Ep168: Hollywood On the Record: What’s REALLY Happening On Set? | with Shay’La Banks and Nickolaus Brown

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In an ideal world, being a creative professional means you love what you do and your passion for your work fuels a meaningful and fulfilling life that also has a positive impact on the world. Whether you write, direct, produce, edit, or work on set – that’s the dream we all set out to achieve when we join the industry. In the real world, however, you quickly discover that passion can also lead to exploitation. Toxic work environments, unreasonable deadlines and schedules, and unrelenting work hours extinguish even the deepest, hottest burning passions inside of us. Respect, dignity, and a basic appreciation for the work we do are essential ingredients in keeping that passion alive and sustaining us through long careers. Unfortunately, these concepts have been pushed aside in favor of faster, cheaper, better.

Today I’m excited to discuss the realities of working on the production side of the industry with Shay’La Banks and Nickolaus Brown, both of whom work in the costume department and were recently featured with me in the recent Variety article IATSE Crew Members Share First-Hand Accounts of Set Life. Shay’La is a Costume Supervisor who has worked on shows such as The VoiceInsecureGrown-ish & The Oscars. Nickolaus has been working in costumes for almost 25 years for films such as Free GuyThe Lake House, and Dukes of Hazzard, and TV shows like How to Get Away w/ MurderScandal, and Glee.

This honest conversation gets to the very core of the many issues that production crews face while on set. You’ll hear candid stories about the horrible conditions and disrespectful behavior they both endure on a routine basis and how it affects their health and relationships. You’ll also hear that despite the enthusiasm they both have for their craft they both desperately crave the change that is so necessary in our industry.

The energy from this conversation is palpable, and it’s one of the most unique and interesting conversations I’ve had on the record in a long time. If you enjoy this format please let me know by leaving a review or emailing me directly. I’m considering doing more interviews like this so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Shay’La and Nickolaus describe their jobs and responsibilities on set.
  • The biggest misconception of costume designer’s jobs.
  • The challenges that arise on set and how producers never understand what they are asking for.
  • Nickolaus wants to know why is our time not respected?
  • The unfair and unreasonable hours production crews are expected to work.
  • Nickolaus worked 28 days straight on a pilot in Hawaii.
  • The call sheet hours vs. the hours the costume department actually works.
  • What is ‘Fraturday’ and what is meant by ‘turnaround”?
  • How the pandemic changed the perspective on work-life balance.
  • The toll their jobs take on their physical bodies.
  • The sad reality of the shows needs superseding the needs of the workers.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: You never stop ‘paying your dues’ if you don’t start to value yourself.
  • The producers aren’t trying to figure out a better way to do things because it’s working for them.
  • Why we need to get better at saying the word ‘no’ to unreasonable expectations.
  • The disconnect between how the budgets are made and how the work actually gets done.
  • How you, as an individual, can start to affect change in the industry.
  • Why Nickolaus believes the costume department is the lowest paid in the industry.
  • How Shay’La talks to producers to negotiate more money or better schedules for herself and her department.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: We have to stand together, share information, and educate each other so we can advocate for ourselves.
  • The demoralizing effect the new contract had on crews that thought there would be real change if a strike happened.
  • What advice they would give to themselves just starting out in the business.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

IATSE Crew Members Share First-Hand Accounts of Set Life – Variety

Dear Hollywood: We Don’t Want to “Go Back to Normal.” Normal Wasn’t Working.

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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.

In an ideal world, being a creative professional means that you love what you do and your passion for your work fuels a meaningful and fulfilling life that also has a positive impact on the world. Whether you write, you direct, you produce, your edit, you work on set, that is the dream that we all set out to achieve when we join this industry. In the real world, however, we all quickly discover that that passion can lead to exploitation, toxic work environments, unreasonable deadlines and schedules, and unrelenting hours, extinguish even the deepest, hottest burning passions inside of us. Respect, dignity and a basic appreciation for the work that we do are essential ingredients in keeping our passion alive and sustaining us through long careers. But unfortunately, these concepts have been pushed aside in favor of faster, cheaper and better. Today, I am excited to discuss the realities of working on the production side of the industry, with Shay'la Banks and Nickolaus Brown, both of whom work in the costume department, and were recently featured with me in the recent Variety article, IATSE Crew Members Share Firsthand Accounts of Set Life. Shay'la is a costume supervisor who has worked on shows such as The Voice, Insecure, Grown-ish and The Oscars, Nickolaus has been working in costumes for almost 25 years, and he's worked on films such as Free Guy, The Lake House and Dukes of Hazzard, and TV shows like How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal and Glee. This honest conversation gets to the very core of the many issues that production crews face while on set. You'll hear candid stories about the horrible conditions and disrespectful behavior that they both endure on a routine basis, and how it affects both their health and their relationships. You're also going to hear that despite the enthusiasm they both have for their craft, they also both desperately crave the change that is so necessary in our industry today. The energy from this conversation is palpable. And it's one of the most unique and interesting conversations that I've had on the record in a long time. So if you enjoy this format, please let me know by either leaving a review or emailing me directly. I'm considering doing a lot more interviews just like this one and I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. If today's conversation inspires you to take action, pursue more fulfilling work and design a more balanced life without sacrificing your health, your relationships or your sanity in the process, then I invite you to subscribe to my brand new weekly newsletter that I am calling Your Cure for the Case of the Mondays. Every Monday morning I will share with you my favorite resources, mindset strategies and practical tips to give you more energy so you can be more productive and so you can optimize every facet of your life such that you no longer dread the week ahead. But instead, you can't wait for the next Monday morning to start all over again. To subscribe and become the newest member of the revolution. Simply visit optimizeyourself.me/newsletter. Alright without further ado my conversation with costume supervisor Shay'La Banks and costume buyer Nickolaus Brown made possible today by our amazing sponsor Ergodriven who is going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview. To access the show notes for this and all previous episodes as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview, please visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast

I am here today with Nickolaus Brown and Shay'la Banks both of whom work in the costume departments in Hollywood in the entertainment industry. Shay'la is a costume supervisor. Nickolaus is a costume buyer works in the costume department. He's worked on films such as Free Guy, The Lake House, Dukes of Hazzard, worked on TV shows like How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal. And you may not know it, but we have Glee in commom because I did work on Glee for a short period of time, way back in the day. Shay'la has worked on shows like The Voice, in Insecure, Grown-ish, you've worked on The Oscars. And I'm going to be perfectly frank, before I introduce you, I have no idea what either of you do for a living, and I have a feeling there are going to be some people listening that don't either. And we're going to talk all about that, because one of my goals is to start bridging the gap between all the various departments so we can really find unity and cohesion, and collectively all work towards the same goals. So on that note, Shay’La and Nickolaus, it is an absolute pleasure to have you on the show today.

Shay'La Banks 5:44

Why thank you. It's an honor to be here. So thank you so much for this opportunity. Yeah,

Zack Arnold 5:50

Absolutely. You're more than welcome in the distinguished connection that all three of us have amongst a few others that we were all recently featured in an article from Variety magazine, talking all about the human faces of the people that work behind the scenes in production and post production and otherwise, at the time the article came out, it was, of course, under the context of why is it that you voted to strike and why are we ready to strike, and God only knows where things are going to be by the time this releases, because it's changing hour by hour. But just for context for anybody that's listening. This is obviously not live. So when it is released, as of the time we're talking, we just averted the strike. It's a few days after the strike. And we thought that we were going to be walking Monday morning, and we find out at the very last minute nope, a deal has been cut. Hurray, we've won! Oh, hold on a second. Are we sure we won do we know this is what we want. So I think that's we're going to talk about that a little bit. I don't want to get too much into the finer deal points. I always focus on the bigger picture. So I'm going to lead by saying that I believe the bigger picture of this negotiation. And frankly, what I've been screaming from the rooftops for years, is that I don't believe the vast majority, if not all of the people that work below the line in Hollywood are either valued or respected as human beings. And I've talked about this ad nauseum incessantly to people in post because that is my world. And I really want to better understand what life looks like on set in the trenches. Because for a lot of people, it literally is in the trenches every single day. So I'm going to start with you Shay'la, for no other reason than zoom decided to highlight your square instead of Nickolaus' square. So it's nothing personal. But since you're prettier, yes. But I love you equally and you have amazing energy, but I'll just start with Shay'la. So Shay'la, could you just start by explaining just kind of in plain information for anybody, either that works in production, or somebody that doesn't work in production? Like, what does the day to day look like for you? What is it that you do for a living so we can get a clearer picture of what it is we're all working for. And what it is that we're screaming about from the rooftops with the way this industry works?

Shay'La Banks 7:55

Okay, so I'm a costumes supervisor, I'm one of the department head of the costume department, which in is in charge of the overall look of the show for the characters building, character building. Background, it depends on whatever show, but we're in charge of that whole esthetic, and so, day to day and meeting with producers, the designer, I mean, even hair makeup, you know, we're having fittings, we are shopping, returning, you know, inventory is just, you know, continuity, those involved in it, it's a big process, and booking big customers, all we you know, depending on the big numbers, we're sending out, you know, a sheet of what we need, you know, putting boards together. So it's a constant flow in our department that never stops. And it's for, you know, the main look of the show, as far as like, people care what they're wearing it, if you look good, you feel good. And you perform well, you act well. And so we're the liaison between the actor, the character, and the creator, writer, director, producer, all those people, we are the department that, you know, kind of maneuvers that and even also helps verbalize the vision to hair and makeup because we get prep days. And, you know, we're in all the meetings, creative meetings, and sometimes they're not allowed, you know, a lot of two are given the days. So we have a huge responsibility.

Zack Arnold 9:29

So essentially, everything that you're doing on a day to day basis is what we're going to see on screen as far as anything that anybody is wearing head to toe had to come through you and your department.

Shay'La Banks 9:41

Exactly. Yes, definitely. I mean, and everybody that you see whether it's background, they're just crossing and you think they just chose somebody on the street. No, they still came through wardrobe.

Zack Arnold 9:53

And apparently one of the things you need to do is you need a credit card so somebody can go out and shop and buy the stuff that you want and that's what you do. Right Nickolaus, you're that you're the shopper. Isn't that what you're telling me beforehand? That's all you do

Nickolaus Brown 10:03

I'm just gonna add one thing to Shay'la Yeah, she's also in charge of the budget. Oh is a huge, huge part of what costume supervisors do

Shay'La Banks 10:12

budget, breaking down the script, keeping the continuity. Yes, Nickolaus. Thank you. I was thinking.

Nickolaus Brown 10:18

But yeah, maybe so much. It's so leave something out for like

Shay'La Banks 10:22

the accounting of the department basically your charge of the budget, you're the person that's saying no, yay or nay all the time.

Nickolaus Brown 10:31

And that's, and so as a costume buyer, I work very closely with the supervisor because, you know, they submit a budget to the producers, and so I have to help them stay on budget, you know, with what I pulled, you know, like, if it's if they budgeted $500 for a character. I'm not going to go to Neiman's, you know, to shop that character. Yeah.

Zack Arnold 10:54

So I would assume that having been in a wide variety of shows that people are going to just assume like, Well, I mean, they're wearing t shirt and jeans, like, come on. Like, it can't it can't be that costly, that hard to like, put a bunch of kids in school and their clothes, right? Like, it's it's got to be a pretty cushy job. I would guess

Nickolaus Brown 11:09

if I had a nickel for every time a producer or director looked at me and said, Oh, you're the shopper. My girlfriend's such a great shopper.

Shay'La Banks 11:20

Yeah, that's the biggest misconception. Or people always say to me, Oh, my God, I love to go to the mall. You know. So I think I would be good at that. And you're just like, yeah, there's so much more that you know, we do. It's crazy. And you know, you do get it that people don't understand you think everybody gets stressed every day. And sometimes I've even heard producers say, it's so hard. We do try to fight in our union for things because they think everyone gets to dress. So how hard could it really be? But you know, it's a whole art to it. Because a lot of the times we're shopping out of the season, you're you don't feel summer in summer, you don't feel winter in winter, you know, or the reason why they look so good on TV, because we're having fit fittings, we're having a tailor, we're altering we're custom making things. So even if it looks like it's off the rack, it nine times out of 10 isn't off the rack.

Nickolaus Brown 12:17

And the other thing that the other major thing that we're always running against the clock, because the longer you know, the beginning of COVID, everybody was like, well, now you're gonna have more time with casting, but it's, it's worse than ever. You know, we get we can get a cast member the night before. And, you know, I'd like five, run out and shop them and then flip them the next morning. Before they work. Yeah.

Zack Arnold 12:41

So you're saying that since COVID, in the pandemic, things haven't gotten easier for all of you? Because that was isn't that what we were all promised less hours, and we were going to get taken care of, and we're really going to worry about our health. Like, I'm shocked right now to hear all this absolutely shocked.

Nickolaus Brown 12:57

Yeah, I was. I mean, I was on a film, technically for a year because it was we shut down for six months. I started in November of 19. And, and finished in November of 20. And, you know, at the beginning, they were like, we're only going to do online shopping. You know, and that lasted, I would say two weeks. Wow. You know, and it was because, you know, then like, you know, then the director is like, oh, you know what I really like in the scene, you know, the actor goes to set or, you know, the ECS costume is something completely different. So then it becomes this race against the clock to go out. And you know, as an Atlanta, which is like a whole extra level of, of difficulty. But, you know, to make this happen,

Zack Arnold 13:39

once again, I'm absolutely shocked by the fact that you neither have the time nor the money to do the job to the best of your abilities. Because it's not that way in post production at all. We are given all the time and the money that we need. And boy, it's just a vacation. Absolute vacation. They're like, take all the time you need to get this cut, right? We don't have air dates, we don't have delivery dates, we just want you to do what you need to get it right. If you need more money, you just let us know. So the point being if anybody can't sense the sarcasm, the sarcasm meter is an overdrive right now. Because exactly the point being that I think it's especially over the last few years, there's been so much separation between the different guilds, the different crafts and people Yeah, well, you don't understand how bad we have. You don't understand how bad we have and I'm like, Hey, guys, we're all eating the same shit sandwich every day and the same person serving it to us and they want us to fight with each other so we don't look at them.

Nickolaus Brown 14:37

Closely you work with like with the director of like, if you're doing episodic, you're working with the director of the episode and the producers. The biggest challenge with our department is they have no idea what the process is from the time we get that cast member until the time they walk on set. All they see is the is the final product and they have no idea The journey that that costume has gone from from like the inception to them walking on set. And so nobody really understands how challenging it is. And you know, in the variety piece I said, I would, I would love for a producer to follow me for one day to really understand what the journey is about costume.

Zack Arnold 15:18

Yeah, and I think that applies to probably just about every craft. I know that a lot of times if a producer or a director and just so you guys better understand the role of post, and TV and features, it's a little bit different. But in general, you spent several days working with a director all the visiting directors of each episode. But really, the majority of my time is spent working for the showrunners. And some showrunners totally understand the creative process. And others are very much writers and their onset producers. And they'll ask for things in post production like, well, I want this, this and this. And I mean, I'm going to be available later today to look at it and like you just asked for four days worth of work. Like that's gonna take 412 hour days to create the version you wanted. But their their nephew has Final Cut Pro on their laptop, right, just like you said, Well, my girlfriend's a great shopper. Yeah. All right. Well, one of the things that I have said jokingly to to show runners and producers, you know, if I have a good enough relationship as well, you know, I've got Microsoft Word and Excel, I mean, I can write and budget to write, it's the same thing. So I, what I'm trying to highlight is that whether it's costumes post, or anybody else, I think just about anybody listening is like, yes, if they just actually understood what was being asked of us on a day to a level and what the process looked like, there'd be at least a little bit more, not necessarily allowance of time or money, but a better understanding of why things take longer than they should and how everybody is putting in what I think is beyond their best effort. Because frankly, yesterday's miracle becomes today's expectation over and over and over. And I'm sure it's the same for both of you.

Nickolaus Brown 16:50

Lately, I was on a an episodic show on the network, and with an Academy Award winning actress. And when she when they decided she had time to do a fitting, they would call the supervisor and then literally, everybody dropped everything and would go out and like, you know, get the fitting ready. And give sometimes she had like, there was one time we did a crossover and she had 26 changes. Wow. So we had so we had to pull a fitting for 26 changes in one day. So that day I went out I was now it's much harder because you have to make appointments. But at this time, I could just go to any of the stores, I go to all the stores. I plan my day really well so I can get everything done. You know, studio services closes at six and Bloomingdale's closes at seven. And you know, like I planned my whole day. And I didn't eat lunch. Because to get this done. I didn't have time to eat. Yes. So on the way home, I go to Chipotle, and I get myself or on my way back to the studio to drop off the clothes because sometimes I have a lot of really expensive building in my car. And I got a burrito at Chipotle. And then two days later, the supervisor came to me and he said I'm the kickback your your receipt for Chipotle. And I'm like wine said they don't pay for dinner. Wow. So much stuff to the accountant. And I was like so here's the deal. I was trying to be a team player because production said this is when the fitting is. And this is the time that I had to get it done. And so you can either pay my meal penalties, or you can pay for the $10 burrito you decide. I think you can guess what they decided.

Shay'La Banks 18:30

Yeah, but the fact that as a supervisor, you always have to fight for those things. They don't get they don't go oh, this person sorry. What is your day looking like any consideration? Okay, now this actress is only available all of a sudden, from two to four. They don't say what was your day looking like would you guys plan is that anybody's lunchtime? It's just you have to make it happen. Everybody has to and it's not the actor's fault. The actor you know, you're not saying that. But it's just an world. This is just what we have to do. And I'm always conflicted as a supervisor that really care about people and my crew and fighting for what's right. That's why I became a supervisor. Right? I'm always conflicted like this is going against what I know is right. But you that's the battle we have as well right now. Shay'la, I've gotten into it as with many designers, right now, Shay'la, we don't have time to worry about that we have to do we have to do we have to get done. We have to get done. Everybody needs to be back. All hands on deck by two o'clock 130. And you're just like, you know, and so those are the dilemmas we're already in then it happens and then Oh by Friday they see the timecard which we don't put the row times, but by any chance somebody might just say hey, I went to lunch 30 minutes. And that's a huge deal. Or like you said a receipt because we really don't put enough Tip no penalties. Honestly, we've been it's been drilled in our head no no penalties, no no penalties to the point you even got to go Wait, why? You know, we're in a union for a reason. But you just say like, as a supervisor, you get caught up with say, please, on your way home, get go get something to eat that, please go get something to eat or put on the back end. And then you still have to explain, hey, I thought you guys wrap that eight. But this person said, 830. And like you say, you just want to like, lose it. Like, excuse me, do you? And it's a cycle.

Zack Arnold 20:25

Let me ask you this, because we're really starting to dig right into the heart of the matter, actually, much sooner than I anticipated. But like I said, we're gonna roll with it. I want to I want to talk about the chipotle receipt, specifically, was it about the $10? Did you really need that $10 reimbursement? Was it about that actual amount of money that you weren't being reimbursed?

Nickolaus Brown 20:45

No. For me, it was about I didn't take lunch. I didn't eat lunch for production. Yeah,

Zack Arnold 20:50

I That's it. And that's the whole point here. That's what I really want to dive into, is that it's not about well, you owe me $17.14 for a meal penalty. It's why is my time not being respected? Yeah, that's what this is about. I've talked to many, many editors and assistant editors and people in post over the years that say, what's a meal penalty. So like, I've never had lunch, I eat lunch at my desk every day. But you know, they furnish it. So it's so nice of them. And like, Have you ever done the math on how much money they're saving by buying your lunch, but keeping you at your desk and like, I didn't even know it was a thing. Exactly. And the two areas that I want to dive into are number one, this really isn't about the money. Like I saw a whole breakdown in one of the Facebook forums where somebody actually shared a spreadsheet. Well, if we get our 3% Raise this so much we're gonna make but then if we fought for 5%, this is how much we get over the next year. But here's how much we would lose every single day in a strike that that that we're going to lose more money by striking and everybody vehemently attacked this person saying it's not about the money. It's not about numbers. No, it's It's about respecting our time. Right.

Shay'La Banks 21:56

And it's the respect it's the consideration, if even if you were valued in just x, this one time a favor, or I really appreciate the hard work, but it's the slap in the face of like, why is there over time? Why is there a receipt for a day a lot to $12, and somebody goes over 1225 or, you know, not keeping up with inflation, I've literally had to write checks for being somebody being over 85 cents $1.25. And like you said, I know these people really aren't taking the lunch. They're dropping in their cars, they're running from Florida store. And so it's like, as a supervisor, like I said, I feel like, let me write the check. But it's still unfortunate, because I'm still sitting at my desk to break down the budget to keep up with the script to make all the meetings to make sure the flow. So you know, it's just a revolving door of disrespect. And that mean, consider it and it just like people hit a wall. And at this point, that's what I feel like we've done we've hit a wall.

Nickolaus Brown 23:01

Absolutely. And like, you know, supervisors get it 10 times harder, you know, my position is not on call position, because I'm not technically on set with the rest of the crew. So I don't theoretically get meal penalties. You know, that's, that's what they say. And you know, and one of the one of the biggest things that like I want to touch on today, and I'm going to do it now, is that here's your soapbox, or I might hand it to you, you know is that costumers are people pleasers. We, we want to help we want to get things done. And you know, so many times in my career, I've had forced calls, or I've had times where, you know, I had to work extra and like the EPM was like, You know what, just add it to your, your timecard at the end of the week. And the problem with that, when we do that. Then when we when the IA goes to negotiate with the producers, the IA says, Hey, we have a real problem with force calls. And then the producers go, that's funny, because here are all the reports. And there are only 15 forced calls. Yes. So it's this really insidious thing that they do. And then they use it against us, you know, when all we're trying to do is help them get this done on time on budget.

Zack Arnold 24:20

And that that's one of the drums that I've been beating for a long time. It's something I've been writing about for years. And I wrote an article about exactly this three years ago, when we were in almost the same position with negotiations, which is that a fair amount of the things that we're fighting for, are already protected in the contract. We already technically have meal penalties covered and forced calls and all these other things. We're saying, we want this that the other thing I'm like, Guys, we already have all of those things. The problem is none of it is being enforced, and we're all being exploited and abused. Because it's what I think it all comes down to and I want to know if you guys experienced this on your site as well, but it all comes down to well, you can either do it this way or I've got a stack of 100 people that want to do your job tomorrow morning.

Nickolaus Brown 25:04

And that's what they want to make you believe. But I can tell you without. And it's not my ego. But I've been doing this for 25 years. And what I can do in two hours would take four people, yeah, who are Uber, who are an inexperienced? And I mean, I, like I did a pilot in Hawaii. And you can guess what pilot that is? I worked 28 days straight. Because what they would do is they would cast the actors on Friday night. And then we would have to shop them on Saturday. And then we had to fit them on Sunday. And they were first thing when they more so and that was to save money. So they did so the actors weren't there waiting. So what they did is they they budgeted to, you know, for me to work seven days a week. And I was exactly the designer looked at me three weeks in, we were staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. And she said, Have you been to the beach yet? And the hotels on the beach? And I said, No, I haven't been yet. And she goes, put down your things. We're going to walk to town.

Zack Arnold 26:09

Well, I like that person. But this brings up a point of clarification, I think is going to help both me and anybody else listening that doesn't really understand the demands of the industry. Can both of you explain I'll go back to you Shay'la, first, can you just explain, we've learned about the responsibilities that you have. But talk to me talk to me about a basic day in the life as far as the schedule? Are you beholden to call sheets, do you work off the call sheet? Because there are a lot of people and a lot of the the discourse that's out there right now is talking about, you know, you start 6am On Monday morning, and then you've got a Friday, and you know, they're 1620 hours in between, you're talking about working 28 days in a row. So just from your perspective in your departments, how does your day to day work as far as the hours and whether or not you're connected to the call sheet or whatever the proper term would be?

Shay'La Banks 26:56

Well, so our department, we're not connected to the call sheet, our department always has to be there ahead of time. So there's a general crew call, or we base it off of the time the talent is getting in there, as well as a lot of times we have a lot of things, there's notes coming in in the middle of the night. So we can't wait position or cool crew call you are up in at it, you know, hour, half an hour. And that's another thing. They'll be like, Well, can you NDB or we don't want to force called all these terminologies. We don't you know, to get it, they want you to put the general call, but they know that you have a ton of work to do because things have changed. One producer finally looked at everything, after everybody's gone to the chain of command and liked it. And then said, Oh, my God has said the red shirt, can we do get a purple shirt, and you're like, we don't have the keys from the mall. But we somehow make it happen. So everybody gets in, we get in really early lunch does not apply to us. They don't they don't build lunch. For the departments, it's we have to have it on paper almost. So if there's a lunch, you know, after the general crew call at the six hour, we've already been there ahead of time. So that means we will already be in Bill Clemente when lunch is there. But when lunch is caught, that's then when we have to stand by the actors door, get their clothes reset for, you know, if they're wearing the change after lunch, somebody might want to get out and get the seam again, clean it or you know, set the trailer for the next look. It's a whole system that we're constantly working, it's not like please even sit down is a producer might say also, hey, we're changing the schedule around, we don't get to sit and eat lunch. And if you're changing one scene to the next, that's a whole process. We already set the trailers maybe or we've already had the next look in line, we have to revamp. It's a whole process. And so we are not when they call cut, we have to wait for the actors to get out of some time hair and makeup, then our wardrobe, then shower or whatever, because the rooms need to be cleared out. But you can't rush the actor. So you know, but then they're rushing you to get off the clock. But you're like I have to do these things to be prepared for the next morning.

Zack Arnold 29:15

Yeah, so you can't be like, Excuse me, Mr. De Niro, I'm going to need you to rush because I'm about to hit my 12 hours if you could just not take your shower so I can get

Shay'La Banks 29:23

my 12 hours my turn around like this. So you have all these demands. And nobody, they don't fit in a schedule. As a supervisor. We have this conversations at the beginning. And everybody like this is what we need to make our day. Okay, got it. Got it. Got it. But as soon as that like the day before the prep day or whatever goals, you hear it slowly throughout the day, being out the window, and you're trying to like, excuse us customs. And it's like at that point, you're so small to the bigger picture. It's like yeah, you're like telling them you're building the schedule so tight. We need time to change the actor from one look to another look, it's not on us, we have the clothes ready. But the actor needs time that they're going to go to hair and makeup wear this. And they say okay, but they don't build this time in. So it always leaves us in a panic, a scramble a costumes run the set, we don't want to hold camera, and you're like, but you didn't a lot the right amount of time. And then you added a change. Or the actress said, You know what, today, I don't even really feel like wearing the shoes, we have to change it on the fly. So that takes a little time. But it's always just costumes costumes, it just this environment of panic of haste. There's no time for anything in the world and alone that you have to think of No, no penalties, take a lunch, get off the clock, don't work past 12 Drive home safely make your turn or like your life.

Zack Arnold 30:50

So I think that the really important point for people to understand that are either not in the industry at all, or even frankly, most people that don't understand how production works is that let's say that you were to look at a daily report. And it says call time was 7am. Camera rapper, you know, final shot was at 6:47pm. Like, oh, a 12 hour day. I mean it you know, it's it sounds rough. But you know, 12 hour days, not the worst thing in the world. If I see a 12 hour day on paper, what does your day look like? Like, what? How many hours have you actually worked knowing that you had to show up before, and you probably had to sit around and wait after?

Shay'La Banks 31:26

Yeah, um, I would say depends on the position. But it definitely can look like a 16 hour day, easily, you can add about a few hours to it any day, it's going to look like a 16 hour day, if it's a real 12 hour day. And like you said, to sum it up for people that don't know, any basically, like you said, if it says seven to 647. There's things that happen every day in our business and in life period. But the thing is best way to describe it is no matter what goes on, we never get more time, we're still trying to fit within this perfect schedule, which doesn't happen the data, we're not going to get more time basically. So you're gonna do whatever you can, whatever any changes they make, they want to change the actual shirt five times, we're not getting more time we're walking to sit with the change were printing, you know. So that's the best way to describe it, we're never going to be considered and say, Hey, we totally understand that we changed the order that we were shooting in today. Take your time, right? No.

Nickolaus Brown 32:29

Right. So at the beginning of my career, I worked on a vampire show. So I would get that I was the trailer costumer. So the trailer customers, the customer who sets and wraps the costume as is. And as a you know, sometimes psychologist for for the cast. And I we get on Monday morning, I arrived at 442. Because the the schedule is broken up into six minute increments. So I get in, it's at 542, then they would have the first rehearsal at five aren't seven, sorry. And then we would shoot for the day. So now on that show, there were a lot of actors who wore makeup appliances. So they would have to go to the makeup trailer, they'd have to be very carefully removed, because they would use them over and over again for the entire episode. And then they would take a shower. And then I could wrap up costume. So it could be I'm not sure. And then you know everyday because the vampire show we start later. And then on Friday, we start at four or five. Get out at you know the rest of the crews gonna six, you know, we'd be there writing up laundry until seven.

Zack Arnold 33:42

But let's just specify you're talking six and seven, eight. Yeah, but let's be very clear to people that are that have bankers hours they don't?

Nickolaus Brown 33:51

Well, yeah. Yeah. But on Friday, we would start at like five or 6pm. And then we would go, you know, 1213 1415 hours until the next morning. And then I'd have to be at work at 442 on Monday.

Zack Arnold 34:06

And what is that called? For anybody that's uninitiated that has been a very hot button topic lately.

Nickolaus Brown 34:10

123. Fraturday

Zack Arnold 34:14

I believe that's all the Fraturday and the reason I want to get into this more is I really want to help people understand. First of all, the fact that some people are saying that when for anybody that's uninitiated or doesn't really follow this. It's just you know, listening for the the shock value of the nightmare that is working in Hollywood. For people that don't understand what a turnaround is. A turnaround is from the time that you quote unquote wrap. There's a minimum amount of time before you can be asked to come back. And people right now are celebrating the fact that oh my god, everybody universally gets a 10 hour turnaround. Can you imagine any other industry where they're saying, oh my god, we only have to be expected to work 14 hours in a day. That's amazing. But then the other reason I wanted to bring up the nuances and Is that a 14 hour day is that amount we talked about from call to wrap. So if you get a 10 hour turnaround, you've probably worked 16 hours instead of 14 hours. So if you add an hour on the back end of the night, and an hour on the front end of the morning, your turnaround is maybe seven, eight hours, which is more than enough time to drive home and commute back, which in Los Angeles, really easy. See family, take care of doctor's appointments, pay your bills go out with your friends, right? Like the the numbers are astonishing in the fact that anyone anyone says that 10 hours is a victory needs to have their head examined.

Shay'La Banks 35:36

But but we've been so like, a career launcher, yeah, to where like 10 hours. And that's the thing. It's like, even when I speak or now like Nickolaus said, 25 years or 20 years for me, it's you love what you actually do. But you get on the soapboxes, or the way the treatment makes you feel or sound like you don't love what you have to do. And that's the dilemma that I've been in the last couple of years since the pandemic. It's like, why should I sacrifice something I've worked so hard that what I love to do, I wouldn't I don't see myself doing anything else, you know, maybe different positions in the costume department, but as a whole working in film and entertainment. But now the way I'm being treated are this, I have to second guess. And I have to sound like oh my god, do you hate your job? Do you hate what you do? You're so lucky. And it's like, it's not about that, like we said, it's about the respect in treatment, and we shouldn't have to compromise one or the other. You know, like, if you want to do this, this is just how you have to be treated. And if not, like you said, we have 100 other people that will love to do this, you know, other than work at a desk job or, and it's like even people that if you work in corporate, you should be treated with respect. And there's a way to get it done. You know, there's a way that we can get treated better. We can, like not rejoice over 10 hours, like just be a good human being and say, Hey, like I don't want after the fifth day, or the fourth day of you guys working 1416 hours just to give you 10 hours. But by time you get home, that's six to seven hours. I want to just do what's right, hey, 12 hours it is or cut a day short. But it's too much to ask for for that.

Nickolaus Brown 37:20

Yeah. One time, my family, you know, is that, like I was saying I was tired. And they're like thinking, you make such a good living. And I'm like, but but the thing people need to realize is we're working two jobs. Yeah. In one week. Yeah. One week. It's like we're working two jobs. You know, the average American does not work. You know, on that show that I was talking about? I was working 80 hours a week. You know what I mean? Like that's two full time jobs. So what's the quality 40 more hours more than the average American that's not healthy though. There's there's it's impossible to live a healthy life and work those kinds of hours,

Shay'La Banks 37:57

especially long term.

Zack Arnold 37:59

So here's the thing, Shay'la and Nickolaus, here's the part you guys don't understand. This is just the way it is. It's just this this this is just the way that it is in Hollywood. And if you can't hack it, if you can't suck it up if you can't cut it, you know what, why don't you go get your cushy nine to five jobs in the office? Because this is just the way it is in Hollywood.

Nickolaus Brown 38:17

Yeah. Yeah. People's return to make that short. Yeah. Reflection of love. We love what we do.

Shay'La Banks 38:23

And I think there's a new generation not meaning we're all the same age I just think culturally there's a new time and the pandemic I think helped it made people sit back and you know, even though it felt like the biggest you know, blunder of course, you don't you know, people losing loved ones health losing their life that's tragic. I you know, I don't wish that on anybody. But what came out of that, you know, is we got to sit back he got to spend time at home or with your loved ones are people that have kids or family or you know, grandmother Grandma, you know, just quality of life and you go hey, like I made it through off my savings or unemployment or Yes, did I make less was less money coming in, but you felt happier you felt rested? You got to focus on your health, your well being your, your bills, you know, it was just like, Oh my God, let me catch up. I don't know what to do, like. And so, you know, even for me, it's like, I moved to Corona. Like right before the pandemic, I, I was like, raised half in LA half here. And so I ended up buying a house a little bit before the pandemic. And the biggest thing was like you're gonna, and I'm like, Well, I'm tired of paying for a one bedroom house. I mean, a one bedroom apartment in LA. Yes, it's closer to work. But I want a better quality of life. I want a house. I want to live in a great neighborhood. I want to, you know, have a lawn and you know, in a community, I'm working like what am I working for, you know, like a quality of life. So it's like, my sacrifice is, of course now commute, you know, so I'm on the road a lot longer. So my turn around is no turn around. But I do feel like oh, I just can't complain. This is it is what it is. This is a business I chose. But it's like all these variables that it's like, we're busting our butt to be able to afford apartments and different things in Los Angeles. And if not, you have to move 60 miles away to just, you know, like, great. I want to, I want a better quality of life. But now that's gonna cause commute, Leslie, you know, so you're just like, I'm just trying to figure it out.

Zack Arnold 40:34

And I'm getting, I'm guessing anybody that's listening that doesn't live in Los Angeles, or like 16 miles, that will you're complaining about a 16 mile commute? It's like, just turned 16 miles. Oh, here's a 60. I was gonna say 18 is murdered in Los Angeles.

Shay'La Banks 40:51

You're like, 16 hour? And I have like, yes, so picture me, but I just was like, it is what it is, like, I have to, that makes me feel better to say you're working 80 hours of this amount of hours, at least you have a home, like there's people that will never be able to get a home or living paycheck to paycheck because they have to live close to home because of the hours because of the turnaround that they're not getting. Because, you know, they can't fathom living further. Because it's just like, I got to just work, work, work work, I have no off time. So it's just a catch 22 thing, that we're just trying to figure it out. And we're just like, we're not asking for a lot,

Nickolaus Brown 41:32

you know, and the thing is, the cost of living in Los Angeles, is that's the other thing, like not just the traffic is, you know, during this movie, but yeah, exactly. It's like the cost of living in Los Angeles is legit, it's it's rough, you know, talking to my parents, I mean, a lot of customers I know are moving to Atlanta or New Orleans, because they just they, they want to have the money to raise their kids. And the other thing that we spend so much money on, also, that I just want to bring up is fixing ourselves. I spent so much money on massages and self care. Because, you know, I, at the beginning of my career, I fell off a trailer and broke my knee. So like, now I have arthritis. And you know, it's like things like that, where we're doing all these things to try and keep ourselves mobile and functional to like, keep you know, stay on this never ending hamster wheel of production.

Shay'La Banks 42:30

Yeah, because we actually use us our bodies a very physical job, like, a lot of people just say we're professional flippers. You know, they're never like, even in my personal life. Now, sometimes I'm like, I don't want to make five trips to the car from the grocery store. So I have 10 bags. I'm like, Oh, this is nothing. I do it. We do it all day at work. But it's like, yes, you think, you know, people have carpal tunnel, arthritis, back pain, neck pain, and things that you used to think was a luxury, I just, you know, acupuncture, those aren't luxuries anymore. You're like, it's it's monthly maintenance. Just

Nickolaus Brown 43:07

I'm sure for editors there that like carpal tunnel things? You know, a lot. Oh,

Zack Arnold 43:11

yeah, I spent the first several years building this program. It's funny because we have the opposite problem, where you guys are saying you're professional slippers. We are essentially extensions of our workstations. We're just human keyboards that live and breathe. And we never move. And I spent several years building an entire fitness program and movement program just to help editors get out of the chair and move around. Yeah, there's nothing more detrimental for your creativity. And we need to use our creativity for a living. We can't use it if we're not moving. And there's no blood circulation and oxygen. So in that sense, we have the exact opposite problem where there's no movement, but still somebody listening thinking oh, well, it must be nice to go to the massages and the acupuncture. It's like you don't understand like this is absolute necessity. So we don't fall to pieces. This is no different than, well, you know, if I don't change the oil in my car and rotate my tires, I can't get to work anymore. It's not. I'm going to the auto detailer and getting another shiny coat of wax. It's I need to make sure I don't break down on the road every single day. And it still happens. And as as I'm sure that you can talk about as well. I mean, I have plenty of people that I know who have either literally lost their lives because of the job, or their quality of life is so degraded because of the years and years they put in, in in production. It's so much worse where at least now the stories are coming out. Not so much like oh, that's this one anecdote from 20 years ago on Pleasantville. It's like, No, you don't understand. I know a guy that died behind the wheel last week. Like it's happening all the time, but nobody talks about it.

Nickolaus Brown 44:43

Now. It's really unfortunate. Um, I was on a show in the beginning of my career, like the right hand person to the designer, and the stories that we have from that, you know, just within that department. It's just like, I don't know, I remember one of the guys Getting in a bad accident. And it was on a show day. And this was more of live television. So you know, you can only imagine how important than they feel that is to you know why you got in a bad accident, though. And this is when I really started to open my eyes like, whoa, what type of businesses Am I in? And I was just like, are you okay? And that is the end, like, when the designer heard and whoever else supervised. It was more about who can run and go get those clothes, that bag of clothes or get him. We need this stuff back by six, because we have a live show. And I was like, Whoa, like, you know, it was bizarre. And it was always things like that happening. Like the craft service lady that had been on her back show, doing multiple shows for that network and a production company. They loved her. But it was when President Obama at the time was in office, you know, maybe the first time so you know, when he comes to town or any president or any is his tears up the streets of LA, which we don't need any more problems. So it's like, she really just she got back in time for, you know, whatever the main before the show, but it was you know, the green room wasn't completely set up. And it just was out of her control. And I promise you the next day I saw her and she's packing up, and I was like, Hey, what's going on? And she was like, yeah, they let me go. And I was like, she's like, Yeah, it was a little late for the greenroom most important people, you know, and she was just like, but there was no understanding there.

It happened this week. I was trying to turn the other day opinion on the car accident on the way home. Wow. Hit by truck, yeah, these are fine. Yeah,

Shay'La Banks 46:44

this is this is real. This is real stories. And I was just like, you know, so I always try to, you know, be the voice of the people I've gotten, I always feel like, I have to, to protect yourself and other people, you have to come off like, so defensive. So like, sometimes on my I have not sinned my shoulders in this because I'm like, trying to defend people at a time or trying to plead this case of just like, you know, and it's like, oh, wow, you're not doing anything wrong. Besides just saying like, this isn't right, this isn't okay. And so even a species that yes, I remember back then feeling like, well, you have to do it. This is just how it is you gotta pay your dues. Everybody's paying their dues. And now, I'm looking at a certain way cuz I'm just like, Oh, I thought that was just the pay your dues part of the career? Okay? No, I'm not going for that now. Because I've paid my dues. All you mean, this is just the longevity of our careers. This is just how it is. And, you know, I felt bad for the things I felt like I had to just like I said, Put on the backhand, a rush and get off the clock, you know, but it's like no more. And I mean, Nickolaus have definitely been advocates for our union, I'm like, You, we have to know our worth and our value. And it starts within yourself. And now you know, it's been for a while. For me, it's just like, if it doesn't line up with me, I get those knots in my stomach, my neck and something my gut, I'm not saying no job is perfect, we are always going to is always going to be high demand high stress. But you know, when you're really not being treated, right, and I'm okay to either walk away or not accept because I'm just like, I have to know my worth. At this point. I've paid my dues, I work my butt off, you're getting an asset when you get me and I feel as a whole our union needs to, and all the other unions need to respond that way. Like I've been saying on a lot of our calls, it's a two way relationship. So as I need that show, are you but they producers need us like even when they're most afraid to strike, like, you know, they're just gonna get my union. I'm like, where's this hall of non union people that are just so great, that's going to just come in on all these shows, and take the place of all of that,

Nickolaus Brown 48:56

where I kind of want to see it happen. I think it'd be kind of

Zack Arnold 48:59

like, you know what, like, let me get some popcorn, right?

Shay'La Banks 49:04

This is underground world that's just waiting to rush in here. And they didn't and it's like, stop it. It's just a scared and fear tactics. And the more you buy into it will never be treated properly, will always be evil. Milton Ortiz is in some time I used to just look at producing about this communion show right? Because they make you feel like you're you're being greedy. Oh my god a milk you're really want to put down a meal. It's all these tactics. So it's your turn Nickolaus upset enough, but I think we just need to stand on that we have to know our value, and we have to stand together.

Zack Arnold 49:40

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Kit Perkins 50:12

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Zack Arnold 50:32

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 50:38

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Zack Arnold 51:44

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Nickolaus Brown 52:02

I agree and like I just want to like go back to the producer thing and you know something that we talked with Zack with about before we started the shows is is how we need to how the business needs to change for these things and like a perfect example of how the business has changed to accommodate something when I started there used to be like four producers not including the upm and the line producer but now you look at a tv show

There's 10 1215 features 20 producers, so they have found the money to accommodate all have these producers who I'll tell you, I don't know who half of them are on any show that I'm on because they're really not doing a day to day thing on the show. So if they can find the money for all these producers to participate in the show, how come they can't figure out a way for us to make a film or television show with without killing ourselves. Yeah. And and at a rate that is a living wage?

Zack Arnold 53:10

Yes. Here would be my response to that. And I don't know this for a fact. I don't think it's about finding a way I don't think it's them realize them thinking to themselves, they're not in these rooms saying we have to figure out a way to make it better for everybody. We just don't know the answer. Let's brainstorm right? Let's let's let's have a mind meld and let's really figure out how do we solve this problem. They don't want to fix it. Because for them, it works. There is nothing to fix. Because they know the we're all expendable and replaceable. And ditto for all the love and respect in the world to all the professionals that do what we do at the highest level. Hollywood is the epicenter of the world, frankly, as far as the entertainment industry is concerned. Yes, of course, there's Bollywood and China's got a big market. I don't wanna put anything against them. But the best of the best in the world come to Hollywood. And the best and the best of Hollywood can't make their flippin days. You think you're going to replace all of us with people that have never done that before when we can make our days we can finish the call sheet we can't get through the schedule. I can't meet my deadlines. And I've been doing this for decades. You're gonna find somebody on the street that has a credit card and knows all the thrift stores on Melrose. Yeah, they're gonna be able to do this equally as good or even better, like come on, give me a burger.

Nickolaus Brown 54:20

I know and at the beginning of my career, they were using filming cameras imagine that and so the UPM would be on set and like after somebody takes you like you got it. You're done moving on. Now because it's videotape you know now because they recorded it they can like do 1015 20 You know it is increased the day's exponential.

Zack Arnold 54:42

Yeah, I've heard that about the the running cameras and having lots of footage that happens to be the i I've seen it once or twice what I've always told people when I want to explain the hierarchy of how Hollywood works, I say that you got this giant mountain of all these different departments, right, and the shit always rolls to the bottom of the hill. and editorial were the janitors at the bottom that are cleaning up all the messes because that's where it all ends up. Right, right. So yeah, that's a whole different soapbox. As far as the amount of footage we get in cameras rolling endlessly and getting 15 series inside a take and like what we used to get late, and I didn't add it professionally in the film days, but I was coming up during the film days, and I've worked as an assistant on some stuff. And I've talked to other editors, I've talked to tons of editors, like, you know, legendary editors that worked in film, and they'd say, on average, you get between one to two hours worth of footage a day manageable. A normal day for me now was probably five hours. But you get other days where you get eight or nine. And when I was working on I'm have no problem naming the show burning this bridge, because I burned it long ago, but I worked on I worked on Empire, the first two seasons. Oh, and maybe you guys may or may not have heard Empire had a little bit of a reputation. And on my very first day, season two, I walked into the office, and they said yesterday, they shot to music numbers, and you got approximately eight to nine hours worth of dailies. How quickly can we see a first assembly? Like meaning what time today? And I said, I'm not cutting 10 minutes worth of music numbers from eight hours of footage by the end of the day? Like, can we reset our expectations a little like, What do you mean? Like, let me just walk you through hour by hour how this process works. Let me help you understand what it takes to be able to deliver something at that level, it's going to take me 12 hours just to watch the footage and just organize it and just to break it down before you can look at one single frame cut with another frame. And I think that that's one of the biggest problems. And that's what I want to get to now is where I think the universal issue is that we do not have enough people in all the various departments that are using the following word. No, no, I can't meet this expectation, I am one of the best at what I do. And unfortunately, this expectation cannot be met. Let's come up with an alternative. And I feel like using your word saying that we've been conditioned using your word, Nickolaus, we've been brainwashed. We've been brainwashed to believe this is the only option. Right? I don't believe that it is, I believe if we all collectively start to set much clear boundaries. And I'm not saying let's hope that the contract sets the boundaries for us. Because they're not going to the contract is going to get us inches, maybe inches if we're lucky. Right? The contract does not create the paradigm shift. And I think one of the reasons everybody is so angry, as they said, Oh my god, things are finally going to change and my quality of life is going to get better. Bad news. Yeah, not happening overnight with a contract. But I do believe that we can really significantly start to move the needle. If we all collectively just say, No, I'm not going to just forego the forest call, or I'm not gonna, you know, pretend there's no meal penalty, you're going to give me what I'm do. So even if we just enforce the existing contracts, I feel like the quality of our lives gets better. It's not going to completely change. But it gets better by just setting boundaries.

Shay'La Banks 57:56

Yes. And yeah, you're absolutely right with that, Zach, I believe wholeheartedly in boundaries of boundaries. Senator, I love a good boundary, you know. And so my thing even on my, you know, last show, which I got along with the producers, of course, pretty well. And they were telling me, we did the pilot. And so because there wasn't as much prep time, you know, the designer, and I said, this is what we really need to get the job done in this short amount of prep time. Okay, they pretend like Oh, my God, I'm gonna budget Okay. All right, we're gonna give a T but believe me, it was already like, pilot set to shoot, you know, they already had episodes picked up. We're not You're not going to get that. You're not going to get that when it goes to series. I said, Okay, we will discuss, you know, like, how can you tell me or tell us during prep like this is, will assess the situation as the scripts come in and the demands. And so what the producers are saying, what this show is going to be like, is completely different with the creative is saying, the directors, the writers, and I could see it so clearly the trick that they do, their producers are based in aka like, oh, very easy, show lighthearted, that that, like dominate all the way down. And that's how they make their budgets. That's how they create them on a crew that they have.

Nickolaus Brown 59:20

Can I Can I just interject really quickly? No, these budgets are made in an office by people who have never been on a film or television set before in their lives. And they make this budget and they say this is what you can do it for. Yeah, complete bull khaki, like just ballparking it is like just a this like dream of how they're going to do the series.

Shay'La Banks 59:45

And it's based off of the best case scenarios like you know, so it's not realistic, basically. So anyway, after we did the pilot, I said, Great. So we did the pilot and we barely got through. So this is what we need. We still need this crew. Oh Shay'la, we worked on other shows like this, all they had in this department was one, you know, there's the finer, no ACD. You know, like, I'm in bare minimum. And I looked at them. And I said, just because that's what they had does not mean that that's what was needed. And it was done correctly. So if you can give me the names of the show, you know, I would love to see how it really worked. And they were like, flabbergasted. And then I had to set again they go, Huh, I said, just because that's what you guys have been doing doesn't mean it's okay. And it's done. Right? So if the correct way you want me to do it, and this is the way I'm willing to work, I need this, this, this, this this? Or I'm not going to be able to like, I can't guarantee you my services. Oh, okay, well, we're gonna have to come back to you, no problem. And I kind of gave the tone of I'm willing to walk, you're not going to kill me, you're not going to kill the rest of the crew, there's absolutely, I'm not an overly greedy person, there's no way that we can do it with a three to four person, man crew. And so they came back. And a lot of you know, of course, is always just like, we'll do this for the first five episodes, you know, and you just play this game and keep asking. But the point is, we have to be designers need to work with the supervisors, supervisors, or whatever department has need to assess, or I talked to my crew, if some big episode is coming up, hey, what do you think you need add to my key to get this done to not feel overwhelmed, you know, and they'll say, I really think we need to the three big costumers. And that's what I fight for, you know. And so it's hard. It's a lot of work. And it's happening more, but it's a nature of like, you just get what you're given.

Nickolaus Brown 1:01:45

And it's also, you know, like I was on the show, so it was a network, I did a network show, and the line producer knew exactly what costumes did, and how important costumes are. So we had three keys. And we each had a credit card with a $50,000 limit. Now, a lot of line producers feel that they can control the budget magically, by giving you a lesser amount on your credit card. And so then I was on another show, though, it was in a second season, they eventually figured out how important costumes were but the you know, the two seasons that I was there. It's like our credit card, like I'd be the store. It was declined. I'm like, Well, I can't I guess I guess you don't want you know, to do that fitting with carry, like, you know, I guess not gonna happen. Next thing you know, it's raised. Then I like I went to long producer, I'm like, why won't you just raise our limits so that we can do our jobs? That's all we want to do. We just want to make sure that their costumes the actors are happy shows. Oh, you know what? The network won't let us I go. That's so funny. Because the job I did right before this one is same network and I had a $50,000 limit. All you have to do is call?

Zack Arnold 1:02:53

Yeah, yeah. It's it's amazing how people are able to, to even walk up right with all the time they spend passing the buck all day long, isn't it? I think that would be so much more exhausting. But people find a way to summon the energy to pass the buck constantly all day long. And I'm sure I'm sure you've probably heard the saying before. Oh, but you don't understand there is no more, right? Yes. Have you heard that before? Because I know I've heard it before. Are you kidding? But there is no more money.

Nickolaus Brown 1:03:19

Exactly. And then then the after is like, their car breaks down. And they're like, You know what? And then all of a sudden, there's all this money to rearrange the schedule and do this and buy them a new car and this and that. And I

Zack Arnold 1:03:32

would guess it in the costume side, you can relate to something similar. But I've been literally, like you said that the chipotle thing I have a story almost exactly the same. Where I've been told, we saw your lunch order, and we're gonna need you to return the soup. And like, Excuse me, they're like, well, the soup sent you over, but you can get the meal. We're gonna need you to return the soup. And I said, Well, number one, it's already arrived. So I'm not going to have the delivery person. And this was on a Saturday, by the way, I was working on Saturday, and you return the suit. But then of course, the next week is hey, we'd like to use AC DC. And the show like, oh, what's the 125? Kit? Yeah, no problem. We can get that in like,

Shay'La Banks 1:04:09

but I had to return to somebody that's like, loyal working with you. Yeah. And now I'm to the point. I'm just like, Yeah, well, based off what you want, like, there's no more money and I'm just like, Yeah, okay, do you want this? Or do you, you know, like, we go to Target. This is the budget you're giving me, you know, or talk to the creative director, you know, creator that, you know, you just have to like, I'm just like, okay, yeah, like, I don't want them to be in this. This is what you guys we're trying to provide a service. And I just kind of figure out ways to throw it back at them like this is just what I need. So either I put it to the producer, you that you want to have the conversation. That's not my job to go to the writer, the director and go back and forth. They've personally asked for this. So you can you know, go talk to them and let me know But at this point, you know, that's not my job where the liaison person or the network, or are you on the call, that's what I always say, producer like you were on the call or you're in the meeting, you know, I, we pitch this, but then they said they wanted a custom, blah, blah, blah, you know, and then like, Yeah, that's true. You're right, let Okay, let me give you a call back. And you just kind of hear no answer. And I just proceed then.

Zack Arnold 1:05:24

Exactly. So

Shay'La Banks 1:05:25

your answer means okay. I don't want to really say I approved it. But basically, I didn't have the balls to go tell, you know, the network or the creativity, you know, that. We're, you're not going to get though the roll that you saw in gold magazine? Oh, yeah,

Nickolaus Brown 1:05:41

exactly. Yeah. One of the most like legendary costume stories. There's a huge costume supervisor. I won't say his name, because I get to botch the story. But basically, the story goes, the producer comes to him and says, Listen, you need to get this done with this, this and this with this amount of money. And he goes, No, I need lawn furniture. You need costumes. You know what I mean? It's like the night, like, do you want the costumes or not?

Zack Arnold 1:06:12

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And I know that we get go down even darker, deeper rabbit holes of all the stories for hours. But where I want to leave this is with some actionable steps that I believe that people can take, I'm going to lead with one that I believe can make a difference. And then I want to hear it directly from your departments, from your worlds what you think and start to make a difference. Because it's one thing for us to all complain about how bad things are. And I think that the level of awareness that's out there is absolutely vital. Because up until I mean, frankly, even less than a year ago, the awareness wasn't there. So I don't know if you guys were part of all this or not in the costume department. But about a year ago, I wrote an article that was called Dear Hollywood, we don't want to go back to normal, normal wasn't working. And it was the first time that anything that I had written had gone beyond the world of post production in the creative world. And there were people on six continents that were reaching out, not even in the union or in Hollywood, like 150,000 people read it in less than a weekend, like I didn't even know there were that many people on the internet. It was like numbers I couldn't comprehend. And it was when everybody's just started to have this kernel of awareness that oh, maybe it's not just me. And now I feel like everybody is saying, and we're realizing these are not these isolated stories. This is the reality that everybody lives. Now that the awareness is there. I want to be a part of the solution. And I want to start to figure out how do we change this and fix this? Because it's not just going to be a vote on a contract. It's a lot bigger than that. So what I want to start with, and then I want you guys to piggyback with any ideas you have is I think one of the very first steps which you somewhat alluded to Shay'la is this idea that whenever I personally interested in a job, I want to know one thing, I have a whole bunch of questions, but I want to know one thing. When I show up at the job on day one, are you setting me up for success or failure? If you're gonna set me up for failure because of the budgets because of the deadlines, and it doesn't matter how great I am at my job, I'm going to either have to kill myself to deliver or I'm going to be made to look a fool because I can't deliver, I'm not going to work for you. And I'm literally just going to say no, I'm sorry, this isn't a good fit, I'm unavailable. If I know that somebody wants to set me up for success that I'm all in. And yeah, I'll work some long hours. And I'll be in the trenches when I need to when the deadlines are crazy. As long as that's not the norm. If the exception is that things are going to be tough, and we have to band together and deliver. I love that part of the process. Frankly, my favorite memories from the last three seasons of Cobra Kai are when I was in the trenches, it's like, Oh, my God, we've got this episode we gotta deliver is the finale. This is awesome. But I love that part. And the difference is that everybody respects me, everybody treats me with respect, they know that I need the time to do the work. And we're just in the trenches together that's been set up for success. If I work on shows where I'm set up for failure, I'm out. I'm just not going to do it. And you just got to figure it out. So I think the the first step for a lot of people is just asking, am I either working with people, or will I be working with people that want to set me up to be successful? Or the want to set me up to fail? Yes, absolutely. So I would love to know a couple of suggestions that either of you have for how we can affect some form of meaningful change

Shay'La Banks 1:09:14

in personal lives sister.

Zack Arnold 1:09:18

She wants to she just wants to have the last word that's all,

Nickolaus Brown 1:09:21

you know, well, I'm just I'm gonna roll this into it because it's kind of baked into costumers. We're one of the lowest paid departments in the business. And I really believe in my heart, not with any proof or evidence that it's because we're 80% women, you know, 10% men and like 10% and like 10% gay men, or you know, LGBTQ community and then people who are immigrants, which is most of our custom made so like, I think we should ask for more money. I think what all costume should decide if we don't get this amount of money, and we're not going to do the job. Because we deserve to be paid more people do not value the work that we do. Um, and then, in the same way to say that we're not going to work this many hours, that once you get to 12 hours on the fact that you pull the plug, and like the crew walks off, and says, it's not our problem, the director didn't get his deck. Because we did our work. You know. So I think that we all just have to band together all the departments and say, this is like, when it's getting to be too much to say, This is too much

Zack Arnold 1:10:40

boundaries, big word. setting boundaries, right. So Well, what did you want to add to that? Shay’La?

Shay'La Banks 1:10:46

I mean, I guess I should have went before Nickolaus because I was going to know

Zack Arnold 1:10:49

your answer.

Shay'La Banks 1:10:53

Combination. But no, you guys are getting on the same page. As all of us. I think I was gonna say sticking together, as well as just boundaries, you know, communicating within your department or others. Like, it's been a pleasure to hear even your world, Zack, you know, you think you know, but it's good to hear all the demands, like, oh, this amount of footage. So, you know, you're not in the same boat. So I feel like discussing to one another, and communicating and setting boundaries. Like I said, when I go into a project, I add certain questions. And this last project, literally, it was like, I felt the rates were low. I tried to negotiate as high as I could for the crew, you know, as well as myself. And I negotiated $10 higher for the supervisor, not saying that, Oh, I was making this buku. But they were on the lower scale. But you know, she kept me like, oh, I don't know, that's never, and I just play like, Oh, I think you have the wrong rate. You know, maybe you need to call my union. I always call my union, I tell them about the contract. But I had the tone of yeah, this is the lowest I can I can't do it for this. I can't, I wasn't worried about not getting the job not being hired. I was just like, I just can't. So then she came by like, oh, yeah, you know what, I might have mixed up the rate. You know, let me get back to you, you know, because I was just like, Oh, I'm so honored. I would love to, but I just can't accept it. You know, like, I just can't, I don't have another job inside and mine. But I just know my work. Of course, she came back on at the rate so I the highest I can get for the crew was like $1 something more, you know, and it's like after that as I absolutely no more Shay'la but what I encourage the crew, when they were asking me Shay’La's there anymore, this is a little low for the rate. And I knew it was and I'm like, Hey, I, I encourage you to go talk to the producer. They're like, you know, we always hear in our union that we can negotiate. But we've never had that avenue. And that's how I felt as a customer. I felt like, Oh, I could tell the supervisor was maybe a little timid, or one of those, like the old culture of, you know, you're lucky to be working. And that's now how I feel. So I never wanted to go over my supervisors head. But I was like, if you're too afraid to ask, can I just negotiate my I'm not afraid to ask. So the crews so surprised. I said, Hey, if you want to get your feet wet, by any means, this is the line producers name that UPM please go discuss with them. I know I fight for my crew, but I would love if you can get more, you know, maybe these are some pointers, and they were stunned by that. Like, really? Thank you. Is there a 50 They said no, but please go discuss that or this is what we can do. So I try to help as well as my crew educate, teach, these are the pointers to go off of if you can't get a kit rate, ask for this, if you're on a weekly ask for the daily rate for a guarantee, even if you're our weekly, you know, anything I learned I try to help the next person to just say, to benefit all of us, you know, we're all in it together. And his work sometimes sometimes it's still but you know, like, oh, put knowledge if they're not going to give you a chip rental, you know, like, you know, I don't know who's gonna hear this. I don't want to you know, but I was just like, we need to discuss things and just say like, you know, I kept pushing the envelope my customers need phones, cell phones cell phone, so I call the union I didn't know that there was we have so long Yeah, we have to get that. No, you're told all these years that is optional, but we use our cell phones everyday all day without an option. So as those things that we need to like, tell the next person all you get, maybe you know, it might equal up to 20 something dollars or 30 at the end of the week, but to fill out the COVID questionnaire you know put some shells won't tell you that some might just give it but you got to learn and you got to tell them

Nickolaus Brown 1:14:48

you want to learn to walk away. Oh yeah. Like we like to say this is you know, like when it's too much. Because the thing is and like what Shay'la has just been expressing is, they've created this budget, and now they're saying they don't have the money for it. And like you were saying earlier, it's like, oh, boy, we mean AC DC song. It's like, there's always money. You know, I, I always had a similar situation happened this year on a feature where I had done three features. I'm like, This is my right. And he's like, oh, you know, gosh, we're so over budget already. And I go, Okay, well, I'm sure you find somebody that will accept that right. And I wish you all the best, I guess, is that a deal breaker? i Yeah. Yeah, I don't business to subsidize movies I do to pay my mortgage. Yes.

Shay'La Banks 1:15:37

And it starts with the race. Because if you, if you go into it, fill in low, low balled or taken advantage of, it sets the tone, it makes, you know, like, when I was on that show, I felt good. Because I stood up for myself, I was willing to walk away. So the things that came my way I was willing to deal with because I knew that, oh, I got $10 more than what they were willing to offer me. But if I would have everything would have been like, and you're paying me this, and this, you know, it's a disgruntled employee syndrome. And you don't want to work like that. It's not it's not healthy, it's toxic. It's a toxic environment. So I know for me, I have to be true to myself, I have to set boundaries. So I can be a good example and a leader for the department. If not, you're just that's when you all all day, everybody's talking about the race, truck, all this. They're taking advantage of us. But you have a choice. And I appreciate to everybody, it's the power of choice. Yep,

Zack Arnold 1:16:30

I couldn't agree with that more. And to sum all of that up to kind of, you know, both to bring it all back together. Because as the editor, I always want to take a lot of information and tell a very concise and tight story. I always tell my coaching and mentorship students that I work with that it's you know, the quality of your life is always about asking better questions. The first question that I introduced is, are these people going to set me up for success or failure? And I think if I were to wrap up everything, the both of you said into a single question, are the people that I'm going to work with value me and respect me. And that's what they're paying you. That's the way that they treat you whether it's for a meal break, or anything else. Yeah, there are going to be long days, and we're all going to be in the trenches together. And if I'm working with people that are only going to ask me to do things they would do themselves, then I know, they respect me and value me. And then it is what it is. And I'm just going to manage it. And I'm going to deal with it. Because this is a tough industry. But if I'm being set up for failure, and I'm not going to be valued or respected, I am so out. And I can't if I were to sum up this whole conversation, in one sentence, Nickolaus, you win the prize, I think we need to learn how to walk away. Yeah, it's our inability to walk away. that's gotten us to where we are now. And we've collectively voted, and we got within 24 hours of walking away. We snatched we snatched right out of our hands, and we lost it. And I don't know if we're gonna get that back anytime soon. But I really it is about our collective individual abilities to walk away because we're now no longer going to do it as a giant union. And I think that one of the toughest things for so many people, I don't know if you guys experienced this, but I read about it, where people left work on Friday or Saturday or whatever thinking man, when we come back to work, I don't know if it's going to be next week or in six months, but it's going to be a whole new world. I cannot wait and then it's like, oh, shit, I gotta go back to work on Monday now and it's gonna be the same crap all over again, like talk about the moralizing?

Nickolaus Brown 1:18:26

Well, it's kind of like, that's, that's why I came back. Oh, production is finally going to like really slow things down so that we can be safe and healthy. And

Zack Arnold 1:18:38

yeah, and we all know how that worked out. So I want I want to wrap it up with one final quick question. This is a question that I've been asking all my guests recently and I've gotten some really insightful answers. I'm going to switch it up and do Shay'la first and then Nickolaus because she thought she was gonna get the last word and now I'm gonna switch it up on you guys twist and write why No, I'm kidding. But as an editor I get to restructure things so but the benefit that Nickolaus will have is he'll know the questions is coming in Shay'la won't. But Shay'la, here's what I want you to do, I want you to jump into a time machine. And I want you to travel back in time to meet the version of yourself. That is green eyed, bushy tailed, first morning in the industry, knowing everything you know now and everything you've been through. What advice do you give yourself?

Shay'La Banks 1:19:26

Oh, that's good. Wow, Nickolaus, you're lucky. I'm time machine going back first advice. Do not believe what you're told. Pay attention to what's happening. You know, it's not what they're saying is what they're doing. You know, so I don't know if that sums it up. But I was promised a lot of things. You know, when I first stepped into the business or beginning in the Union, the producer but it was more of like, if I paid attention to how they were using and abusing the nine union and getting free labor or whatever I, you know, if I knew what I knew now, I would just more of giftings in writing or not accepted and the power of walkaway but you know, you think all this is all a part of it, I'm green paying my dues. And there's some truth to that. But, you know, just standing my ground earlier, as far as like, no, this doesn't feel right. And I know it's not right.

Zack Arnold 1:20:30

What's surprising to me is that, given everything we've talked about, I think most everybody would assumed your advice would be do anything else with your life, but this, and you did? And that's amazing. I don't think any I don't, I was gonna say nobody would give themselves that advice. Because we know we live for what we do.

Shay'La Banks 1:20:47

I said in the middle of our even before we were ahead of it, I was like, the unfortunate thing is, you love your career. You know, of course, it might sound like it, because we're trying to bring light into the things that aren't right in our industry. But like my last show I, what I'm talking about now wasn't directed toward those producers, though I felt respected, I felt heard. Yeah, of course, you always got to kind of like, tug of war a little bit. But that we always met in the middle or sometime I just won the war. Sometime I had to bend a little. And I don't mind working with a producer when I know that. But you know, we're talking about a grand scheme and the culture of abuse in this business. Not maybe every job every show. But that's because now I have boundaries. I will walk away. I don't accept everything. So yes, my last few projects. I'm not referring to those because I'm like, Oh, no. Oh, thank you for the time. Oh, no, I can feel it. I can hear. Like I said, paying attention. I can hear what you're really saying. In the meeting, the first meeting, I could feel the games I could, like you said, setting me up for failure or to win to succeed, like, and so now I like I don't play around with that. I love

Zack Arnold 1:22:03

all of that. And now Nickolaus has the benefit of cheating off of your answers, right? I can't catch him off guard. So he's had like three minutes to be like, Oh, I can beat that. I can so beat that. So same question. Yeah, sure. I want to reiterate for anybody that that doesn't remember, because it's really important setup, you're jumping in a time machine. And you're going to talk to yourself, whatever that first morning is where you walk out the door, and the sky is blue, and the air is fresh. And you're like, I'm going to do it today is the day that I start my career in Hollywood. What do you tell yourself?

Nickolaus Brown 1:22:37

So I'm going to preface this really quickly, just to touch on what Shay'la said, and that is, I've worked for many producers who care deeply for their crews. And, you know, it's kind of like Yelp, it's like, you know, when you're, you always write a review if you're pissed off, but it's like you don't say anything if you had a great experience. So I just I want to, I don't want people to come away from this podcast thinking that it's like hell on earth, because I've had really positive experiences in my career as well. I agree. I second that. But but I will. But if I could go back and tell myself, I would say you have the power to advocate for yourself? Yes. A lot of times, I really believe you know, when you're young, and in the industry, you just try and do whatever you can to make it work and do whatever is asked of you. And I just think that if if, if in a calm way you explain to somebody, just like you were talking about with, you know, editing 10 minutes of to musical numbers, if you just explain to them why it's really not going to help you or them, then usually they'll they'll hear it. But you have to do it in a way that they'll listen, you know, you can't be angry, you have to like say, Well, really, this is what it's gonna take.

Zack Arnold 1:23:52

Yeah, I agree with that. And I've told my students more than once that whenever there's a problem, don't go to people with problems, go to them with solutions. Here's the problem. Here's the potential solution. Here's why it's a problem. And here are multiple ways to address it. Maybe it's not the way that you want, because you want it to magically happen, might take a little bit of extra money may take a little bit of extra time. But if everybody here is interested in quality, fast, cheap, good, you get to pick two, which two are the most important. And usually when you can frame it that way with potential solutions, they listen and you advocate for yourself, and then you end up doing the job and you end up succeeding. So on that note, I feel like we've just warmed up and we've been going forever. And I told you guys, we were just gonna pull the string and we were gonna go this is super exciting. Yeah, absolutely loved it. No, but I want to be respectful of your time. And I know that for you guys. It's like the middle of the day right now. Because you're used to going till six in the morning on a Friday. You know, but I'm fragile and I like to get my sleep. But on that note, I want to thank both you Shay'la and Nickolaus for being here and for sharing your stories and I hope that we can affect some positive changes inspire people to advocate for themselves and stand up for themselves and be respected and valued. And I hope that this leads to more conversation similar to this one. So thank you so much for being here with me this evening.

Shay'La Banks 1:25:10

Thank You Zack we really appreciate it and everybody stay involved

Nickolaus Brown 1:25:14

and keep talking. Thank you so much, Zack. It's really important of this platform a place to share with people so that they understand what it is that we're fighting for.

Shay'La Banks 1:25:24

Yeah, I commend you for stepping out you know, it is not easy to do stuff like this. So we appreciate it. Yep.

Zack Arnold 1:25:29

And I appreciate you both. So thank you so much.

Shay'La Banks 1:25:32

Have a good night, Nickolaus.

Zack Arnold 1:25:40

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 super quick, before you leave today don't forget that every Monday morning, I am sharing all of my favorite resources, strategies and practical tips to help you pursue more fulfilling work and design a more balanced life without sacrificing your health, your relationships or your sanity in the process. To Subscribe 100% free simply visit optimizeyourself.me/newsletter. 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.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Guest Bio:


Shay’La Banks

Shay’La Banks is a Costume Supervisor & Creative Director that hails from Los Angeles by way of Riverside, California. Shay’La, a Cal State San Bernardino alum, began her career in the entertainment industry right after college in the casting department. With God’s favor she met the right people and found fulfillment and success in the Costume Department, quickly working her way up the ranks to Costume Supervisor. Some of Shay’La’s credits include Costume Supervising on shows such as The Voice, Insecure, Grown-ish & The Oscars amongst others. She knows it took a strong village to get her where she is so she is very passionate about giving back and mentoring youth. She leads by example & believes in operating with confidence, dignity and having a strong work ethic.This is why being on the board of FABRIC is a must. It means so much to her because everything FABRIC stands for and will do for the community speaks to her Life’s mission statement. She attributes ALL her success to her strong faith & living a God-led life in which she strongly believes God led her to this Organization to help shine a light and create change for the people that need it the most.



Nickolaus Brown

Nickolaus Brown has been working in costumes for almost 25 years scouring Los Angeles and beyond for character driven fashion for film and television. He has a degree in fashion from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a degree in costume design from CalArts. He lives in Los Angeles with his dogs Scotch and Ripley.


Show Credits:

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

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

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

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