Ep80: How to Avoid Getting Pigeonholed, The ‘Concentric Circles of Networking’ & More | with Doc Crotzer, ACE

Here’s a hard truth few are willing to admit: Pigeonholing is not an accident. As frustrating as it might be to believe, “I keep getting pigeonholed,” the more accurate viewpoint is that you allow yourself to become pigeonholed. The process happens slowly over a period of years (or even decades) similar to the frog that doesn’t realize the water is slowly reaching a boiling point. But often by the time you realize the water is boiling…it’s too late. And the number one reason you ended up there is because you used the word ‘Yes’ way too often. Luckily pigeonholing can be avoided…if you know how to play the networking game.

My guest today, Doc Crotzer, has avoided being pigeonholed his entire career. He’s edited such shows as Glee, American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy, Impulse, and he recently transitioned from editing to directing on the show Good Behavior. Of all the people I know in Hollywood, nobody’s name comes up more than Doc Crotzer. I have met so many people that know Doc, I’ve begun teaching people the ‘Six Degrees of Doc Crotzer’ networking game, because everyone knows this guy.

And here’s the thing…the fact that everyone knows Doc? That’s not an accident.

In this conversation Doc and I talk about his rapid rise to stardom from a Midwestern college journalism major who landed an interview with Robert Zemeckis for his “student” documentary project about Back to the Future all the way until today. And more importantly, Doc and I break down what he calls the ‘Concentric Circle of Networking’ so you can connect with and build relationships with the right people on projects you’re passionate about…so you can ultimately avoid being pigeonholed as someone who can “only do one thing.”

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Building the right relationships and finding the right projects
  • How to network without feeling lost in the process
  • Doc’s early days cutting videos on tape decks
  • How Doc got interviews with Christopher Lloyd, Robert Zemeckis, and the boom operator on Back to the Future before he had even entered the film industry
  • Learning how to take advantage of people’s desire to help you
  • Figuring out if going to film school will help your craft or hinder it
  • How to make lasting connections with the people you just cross paths with in Hollywood
  • Perfecting your craft so you can take the advantage of career opportunities and connections when they knock on your door

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Guest Bio:


Doc Crotzer, ACE, is an editor, producer, and director. He started editing in the late ’80s when he hooked two VCRs together to duplicate a copy of Back to the Future he had first recorded off of a TV Broadcast. He honed his craft a few years later using the same VCRs to make one seamless version of all 3 Back to the Future movies as a 6-hour epic and has been editing ever since.

His work includes Glee, Sons of Anarchy, the upcoming Apple show Truth Be Told and the upcoming film Chaos Walking.

He doesn’t still use VCRs to edit.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Elyse Rintelman. 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).

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

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”