Ep171: How to Determine If a Job Is Worth The Costs | Community Q&A

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One of the most challenging things we deal with as freelance creative professionals is the constant feast & famine cycle of either always working or always looking for the next gig. I’m sure at some point you’ve had the experience of agonizing for hours, days, or weeks debating a job opportunity (or multiple opportunities). You may have also agonized about whether or not to take low pay (or unpaid work) that might seem like a great opportunity that could launch your career…but on the other hand could end up becoming a total nightmare. Or maybe you’re just starting your career and you are eager to take anything just to get your foot in the door, but you’ve heard stories of others who chose the wrong path and are now trapped at the top of a ladder they no longer want to be on at all. (reality TV anyone???)

These are just a few of the topics and challenges I address in the latest community Q&A call with my Optimizer coaching & mentorship program students. I and the community share our past experiences when considering job opportunities and the criteria we use to determine both the benefits but also the true costs of taking any opportunity, good or bad. Most importantly, we discuss how to ensure that a potential opportunity can meet both our creative as well as our lifestyle needs so the job doesn’t become “just another paycheck” at the expense of our health, our relationships, and our sanity.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Paul Del Vecchio talks about what he’s learned from saying yes to too many jobs that have not aligned with his goals.
  • Criteria that we use to evaluate opportunities as beneficial or not.
  • Questions to ask yourself if you don’t already have criteria defined.
  • Building your network of people is an important criteria for determining if the job is worth your time.
  • I review the benefit/risk assessment document.
  • What is missing from the assessment that we need to add?
  • What makes unpaid work worthwhile?
  • Sometimes ‘easy jobs’ can be soul-sucking and energy-zapping despite being fewer hours.
  • Limiting beliefs can be a big obstacle when decision-making about jobs.
  • How to turn down work graciously without burning a bridge.
  • Never say you are available for work until you have all the details and know if you are interested or not.
  • How to determine what work you should take when you’re early in your career and you’re hungry to work.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Be clear on what you want in your career and your lifestyle goals.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

‘Should I Take This Job?’ Assessment Tool

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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.

One of the most challenging things that we deal with as freelance creative professionals is the constant feast and famine cycle of either always working or always looking for the next gig. I'm sure at some point, you've had the experience of agonizing for hours, days or even weeks, debating a job opportunity or maybe even multiple opportunities at the same time. You may have also agonized about whether or not to take low pay, or unpaid work, that might seem like a great opportunity that could launch your career. But on the other hand, it could end up becoming a total nightmare. Or maybe you're just starting your career and you're eager to take anything just so you can get your foot in the door. But you've also heard stories of others who have chosen the wrong path early on, but they are now trapped at the top of a ladder, they no longer want to be on it all. Reality TV anyone? Well, these are just a few of the topics and challenges that I address in the latest community Q&A call. With my Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship Program students. I and the community share our past experiences when considering job opportunities, and the criteria that we use to determine both the benefits, but also the true costs of taking any opportunity good or bad. Most importantly, we discuss how to ensure that a potential opportunity can meet both our creative as well as our lifestyle needs. So the job doesn't become just another paycheck at the expense of our health, our relationships and our sanity. Now in today's episode, you're going to hear us talk about a simple assessment tool that I've used with my past students to help them determine whether an opportunity is worth taking or leaving. And as a special bonus for this episode, you can download this tool absolutely free. Simply go to optimizeyourself.me/171download to get your free guide to help you weigh both the costs and benefits of your next potential job. So you feel confident it is the right fit for you. Again, that URL is optimizeyourself.me/171download. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with the Optimizer Community made possible today by our amazing sponsor Ergodriven, who's 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

Welcome, everyone. I am here today with my Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship community for yet another informal Q&A session. These are going to be a little bit different than our office hours hot seats. And then we're just going to have general conversation around a specific topic. And we're going to workshop all of this together. And workshop is the key this isn't a matter of we're going to have all the answers. It's we've got a problem collectively, and we want to workshop it together. And the challenge today the thing that we're going to be conversing about is how do we debate whether or not a job offer is a quote unquote, opportunity, or not? One of the challenges that we solve in this program often and I've done numerous hot seats and we have entire coaching courses built around his this idea of figuring out what are my goals? What is my mission? And what does the path look like to get there. And I feel oftentimes the trap that so many people fall into and I know that even some of the people on this call that are here right now have fallen into this trap. It's I continue to say yes to everything. And then a decade later I look back on my career and I say How the heck did I end up here? And I want to make sure that everybody that's on this call today and everybody This listening wherever they find this, whether it's tomorrow or in 10 years, has a clearer idea of how do I determine if something is going to keep me on the right path or not. And it meets my goals. And we're going to talk through how we do that. It's going to be that simple. So I'm going to go ahead, and I'm going to get started by just reaching out to the community right away. And I want to see who would like to start the conversation with either a question or a thought about the struggles that you have faced in the past with saying yes to the wrong opportunities. And where that has potentially led you. There's already one person that I'm kind of staring at because we've had this conversation many times in the past, and he knows I'm staring at him because he's smiling, and he's laughing. Hello. Ah, I didn't even have to say his name. He was correct, Mr. Paul Del Vecchio, welcome back to the show,

Paul Del Vecchio 5:45

how's it going?

Zack Arnold 5:46

Good. So I thought that would be a good example of somebody to get started with, because you have made amazing, huge, tremendous strides. Throughout this program, we actually have an entire case study talking about your process. But whenever I think about somebody that feels like they're really kind of sort of stuck in a place, they don't want to be anymore. And it's because they use the word yes, too much. Even though you're amazingly good at the things you're doing, you've decided I want to be doing something else. But I just kept saying yes to the wrong opportunities. I was hoping you were going to show up today, because we've had this conversation more than once. So where would you like to get us started?

Paul Del Vecchio 6:20

Man? I mean, I don't consider myself a master of too many things. But if if there's one thing I would say I'm a master of it's saying yes to the wrong opportunities, or opportunities that don't align with my, my goals? Yeah, I mean, I guess the the main thing really is what I don't know, when we decide if we're going to take on a job, I think we need to a lot of us are just like, well, what are they going to pay me or you know, they're going to match my rate has a schedule, what are we going to do as far as, like, am I a good fit for this company? And I think what we really need to look at is, it's not just Am I a good fit for this company? It's is this company a good fit for me also, if what you're doing for them does not align with your goals. And I think that there's a conflict there. And and you shouldn't take the job.

Zack Arnold 7:11

I could not agree more. I think that's a great place to start this conversation. I love the idea that you brought up the criteria that we use to evaluate opportunities. I feel like in general, from the many people that I've talked to really the only main criteria that people usually think about, and they asked about as well, how much does it pay? Or in our case, as freelancers? How long does it last, which is really kind of an extension of how much does it pay? It's how much are you going to pay me? And how long are you going to pay me that amount? And usually that meets certain criteria. That's generally the reason that we say yes. And I think that there's this cultural belief that if we say no, when we're offered something that should pay enough, or should be decent enough job, there's almost this guilt, there's this idea of well, I can't say no to this opportunity, I guess I'm going to have to say yes, now. And one of the reasons bigger picture that I want to have this conversation, beyond just making sure people understand how to choose the right opportunities. I believe that this is the core question at the heart of actually changing our work culture. Because I believe if the we are clear, not only about well, is this going to be? Am I going to be a good fit for them? But also, like you said, Is this a good fit for me, if we start to look at the cost of taking on so many the opportunities that we should probably say no to, instead of just the benefits, there are going to be a lot more people that start saying no to jobs that exploit them to take advantage of them that don't prioritize their health that don't prioritize their work life balance. And my goal, big picture is that there is an army of people all over the world that have learned how to say no to opportunities that exploit them that don't value them and don't respect them. So big picture. That's really why I think this is such an important question beyond Hey, I've got a couple of gigs coming up. Which one should I take? Little picture? I want to help with that. But big picture? I believe this question is really at the heart of how do we shift the culture that we work in today? And the key is what you said, this idea of Yeah, but does it meet my needs as well? Because I think that the general conditioning that we have, when we go into a job interview as well, I'm supposed to go into the job interview, and I'm supposed to convince them that I'm the best person for this job, and I'm the best fit. But that's only half the equation. The other half is Does this meet my needs? And if it doesn't, I'm going to be exploited? I need to say no. So I'm very, very glad that you brought that up, because I think it's it's a very important part of the conversation. So I want to start talking specifically about criteria. Right now for everybody that's in the group. And I realized that some of you may be a little bit more advanced with the answer to this question, because we've worked through it. But in general, just start throwing out ideas and you can raise your hand for this one. We'll do more formal q&a in a bit, but we'll do the informal q&a right now. Just raise your hand and let me know what are some of the most important criteria to you right now in general that are going to help you determine whether or not something truly is an opportunity. Vincent?

Vincent Pascoe 9:54

I mean, I have one but it's very different. Right now. I'm very focused on opportunities where I have equity Actually ownership in the project. That is, that is for me kind of a big thing because I have my own stuff going on. So if I'm going to be doing something else, I'd like to have a part in it. But I understand that's maybe very different in in your industry,

Zack Arnold 10:16

I would say that it's unique to the group of people that are here today. But it's certainly not unique to your world, where you get to a certain point with your level of craft and the companies that you're going to get involved with. And I know that you're involved with multiple startups and doing this and that and the other thing, equity for you is a core concern. That's a core thing that if it's not included as part of the package, well, it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. Because there are opportunities that might provide equity as crass people in Hollywood, that's a very, very different conversation for sure. Yeah.

Vincent Pascoe 10:41

But even even with me producing things, I'm same thing like, yeah,

Zack Arnold 10:45

Good for you. So then, how do you know what's the what's the minimum amount that somebody needs to offer you as far as your equity need for you to even consider it being a yes.

Vincent Pascoe 10:54

That I have? I have not asked myself that at all. So just anything a nonzero? That's, that's about it?

Zack Arnold 11:00

Yeah. Okay, good. So and that's part of this conversation is that whether or not equity is something that people on this call or listening to this call are interested in is irrelevant? What's relevant is how do I define the minimum that I will say yes to, and I feel that's an area where a lot of people get stuck, they'll often Oh, well, I have to make minimum amount of dollars per hour, or I need to make this rate per week. Like, that's really the only minimum. But then when I asked them, What are your minimums, as far as the the hours that you're going to be required to work or your commute? Or benefits? Or x or y or z? They're like, I guess I never really thought about that. Or how about the level of collaboration that you have or the way that people treat you? They just think, well, it is what it is. And I don't believe that it is I believe that you can negotiate all those things once you know what your needs are. So I'm curious for other people on this call, what are some basic criteria that you use to evaluate whether a job is an opportunity or not? Patrick?

Patrick Lawrence 11:56

Hey, I'm, I'm really guilty of this. But when I'm evaluating a potential job, I look at who's the producer, who are the actors? Who are the people involved, and if it's something that's going to help push me forward in my career. And if it's not, I'm definitely at the point right now, where I'm like, I don't know that I even want to bother with this project, because it might not be seen, or it might not help me get the next job.

Zack Arnold 12:25

Alright, so for you, this is a really key component. I think this is a key component for a lot of people on this program. Is this moving me towards my goals? For a lot of people? Is it keeping me employed? Does it keep the lights on? Does it put gas in my car? That's really the only basic minimum criteria, which makes so many more things? A Yes. And for you, you've discerned what are the criteria that make this a yes. As far as moving my career goals forwards. Yeah. All right. So I'm going to ask you the same question that I asked Vincent. What are the bare minimums as far as the producers involved, the actors involved, the budget of the film, etc, etc. Where do you draw the line between all consider this versus this is not even on my radar anymore?

Patrick Lawrence 13:04

Yeah, I think that I look at track records or IMDb is, you know, try to see who they have connections with. You know, they're, you know, over the last 18 months, you know, there have been opportunities that are like, Okay, well, if I do this, is it just a paycheck? Or is it something that's actually going to benefit me in the long run? And that's now I'm less concerned with the paycheck side of it more with like, how is this going to get me my next gig or my next bigger gig or better paying gig?

Zack Arnold 13:36

So I'm going to throw out what a lot of people would say, at this point. Hmm, must be nice. Must must be great that you can make these choices and not have to worry about your paycheck, right? I don't have that luxury. Why do you have the luxury to be able to turn something down even if it's a decent paycheck, but it doesn't meet your career advancement goals?

Patrick Lawrence 13:55

I I've decided this might be getting off topic. Sec. So I'm sorry. But I've decided that I I only want to work on things that fulfill me on an artistic level. Oh, you know, and this has a lot to do with like mental health. But if it's if it's something that I don't I, you know, maybe the money is not great, but it's something that's going to help me do a better movie a year from now or something like that. Like that's, that's definitely more interesting to me, then, you know, if the paycheck is just unbelievable.

Zack Arnold 14:27

Yeah. And I'm glad that you said that this is actually something I talked about in an unexpected two hour marathon panel interview that I did earlier this week for a class at USC. And one of the biggest questions that came up these were undergrad students in the film program wanting to learn about editing and writing and directing. And they said, I don't understand how I can plan my life. If I'm not going to be getting a full time job like do you plan your your job like two years ahead four years ahead. And I'm like, two years. I haven't known what I'm doing for more than five months for the last 20 years of my career. And the most fundamental thing that is going to allow you to say no to jobs that are not a good fit is having a financial workflow in place such that you have the money to be able to say no and not live paycheck to paycheck. And that's where I think a lot of people say, Huh, must be nice that you can say no to things, I don't have that opportunity. That's usually just because of lack of planning. Not always, I don't want to discount like legitimate circumstances that would put someone in that place. But I feel like in general, people can't say no to opportunities simply because they just don't have the money to be able to say no, because they don't have a plan. So it sounds like you're somebody that in essence, has at least some form of a plan. So you can say no to things that don't fulfill you. I try. Okay, good. And I know that this is a conversation that I have had more than once with Paul de Vecchio, who I was just talking to before as well, where one of the main reasons that Paul is able to say no more often is he just dug deep into better understanding his finances. So he knows how much runway do I have to have the freedom to say no. And it was this discovery for me personally, that really was a career game changer is just knowing that there's there's money in the account for me to have that freedom. So who else would like to talk about general criteria that you use when evaluating an offer and Reid your hand shot up? Good to see you, my friend? It's been a little while.

Reid Kimball 16:13

Yeah, good to see you too. And other people on the call as well. It's been a while. For me right now, my number one criteria is that sweet spot of skill development, skill growth, but not being in over my head, and having too much thrown at me.

Zack Arnold 16:30

So for you, it's not even just as much about the paycheck. And I know that you're very clear about setting boundaries and making sure they're paying you what you're worth. So anybody that has seen you on Facebook, at least in the past, because I know that you've said you know, a few to Facebook. But in the past, you've always been very vocal about not being taken advantage of getting paid what we're worth, but it also sounds like beyond the paycheck for you. Am I growing into my learning new skills? Because those have a lot more long term value than just the money in the bank account?

Reid Kimball 16:59

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Zack Arnold 17:01

So if you're getting paid your rate at two different jobs that wants you at the same time, what's going to tip the scales as far as skill development for you.

Reid Kimball 17:08

Um, right now for me, I'm I am trying to transition into scripted, and I recently got a training course. And so I know going into your scripting job that I'm going to be a bit green. But it needs to be the right kind of share where they're not throwing too much at me at once.

Zack Arnold 17:28

So if I were to give you two different opportunities that are right now, both in unscripted and right now you're working at a very high level and unscripted. What and I may be sharing one or more of your Slack messages about that transition, because I'm super proud of all the work that you've done recently to to get where you are, won't give any details if you don't want to talk about them publicly. But if we were going to have two opportunities, both in unscripted both at a very high level. And one of them pays X amount of dollars and the other pays X amount of dollars, but 200 less a week. But you have more free time during the day, and you can develop the skills necessary to make the transition to scripted. Do you take Option A or Option B?

Reid Kimball 18:08

Option B, you're giving me the free time to develop my skills? For sure.

Zack Arnold 18:13

Yes, and I would agree with that. I've made that decision more than once where one of the criteria that I use, as am I learning very quick example story that I'm not even sure that I've talked about in this community at all. But it's just one of those random things that just popped up. When I was in college. Long story very, very short. I had an internship for Comcast, I was in their commercial department and I was an editor and director doing like local car commercials and mattress commercials and come on down to Dan's auto body, like just the worst of the worst. But it was experience and I was gaining skills. And then through some random corporate mess up. They laid off our entire department, but they laid me off too. And I get ended up getting a one year severance package getting paid more per week than I was as an intern. So I had a year paid. And I basically got a promotion financially for a year. And I didn't even have to do the work or show up. And needless to say, I didn't go to HR and correct the issue because like I said, long story short, it was not a pleasant experience. But at the ripe age of 19, I learned all about corporate America and layoffs and how they just don't value any of us as human beings. The point being I said, How can I use this to my advantage. And I end up spending an entire summer doing an unpaid internship at the biggest commercial agency in Detroit. And all I did was I sat at one of their extra workstations all day long, and I learned after effects. And I had professional after effects artists and Flame Artists that were sitting right in the same bullpen as me. So all day long, I could go to these guys that were doing graphics and motion titles for the biggest commercials in the country for like the stuff you see on like during NFL football. Like Hey, how'd you do that? That lens flare or that glint or how'd you animate the title? And I came out of college with basically two years level of professional experience in motion graphics design, which is one of the things Just reasons that I was promoted so quickly from assistant editor to editor, because the trailer company I worked at in LA, didn't have the budget to hire a graphics department. But me is being promoted to editor. I could be my own motion graphics designer. So short term checkers game. Yeah, I mean, I probably should have taken a paid job and just double down on the the money that I had coming in. But I said, I'm going to take a free job because I know that the skill development is going to be more worth it. And 20 years later, I still have those skills. So I think that's a very, very important criteria to think about is both career advancement and growth. But what am I going to learn and what resources are available, because I wouldn't have been able to afford that workstation that had after effects because that was 22 years ago, and you like you couldn't subscribe to After Effects for $30 a month. It was like a two or $3,000 program at the time, which is very much dating me for my younger listeners. But it wasn't nearly as easy to learn the tech as it is today. And I got it for free all day every day with people teaching it to me. So it was totally worth it.

Reid Kimball 21:00

Yeah, absolutely. And taking advantage of those opportunities is our key.

Zack Arnold 21:03

Exactly. Alright, so anybody else want to share some criteria that you use to determine whether or not a job is in fact, an opportunity versus just another paycheck? I feel like there's a big one that we're missing. And I actually have a very clear list of criteria that we're going to dive into in a second. But I just wanted to get an informal poll of what some of the the important criteria are. And there's one big one that we've kind of sort of touched on a little bit. But we haven't really gone into in depth, which is frankly, one of the reasons that most of you are even in this program at all. Danny.

Danny Mulhearn 21:34

I'm slow on the mute, but I don't want to put any money in the mute jar

Zack Arnold 21:37

no money in the mute jar, you made it just into this

Danny Mulhearn 21:42

Um, so for me, as you well know, I just made this big switch. And I even said it in the interview, you had me at timeline, you know, like, I'm going to get to work on the timeline, I'm going to get to do, and I'm working right now. So I'm freezing, my brains a little frozen out, but I was going to do cut downs, you know, and stuff like that. And string outs, couldn't think of the word. You know, as soon as he said, you know, you're gonna get to do some string outs. That was That's it, you know, like, if I'm getting to move closer to the editing chair, that's very attractive. Whereas if it's like, all day long, just doing outputs for, you know, an online session, you know, doing ADLs and all that, that's fine, I respect it. But it's not getting me any closer to the creative process.

Zack Arnold 22:33

Exactly, which I think belongs in the same general category that Reid is talking about where the like you said, you had me a timeline, because you realize I'm going to get to grow very quickly and learn skills, amongst other professionals that are going to teach me way faster than any online tutorial or practice at home. I do like you get to do this practice and learn the skill development in a real world environment. There's another one that we haven't hit on yet. I'm going to give you guys a hint. It starts with an N and N ends in a network. Nobody, really, how about building your network of people? How many of you have taken an opportunity in the past, where frankly, it paid either nothing or next to nothing. But it was completely and totally worth it because of the network that you built in the relationships that came from it? Anybody want to share an example of that? Mitch, your hand shot up?

Mitch Danton 23:32

Yeah, I think in the indie film, I've done some indie films that are, you know, pretty much low pay. But it was a chance that my I went to film school, you know, to become a filmmaker. And although, like a lot of people here have mostly done television, but it's still on my to do list to try and cut more films. So it seems worth it to, you know, for 10 weeks to make, you know, half my salary to have an opportunity to kind of film and maybe I'll get lucky, you know, the end of the festival or, or take off. I know, it's always the last time I did didn't really go anywhere that took me to change my career trajectory, but it taught me a new skill in terms of it's a completely different storytelling format, versus episodic, where it's episodic, so building upon previous episodes, whereas the film has to tell you all you need to know and like the first 30 minutes to set up the second act. And so all different storytelling process I learned a lot from that just so it was a learning experience for less money. But I I hoped that it would lead to other films so far, not yet. But that's why I did.

Zack Arnold 24:32

All right. Well, the This is a story that's still in the TO BE CONTINUED stage, or perpetual TO BE CONTINUED stage when it comes to networking. Yeah, and the only end of the story is the ultimate end of the story for all of us. Other than that, I don't believe the networking story ever ends. So you might be saying now well, I worked on this lower budget end feature and it didn't lead to anything and I always say, make sure to add one word to the end of that sentence. What is that word? Yet just hasn't had anything yet. But it doesn't mean that It's not going to.

Mitch Danton 25:01

Yeah, one quick thing after that I made my own short film just to follow up on that process, even out of my own pocket to try and, you know, continue that festival route or whatever that was to try and, you know, continue my storytelling in that format.

Zack Arnold 25:16

So then it even inspired you to do something else that you might not have done otherwise, because you are immersed in this world. Exactly. Oh, it's excellent. Who else would like to share a story of taking on an opportunity that might not have seemed like the best idea or lower pay, but it paid dividends, and then some just based on the network of people that you built around you? Vincent, let's come back to you.

Vincent Pascoe 25:36

Well, before I did, all the marketing stuff I did was a director of photography for a long time. And I basically had an opportunity to direct and shoot second unit on a Indian hip hop music video. And it was one of those ones where not only did I get many different jobs from the people that I you know, met, but the thing is, it was it was an unpaid position. And but it definitely, you know, not, I would not even be able to live here because I got it referrals from the person that I that I worked for, from the for the director that I that I shot for, as well as editing a bunch of other opportunities that all came from it. So

Zack Arnold 26:16

excellent. So there you go. So it was worth doing this thing that really didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense on paper.

Vincent Pascoe 26:21

But 12 years later, I now live in Santa Monica, and it's in a rent controlled place. And it's amazing.

Zack Arnold 26:26

I love it. Well, there you go. That is a that's a game of chess, not a game of checkers right there. So I love it. Anybody else have a story of how a short term decision that might not have made the most sense on paper, but it's paid huge dividends long term based on the network that you've built. Anybody else have an anecdote or story they want to share? Jeff Brown? Yes, sir.

Jeffrey Brown 26:48

was actually my very first scripted assistant editing gig. I wasn't I was invited to be a nighttime assistant editor for one week. And I was already working at a reality place. And I actually asked for time off, to go do this other job. And I was prepared to leave that job if I had to take this one week gig. And I worked that job. And then a week later, it just so happened that a show down the hallway, it was happy endings needed an assistant. And I got referred from the post producer on the one weekend that I took and then career took off from there.

Zack Arnold 27:25

Alright, so define that let's let's not yada yada. The best part? As we've said, classes in the past, yada, yada, the best part? Yes. So and then my career took off. Tell me a little bit more in detail how taking this one week job that was probably an inconvenience and kind of a pain in the butt. How did your career take off because of that one week?

Jeffrey Brown 27:42

Well, I was it was my first show on a studio a lot is on the Paramount lot. And also shooting at the same time was community and happy endings. They're literally working down the hall from us. And I came in, it was mutual contact a friend I went to school with that got me the one week job, and I just did a good job, I guess. And the post producer was impressed that I was able to come in with basically no scripted experience and knock out of the park. And then it was very fortunate to avoid the word lucky that assistant editor on Happy Endings was actually pregnant and her baby came early. Literally a couple days after I finished that job. They sent out the word for needing people I was recommended. I came in I interviewed and they gave me the job. It was it was a crazy three weeks.

Zack Arnold 28:37

So you just got lucky that you really had nothing to do with it. It was just all luck, right?

Jeffrey Brown 28:43

No, I mean, it's, it was being willing to take a chance it was being willing to put myself in a position where more opportunities could arise. I knew it was kind of risky, because I know when I asked the time off, you know, reality houses are sometimes not that great to their workers like it was taking a risk. But I definitely glad I did. And it paid off much quicker than I expected it to.

Zack Arnold 29:07

What I can do is I can trace back for myself, if I'm going to step in for a second and take the role of storyteller. I can trace almost every single major career move back to a decision that everybody said, Well, that was stupid, why in the world would you do that? There's actually three of them. The first of which is and I probably told the story to some of the people that are in this group today. But for anybody that's listening, because this is going to be a podcast going live. The first decision that in in a vacuum. If it were a game of checkers, you would have said you're absolutely insane to do this. About three years after my career started, I was working as a trailer editor. And I just recently edited the entire trailer and TV campaign for the Passion of the Christ. And it was nominated for several big time marketing awards. And because of that I was being recruited by some of the big trailer agencies. And at the same time I had the opportunity to work on a low budget feature film that was essentially gonna pay me next to nothing you would have paid me maybe a third of the rate if I were in assistant editor on any other regular project, but I was going to be the main editor making next to nothing working ridiculous hours. And without any hesitation, I turned on all the offers from the big time trailer agencies I gave my 30 days notice that the company that I was working for, they were paying me six figures. And when you're like 24 years old, you just you feel like you're Scrooge McDuck, swimming in money, when you've got that amount when you're that young. And I gave them my 30 days notice and I cut the feature, that feature led to a relationship with a producer that got me three more features and got me in the room on studio level features. So that was the first crazy decision that everybody would have said to me, you're absolutely nuts to do this. And I knew that it was a chess move instead of a checkers move. The second is I actively pursued a project on Craigslist, that was going to pay me nothing. But I knew the creatively could be a calling card for me. That ended up being the band and way and the band and way is what ended up getting me my job on Burn Notice. And at the time of I told people I was turning down paid work that paid my full rate, so I could work on this free project, they would have thought I was nuts. The third one that has to do with this idea of network is that there was a job this would have been eight, nine years ago. And this is actually very related Jeff to some of the conversations that you and I have had about going from your first credit to your second credit, I was very much struggling after having done four full seasons of Burn Notice, I could not get my second show I thought I've got it made. Number one show on cable television, I should just have the jobs lining up. I couldn't find anything for months. And I found one opportunity through a connection of a connection to work on a formulaic medical drama for a network. If I could say the lowest thing on the totem pole of things that creatively fulfill me as an editor and a storyteller, for me, like medical drama was pretty low on the list. I've nothing against them. It's just not for me, and it's not a good fit. But then I looked at the people that were involved. And I thought this could potentially be an opportunity for me to build a network and get in front of the right people and see where there's where those opportunities take me. After the pilot for this, it was a full season pickup without a pilot. So after the pilot aired, while we were still working on the season, the show was canceled. I'm not even sure they allow the pilot to air all the way until the end, the Cancellation Order basically came the next day because it was not well received, it was a one and done show. And the only reason it aired was for contractual reasons. However, the relationships that I built at that show led me to me not only getting pitched but getting hired on Empire, which was another huge game changing show. But I went in with to the the medical drama with a mindset of I'm going to absolutely knock this out of the park versus a trap that I think a lot of people fall into, I just have to show up and not get fired, I just have to do an okay job and make sure I get my paycheck and you know, not make any trouble. But I went in thinking even though I'm not interested in this show, I want to do everything I can to prove to these people the value that I can bring to their lives. That's what I ended up getting the Empire game changing credit on my career and things completely took off. But the criteria for which I chose that job other than I was struggling to find a job at all. But it wasn't just about the paycheck, it was about what's the network that I'm going to build. And I think that that's one of the main criteria that people often don't think about. So what I want to do now is I want to bring up, I'm going to screen share, and this is something that obviously, if you're listening to this later on, you're not going to be able to see, but the good news is, as I mentioned at the opening of the show that I'm going to have this available for download. Everybody that gets to see this now is going to laugh out loud when you see how old this is, it will be updated by the time that I released this for current listeners. But for anybody that's been around a while, you're gonna laugh when you see this. How old is this document, that there is a logo on there that looks like it's from fitness in post? What is this? So when we were talking about the concept for today's call, we were thinking, Well, you know, how do you debate job opportunities? And how do we know something's the right fit? And how can I pursue things that are fulfilling? I'm like, I know that I've talked about this before have I talked about this before? And I started to go through the archives. And I remembered that I had a conversation about this, this ongoing topic that's always around, which is should I take free work. It's a very polarizing topic, especially on social media. And I talked about this at length with film editor Alan bell. And for those that don't know Alan Bell, he's done the Hunger Games franchise and 500 days of summer and Amazing SpiderMan and just whole bunch of huge tentpole movies. And we talked about why we believe that taking free work is right and correct. Under the right circumstances. For anybody that may have seen this or hasn't seen it. There's a Facebook group that's called I need an editor. I'm curious how many of you know the Facebook group in here just by show of hands? I need an editor. Okay, so it looks like it's it's more than half the group. What I see in this group all the time is just The most vitriolic anger responses when somebody posts something that pays lower pays nothing. And it infuriates me how myopic these people are. To think the only criteria for a good opportunity is what the daily rate is. Now, that's not to say that there are not people in this group that are exploiting those that are looking for jobs, let's be very clear there is exploitation happening. However, I think that having this minimum criteria of it must pay a certain amount per day is so ridiculously myopic, because most of the best opportunities that I've had in my career that have moved me forwards have paid either $0 or next to $0. So where I want to take this next is talking about this question, when is it okay to take either free work or low paid work? And what is the criteria for determining if any opportunity is relevant for my needs, and the fact that this exists, and I wrote this like six years ago, and I forgot about it is the most ridiculous thing ever. Because I have this entire assessment, where you can ask yourself questions and score yourself on these questions, and mathematically determine is this opportunity that I'm considering right for me or not. So for those of you that are here, you can actually read through it. But for those that are listening, I'm going to go through these really, really quickly. And again, what I'm going to do is I'm going to repurpose this and make sure that anybody that is listening can download this directly 100% for free. We'll give you a link in the show notes. But essentially, it's a risk benefit assessment. So I'm going to read these out very quickly. And then I want to talk more about this idea of whether or not it's exploitative to take free work. And do we feel that there are criteria that might be missing from this document, because essentially, I'm workshopping the beta version of this out loud, and I want to make it better to help other people if I can. So very quickly, I'm gonna read all these out loud, all of them. For those that are only listening, you can't see this, they're all scored on the criteria of one points to 10 points, one being of no benefit whatsoever, and 10 being of tremendous benefit. And the five questions that I have, as far as the benefit assessment are, number one, are you going to be building new relationships and expanding your network of new contacts to a level greater than the quality of your current relationships and contacts? That's number one, which we've already talked about. Number two, in addition to any upfront pay, is the offer also on the table for deferment or participation points, etc, etc. Say if the film turns a profit? Are you going to receive additional money, and we'll also talk about how this can be a huge trap. But we will overlook that for a second. Number three, are you going to be earning a good enough credit or have work that you can have in your portfolio that gets you closer to the type of work that you want to be doing for your full rate? So an example of this would be getting an editor credit on something lower budget, if you are say currently in assistance? Number four, do you have the opportunity to learn a new skill or a piece of software that you would otherwise not have access to that is going to provide value to future projects? And further your education? And number five, will you be working with people that you enjoy working with? I'm going to stop there? And I'm going to repeat that? Because I think this is a really key component of this program? Will you be working with people that you enjoy working with? And or are you going to be providing value to the world with your work and an example that I gave here is editing a promo that can raise money for cancer research? Before we get to the second part of this the risk assessment? What do you think that I'm missing in the benefit assessment, everybody that's in the group? Am I missing anything? This is going to help us understand the benefits that a job provides, I can already see one that's glaringly omitted from this. And I can tell that I wrote this years ago before I rebranded to optimize yourself. But I want to know what your thoughts are as a group. And if there's anything that I'm missing, or how you feel about this criteria in general, Patrick,

Patrick Lawrence 38:44

is the time worth not making any money?

Zack Arnold 38:48

Yes, that is the one that I missed. Is this job opportunity going to afford the time? Does it completely suck up my entire life? Or if it's an opportunity that maybe doesn't provide all the creative fulfillment that I want? Or it doesn't provide me a ton of money? Is it going to sustain me, such that I have extra time to advance my goals when I'm not on my job? I think that's a huge criteria that I totally missed on this worksheet. But again, I think I wrote this like six years ago. And I'll give you another quick example. I want to see if anybody else has an example like this to share. But another decision that I made that if we're talking about a game of checkers, I talked to a few different people that all thought I was insane when I made this decision. But I had a period that I went through, I think it was in late 2016 or early 2017, where over the span of two months, I said no to eight job opportunities. All of them were shows that were at a higher level than I was working on now. We're talking like HBO premium series, the beginning of some of the premium streaming products and I said no to all of them. And I'm really surprised that an agent didn't send a hitman to my house because they were not happy with me. The problem was all of them were going to take off My time and it was going to be my entire life. On my calendar at that moment was building the very first course in product that you now have in your course dashboards, which is called Move yourself. I built that at a job where I was working so few hours for such a good paycheck, that I had time to start building a business creatively, not the most fulfilling job, it was fine, it was okay. I wasn't terribly interested in it. But number one, amazing people to work with number two, it was walking distance from my house, try finding that in Los Angeles, I mean, that's like you want to talk about a unicorn, I could walk to the job from my house, and I live in Woodland Hills. So that's also an easy to find. And number three, I had a ton of extra time. So to me, does this provide the time that I need for other areas or needs in my life, I think that's a huge criteria that can very easily supersede whatever you're getting paid. Anybody else have any other stories or thoughts? In addition, it's related to that Vincent your hand went back up

Vincent Pascoe 40:57

you mine was just more on the other things because now the going back, the flexibility and ability to work from home and or travel and work is also highly up. But that's kind of all in the same.

Zack Arnold 41:08

That's a huge one. That's also an omission. Because when I wrote this in, like 2015, probably didn't see the worldwide pandemic coming in this idea that work from home would be a reality. But I think that also if we're going to have a general category of do I have the time available to me. So is this going to provide the lifestyle that I require at this stage of my career? I think that's going to be another nother criteria that's going to allow me to assess whether or not there are benefits here. Are there any other Oh, Danny, your hand went right up,

Danny Mulhearn 41:34

I would say to assess the experience level of the people who are hiring you. And I speak from personal experience. I had two projects where my time was just really not respected. And on one of them, they were like basically writing the script on the timeline of the abbot. And it's like, Dude, it's called a paper at it. Okay, like, sit down with a piece of paper and write it out. So anyway, not to be too bitter. You know, I want to be that go to guy. But yeah, like, that's something like if someone's like, yeah, I don't really know what the script is gonna be like, I don't know, I don't know, if I hear too many. I don't know those. That's an assessment to make.

Zack Arnold 42:21

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Kit Perkins 42:52

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

Zack Arnold 43:12

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

Kit Perkins 43:19

So big part of what we're talking about here is you are what you eat. Your body is constantly repairing and rebuilding and the only stuff it can use to repair and rebuild is what you've been eating. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by everyday getting out of bed, it's like you know, two or three creeks and pops in the first couple steps and that I thought you just sort of live with now. But yeah, when starting the collagen daily or near daily, it's just gone. So for us job 1A here was make sure it's high quality, and that's grass fed 100% pasture raised cows. And then the second thing if you're actually going to do it every day, it needs to be simple, it needs to taste good.

Zack Arnold 43:52

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Kit Perkins 44:10

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Zack Arnold 44:24

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And it's funny because this is actually what I like to call the perfect segue to the next page. Little did you know that this was going to be the perfect segue to what is now the risk assessment and I think that what You just mentioned is not necessarily assessing the benefits, but it's assessing the risks one of the risks being, am I working with other people that even know what they're doing? Right? Or am I just going to be completely set up for failure? So I'm going to read through some of these criteria that I think are considered risks. And I think this is going to fit into one of those. And I also want to get your feedback about what other risks might I be missing? So to read through these, again, for those that are listening, these are scored on criteria of one through 10. The first question that I'd asked is, are the expectations completely incongruent with what is being offered? An example would be that they're going to pay you $50 a day, but they're asking for the technical and creative skills of somebody who would make infinitely more with their level of qualifications. So are they basically looking for a unicorn? And going back to this, I need an editor, Facebook group, or frankly, anything on Mandy.com, or most of these job sites? It's entry level offer available looking for somebody that's an expert in AVID, Premiere, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve color mixing, sound delivery, it's just like, and you're paying, how much like, is there congruence between what they're paying you and what their expectations are? And if there isn't, to me, that is a giant if not the biggest, it's one of the biggest red flags. So is what they're going to give you in value and return. Does that expectation set what it is that you're bringing to the table? Or does it feel like blatant exploitation? Or is it just like, come on? You got to be kidding me? This doesn't even exist. So that would be one of the criteria. Another one would be? Are the delivery deadlines realistic? Or are you being set up for failure from day one? And boy, is this a hot button topic right now? I can't believe I wrote this. Six years ago, I had no idea what was about to hit all of us. But I would say that this is one of the biggest ones and something that we talk about in our community all the time. Does this opportunity set me up to be successful? Or does it set me up for failure, and there are numerous people that on hotseat have come to me with a job opportunity. And realize within 15 minutes, it wasn't an opportunity. It was a bullet that desperately need to be dodged. Because even though on paper, they might have thought, oh, wow, like getting this credit, or making this transition is going to be huge for me, doesn't matter if you're set up for failure, and you end up getting fired because you're not qualified. So am I being set up for success or failure is a big one. Another question? Will you walk away with concrete benefits? As we talked about in the benefits section? Or are you only walking away with the empty promise of quote unquote, future work? Or a future relationship? Or my favorite of all exposure? bucks?

That's a big one, right? Oh, no, we don't have anything to paint out, you're going to have great material for your reel. And this is going to be great for future opportunities. You think this is just for people that are starting out on their career? I was told this months ago by somebody where it's like, well, you know, we can't pay you anything for this right now. But this is going to be great for the future. I'm like, you know, I'm not 17, right? Like, you know, I want to make sure that there's an equal exchange of value. And I've done this before, so I'm not really looking for exposure bucks. But that's not to say that I won't do things for free. This is a conversation that I talked about recently with Matt Nix, the showrunner, creator of burn. Notice, he's done the gifted, the good guys. He's doing the new True Lies pilot right now. And he brought up something really interesting. That's a part of this conversation. And I'm kind of bummed he didn't show up on today's call, because he surprised us during our last community q&a, I'll have to nudge him. But there was a really interesting conversation he had were another colleague of ours on Burn Notice, it's now I believe, a director or producer, I can't remember. But he said, My criteria for doing a job is I'll do it under two conditions, I will either do it for my full rate, or I will do it for free. Those are the only two options because then we understand the playing field. And there is an opportunity that I did, I don't know is less than a year ago, maybe five, six months ago, where I did it totally for free. Because number one, it was fulfilling work. And number two, it helped me build a relationship with somebody that's really important to my goals as an athlete. And that person is because I've talked about it before. It's not something that is a secret is Jessie Graff. So for anybody that's in our industry that doesn't follow Ninja Warrior. They're like who any single person on the planet that follows ninja sports knows who Jessie Graff is because she is pretty much the most accomplished, most recognizable female athlete in that sport. And she reached out to me after I had her on the podcast, and she said, Hey, I'm putting together like this web series about kids and obstacle courses. And I tried to edit it, and it's just kind of a mess. And editing is way harder than I thought it would be. Do you know anybody that can help? And like, Heck yeah, I know somebody that can help. Let me do it. So I spent, I don't even know but it was not measured in days. It was measured in weeks doing free work. But guess who's now one of my ninja mentors that I get to train with and like do all kinds of cool stuff with and she offered to pay me I said Well, first of all, I don't think you'd be able to afford my full rate. But secondly, I'm not going to let you pay me, because I think that the work you're doing is helpful. And I think it has a positive impact on kids. And I think that I can provide value and I don't want you to pay me. But you want to do a training session every once in a while and you want to show me a thing or two about climbing rope or jumping over something, I wouldn't be averse to that. And now we train on a fairly regular basis. So that was an example of it's either full, right, and you're going to value and respect my talents, or I see value in this, but I don't even want you to pay me for it, because I still think it's mutually beneficial. So that's why I think again, it's so myopic, to say, well, if it's not paying my full rate, then it's just being exploited. I totally don't believe in any of that. So now, the last two questions in here, are you providing high quality creative work for nothing that you're in for nothing that your employer can then turn around and profit from? So what does that even mean? You're providing this higher quality creative work, but then the only person that's going to profit from it at all is going to be somebody else? Right? Like, oh, well, we've got this project, you know, where we totally were wanting to get investors, we have these big actors, we just need to help without help us out with this one. And then you're totally going to come on board, man, I swear, we'll let you cut the thing when you get our money. And then they get money. And what do they do? They hire professionals, because you were just the freebie that helped them out. So that's another huge red flag is well, that's great if I can help you now. But what assurance is there, I actually get to be a part of the core creative team. And then the last one, are the politics of the project such that you're constantly going to be dealing with conflict between other creative parties and working with difficult people, I would say that of all the criteria of the fall of all 10, not just of the risk assessment. But the benefit assessment. I would reword this slightly, because I don't really like the way this is worded. And I'll probably tweak this before I release releases publicly for all of our listeners. But the number one criteria that I look at now has nothing to do with the budget of the project. It has nothing to do with the actors that are involved in it doesn't matter about the script. All I want to know is what is the quality of the people that I will be working with all day long.

That is a huge criteria, because it is an amazing script. And it's going to be seen by 25 million people. And it's going to be huge resume game changer. But I'm treated like complete and total garbage. Not going to be worth it and ask me how I know that. Because I have been down that road more than once. And I realized it's just not worth it. So now taking it back to the group, what criteria might we be missing? That are huge red flags that tell us that maybe this is too much of a risk for us to say yes to my missing anything. Anything bigger important? Maybe I got this one, right. Not bad. Danny, do you have a thought?

Danny Mulhearn 52:42

The one thing I ran into is like the two guys who are making this documentary. They'd argue with each other as to how it was supposed to look like a lot of time was spent with them. And I don't know what this equals to in terms of a criterion. Maybe you'll help me out with that. But it's like, what is the the infrastructure of the project? You know, are there three directors who all want to be the only director, I guess is something

Zack Arnold 53:17

I would say that this may be is its own category, I think this is a really good one to bring up that isn't totally reflected on here. It's not so much about the quality of the people. It's about the quality of the process. Am I going to be dealing with 78 cooks in the kitchen? Or do I have one unified voice that's going to walk me through this? Alright, so and this is one of the things that I talked about in my podcast interview with the three guys to create a Cobra Kai. So we'll put again, I'll link in the show notes to this episode. But when I did my interview with them, it wasn't just them interviewing me to find out. Am I a good fit? As we've talked about already? Is this a good fit for me? So I asked them about their process and their expectations. And I was like, listen, there's three of you. How does that work? Like I've been on shows with one showrunner. But then there's an executive and a co showrunner and EP, and you're getting, you know, 55 different sets of notes, and everybody's running around with their head cut off, and nobody has any answers. I've been on shows before, where I've had two people that had diametrically opposed ideas of what the show was even about. So I cut a scene one way, and then the other person would see and say, Why did you do that? That don't undo all that. And then the other first person comes back, and why did you want to do all of that? It's basically a child caught between two to four as parents that hate each other. That's now part of my criteria. I want to understand your process. And who do I collaborate with? And how does that collaboration work? So I think that's a really good omission that we can add to this this year is that it's not just about the quality of the people. It's the quality of the process. So that's really good feedback. And the final page that I want to share for this real quickly, and then we'll go back to a little bit more of the informal q&a. If you go through this assessment, and you realize, well, it's kind of 5050 I mean, the risks of I do all the school Isn't the benefits? I'm kind of in the middle? Well, then I have a few additional questions that you can ask yourself, because as we talk about in this program, the quality of the questions that you ask ultimately dictates the quality of your life. So the few additional questions that I have on here are, am I even in a financial position to take a low paying job right now? Do I believe in the people that I would be working for? Do I believe in the project that I would be working on? Am I excited about the day to day process of working on this project? And does my creative process match with other creative people that I'll be working with, which I think is kind of what we were just talking about? And maybe this needs to be more formally introduced into the risk assessment. But that's kind of what we were saying. And then the biggest one, dear Lord, why so few people actually asked this question, I don't know. But the question is really simple. We're working on this project make me happy? Will I feel fulfilled waking up every single day. As I've talked about recently, in some of my newsletters, and I've talked about on the podcast, everybody just assumes that I have boundless exuberant energy that has no bounds. I am exhausted all the time. But I wake up every morning wanting to do it all over again, because all the things that exhaust me are also fulfilling me. And I'm ready to just dive right back in and fight for another day. I've worked way less hours on projects that don't fulfill me. And it not only still exhaust me, but it burns me out. So I think this final question, will the project that I'm working on make me happy or fulfilled, this is often the difference between I'm tired at the end of the day versus I'm burned out, and I can't do this another Monday morning. How many of you have been in situations like that before, where you've worked something that was way less hours, and it seems simple enough, but it just completely stole your soul? Anybody have a story to share? Whoa, we got a lot of hands going up at once. I want very briefly from Paul, Patrick Vincent. So Paul, you go first, let's talk about jobs that completely suck your soul even though technically, they're not that hard.

Paul Del Vecchio 57:04

The the, the one thing that comes to mind for me is rotoscoping. Which I've mentioned before, but um, you know, some, some people like oh, it's it's a pretty easy thing. You know, it's a, it's not too hard. It's not that difficult. And then I'm like, Okay, fine, you know, not vetting it properly, and then I accept it. And then I start doing it, I'm like, Okay, well, sure. I mean, it's, it's only like two days of rotoscoping work. But like, at the at the end of it, you know, at the end of one day, you're just you just don't want to do anything. So it, you know, if you have other things planned, like for me, it would be writing, you know, even if it was only like an eight hour day or something like that. By the end of the eight hours, I just don't want to do anything, because my brain just doesn't work.

Zack Arnold 57:53

And that's exactly what I wanted to talk about was the cost of doing an easy job. Right? The rotoscoping probably wasn't 16 hours a day, right? No, no, I mean, it's a regular job, you're probably getting paid well for it, which is why you took it, right, there's a much larger cost, even to all the extra time you have afterwards, because you just don't have energy to do anything else. Right? Right. To me, we don't we don't factor that into the paycheck, right? We think, Oh, we're gonna get X number of dollars, and you don't realize how much money you're losing by not being able to generate ideas and being able to to advance towards things that are more important to you. Patrick, you had an example that you wanted to share?

Patrick Lawrence 58:29

Yeah, I was trying to figure out which direction to go with this because I

Zack Arnold 58:32

your hands shot up immediately when I ask question. You've got stories, my friend.

Patrick Lawrence 58:35

I got stories. Um, yeah, I mean, like, what? I've specifically I know, I've had a few that were like, good paying gigs for like, like a four page short. And you're like, you know, I'll just throw a number out there. Let's say $1,000. It's like $1,000 for four pages. Like, okay, yeah, I can do that in a couple hours. And you know, whatever. And then the director is fresh out of college, a complete and total nightmare, you know, trying to make their four minute masterpiece, and you're just like, it's, it ain't that ain't that type of movie. Like, let's let's just get it done and move on. And it ends up being exhausted, like months and months and months of notes. And that $1,000 That was so enticing. When you got the email was well spent long ago. I've just been through that way too many times.

Zack Arnold 59:26

Yeah, no, I think that everybody here has been through that. How many of you here have seen and I'm going to be paraphrasing, I could be butchering this but I've seen the meme that's gone around more than once. That says the difference between the $500 client and the $5,000 client, everybody know that meme? So again, to paraphrase is basically the $500 client call it well I need this and that and the other thing and are you available this weekend? Can you fix that? And that? Well, I really want to work on this or that oh my god, you lose your mind the $5,000 client. Let me know where to send the invoice. I'll get it all taken care of and get you paid tomorrow, right? So it's not you a lot of people equate We'll the more money the more complex it gets. But in a lot of ways, it gets a lot simpler because you're working with people at a totally different level. It's not always the case. But a lot of times, what it is that you're getting paid if it's low, is essentially going to be commensurate with more work rather than less work, because there's people that don't understand the process. So Vincent, your hand also shot up when I asked this question.

Vincent Pascoe 1:00:21

Yeah. to two things. One is I had a job, it was very easy to do. And it was it was $100 an hour, and I could do it any time. But the I would wake up at night because of the politics, drama, and backstabbing and other stuff going like I would just wake up remembering Oh, I you know, that they texted me this thing. And there was just other political drama going on, that was just not healthy for me. And my sleep is one of my most important things. And so it's just wasn't like, it's just not worth the money. You know?

Zack Arnold 1:00:49

Yeah, exactly the the cost of working on something that's going to stress you out, just not worth it. Anybody else want to lend a hand in workshopping this idea of what are the criteria to determine whether or not an opportunity really is an opportunity or not? Or if you have other general questions, looks like we didn't get a whole lot in the the q&a Today, I know that I had one of them sent about this idea of trying to determine when you take a break between jobs, but that to me, I feel is a slightly different topic. So if there are any other topics about determining whether or not something is an opportunity or not, I want to address those, then Vincent, I want to make sure to address your question about knowing when to take a break between jobs because I think that's a big part of knowing when to say yes versus when to say no. Anybody else have any other thoughts? Or should we just move on to Vincent? Alright, let's just move on to Vincent.

Vincent Pascoe 1:01:37

Well, first, I just wanted to comment on one thing, just as you were going through your list, and that one thing about being set up for success. When I was shooting and editing, especially when I was mainly shooting, I realized that my own insecurities drove me towards jobs, where I was set up to fail. Because, you know, I didn't feel like I was doing good enough if I if I was going to the jobs that no one else could do, and that I pride it on myself. But really, it was my own insecurity. Because I didn't think I was good enough that I had to make up for the fact that Oh, we did it with no money and we killed ourselves. Anyway, I just it's a it's a factor that when you really put in a scale, you know, I did that with a lot of my jobs earlier on just because my own insecurities and and that probably didn't help my career or me in any way. But just to be able to say, Oh, I did this thing that three other people fail that. Anyway, there's just

Zack Arnold 1:02:27

Yeah, I think that's a really important thing to bring up. And I want to add something to it. When it comes to this idea of mindset and limiting beliefs. I know for a fact that people fall into this trap, because I've coached them to get them out of this trap. They specifically choose jobs that set them up for failure, because that reaffirms their belief that I can't do this. They're imposter syndrome is so strong, and they're so attached to the identity of I don't think I can do this, that they put themselves in positions that prove that to them, it just becomes a part of their identity that Well, I can't imagine actually going somewhere where they value me and respect me and I can be set up for success. So I need to be put in these impossible circumstances where I'm set up for failure, because that just reaffirms the idea that I was right. I'm not cut out for this. So I think that's it's a much deeper thing to think about when you're taking opportunities that really kind of peels the layers of the onion to the center. But there are people that will turn down really good opportunities, because they'd rather take the one that's gonna basically make them fail. And they can realize, yep, I was right now I need to choose something else. I'm curious, has anybody ever been through a situation like that themselves, where they they kind of took an opportunity, knowing that it wasn't going to go well, but it was going to reaffirm some idea that you had about the business or yourself or otherwise. I know, this is kind of a deeper, darker topic. But I'm glad that this one was brought up because this is really kind of the meat of everything that we talked about. Oh, Patrick, you've got more stories. I can't wait to hear this one man. You've been through the wringer.

Patrick Lawrence 1:03:54

Well, I kind of brought this up in a hot seat a couple months back, but I made I made a really, you know, what I think was a bad decision by taking taking a job that was secure, but was working for an abusive showrunner, a mentally abusive showrunner. Instead of working with a director that I like working with, and working on a feature that would have been a lot of fun to make. And I've been wrestling with the demons of that for like a year and a half. And, and I know financially, like what we talked about in the hot seat was that, like, I did make the right decision for me at the time. But it is one of those things where it's like when you're up against, you've got this option, this option, you're weighing the pros and cons. You know, it's hard to know which one it was and yeah, I'm still wrestling with that to this day.

Zack Arnold 1:04:49

Well, the good thing is that you're wrestling with it. Yeah. Right. You're not looking at and it just repeating the same process. You're saying, Let me really understand why did I make this decision so that way I don't make the wrong choice. In the future, and it sounds like you're wrestling with not knowing if it was the right or the wrong decision, but you at least have more criteria to be more aware of not falling into the same trap again.

Patrick Lawrence 1:05:10

Yeah. And that's, that's part of the reason why I joined this call today it was because I'm already looking at quarter one into 2022. And the options that are coming my way, I feel like another storm is coming, where I'm going to have to pick one and make that decision. And it's going to be very hard. So yeah, I will probably be a lot more involved with the community in the coming months, because I'm going to need some clarity moving forward.

Zack Arnold 1:05:37

Excellent. Well, we're gonna put a pin in that one, and I have a feeling we're going to talk about that at least on one if not multiple, additional hot seats. Debby, yes, you want to contribute and share?

Debby 1:05:49

Yeah, thank you on on the subject of limiting beliefs. I, I feel like there's another pitfall that we haven't discussed, which is, how even if you do decide to say no to a certain opportunity, then the process of of actually doing that, and following through and saying no, and the worry that, oh, they're never gonna hire me again, they're never going to approach me again. They're gonna think I'm, you know, I'm better than them that their, you know, their work isn't good enough for me. So it'd be nice to hear how people say no, graciously, or, you know, say no, without burning a bridge, is it just sort of coming up with another candidate and offering, you know, offering someone to give or I just love to hear other ways that people deal with that.

Zack Arnold 1:06:42

I love that, I'm going to back up half a step. And we're going to get to that in a second what I want to bring up, that's even more important first, as I would like to know how many people here believe that you can only say no to a job opportunity, if you have an excuse, or you have another opportunity to take? How many of you think it's okay to just say no, even if I've nothing else lined up? All right, we've got a few hands. I've had multiple people that have asked me outright totally honestly, well, I don't want to really do the job. But I can't say no. And I said, Well, why not? Well, because I don't have another job opportunity lined up instead, or I don't have a vacation or I don't have a reason to say no. And my response is, why do you need a reason? Like all you have to do is say no, if you don't feel it's the right fit. But I think that there's a fear in our current culture, that saying no is going to put the scarlet letter on you. Oh, well, they said no, we're never going to call them back. They're on hireable. Because they're turning down work. How dare they? Is that kind of what you're thinking, Debby? Like, there's a lot more to saying no than just these criteria? It's, it's a little bit more complex than just saying yes or no. So how many of you here have said no to a job with absolutely no reason whatsoever? Other than Yeah, I don't want it. Alright, we've got a few. How did you handle it? Who wants to share how you handle it? I have my own thoughts. But I'd like to know how you handle it. Mitch, I haven't heard from you. And your hand just went up.

Mitch Rosin 1:08:00

So I've got a story to share from years ago, and probably more naive than anything, or certainly, it was kind of an unconscious decision. I just I went into this interview for an assistant job on a TV show, and just got a really bad vibe. Immediately. I thought I kind of thought I already had the job going in, they really needed somebody bad. And they kind of like sat me down. And they had all of these questions. And then I started asking them questions back about certain things. And they didn't have the right answers for anything. And it was the post super, or the associate producer of that and put me up for it. And they weren't there at the time. And I tried to get in touch with them and was on a Friday and I couldn't find them. And I couldn't find them all weekend. And by Sunday, I was thinking they needed somebody to start work on that Monday. And so by Sunday evening, I was just like this is this just isn't for me. I just got way too bad live here. And when I really needed work at the time, too, I was basically taking almost anything that I could get. And I was just like this, this just isn't happening. So I I left a message on the APS, voicemail, because he still wasn't picking up the phone and just said I'm taking my name out of consideration. And it felt liberating after it was over. I'll say that. I'm not sure I might have. I might have burned the bridge with the AP. I haven't haven't really had much contact with him since that was about 15 years ago. But I did wind up getting about like days later, as I recall, like I got a much better job as a result that I was that I was available for instead. So I could share that. But it wasn't Yeah, it was it was it was a network TV show that I turned down and I wound up on a Guy Ritchie movie instead. So wow,

Zack Arnold 1:09:50

well that really worked out I was gonna say that definitely worked out. And I still want to address the question How do we say no the right way I don't want to skirt over that. I want to make sure and put a pin in it. One of the things that I want to mention right now, is the fact that you said, Well, I left him a message, it took my name out of consideration. I don't know if I burned a bridge or not, because I haven't heard from him. Based on the conversations that you had, is that a bridge you even want to cross ever? Exactly. That's the thing. That's one of the things that people never consider is when they are up for a potential opportunity. And they don't want to say no, and they talk about all that. And they do want to say no, but they don't want to actually say it, and they don't know how to do it. When you think about all the reasons they want you well, you know, just I got a bad vibe, or the people just seem disrespectful. Or even if they seem like nice people, like this schedule totally sets me up for failure. And they were gonna, you know, like, they're low balling me as far as the budget, and it just seemed like it was going to be very exploitative work environment. And then I asked the question, would you want to work for them on future projects? Oh, God, no. So then why are you afraid to burn that bridge? If it's a bridge that you never want to cross? So I think the first criteria in determining how do I say yes or no? Do I even care if this burns a bridge? Now, that doesn't mean should I be disrespectful about it, you should always be respectful about it. But there are certain bridges, I have no interest in crossing. And if by me turning them down means they never call me again. I don't care because I didn't want them to call me the first time and it's not the right fit. And I think some people are afraid to consider the fact that this is a door that's now closed. But don't you kind of want that door to be closed. But then I think the other side of this going back to the conversation that Debbie started, is what if I do want to work with these people in the future. But there's something about the current opportunity, either at schedule, there's a conflict, I have a vacation, whatever the reason might be that I do want to maintain the relationship in the future. I just can't do it this time, for whatever reason, I think that's really the spot where everybody gets the most stuck. Would you agree with that, Debby? Is that really the what you think is the hardest part of this equation?

Debby 1:11:57

Yes, for sure. It's, you know, it's, you know, balancing if you have two really good opportunities, you have to choose one and turning down that other one, you know, for going back to the story you told of those eight, like great jobs that you turned down that one year, like how did you say no to those, so so that you wouldn't ever get those opportunities again.

Zack Arnold 1:12:22

So the way that I will evaluate it myself personally, and I'll bring it out to the group as well, is that first of all, I go through all the process that we talked about, as far as the risks or the cost of taking it versus the benefits. With those eight jobs, specifically, it just wasn't in alignment with my current goal of wanting to build a business. So I decided having new credits or bigger credits or a bigger paycheck, it just wasn't even alignment with my goals. So the point was that it was a very simple decision. It wasn't a matter of, well, I'm going to take the interviews, and maybe it's a good enough show, or maybe they're going to pay me more. It was just in my mind, it did not matter what opportunity was brought to me it was an automatic No. So I think the first step is you need to be resolute and confident that it is actually a no, even though it's a door you might want to open in the future or an opportunity you want to entertain in the future. The second step is that if you want to maintain the relationship in the future past, just as being this one transaction that you've turned down, you would kind of alluded to this a little bit. But there's a couple of ways to handle it. The first of which is you need to offer them alternate solutions. So what I will always do is I will be incredibly gracious about the fact that they are interested in me, you know, this is a great opportunity. I just I'm so amazingly just just surprised at the fact that you would even consider me because I hold you in such high regard. I think this is a great show. Unfortunately, this is just a bad time and I'm unavailable. But I know a few other people that I can possibly refer you to. That's usually the way that I handle it. I don't feel that I need to tell them Well, alright, I'm unavailable. Let me tell you why. Because I want you to understand that it's legitimate. So I've decided that for the next few months, I want to take a break. And I want to take a sabbatical from editing and I want to focus on building this business. Because like, everybody feels the need to just project all of their reasons and justify it. All I had to tell them was unfortunately, I'm unavailable. But I make it very clear how much it means to me that they thought of me how if the timing were different, I would absolutely consider this in a second. And because the timing is bad, and I want to provide value to you, and I want to see you succeed, I'm going to see if I can help you find somebody else. And when I do that two things happen. Number one, it's just providing value to them because they've potentially still solved their solution. Number two, it makes them either just as likely or more likely that they're going to reach out to me again, when they have a new project. Why would they not be less likely? Why would they be more likely to reach out to me the next time? Why do you think that is? Anybody want to venture a guess Debby or otherwise why would somebody be more likely to reach out to me after I've said no for an opportunity? Stephen, we haven't heard from you yet.

Stephen Lehman 1:15:00

I mean, I guess they could either get you or you could refer them to somebody else.

Zack Arnold 1:15:05

Exactly. So worst case scenario is not available again. But now it's not just a matter of is he available or not, but he found us people last time, maybe we don't even need to look, it's we just give Zack a call. And either he can do it and he solves the problem or he finds somebody that solves the problem. The other thing that happens, and this is a little bit more psychological, but this is just like dating. How many of you have been interested in somebody? And they weren't interested in you in return? And they said, No, you know, I'm, I just don't feel the same way or whatever. How many of you immediately thought, oh, okay, now I have I no longer have feelings for them. Because they don't have feelings for me, doesn't usually work that way. Does it? Instead, as soon as somebody rejects you, whether it's for good reasons, or bad reasons, or otherwise? Don't you actually want them more? Because now there's something you cannot have? And I must have it. It's human nature. So I've had multiple showrunners that just call me over and over and they're like, Are you available yet? Nope. Sorry, I'm still unavailable. Alright, fine. Like they're joking, like, but the point is that every time I turn them down, again, I do it very politely. It's like, unfortunately, would love to do this, the fact you keep calling me back means the world to me, unavailable, they don't need to know why I'm unavailable. Sometimes it's because it's just not the right fit. It's not the right show, or I'm taking three months off to work on the business, or I've got a vacation that it conflicts with, they don't need to know those things. It's not my responsibility to give them excuses. I just say I'm unavailable. But I've referred people more than once. And they just keep calling back. Because they're like God, am I ever going to be able to book this person? So it actually makes you more attractive? If you do it the right way? Debby? Yes. You had a follow up.

Debby 1:16:45

Yeah. So I, I want to make an adjustment to that. So what if you said you're available, because you're open to the right opportunity. But often, when you're presented with an opportunity, they don't tell you all the details? For you to know, they just say, Are you available? And so you kind of have to say, well, yes, maybe I might be. And then you have to ask all your questions. And then you have to, you know, maybe you get a script or something. And so then you're in the evaluation process, they think you're likely available at this point. So you can't use that excuse, like, Oh, I'm not available, right? Because then it's really more like, Okay, now I'm saying no, because this, I didn't like this project, or you know, it look, it gets a little more personal than it does.

Zack Arnold 1:17:34

You're really trying to stump me today, aren't you? You're really, you're just really poking poking the bear right now. Alright, so this is going to be along the lines of the conversation that I just had with Greg McKeown. This is an episode nobody has heard yet. But by the time this episode releases, my episode, my new one with Greg McKeown will have released he's the author of essentialism and effortless. And there's a question that he always asks when he's looking at any any job or project or opportunity. How can I make this easier? So what you're asking me is, how do I solve this problem? And I'm going to give you a potential solution. But I'm going to ask you another question in return. How do you make it so this problem never even exists?

Debby 1:18:13

Well, if I knew that, I probably wouldn't ask this question.

Zack Arnold 1:18:17

What if you never tell people you're available until you have all the criteria available to you? I wouldn't if somebody says, Hey, are you available? I never say yes. Until I know what they're offering ever. Because I never want to be in the situation. Because it's awkward. Hey, are you available? Yeah, totally send me along. Oh, wow. So the script kind of sucks. And the pays. I mean, the pay is actually good enough that I shouldn't say no, because of that, that will be insulting, but it's just not a good project. Well, shit. Now I got to tell them no. And I need to tell them that their script is bad. And I really liked this person, like, awkward. That's what you're talking about, right? Where you're in a position where they know you're available. And whatever the criteria it is, whether it's the quality of the script, or the schedule, or whatever it might be, you're like, I don't want to burn the bridge. And I don't want to say something uncomfortable or mean, but they're just certain reasons. I don't want to take is that what we're talking about?

Debby 1:19:09

Yes, but I usually never say yes, I'm available. I kind of skirt around it as much as I can. But it's still if you're asking the additional questions. It's sort of implied that you're probably available.

Zack Arnold 1:19:24

I don't think that's the case at all. I think that's one of the mistaken assumptions that you have. Because this, this happens to me all the time where somebody reaches out and says, Hey, are you available? I have X, Y, or Z opportunity. And I'll say send me more information. Most likely, what I will always say is most likely, I don't think I can make it happen. But send it along and we'll see if there's something that can possibly work. Because I mean, really in reality, I'm not lying. Like I am almost never available for these long term opportunities because I make myself on available by having other things going on. So I never say no, I'm not available. And I don't say yes, I'm absolutely available. I say It looks like things are going to be difficult, but send me the information. And let's see if we can possibly make something work. And in the case of most shows, or most opportunities, the answer after I have more details is Yeah, I mean, this sounds really great. I just think the timing is bad. But let me see if I can help you out. Or, like the one example would be that's very concrete would be my current show, Cobra Kai, it is now no longer a secret. And it's out there in the public that they're already shooting season five, they haven't even released Season Four, it doesn't come out until December 31. We're already in the throes of editing and shooting season five, that was not on my calendar or my roadmap for this year. As you know, Debbie, this completely threw a grenade into my entire life when they said, hey, we'd love to come back for season five. Yeah, of course, count me in PS, we start the beginning of September. And I was like, I'm sorry, what now? Completely destroyed my calendar for the rest of the year. So I even said to them after three successful seasons of being on that show, I don't know if I'm available until I better understand how can we carve out this role. So it works with my current responsibilities. And we figured it out. And there was a whole bunch of negotiating that as far as money is concerned. But as far as time and responsibility were concerned, because for me to not be able to be on this call is now non negotiable. If they say sorry, we own you from 9am, Monday until 10pm. Friday, can't do it doesn't align with my goals anymore. Because this is the most important thing in my life. I even told them and I've mentioned this publicly, I told them Cobra Kai, nice to be my side hustle. As long as everybody agrees, the Cobra Kai is now my side hustle, I'm still going to give you everything I've got. I'm going to meet all your deadlines, and it's going to be awesome. But that's how I'm coming in to the show. Like, as long as you get the job done. That doesn't bother us. We love all the other work you're doing. We don't want to get in the way of it. But it wasn't a matter of yes, I'm available, or no I'm not. It was I don't know if I can make this work. But let's figure it out. That is always my default response. I never respond with a default yes or no to anything. Unless it's just obviously, you know, like, No, this is stupid. But other than that, I always want to get more information before I give them any info. So rather than how do I solve this difficult problem, think about how do I make sure this problem never exists?

Debby 1:22:11

Yeah, it sounds like I'm doing a version of that I can probably clean it up a little bit better and, and make it a little smoother.

Zack Arnold 1:22:19

So what I always do is set the expectation, it's probably not going to happen, then they're pleasantly surprised if I am able to make it happen. But I'm always making it pretty clear that there's like a 90% chance this isn't gonna work. But let's discuss because I want to see if we can make it work. And if not, I want to see if I can still help you. But it's almost always a no. But let's see if we can figure it out. Even if it's an amazing opportunity. Like, huh, let's see if we can figure it out. I'm always gonna waffle about it until I actually know that it completely totally makes sense. Which goes back to something that I talked about in my first interview with Greg McEwen about his book essentialism. If it's not a Hell, yes. It's a no, not it's a well, I don't know, I guess I mean, I should probably say, Yes, I don't really want to, but I guess I should probably do I don't do that anymore. either. It's a dog, like how could I not say yes to this? If it's not that level of Yes. Then I just politely say no. And I give them other options and try to help them out. But I try to never create this problem in the first place. Does that help? helpful at all?

Debby 1:23:21

that's helpful. Yeah. Thanks.

Zack Arnold 1:23:22

I don't might not help the current situation if you're in a situation like that now, but I can help prevent it in the future.

Debby 1:23:29

Yeah, yeah. I think I just need to tweak a few things that I've been doing. So yeah, thank you.

Zack Arnold 1:23:34

Yeah, you bet. Just don't use it on me, though. You're not allowed to use any of this on me. So that's different. Because all of a sudden, I'm like, Hey, can you do this? You're like, I don't know. I don't think I can. Let me. Let me get more and like, damn it. So unfair using my own techniques against me. Alright, so on that note, we're probably going to start wrapping it up. We're reaching actually going a little bit past the time that I thought we had, but we're about where I wanted to be. I see that we have one more question from Derek. So Derek, did you have a final question that you wanted to leave us with? Before we wrap up today?

Derek Andrews Jr 1:24:06

I guess so. Some of that has been Scott's. But um, I guess I'm coming from a no. Early career. Like, I haven't got my first big job yet or first gig yet. And so how do you anticipate the opportunity? How do you balance? You know what, to what to do for free what to do? You know, have you bounced that being that my temptation for me being early in my career is to tape you know, is to how do I know it's the right up? So, you know, being that I'm gonna be tempted to

Zack Arnold 1:24:45

this is a really, really good way to wrap up this conversation, because it addresses the other elephant in the room. We had the one elephant in the room earlier, where I was talking to Patrick, and it's this idea of like, must be nice that you can afford to turn down jobs right The other layer to this is somebody might have been listening for the last 90 minutes. And all they're thinking over and over as well. Must be nice to be in a place where your career where you can have enough experience and turn on all these opportunities. And you're thinking, I just I want to take anything that I can get I'm hungry, I'm young, I just want to learn. But even at your level, you still need to discern between what are opportunities and what are not.

Derek Andrews Jr 1:25:24

Sure. Right. And that's why I've asked that, because I think what all of us, you know, you know, everyone on this on this panel has been in my shoes. And so I'm trying to be proactive in that. Okay, when I do get these out, so start coming. You know, I want to be intentional about what I choose what I you know what I don't, yep, the

Zack Arnold 1:25:48

key word there, you want to be intentional about those choices, and you already have a head start over 99% of the people out there, because you have a very clear goal, you know exactly what you want to accomplish now. And the question is always going to center around are the things that I'm going to say yes to moving me closer to that goal, or further away from that goal. And it doesn't matter if it's low pay no pay entry level, all you need to ask is, if I say yes to this, does it move, move me closer to the goal that I've set for myself or not? And if it means that going through some of the criteria we've talked about, does this get me in the right room with the right people, that maybe I'm not even doing the exact job that I want, but I'm surrounded by the right community or the right company, or whatever it might be, then yeah, that might be a potential opportunity that moves you towards your goals. So as we've talked about in the program, and as I've talked about extensively, and writing and everything else, that you have to be very specific about the ladder that you want to climb, because if you climb the bottom rung of the wrong ladder, and you climb it to the top, it's terrifying to jump because you've climbed too high. But God, you'd want to be anywhere else. But at the top of that ladder. I mean, frankly, that's probably a third of the people in this program as they're hanging on to the top rung of a ladder looking down saying, I don't want to be here anymore, but it's too terrifying to jump. Right? So you want to make sure that you're climbing the right ladder. But yes, at the end of the day, you also have to discern, do I just need the paycheck? Like, is this going to be a paycheck job? Is this going to be a lifestyle job where it pays well, and it's decent people, but there's no real career advancement? Or it's not fulfilling? Is this going to be the career job that's going to completely change everything for me, and it's a game changer for the resume. But maybe it doesn't pay the best, or maybe the work life balance isn't quite there. But I know it's worth it to be in the trenches for a few months to get there. Or ultimately, is this the dream job. And a dream job doesn't mean it's the thing you finally achieve in 30 years. It's that it meets all the criteria that you need to achieve your goals next. Right? So you could say, well, my dream job is editing $150 million Marvel movie and then winning an Oscar for Well, sure. That sounds great. But there's a dream job that exist for you right now, today. What is your dream job, Derek?

Derek Andrews Jr 1:27:57

That's a dramatic Docu Series TV shows. As what? As an assistant,

Zack Arnold 1:28:04

there's more criteria that are going to make it a dream job. What if you were on this Docu series as an assistant editor? And the pay was awful. And the hours were ridiculous, and you were treated like crap? Is this a dream job? No, nope. It's a career job, because it's moving you towards your career goals. But it's not a dream job because your lifestyle is an absolute nightmare. Okay, so we're gonna figure that out. Exactly. One of the things that we talk about in the in the networking program and the career side of the the whole community that we have here, is you need to be very clear very early on what kind of job is the best fit for me next? Is that a paycheck job, there's no shame and just needing the paycheck to pay your bills and survive no shame in doing that whatsoever. Except if you're only doing it out of fear. If you're doing it because you legitimately need to support yourself, do whatever you need to do. But if you're saying yes to something for the money, just because you're afraid to say no, that's where there's a problem. The lifestyle job is you're getting paid well, you're getting treated well, but it's just not moving you forwards. The career job is yeah, it's gonna move your career forwards, but it comes at a pretty steep expense. The dream job is when all the pieces align for where you are now, not just for the end of your career. It's not about the destination, it's about the journey. But for you if you had a job where you were an entry level assistant editor on a documentary series, where you had an editor and other lead assistants that were mentoring you and teaching you the process, and you had halfway decent hours, and you were getting paid commensurate with your level of ability. Does that sound like your dream job right now? That will be the dream job. Exactly. So you need to ask yourself with whatever opportunities are out there, which bucket does it fit in? And what sacrifices Am I willing to make to move myself towards my goals? And if it doesn't move your tiller towards any of your goals? It should be a very simple, no.

Derek Andrews Jr 1:29:53

So just going through like you said, you know, going through those steps and I don't know, get into that font.

Zack Arnold 1:30:03

Yep, you have to write clear about you want. If you're not clear about what you want, then it's very hard to know whether something is an opportunity or not. Because for you, your dream job might be somebody else's nightmare. And vice versa. Right? So you need to be very clear. And what is my dream job? And what are the sacrifices that I'm willing to make based on the stage of my career to move myself forward? Because there are always going to be sacrifices, and it's never going to be perfect. Right, but just don't fall into the trap of saying yes to everything because it pays because then in 10 years, you're going to say how heck that I end up where I am now.

Derek Andrews Jr 1:30:38


Zack Arnold 1:30:39

so hopefully, that was helpful. Very, very excellent. Well, we're now officially a little bit over. So hopefully, I was able to wrap up just about everything. I know, there might be a couple of ideas hanging out there that we didn't address. But I do want to make sure that we maintain the the promise of being done by this time also, just because I have to get back to my job too. But I would say that this was tremendously beneficial for me today, I hope it was tremendously beneficial for everybody here in the community. And for everybody else that was listening. Just as a reminder, we're gonna leave a link in the show notes to some of the other episodes that we referenced, as well as the updated version of this guy that we're using for these criteria. So by the time somebody listens is actually not going to say fitness and post on it anymore. But when I opened it up, I didn't realize how old it was. And like, where's that assessment to? Oh, here it is. Oh, dear Lord. How old is this thing like if I found this physically in a box like it would have been so covered in dust, I couldn't have read it. But I will make sure that it's updated in time for the release of this episode. So on that note, I want to thank everyone in this community once again for being so awesome for being open for being honest for taking the time out of your Friday lunch breaks to listen to me drone on and on from one of my many soap boxes. On that note. I hope everybody has a great rest of your day and weekend and onwards and I'll talk to you all soon. All right, take care. Bye bye.

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, if you would like to download the free job assessment tool that we discussed in today's episode, simply visit optimizeyourself.me/171download. 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 and to learn more about Ergodriven and their brand new product that I'm super excited about New Standard Whole Protein, visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.

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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).”