Ep172: [CASE STUDY] Landing Your Dream Job Isn’t About “Luck,” It’s About Strategy | with Fabian Corrado & Nick Towle

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From the outside it often looks as if the dominant factor that determines whether someone achieves their careers goals or not is luck (And you all know how I feel about “luck.”) From an insider’s perspective, having helped hundreds of people successfully make career transitions, I believe luck is simply when their hard work intersects with the right opportunity. And this intersection is no accident when you have the right strategy.

One of my favorite aspects of the Optimizer coaching & mentorship community is the relationships that are built when students support each other to pursue work they feel most passionate about. When Optimizer students Nick Towle and Fabian Corrado originally came to me, neither one of them knew each other. But they both knew they were tired of the jobs they had, they felt stuck after trying for years to make a seemingly impossible career change, and they were ready to do anything to get on the right path.

Nick Towle had been an editor in reality tv and transitioned to the scripted world as an assistant editor (AE). He was finding plenty of regular work, and he even had the opportunity to cut in addition to his AE duties, but he couldn’t seem to land his first full-fledged scripted editing gig. Nobody was willing to give him the experience…without already having the experience.

Fabian Corrado was working successfully as an Assistant Editor in the trailer industry but felt unsatisfied and unfulfilled, and he knew he wanted to make the jump to scripted. He worked hard and spent many years climbing his way up the wrong ladder and felt stuck and trapped doing a job he no longer loved.

If you too are struggling to make a career transition, you feel stuck in a dead end career path, or you cringe when you think of networking, this episode will help you get unstuck and think of networking in a whole new light as you learn the strategies that both Nick & Fabian used to land huge career-changing opportunities (and ultimately work together on the same show!).

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Fabian started his career in EPK trailer houses but after 5 years wanted to make the transition to scripted.
  • How Fabian got connected with me and the Optimize Yourself program.
  • Fabian describes what it was like for him to ‘hit the wall’ in trailer editing.
  • Nick was an editor in reality tv and transitioned to scripted television as an assistant editor.
  • Nick talks about what motivated him to look for the Focus Yourself program.
  • Fabian explains the importance of uncovering your purpose and determining what career path is going to be most fulfilling.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Networking strategy is all about planting the right seeds.
  • Fabian was juggling two jobs while trying to do Focus Yourself.
  • Nick balanced raising a 3 year old while working through the program.
  • The story of how Fabian connected with an editor on his dream show.
  • Nick describes how he had to make the psychological switch in his own mind to see himself as an editor.
  • Why Fabian made the decision to walk away from a full-time job to do a 3 week freelance job.
  • The financial component to having the freedom to turn down work that isn’t the right fit.
  • What made Fabian stand out amongst other qualified assistant editors to get his dream job.
  • How important it is to set yourself up for success in a job even if there are knowledge gaps that need to be filled.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t pursue perfect at the expense of good enough.
  • Nick and Fabian’s advice to their younger selves.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Ep62: [CASE STUDY] Transitioning to Scripted Television | with Len Ciccotello

Ep146: [CASE STUDY] From “Out of Ideas” to Becoming an Idea Machine | with Paul Del Vecchio

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Ep159: Overcoming Limiting Beliefs (and Lack of Experience) to Break Into Scripted Television | with Marcella Garcia

Ep134: Leveraging Your Skills to Get Hired (When You Don’t Have the Experience) | with Steve Lang, ACE (pt1)

Ep135: The “Playbook” For Building a Successful Career in Scripted TV | with Steve Lang, ACE (pt2)

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Ep142: Michelle Tesoro (ACE) On Playing Chess With Your Health & Well-Being (Pt2)

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Ep104: How to Keep Working As An Editor (After You’ve Made the Transition From AE) | with Susan Vaill, ACE

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Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold 0:00

Hey there, Zack here super quick before we dive into today's episode, I wanted to let you know that for the next couple of weeks, I'm opening enrollment for the winter semester of my Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship Program. If you are interested in working with me to define a clear path for 2022 No matter if you're interested in becoming a time management ninja, introducing a little more life into your work life balance, increasing your energy and avoiding burnout, or potentially strategizing the next major steps for your creative career. And of course, upping your networking game. I would love to connect and see how I can support you to learn more about the different options for us to work together. Or if you want to schedule a free 30 minute zoom chat so I can learn more about your goals. Simply visit optimizeyourself.me/optimizer enrollment closes Monday, January 17. And applications are reviewed in the order they are received. If you want to procrastinate, hey, you can do that later. All right onto today's show.

My name is Zack Arnold. I'm a Hollywood television editor and producer, a coach and mentor, a father of two, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. And I am here to help creative professionals design a career and a life that you absolutely love without having to sacrifice your health, your relationships, or most importantly, your sanity in the process. Let's dive right in and start designing the optimized version of you. Hello, and welcome to episode 172 of the Optimize Yourself Podcast. It means the world to me that with all the podcast choices that are out there you have chosen to spend your valuable time and energy today with me. I promise the you're not going to regret it after listening to today's show.

From the outside it often looks as if the dominant factor that determines whether somebody achieves their career goals or not is simply luck. And all my regular listeners probably already know how I feel about the four letter word that is locked from an insider's perspective, having helped hundreds of people successfully make career transitions. I believe that luck is simply when hard work intersects with the right opportunity. And this intersection is no accident when you have the right strategy. One of my favorite aspects of my optimizer coaching and mentorship community is the relationships that are built when students support each other to pursue work that they feel the most passionate about. For example, when optimizer students Nick Towle and Fabian Corrado originally came to me, neither one of them knew each other. But they both knew that they were tired of the jobs that they had. They felt stuck after trying for years to make a seemingly impossible career change, and they were ready to do anything to get back on the right path. Nick Towle had been an editor in reality television and he transitioned to the scripted world as an assistant editor. He was finding plenty of regular work, and even had the opportunity to do some cutting in addition to his assistant editor duties, but he couldn't seem to land his first full fledged, scripted editing gig. Nobody was willing to give him the experience without of course already having the experience. And Fabian Corrado was working successfully as an assistant editor in the trailer industry, but he felt unsatisfied and unfulfilled. And he knew that He too wanted to make the jump into scripted content. He worked hard and he spent years climbing his way up the wrong ladder and he felt stuck and trapped, doing a job that he no longer loved. So if you too are struggling to make a career transition, you feel stuck in a dead end career path or you simply cringe when you think of the idea of networking. This episode is going to help you get unstuck and think of networking in a whole new light as you learn the strategies that both Nick and Fabian use to land huge career changing opportunities, and ultimately even work together on the same show. Alright, without further ado, here is my conversation with optimizer members, Fabian Corrado and Nick Towle to access the shownotes for this episode with all the bonus links and resources that we discussed today as well as to subscribe, leave a review and more simply visit optimizeyourself.me/episode172.

I'm here today with distinguished members of the Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship community, Fabian Corrado, and Nick Towle and I'm super excited to share both of your stories today. And how we are going to find out you serendipitously intersected and came to the point where the both of you did not know each other beforehand and since joining this community are now working together. But I'm going to hold that spoiler for later because this is easily one of my favorite stories of the hundreds of students that we have in the program. But before we dive right into the stories, I want to thank both of you for being here today and sharing both of your stories. So thanks so much for being here.

Nick 4:57

You're very welcome.

Zack Arnold 4:58

So we've got a lot to cover. Generally, when I do these student case studies, I like to do it with one student at a time. So I can really dig into their stories. But as I've already alluded to, there's going to be a fun little moment where the two of you came together. And I think it's important to hear both of your stories individually, that I want to talk about all the circumstances that happened for the both of you to come together. And then what I love to do for anybody that's listening is I want them to better understand how you both traverse your journeys. And what the takeaways are that somebody listening can get from those journeys. Because it's one thing to just talk about, Oh, I did this and that and whatever. But it's another for somebody to be listening and say, oh, you know what, that's actually a really good piece of advice, or a good strategy that I wasn't aware of, I'm going to go ahead, and I'm going to run with that so I can get success as well. So I would love shameless shameless plug for anybody listening today, if you're inspired by these stories, I would love to see you in the coaching and mentorship program in the near future. But if for some reason, whether finances time schedule, or otherwise, you can make it I still want you to feel like for the next hour or so you two are a member of the community. And you're going to get some takeaways from this conversation, and you too, can take action and get results. So on that note, we're going to start with one story at a time and just chronologically because he technically has seniority over unic. We're going to start with Fabian so Nick joined the program in February of 2020, which I remember very clearly, because all of my students that I had right when the transition happened to the pandemic have a special place in my heart for all of them. So Nick, I definitely remember that situation, as well as Fabian, you joined in May of 2019. And if I remember correctly, you were in the experimental semester, where I tried to have students in night classes, which, by the way, was a massively failed experiment. But I tried it once. And you're I think only one of five students that ever did a night course with me before I went to all mornings.

Fabian 6:51

I actually prefer the night because it just worked on my schedule better.

Zack Arnold 6:53

Yes. And I've also learned since that you and I are both not morning people. Unfortunately, yeah. So where I would like to start is where you began with the program, or maybe even a little bit before Fabian, because you and I had a couple of random connections, one of which was with a student of this program beforehand, a student named Len Ciccotello, who I believe I also have a case study available for but you came from the trailer world, the short form world, correct, right. So given the you are in the the short form world, give us a little bit of a background about what you were doing at the time. And what originally brought you to the coaching and mentorship community.

Fabian 7:31

Well, I actually started my career in EPK trailer houses, I basically started at the very bottom as a runner, and then just kind of worked my way up from a runner to machine room to assist an editor over about a four and a half, five year period. And then it was at my second company that I was working at. And I got to a point where I just kind of hit a wall. And I wanted to make the jump to scripted television. And I knew that was kind of the plan from before I even started. Like in this industry. I knew like eventually I want to get in scripting and work on TV shows or movies. But I had zero idea of how to make that jump. Because the two once I like kind of started going in the trailer world, I realized the two worlds are very, they don't really crossover. Like it's very hard to make that jump from like the trailer world EPK world over to scripted. Sorry, I remember I was watching I think was Season Two of Cobra Kai. And in my head, something just clicked. I was like, You know what, I'm gonna make a list of all the editors and AES on this, I'm just going to start looking them up and seeing what they did what their background was. And then I remember you know, I got to your name. And then it came, you know, brought a kickback all your programs that you do, like your website popped up. And I was like, Oh, what's this? Like? He runs like a course, teaching people how to actually like make this transition or help people out. So I'm like, okay, so I think I emailed you a few times, because I saw that you were opening the course for like May. So I think I think I actually got impatient sent an email like twice because you hadn't responded. I'm like, I don't want to miss this opportunity. Like this is like I want to get in this course. And then you and I had a few couple zoom, we had a few zoom calls. And then you said that would be a good fit. So then we started working together in May of 2019. And then I think that going through that first course really opened my eyes to how scripted works because I had no idea how scripted works, how to even like break into that at all. So I think that was a game changer for me.

Zack Arnold 9:30

So one thing I'd like to dive into a little bit more before I make the transition to introducing Nick in a little bit more of his journey. You said that you had been in the trailer EP K promo world and for anybody that's not familiar, EP K is just a fancy word for electronic press kit, which is essentially a long string out of all the sound bites and clips that you know all the different press uses on their websites and on the news and whatnot. And you worked in the trailer APK world for a while and I want you to describe a little bit more what you mean by a hit. Oh wall because I think this is a very common place that a lot of people hit, where they're stuck. They hit a wall, and they have no idea how to make the transition. And for you, it just seemed like somebody was telling you what you need to grow forearms, and you're like, what does that even mean? It's so confusing, like, you just came to me like, there are no answers anywhere. And it seems impossible to make the transition. So talk a little bit more about that moment when you really hit the wall. And you had no idea what comes next.

Fabian 10:25

I think, well, I mean, I think I hit the wall really, when like, I kind of saw how that studying that side of the industry works. And I realized I don't want to do this long term. I don't want to build a career cutting home entertainment pieces, or anything like that. And I knew I needed to make the jump, but it was just kind of like, I was stuck in like this cycle where it's like, I'm going to work every day, making the commute into, you know, Hollywood or whatever. And I just, you know, it's just this vicious cycle of like, soundbites B roll trail, you know, working on trailers or whatever. And I knew like, I want to be in scripted. I needed like, like, in my head, I reverse engineered it, where I was like, Okay, well, I want to get in scripted. How do I make that jump? So I figured I got to talk to editors and assistants. And that's what I did my research from Cobra Kai season two. And it was only because that was the show that I was Binging at the time, it could have been whatever show, but it just so happened that you're on that show, when you run this course, I thought, Okay, well, you know, clearly this is going to lead me down a path that is going to help me out because you have all these coaching materials to help people out.

Zack Arnold 11:31

So that I need to say send a thank you note to Google, because apparently it was all done via random Google searches and IMDb and just happen to be in the right place at the right time,

Fabian 11:39

basically, like the stars aligned for us. And like in 2019, for that to work.

Zack Arnold 11:44

Well, we're gonna get into this in a little bit. But this is just barely scratching the surface about the stars aligning, and we're gonna go a lot deeper into all those pieces that we started to connect and all the dots and whatnot, how both of you ended up here, but I don't want to spoil any of that yet. So next step, I want to have a similar conversation with you, Nick. And I want to better understand where you were in your career, because you were in a not the same position but relatively similar position, and that you'd hit a little bit of a wall. And you're kind of sort of stuck, but in a different sector of the industry. So give me in the audience a little bit more background as to where you were when you started the program and why you decided to join.

Nick 12:22

So I to give you a little bit of the backstory, I was an editor in reality TV for a while. And they got to kind of again, sort of hit the wall with their realized that we're the kind of content but we didn't really have a particular passion for so started to spread my wings into other things, and found my way into scripted television, which was where I wanted to be as an assistant, and was able to take the skills that I learned from reality from cutting in reality, to make quite a few opportunities for myself along the way, but wasn't fully able to turn that into a permanent editing position. So I was looking for things that would help me on that journey and speed up the process. And that's how I came upon you. Well, really two, from two different avenues. One was through the fitness and post podcast was out about you

Zack Arnold 13:26

An OG in Fitness in Post.

Nick 13:28

And, and also we move in some of the same circles, Steve Lang and James Kelton and the Burn Notice crew. Also, we're another point of contention. So that's kind of how I found my way.

Zack Arnold 13:41

It's a very, very small incestuous world we all live in. That's the one of the pieces that a lot of people don't quite realize is they feel like it's this big, vast ocean. And it really isn't. It's this tiny, tiny, tiny little body of water. But sometimes you have to look around and realize how similar all the people are that are working in it. And if you don't know the people working in it yet, well, you need to get to know them. That's certainly something we're going to talk about more as we get deeper into this conversation, our networking skills, because that was a big thing for both of you. But the one thing I want to dive into a little bit deeper with you specifically, Nick, is the idea that you are an editor in reality. And then you made this step, quote, unquote, backwards into being an assistant editor in scripted so talk a little bit more about why you made that decision, because a lot of people believe that's the only possible way they can make the transition to scripted is to take a step backwards, which I disagree with. But I think that for some people, it's the right fit. And for some it isn't. So I'm curious why you decided to go that route versus going editing reality to editing scripted,

Nick 14:41

I think it was really because of the opportunities that kind of came my way and the people that I knew I co edited the documentary, and one of the other editors on the project was Andy Sackler, who was the one of the supervising editors of Battlestar Galactica. And so I was talking to him about his background And then experience and he said, Well, I can't get your editing job in scripted, but how do you feel about coming and being my assistant? So, you know, I took that opportunity, and certainly don't regret it. He was an excellent mentor. And we're still in contact and and it's been a really good relationship. But yeah, had an editing opportunity come along, I would have taken it. But the assistant editing was was kind of what presented itself. So I took that.

Zack Arnold 15:28

Well, speaking of very similar to what Fabian had said, this idea of hitting a wall or kind of getting stuck, I know that one of the reasons that you would come to me was you're already deep into being an experienced assistant editor. But then the question comes up, yeah, but how do I convince them I can edit and I'm not quote unquote, just an assistant editor. So talk a little bit more about some of those challenges, because that really confounds a lot of people, they just get stuck there. And they say, I just I don't know how I'm ever going to get in the editor's chair or back into it like you were trying to. So talk a little bit more about being stuck in kind of that limbo,

Nick 16:02

I'm not sure it was so much about being stuck. I just didn't feel myself moving quickly enough. Back into the editing chair, I think that was the thing that sort of galvanized me, I was getting basically a chance to catch on almost every show that I did, which was great, obviously. But it was hard for me to then get an editing position going forward on the show, in part because all of the shows that I worked on, got a castle on the season that I got bumped up on, which was a bit of a shame. But yeah, that's that's sort of how it went down.

Zack Arnold 16:37

And how long were you in assistant editor in scripted television before landing the chair that you have now, which is now being an editor on a full season of a show?

Nick 16:47

Seven years? Yeah, around six, seven years.

Zack Arnold 16:50

All right. So when you say you felt like it wasn't happening fast enough, that's a long time to be an assistant editor, knowing that you had been an editor beforehand, right. And I'm glad that you clarify that because I think some people they have in their mind that Well, I was an editor for so many years. So I'm going to make the transition to being an assistant in scripted. And then they'll come to me and say, Well, I'm getting really frustrated, you know, I've been an assistant editor. And I feel like I want to get back in the editors chair. And I say, Well, how long have you been an assistant, I don't know, it's been like, seven, eight months. Now I'm like, Okay, well, then maybe we need to be patient for a little bit longer, right, because it takes a long time to be able to rebuild relationships in the world of scripted and most importantly, convince the other showrunners, convince the producers convince the studio and the network that you can actually sit in the editing chair. And it takes time to be able to make that happen. But then on the flip side, I'm one of the anomalies. And there are others that are anomalies that spent 0.0 minutes in the assistant chair and make the transition. But that's that's a whole other set of strategies and skills we're not going to go too deep into. But certainly you would put in your time for six or seven years. And it was time for you to make the transition. And there were just circumstances that were precluding you from not making that happen.

Nick 18:02

And I think in some ways, it was the fact that like it kept being dangled in front of me, because I was, you know, getting multiple episodes of shows per year, that helped me not get as frustrated as I might otherwise would have done.

Zack Arnold 18:20

So it was just enough to keep you in the game. It certainly was just enough exactly, which is a blessing and a curse. Because then they can dangle that carrot forever. But you never actually, you know get to make that jump. Yes. All right, so we have a little bit more context about where both of you came from to join the program. And even though you were not in at the exact same time, or in the exact same class, you went through the same course materials. And the way that works for most of my students, not all of them. But most of my students first need to know the plan, they need a path, they say I really don't know what the path looks like, I need to get more organized, I need to make sure that I'm very clear on my goals and my next steps. And I just need to put together a list of what it is that I'm going to prioritize. And both of you do that in my focus yourself small group program. So either of you can answer this but I'll start with Fabian just because he's been quiet for a little while now. Fabian, talk to me a little bit more about why we didn't just do some changes to your resume and change a couple of font sizes and you know, write a template for just kind of blasting everybody with an email and saying, Hey, guys, I want to work in scripted. Why was it that we spent so much time getting you clear on your goals and why you needed to do what you needed to do and how to prioritize? Why did we do that?

Fabian 19:35

Well, I think the first program the thing that sticks out the most is we really like went deep into the why of why even wanted to work in television or scripted television. Right. So I think we spent weeks on that and then once we kind of got that, you know the whole peeling back the onion analogy. I think once we figured out the why, then we could go from there. And then we started putting together like a blueprint for Or how am I going to make this jump to scripted? What kind of TV shows do I want to work on? What kind of people should I be reaching out to? And I remember at the end of that course, it was very much, we started to get into the a little bit into the outreach email part of it, which for me, it was probably my favorite part, because that's really where you can start putting a lot of the a lot of things in motion. Right. And I will say that that first contact that I ever did in 2019, absolutely came back this time to help me get this gig. Right. So at the time, I didn't see it, right, like planting the seed in 2019? Never did I think it would come back the way that it did to help me get something point 21 Like more than two years later,

Zack Arnold 20:43

Well, I will admit that I didn't know it was gonna work out this perfectly. It's I mean, it's when we kind of, you know, once we kind of spoil the surprise, which we'll do momentarily, people are going to realize how ridiculous this is. I didn't think it was going to come together this perfectly. But I knew in 2019 when we were putting the plan together, and we started to figure out, what are the shows I want to go after and who are the people, I knew that first outreach you did would pay off, I just had no idea. I mean, I couldn't have written the story, this good for how it worked out for both of you. But I knew that we were planting that seed. But before we get to the networking side of things, one of the other things that I want to mention about your story specifically, that complicates it a little and why I think the focus yourself program was so necessary, was the fact that you also have a lot of responsibility outside of working in the industry. So do you mind just talking a little bit about that? Because we had to figure out how do we prioritize your time, because you have so little of it to actually put towards advancing your career,

Fabian 21:41

right. So in addition to building my little career, often, you know, trailer houses EBk world where people don't know what they often don't see is after hours, I would work pretty much three to four days a week at my family grocery store. After I got off, work at seven o'clock, head to the store, work till 11pm, drive home, get home at midnight, and then just do it all over again. And then a lot of weekends during bigger holidays, all my time is spent at the store as well. So I think that the two jobs really made it harder for me to be able to my time became a little more precious and a little more valuable when you factor in weekends at the store nights at the store kind of thing. So I think that's also why it took me a little bit longer. Because I just couldn't do things. extra work. I couldn't just go home and write outreach emails for two hours.

Zack Arnold 22:35

Well, the funny thing is in your head, you think that it took a long time. But if we really dig into it, you met me in May of 2019, zero experience in scripted working in the trailer world, and now it's only a little bit more than two years later. And you've essentially landed what was the dream job that you had set out to get way, way back in May of 2019. Even though you didn't know it was the dream job yet, you had started to plant those seeds. And now you're there and to do it, and only two or two and a half years is kind of nothing short of ridiculous. So it feels like it's taking forever at the time. But in hindsight, it you made it happen pretty fast, given the circumstances.

Fabian 23:09

Also, let's take out that six months because it COVID. So yeah, it could, you could argue a little shorter,

Zack Arnold 23:16

You absolutely could. But at the same time you were using that time to its fullest. That was one of the things that I want to talk about with Nick as well. But a lot of people, they just hit the pause button. And they said that my life is just gonna be on pause during COVID. But then there was a small subset of people that said, I know I can't work right now, because There literally is no work. But how do I plant the seeds so that when the floodgates do open and boil the floodgates open, and then some I'm prepared, as opposed to now I'm going to start building those relationships and building those bridges, I will have already built them. And that was one of the things that both of you did. But I want to come back to this idea of time being very precious and limited. And being so inundated with just regular responsibilities, because this is a very similar place that you were in neck when you joined as well. So let's talk a little bit more about your circumstances when you joined focus yourself as far as the time that you had available things that were going on in your life and some of the the benefits that you got from really crafting a clear plan before we delve into all the specifics of networking and actually landing the job.

Nick 24:19

I think for me, I was on some pretty intense shows and as an assistant. And so what I got out of the course, in the suddenly in the early stages was trying to focus on the things that I needed to advance my career. And then I also have family. So I'm also juggling my responsibilities as a father and a husband as well. So it was a pretty full dance card during that time. And as soon as COVID hit, I had to be the full full time stay at home parent because we couldn't get any childcare during that time. So that was keeping me busy. While

Zack Arnold 25:00

while I remember that the headline was always in, you have a young child at home, it wasn't like you've got like, my kids are not 12 and nine. So it's just like, yeah, go make your own lunch, whatever bother me. Don't go bother me later, right? You're not exactly in that position, especially during COVID, where you had to remind me how, how old was your son at the time?

Nick 25:19

He was three at the time. Yeah, so that's pretty tough.

Zack Arnold 25:23

So talk to me a little bit more similar to what Fabian did about what some of the things were that you really focused on, got out of the focus yourself program that then set you up for success. Even if at the time you weren't able to act on it immediately, you were really kind of playing the long game of chess that then paid off to get you where you are now?

Nick 25:42

Well, I think that things two things that were charged with challenging me the most were my tendency to be a procrastinator, which James Kelton, my editor that I've worked with for quite some time, he would always be on at me as well about being a perfect procrastinator. So that that was a big piece of it. And also, I really don't like networking. And the other thing that I found that helped me find my way to you was the networking for introverts panel you did at the editors guild. And as soon as I saw that email coming in, I thought that's the sort of thing I should do. And that's what brought me to the focus yourself class. Yeah. So those are the two things that the class really helped me with. And that I think it helped me further my career.

Zack Arnold 26:32

Alright, well, let's, let's talk a little bit more about how they helped you and how they helped Fabian and I'm just going to latch right on to this idea of I hate networking. As I probably hear this from just about every single person that joins this program, very rarely, if ever have I had somebody to join and said, Well, I do creative work for a living. But what I love to do after hours is meet people. I love going places and meeting people and talking to them. I don't hear that too often. Maybe if I worked in real estate, I would hear that. But I don't hear that too often. And I know that Fabian, you are certainly in a similar category of Dear Lord, do I really have to like put myself out there and talk to people like is that? Do I have to do it? Is there another way? Really?

Fabian 27:13

Yeah, there's definitely that point. I'm very much introvert. I don't want to hear networking, think of like, some event and you're handing out business cards and doing that whole thing. And I think what actually drew me to your second program that I did was networking through email, because I'm like, all about email, I will send emails all day, if I have to. Because you can do that at home, you can write it, you can schedule the email, so you don't have to hit send. Right. So it kind of alleviates that. Like that pressure of like, Alright, I'm gonna hit Send Now you just set it and then forget it. So I think that that second course is definitely a lot more up my alley. I definitely don't consider myself like, an in like a, like, I don't think I would do well in a networking event in person kind of thing. You know, I think I struggle. I think most creatives struggle with that I've very few people in posts that I've met are like, going to networking events or trying to meet people

Zack Arnold 28:13

that that's the there's a reason that we chose our job as a living to sit in a small dark room by ourselves. Because it better suits our personalities, become actors. Yeah, yes, exactly. Or we could become actors and you know, be energized by being in front of lights and set and attention. And we are all the polar opposite of that. But I would argue, and I've seen this happen with many people, and there have been a few anomalies. And you guys can argue against this if you like, but I would argue that part of the reason that you both got so much out of the networking program is because you spent so much time getting very, very clear on your goals first, rather than just diving in and revising resumes and writing email templates. And you know, we spent that full 12 weeks just getting clear on what do you actually want out of life? And how do I better manage my time? Because I've seen a lot of people flounder that have not done that first, where they've tried the networking program. And after a few weeks, they're like, Yeah, I don't know if I'm ready to send outreach emails because I have no idea what I want to do with my life, or I have no idea how to manage my time and I can't get anything done. So I would argue that the focus yourself program lent a lot of the success to you getting so much out of advance yourself so quickly. Would you agree or disagree with that?

Fabian 29:25

I would agree with that. I also, one thing that I think I'm putting me in a unique position is I don't I didn't move here from another state. Right. I was born and raised there all my family's here. So I didn't like take a chance on it. If nothing worked out. I had a family grocery store that I could go back to. So in my head it was this is all I'm doing. And if it takes me till I'm like 39 to do it, then that's how long it takes me but like there is no plan B it's just this is what I want. And I'm just going to do what's necessary to get there. Right. I've worked with people who they've left the industry Because COVID hit, they moved back home and that's it. They're like, I moved down here for five years, they don't work out or go home. And now they're off doing whatever they're going to do. So I think for me, there was never a question of, Do I really want to do this? Or do all the steps or figure out what I want to do? It's, this is what I'm gonna do. It'll fall into place somehow. Right.

Zack Arnold 30:23

And we just we clarified the somehow for you. Right, right. Now, Nick, I would assume by the tambor and tone of your voice and accent, you probably were not born and raised in Los Angeles. Is that correct?

Nick 30:35

That is correct. I'm from the UK, originally, Cambridge in England was where I grew up.

Zack Arnold 30:42

But I'm assuming also that having a family out here, there was no real sense of like, well, if I don't make it happen in three years, I'm just gonna move back to the UK and go back to my old life. And my my guess is you were very settled here as well. And it kind of was, there is no plan B, I just have to figure this out and make it work. Right.

Nick 30:56

Yeah, there's never been a Plan B, for me.

Zack Arnold 30:58

I love it. That's one of my favorite quotes from Arnold Schwarzenegger. But what I want to talk a little bit more about now is networking strategy. That is the reason that you two are on this call together. And why I didn't do these individually. Because I feel that individually as case studies, both of you have very compelling stories you put in the work, you got results. And whatever the goal was that you came to me with either in May of 2019, or February of 2020, you have now you've now accomplished that goal, Nick, you are sitting in the editor's chair, on an entire season of a new series, not a new series, but a new series to you. And Fabian, you're the assistant editor to Nick on that same series, so you both landed exactly where you want to be. So not gonna not gonna totally ruin the story yet. But I want to talk more about networking strategy. So Fabian, once we went through the focus yourself program, and we like you said, peel the onion back, we found the really deep layers of why you want to do what you want to do, what kinds of shows you want to work on, talk a little bit more about how the strategy started to come together. Talk about the shows that you were targeting, and some of the people you targeted in your initial outreach, and how you made all that come together.

Fabian 32:11

Oh, my initial at the time. One of the shows I was watching. I mean, I was watching Of course, Cobra Kai,

Zack Arnold 32:18

of course. What else would you be watching?

Fabian 32:20

What I mean, I think that was roughly the season two that just aired, I think when we started. Right pointing? Yes, yep. Yeah. So I was watching that. And then I was a fan of the Mayans. And then there was a few other shows that were there that I was watching, that were popping up or whatever. But in for me, because I had no experience in scripted, I think the plan was more or less the seeds that I needed to plant, were basically talking to assistant editors, with a similar background as me, either from trailer houses APK, or even reality, little more similar to what I was doing. And then talk to them and see how they made the switch, which was a big help. I talked some great AES who kind of gave me some insight on how they made their transition, which was very helpful. And then the next step up was talking to editors, and seeing what they look for in assistant editors. And trying to get those skill sets in line on my end. So that way, I have an idea of what they need a lot of their assistance. Right? So I think it became very much like, I felt like I was like at the bottom of like, like I was reaching out to pretty close a low level people because it's not it. But it's like, I'm not trying to reach out to show runners and producers, right. I'm trying to reach out to assistants and editors. And I think that approach is what really got me here.

Zack Arnold 33:40

Yeah. And that's a very common mistake that a lot of people make is that they go after the top rung on the ladder, not realizing that they want to go after the people that are a lot more approachable. And as you already alluded to, and we'll talk about with Nick as well. I always say that the number one strategy for you to make any transition is to reach out to the world's foremost experts that are doing now what you want to be doing next. And people would say, Well, what do you mean by an expert. And the way that I define the term expert is very different than many others. So if I, for example, am an assistant janitor at an elementary school, and I want nothing more than to become the head janitor. At that elementary school, the world's foremost experts on my goals is the head janitor at that elementary school. Many people say well, what do you mean a janitor is not an expert, right? Like everybody has this idea of what an expert is. And you know, they're the the world's foremost name on this data. The other thing and an expert is anybody that is doing now what you want to be doing next, and that's who you focused on. So I want to speak to one expert quote unquote, specifically the reached out to very early in the process. And that was an editor that was working on the show what what essentially at the time was like the dream show that you said, Man, if I could work on anything, How amazing would it be to be an assistant editor on the Mayans and see it You reached out to one of the editors on the show, which was home, Hunter VI, who for anybody that doesn't know in addition to being on Mayans MC he won multiple awards for doing the pilot for The Walking Dead and has been on a bunch of other high profile AMC shows. So he's he's what you would call an expert in a lot of different realms. But specifically for you, we considered him an expert to reach out to because he was working on what was essentially your dream show at the time when we listed out what are the the five or 10 shows that would be a dream to work on the Mayans. MC was basically at the top of that list, right?

Fabian 35:34

So my first outreaching middle ever after doing the courses he was to punter by, and he responded in like 12 minutes, and I couldn't believe it. I was like, wow, that got a response like that.

Zack Arnold 35:45

12 minutes, it took that long, maybe we needed to modify your draft.

Fabian 35:50

Yeah, so he was the first person I ever reached out to. And that was like the first seed that I planted. And I didn't know at the time that he would come back two years later to help me out. And then you know, talking to him, and then at the end of playing it, and we actually jumped on a phone call. Towards the end of the year, on December of 2019. He had some downtime, so we jumped on a phone call, and he gave me some some other, you know, some other tips. And he helped me out a little bit, things like that. But he was the first person I reached out to and I talked to him and I asked him some questions about his assistant what he looks for in assistance and things like that. And then I took that, and then I met some other AES that I reached out to and I tried to incorporate what he told me when I would talk to the other AES. And then, you know, as you continue going down this networking outreach email path, you felt like I met a couple AES that worked on the Mayans earlier in the season, season one or two. And it just so happened that they weren't on the show. So I was able to get more info on what it was like working on those shows and what it was like working with those editors, and things like that. So I think in a weird way, like the outreach kept, like the winds was always like circling somehow, right? There's always somebody that I was reaching out to that either worked on it directly or knew somebody who worked on it. So I just felt like it was kind of starting to come together. But I think it was all because of that first seed that I planted with Hunter.

Zack Arnold 37:12

So that having been said random question, Nick, What show are you editing right now and Fabian's your assistant for?

Nick 37:18

Mayans M.C.

Zack Arnold 37:19

Wait, hold on a second. What now? You're working on the Mayans MC doesn't that have to be the number one dream show that you targeted in mid 2019? Fabian, that is the dream show that I targeted? Well, I'm glad that we finally gave away this boiler. Because this has been one of my favorite journeys to watch between the both of you. And I love how all of it came together. But we haven't talked yet about the other important part of this puzzle, which is Nick, how you made the transition from the assistant editors chair to the editors chair on mine. So now let's talk about your journey from going through the focus yourself program getting really organized with my time figuring out how do I really clear this path, then, of course, COVID hits and derails you least for a little bit, cuz you have to go into dad mode. But what was it that you specifically did to get yourself out of the assistant chair into the editor's chair on the minds?

Nick 38:10

So I was basically, you know, trying to cultivate whatever opportunities came my way. And James Kelton, the editor that I was working for a he was offered an opportunity on Mines the previous season, I think, and wasn't available, but kindly recommended me. And at the time, they were like, no, no, thanks very much, but no thanks. But my obviously, they've still remembered me. And then when it came around again, and they reached back out to me. And also I think that, and I don't know this as gospel. Basically, I haven't had a chance to talk to them about how it all came together. But I done another show for FX and the Disney World in the meantime, which had gone well. And so I basically got recommended into the show from multiple kind of sources. So some of the post people that FX as well as another showrunner that I worked with and other editors. So it was one of those sort of all roads were kind of leading to the same point.

Zack Arnold 39:20

Yes. And this is something that we talk about as well, when it comes to networking strategy is that especially when there's an elephant in the room, this is something that we talk about a lot with the outreach emails with resumes, specifically with a job interview. It's identifying the elephant in the room. And for both of you, the elephant in the room was that I have the skills to do the job that I want, but I don't have the experience. And most people are not willing to hire somebody if they don't explicitly have the experience, which then of course, is the catch 22 of well, I need the experience so I can get the experience. And clearly people have been solving this problem for millennia because we all somehow are able to navigate our way. But what I always say is that if you're in that position you need to ask advocates need to essentially do a full frontal assault. So they don't hear Nick's name once they hear it from like four different directions. And they're finally Okay, fine. We'll meet with the guy. If everybody says, I got to meet with them, I'll meet with them. But it's all about surrounding yourself with those relationships. So all the pieces can come together at the right time. What you did for you in this case?

Nick 40:20

Yeah, I mean, I think the first year, my name kind of went into the hat, I have maybe three people speaking up for me, and then was able to sort of double that the second time around. And so they they met with me and the interview went well, so.

Zack Arnold 40:35

So one of the other things that I want to talk about with you specifically, Nick is a little bit different. When it comes to networking strategy with Fabian it was very much boots on the ground. Let's put together a spreadsheet. Let's do IMDb Pro research, let's make a list of people. It's an outreach messages, I'm going to put myself out there, I'm going to learn the skills, I'm going to do calls, and then bam, all of a sudden use the assistant editor on Mayans MC, there was a component with your journey, which is very similar to a lot of people's that's a little bit more esoteric and a little bit more psychological. It's less about who are the people that I need to email? And how do I update my resume? I think for you, and you can correct me if I'm wrong. But for you, there was a component of I need to believe that I'm a scripted editor. So I can get other people to believe that I'm a scripted editor, because you are a reality editor for a while. But I know that we had more than one conversation about making sure that you consider yourself an editor. Otherwise, other people aren't going to consider you an editor. Do you remember some of those conversations?

Nick 41:35

I do? Yeah, that was that was definitely a big part of it. And I'd say the other part of it was also sort of activating my network. That was the other sort of secondary piece of it.

Zack Arnold 41:47

So let's talk about what that means. What do you mean by activating your network,

Nick 41:52

just being a lot more proactive at reaching out to people reminding them that I mentioned, you know, I want to do more editing, reminding them of my skills, and kind of just keeping in touch with them.

Zack Arnold 42:07

And that's one thing, that's an area where I think a lot of people fall short, just because there's so much work nowadays. And the hours are so long that people say well, how do I have time to keep up with anybody. So the first part of it is, I just need to keep up with people and reconnect with them. There's another trap that I feel a lot of people fall into that they don't know how to get out of. And I think you are in a similar position. And I want to know how you got out of it. Is that even when you reactivate your network, how do I convince them that I'm not just an assistant anymore? Because your network all thinks of you as the assistant editor in scripted, but now you need to convince them? No, no, no, no, no, I'm not doing that anymore. Now I'm an editor. So how did you not not only get over the hump of I need to make sure they know I exist. But I also need to convince them hey, I do something else. Now.

Nick 42:55

I think a key piece of it was being willing to turn things down.

Zack Arnold 43:01

Ha, there it is turning things down using What's the magic word. Thanks. Thanks. But no, thanks. The magic word is no. So I'm glad you brought that up continue.

Nick 43:12

So yeah, I mean, I had an opportunity to go back to a show as an assistant editor. I was practically begged by numerous people to go back. And and I saw it as probably not being a particularly good route to editing. So I decided to pass on that and and then got offered some pilots to assist on and again said no, even though they were pretty tempting, and then just kind of held my ground. And that's when their minds opportunity came along.

Zack Arnold 43:50

Isn't it funny how they worked out? Now on a practical level? Did you say no to any of those opportunities directly lead to getting hired as an editor on Mayans? Yes. How? So?

Nick 44:02

Basically, I got offered a FX offered pilot opportunity. And I said no. And a few days later, I heard well, we might have an opportunity for you send me a resume.

Zack Arnold 44:16

So what do you think would have happened if you had just said Yeah, I mean, I really don't want to work on this pilot as an assistant. But I mean, it's just I'll just do it one more time. I'll just say yes, one more time. What would have happened that you think they would have then said, You know what? Yeah, let's get somebody else for Nick, because he'd be much better as an editor on my end. Do you think they would have done that? I suspect not. I don't think that they would have. So at what point did the switch happen in your mind between? Yeah, I want to be an editor but I'm really an assistant and I need to pay the bills. And I need to make sure to say yes to these opportunities. At what point and this is a gut reaction. There's no way to really explain this. But when did the switch happen in your gut where you're like, I just I don't care how good the opportunity is. This isn't what I do anymore. How did you know when that moment hit?

Nick 45:01

I'm not sure there was a particular time when that, that that I can't point to any particular moment where that happened. Yeah, it was just a gradual realization that I should, you know, I should take a pause because I'd been working and work basically 11 months straight. And it was time for a break. And I saw how many opportunities there were out there in terms of so many shows. So it seemed like a good opportunity to strike out for some editing.

Zack Arnold 45:30

Yeah, and I think that a lot of people have experienced that as well, ever since the work started coming back after the pandemic shutdown, where we have never seen this volume of work before. And the prevailing feeling was, well, if I say no to this opportunity, I might not get a phone call for six months. And now the way that it's been, especially for assistant editors, but even for editors as well, if I say no, I might get a phone call this afternoon for another job. So it's been a lot more of a buyers market in that sense. So now talking about this transition in mindset from I just do this one thing to I now want to do this other one, I want to go back to you, Fabian, because we're missing one other key component of your transition that I think is really important. I remember you reaching out to me, I don't remember exactly when it was but it was maybe three, four or five months ago, you had taken on another opportunity at a new trailer company, which totally coincidentally and tangentially was doing the marketing for Cobra Kai, which is the weirdest thing, because all of a sudden, I got this email thread and like you were on I'm like, what, how the hell did Fabian get on this email thread about like elements for the trailers and like, yeah, working at this company. So another one of those weird woowoo small world things. But I remember the what I and I, I'm sure I took a screenshot of this, but I remember the message that you sent, where you're like, I have an opportunity to be a philan to do some visual effects work on a show for just a few weeks. But I'm afraid to leave my trailer job. What do you remember what I told you,

Fabian 47:00

I actually don't remember exactly what he told me. But I remembered what he knew that message. Also going back just a few months, I remember in June of this year, 2021, I was sending messages saying how unhappy I was at the current job that I was at, because they were gonna make us commute with no option for remote option, right, it was gonna be office only. And the commute was like an hour and a half. And in my head there was like this ticking like this ticking time bomb of like, okay, I need to make this transition before I'm forced to commute. And then I'm just going to be even more miserable, because now I have a three hour round trip commute every day. Like I need to do this now. And then it wasn't until like August when I joined your office hours. And I remember I told you for the next four weeks, I'm going to be on these calls. And we're going to make a plan and I'm going to do something I'm going to use that to hold myself accountable week to week to make sure that I'm you know, pushing this thing forward. And then I think it was by the third week, I landed a bt plus show called sacrifice that was actually through Will Smith, who I took your first class with

Zack Arnold 48:09

now that Will Smith by the way, not the who, by the way, just putting it out in the world if the Will Smith is listening, I really want you on my podcast, but this is another Will Smith

Fabian 48:17

is another Will Smith. And it was because of him that I was able to get on that show. And that was like my first credit. And I was like, okay, the door has been slightly open for me. Now I gotta you know, make sure doors keep opening. And that was like a seven week gig. And then that wraps. And then here we are.

Zack Arnold 48:39

Yeah, but the the key component of this very similar to Nick's story that I want to point out, is I always think of the moment from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Indiana has to do the leap of faith. It's in the the final act when he's going through, you know, the cavern and trying to get to the Holy Grail. And there's that moment where he has to do the leap of faith where he just has to walk off and put his leg out. And there's nothing there. And he just needs to hope that something's gonna catch his fall. Everybody goes through that period, once Nick talked about it, where he had multiple pilot offers as an assistant. And as tempting as they were, he said no. And for you, it was the same moment of I have this steady, full time job in a big time trailer company, but I'm unhappy and there's a commute. Or I can just totally walk away from that job and quit. But I've only got what at the time was like three or four weeks of work, it got extended, but at the time was do I want full time job, or do I want to do a philan thing just for a few weeks with absolutely no guarantee of it becoming anything else. Right. And you made the decision to walk away from the full time job and the career you've been doing for years just for a few weeks or freelance work, doing something that wasn't even exactly what you wanted to be doing. But it built relationships and it got you your first credit

Fabian 49:53

they got me my first credit, got me to additional references that were key and helped me get on the Mayans. And it was really, I think it clicked in my head where it was like, okay, if I'm gonna do this, it has to be now. Right. And I set myself up financially to be able to make that jump, which I think is another thing that people don't talk about enough, is you can't just make these jumps without being somewhat financially, okay? If this opportunity came up two years ago, when I was still in the middle of paying off a lot of debt, I probably couldn't have done it. Because I haven't gotten a paycheck in, like two months. So I think there's a financial component that people need to really look at as well, which is, Can I do this financially? Can I go two months without a check? Because you told me, you might go a few weeks on a few filling jobs, and then you might not have worked for a few weeks. And that happened. I haven't, you know, gotten a paycheck in a few weeks, but I'm okay. Because I set myself up for it. I tried to stack the deck in my favor as much as I possibly could.

Zack Arnold 50:54

Yeah, that's a huge component of being able to say no, is having the freedom to say no, without totally shooting yourself in the foot financially. And I have another case study that for anybody listening, if you want to go into this more in depth, I did a full case study with my student, Paul DelVecchio, and I will make sure that we put a link in the show notes to that. But we talk about finances a lot for a program that talks about productivity, and Trello. And time management and outreach emails. We talk a lot about finances, because if your finances are not organized, and in order and in some way shape or form automated, you're never going to have the time or the space to be able to say no to the wrong things. So you can say yes to the right things. So that was yet another component that you put into place. So you had that freedom.

Fabian 51:35

Oh, also one more thing. I actually like, like Nick, I actually had around October in November, I had opportunities to go back to the same type of work that I was doing. Right. But I was I had to tell myself, No, I had to say no, because I knew if I took one of those jobs, and I got used to it, then it's like, well, there's another three, four or five months, and I'm just kicking the can down the road. And I'll never make this jump. So I really said no to any I'd like two or three. I actually interviewed with CBS for like an internal TV trailer promo job, just because I was like, I want to interview just for the experience. But I had that opportunity. And then I had two other opportunities with other companies doing similar work. And I'm like, No, I want to go down the scripted path, I have to say no, and stick to my guns. And I have to you know, eventually, I decided to really like, just know that that right opportunity was gonna come my way at some point.

Zack Arnold 52:28

So speaking of the right opportunity coming your way, at some point, this is going to bring us back full circle to Nick again. So Nick, you got to the point where through many different connections in many different directions, everybody was essentially convincing the people at my ends, you gotta hire Nikki, gotta hire Nikki gotta hire Nick. So you get the job on my ends. But now all of a sudden, you have to fill the gap for your assistant editor. So how in the world did you to finally come together on this call by him becoming your assistant, what was that whole process?

Nick 52:59

I started by reaching out to all of the people who have assisted me before. And of course, all of them were busy. And then I started digging into various, you know, Facebook groups and other friends of mine, who were assistants and sort of reaching out to my network, and everybody was booked. So then I put a message out on the optimizer Slack channel. And that's how I came across Fabian, amongst a number of other other qualified people.

Zack Arnold 53:35

So what I what I think is really important to point out here is that what you didn't do was go to some jobs board or create a public job listing saying editor of Mayans MC seeking qualified assistant editor, all you did was reach out to people that you know, in your circle, correct. So when somebody says, Oh, well, it's all about who, you know? Absolutely. It's all about who you know, because there's no such thing as job listings at the level that we are all working in the industry. But that doesn't mean that you're screwed. It just means you need to get to know people. Because that's how the for anybody that doesn't know how the process works. If they're thinking, Well, how am I ever going to find an assistant editor job in scripted, you have to know people that are in a position like Nick, where they start asking around and saying, Hey, do you know anybody that's available? Do you know anybody that's available? Do you know anybody that's available? It's all about having those connections and being the most recent on their mind. So ultimately, you chose Fabian. And although he's on the call right now, we're going to pretend he's not for a second. I would like to know why Fabian was the best choice given he doesn't really have the experience necessary. Why did you decide to do it anyway?

Nick 54:49

I think the first thing that caught my eye was his resume, which was very nicely laid out. And, you know, I like pretty pictures organized a mess. That kind of event immediately, sort of put him above the people with the terribly, terribly laid out resumes. And obviously, I saw that he didn't have a huge amount of experience on point for scripted. But the message that he sent me kind of spoke to his enthusiasm. And then we started exchanging emails and, and that the enthusiasm thing really kind of really kind of came through. And for me, you know, enthusiasm over experiences is very important. You know, if I have to choose between those two things, enthusiasm counts for a lot. So I interviewed him and a number of other people. And it just seemed to be a really good fit, we got on really well. And, and that was the point where he told me, he was a mind superfan and told me the whole backstory with you, and all of that stuff. So I kind of got comfortable in terms of, you know, what he knew, and what he didn't know, and his willingness to learn what he didn't know. So we haven't really started working together, so my fingers across the silk enough work out. But aside from that,

Zack Arnold 56:17

Well, I specifically schedule it. So I could do this beforehand. So that way, if you fire him after the first week, I can still, you know, just cut that part out of the story. But I'm not worried about any of that. But I guess the other the other component of this that I think is so important for people to understand, specifically those that are in Fabians position is that if you don't have the experience, what you have to get really good at is telling the story that I have the skills. So Fabian, you and I have talked more than once about this hypothetical situation. And Nick, you and I had the exact same conversation I asked all of my students is that want to make the transition? If you got the job tomorrow morning? Do you know enough to not fail your first week? And if the answer is no, that means you have to do skill development before you put yourself out there to get hired on these jobs. Because I've had multiple students, one of whom was also a case study that people can listen to us with Marcela Garcia, one of my students from last semester, another amazing story. But she was offered a job to make the transition to being a scripted assistant editor. And I specifically advised her to say no, she's like, but but this is the one this is the transition. I'm like, You're setting yourself up for failure, because you haven't done scripted yet. And you're coming in on day one, and they want you to do turnovers and balance multiple episodes, and you're coming into the middle of chaos, they're gonna see you don't have the experience yet. And you're going to get a bad recommendation, and you're probably going to get fired. She's like, well, I don't want that. I'm like, No, you want to set yourself up for success. So you have to tell the story that you have the skills to not fail on day one, but be in a position where you're set up to succeed. And Fabian and I, you we both had that conversation where I said listen to it. We were saying it hypothetically at the time. But I said if you got the job on Mayans MC tomorrow, do you feel like you know enough that you're not going to fail, and you have the enthusiasm and the passion to learn the rest of the job? And I'm assuming that your answer to that would still be yes. Because if it's not your employer is on the call with you right now.

Fabian 58:14

The answer would still be yes. Yes.

Zack Arnold 58:17

So you do do you feel that you know, everything you need to know, to get from day one of the show until the end of the season?

Fabian 58:23

I don't feel like I know everything. But I have the skill set to learn everything quick. I think the skill sets, I always kept telling people like friends and family because I was like they were you know, I was talking to them about this transition I'm trying to make. And the analogy I kept using was like, I have this toolbox that has all the tools that I need. It's just learning what tools I need for what part of the job, right? I feel like I have everything I need to know. Now I just got to figure out okay, how do I do this and apply it to turnovers? How do I apply it to grouping dailies and all that stuff? Because I mean, I've been an assistant editor for six and a half years like I haven't, I don't feel like I'm missing anything that I wouldn't need on this show. Right? So it was just a matter of convincing somebody that I that I can do the job. And luckily the opportunity for a show. I think it helps when you have like Nick said enthusiasm for the show. Like I'm an actual fan of the show. I've been watching, you know, I've seen all three seasons and stuff like that. So I think it goes a long way. Because now I'm invested in this season. And knowing that I'm working on it, you want to do the best job possible, right? It's kind of like you with Cobra Kai, like you were probably a fan of karate kid. And now you get to work on this. And you want to put forward the best possible product that you can.

Zack Arnold 59:36

Right. Yeah, exactly. So that As Nick said, and you said the enthusiasm is a huge part of it. There's one other component that I think makes this such a good fit. And this is the piece that nobody ever really thinks about is with all of the tools that you have there are going to be knowledge gaps. They're still going to be there's going to be language translations from people that come from reality or they come from trailers, just terms are different like some people like what's a turnover like Well, that's all I know what I'm finding is I didn't know it's called just stupid stuff like that, right? But the question is, whatever your weaknesses are or your knowledge gaps are, will you be set up for success with a team that can help you fill those gaps? And sometimes you're not. And the reason why I think this is such a good fit, and in other circumstances, if somebody had said, you know, hey, I've heard that, you know, Fabian, he's in your program, would you recommend him? I wouldn't recommend you or anybody else wholeheartedly until I know the circumstances. But when I knew it was Nick, what I'm thinking to myself, and what I'm assuming the producer that also has to approve you is thinking, well, Fabian is going to have some knowledge gaps, there's going to be a few skills that he needs to develop. But guess what, Nick's also been doing the exact same job for the last seven years. So if you have questions, you're not on your own. You just say, Hey, Nick, the producers looking for this one thing, and it's like, oh, yeah, just do this, this and that. So you know that every single knowledge gap that you have right now is going to very easily be filled. Whereas let's say that you were going to be my assistant editor. And I've been through this more than once I tell my assistants, if you haven't worked in TV before, you need a resource to help you fill knowledge gaps, because I'm not it. I don't know how the Assistant Editor job works other than the parts that relate to me. So I can't help you with turnovers or EDL managers or any of that, because I've never been an assistant. So I make sure they have a place to fill those knowledge gaps. But you guys are the perfect fit. Because Nick, you've been doing this at an expert level for years. So you've all you have to do is send a Slack message or knock on the door and your your knowledge gaps are filled. But that's an area that people don't think about too much. So you basically have a giant safety net, whenever you get stuck, and you don't know the answer to something,

Nick 1:01:44

I would also add the fact that you had that the one scripted experience on sacrifice that made you me feel a lot more confident in your abilities. And having talked to those folks that you know, but you, you know, above some of the other resumes that they saw. And likewise, the fact that you talked to Hunter and developed a relationship with him, I was able to use that to also sell you to producers. So there was a lot of serendipity here. there

Fabian 1:02:17

And was also former coworker from one of the companies I was at that's also on the show that also could vouch for me as well. So it's like I had thankfully I had all these people kind of, you know, vouching for me, which was a huge help. You know, when you're trying to get that first, like, you know, from day one scripted show, right?

Zack Arnold 1:02:38

Yep, it's like I was talking about was Nick, that's the full frontal assault. If just one person mentions your name, it's not enough. If 456 People keep saying your name will Alright, fine, I'll pay attention. And maybe we'll give them a shot. I mean, it's how it's how marketing works, right? You see a product once you're probably not interested in it, but then you see a billboard, then you see a Facebook ad, then you see a Google ad, then another friend posts about it on their wall, like, none of that is an accident. It's because we need multiple touch points to be convinced about taking a chance on anything. And people and networking are no different. But that's why we consider this a game of chess, not a game of checkers, you started making those moves at the ponds, two and a half years ago. And now here you are checkmate. So I this is of all the stories from the program. This is certainly in in my top five are certain maybe even higher. I just I love how all these pieces came together just if we call it serendipity. But it wasn't really serendipity or was it just a shit ton of hard work over the course of time and relentlessly taking the steps that were necessary.

Fabian 1:03:39

A lot of it was patients with very little of so because once I rapped on sacrifice, I went, you know, like that, for those first few weeks of unemployment was like, alright, well, now I really gotta start, you know, reaching out to people and put my name out there, you know, I was applying to things on the union job board and opportunities weren't really coming my way. Because I think, you know, don't have the experience, you know, I don't have a ton of credits. And then, you know, I was checking your Slack group, and I was checking the forum or the union job board. And then honestly, when I saw Nick's posting, he didn't say what show it was, I just sent them my info cuz I'm like, I just need to get a job. And I remember it was like, the day I interviewed with him, like an hour or two before he said, Oh, it's the mind, by the way. Focus for the rest of the day. And I was like, this is like, literally my dream opportunity that I've been looking for. I've been wanting to get on this show. Thankfully, I was able to make that work.

Nick 1:04:36

And he's a he's a great resource for me, because when I don't understand something that's happened in previous seasons, I can ask Fabian Yep.

Zack Arnold 1:04:43

So there you go. You can help each other right. I love it. So final question. I'm gonna ask the same question to both of you. What we're going to do this is a fairly new question that I've been asking all of my guests and I love the results that it gets us. We're going to travel back in time, both of you we're going to jump into a time machine So I'm going to start with you, Nick. And then we're going to go to Fabian. So Nick, we're going to travel back in time, to whatever moment makes the most sense whether it's a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, where you've been doing this assistant editor thing for a while. And you're just kind of fed up with it. And you're thinking, I put in my time, I've been an assistant editor for long enough, but I just have no idea how I'm going to make it happen. Or if I can even make it happen. What advice would you give yourself and you were at that point of just I know, I don't want to do this anymore. But I have no idea what comes next. If you could travel back in time and shorten your learning curve, what advice would you give yourself?

Nick 1:05:40

I think I would tell myself to really put energy on a regular basis into networking. And just keeping in touch with, with the various people who are already part of my network. You who I know could move me in the direction of more editing opportunities.

Zack Arnold 1:06:01

I love it networking. Moving on now to you, Fabian, same question. But I want to temper it a little bit more. Because with you, it really was this sense of I have absolutely no clue where to even start, like you were just a poor deer lost in the woods. Like, I know, I don't want to work in trailers. But is it even possible for me to move into scripted like for you, there are so many unknowns. So if you're going to go back in time to that moment where you said, I'm just done with trailers, I don't want to be doing this. But I have no clue where to even start. You jump in a time machine? What advice do you give yourself,

Fabian 1:06:38

maybe would have to be roughly around the time that I found you, because that's really what I played really hit that wall. It was like early playing in timber, I was like, I really want to get out of this. And I think I would probably tell myself then to I think like what Nick said is focus on on the networking, like, even if I didn't know what I was doing outreach, email wise, just start emailing people. Because eventually, someone's going to be nice enough to be like, alright, I'll give you you know, five minutes, you know. So I wish I would have started that process even before I met you. Because then I think it would have been further along for me, and possibly would have made the jump earlier.

Zack Arnold 1:07:16

Do you remember one of the key mindsets that I teach at the very beginning like week one of the program that that would apply to more than any other? Honestly, don't I know, it's been a while since you've gone through the beginning of the program. So it's not a pop quiz. But one of the very first key mindsets that I share with everyone other than you have to play a game of chess and not a game of checkers. But the other really important one is that you cannot always pursue perfect at the expense of good enough. And I think what you just said is the perfect example of it, where a lot of people are saying, well, I mean, I could send an email, but is it the best email ever? No, I know what I'm just I'm gonna hold off until I know that it's absolutely perfect. But if you pursue perfect at the expense of good enough, nothing ever happens, which, frankly, is one of the root causes of procrastination. And I know that Nick is shaking his head right now for anybody that's listening and not watching. Going back to this idea of procrastination, a lot of that comes from some form of perfectionism and fear, does it not show? Yeah. So on that note, I'm very, very glad that I can finally share this story with the world and with the other students in this program, because this has been one of my favorites to watch come together. And like I said, I could not have written it this way. Two years ago, when I had both of you come into the program, if I had written down, this is exactly how I wanted to come together, I would have thought I was crazy. And other people would have thought I was crazy. But yet, here we are. And it just shows that with perseverance and persistence, and really getting the work done, even if it's not perfect, can get you the results that you want to get. So on that note, I want to thank both of you for putting in the time and putting in the energy over the last couple of years to make this happen and inspire others and just thank you for taking the time out today to to chat with me and share your story. So Fabian, and Nick, thank you so much.

Nick 1:08:57

Thank you. Thank you.

Zack Arnold 1:09:02

Thank you for listening to Episode 172 of the Optimize yourself podcast to access the show notes for this episode with all the bonus links and resources discussed today. As well as to subscribe, leave a review and more simply visit optimizeyourself.me/episode172 Once again, thank you so much for investing your time and energy with me here today. Stay safe, healthy and sane and most importantly, be well. Before you go this is just a final quick reminder that for the next couple of weeks I'm opening enrollment for the winter semester of my Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship Program. If you are interested in working with me to define a clear path for 2022 No matter if you're interested in becoming a time management ninja, introducing a little more life into your work life balance, increasing your energy and avoiding burnout, or potentially strategizing the next major steps for your creative career. And of course upping your networking game would love to connect and see how I can support you to learn more about the different options for us to work together or if you want to schedule a free 30 minute zoom chat so I can learn more about your goals. Simply visit optimizeyourself.me/optimizer enrollment closes Monday, January 17. And applications are reviewed in the order they are received. If you want to procrastinate, hey, you can do that later.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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