, once dailies are done, cut this stuff for me. So yeah, and then I appreciated that because Not I, I kind of thought that Matt was the normal, but then I've worked I've met a lot of other assistants have never had those opportunities. So I guess I was fortunate to get those. Yeah. You know, thinking back on it. While you're in it, you're like, Oh, my God, I gotta cut and synced and do the codebook.

Zack Arnold 20:57

So all of that having been said, we've covered some of the the fears, the barriers, the hesitations about what brought you to us working together. Now I want to start digging into some of the the aha moments or the changes that you made in your approach, because like you said, at the very beginning of this interview, to set it off, you can't just sit in a room with four walls and a door and be awesome at what you do and sit and wait for somebody to discover you. God, we wish it were that easy, right? If we could just be amazing. And somebody walks down the hall is like, Hi, I heard you're awesome. Can I hire you on my next project? God, that would be so much easier, wouldn't it?

Chris Patterson 21:35

Yeah. But that's you don't learn that? I mean, you don't learn that in school? I mean, if you go to film school, you don't learn that. And then when you get on the job, you don't learn that. I mean, there's very few people. I don't know, yeah, you don't learn it. And I've met people that inherently have that. I mean, years ago, there was this, a friend of mine was an assistant on a movie, this was an Eli Roth was his post PA, and Eli Ross was like, I'm moving to LA and I'm going to be a director. And then like three years later, it's like a film by Eli Roth. And it's like, what, what the hell happened? You know, he just has, there's people that have that. And there are people that don't, honestly, I feel that and like, the people that don't, which are us introverted editor types, need to learn it if we want to get in the big chairs, and I've worked with big editors, and a lot of them do have those big personalities, you know, that just, you know, they, when they walk in a room, everyone pays attention, because they're, you know, the big editor, and you can't be, you know, quiet and sitting in the corner and expect to, you know, what I'm trying to say,

Zack Arnold 22:45

I absolutely know what you're trying to say, and I hope it's coming across. Okay. It is. And I don't think it's any coincidence that people that are largely shy and introverted and like to be creative, and up in the editor's chair, not a coincidence, because the ones that are really outgoing and outspoken and extroverted, they're the ones that end up outsets, directing, acting and producing, managing everything. And then we drive them crazy, because all we want to do is not be bothered and do good work, and just let us go home to our families. Right. So you're right, it isn't a skill where you don't go in college. And it's not a prerequisite where you learn networking one on one, or storytelling or story branding. 101. Right. So to clarify, for both mean for everybody that's listening before you and I met, where you already trying to, quote unquote, sell yourself as an editor.

Chris Patterson 23:34

Yeah, I mean, I had, you know, I had gotten a lot of associate and additional editor credits. And then I think before I met you, I had done on the zombie land sequel, I got bumped up to editor on that, like, so I got, I added a lot of the movie. And the editor was a really good friend of mine. And the director, saw that I was cutting and so they gave me a bump up. And after that, I was like, Yeah, I want to try and start editing and then like that came out at the end of 2019. And then the pandemic hit. And that was like, oh, there's no work for anybody. So what should I do? And so I found an online class to take.

Zack Arnold 24:13

So what was your approach? And I know, it sounds like you weren't spending years and years and years trying to make this happen. And it was something that you decided you wanted to make happen when the world can shut down and got in the way of you making it happen. But just as far as the conversations you did have, or looking forwards to making this transition on your own. What do you think was the biggest challenge as far as actually convincing people that I can do this job?

Chris Patterson 24:37

Yeah, I mean, the the elephant in the room is that you know, you can't cut a studio feature until you've got a studio feature. You can't cut a network TV show until you cut a network TV show. So it's getting that first gig and then it's getting the second gig. So it's kind of like starting I mean, I guess it's like in any business. It's starting over when I was an assistant. You know, when I was an apprentice I worked with this person, and then that became two people. And that became four people. But now my network has shrunk back down to one or two people that see me as an editor. And the other 400 people that I've met over the past 20 years still see me as an assistant. And the goal is to get those 400 to see me like the two people do now. And it's starting over. I mean, it really is, it's starting over, I think, yeah,

Zack Arnold 25:25

so if the if the catch 22, or the elephant in the room, as you said, which we'll talk more about when we you know, get in the proverbial interview room, so to speak, and we talk about some of the strategies you learn. But if the if the elephant in the room, or the catch 22 is that you need the experience to get the experience. How do you convince these 400 other people? I'm not an assistant editor anymore? How do you convince them that you're?

Chris Patterson 25:50

Yeah. Yeah, I'm working on it. I mean, you try and get more editing gigs to build up your reel and resume,

Zack Arnold 25:58

you need editing gigs to get editing gigs, so I'm totally confused. How do we make this happen?

Chris Patterson 26:02

Yeah, um, you get people to vouch for you, you call in favors you network. You, you, you. That's, I mean, that's, I guess that's how I did it. I just, it's funny when you when I started turning down editor gigs, more people started saying, oh, what about this then? And you know, I didn't get a lot of them. But at least they started thanking me for things and recommending me for things. And I was getting a few interviews. So I don't know what the answer you're looking for Zack?

Zack Arnold 26:17

Well, I wasn't looking for an answer. I just wanted to get your perspective, because I want to dig deeper into this. Because I feel like this is where so many people get stuck. Yeah, they think to themselves,

Chris Patterson 26:46

it's hard. And I haven't really figured it out yet. I mean, I don't have the answer. My strategy is letting all the people now that I think of me as an assistant that I'm moving into the editor chair that I moved into the editors chair, and then you know, keeping in touch with them and after the next gig saying, Hey, I just finished this one or and also trying to meet new people to branch out into more different things because you know, it's it's pretty busy right now.

Zack Arnold 27:17

Well, given that you don't have all the answers, and how dare you not have all the answers. We're gonna dig into this a little bit deeper, we're gonna do kind of our own little impromptu hot seat right now, you've been on many, many hot seats. So your your familiar, you know what's coming. But the challenge that we're going to solve for you today, and I think you actually know a lot more about this than maybe is coming to mind because we've had this conversation several times. But here's the challenge that we're going to solve for you and for everybody else that stuck in a similar position. First question, if we're rewinding six, nine months before the point where you're now editing this feature on your own, let's say that you're at the point where you've just finished your latest big feature as a first assist. If you get hired to cut a fairly sizable feature film, maybe not The Tomorrow War, but we're talking a studio movie, maybe $20 million. If you get hired on that job, and you start at 9am tomorrow morning, do you have any hesitation about your ability to do the job?

Chris Patterson 28:13


Zack Arnold 28:13

no. Okay, so do you have any hesitation about the skills necessary to do that job? Well,

Chris Patterson 28:20

no. I mean, I know what it takes to edit a studio feature, because I've been on studio features for 20 years. So it's it? And and I think, yeah, I guess you're right. It's so it's, it's, it's trying to convince the people that are hiring, that that is actually an asset, because if you hire someone that, you know, I'm not, I don't want this to come out wrong. But if you hire like a snazzy wonder can guy that doesn't know, the ins and out of a feature, they could get a very overwhelmed very quick, it, there's so many moving pieces, there's so many departments, it's more than just editing, it's running in department. You know, it's it's so I mean, an editing is a big, don't get me wrong, like, the skill of editing is number one, you have to know how to put the pieces together and tell a story. But there are other things to it that, you know, are valuable that you can bring to a cutting room. I mean, I've worked with editors that I worked with an editor that became a therapist, because that was her calling, you know, she was done with editing. And she's a therapist, it's like, you know, there are other things you can bring to the, to the cutting room to help.

Zack Arnold 29:36

It's funny, because in a way, I kind of feel like without that degree, that's kind of what's ended up happening to me too. Yeah, I've kind of become an unofficial therapist helping people through these transitions. But to get back to the brass tacks of somebody, like what is the strategy already? The strategy that's so important you and I have worked through is how do I make it very clear that even though I don't have the experience, so somebody looks on paper, they look at a shortlist one page list of credits, they're going to say, you can't do this, the store you need to be able to tell is I have all the transferable skills to do this way better than somebody that maybe has done a couple of things like this in the past, but hasn't done it at this level. Right. So you talked about you been in the room with Michael Kahn, and Dylan Tichenor, and Billy Goldenberg, and all these other people, very, very few people have ever worked at that level, even as an assistant. But I'm assuming that you're not just sitting in a room by yourself and organizing dailies and putting in time codes and putting on burn ins for outputs, like there's probably a lot of the creative process that you're heavily involved with. Yes,

Chris Patterson 30:38

absolutely. And that, that that was one of my points is that, like, I've learned from every one of those people. And that's, that's where my skill set comes from. my skill set comes from some of the best in the industry. And I didn't just sit there and, and sink dailies and give them the bins and sit in my room. And, you know, I was very involved in I mean, I learned a lot from enemy Dylan Dylan used to write with Paul. I mean, I never worked on a Paul Thomas Anderson movie with him. But he would write with Paul, so the movies that I did work with Dylan, like he would get involved in pre production, I would be doing continuity before they even started shooting. And we'd be talking about like scenes and structure and stuff like that with the director. Like that stuff. You can't. I mean, it's it's precious to learn that stuff, you know. So yeah, I take that all as assets.

Zack Arnold 31:31

And do you feel that that's a story that you were very clearly telling before about how you had the skills even though you didn't have the experience?

Chris Patterson 31:39

No, I definitely wasn't telling that clearly before, and I can tell it verbally talking to you now. But still, like putting it on a website or putting it on a resume is still, you know, I'm getting closer, but I haven't cracked that I get? No, I think one of the things we've talked about is, is getting in the room for the interview. And I feel like what I've learned over the past, you know, six, eight months, whatever it is, is, if I can get in the room, I think I have a pretty good shot of getting the interview, I just need to get in the room. And, you know, sometimes it doesn't happen today. For instance, it you know, I haven't had an opportunity maybe and it was just like, now they're not interested. And that's fine. You know, I get it. Like, you know, sometimes it doesn't happen, sometimes it does.

Zack Arnold 32:24

So that having been said, let's talk about how to get in the room. Because this was another area that you were very hesitant about. You even said in our very first conversation, you probably don't remember because it's been like nine months. But I listened to the whole thing earlier today just to refresh me of what what was day one, like, and you even said to me almost verbatim, it's like you listened to it yourself. And you copied your words. You're like, Listen, I've worked with people like Dylan and Billy and Michael Kahn, etc, etc. But like, I can't put that in a letter. Like I can't be that egotistical guy that puts that in a letter. I don't want to bother people, right? I don't want to put myself out there and be a bother. And one of the fundamental mindset shifts that we've worked on that I think has been transformational for you. And it's also been amazing for a lot of other students in the group is that you no longer reach out to bother people. What's the mindset shift that we've made instead about why we're reaching out and connecting with people?

Chris Patterson 33:18

Yeah, I mean, it's to provide value. And that's like the mantra or the you know, whatever you want to call it. But for me, it even goes beyond that. What I've learned a little bit is that people don't mind being bothered. And I've learned like, introspectively, I've learned that I don't mind being bothered. And I actually kind of like it if the circumstance if it's done properly. You know, if it's done properly, like you always say, like, when you get those emails that are just mass emails, that's like, Hey, I just finished this. Looking for this, here's my resume, it's like yeah, but if it's done in a way that you can kind of reconnect with someone or even make a new friend, I think that's, that's providing value even if it's even if it's not like getting a job, it's still providing some kind of value, especially now and in pandemic where like, you don't see people in the hall or anything like that. It's It's It's nice getting a message from somebody

Zack Arnold 34:19

right? It's It's uh, one of the the analogies that I use in the class that you took, is that if you're somebody that delivers flowers for a living, nobody's upset to see you, you knock on the door, they open the door, and they smile because you're making their day brighter, you're bringing something new to them providing value. And as we talked about, that can be done via email or social media message or whatever it is. So like you said, You don't mind being bothered, when it's not really being bothered at somebody instead trying to do their best to make your day just a little bit better.

Chris Patterson 34:48

Right, exactly. And I also find that people actually do want to help you. If you can make that connection. They're more inclined to try and help with what you're trying to do.

Zack Arnold 34:59

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So if we could pull out one kind of microcosm success story, from the outreach lessons that you've learned, what do you think that that moment or that connection or that conversation or something you've learned from somebody else would be from the journey that you've gone on?

Chris Patterson 37:45

Hmm, I gotta think about this. I mean, rephrase that again.

Zack Arnold 37:49

Yes. So if we think about all the things that we talked about, and you know, in theory, they all sound great, right? But none of it means anything until you put it into practice. Oh, give me one thing. Okay. Yeah, a great example of you changing your approach connecting with somebody and what you really got out of it, and what they got out of it as well.

Chris Patterson 38:07

I think one of the aha moments I had in the class was the idea of making an email, so skimmable, that you can respond to it while you're waiting in line at the grocery store. I mean, because if it's something that you have to spend the half hour to respond to, it's it's more difficult, but if I'm, you know, waiting in line at the grocery store, and you can so it's it's brief. And it's an it's a really quick ask at the beginning, just to introduce yourself, really, and, you know, never send your resume with your first outreach, you know, stuff like that. But yeah, I think that that was the real aha moment was the thing about getting it to a point where it's a really easy to respond to. And then for me, objectively looking at my emails and saying, Now, this is not easy to respond to, I have to, you know, rewrite it. And you know, and now I've gotten to that point where I think I've gotten it, you know, better than I had it before.

Zack Arnold 39:11

I think you've gotten a much better than you had before, for sure. And now like you were doing it wrong before, but you certainly seen much more positive results in responses.

Chris Patterson 39:19

Yeah, I definitely have. And I the the fact of the matter is, I don't enjoy outreach. I've never enjoyed it. So that's one of the reasons why, you know, I'd taken the the self guided focus yourself, but I knew if I was at the end of that, I knew if I was gonna write these emails, I had to be forced to. So I should take the class because I knew and said, like, we work on like email for six weeks and we read the emails in class and I was like, Alright, well, then they're gonna make me do it. So that's because yeah, I mean that and maybe not everybody's like that. I don't know. But for Me, I knew that was the only way it was going to happen as if I someone made me do it.

Zack Arnold 40:04

Yeah. Well that that being said with his miserables, the processes I'm now rethinking the title of the course. It should be Eat your vegetables. Yeah. Right. Because it's just like, oh god, I know I need to eat my vegetables. I know it's good for me, but I'm just gonna need somebody to force feed that food down my throat. And that's kind of what networking and outreach is like, for some people. Yeah, yeah. No, no, no, no. So now what I'd like to do is flip the script a little bit. We've been talking so far about you being in the position of somebody that wants to make the transition and move forwards. You want to go from the first assistant chair to the editor? Sure. As long as we're talking about outreach, I would assume that over the course of your 20 plus year career with as high profile as the projects or the work on, you've had people reach out to you. Yes.

Chris Patterson 40:49

Yeah. I mean, we got to the point where Yeah, you don't even have to send the resume anymore. People just look on IMDB and call you. And I'm not saying that, like egotistically it's just it. Like I said, one thing leads to the next leads to the next and it just keeps and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And then you worked with Steven Spielberg. And you're like, what, how did this happen? Right? I mean, I just feel like it's still kind of weird to me that I you know, it's very bizarre.

Zack Arnold 41:19

All of which is great. But I guess what I was asking to rephrase a little bit is not people reaching out to you for jobs, people reaching out to you with their outreach? Why? Yeah, I started knowing if you're looking for work, or you're looking for a PA or a second assist, I'm getting a lot of outreach directed at you, right. Yeah, a lot, quite often. Yeah. What's the difference between the ones you respond to and the ones you don't?

Chris Patterson 41:42

I mean, a lot of them are, if they say like, Hey, we know, the same person. Or like, even I think, with Annie, I think she was from Michigan. And I knew Sarah brochure from when I worked with Steven was from Michigan, and Sarah super into helping people from Michigan. So I was like, oh, Annie needs to meet Sarah, like, you know. So that's, that's a lot of it. I think, you know, if it's, if it's a generic email, or if it's like, Hey, I got, I don't know, I don't want to, I don't want to sit in judgment of people's emails, but we don't have to use names. But in general, I think it's really important to hear what gets your attention and what doesn't, you know, if it's generic, just finish this, looking for the next gig, blah, blah, blah, and like, nothing, almost form like, hey, blank, like, I think of that Heather's the movie, Heather's where she has the speech, like, a blank. And she goes on with a speech like that. I'm like, you know, it's not a lot of thought put into it. So I'm not going to put a lot of thought back. I guess, you know, you kind of it's a balance, you know, if a lot of if I look at something and a lot of thoughts going into it, then I, I, I feel more obligated to respond than if it's just like, Hey, here's my resume, let me know if you have any, you know, and now there's a lot of emails because of the way the business they've You know, there's so much work where people are just like, emailing, like, we need a VFX editor now. And it's just like, you don't even know who they are. It's just It's crazy. But yeah, I think that's a big difference is, is adding a personal touch to it. spending a little bit of time. And then if you have some kind of connection, you have a mutual connection, or even a from Boston to or something like that. Throw it in there. Because you know, I've hired people because they are from Boston, because you know, so to start with a Boston Yeah.

Zack Arnold 43:43

Oh, you don't know Avid no problem. You're from Boston. Yeah. So really, it the first part of it is that it really comes down to Did you take the time to write to me? Or did you just kind of copy and paste the template? Right? Yeah, yeah. The second part that I want to dig into a little bit deeper, is, and I'm guessing that you probably make similar assumptions of people that you want to reach out to. But if I wanted to reach out to you, if I'm a young second assistant editor, or I'm somebody that's breaking in, my first thought is Chris Patterson, are you kidding? Like, he's worked with Michael Kohn release people and Spielberg he doesn't want to help me. Why? Why is that the wrong assumption?

Chris Patterson 44:23

I don't know. I mean, it's human nature to want to help people. I mean, not to get all you know, weird about it. But like, if you don't want to help somebody, then what's wrong with you? You know, I mean, unless you know, and there are certain people you don't want to help. And I'm not saying you got to help everybody. But if you're a decent person and you you show enthusiasm and and in you can be an asset because you never know, if someone's looking for somebody and you might, I mean that that's also timing has a lot to do with success in this business is I don't know how you phrase it. Sometimes. But you know, if you email someone and you're on the top of their mind, then it's timing if if, if they have if they hear of a job and you emailed them last week, they might recommend you for it, whereas you email that. But then again, it's a catch 22 is you can email someone every week. And you know, it's Monday, I'm available, right? It's like so in a lot of it is luck in timing of hitting the person. But what I was also saying is, if you're reaching out to someone to ask for, like, I'm a second assistant, you know, your first I'd like to know xy and z, you could be providing an asset, because you never know, if they're looking for someone, or they know someone that's looking for someone. I mean, I've had to hire people on movies, I've had to crew up movies, when it's been very difficult because there's nobody available, you can't find people or, or, uh, you know, no one wants to go on location, or this or that or the other thing. So it's always good to have a bigger pool.

Zack Arnold 46:08

it so right. But so my saying is, and I seriously should make a T shirt that says this, you don't have to be the best candidate, you just need to be the most recent candidate. You're on the top of somebody's mind, if you're qualified, and you've been having conversations with them recently, as I'm sure you've had happened many times, if all of a sudden you need a second assistant or a PA or whatever it is, you don't have this giant Google spreadsheet of every single person you've ever met, categorize by their skills and their experience and who's available and who's not available. It's just wait, Who was that guy that emailed me last week? Oh, yeah, Bill, let's get him in here. He seemed nice. Right. So you have to stay on top of people's minds. But again, it can't just be, hey, it's Monday morning, I'm here and I'm available. That's why you have to learn to continuously provide value. So every time you see somebody's name in your inbox, you think, oh, every time they email me, they've got something nice to say I should open this and see what they're up to. Right. And the the other part that I want to close the loop on that I also think is so important, is this misconception that people above us or ahead of us in our careers, they wouldn't want to help us. And one of the other things we talked about in the program that again, could be an alternative t shirt, this could be like, you know, the tuesday thursday t shirt, as opposed to the other one, which is Monday, Wednesday, Friday, is saying it's not that people don't want to help you. It's that they don't understand how to help you. So if you can make it very clear to somebody, if I were to write to you and make it clear, here's where I am in my journey, I would really like to get where you are at some point. Here are some of the things I'm struggling with. Do you feel enough empathy that you want to help them out and move them a little bit closer to that goal?

Chris Patterson 47:45

Yeah, because people have helped me. I mean, you know, I didn't get to being a first assistant, you know, on on big movies without any help. So yeah, of course, I would help if the person's worth it. I mean, because I've also helped people in been burned before, you know, and that sucks. And that makes you a little bit gun shy. But you have to get over that. Because, you know, and I'm sure that's happened to you in the past, you know, oh,

Zack Arnold 48:12

yes, I've done favors for more than one person, which is why I'm a lot more selective about all the emails that I take the time to answer the people that I actually talked to on 30 minute zoom calls, the people that are in the program, I make sure that whomever it is that wants to help is willing to put in the necessary action to get the results, as opposed to Hey, just shorten my learning curve and make my life easier. So I don't have to go through all the same hardships that you did, right? I want people that are willing to dig through the trenches. But I'm willing to show them the way so they don't hit all the pitfalls and potholes that I did when I was going through the same trenches.

Chris Patterson 48:46

Right. And they Yeah, and your 20 years experience or whatever, however many years it is, can help with that. I mean, I would say there's a lot of things I would do differently, having done it for 20 years, but you know, that's neither here nor there, you can't go back. So whatever. But you can maybe guide someone in a different direction, you know,

Zack Arnold 49:06

so the last exercise that I want to take us through and then we're going to wrap up, because my guess is you probably have to go right back to work. Even though it's nice, you probably got outputs and all this other craziness to deal with I have one other exercise that I want to take you through that I know is going to make you squirm in your seat, because I know the button to push with you now. And it's the humility button. You are so humble about how good you are at what you do. And I think that it's great until it's not. And one of the areas where it's not so great is when you have to promote yourself brand yourself as the person that has the skills but doesn't have the experience. So I want to walk you through an exercise that you may or may not remember that we've done before, but I'm doing it for the sake of somebody else that's listening, that feels like Wow, I can't talk about my skills or things that I'm good at. Like I don't want to come off as egotistical. I want to help people that challenge and there's an exercise that you and I did once you probably don't remember it, but I got you out of your shell and this is an exercise Anybody can emulate if they have a friend or a colleague that they trust. So if I were to ask you, Chris, what are all the qualities that you have that make you great at what you do and make you hireable? And make it worth it to hire you as an editor? I already know your answer is going to be, I don't know. Like, it's like, I just I know that face you're gonna get really uncomfortable. You're I only wish people that are listening could see your face right now we're not. This isn't like a video podcast, it may end up being a video, at least for now. It's audio only in your face was priceless. But there's an exercise I took you through where I got you out of your shell. And it's a really important one that I want other people to be able to do. And it's so simple. All right. Here's how I'm going to reframe this. I want you to tell me in the third person, about a colleague that you've worked with for 20 years, his name is Chris Patterson. Why do people keep hiring Chris? I keep talking to all these people. And they say you got to hire Chris, for your next feature. What are the skills that Chris has talked to me about why he gets hired the way that he does and why he's so consistently gets work? I don't want to know about you. I want to know about Chris Patterson.

Chris Patterson 51:07

Right? Chris Patterson, he's, he's loyal. He's, he gets the job done. He knows post production. extremely well. He knows how to think outside the box and just get stuff done. I mean, it. Yeah. I mean, he's, he's a great first assistant, he can cut. He can think he can he can do sound, he can do music. He can do VFX. And he has 20 years experience. Proving that I don't know is that

Zack Arnold 51:38

all that's wonderful. But I don't care about him being an assistant anymore. He's been referred to me to cut my feature. Why should I hire Chris as my editor?

Chris Patterson 51:47

Because he can do the job he'll get he'll get the job done. Kind of this is harder than this is I don't read I don't call

Zack Arnold 51:53

him so I don't call this the lukewarm seat. Now. I know.

Chris Patterson 51:56

Um, yeah, he'll get the job done with the experience that he has. He'll he'll really put me in the hot seat. Hmm.

Zack Arnold 52:04

You You're on a roll until I switched it to editor. The reason I brought that up, you notice how your confidence level changed?

Chris Patterson 52:11

Yeah, I mean, I know I can do it. But what what, what makes the difference? I mean, yes, it's the it's the fact that my background is that I get stuff done. And if I don't know how to do something, I'll figure it out. That's how I've been my whole life. Yeah, if he if he doesn't know how to do something, he'll figure it out. But he knows how to edit. I don't know if I'm saying this. Right. But

Zack Arnold 52:32

I would say that, that that's a huge asset that so many people miss, where I don't expect somebody to know everything and have all the answers. But what I want to know, as a core character trait, are you going to be able to figure things out when it gets rough,

Chris Patterson 52:44

right, I guess I'm having an aha moment. Right now it's in that like, what I would say is I know how to cut like, I know, the, there's this Picasso, quote, learn the rules, like, learn the rules, like a master so you can break them like an artist. And so that, that, that that's, that's what I would sum it up with is he knows all the rules of editing. And he knows that when you screw something up, when you shoot, when you've shot something and it's screwed up, he will figure out a way to make it work. That's what editing is. I mean, that's, you know, a lot of times that happens is, you know, dailies don't come out the way they want them to be something happens and they have to cut the day short or, you know, something, you know, and you have to fit, you have to be able to roll with it and figure it out and be accommodating and then figure out how to get stuff done.

Zack Arnold 53:42

So what we do that in third person, did I right, you didn't you switched over, but you realize how you kept going, and you got good at it by talking about yourself. That's how powerful this exercise is what we what we've been doing this whole time, you didn't even know that I was doing it. We're putting together your story package for your next interview. Here. Here's how we're going to structure this. You start your next interview, whether it's on zoom in person or otherwise, to edit your next film, what is most likely going to be their first question. Not always, but usually, what's the first question? Tell me about yourself? Oh, god, it's the laziest, worst first interview question and everybody's gonna ask it. So you have to be prepared for it. What we're doing is we're constructing the story that you're going to tell and we're going to piece together some of the things that you just talked about. One of the things you talked about much earlier, which we address in the room immediately. is the big giant elephant standing in the corner, instead of well. You know, I've been an assistant editor for 20 years, I've, you know, worked on some big films and I've worked with some really great some great editors. I worked with Spielberg it was all fantastic, but I think I'm ready I think I think I can do the cutting. Oh, man. I don't know this guy didn't Yeah, like you're right right. That's not gonna get me a job. What if instead, you what you answer this question, the follow way. All right, so I'm going to tell you a little bit about myself. But first, let's just address the elephant in the room. Everybody's probably thinking, yes, I've got 20 years of experience as an assistant, I was great as an assistant. I'm even better as an editor, and I'm going to tell you why. I'm going to share a quote with you, this is going to personify who I am. And then you say the Picasso quote about being a master being an artist, right? So I may not have all the credits that you're looking for. But over the last 20 years, I've worked with some of the most formative professionals and biggest names in the history of our craft. I know how to cut, I know how to get the job done. I've learned the rules like a master and I will break them like an artist. Now, how is my level of confidence is the person that wants to hire you as my editor, even though your credits don't tell the story?

Chris Patterson 55:48

I mean, you're gonna remember that person, at the very least, you know, even if you don't hire them, even if you go with Roger Barton, let's, you know, you're gonna remember that person. Absolutely.

Zack Arnold 55:59

But let's talk about that. If you're up for the same movie with Roger Barton, you're getting that job? 00? If he's available, why would anybody hire you over Roger Barton? That's insane. So that means you put yourself in the wrong position, you put yourself in a position to fail instead of succeed, we're also talking about what's the sweet spot for you to make this transition? Where are you going to be an asset rather than a liability,

Chris Patterson 56:25

smaller movies where they need a lot of help? Because they don't know what they're doing? I mean, you know, and that is, a lot of, you know, the small movies that I have been doing is it's been a lot more than just editing, it's been kind of guiding them through the post production process, which I know very well, I mean, you know, not that I want to be a post super or anything, but like I could, if I kind of have to

Zack Arnold 56:49

be someday, right? Yeah. What is the number one challenge that you're solving, and they're thankful for you providing so much value in this specific scenario where you come to them? It's a lower budgets, either studio film, indie film, what's the number one challenge that you're ultimately solving for them?

Chris Patterson 57:05

That I can I can do wear a couple different hats? I mean, you know, which is helpful. I mean,

Zack Arnold 57:13

yeah, let's dig even deeper. We've actually talked about this, too, you might not remember having this session, what's the number one challenge that I have is a producer. And then ultimately, the director as well. But ultimately, the producer that wants to hire an editor on a lower budget film, making sure that the movie gets finished, making sure the movie gets finished. And obviously, the editor is a part of that. But the ultimate fear, they probably have, at least as far as post production is concerned. How am I going to get somebody that knows what they're doing with the amount of money that I have? Yeah, right. And you're coming in there saying you don't understand, I want the credit, and I want the experience, and I will work for less. I'm not saying you should devalue yourself, right. But at the same time, you're in the sweet spot right now, where the experience is more valuable than the paycheck, you're not going to sit there and negotiate for an extra 100 or $200 a week, if you feel like you can manage it, because you know how much more valuable it is to be in the timeline to work with the director to build relationships, and have a credit. So ultimately, you're put you're putting yourself in a position where, dear Lord, are they lucky to have somebody like you that's available? As opposed to why can't they keep getting jobs when they're interviewing Roger Barton? Right, right, right. And I feel like that's one of the traps that a lot of people fall into when they make the transition is they just leap over all of those stepping stones. And they say, Well, I want to go from assistant to editor, and I want to edit Game of Thrones, or I want to edit the next giant movie, it's like, no, there's a lot of stuff in between, where you become a valuable asset, as opposed to a liability, and they just can't take the chance on you because there's too much risk,

Chris Patterson 58:51

right. And that's also how you get your first first assistant job is it's a smaller budget movie, and you're a second and you You're the only assistant. So you're By default, the first you know, I mean, that's just that's how every job happens. And that's how every transition happens is you have to move a little bit backwards to go forwards this. I mean, and I'm not saying some people get, you know, blast and get. But for most people, you have to kind of zigzag a little bit in the career. I don't think that's just true of the film industry. I think it's true of everything.

Zack Arnold 59:26

Yeah, this has nothing to do with the film industry. Actually, I suggest today I saw a post in Facebook, where somebody was saying I want to make a career transition. And for me that transition is I want to leave post production. Is there anybody out there that knows how to handle career transitions, and they even mentioned me and they tagged me by name. They said I know that Zach helps people make a transition of post but I want out and I said I This has nothing to do with post production. Yeah, I happen to be an editor and a lot of the people that follow me on post. This is just about how to make a transition to do something differently and tell the story that I had. To do this, even though I don't have the experience that can be applied to anything, right? Yeah, no. So on that note, we are going to wrap up. But the final question that I want to leave you with is, if there were one piece of sage advice or wisdom you could give to either a younger listener, or somebody that's less experienced this looking to get where you are now, what's the most common or valuable experience that you've given people in the past that you want to share?

Chris Patterson 1:00:27

I mean, like the real basic one, and I say this jokingly, but not really is always have a notebook and write everything down. And I've been like I be, and I say that jokingly, but there was actually a show where someone was fired, and I replaced that person. And the first time I went into the editor's room and had a notebook, she started screaming, you have a notebook. The other guy never had a notebook. And I had to get rid of he never wrote anything down.

And I was like, Oh, my God. And so that's a piece of advice. Sorry, if I maybe I shouldn't horribly but out, don't worry. So that is like, honestly a piece of advice, like, and I've said that many people write everything down even, even if you don't feel you need to it puts the person that's asking you to do things, it puts their mind at ease that they know, you're gonna get the stuff done, because you've written it down, or at least. Yeah, so that's, that's a big piece of advice. And then final parting thought,

Zack Arnold 1:01:31

if we were to rewind to where you were about nine months ago, and we have somebody else, that's where you were, where they're totally on the fence, they're like, I kind of feel like I need to help but you know, maybe the time is bad, or I'm too busy. Or it seems kind of scary. What advice would you give to yourself or to somebody in a similar position that's thinking, I want to dive in, I want to get to coaching, I want to get the mentorship, but I'm kind of scared. And I'm not sure about this,

Chris Patterson 1:01:54

I would recommend doing it. Because I feel like Like I said, for me, I know that if I'm not forced to do something, I won't do it. So it held me accountable to do things and to show up every week, and I and I knew I had the time to do it. And there was a period at one point where I was busy for a few weeks and had to move things around. And it all worked out. But I think overall it It worked. And you got to meet a bunch of other people that were kind of there. I mean, everyone's story, even though it was different, you know, I worked. I did web videos, or I'm coming from reality TV and want to get into scripted or whatever. But they're all the same story. And you realize that there's you're not alone. And yeah, everyone's in the same boat. So it helps. It's a it's a nice community.

Zack Arnold 1:02:45

Well, I appreciate you saying that

Chris Patterson 1:02:47

it's a community within a community, you know, as cheesy as that sounds, but

Zack Arnold 1:02:51

right and and you're right that everybody's different stories sound exactly the same? Well, I've had this conversation at least 1200 times now, because I create an Evernote every time I have one of these conversations or sessions. It's all the same thing. Same notes over and over and over and over. We're all going through the same challenges and struggles. I think the problem is because we are stuck in these small dark rooms by ourselves. We don't realize everybody else is going through it. That's one of the tough things about posts. And when you're in production, you're all working the 18 hour days together in post, you don't feel that, especially with work from home.

Chris Patterson 1:03:24

Yeah, no, that's definitely true. And that that's definitely a hack. You're right about that.

Zack Arnold 1:03:30

That's right. So well, on that note, for somebody that is so soft, spoken and humble. You were certainly more than willing to open up and you gave me what I think is a pretty fantastic interview and a lot of great insights, some stuff, I hope there's good you know, there's going to be a little bit of cleanup here and there. But I think we're in pretty good shape. Really the only editing we have to do is thanks to zoom. Other than that, I think we're just going to keep it pretty much as is because I'm beyond pleased and very appreciative. And I really thank you for taking the time in your crazy busy schedule to to come chat with me and impart some of your knowledge and wisdom on my audience,

Chris Patterson 1:04:03

right? Yeah, no, it was fun. Thanks. And yeah, have a good night.

Zack Arnold 1:04:09

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Optimize Yourself Podcast to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one, please visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast. And as a quick reminder, don't forget that enrollment is open this week only to join the fall semester of my Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship Program. To learn more about all the different ways that you and I can work together to achieve your most important professional and personal goals visit optimizeyourself.me/optimizer enrollment closes Monday September 13. And once again a special thank you to our sponsor Ergodriven for making today's interview possible to learn more about Ergodriven and my favorite product for standing workstations the Topomat visit optimizeyourself.me/topo that's T O P O to learn more about Ergodriven and their brand new product that I'm super excited about New Standard Whole Protein visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Guest Bio:


Chris Patterson

website link

Chris Patterson began his editing career in New York City, coming up as an assistant & associate editor under Andrew Mondshein on such films as Analyze That and Casanova. After moving to Los Angeles,he worked under such luminaries as Michael Kahn and Dylan Tichenor on such movies as Ready Player One and Zero Dark Thirty. He is currently editing Sean Patrick Flanery’s feature film directorial debut Frank and Penelope.

Show Credits:

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

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

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

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & 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).”