No matter the rung of the ladder you happen to be on in the entertainment industry, making it in Hollywood is no easy feat. And with how our world is evolving post-pandemic, you might think it will be nearly impossible to maintain any sort of work-life balance for our foreseeable future, especially if you’re fortunate enough to reach the top rung of the ladder like today’s guest.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to not only survive but thrive while working on giant tent pole films like The Avengers series, Captain America: Civil War and Iron Man 3, or a multitude of other blockbusters, then this conversation is going to give you the inside look you’ve been waiting for. Award-winning editor Jeffrey Ford, ACE has made his career working with big name directors like Michael Mann, Joss Whedon, Anthony & Joe Russo, and Joe Johnston, and he does not sugar coat the reality that editing these films is an all-consuming endeavor.
In today’s interview with Jeffrey (which was originally recorded a few years ago back in the ‘Fitness In Post’ days), he does share with us his secrets and routines for maintaining his health and family life without succumbing to bad habits and burnout. We dive deep into the methods he uses to stay energetic and creative despite the long hours, specifically maintaining consistent movement throughout his workday. He also talks about the immense importance of keeping his team rested and refreshed so they too can be productive and creative while still meeting the demanding and intense work schedules on huge tentpole films. While the conversation might not be brand new, the topics we discuss are as relevant as ever.
If setting boundaries and maintaining some semblance of sanity in our post-pandemic world is a priority for you, after listening I highly recommend following up this episode with my interview with producer Janace Tashjian where we discuss the importance of setting boundaries, advocating for yourself, and asking for help.
Want to Hear More Episodes Like This One?
Here’s What You’ll Learn:
- The story of how Jeff began his film career after graduating from USC film school and getting his first job as an apprentice editor with director James Gray and editor Dorian Harris
- What film school taught him about teamwork and making connections with people in the industry.
- The struggles he endured through years of unemployment, only working 5 days a month while making films on his own to hone his craft.
- His humility still leaves him surprised and enthused that people continue to let him cut their films.
- The extreme focus necessary to edit the film, Public Enemies with Michael Mann, and the demanding schedule and hours he endured.
- Jeff believes that the longer you sit in front of your screen without moving, the more it inhibits your objectivity and relationship with your audience.
- Why he makes time for 3 to 4 movement breaks throughout the day.
- The reason his standing desk has been an enormous benefit to his creativity and mental fortitude.
- The scheduling fix they use on the Marvel movies to avoid burnout and ensure everyone stays healthy and happy.
- The importance of having a work environment that provides daylight, space, and amenities to maintain health and well being.
- Self-assertion and setting boundaries must be built into your routine due to the competitive and intense nature of the business.
- On Jeff’s team, taking care of yourself is looked upon as a strength rather than a weakness.
- KEY TAKE AWAY #1: Keep perspective about the job by understanding that your family is your most important support system to keep you going.
- KEY TAKE AWAY #2: Staying in shape physically is directly connected to your mental well being which is connected to your success.
- KEY TAKE AWAY #3: Divide the workload between more people working shorter hours to stay creative and productive.
Useful Resources Mentioned:
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 Oh gee, 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 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, no matter the rung of the ladder that you happen to be on right now in the entertainment industry, making it in Hollywood is no easy feat. And with how our world is evolving post pandemic, you might think it's gonna be nearly impossible to maintain any sort of work life balance for our foreseeable future, especially if you're fortunate enough to reach the top rung of the ladder like today's guest. Well, if you've ever wondered what it takes to not only survive, but thrive while working on giant tentpole films, like the Avengers series or Captain America Civil War Iron Man three or a multitude of other blockbusters, then this conversation is going to give you the inside look that you have been waiting for. award winning editor Jeffrey Ford member of Ace has made his career working with big name directors like Michael Mann, Joss Whedon, Anthony and Joe Russo and Joe Johnston, and he does not sugarcoat the reality that editing these films is an all consuming endeavor. In today's interview with Jeffrey, which, by the way was originally recorded a few years ago way back in the fitness and post days. He shares with us his secrets and routines for maintaining his health and family life without succumbing to bad habits and burnout. We dive deep into the methods that he uses to stay energetic and creative despite the long hours, specifically maintaining consistent movement throughout his workday. He also talks about the immense importance of keeping his team rested and refreshed so they too can be productive and creative while still meeting the demanding and intense work schedules on huge tentpole films. While the conversation might not be brand new, the topics we discuss are as relevant as ever. If setting boundaries and maintaining some semblance of sanity in our post pandemic world is a priority for you. After listening to this interview, I highly recommend that you follow up this episode with my recent interview with producer Janice tashjian, where we discuss the importance of setting boundaries, advocating for yourself and asking for help and you can find that one and optimize yourself.me slash Episode 113 113. Now if today's interview inspires you to take the next step towards a more fulfilling career path that not only aligns you with projects that you are passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance, and especially if you would like support mentorship and community to help you turn those goals into a reality. Well, then you and I need to talk because early September I am opening Fall Enrollment for my optimizer coaching and mentorship program. It sounds like you might be the perfect fit. Over the last three years I have now worked with well over 100 students and I have seen stunning transformations. But the biggest obstacle for most of you has been that the program was just too expensive or require too much time. Luckily, those are no longer problems because I've made the program a lot more affordable and a lot less time intensive for those who have busy lives, but still need an extra push to make whatever the next major transition is in your life. If you would like to learn more and get on the waitlist to be the first to have access to the application when it becomes available, please visit optimize yourself.me slash optimizer. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with editor Jeffrey Ford, which is made possible today by our amazing sponsors ever cast and airgo driven who are going to be featured a little bit later in today's episode 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 slash podcast.
Jeffrey Ford 5:04
I'm here today with Jeff Ford. And if you're not familiar with Jeff Ford, he has worked on some very tiny, obscure films you probably never heard of. So I'm going to list a few of them off. Captain America Civil War, the Avengers Age of Ultron. Captain America The Winter Soldier, Iron Man 3, the original Avengers. These are all just these little tiny, obscure movies that I'm sure nobody in my audience has any interest in knowing how they're put together. So Jeff, it is such an immense pleasure to finally have you on the other end of my microphone today. Well, thank you. I'm very happy and honored to be here. Thank you for having me. Yeah, absolutely. So you and I met earlier this summer at edit fest. And I was really inspired by listening to you talk about your approach to editing kind of the the things that really inspired you to become an editor in the first place like a lot of times you just get the sense that there are these editors that are doing these giant tentpole movies and they're just kind of You know, in their their black dark edit case, but you just use, at least for me, and I don't want to speak for other people, but you just get the sense that they're so far out of reach. But then you hear them talking, you meet them, you're like, oh, like, you're just a guy, like you've got kids and you're just a guy. And like, that's really encouraging. So where I want to start, is I just want to get a sense of your trajectory and how you came up through the Film Editing pipeline, because the first question inevitably that almost anybody will ask you on a panel or in an event is, well, how did you get your start? How did you break in so I just kind of want to get that conversation out of the way and then we'll really start to get into more than nuts and bolts your philosophy of editing what's inspired you and so on? Oh, sure. Well, I, I went to USC film school, I've always wanted to make movies. I started making movies when I was in fourth grade and they were actually Spider Man movies that my mom made me a costume. So I've kind of been doing the same job since I was in fourth grade if you look at it that way, and I always wanted to make films and after high school, I knew I want to go to film school and I was inspired by the Lucas and Spielberg and a lot of those filmmakers, I graduated in high school 1986. So it was right in the prime time of when Spielberg and Lucas were making their blockbusters. So I went to USC film school because that's where everybody went, who wanted to make, you know, big Hollywood films and had a great reputation. And I had a fantastic time there. And I met a lot of incredible people, and made a lot of good friends had a lot of great teachers and learned a lot about filmmaking. It was a great, great experience. And when I got out, I had, you know, years of unemployment, struggling trying to find work. And I met a fella named James gray, who's now one of our very finest filmmakers in America and a huge hit in Europe as well. Great filmmaker, he's made such films as we on the night, the immigrant and he's got a movie called the lost city of z coming out next year, which I hear is fantastic. Anyway, James and I were pals in school, and when we got out he got a deal to make an independent film in New York City and said you've got to come along and work on it. So he hired me as an apprentice editor because I didn't have any credits. I didn't have any had didn't have much of a resume, but I'd worked a lot of editing work in film, school in My work knew I would be an asset and believed in me enough to, you know, bring me along. And he was the director. I was just the apprentice, but I got to spend time with him as we did dailies and his and with the editor, Dorian Harris was a great editor worked with her as they were putting the movie together. So I really learned it was my first feature experience and got me into the business. And then I got the hours to get into the union. I began working as an apprentice setter, and was lucky enough to get on a really great crew with editor Richard Marx, who's one of my heroes, edited Apocalypse Now and the Godfather Part Two and a lot of other incredible films. And I got onto his crew so I was able to work for him for a few years as an assistant and learned a ton and then I was ready to do my first feature was James again, who gave me my shot. We stayed friends and worked closely together, reading each other's writing and collaborating on on ideas. And when he was ready for him to make his next feature, he asked me to edit it, and that was my first feature is a film called The yards with Mark Wahlberg and yet Joaquin Phoenix, and Charlize Theron. And it ended Being in competition it can so it was nominated for a palm d'Or and then has kind of off and running after that I had thanks to James who gave me You know, my shot I was I was in the business and I was working as a professional editor I had good credits as an assistant and and I just did each job after that has been being in the right place at the right time meeting the right people and try not to not to blow it but that's how I got my break. There's You know, a lot more to it than that, obviously, but but it was really the the generosity of a person that I met in film school that got me in the door. Now, to clarify, you're actually from Los Angeles, born and raised correct.
Jeffery Ford 9:33
Oh, no, actually, I was. I was born in Nevada, which is Northern California. Then, when I was a kid, my family moved around a lot. We moved kind of every year for a while my dad had a job where he sort of supervise the construction of ice arenas and these different municipal city governments. He was a big hockey fan hockey player and but he also was a manager and would build these ice arenas, and then they'd finished them, get them up and running and then move on into another one. So we moved around a lot until I was about in fourth grade, at which point we settled in Portland, Oregon. So I went to Middle School in high school in Portland. And then in 86, I moved down to LA and it blew through ever since although spend time all over the country and in New York and a little bit in Europe working on films, but I, I've lived in LA since 1986. Okay, so what I was trying to ignite for some reason I must have heard that on a panel and gotten you mixed up with, you know, somebody else. So I apologize for that. And I'm glad that you brought that up. Because it sounds like you come from a very much blue collar background, hard work, building things like it sounds like that's kind of the theme of kind of your upbringing as far as I'm moving. Well, again, also, I mean, you know, I sometimes speak at USC and I sometimes speak at edit Fest, and, and a lot of times, he said, we talked about how we got into the business. One of the things that was significant for me and that I like to share is that I really didn't have any connections to anybody in the film industry. I didn't know anybody in Hollywood or, you know, my parents didn't know any producers, or entertainment lawyers or studio executives. We just didn't we didn't live here and I wasn't I wasn't from here. And that's why this film school was so important. It put me into a group of people that had the didn't know those people. That did have connections that allowed me to, to enter this sort of weird closed society by by learning the trade and getting my skills but also meeting other people who were from the industry and also who had better ability to navigate it. So I like to share with everybody you know, it's not breaking into the film as it seems difficult from the outside, but you can actually walk right in the front door with all your friends if you meet the right people and, and work together because filmmaking is very collaborative. It's not something you do by yourself. Film Editing is not a solitary pursuit at all. It's always a team effort. And being able to be a leader and a follower on a team are crucial skills for for making the film. It's not unlike being on a sports team. If you're playing on a team, everybody's got to be great at what they do and be able to, you know, subordinate their ego for the greater good to get the project done. And, and movies are filled with moments of extreme ego, but they're also filled with moments where everyone pulls together and works to zeeman and make something great and that's really the theme of Our work at Marvel. It's a very much a group effort at that studio.
Zack Arnold 12:03
Yeah. And I think it's really important to emphasize the you came out here having absolutely zero contacts because I did the exact same thing, where I grew up on a cattle farm in northern Wisconsin in a town of 400 people and that town was 30 miles away from my house. So yeah, we lived in Janesville for a year. You did not. Yeah, I did. Oh, my God. Well, my parents lived in Middleton for years. And I lived in Waukesha for 10 years. And then I lived in Eau Claire. I had no idea where that connection so yeah, we lived in Mankato, Minnesota, too, for a year. Oh, my God. Wow. Speaking of random tangents on the podcast, we'll definitely have to talk more about that. Because Yeah, born and raised, Midwestern boy here. There you go. Well, what I now want to go to next is the area that when people talk about their journey kind of becomes like an ellipses in half of a sentence. And that is, well, you know, I struggled for a few years and then I did this and then I met this person. And to me that struggle is where you are forged and where you learn So many of the lessons that end up helping you become who you are, especially if you become successful, because people just see the quote unquote, overnight success and they say, Oh, well, you work on the biggest movies on the planet, but they don't realize that you like everybody else went through a struggle. So I just want to get a little bit of a picture of what it looked like during that time when you're saying that you couldn't break in you couldn't meet people and you're unemployed because just about everybody I talked to goes through that I'd like five years of that before I kind of broke through and got into a list TV show. So talk a little bit about your struggle during that period. Well, when
Jeffrey Ford 13:33
I got out of school, school is intense, you're making films all the time and so you're busy and it occupies all your mind and you're using your skills to make movies install story problems, and edit and do sound and all those things. So it's like this It's exactly like school was exactly like what I'm doing now at Marvel except, you know, you're paying them to allow you to do it and then when I got out, it's you know, it's a different thing because all sudden you have to find a way to make a living and support yourself and and get by At the same time, you still want to pursue your dream. And for me, the thing that kept me going was I was, I was fortunate to have some skills. I was a camera system and I knew how to load and I knew to pull focus and I could build a camera. This was on the film days, so it was before video or for digital. So we were shooting on film and you needed someone to load it, you need someone to unload it, you need someone to pull focus because you wouldn't see it, you know, the playback until the next day to know if it was in focus. So it was it was a tough job and a specialized skill that I picked up during film school. And I was fortunate to have a couple of friends who worked in commercials and promos shooting film. And so I worked for those cinematographers as an assistant cameraman for a while on commercials, and it was hard work. But I could work four or five days a month and be able to cover my meager expenses because I had a very cheap apartment in Los Angeles and I had not a lot of expenses. If you're working on a movie set you can usually eat for free that day and and so I didn't have a high cost of living and at the time didn't have a family. So I was able to really work for, you know, four or five days a month. And then and then stretch the rest of that and allow that time to be when I would write. And I wrote screenplays and worked with friends on their scripts. And we spent a lot of time talking about movies, going to movies, discussing movies, thinking about movies, we wanted to make writing them. And it's really that process of trying it, and trying and trying sometimes we'd also, you know, go out and shoot, I made a short film, I had friends who did spec commercials. We just were always trying to make films. my contemporaries that time were people like James gray, like I said, and Matt Reeves, who's a, who's a great director directing a war the Planet of the Apes right now. You know, people like that. And we were, you know, we were all Brian Burke, who's also was a good friend. He works with JJ Abrams, those guys, you know, and I would, you know, we spent years after school, just trying to make films and in some cases, you know, people got breaks and started making them and that's sort of when we all were able to, you know, see that see the path but I think a lot of it is finding a way to keep yourself going While you're pursuing what you love, so like I said, even if I wasn't getting paid for it, I was working on writing a script, or I was working on an outline for an idea. And I was on set because I was working as a camera system. So I was always sort of there. There's never a point at which I was, you know, I felt like I wanted to give it up because it was just even even that small amount of experience in the film business was enough to, you know, keep me keep me excited and interested. And I also want to say struggle. I mean, I guess I didn't need much I didn't need a lot of money to live in. I certainly wasn't struggling by some standards. I wasn't, you know, there are people who have really difficult times, you know, getting through life. And for me, it was, it wasn't that difficult in terms of the day to day, it was really about finding your way and getting involved on a professional level took some time because you needed that point at which you had enough contacts that someone will give you a break plus you needed the experience to get you the job and keep you in the job because if you take a job and you don't know what you're doing, you're not going to keep it very long. So you have to have enough experience to bluff your way through the first job and then pretty much, you know, if you love it and you and you're into, you know, it just one thing feeds on another so it doesn't take long after you get into the loop of working professionally to keep going. I found but that initial break is something you have to be not only ready for, but you have to be looking for at all times. Yeah, and I've been bluffing my way for I think it's been about 14 years now. So I can definitely relate to that. I still, I still I still can't believe that they're letting me do it. So when I get it, you know, at Marvel every day, it's like, well, this is um, this is sort of ridiculous that I get to do this. It's, it seems like someone's gonna come in and go, Hey, you know what, we figured this all out? You weren't supposed to be here. You need to go home now. But that hasn't happened yet.
Zack Arnold 17:40
Yeah. Well, it's funny because there are two things that I really want to kind of highlight in that that last little bit. The first of which is this idea that even when you weren't getting paid even when you weren't working, you were still doing it. And a lot of times when people say to me or they come to me and they're like listen, I just want to do anything. I just want to be a filmmaker and I can't figure it out and I don't know which which ladder Should I quit. Because I have a whole two part series that I did with Norman Holland, who I'm sure you know, well, former editing track at USC, we do a two hour podcast all about figuring out how to create the right direction in your career, what steps to take, and he talks about making sure that you're putting your hands on the right rung of the ladder, like is it the right ladder at all? And the first question I always ask is, well, what are you doing on the weekends when nobody's paying you? Like, what do you What's your passion? What's the thing that you're you're doing, even if nobody is watching, and if it is writing, and it is editing, and you know, doing YouTube videos, whatever it is, then just find a way to get paid for that. And then you're not really going to be working for a living, you're going to be doing these giant films and you're gonna say, I can't believe they're paying me to sit here right now. Like
Jeffrey Ford 18:41
they're crazy. The benefit is that it's something that I am passionate about, and I really enjoy it. It allows me to focus energies in a way that is very healthy for me. It allows me to channel my energies into something that I think is constructive and sometimes can be profound and beautiful and help people you know, understand the world or feel better about the world or, you know, it's a way to express yourself. It's not and I feel feel good about what I'm doing. So I feel like the time spent is important, but there's a level of chasing something when you're making a movie that's really kind of interesting and fun. It's not always something that you can, there's an element of elusiveness to making a film that happens every time and, you know, even if you are successful, you want to do it again to see you know how far you can push it. I mean, is it? Can you find another movie in the footage? Can you get there again, not because you're trying to beat the last one. But in fact, it's like you're so surprised the last one worked at all that that you want to try and see if we can do it again. Because the Chase is far more interesting than the result. I mean, I mean, I don't really look back on the films that I've done so much as as want to start another one. There's a there's a degree of once it's finished, it's the experience is also finished and you want to you want to have it again as opposed to not looking back and reliving it. So I think it's a crash It's also this strange vision quest that you can undertake. And it's also it's limited. The other thing I find fascinating about making films is it's limited. In other words, you have a short time, and you have to make it and when you're done, you're done. It's not going to go on forever. So there's a very, there's a very real sense of, at some point, that you know, you have to give it to the world, and it won't be yours anymore. So that time that you have with it is significant, and it stays burned in your head. Well, speaking of visionquest, if anybody out there is, you know, into great at sports films, visionquest best sports movie of all time. Speaking of tangents, but one thing that I wanted to add to that just this idea of, you know, trying to constantly feed the sense of I want to look for the next thing. As my audience knows, I totally geek out on neuroscience, like I've, I'm very interested in the filmmaking process, but I'm really interested in at the neural level, like really understanding human psychology, emotional psychology, like knowing how the human brain is going to react to certain things, and I usually look at it from the viewpoint of the viewer, but it's interesting that we're kind of Getting into the sense of what the process is like for the editor. And I've recently discovered in some of my neural research that everybody's heard of dopamine and dopamine is kind of the you know, the, the pleasure neurotransmitter. It's all about addiction, the dopamine hits the dopamine hits. But one thing I recently found is that dopamine is not so much the pleasure neurotransmitter, but it's actually about seeking, which is why you can get stuck in your Facebook feed, because you're always looking for the next thing, right? Really, when you're trying to work as a filmmaker, and especially as an editor, you're always looking for what's the next edit that can make this better? What's the next choice of music that's going to ramp this up to the next level? So I think that's why it's so hard to just say, well, it's now 6:30pm. So it's time for me to go home and see my family because your brain is constantly seeking that next choice. Yes. And I think the other thing that happens it's a little bit like gambling in that you might be able to improve something but you could also destroy it by improving it if you do it wrong. So there's a level of do I stay or do I put another bet down or do I? Is this where I hold or is this do i is it well worth trying to risk this. And sometimes you can make the risks in a safe way. And as the time gets shorter and shorter, you do tend to take risks that can be a little bit more dangerous. I think there's a level of excitement there too. It's like having a chance to test it and show it to an audience is also very exciting because it's safe, you can always go back and fix it, but at a certain point those those things and then you and then you get the thrill of going to see it with an audience and you just hope that you've made all the right decisions. But I do think there's a there's a thrill seeking element to it. And I and certainly on the some of these films I've done I certainly when I worked I did a picture with Michael Mann called Public Enemies, which I'm very proud of and, and it was a very difficult movie, but I often said that the editing on that was it was more like an extreme sport than editing because you're talking about being focused and functional for 24 hours at a time, no breaks, insanely long sessions with turning notes around returning the movie around preparing for previews, mixing for 24 hours straight. I mean, we did so many crazy long stretches on that movie to push through deadlines that I don't know how any of us survived but it was a really thrilling An intense experience. But it was sort of the extreme end of working in post production and, and I felt like after that I really could handle anything because it conditioned you to be. It's like, you know, when conditioning for a run, if you're doing a long distance run, if you build yourself up to a long distance run, you can kind of run it and then you feel like wow, I can do that. There's a level of that where it connects with your, your mental state, being able to stay focused for long periods. It's, it's, it's kind of you keep trying to push it, and sometimes it's good. Sometimes it leaves you kind of a mess.
Well, that's the perfect segue for where I want to go next. And what the heart of the show is really all about is this idea of finding balance, or just finding tools and techniques and tactics to survive this industry. Because we don't work eight hours a day, sometimes we work 24 hours straight. And fitness is not just about well I have to go to the gym and I need to weigh X number of pounds and have this percentage of body fat like fitness in a creative industry is about how long can Have that laser sharp focus and that mental stamina, and be able to hold my own in the room with Michael Mann sitting on the couch behind me. So let's talk about some of the things that you've learned or that you've kind of incorporated into your routine over the years to start developing this resiliency. So if you're a marathon runner right now, this would be where I'm asking you, well, what's your training routine look like? So what are some of the things that you've done and learn to develop this resiliency? Well, I'll preface this whole conversation by saying that like I think a lot of editors we are both editors can be really good at taking care of themselves and really bad at taking care of themselves. And I think that is sometimes within, you know, weeks of each other and I do feel like, over the years, I've gotten better at it, but I'm far far from mastering it and it pays enormous dividends. I wish I knew how important it was earlier. But I think it's about keeping yourself focused mentally is not just a mental exercise. It really does involve your whole body and awareness of yourself and awareness of yourself. surroundings is critical. And I think the more time you spend in front of a screen and nerd without movement without moving your body without really feeling the world around you, the less the less ability you have to be objective, the less ability, you have to see this from the perspective of the audience. So for me, blindly staring at that screen is a big problem. And I, the first and most basic technique that I use when I'm working is I don't work, you know, completely focused for insane stretches without breaks and, and you have to take a break and clear your mind and get out of the room, at least three or four times a day, minimum, just just go for a walk, take lunch out, go do something else that changes your rhythm and your focus so that when you come back, you can have a degree of objectivity. If you just stare at something and keep hammering at it, you're not going to get very far. So that's on the most basic level is making those breaks and then we can talk further about more extensive and, and structured exercise and fitness regime. You know, regimens for For going, you know, long periods, and those are you know, I've had some success and some some fails with those. But each time it's it's it's helped me in a way that I've learned a little bit more about myself and doing them well I just want to let the audience know that I didn't feed you any of that because anybody that listens to my show regularly knows that that's my mantra. I mean, I have an entire I have an entire online learning course and video library built around the concept of moving throughout the day to increase your focus and your creativity. I swear to God, I didn't tell you any of that. Oh my god, I gotta catch up on some of these. I haven't been able to listen to all this great. So Jeff Ford has just become the brand new poster child for the move yourself program. I mean, it's almost like you stole the copy off of my website. It's creepy, but I swear he knew he knew none of it. 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 in interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life because collaborated with ever cast 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, living this
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Zack Arnold 28:54
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Now back to today's interview.
Jeffrey Ford 29:14
The other thing I did you know, one thing I also want to mention is one of the biggest life changing things for me was about 10 years ago, I invested in a standing desk and now it's sort of become all the rage. I know everybody uses them now but boy, it was a it was a novelty at the time people couldn't believe I had it. It was a raised lower desk and it's been a huge benefit to me because the ability to work standing up I when I started as a film assistant, I always worked at a bench standing up when I sucked dailies and I would we'd reel the dailies with our arms and we'd we'd move them through a synchronizer and your hands were moving your body was moving you're walking from table to table as you were cutting the film and I never realized when I was younger oh my gosh, I'm getting this physical movement. As I'm editing. I'm making something it's felt like I was in a workshop or doing woodworking or something. And then as we got into avid and computer did nonlinear editing, you started to become a person who sat at a desk all day. And when I got the standing desk, I immediately snapped back to being a film assistant where I was standing at a table with rewinds and splicer and I had to manipulate things. And it gave me back the sense of building something at a workbench, which I think is the analogy I like to use for editing. Because even though you're dealing with intellectual conceit, and a lot of esoteric conversations with directors about, you know, this dynamic thing, visual effect, what you're really ultimately doing is you're building something from raw material and the standing desk has been a huge, huge part of my life since then, I can't work without it. Now I've I've when you walk the halls at Marvel, everybody's got one now, not to say that I started the trend, but it became it became important to people to have that ability to be moved, move and be flexible during the day and not just be parked at a desk once again, I swear on my children's lives. You and I talked about three sentences Worth it edit fast. And I said, Hey, Jeff, I'm a big fan of your work. I'd love to have you on my podcast. And you said, sure, that would be great. And you and I exchanged two emails found the time and we got on the microphone. So I swear to God, I'm not feeding you any of this. But the other funny thing is that I have an entire module, a week long educational seminar in my course, all about how to get a height adjustable workstation and how to build your daily routine around a standing desk. So this is just downright crazy now. Well, great minds think alike. They do, right. But I'm so glad to hear that these are the things that you're using to maintain your focus in your sharpness, because one of the things that it this is a realization that I had personally I know that there are many other younger editors that all say, I want to do the Avengers someday, like that's the goal. I'm gonna work on these giant Marvel films, but then they start talking to people or understanding what the lifestyle looks like. And they say, Oh my god, like, I don't know if I could ever actually survive a job like that. So maybe I shouldn't do But the fact that you have these tools and these techniques that are allowing you to stay relatively healthy and more importantly, sharpen focused, that's encouraging to people and I'm trying to provide the whole toolset and all the tactics that you need right in one simple package to say, hey, you want to be able to survive something like Public Enemy or the next Avengers film, here's what you need to do. And if you start doing it, when you're younger, it's a lot easier than when you're 50 years old, and realize that you have type two diabetes, absolutely the case
and i i do think it's important too, that one of the things we learned over the course of several movies at Marvel we used to have, we ran up these insane bills on overtime with the assistance because they were working these crazy hours because the amount of work that had to get through in a in a given day. Well, as we came you know, I have an incredible crew. My team has been with me a lot of them since the first Avengers movie and they're, they're like navy seals, I mean, they can get they can do anything and they do it with incredible precision. And they they you know, do they make mistakes? Yes, but very rarely and the big stuff always gets handled perfectly. There isn't credible crew and that's people like Matt Schmidt, who's my co editor, Robin birdeye, who's our first assistant, Cassie Dixon, who's our second and an incredible group, we learned over the course of several these big big movies, especially during delivery periods towards the end of the hours can get so out of hand, that people can get burned out. And we started doing a very smart thing, which I didn't think would work at first. And it turned out worked. It worked incredibly well if we did a very careful shifting of schedules so that we have covered in the cutting room from very early in the morning till very late at night, sometimes almost 18 to 20 hour a day coverage meaning someone's in the editing room working during that time to handle any emergencies that come up and, and support all the other departments that are working crazy hours as well. But we don't have everybody working those hours we shift it so somebody comes in early and somebody stays late, but not the same person. And if we need somebody on the weekends, we add people and rotate them through because having somebody I mean it's always great to rack up those crazy hours but it also is important that you have the ability to recharge because I don't need I don't need burnout assistance and I can't do it either. I mean, I know my limitations and it's fun to do an all nighter here and there but it turns you into a mess for the next three days so you don't want to mortgage those next three days of creativity just so you can spend up on Stand Up All Night mixing your your movie. So I think balance and and restraint is also critical in in managing any big project but specifically Feature Film Editing under intense deadlines. We you know, we have to shift our schedule so we have time to take care of ourselves.
Zack Arnold 34:28
Well, that was one of the things that was really a revelation for me it added fast just to kind of about how Marvel and how Disney work is there. I don't know if you know him personally, you probably do. But Leon Silverman, who runs I don't know his exact title, but I think you know, he like runs posts for Disney or Marvel. So I apologize if I got the specific title wrong. But he talked about for like five or 10 minutes at edit fast. How devoted and committed he is in his department is to focusing on the livelihood of the creative professionals that are working on these giant 10 Pull films and I was like, Oh my god, there's somebody else out there that actually believes in this stuff the way that I do because I just thought I was Kook. Like when I started this years ago, and I put fitness and post together, everybody said, well, that's an oxymoron. And it's nobody makes that joke anymore. And as soon as I heard Leon Talk, I'm like, Whoa, like, this is really out there. Now, this idea that if you want the best productivity, you don't just push and push and push, like, you're not going to spend $2 million on a racehorse and beat it to death, you're going to feed it well, you're going to make sure that it gets plenty of rest, and you're going to push it when it needs it. But you're also going to allow it to recover. And it sounds like you guys have really figured that out.
Jeffrey Ford 35:37
Well, yeah, I mean, our crews special because we've been together for a long time. So we know we have a great trust and everybody understands everybody else's jobs. It's sort of like you know, I always liked it on Star Trek when they you know, there was a problem and one of the guys who was flying the spaceship had a problem and then you know, Lieutenant or I could run in from the side and jump on and handle the, the controls of the ship. And it was sort of like, Wow, she can she can do his job and he can do her job and they can, they can switch if they need to. I think that kind of teamwork is really important. Like they can take over. If need be everybody kind of can can cross each other's boundaries, including for cutting too. By the way, if I need a seam cut, I can throw it to my assistants and they can help me if I'm behind. So, cross team teamwork, like that's really important. And also, you turn about Leon Silverman, he said, terrific guy, and he designed beautiful new facilities for us at Disney. We've used them on several movies now and I, I just can't thank him enough for keeping in mind what we need when he designs these places. I mean, there's so beautifully done. The common areas are the right size, there's always you know, you need as you need to sink in a refrigerator. So you can, you know, sometimes bring or make your own lunch so you don't have to go to the commissary everyday or go out to eat, which can sometimes be not the most healthy lunch. There's always a lot of light and space so that when you're working in a dark room, you can step out and get some sunlight and get a sense of what time of day it is. You don't lose track. I mean, Leon's designed for post production facilities are among the best thing. See, and the only thing that rivals his designs are that are, you know, are places like Skywalker Ranch, which have been, you know, again designed by people who really understand the need for peace of mind and focus when you're working in a true filmmaker design. So, Leon's editing rooms at Disney are just a pleasure to work in. It's Steve Swofford, who also runs facilities. There's a great guy and he looks after us as well. I mean, everything about that working at Disney is fantastic in terms of that and it does make a huge difference. I mean, there's a gym at Disney you can if you're working can take a break, go work out and come back if you need to. And I think that just having those options it's it's a it's a huge luxury.
Zack Arnold 37:37
Well, I'm glad that you brought up the whole idea of the commissary and having a common area like that has a sink and fridge because I've been to jobs, like for example, sunset Gower. If somebody says, we're going to be doing a pilot of sunset Gower and I'm like, Oh, really like they don't even have a sink. Like I can't even make a smoothie in the afternoon, because I have to go into the bathrooms that were designed in the 1940s. And I can't even like rent. something out. That's a pretty major deciding factor for me now is that I want to make sure I feel good in the afternoon and evening. And if I can't make something on my own, that's not gonna happen. So actually think twice about the job. So I'm like, sunset Gower. Hmm, yeah, no, we've come a long way. When I started on film. I mean, a lot of cutting rooms were in labs, they were in like these dark basement type areas, they were industrial type spaces, there were a lot of really bad lighting. And you'd always have to go in and try to make them a little bit more livable, but they were filled with things like acetone and Sharpies and alcohol swabs and things that were all you know, and light bulbs that burned your hand. I mean, filming was a far more hazardous chemical lab, industrial type job 20 years ago, 25 years ago than it is today. So we've all gotten, you know, a little bit spoiled in that it's moved into the to the super high tech sector, but I do think it's the when you're talking about the extreme ends of things, those little touches, like just simply like light, being able to see the sun in a facility where you're working is it makes it huge. difference. Well, one of the things that I want to bring up there, and I'm gonna do my best to not get on my soapbox, I have a tendency to. But you had mentioned the idea that 20 or 30 years ago, it was way more dangerous because you had the lab and you have the chemicals and you had all these other things and you're totally right. However, I think that the mistake that a lot of people make is they say, Oh, well you know, when I when I have to go get my safety pass, and I do the safety video for the union. They all talk about being on set you've got you know, working in the lightning and how to plug stuff in don't electrocute yourself, and then they kind of joke like, Oh, yeah, so you guys can post if it's cold and make sure you bring a sweater t but what we don't realize is that being sedentary is one of the number one killers of people in our entire society, like the amount of injuries that are caused by and the amount of disease caused by being sedentary is more than some of the most dangerous jobs like being a construction worker farmers like you actually have more injuries and more deaths caused by being sedentary but it's this invisible killer that nobody's paying attention to. So I think that it's so great that you guys are so hyper focused on making sure that you're moving making sure that everybody has desks. And I think that light is a huge component as well, because that's also one of the dangers that we face as editors, is we make this joke like what's the sun? What is that glowing ball in the sky? I've never seen that before. But that is really what drives your body's circadian rhythms. And if you're going to be creative, and you have no sense of circadian rhythm, and you're not sleeping properly, like you said, If you pull an all nighter, you're mortgaging a week's worth of productivity and creativity just because you have that extra six or eight hour push.
Jeffrey Ford 40:34
Yeah, and I think the other thing is I mean look I'm to be perfectly upfront to I spent years doing all the wrong things so I you know, I used to smoke I used to drink I used to do these things like crazy access, but you know, those are stress relievers, and when you're when you're doing intense jobs, you go well, you know what I'm going to I'll get through this all nighter, but go out, have a cigarette every couple hours. And that's a way to like like you said it stimulates the pleasure centers in your brain and gives you It gives you a ride. Concentration it does all these things that give you pleasure and it becomes a habit it gets it gets forced into your, your approach and it's terrible for you obviously for a million reasons but the most insidious is that you don't have to do that to get the rush you can there's there's things that are good for you that you could do to do it and they'll just be just as effective but they have no downside so it's taken it took me years and part of its you know, all of us in post are a little crazy and a whole lot insecure. So you're always worried about am I going to get fired? Am I you know, am I going to as the movie going to be a bomb as people go? I mean remember you're making a product that gets put out there and within 24 hours of it being dropped the you know, you've got 150 reviews of you know, movie critic telling you whether it sucks or not I mean, how many other jobs where you make something Do you get judged like that? I mean, I think like a major league pitchers probably in the same situation where it's like every pitch is getting judged, but it's rough, that stress that can lead you to do terrible things like you know, like smoking, or like having a drink at the end of the day or too many I think I wish I had learned earlier that those aren't necessary. And there's other ways around, you can do things that are just as a little alleviate the stress just as much as the stress isn't going away. If you're working on a big movie, it's going to be there. You just choose how to react to it, I think is the key. Yeah. And that's really the heart of everything that I teach is, you know, everybody keeps thinking, Oh, yeah, well, I'm an exercise when the next hiatus. So I'm just, I'm going to eat this way. But I just need to kind of get through the stretch of the next month. And then I'm going to make these changes. But things are never going to get better from the external world, it's not going to get easier to work and post the hours are not going to get shorter, the jobs are not going to get easier. What you have to do is develop the resiliency because you can get better, but you can't expect the world to change. So all of a sudden you just change with it. That's right. And I do think so you got to think about at the end of the day, the time you spend on yourself is is really going to contribute to your performance and that's going to reflect well on the work that you're doing and everyone will take as much as they Can from you in this business not because they're mean or vicious or evil but because everybody's just pushing as hard as they can. It's a very competitive, very intense over the top dramatic world that that movies are made in. And you I think you have to claim the time for yourself, no one's going to give it to you or encourage you to take it you have to build that into your routine. And as a guy who leads a crew I never once felt I mean I'm if my people in my crew need time, the break they need to go do something for themselves, whether it be exercise or a doctor's appointment, or just because they're fried. We'll figure that out. Nobody gets looked down upon or told boy you're not pulling your weight because they need to take a break. That's that's that's looked on as strength not not weakness in our department.
Zack Arnold 43:47
Yeah. And I'm so glad to hear that. That is the mentality on a film that is so big as something like Captain America or the Avengers, because I think it's so easy for people in this industry that might be just working on a reality show or maybe They're doing, you know, TV spots, or whatever it is. And they're like, Man, you think that this is hard, you should see what the guys in the Avengers are doing. Like we got to push, push, push, and I'm going to work all night. And I don't think they understand that when you get to the super high levels that you like you said, you are looking at these things as strengths, not weaknesses, because you understand it's all about building you up for the marathon, not just the sprint.
Jeffrey Ford 44:23
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, look, you're going to get to the end of the movie, and it's the last three or four weeks of any delivery are going to be brutal and, and you're not going to be able to get to the gym during that period, there's going to be a point where you just can't it's going to beat you because you need to use you're literally working It's a race against time to finish and, and you know, we almost cut it really close every time. So the the end is always gonna be nuts, but there's no reason why when you have the flexibility, you can't take advantage of it. And by the way, we said about reality TV, you know, there's a couple of shows on there that like where the editors on those shows have just as crazy a turnaround. I mean, that show Deadliest Catch is an incredibly edited show and I was talking to, I think it was a an editor. We were talking on a panel at edit fest a couple years ago. And he was talking about how much footage he has. And it's a staggering amount. So we have a tough one because we make the films in a short amount of time with a lot of visual effects. And it's and it's crazy. But boy, those reality shows documentaries, you know, network TV shows a short turnaround, Everywhere you look, everybody's up against it. It's a really a common story about not having enough time and having to make sacrifices to get through the schedules. So it's a very real problem. And it's not going away because our society is sort of accelerating faster. Our solutions have only been simply to divide up the load as best we can among a little bit of a larger crew with less overtime because the cost is the same. In fact, it's lower, and people don't get burned as much what's continually happening with technology is when we got the internet and we all sudden get cell phones and then we get phones that are you know we can type in text and then all of a sudden we have smartphones we keep thinking, Oh man, this is going to completely change my life because I'm gonna have so much more time in my day to really do the things I'm passionate about. It's like, no, you're not, you're just gonna do more things because you can get stuff done faster. But it's not like with all this technology, we're still doing the same amount of work in eight hours, and then we go home earlier, we just are doing more. That's right. And also, with the filmmaking end of things. I mean, it used to be that you had to finish the movies with a negative cutter, cut the negative and splice it together and we can strike an answer, print and go forward. All that stuff disappeared. Now everything can be done, changes can be made right up until the very last moment and, you know, we have to deliver, I don't know, 15 versions of the movie. For every film we finish at Marvel because there's, you know, there's 2d, there's 3d, there's IMAX, IMAX, 3d, two different formats of that there's EDR, there's all these different formats that have to be delivered. So the end push on these films is become something that just never been done before. It's unique to our entertainment experience now because it has to be blasted out to the world instantly in every conceivable format. So the amount of work that happens towards the end of these movies to get all those things done is is is outrageous. And I think all you can do is be prepared for it well, and that's that was the whole idea today like I know that you and I could get into the weeds for hours and hours about the ins and outs of editing a tentpole film. And frankly, I'm probably going to email you the second I hit the stop button and set up a part two just so we can do that. But really today, it was understanding how you can prepare yourself to do a job like this and what that lifestyle actually looks like because you've clearly done a very successfully for a long time. And not only are you still standing, but you still have the energy you still have the creativity you're still doing at a very high level. So you're doing something right. So what I want to do before I lose you because I want to be very respectful of your time is just extracting kind of the some key takeaways from all the things that you've talked about. We've talked about movement and you know a little bit about diets and all these other things, but if somebody's listening now is saying you know, I will Want to do the Avengers eight when it comes out? because inevitably, we're probably going to have the Avengers eight, I don't know where it will be called that that seems to be the way that everything is going, we're going to be at Star Wars Episode 27 by the time I have grandchildren and but if somebody is younger and they're like, that's where I want to be in 10 or 15 years, what do I need to start doing now to make that happen? What are a couple of two or three key pieces of advice that you could give? Well, the number one thing would probably be perspective. And I think if you you have to make sure you understand that your job is important and you in requires an extraordinary amount of your time, especially filmmaking, which is unusual, unusual amount of time, but it's not your whole life. I have a wife and two kids that are very important to me. And I would I wouldn't be able to do this without their support. So a family and the support of your family is probably the number one most significant thing that you want to think about at whatever age you're at. I mean, if you're younger and have kids or if you're older and have kids, it's always going to be or if you're married, you have a partner I mean, whatever your family unit is, if you're not just by yourself then that they're going to be part of your life and require time, that time you're going to want to give to them and it can't your job can't be so all consuming that you can't have that part of your life because that's the emotional and spiritual support that you need in order to keep going. So that's my number one thing would be keep the perspective and don't forget your family. My number two thing would be your physical well being doesn't like you were saying earlier, I think you made a very good point, it doesn't have to be that you are incredibly perfect shape and can run a marathon and, and achieve incredible success with low body fat and all that. But I think you need to stay in shape, you need to stay in a good way. And you need to be not doing crazy stuff like smoking or drinking too much because your physical well being is directly connected to your mental well being which is directly connected to your success as a creative professional. So the number two thing would be to keep yourself in shape, physically and by extension mentally. And then the third thing would be you need to keep into perspective, the amount of hours that you put into any project and understand that you can offset some of that crazy those crazy hours by Having more people work it you can divide the load between more professionals there's always a solution where sometimes it can be more cost effective to actually work fewer people longer hours then or sorry work more people shorter hours then then to try to concentrate all the work on a few people who could get easily burned out because burned out people don't do a great job you got to be got to be fresh and objective about what you're doing. Yeah,
Zack Arnold 50:22
I was gonna have to fight to they're like, Wait a second, fewer people longer hours. I'm not saying that on my show. But yeah, but like yourself.
Jeffrey Ford 50:30
Yeah, versus just you know that because I think a lot of people think oh, my gosh, it's only you know, like, like, I want to have this really tight crew. And we're not going to want to you and we'll just go into ot if we need to do it. Well just assume you're going to be an OT, there's no, you're not going to maybe go into ot you're going to be an OT. It's going to take more than 24 hours labor day to get stuff done. You need more people. And you know what, there's a lot of great people out there that can work as a team. If you can coordinate a team. There's nothing you can't do because you have firepower that way and the end of the day, it's going to cost less. Yeah, that was that's what this is all about. In a couple of minutes, but just as kind of a side note to that one of the most absurd things I've ever heard is when I was on Empire. And we were, you know, trying to figure out the staff for the year and I was asking, Well, you know, what are the assistants may kind of what's their weekly guarantee? What's their overtime and like, we're not budgeting for overtime. And I'm like, Really? You're not budgeting any overtime for assistance on one of the biggest shows on TV, that's a music show. Okay, so you let me know how that works out. And then there was a gigantic, tremendous amount of overtime like, well, we're over budget, it's like, well, maybe if you just planned ahead from day one about what this is actually going to look like when you kind of hit the home stretch. You you understand how this is gonna work a little bit better. Yeah, I think you can. I think you can do that after you have some experience. But again, it's sometimes it's a political thing where people don't want to but they don't want to put the OT in the budget because they consider that an overage but even if it does become an overage, the idea of of keeping your crew fleet and flexible enough to be able to handle that and adding people as needed, the dollars are still going to be there. Same if not less, but you're gonna be not burning people out well I can't ended on a better note than that like you've you've been the the best salesman ever for all the things that I'm trying to do once again swear to God, you and I never talked about any of it, but this has just been like the best endorsement ever. So, on that note, I appreciate it. I just want to thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to share your knowledge, your expertise, and just your your story with my audience. We all very, very much appreciate it. Oh, well, thank you. This has been a lot of fun. I'm so glad you're doing this because I think it's something that people just don't talk about. And I think you're you're hitting on something that's really, really needed and I appreciate it. I'm going to recommend all my friends to listen to your to your podcast. Well that is awesome. I love the endorsement. So thank you so much. All right, take care. Thanks again. 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 like this one. Please visit optimize yourself.me slash podcast and a special thanks to our sponsors, Eric cast an ego 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 an action, visit, optimize yourself.me slash overcast. And to learn more about air go driven and my favorite product for standing workstations the total mat, stick around, they're coming up next. Now if today's interview inspires you to take the next step towards a more fulfilling career path that not only aligns you with projects that you are passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance, and especially if you would like support mentorship and community to help you turn those goals into reality. Well, then you and I need to talk because early September I am opening Fall Enrollment for my optimizer coaching and mentorship program, and it sounds like you might be the perfect fit. Over the last three years I have now worked with well over 100 students and I have seen stunning transformations but the biggest obstacle for most of you has been at the program was just too expensive or require too much time. Luckily, those are no longer problems because I've made the program a lot more affordable and a lot less time intensive for those who have busy lives, but still need an extra push to make whatever the next major transition is in your life. If you would like to learn more and get on the waitlist to be the first to have access to the application when it becomes available, please visit optimize yourself.me slash optimizer. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane. And be well.
Zack Arnold 54:36
This episode was made possible for you by you guessed it airgo driven the creators of the topo mat, my number one recommended product if you're interested in moving more and not having sore feet, your height adjustable or standing workstation. Almost every new person that I meet in this industry starts our conversation with Hey, I got a topo map because of you. It's changed my life. Thank you. Listen, stay desks are only great if you're actually standing well, otherwise you're just fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti fatigue mat. The Toko is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout your day, which helps reduce discomfort and also increases your focus and your productivity. I'm literally standing on one as I read this, and I don't go to a single job without it. And if you're smaller and concerned, the total map might be too big, or you simply don't have the floor space. Well, there's a toboe Mini for that. To learn more visit, optimize yourself.me slash toboe. That's t o p o
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This episode is made possible for you by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone who stands at their workstation. The Topo is super comfortable, an awesome conversation starter, and it’s also scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. Click here to learn more and get your Topo Mat.
JEFFREY FORD, A.C.E. was born in Novato, California. He attended high school in Troutdale, Oregon and graduated from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television in Los Angeles with a degree in Cinema-Television Production. He began his professional filmmaking career in 1994, working as an editorial assistant on James Gray’s debut feature film, “Little Odessa.” He went on to work as an assistant editor on several feature films, including the Academy Award-nominated “As Good as It Gets” for editor Richard Marks and director James L. Brooks.
Ford’s first solo feature as editor was “The Yards” for director James Gray, which premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.
He edited “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” for Harry Shearer, “One Hour Photo” for Mark Romanek, “Hide and Seek” for John Polson, “The Family Stone” for Thomas Bezucha (his work receiving an A.C.E. Eddie nomination) and “Street Kings” for David Ayer. He also edited “Shattered Glass” and “Breach” for director Billy Ray. With Paul Rubell he co-edited “Pubic Enemies” for director Michael Mann. In 2011 he teamed with Bezucha again for “Monte Carlo.”
At Marvel Studios, Ford co-edited “Captain America: The First Avenger” (with Robert Dalva) for director Joe Johnston, “Iron Man Three” (with Peter S. Elliot) for Shane Black and “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (both with Lisa Lassek) for director Joss Whedon. For Joe and Anthony Russo he co-edited (with Matthew Schmidt) “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
In 2019 he returned to work with Thomas Bezucha on “Let Him Go” starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. It is due out in November of 2020.
He just completed the 4-hour Showtime mini-series “The Comey Rule” about the 2016 Presidential election for Billy Ray. It airs in September of 2020.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.
The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).
Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.