how to have successful career with family farrel levy

Ep128: How to Have a Successful Career Without Sacrificing Family | with Farrel Levy


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One of the many fears this pandemic has magnified is that we can’t possibly focus on our careers and work at the highest level while also having time to be parents, partners, and well-rounded individuals. And with the transition to working from home, navigating this challenge has become even more complicated.

Today, I’m talking with ACE editor Farrel Levy who has worked at a high level her whole career moving between features and television, working on shows like Nashville, NYPD Blue, and Criminal Minds. She was already a mom when she got her start in the business so she’s spent many years perfecting the balancing act. To say she is passionate about advocating that family and career are not mutually exclusive would be an understatement. Her passion comes from having successfully balanced the two for much of her career while also mentoring many others in the business working hard to do the same.

In Farrel’s own words she firmly believes:

“You can be proud of the work that you do and also proud of the fact that you’ve had a good life.”

Farrel and I dive deep into the topic of work-life balance in Hollywood as well as many others including, mentorship, burnout, and choosing the right jobs to match your personal needs. If you’re a parent struggling to choose the next step in your career because you believe “it just can’t be done,” please listen to Farrel before believing that you can’t. Because she and I are both convinced that you absolutely CAN.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Farrel got into the film business in New York.
  • The criteria she used for choosing jobs so she could get home to her daughter at night.
  • The surprise hit film that Farrel got her big break on and how it came about.
  • How important it is to let people know what you want and be proactive.
  • Why Farrel enjoys mentoring and seeing the success of those she’s mentored.
  • Being a student of Farrel’s has often led to career success.
  • The responsibility of the mentor to push the mentee, even if it means losing them as your assistant.
  • Farrel’s advice for reaching out to a mentor and developing that relationship.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: The soft skills are a much bigger part of the job than most people realize.
  • What Farrel means by calling a successful editor a chameleon.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Persistence and patience is critical when networking and finding mentors.
  • How to navigate being a parent while also managing your career.
  • Why she made the switch from features to television.
  • What Farrel tells parents who are afraid that they can’t both be a good parent and work on scripted series.
  • The criteria for determining whether a job will meet your lifestyle needs.
  • Addressing the difficult tension between knowing a job is not the right fit and gracefully turning it down.
  • Farrel’s perspective on how to handle the disappointment of not getting the job you want.
  • Why it’s important to consider the cost of taking a job rather than what it pays you.


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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 were 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 vet, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you click the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show, and thus the more people that you and I can inspire to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show. One of the many fears this pandemic is magnified is that we cannot possibly focus on our careers and work at the highest level while also having time to be parents and partners and well rounded individuals right? well with the transition to working from home, navigating this challenge has now become even more complicated. Today I am talking with ACE editor Farrel Levy, who has worked at a high level her whole career moving between features and television working on shows like Nashville, NYPD Blue and Criminal Minds to name just a very, very select few. She was already a single mom when she got her started in the business. So she has spent many many years perfecting the balancing act between these two. To say that she's passionate about advocating the family and career are not mutually exclusive, would be a vast understatement. Her passion comes from having successfully balanced the two for much of her career, while also mentoring many others in the business that are working hard to do the same as her. In Farrel's own words. She firmly believes that you can be proud of the work that you do, and also proud of the fact that you have had a good life. Farrel and I dive deep into the topic of work life balance and Hollywood as well as many other topics including mentorship, burnout, and choosing the right jobs to match your personal needs. If you are a parent struggling to choose the next step in your career, because you believe it just cannot be done. Please listen to Farrel before believing that you can't. Because she and I are both convinced that you absolutely can. If you are inspired by today's interview, and you would like to up your networking game so you can get the attention of the right people who can help open the right doors that lead you to a more fulfilling and rewarding career path. But your outreach email game is a bit weak. Well, then I invite you to download my Insider's Guide to writing great outreach emails. In this extensive and free by the way guide, I'm going to teach you why cold outreach is the most important soft skill that you must develop if you want to advance your career, which is important now more than ever, that we are all stuck at home and cannot network in person. I will also show you the five most common mistakes that people make when writing their outreach messages. And I will bet that you've made at least one of these yourself in the past. And then finally, I'm going to break down step by step in a simple to follow checklist how you can structure an amazing outreach message that is going to provide value to your recipients help you build a lasting relationship instead of feeling like you're just bothering this person and actually get a response to your outreach. So you can then seek advice, connect with a potential mentor, set up lunch meetings and possibly even land your next gig. If you would like to download this brand new guide for free, just visit optimize yourself.me slash email guide and that's all one word, no dashes slash email guy. All right. Without further ado, my conversation with ACE editor Farrel Levy made possible today by our amazing sponsors ever cast and airgo driven. We're going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview. And as a quick Sneak Peek Ergodriven has a brand new product that I'm super excited to share with you 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 optimize yourself.me/podcast.

I'm here today with Farrel Levy who is a longtime film and television editor. You've worked on such shows as NYPD Blue, Criminal Minds, Damages, Nashville, one of my favorite films of all time Primal Fear. But more importantly for today's conversation, you've also been a working mother your entire career in Hollywood. And you like me work incredibly hard to achieve some semblance of work life balance. Farrell, it is such a pleasure to have you on the microphone today. Thank you so much for taking your time and sharing your expertise with us. Thank you.

Farrel Levy 5:27

Well, this is one of my favorite topics to talk about. Because it's it's real life. And, you know, I think in the past, this was actually sort of considered a soft, not sexy topic. And granted, there are people that does not this does not apply to but I think there's much, much more awareness now. And I think people are also seeing that it is sort of a matter of like real search real survival. You know, you we don't want burnout. And I think more and more people are appreciating the deleterious effects of working too much and what it does physically, mentally, and, you know, and family wise?

Zack Arnold 6:09

Well, there's no question in my mind that even today, this is still very much a struggle, and those that are able to balance work and life and children and being parents and working in Hollywood, it seems like it's impossible today. I can only imagine that 30 or 40 years ago, it probably wasn't any easier than it is now. I've had several conversations with people talking about, well, how different are things like I talked to Walter Murcia and Carol Littleton really getting a picture of this evolution. And one of the things that they say is, it really wasn't that different. I'm sure you've probably heard people that would hearken back to the film days, say, Oh, well, you would, you would order a dissolve and get to go home at 330 in the afternoon and wait for that dissolve to be processed by the lab. And because of technology, things are moving so much more faster. And there's so much more to do. But they were still working really long, crazy hours, 30 4050 years ago, in the film world, they just might not have been moving as quickly, but they were still working just as hard or even harder. So let's start by going way back to the beginning, where your career started, what it is the we're working on, and what it was like so we can really get a sense of the trajectory of how things have changed, or if they haven't, as far as work life balance in the industry are concerned,

Farrel Levy 7:22

well, I probably did this in a crazy way because I actually had my child and then decided that I wanted to go into film business. But I in those days in New York, I was in New York at the time. And I think to a certain degree, it's still possible film school was not an absolute must in terms of getting your way into the cutting room. And I and I was able to get a paid intern part time and my husband at the time that said to me, Look, you know, you can make enough money to pay the babysitter. That's fine. And so they knew my situation, I was an intern. And it turned out to be a job where the editor was a jack of all trades. And I learned everything from sound editing, to sinking dailies to you know, all the basic assistant skills. And at one point I'm a film came in, we worked in the it's not do art was to do art. It was the lab way, way over by the on the west side. And a job came in and I was assigned to sync all the dailies of this particular movie. And then they were they were looking I was not in the Union. I was working part time. They were looking for an apprentice who knew the film and because I was doing all the dailies. This particular editor saw his role as someone that nurtured people and then was time to leave the nest and he said barrel, you know, they're looking for someone, I think it'd be appropriate for you to join the team, you could join the union that way. And that was how I and I at that point, my daughter had been in daycare long enough. And I had a good babysitter and I joined the editing team joined the union turned out to be Miramax, his first film called The burning. And we had Mr. Harvey in our editing room in all his, you know, of noxious glory. And but it was my It was my first first editing experience in the Union as an assistant. And the other thing that happened that I felt for me personally was because oh, and they also said to me, no overtime, which was exactly what I needed. And but I felt that I was working at a deficit because there were no other people I knew that had little kids at home. And even though they were aware of it, I felt that I had to work that much harder to prove myself and prove that yes, you could have a child at home and still do the job. And that was pretty much the story of my my career for many, many years. This a sense of need. You need to prove yourself as someone that's just starting out period, but I felt that I had to prove myself That much harder, because I had to show people that you could have a little one at home and still do the job. Um, what I learned from that was that I would then try very hard to get on to jobs where they were not going to require overtime. And that actually pretty much worked out for me. I mean, they, I wouldn't tell people that I had a child initially. In fact, I sort of felt like I was, I was literally in the closet about it. And then gradually, as like, when I get the job, most editors, male actually were very, very warm to the idea. And one fact one editor Eric Albertson, said to me, If I'd known you had a child, or would have hired you much earlier, but anyway, um, I, when they would say no overtime, I would say, oh, okay, fine. But I'm secretly be going on

Zack Arnold 10:51

shocks. Right? That's too bad.

Farrel Levy 10:54

Right? Right. Right. So I think part for me, I made a choice. And my choice was I wanted to work working was very fulfilling to me, I loved doing the editing, I love doing, you know, being in this world. But if I was going to do it, I was going to have to make a choice to perhaps not take on some of the bigger, more high profile films that were going on in New York at the time, like, for example, DDL. And you know, everyone wanted to get on a big DVD, DDL and film, and she hired a lot of people. But I just knew that even though it might affect my career, in that I would not move ahead quite as fast or might not to get to know that network. And I realistically, I could not do that. And making the choice was the right thing for me. I just trusted that my career was going to move along. And I kept my eye on the ball. And it did allow me to work and then be home at night. And the other thing, the other choice, I made it at one point I did become a single mother. And so it was really just up to me and it was at that was extremely challenging, because most most daycare centers don't understand the kind of hours even working till six o'clock seem like to some some daycare centers.

Zack Arnold 12:13

Well, 6pm was daycare, I mean, 6pm in our world, that's barely lunchtime.

Farrel Levy 12:18

Exactly. And I often had to have a supplemental babysitter after the daycare to pick up my child. I mean, everyone working now understands this routine. But I was, I was kind of alone out there. In in our world on fact, I, you know, there were many people that I'm close with now, but I really longed actually to hang out after work go out for drinks, but I made the decision, I needed to just get home and be with my daughter. And as soon as I get home, it was all her I down to a very, very quick dinner and I would play with her, I would read to her, we would do crafts, we would just, I just devoted my time to her. So it was really a work Endor and then, you know, my own stuff later, but I just I think really, Zach it comes down to prioritizing and being and being good with those priorities. And knowing that you can't, you really can't do it all at certain stages of your life. And I did it slowly, my career, you know, moved along, and I became known as a respectable, reliable assistant. And then I was very lucky to have met Peter Frank, who himself had a mother, who was single and an assistant editor and he really got my situation and was extremely supportive. And just like any good mentor situation, um, you know, really, really supported me my work and my my life situation. So I remained, I really tried to remain true to myself and my priorities. And at the same time, you know, wanted to very hard to, you know, do a good professional job. And that's that worked. And Peter became sort of the editor that I hung out with, and we, we work together. And it was a real, real blessing that that I met him and that we work together. And then he was the one that, you know, whatever job he ran across is the jobs that we would take. And so at one point, we were both not working, and he came across the script. It wasn't the kind of money that he wanted. But we both wanted to work. And I said, Look, you know, none of us are really that invested in this. Can this be my opportunity to get a chance to be an associate editor? You know, we were working on film, and can I can I can I have this opportunity now? And he said, Yeah, sure. Because I couldn't I so many of my peers break away and do these indie features for little, little or no money. I just couldn't do that. I couldn't afford to do that. So this was a great opportunity for me to Get Paid, and have some chance to edit. And the whole time we were doing the film, Peter gave me a bunch of stuff to cut, it was really rewarding, very gratifying. And but at the same time, none of us had any expectations that the film's gonna do anything, which. And then, you know, we went to screenings, family and friends screenings. And we were just shocked that people were so enthusiastic about the film and laughing at places that we never thought were funny and and got great scores. And in fact, the film was such an unexpected that even even the producer at the last minute gave the director extra points, because she didn't expect the film's going to do very well either. But the film turned out to be dirty dancing, and no one is as surprised, as we all are, especially to see the legs that has even now. So I got lucky. And Peter was Peter was responsible for that.

Zack Arnold 16:01

Well, anyone that listens to my show, know that you just hit the hot button topic of the day, you use The L Word, you said that you were lucky. And I don't believe that. I believe that there was a whole series of events. And as you said, the very important word and theme of today's conversation is choices. There was a whole series of choices that you made. And maybe it was a bit of a stroke of luck in the Zeitgeist of the universe, right place, right time for Dirty Dancing itself. But you made it very clear, I would like an opportunity to learn and grow. And I think this could be the opportunity. And at the time, it didn't seem like there were a whole lot of stakes. Yeah, whatever. It's kind of lower paying. And I even remember you telling me that you both had some some very honest thoughts about the script and what it might or might not become. But there were choices made that led you to that place. And I always want to empower people to understand that their choices have weight, and they mean something and your choices are largely What led you to that moment.

Farrel Levy 16:56

Well, I agree with that. Second, the other thing that I tell people is that you're not going to get an opportunity unless you ask for it. And that comes and that comes down to ask for salary asking as an assistant to be moved up. You can kind of sit there and hope that someone notices you. And sometimes that does happen and you get and and good for you. But I really feel if you want to have some kind of control over your situation. You have to be proactive. And I you know, I think that there's so many situations where people wonder why things aren't moving faster for themselves. And you just have to have to trust that. All it takes is just to ask.

Zack Arnold 17:41

And I think another thing to think about as well. I completely agree with that. We've talked about this with multiple guests. Now. As a matter of fact, I recently interviewed Andy Arma Ghanian. I don't know if you've ever come across her before. She's an editor turned director that's now doing all the the big, like superhero projects with the Greg Berlanti universe. And that was her biggest piece of advice. If you want something, you have to be specific about it, and you need to ask for it. Opportunities don't just materialize, especially in Hollywood, because everybody's fighting for them, you have to make your intentions very, very clear to people. So I think that that's a big piece of it. And especially like you said, when it comes to prioritization, and making these choices, when people think to themselves what, why isn't enough happening to me? My response is, show me your calendar. What have you got in your calendar? What are you planning, that actually demonstrates that you value, the time you're putting in to move yourself forward, and usually there's nothing there. But you're prioritizing and making a clear, I'm taking these actions because I want to move forwards. And PS also doing it as a single mom,

Farrel Levy 18:41

the only thing I think that, you know, help I that helped me but not only as a single mother. And I think that you and I would both both advocate for this, which is that once I saw that Peter and I were aligned, I realized that I had a mentor and Peter, and he was willing to be my mentor. And that is such a valuable relationship. Because I think myself having been a mentor to many people, it's something that I enjoy doing, I enjoy helping people out and I enjoy that. paying it forward, passing it on. And also it's really a win win situation. And having a mentor can be just a terrific learning experience, but also career helper. And, and so I think that you're not if you feel that there's is a simpatico there. Um, that mentor relationship is so so critical and I don't think it's cheating. I think it's part of part of our process. And it's actually in spite of avid, in spite of the technology and the changes in the working the cutting room procedures mentorships still, you know, there's still a place for mentorship it's really important.

Zack Arnold 19:56

Clearly, I couldn't agree more because I built an entire business. around the idea of providing coaching and mentorship to people. But what I find so interesting is the fact that you said, it's not cheating. And that's such a such a curious insight for me, because I would never assume that me trying to get ahead meet the right people build relationships would be cheating. But you're right, in that a lot of people feel that way. I've noticed, especially in post production, we are so isolated. And there's this pressure that we have to figure out ourselves, everybody else has it figured out. Why don't I have it figured out yet? Well, it would be cheating, or I don't want to bother people. They're too busy to help me. So I was going to get into this a little bit later. And we're going to get back to your story. But I think this is really the crux of the conversation. If somebody wants a mentor, what does that look like? How does that work? Because I'm just going to assume you're way too high on the totem pole. Why in the world? Would you ever want to spend your time helping me? So what would mentorship look like? And how do I actually find a mentor and connect with one?

Farrel Levy 20:56

Well, I mean, um, I think it can happen in lots of different ways. I, I taught for many years at ASI. And I think that a lot of my students when I was teaching them, that you're, well, this is my teacher, and you know, I have this person for one year. And I, I think that, you know, I was able to not only bring to the table, I think, a really excellent course in aesthetics, and the aesthetics of Film Editing. But also, I tried to teach the soft skills of how you are in the cutting room and how you get along with people. But very much a part of myself is this whole idea of mentorship. So as it turned out, one of the students in my first class really kind of stepped up, and she stayed in touch with me. And she wanted me to know what she was doing. And I, you know, we developed a relationship. And I liked her proactive attitude. And plus, she was I just felt that she was very together. And in fact, when I was looking for an assistant on NYPD Blue, at one point, I thought, I'm going to give this girl a chance. And she became my assistant, I knew that there might be a little bit of a rough period, because she didn't he, in fact, had not worked in a professional editing room as an assistant before. And I know that there are a lot of studios that, you know, don't want you to hire people like that, because they want people to just jump right in. I've had such good luck. You know, luckily, that was not the situation of when I was working for Steven bochco, I could hire who I wanted, she got cheap, she was a very quick study. And now Ellie Nelson, is a very, very successful editor and mother in her own right. And, um, we had, we still have a long, long relationship, I've helped her get jobs, it's my pleasure to do that. And so I feel that when I have, and as it turned out, not only did I reach out to some of my former students, but they've reached out to me over the years, and it's been my pleasure to, to counsel them, and to help it help them not only in their school years, but beyond that in their professional years. And, and, and kind of give them the best of what I my perspective, which I feel needs to be popular in this business, which is, yes, have a family have a balance, you know, be a good person, pay it forward. And if I can, if I can get some of those ideas, you know, in the people that I have, that I associate with, I feel like I'm doing a good job. So I've certainly taken on mentoring my assistants, most of my assistants have gone on to edit. Afterwards, I don't I have, I really feel it's it's part of my job to to push these people on to the next level. And in fact, at one point, I had an assistant who I was so happy that we were working together, she was one of my former students. And she I helped her get her first job in the business. And I was very pleased that we could be working together and we worked for a month together. And then she came into my cutting room and she said, Beryl, I have good news, and I have bad news. The good news is that I got an editing job. And the bad news is I really want to take it and it means that you're not, I'm not going to be able to be your assistant. And you know, when that kind of thing happens, the honest reaction is I feel sad, because um, I you know, when I have a great assistant, I'm really, really happy. But at the same time, I feel so happy that this person can move ahead and become an editor. And that person is Shannon Baker Davis and she is doing so well right now and I'm just so thrilled for her. And I think that's part of the job of a mentor as well, to let someone take flight and don't just hang on because you need someone there. plenty of good people out there that that that could benefit by your mentorship. And as it turned out, the next, the next assistant I brought on was fantastic. And we developed a great relationship. And I was thrilled, and I was thrilled that I could help her. So it ultimately became a win win situation. And I think that that's the other thing is not only is it the responsibility of the mentee, to find and nurture that relationship, but I think it's also the responsibility of the mentor, to encourage the next step and push these people out, even if it's going to be a little bit uncomfortable

Zack Arnold 25:34

for you. I love the discomfort zone, I'm all about the discomfort zone, if somebody is seeking it, I will provide that for them. They have to be willing to do the work, but I will absolutely provide that. And one of the things you said that I loved that I just realized now I was thinking through as you were telling this story, every single assistant editor I've had my entire career started with them reaching out to me cold, and me developing a mentor mentee relationship that had nothing to do with work, it wasn't about the gig, they reached out, they were seeking advice, they wanted to have lunch, whatever it might be, then they would reach out a few months later wanted to check in every day. And it just occurred to me just now, everyone I've ever had is my assistant. That's how all the relationships started. I too am a huge believer that I'm going to hire character and passion and enthusiasm over skills, I can fill the knowledge gaps. I can say, Well, this is this button that you press, here's how the workflow works with the caveat that if we're going onto a big project, you need to know enough on day one to Knott's fail spectacularly. I'm not going to teach you what is it to be an assistant editor, they need to have enough experience but they don't need to be an expert. They need to know just enough that they can survive day one. And I could Shepherd them through the rest of the process. But again, so many people assume you're just too busy. You're not going to want to help me Who am I? What's the first step? If I said, I'm listening to this podcast? And I want farol to be my mentor? What would you say to somebody that's feeling that way, either about you or another quote unquote, big name editor where they just feel intimidated, and they don't know how to start?

Farrel Levy 27:07

Well, I would say the first step is to write an email. Um, and and you have to reach out you have to touch base. And then we start a little conversation I, you know, I and we see, you know, I find out what what you're about. And we see if there's, there's some, you know, most people that reach out to me, I, in the old days, I would have coffee. It's a different reality now. And we would chat and, you know, I I really like helping up new people in the business. And we take it from there.

Zack Arnold 27:40

So I think that the the outreach process is so important. It's a it's a very undervalued skill and an art form. As we've talked about, you'd like to emphasize the soft skills. It's not just about doing know, the workflow, do I know avid Can I deal with the EDL manager and with exports? To me that's such a small minority percentage of all the skills that are so super important to actually make it in the business. What are some of the other soft skills that you think people that want to be in the Edit room at your level don't even know that they don't know,

Farrel Levy 28:10

I think that they don't know how much people skills are critical in the editing for editors,

Zack Arnold 28:15

really editors? skills, what are those?

Farrel Levy 28:20

Yeah, right. I mean, one of the things that we would do it at phi, which, which basically mimics a professional setup, so that the, the, all the fellows start out, they edit projects with with teams, so the editors edit and the writers, right, and producers produce in the director's direct. And they over the course of the year, they've edited a bunch of these things. So at the end of the year, I would say to people, what was the biggest surprise for you that you didn't expect coming in and tool one, they would say, I never realized how much editing involves getting along with people. It's not just knowing how to make a match cut. It's not just knowing how to do the avid, it's so much. And the other thing that that is so getting along with people is is also knowing how to get your point across or getting it in a way that's not antagonistic. It's knowing when to talk when not to talk. It's knowing how to nurture your director and, and because you're you're trying to bring the best out of their work. It's not a competition and the editor has to understand what their role in the process is. We are kind of chameleons, we have to sort of change our personalities depend on depending on who the people we're working with are and and that that is in order to get something done. Get a film, to from start to finish. You've got to be able to navigate the discussion process you can put together a cut but if that's not what the director has in mind, and the director has all kinds of changes. You're going to have to go negotiate in a very diplomatic way, what they need, what will work for the film, the director could do all these changes, and it really might not be working. And then you have to figure out well, how do I convince this person in a way that's not going to antagonize and avoid, it's not going to subvert the process, that this might be a better solution. So one of the things that we would talk about in class is literally how you sort of say that kind of thing. What are strategies for doing that? Um, but I also think, for example, as an assistant, you want to be mindful of that, too. Like, you don't want to be the person in the room. That's like the smartest person in the room raising their hand like I have the answer, I have the answer, dominating the conversation, and assistant maybe can talk to the editor afterward, and say, you know, what about this idea? Or what about, you know, you know, I have, I have a possible solution for that, let me show you. But you don't want to be the assistant who is dominating the conversation in the room, because you're not going to be looked upon? Well, there there really, you know, there are people that have managed to get careers by being by being that person, but generally, it's not, it's not dumb. Just save the save your smart comments for an appropriate time, and they will be appreciated, and you will be appreciated.

Zack Arnold 31:22

I think one of the most important things for people to understand about this is if you had said the, the the most vital skill for being a good assistant, or being a good editor is you must know, avid, Great, well, then I go to LinkedIn learning, or go to Larry Jordan calm, and I've got a whole bunch of videos, and it's going to show me how to do it. I can't go online and sit in the comfort of my pajamas, and learn how to manage a room. I can't learn how to build these relationships and how to answer questions on the fly, or deal with it politically and diplomatically. When I'm given the worst note ever, those are skills that you have to learn. The only way in my opinion you can actually learn them is via mentorship. Otherwise, you're stuck between the rock and the hard place of I need the experience to get the experience, right, you there's just no way to be able to get in the room unless you have the skills, but you need the skills to get in the room. So just kind of brings us back to the same conversation. You need a mentor, you need somebody that's willing to let you sit in the room or be the assistant to you being the editor, whatever it might be, you can only learn this stuff on the job. There's no other way that I know, to learn this.

Farrel Levy 32:27

But the other thing I would suggest to people too, if you are in the Union, if you've made it that far, but you feel like Well, I'm on the roster, but I don't know, what's the next step. The Union has the networking is so important, whether it's their their assistant editor, you know, meetup groups, I'm sure there's stuff going on on zoom right now, their committees in the union that are welcoming to new members. And it is it is it is by by circulating yourself around I mean, it's one thing to meet one person and but you know, that's just that's just one person. Um, and why these things the way things are these days, you know, work is not like it used to be when before before the pandemic. So I think that the the wider net, you throw in terms of meeting other people and meeting other assistance, and then you know, putting, asking what's going on with you? What do you know about their Facebook groups? The wider than that, the better in terms of broadening your chances of something really clicking?

Zack Arnold 33:33

Yep. And I both agree and disagree with that. And I'm going to explain why I both agree. And I disagree. I think you should cast as wide a net as possible. But it needs to be a very specific net. I think the the fallacy is that most people think it's the shotgun approach. If we were to think about all of the networking in the world as one conference hall of 500 people, the approach is often I need to go in there, I need to chit chat with as many people as possible, I'm going to hand on my business card. Oh, fingers crossed, somebody's going to respond and I'm going to get a call. Conversely, I'm a big believer in you go into the room and you find the one person you know, you can provide the most value to they can provide the most value to in return and build a long term relationship, then rinse and repeat that and I think for someone that doesn't know anyone, yeah, just start by reaching out and connecting. But as an extreme introvert, that has been socially distancing at the Olympic level for 15 years now. I don't really enjoy going to the in person events and chit chatting and just meeting people. I know that some people a lot of people have that I don't, but I'll go to them. If I know I can find the right people. But if you go to just those, your network by default is whomever decides to show up any given evening. And I know that if you're working and it's on a big film, you're probably not going to be at an MPEG mixer Wednesday at 6:30pm. So I feel like I need to be more specific and instead of the shotgun approach take the sniper approach. I know after listening today's podcast Cast, Ferro levy is the one person that's going to understand me. And I need to reach out to her whomever it might be, right, I don't want you to all of a sudden get 150 outreach emails. But the point being that if you identify somebody that you fit with, like you said, just ask reach out to them, but cast a wide net of reaching out to the right people. That's always my philosophy. You

Farrel Levy 35:19

know, the other thing that I've noticed with up some of my former students who have reached out to big editors and done that very approach is that it takes persistence. But you know, it takes persistence period. So you might as well get used to it. Because if you have this goal, and you want to break in, if you you know, everyone's not everyone works on a big feature right away. I mean, you know, everyone has their little bitty steps, that they brought them where they are. So I know that this one, this one assistant that, who's now working for this big editor, wrote many letters. And the editor was busy, because he was working on big features. He said, I can't get to you right now. But I will just stay in touch. And it is that persistence, because people are busy people have things that are going on, but people notice if you are persistent, and that's points in your favor, so that you know, even though it's harder, in a way, it's its own test.

Zack Arnold 36:16

And I yes. And I think that the the components that are really important to understand as a caveat, everything you said is correct. But the persistence also has to come with patience. Because if you're not patient and you're incessantly bothering them, well, then you can turn them off and turn them away. It's like, Listen, I'm busy, I get it. I know you want to connect, you got to you got to be willing to kind of play on my schedule a little bit. Those that aren't willing to, I'm probably not willing to give the back and forth. My first two editing mentors were dodi Dorn and Walter mirch. That didn't happen by accident. And it certainly didn't happen overnight. One of them took a year one of them took multiple years. But I was able to make those connections now Dodie, and I have a reciprocal mentor mentee relationship. We're now she reaches out to me all the time and says, Oh, I'm doing this with my health in the standing desk. And so I'm her like fitness and health mentor, and she's my editing and industry mentor. And it was the same thing with Walter where I reached out to him after I had read. What was it like, nose behind the scene. That was the one that got me. I mean, obviously it had read in the blink of an eye and the conversations, but the one I really related to is behind the scene, which is all about workflow and nitty gritty and all the stuff that I really enjoy. And I just continually but politely reached out to him until we finally connected and I started to talk to him about the standing desk and how he inspired me. And then we ended up doing a just short of two hour podcast interview, talking about work and health and life in the industry and all that other stuff. But it takes a long time. And so many people feel like I sent the email, I didn't get a response. They just don't want to help me. And you got to play the long game with this. Exactly. Yeah. So I want to go back to this idea of choices. We talked about this at the beginning and making choices. And as a parent myself, I had to make the choice fairly early in my career where I realized the trajectory that I was on hoping to be the next Walter Murch someday work on the big films, when all the Oscars, I think a lot of people have that image. I just had my first son. And I was looking at these two things. And I said, I can't be a good father, at this time, and also pursue this path with the amount of time that it's going to require of me, it doesn't mean that over the course of my career, it's not possible. But I kept thinking to myself, I only get one chance to be around my kids, when they're this young and they're growing, there's always going to be another film. So let's go all the way back to when you are just a single mom, just starting your career, and realizing this is really the only shot that I have. And there were a lot of choices that you had to make throughout that process. Because I have a lot of clients that come to me that are female, that have children that have said, I can't work in scripted. There's just no way I'm going to be able to work nobody can figure it out. And I know that you have so let's talk about a lot of the deeper emotions and choices that happen just beyond the the stuff in the industry. My sincerest apologies for the interruption in the middle of this interview. But if you are a content creator or you work in the entertainment industry, not only is the following promo not an interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life because collaborating with Evercast is that powerful. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with ever cast co founders, Brad Thomas and award winning editor Roger Barton

Roger 39:29

Living this lifestyle of a feature film editor has really had an impact on me. So I was really looking for something to push back against all of these lifestyle infringement that are imposed on us both by schedules and expectations. When you guys demoed ever cast for me that first night my jaw hit the floor. I'm like, Oh my god, this is what I've been waiting for for a decade.

Brad 39:53

I also had the same reaction when I first saw Evercast two words came to mind game changer. Our goal honestly is to become this for creatives, whatever it is, you're streaming, whether it's editorial, visual effects, Pro Tools for music composition, LIVE SHOT cameras, it's consistent audio and video, lip sync, always stays in sync, whether you're in a live session where you're getting that feedback immediately, or you can't get it immediately. So you record the session and you can share those clips with people on the production team where there's no room for any confusion. It's like this is exactly what the director wants.

Roger 40:24

This is exactly what the producer wants. What matters most to me is it makes the entire process more efficient, which then translates to us as creatives who spend way too much time in front of computers, we get to shut it down, and we get to go spend time with our friends and family.

Zack Arnold 40:38

The biggest complaint and I'm sure you guys have heard this many, many times, this looks amazing. I just can't afford it. Tesla had to release the Model S before they released the model three. So by the end of the year, we are going to be releasing a sub $200 version a month of efficacy for the freelancer and indie creatives. Anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood

Roger 41:00

I think what we've learned over the last few months is that this technology can translate to better lives for all of us. They give us more flexibility and control while still maintaining the creativity, the creative momentum and the quality of work.

Zack Arnold 41:14

I cannot stress this enough Evercast is changing the way that we collaborate. If you value your craft your well being and spending quality time with the ones you love, ever cast now makes that possible for you and me to listen to the full interview and learn about the amazing potential that ever cast has to change the way that you work and live is to optimize yourself that means slash ever cast. Now back to today's interview.

Farrel Levy 41:39

Well, I do think that one of the changes that I have, as I said I was I was lucky that that I worked with people. And I say lucky because I did have one job in that period where I really needed to work. And this is going to happen to everybody you are going to you, you can't control everything. And sometimes you just need to work and I didn't totally get the job. It turned out to be the most horrendous job, I was literal. Luckily, my parents were able to take my daughter, but I was literally working 27 hours at a time, I was making great money. But it was it was just a horrible, horrible schedule, you know, where there'd be many days when I would be working really round the clock and I wouldn't be able to come home. And like I said, our support system is really, really critical. For some people. That's That's hard. But I do think that if you if you're a woman, and you have a supportive husband, who is has the flexibility in his schedule, or if you have parents around, or if you have a great babysitter, that that that is really critical. But this one job just really confirmed to me that what was more important, what was the top, I was glad that I made the money, I was able to buy a house off of the money that I made as an assistant on that job. However, when I think about a lot of the films, and look, we all need to work this this is a great industry. But there are a lot of films out there that are television shows that in the long run, you know, the the content or whatever are not that great. And what's the what is the balance? You know, is it more important for me to work on something that and work long hours to SAP my energy not be able to be with family? Just to kind of work on something? What does it mean? Or can I work on something that, um, this is when I started when I came to LA I was intending to be a feature editor because that's kind of where I had come from in in New York. And I started working on free things. And because even though I did Dirty Dancing credit, I think it had to do with the fact that I was a woman Actually, I was wasn't taken quite as seriously. So I pretty much had to start all over again thinking dailies and doing doing little editing jobs. But I finally got a break with Steven bochco. And at that very time, I had the choice between a low budget feature and working for Steven bochco. And I, I just I love Steven bochco. I love his television shows. And I'd heard that he was very loyal, which meant potentially longer range work. So I gave up the feature job, and I took the job at bochco. And not only did it turn out that these guys all had families, and all kind of work their families into their lives. But I learned like, oh, television schedules are a lot different than feature schedules. There's a there was a certain regularity to them. I always like to be great to be a teacher know that you have the summers off. And suddenly like I'm working in an environment where because the show got repeated, I had a summer off and I very was careful with my budgeting I've just decided I'm not going to find a job during the summertime, I'm going to be with my family. And not only that, but the the people that I was working for, were very supportive of having families. So I realized that like, I was in a good situation, I wasn't working on a feature. But I was working on a show that I that I love to that people love that had meaning. And I was able to have that balance, which was keeping me sane. And I did have colleagues on the show that would leave because they were working on a successful show. And they maybe they got a feature. And that was it was their launching point. But for me, personally, I felt like I have that balance that I need, I'm able to have my family, I sent I then had another child, I'm working on a job that I love. And I wrote it out to the very, very end. And I thought I'm taking a chance, I don't know, you know, I'm not building up a lot of credits over the course that 15 years. And I was like with that one company, they did offer me a lot of opportunities, including directing, which was, which was fantastic.

And but I took a chance that my career would still be able to be viable. And that, again, was a choice. But it was it made me happy, I did not feel burned out, I did not feel like I didn't have time for my family and and I felt like a whole person. And that was what confirmed that that was a direction that I wanted to take. So from then on, then I, I did actually have lots of opportunities after that, because I've worked with so many people in light, and I had a reputation of but when I had these choices, I also turned things down. If I thought it was going to take too many hours, or work, I didn't really want to work during the summertime even though jobs seemed interesting, I turned it down and turning down jobs is scary. Because you want to make sure that you have another one. But I you just have to trust that it's going to happen. If you're worried, and you do a good job, I said I have to focus on doing the best job I can because when I turn the job down, I want to know that my reputation is intact. So I think that that's the other risk. It's risky, you have to be willing to turn stuff down in order to maintain the that the family balance.

Zack Arnold 47:26

Well, it's risky. And it's uncomfortable coming back this idea of like always seeking comfort versus being willing to embrace the discomfort. It's risky. And I think that one of the the most one of the most common words that I find is synonymous with people that say that they chronically experienced burnout, because I've worked with people to deal with is over and over and over. burnout is always connected to the word Yes. I constantly say yes, over and over and over. Why don't you just say no, logically, it makes sense. They're like, because I can't, why not? Because I'm afraid, afraid of what, I'm never going to work again, I'm not going to be able to pay my bills, there's there's no level of preparation, there's no safety net, that gives them the freedom to make those choices. And not having those choices is what leads to burnout. And you told me offline, you've also alluded to here that there were some pretty big projects that came your way during those summer hiatuses. And I'm wondering, are there any that came about? You're like, oh, man, I could have had my name on that

Farrel Levy 48:26

I have. And I think you know, I think it's a both and, you know, I think there's just never like I'm going to say there's always like, well, I could have had this or I could have done that. Yes, there's that. But bottom line, I really feel comfortable in the choices that I make. And and that's that's just, you have to live with that. And if it's not living with it with regret, constant regret, I don't, you know, I don't live with regret. It's kind of a nice, you know, nice to know that that potentially could have happened and would have been fun working on certain jobs and certain jobs would have have a certain prestige and whatever. But I really will never regret choices that I made for my family. Because if love is the ultimate thing that counts, you know, if that's what you're going to go to the grave with. And I really believe that, you know, you can still have some great jobs and some great professional relationships. It's there's there's lots down the pike. And so you know those opportunities, yeah, they happen. But there are other things that happen too. And there's Oh, there's always other opportunities. I don't regret those choices.

Zack Arnold 49:40

And I'm guessing there's never a point where you say Oh, in hindsight, I would totally give up all this time with my daughter just to have that one credit in the money. No,

Farrel Levy 49:49

No, I wouldn't. And you know, as a result, maybe I don't have some of those some of the sexy credits that that might have looked better, but I I'm a happy person. I'm a happy person. And I think that it's easier now for for women to, to have the support. Not that I didn't have support, but I seem at look, I think it's great that women and moms are taking on these big jobs or taking on, you know, big action feet features. Just they're they're much more in the, in the editing population than they were before. But I know myself, I've always felt that television, that the the hours and the regularity offered me a much more controlled lifestyle. And I know I'm happily I some of my former male students have come to me and said, You know, I just worked as an assistant on this big feature, and it was so great. And I was out of town, I'm so glad that I worked on it. But I'm thinking of having a family now, and I don't know how I'm gonna do that. And, and I, I say, look, you know, with Netflix and all these television platforms, it's the landscape has changed, there's some pretty great things going on in the television world, and often much more character driven much more, with much more story and interesting things going on. So consider television, and don't think of yourself as less than if you're, if you're doing that, you know, you can be proud of the work that you did, and also proud that you

Zack Arnold 51:35

had a good life. So I have one student, she knows who she is, she's listening, she's probably already cringing, like, Oh, my God, I can't believe is going to talk about this. I'm not going to use her name, but she knows who she is. She's a successful editor. But she is terrified of making the jump into scripted, because she's also a really good mom. And she doesn't think that she can do both. Well, if she wanted to edit the next Star Wars film, I say that's probably going to be a challenge. But she's feeling the same amount of weight and guilt and pressure, about making the transition into scripted. And again, this is somebody at a high level that's doing what she's doing. But there's this underlying fear that I don't think I can be a good mom, and I can edit scripted television and make the transition.

Farrel Levy 52:22

What would you say are the things that one of the things that I say to anybody, but particularly people with parent with kids, is I think they, you know, granted, initially, you can always choose your jobs. But if you have any way of choosing your job, I would really vet the people that you're working with, whether it's firstly editor, that they understand your situation that they are simpatico, and that if you have to take your child to a doctor's appointment, they're going to be cool with that I think more and more people are, I think that a post production supervisor that understands that and understands family is and understands people's needs, that is very important to, um, and certainly, you know, directors, producers, um, if you know, initially, I would say for one thing, yes, television is much more, much more of a compatible situation with Parenthood. But I think her next step would be to also start talking to people, once jobs are available, and and finally finding out if something comes up does this seem like it'll be family friendly, or friendly to someone that has that is a parent. And maybe initially, you turn that down. But when you do find an editor, who understands and has and is willing to, you know, to work with you as a parent, because you can, it's not that difficult, then you go for it. But I do think that if there's a certain extra level of research, that a working parent, particularly I even say it as an editor, but particularly as an assistant that you should do to protect yourself and to make the experience as workable as possible, given your situation. Because, as I said, in our careers there, we're always going to have a few really, really difficult challenging situations, but you want to try to set things up at least initially, that to be to be friendly to parenting.

Zack Arnold 54:26

I would agree with all of that. And just to clarify one thing, she is actually an editor, and she's even at the eighth level editor, just not in the scripted world. So there's already a lot of experience. So I think replace the word editor with showrunner or director or EP, and it's going to be the same conversation. But this is something that I talked about in a podcast extensively. I don't remember the exact episode number we'll put it in the shownotes but how I got my job on Cobra Kai, I talked about how to identify the show I said I would love to cut the show, but only if it aligns with my lifestyle needs. My biggest Fear What? And when I discovered it at the time, it was a season one YouTube show, I didn't have a whole lot of competition. Now it's the biggest show on Netflix, and everybody's watching it and talking about it. But two, three years ago, it was like, Oh, it's that weird Karate Kid thing on YouTube. Yeah, whatever. But as soon as I saw it, I said, This is my dream job, but only if I can still be a parent. If these guys are tyrants, and it's nights, and it's weekends, and it's, I've got a meeting, and I'm not gonna be able to come into the edit bay until 10pm. So not worth it got to meet my lifestyle needs, the only way to find out is I went into my interview, and it became their interview. Sure, I talked about my process and everything else, but it was more, what's your process? What are the expectations? When do you expect me to be there? And they all said, we've got kids, we want to be out the door. I'm like, Oh, my God, this is it. But you have to ask those questions and put yourself out there. So what are your criteria? What is it? What's the difference between? Yes, I can make this work versus Nope, this is a deal breaker,

Farrel Levy 55:58

what one of my big criteria is I always ask, where's the cutting room. And if it's near my house, that is a, that is really, really helpful, because let's face it commuting time, it can can take hours out of your time with your family, if it's near the house, if that's that's big points. But then the other. The other thing is, I too, will check out what do you anticipate long hours on the show all and, you know, because I have a family. And not only, you know, they'll be honest, where they try to be sometimes they they hedge on that. But you try to get a vibe on the our situation. And then you also, I think you also like you said, if people like we have families, too, we totally get it, then you feel much, much more supported. And it's a much more. And honestly, as I started to say earlier, this is a relatively new phenomenon, you know, having show runners that have families and for whom family is important, too. That was not the case for for so many years. And now you have a lot of women that want to change the culture in their cutting room, women show runners who themselves have kids. And that is a big plus. But I recently had a had a job interview with someone. And again, it wasn't about the show, the interview just became about the vibe, and that by the end of the interview, I thought to myself, I like this guy so much. I just I just want to work with him. And so I think if you can, if you get that kind of very, and the job work worked out, and it turned out to be a great job. But if you can get that kind of vibe going. And someone's you sense, like, I don't think this is going to be right. And that becomes difficult. Because if you feel if you get the sense that they might want you but this is not going to work out for your situation, that becomes one of those things well, do I say yes? Or do I stick with my guns and knowing that this could be make me and everybody else around me unhappy. But then sometimes, you know, the other thing I say is that if you don't get a job, everyone wants to ace the interview. But if you don't get the interview, I always say you know what it was just as well. It was meant to be because most likely, I've heard you say this before, it's like a marriage, you know, and every every relationship that you're on and with within within with the show is one where you feel like you can you can get along or you can just agree but you can, you could it's longer term. So if that marriage isn't gonna work out just just to see it as a good thing,

Zack Arnold 58:37

boy. And it's funny because you bring up the term marriage, and we're talking about marriage and kids, you wouldn't want to get into a marriage or somebody but not expressed beforehand. I want a family, I don't want a family or you create well, that clearly that marriage isn't going to work. But it requires the communication beforehand. And if that communication doesn't happen, well, then things fall apart. And I feel if those expectations are not clearly communicated at the interview stage, everybody eventually is going to be in a world of hurt in one way or another. But there's one other component of this that I want to dig into a little bit deeper that I think is so important, especially for the the mom that's listening to this right now. You alluded to this very early in the interview. But you said one of the first things I'll say to them in the interview is well, I'm a mom and family is important to me. But there are a lot of people very, very scared to say that because as soon as they come out of the closet, like you said they might not get the job. Do you feel that there's ever been a portion in your career where you outdid yourself, so to speak, and you didn't get the job specifically, because of that. Is that fear warranted?

Farrel Levy 59:39

Oh, well, I think that, you know, early in my career, it was much more of a No, no, uh, I think now it's more accepted. And I would hope that if you see and there is a possibility, you might not get the job. And that's why I said that earlier. I said, if you don't get the job, it's probably for the best because We have all been on jobs where we have been totally miserable. And it can take not only a toll on the family, but it can take a physical toll on your health, physical and mental toll. So I feel that if you do put it out there, and you're not, yes, it's discrimination on their part, but at the same time, it probably for the best. Because and let's face it, there are jobs where people are working crazy long hours. And people do it. And people with families do it. And if you have the support system, and it's okay with you, great. I'm not, you know, saying you shouldn't do that. But if that's not what you want, then then I feel like if in that interview, they feel that this is not going to work out. It's really for the best.

Zack Arnold 1:00:51

Yeah, I mean, it's it's twofold. You're right, number one, how dare they pitch, this shouldn't be a reality, you shouldn't get turned down or pushed away just because you're a parent. That's the reality that we live in. Some people are just going to do that. And there's just this anger and resentment, like how dare I not be looked at because of my skills or my experience? It's, I'm labeled as a parent. But at the end of the day, even though that does suck, and it shouldn't be that way. It's kind of a blessing in disguise. Do you want to work with somebody in the room for 16 hours a day for eight months, that's just gonna push you away and discriminate against you. Like, that's just not cool. And there's, there's a lot more to the politics of, we need to do something more about it and reduce the discrimination. But at the end of the day, if it's just you personally, like good riddance, thank God, that didn't happen. Right? I think that that's really, really important to recognize that it wasn't an opportunity. You thought it was an opportunity, but it wasn't. And I know that you've had many, many students, I'm sure you've coached them through many interviews in situations like this. And I'll, I'll share a tip that I often give people that are students of mine, and you might have additional ones. But a very common question when an opportunity comes along is how much are they going to pay? The question I always ask is, what is the cost of taking this job? That's what I asked first, what's the cost of working on a show like Cobra Kai, the cost isn't going to be in my car for two to three hours a day? The cost is I'm probably going to miss some bedtimes. I might even miss a spring singer to there the whole list of things. But then I asked myself, is it worth the benefits? Short term long term? And I realize the benefits outweigh the costs, but there have been a lot of jobs where people would did would smack me upside the head. How could you have ever said no to that? Because it costs too much. I mean, it costs too much. What does that even mean? But I'm always looking at the cost of taking an opportunity. And I feel so few people do that.

Farrel Levy 1:02:37

Yeah, I don't frame it that way. I'll frame it in terms of costs. But certainly, yes, I mean, that is caught as a parent that constantly runs through my head. It's not just an automatic, like, work. There's, there's so many other considerations. And I think that for the, for the, for our future health as a civilization, I mean, I know, you know, in line with your petition to the to the industry, I know, this is a very This is a business. And it's a very successful business. And but at the same time, I think as workers in this business, if we can push that, push that rock just a little bit further in the direction of healthy lifestyles, in terms of family. And in terms of lifestyle, too. I mean, you also want to have a little bit of time to be healthy yourself. You don't want to have a little bit of time to exercise you want to have a little bit of time for for for that kind of thing as well. I think that I feel it's it's a it's a Bigger, Longer, longer goal. It's it's how are we going to for our kids and their kids? What kind of message Are we going to send to them, which is, you know, work is important. And I say to my two daughters, I'm so glad that you both have worked that engage you and that it's it's not just a job for you as I have felt all along that editing. But at the same time, let's you know, not it's not the be all and end all it's empty if we don't have love and family and relationships in

Zack Arnold 1:04:10

our lives. Yeah, I'm right there with you clearly, because you and I are we're preaching to the same choir. And when we talk about cost, the final thing I want to say about this is everybody says the same thing. Being healthy cost money, it's expensive. If I want to be healthy, that means I have to the one of the costs is time I have to sleep more. I have to exercise more organic foods are healthier than cheap foods. Eating you know, high quality meats is more expensive than having dinty more beef stew and Doritos, which by the way, was what I used to eat for dinner when I had no money. So I've been there. I understand what that's like. The only thing that the cost more than being healthy now is the cost that you're going to pay for it later. So you can either pay for your health now or you can pay for it later when it's going to be way more expensive. And you're so far down the line, that it's almost reversible. So when it comes to all these Things, yes, there is a cost that comes with it. But you're gonna have to pay for it at some point. So why not pay for it now and get the higher quality of life out of it? That's, that's those are my two cents.

Farrel Levy 1:05:09

Well, but if you're in terms of kids, too, there's really certain note paying for it later. I mean, I think that you either like Enjoy your kids as they're growing up, or you go, what happened? Mm hmm. I miss that.

Zack Arnold 1:05:18

And I've heard, I've heard people that have said before, and I've heard it secondhand. But their rationale is, man, my kids are going to have an amazing college fund. My thinking is, I bet they'd love to have a parent.

Farrel Levy 1:05:30

Yeah, I mean, I that's, that's the other thing in terms of cost. I have, specifically a, I keep my, my lifestyle is relatively simple. I had don't have to have all the bells and whistles and all the stuff. Because I mean, even though I, you know, are were comfortable. I don't drive a fancy car. I don't you know, I don't have two homes, I don't, you know, there's a lot of things that I don't have. Because it was more important for me to live on a little less, and have that time. And that's a choice you make too. But I personally feel that it's been a good choice for me, you know, not necessarily having all the money, the most money ever, but having the time

Zack Arnold 1:06:15

I know this is a subject you're very passionate about. I am too we could talk about this for hours and hours and hours. I don't know how we've gotten to the point where we did already. I want to be respectful of your time. But is there anything else that we haven't talked about? Or that I haven't asked? That's really important for you to share? Before we go today?

Farrel Levy 1:06:30

Well, one thing I just want to again, I talked about how times are different now than when I remember when I was you know, when my kids were little, I would seek out other working mothers? And I'd say how do you do it? What schools do you go to? You know, how are you? How do you manage childcare? And I was recently at a women's a committee form with the union. And what, what what I noticed was that people are still asking those questions. But there's so many more people, and there's so many more Facebook groups and and online groups, and so much so many more avenues for whether it's just support groups, but people so many more people in that situation. And I think that, you know, the more working parents we and whether it be men and women who care about that balance we have in our union, the better it's going to be for all of us. So I I'm really glad that people are are having kids, people are building these support groups and, and keep on fighting for that for that balance. It's it's, it's a great thing.

Zack Arnold 1:07:38

Well, it goes back to everything we talked about near the beginning, it's all about the fact that you are not doing this alone. There are a lot of other people out there that can help you do this. You can seek the guidance, seek the mentorship, seek the support groups, in anybody wanting to connect with you, because you've just totally inspired them to figure all this out, reach out, how would somebody contact you

Unknown Speaker 1:08:00

by email,

Zack Arnold 1:08:00

don't worry, you're not going to get 150 or 200 emails. But I know that there's one or two that this could absolutely change their life, they're going to reach out to you, they're going to say the you know, all the things we've talked about here. And my hope is they can provide value to you, you can provide value to them. But I want to make sure people feel like, Oh, that was great. Wow, do I find her and she's too big. And I don't know if I can connect with her. And I'm just embarrassed. I don't want to bother her. I want to eliminate that barrier for everybody listening right now.

Farrel Levy 1:08:27

Well, I just hope that you know, that people, you know, when you're working mom, or working Dad, you know, it can be it can be difficult. And I just want to I want to I hope that I can provide encouragement in that department.

Zack Arnold 1:08:41

I have no doubt that you can provide encouragement. And then some this has been a tremendous pleasure. For me, I've learned several amazing new insights. I'm hoping that everybody else that has listened is learning things as well. It means a lot to me that you were able to come on the call today and provide your time and your expertise. So thank you so much for being here today.

Farrel Levy 1:09:00

Thank you Zack as a working parent, I'm happy

Zack Arnold 1:09:02

to represent my sincerest apologies for this brief interruption. But if you are a creative professional who spends long hours at your desk, and you are searching for a simple and affordable solution to optimize both your energy and your focus, not only is the following promo, not an interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with airgo driven co founder and CEO Kit Perkins, the creator of the Topo Mat who's here today to talk about his newest product, New Standard Whole Protein.

Kit Perkins 1:09:35

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Zack Arnold 1:09:54

and you don't have to think about it. When people think of protein powders. They think well I don't want to get big and bulky and that's the not what this is about. To me, this is about repair. So a big part of what we're talking

Kit Perkins 1:10:03

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

Zack Arnold 1:10:35

Well, my goal is that for anybody that is a creative professional like myself that's stuck in front of a computer. Number one, they're doing it standing on a table mat. Number two, they've got a glass of new standard protein next to them so they can just fuel their body fuel their brain. So you and I, my friend, one edit station at a time are going to change the world

Unknown Speaker 1:10:53

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Zack Arnold 1:11:08

If you're looking for a simple and affordable way to stay energetic, focused and alleviate the chronic aches and pains that come from living at your computer. I recommend new standard hole protein because it's sourced from high quality ingredients that I trust and it tastes great. to place your first order visit optimize yourself.me slash new standard and use the code optimize for 50% off your first order. 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 optimize yourself. That means slash podcast and a special thanks to our sponsors ever cast and arrow driven for making today's interview possible. To learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame. And to get your real time demo of ever cast in action, visit optimizer chef.me slash ever cast and to learn more about Ergodriven and their brand new product that I'm super excited about New Standard whole protein visit optimize yourself.me/new standard. If you are inspired by today's interview, and you would like to up your networking game so you can get the attention of the right people who can help open the right doors that lead you to a more fulfilling and rewarding career path. But your outreach email game is a bit weak. Well, then I invite you to download my Insider's Guide to writing great outreach emails. In this extensive and free by the way guide, I'm going to teach you why cold outreach is the most important soft skill that you must develop if you want to advance your career, which is important now more than ever that we are all stuck at home and cannot network in person. I will also show you the five most common mistakes that people make when writing their outreach messages. And I will bet that you've made at least one of these yourself in the past. And then finally I'm going to break down step by step in a simple to follow checklist how you can structure an amazing outreach message that is going to provide value to your recipients help you build a lasting relationship instead of feeling like you're just bothering this person and actually get a response to your outreach. So you can then seek advice, connect with a potential mentor, set up lunch meetings and possibly even land your next gig. If you would like to download this brand new guide for free. Just visit optimize yourself.me/email guide and that's all one word, no dashes slash email guy. Thank you for listening. Stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.

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Guest Bio:

farrel-levy-bio

Farrel Levy

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Farrel Jane Levy ACE was trained as an artist at Cooper Union. She has made a career as a film and television editor. She got her editing break on “Dirty Dancing.” She worked all 12 seasons on the multiple Emmy award winning television show, “NYPD Blue” where she was able to learn from television legends Steven Bochco and David Milch. She became NYPD Blue’s supervising editor and she helped create its distinctive editing style. Farrel was also given the opportunity to direct 3 episodes. She then went on to edit “Criminal Minds” for several seasons. Pilots she edited include “Brooklyn South” and “Blind Justice” for Milch and for Bochco; “Melrose Place,” “The Defenders,” and “The Unit” with Academy award winning director, David Guggenheim, and writers Shawn Ryan and David Mamet; and “Person of Interest” written by Jonathan Nolan. She worked on fan fave “Damages,” and edited all 5 seasons on another fan fave, “Nashville.” From there worked on the Netflix show, “The Society.” Features she has edited include “Across the Tracks,” starring a young Brad Pitt, “Ernest Goes to Jail,” “Confessions of a Sexist Pig,” and “Primal Fear,” and “Evan’s Crime.”

Farrel taught editing at The American Film Institute for over 20 years. In addition, Farrel is a founder and the lead editor of Look What SHE Did!, an organization with the mission of inspiring women and girls to greatness by bringing to light stories of remarkable women who changed the world. Look What SHE Did! creates short films and events featuring female storytellers celebrating women who inspire them. She is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, where she is active on the Women’s Committee, the Director’s Guild and the American Cinema Editors. She is the mother of two daughters who never cease to make her proud.

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 (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, and the creator of the Optimize Yourself program. He helps ambitious creative professionals and entrepreneurs DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time, your energy, and your creativity so you can produce higher quality work in less time (and ultimately become a productivity ninja). “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people, things, and passions in your life…all without sacrificing your health (or sanity) in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”