Ep73: “I’m Not Going to Let the Business Kill Me” | with Fil Eisler

Fil Eisler, one of today’s busiest and most diverse award-winning composers, has projects that range from big studio action pieces and comedies to gritty independent films and hit TV shows. I know Fil from working with him on the first two seasons of ‘Empire,’ and he has since exploded onto the scene working on multiple big studio productions.

In this episode Fil and I talk a bit about his slow and steady rise to being an “overnight success” as a top composer, but more importantly we dive into his personal journey as an overworked composer with a young kid who decided enough was enough. He wasn’t going to let the entertainment business slowly kill him…and he decided to fight back.

Fil’s story is a true inspiration and testament to what can be accomplished no matter how busy you think you might be. He’s the hardest working person I know, yet he figured out how to introduce better health into his routine not only for his child’s sake, but for his own as well.

If you want to learn what finally compelled Fil to change his priorities, his routines, and his life and how to apply these strategies to do the same for yourself, this episode won’t disappoint.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Fil finds all the time to keep himself healthy and productive
  • The trials of breaking into the composing game
  • The project that put Fil on the map, and the twenty years it took him to get there
  • Being able to master tradition musical composition as well work in an entirely digital workspace
  • The unique difficulties of dealing with producers and directors while composing music
  • Trusting yourself and learning when it’s okay to improvise
  • Not getting overwhelmed by the big picture and distilling your tasks to whatever you have to do next
  • Living productively in Hollywood with children

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Fil Eisler’s Instagram

Our Generous Sponsors:

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Guest Bio:


Fil Eisler is one of today’s busiest and most diverse composers, with projects that range from big studio action pieces and comedies, to gritty independent films and hit television shows. He has been nominee and recipient of numerous awards including the World Soundtrack Awards New Discovery, SXSW Best Soundtrack Award and multiple BMI Awards. Eisler’s ability to understand directors’ musical intent and his flexible approach to scoring has led to numerous collaborations with Hollywood heavy-weights such as Catherine Hardwicke, Marti Noxon, Lee Daniels, Phillip Noyce, Mc G and Ben Falcone.

Eisler’s music for Showtime’s Emmy-winning “Shameless” earned him the BMI Film and TV Award. The same year, he also won the BMI Award as both the composer and conductor for ABC’s breakout hit drama “Revenge.” Eisler also composed the main title theme and acted as co-composer and music director for the Peabody-winning documentary, “Newtown,” for which he organized and led an all-star line-up of over a dozen Hollywood composers, who each donated a piece of music for the film. 

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).”