Ep12: The Right Way to Network In Hollywood | with Chris Visser


“How can I break into Hollywood or advance in my creative career if I don’t know anybody?” is a common question I receive via e-mail, when I speak at events, or when I teach at USC or online. Whenever someone sends me an email or Facebook message and asks, “Can I buy you coffee and pick your brain?” this is inevitably their reason for reaching out.

Unlike doctors or lawyers, the path to being a successful film editor, writer, visual effects artist, animator, actor, or any other creative career is not a linear path, but here’s the secret nobody tells you: There are very specific steps you can follow to be successful, but you have to be willing to put in the time and take action consistently. The key is not discovering the path and following it, the key is learning the proper steps to forge your own unique path.

In this episode I dive deep into the topic of networking and what it looks like to do it right. My guest today is my assistant editor Chris Visser whom I met at a networking event a little over two years ago, and since then he has said all the right things and taken all the right steps to slowly build a relationship with me over time. And when the time was right he got “lucky” and ended up becoming a part of my team. But if you know me at all, you know I don’t believe in luck and think it’s simply when hard work intersects with opportunity.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself “It’s all about who you know, and I don’t know anybody, so I just give up!” then this episode is great place to start because Chris and I break down the key steps to networking the right way so you don’t waste your time and end up walking in circles wishing you just magically knew people. It’s time to get out there and build your network.

When you’re done listening to this episode, if you haven’t already I highly recommend checking out episode eleven, my two hour marathon interview with Norman Hollyn, former head of the editing track at USC.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Chris made it to Hollywood
  • Eliminating excuses and finding your own path to success
  • How to make an impression at your industry internship
  • Processing and evaluating big career risks
  • How a brat and cheese gift basket got Chris a job in Hollywood
  • Building a post-studio from the ground up
  • When Chris met Zack at EditFest LA
  • Asking the right questions to the people that matter
  • How to network without embracing the “sycophant rush”
  • Knowing the mindset of the people you approach
  • Breaking your career goals down into bite-sized action steps
  • Chris’ involvement with Blue Collar Post Collective (BCPC)

Useful Resources Mentioned:

EditFest Los Angeles

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Blue Collar Post Collective

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is made possible by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone interested in moving more at their height-adjustable workstation. Listen, standing desks are only great if you’re standing well, otherwise you’re constantly fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti-fatigue mat, the Topo is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. And they’re really fun and a great conversation starter.

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Guest Bio:

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Born and raised in the land of Beer and Brats (aka Wisconsin), Chris has loved the craft of filmmaking since taking a movie-making class his freshman year of high school. While attending Marquette University, Chris was lucky enough to earn the 2011 Post-Production Internship with the Emmys Foundation. He graduated in May 2012, and moved to Los Angeles just weeks after to pursue a career in the film industry.

His first few years were spent as an assistant editor at several post houses before becoming an online editor/colorist in January of 2015. After a year and a half of online-ing shows like Nellyville (BET) and Greatest Party Story Ever (MTV), he got the opportunity to really try for a spot in the scripted narrative world. Since July of 2016 he’s been the assistant editor on several digital series and features, and has recently transitioned into network scripted series.

Chris is also heavily involved with the Blue Collar Post Collective, which just celebrated it’s 1 year anniversary in LA in June. He’s been an LA executive committee member since BCPCWest’s launch and in July of 2017 became the Vice President of BCPCWest. When not working, Chris loves to spend time with his fiancee and his two dogs, consume local ice cream, talk about movies and tv, and practice film photography (preferably all at once).

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Jakin Rintelman. Special thanks to Krystle Penhall and Sarah Furie for helping to spread the love!

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


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

Zack Arnold is an award-winning film & television editor (Burn Notice, Empire, Shooter, Glee), member of the American Cinema Editors, a documentary director (GO FAR: The Christopher Rush Story), and creator of the Optimize Yourself program (formerly ‘Fitness In Post’). He helps ambitious creative professionals like you learn how to more efficiently manage your time, energy, and attention so you can maximize your creative focus and minimize procrastination, depression, and burnout. After all, what’s the point of killing yourself for the sake of your career if you don’t have energy to spare for the most important people in your life?