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

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If you’ve listened to at least an episode or two in the past, then it’s probably no surprise that I pride myself in being a time management ninja. I always say that the great equalizer is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. But as technology advances and the pace of life gets faster, the expectations of what we can accomplish grow larger. Now with many of us working from home, we’re expected to wear the hat of multiple roles, including assistant editor, IT person, and production assistant on top of our already overloaded duties, all while homeschooling the kids and cooking meals…no wonder we’re exhausted and feeling time pressured!

Today’s guest has mastered the art of wearing multiple hats in the entertainment industry. Emmy award-winning editor David Rogers has successfully transitioned from editor to director to producer, all while working on some of the most iconic comedies of our time. His first editing credit came from the famous “clip show” on Seinfeld where he was both assistant editor and editor. He went on to edit on The Office which was where he eventually began directing and producing. He’s also worked on shows such as Newsradio, HBO’s The Comeback & Entourage, The Mindy Project, and his latest project being Netflix’s Space Force.

In our conversation (which was originally from a few years back in the Fitness In Post days when David was working on The Mindy Project), David and I break down his path to success (that started with his main job duty being the guy who picked up the cigarette butts off the ground), and dive into what it takes to build and sustain a career like his. You’ll find his passion and energy contagious and come away with a few tips on how to pursue your dreams and manage your time like a ninja as well, not to mention learning how to build the right relationships to make the next major step in your career.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • David’s favorite superhero origin story and how it inspired his own story.
  • How he learned the editing process from his father.
  • Why he fell in love with editing over other aspects of the business.
  • The exciting story of he got his big break editing the clip show on Seinfeld and how all the pieces of the iconic episode came together.
  • Why being nice is important for success as an editor.
  • How he made the transition from assistant editor to editor.
  • For all you Seinfeld fans, hear the true story of how Festivus came to be.
  • David’s best tip for people starting out in the business and what mistakes NOT to make.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Failing is just a First Attempt In Learning.
  • The importance of mentoring and helping others rise up and achieve their goals.
  • How he moved his way up from editor to director to producer on The Office.
  • What he attributes to getting the opportunities he’s had in his career.
  • Time management secrets to being able to edit, direct, and produce all at the same time.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

David Rogers’ Site

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Episode Transcript

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Guest Bio:


David Rogers

website link

When David Rogers was 8 years old, he saw Superman The Movie on the silver screen and knew from that point on what he wanted to do with his life. It wasn’t to be a superhero, but rather he was on the path to becoming a Film and Television Director. He shot his own movies with kids from the neighborhood, videotaped Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs on weekends, graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Cinema and Photography and soon after moved out to Hollywood to make his dream a reality. His first job in television was as the Assistant Editor on Seinfeld and his first solo editing credit was Seinfeld The Chronicle, the clip show which aired right before the season finale. He went on to edit NewsRadio, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, The Comeback, Entourage, and The Office, has directed multiple episodes of the show including the hour-long penultimate episode A.A.R.M., and has directed various other shows including Parks and Recreation, The Mindy Project, The Hard Times of RJ Berger and Friends with Benefits. David currently serves as a Director/Editor/Co-Executive Producer on another show he loves, The Mindy Project, and looks forward to new new directing challenges as well as developing his own projects.

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).”