ep184-troy-takaki

Ep184: Networking (the Right Way), Mentorship, and Connecting with ‘Experts’ | with Troy Takaki, ACE

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“You are not networking to get jobs. You are networking to meet people. By knowing people you get jobs.” – Troy Takaki

Troy Takaki, ACE is a Hollywood film & TV editor as well as the founder of the ACE Diversity Mentorship Program. His varied credits include feature films like Sweet Home Alabama, Hitch, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul and more recently the television series You on Netflix and Mr. Mercedes for Direct TV. He is also the author of the book Don’t Miss Out On Any Avocado Milkshakes: The Art and Joy of being a Film Editor.

The Way of the Networking Ninja

As an editor, Troy has worked hard throughout his career to avoid becoming pigeonholed (Quick tip: You don’t actually get pigeonholed, you allow yourself to be pigeonholed…more on that in our conversation) such that he can go back and forth between cutting features, television, and even documentaries because as he says, “The more different kinds of stuff you edit, the better editor you will be.”

As a mentor (and one of the best in the business, I might add), Troy believes that mentoring is not only valuable for those who are being mentored, but arguably even more valuable to the mentor. We also dig even deeper into his meta concept of mentorship in which the mentees in his program are asked to become mentors from day one, no matter how little experience they might have. Because as I often like to say, “You are the world’s foremost ‘expert’ to whomever wants to do next what you are doing now.”

If you struggle with building your network, finding a mentor, and reaching out to strangers you admire, this conversation will help you take your networking game to the next level so you can connect with any industry ‘expert’ in the biz.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Troy’s roundabout way into becoming an editor
  • How much of a role did luck play in Troy’s career path?
  • The best parts of the editing process for Troy
  • How to assess what is fulfilling work
  • Becoming an extrovert and the skills Troy learned to save his marriage
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Learning small talk can be a lot of fun once you break through the nervousness.
  • How Troy is able to switch from editing features to television consistently
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Always be thinking two jobs ahead before accepting a job
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: You have to let people know what you want to work on.
  • How Troy was able to write a book while continuing his editing career
  • The number one reason Troy continues to mentor people. HINT: It’s not about the mentee
  • PRO TIP: If you want to connect with someone who has a resource (i,e., book, podcast, etc.), do your homework first.
  • Mentoring: It’s not about finding an expert, it’s about finding YOUR expert.
  • The ACE Diversity Mentoriship program and the three different types of mentors
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Try to find someone at your level and one level above you to be your mentor
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Make sure you ask a question that gets you results.
  • The most important thing you should NOT to do when looking for a mentor.


Useful Resources Mentioned:

Troy Takaki – IMDb

Don’t Miss Out On Any Avocado Milkshakes : Troy Takaki Ace

How to Find the Right Type of Mentor For You (and When You Should Seek the Best)

Ben Franklin effect – Wikipedia

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Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold

My guest today is Troy Takaki who is a Hollywood film and TV editor as well as the founder of the ACE Diversity Mentorship Program. His very credits include feature films like Sweet Home Alabama, Hitch, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul and more recently, the television series You on Netflix, and Mr. Mercedes for Direct TV. He is also the author of the book on mentorship, Don't Miss Out on Any Avocado Milkshakes (The Art and Joy of Being A Film Editor). And if you're wondering, what the heck is that title all about? I asked him that question and you're going to find out. As an editor, Troy has worked hard throughout his entire career to avoid becoming pigeonholed. A quick tip, you don't actually get pigeonholed. You allow yourself to be pigeonholed, more on that in our conversation, such that he can go back and forth between cutting features, television, and even documentaries. Because as he's going to say, the more different kinds of stuff that you edit, the better editor you will be. And as a mentor, and one of the best in the business I might add, Troy believes that mentoring is not only valuable for those who are being mentored, but arguably even more valuable to the mentor. We also dig even deeper into his meta concept of mentorship, in which the mentees in his program are asked to become mentors from day one, no matter how little experience they might have. Because as I often like to say, You are the world's foremost expert to whomever wants to do next what you are doing now. If you struggle with building your network, finding a mentor and reaching out to strangers that you admire, this conversation will help you take your networking game to the next level, so you can connect with any industry expert in the biz. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with ACE editor Troy Takaki. 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 optimizerself.me/episode184. I am here today with Troy Takaki who is an editor of a myriad of different genres and mediums all of which would take too long to discuss. But some notable feature credits include The latest Cheaper By The Dozen film, you've done several installments of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, you worked on Hitch. And on the TV side, you recently worked on seasons one and three of the Netflix series You but most importantly for the sake of today's conversation, you're also the founder of the ACE Diversity Mentorship Program, and you're also the author of the book, Don't Miss Out On Any Avocado Milkshakes (The Art and Joy of Being A Film Editor). So today, Troy, you and I are going to geek out on all things being a mentor, slash mentee, and so glad we're finally getting this conversation on the record. Thank you for taking the time.

Troy Takaki

No problem. I'm so excited to be here. And to do this with you.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, so this is going to be a lot of fun. We've had a lot of informal conversations about this here and there at various events. Recently, you and I got together for lunch. And at least as far as my perspective, time totally disappeared. As we talked about, what does it really take for us to help people in this industry and as we'll also discuss, learn how to help others in this industry. Because you and I both agree that the best way to become successful is to allow the rising tide to lift all boats. So if you and I are going to become more successful, we have to make sure other people are becoming successful in the process. And I want to talk a little bit more how to do that. But before we get into the weeds about mentorship and relationship building and whatnot, I at least want my listeners and viewers to get a little bit more of a background about your own origin story in your own journey. So we understand how that applies to where you are now. So what's kind of the the elevator pitch version of how Troy Takaki became Troy Takaki.

Troy Takaki

Okay, let's go with Troy Takaki the editor became Troy Takaki the editor, I went to college at San Francisco State, I stayed close to home because I wanted to keep playing in my punk rock band. And I did not know what I wanted to do with my self in life. I went there to study photography, thinking maybe I could be a photojournalist to make money while I was there. Luckily at college, they make you do these things called GE requirements. And I don't remember if the first class I film class I took was history of film or Super Eight filmmaking. But those two classes I took, and I loved them so much. I started taking more film classes and within like a semester or two, I moved over from being a journalism major to being a film major. At that time, you had to apply to be a production major. And I applied I got in and I ended up taking a two year production program there were during that I fell in love with editing. So I was one of those lucky people that found editing, loved editing and graduated college wanting to be an editor rather than you know, I want to be a filmmaker director slash cinematographer slash something and I'm not quite sure what I want to do. So I moved to LA to be an editor. And I was also very lucky because is nine other of the people in the program moved at the same time. It is always nice to move to LA, knowing somebody and living with other people that are in the same level as you wanting to be pa because you know how you find your jobs is through your friends. So, for the first two months I was here, I knew nobody and I was really depressed. And then literally one of the people that I'm friends with I was at his house and he was working as a PA and somebody called and said, Are you available on Monday and Dave was like, no, but Troy's available and handed me the phone and I got had a five minute interview and they're like, Okay show up at NBC on Monday. That was my first job. It was as a office PA on a show called Amen. Luckily, two weeks later, I got out post production assistant job a post pa job on a show called DEA on that show back then, if it was ordered for 12 episodes, they made 12 episodes, even if it was canceled. We got cancelled about the sixth episode, but they still made the last six episodes. So I was lucky to be around while they finish those episodes, and nobody really cared that much. Nobody was paying, you know, so So the assistants let me load dailies and export. And I, what I tried to do was be a really good pa but then learn like one thing a week. Like here's how you put a line script in. Here's how you input dailies. Here's how you export or something like that. By the time I was done with that I could sort of fake being an assistant editor, I knew enough that I could assist to edit. And I got my first job after that on a show called Tales from the Crypt. I was very lucky once again, that back then all cable was non union. So tales from the crypt, even though it's one of the most revered shows ever was non union and paid like half as much as a union assistant show. So Robert Creedy hired me on that. And that was my first assistant editing job, I continued to do the same thing where I assisted, but I tried to edit everything that I could edit wedding videos courtesy and if somebody would let me kind of seen and within two years, I was cutting a network television show called likely suspects. From then I worked on Walker, Texas Ranger and Seaquest and all these other television shows, then I once again really want to do two movies. So I cut several movies for free. Then I cut several movies for probably half the mount that I would have been paid to do television. Within about 11 years of me moving to LA, I got my first you know, studio feature film on which was Sweet Home Alabama. And I think we can just stop there because then it's Sweet Home Alabama and hitch and, you know, I still jump between television and features. I see you know, I would cut a hitch and then I'd cut Desperate Housewives and then I cut some other movie and then I cut, you know, you or something like that. So I love jumping between the two mediums because I think it's a different type of editing. And it keeps. And I started cutting documentaries recently too. Because I think the more different types of stuff you edit, the better of an editor you're going to be.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, so there's already a ton to unpack if we didn't even do anything except talk for the next 80 minutes about what you just said I could go all in. I obviously want to get to the point about mentorship and relationship building. But there are a couple of things I want to dig into a little bit deeper, that are think are things that are just kind of a casual mentioning of the story where there's something even deeper to dig into. One of the things that I'm interested in very early in the origin story is what it was about editing specifically, where you said I had these plans to be a journalism major. I'm doing all these things. But you know what, I no longer going to do that. This is what I want to do instead that can be a scary choice for some people. What was it about editing that was so compelling that just made you completely changed the direction of your career.

Troy Takaki

It was one of the first things I've ever done where time stopped, were literally like you know, I was working at a brick trimming store and three hours was like a long time editing on film. You would you would go into the darkroom and 12 hours later you'd come out and it was just so much fun for me. I even that I did all sorts of other things. I like learned how to use the optical printer I use learn how to do cut tape to tape, you know, with two VHS players and all these things and I just I loved I think two things. I love the storytelling aspect of it. And I love this sort of puzzle saw puzzle building, even sometimes back then it was more of a puzzle building than a puzzle solving. Like I actually did not know as much of about storytelling, and editing back then, but the process was just amazing to me.

Zack Arnold

So given all that, knowing that time stopped, I think that's one of the most important components for finding a more fulfilling path to what you do. Because to me, I know the difference between God What time is it? Oh, is this ever going to be over versus how in the world it'd become 9pm. Like that's, there's plenty of scientific study that proves that if you can get into a state of deep work and focus are in the zone, whatever you call it, that actually scientifically increases your level of happiness, the endorphins and the dopamine that you have in your brain that changes your brain chemistry. So really, it all comes down to what do I want to spend my time doing that's fulfilling, as opposed to this drudgery. And I've even experienced, and maybe you have to, we're doing the exact same job. I'm working in Avid, or Premiere, or whatever it is, but I'm working in a timeline. And I'm cutting dailies. Sometimes there are projects where it just feels like Time stands still, and it's never going to be over. Versus Oh, my God, I don't have enough time to do all the things that I want to do. And it's going fast. If you ever experienced that we're even doing the exact same job. It's the difference between time standstill, and it's amazing versus when is this going to be done,

Troy Takaki

you know, a little bit but not so much what I find is it's it's different parts of the process that affect me differently. My favorite part of the process is cutting days, you know, watching the dailies, and then cut doing the first cut is my favorite part. And that's what makes me the happiest. When you get towards the end, particularly with features and you watching it for the 500th time. And you are really just doing quality control and stuff like that, that is times that it becomes a little bit slow. Right? Like, how long for this export? Oh, and I have to watch it again, you know, so. So I think that, for me, it's the more creative stuff that really gets my brain working and me having fun,

Zack Arnold

right. And it's funny because I'm exactly the opposite, not the sitting around watching exports, like I don't enjoy that part either. But I find that the dailies to first assembly processes total drudgery. I absolutely loathe and like terrified when I look on my calendar, like, Oh, I'm gonna be in dailies for another seven days, or 15 days. And for me once the scenes are roughly assembled, and I start to look at the micro of the scenes and the micro kind of of the sequence, and then more of the macro of the scenes coming together and how do they flow and adding music. That's where time stands still, for me is that moment of Alright, everything is assembled. And I don't have to watch the dailies anymore. Now I get to really shape it. I love that part of the process. But it's one of the reasons I chose TV over film, because I just couldn't do dailies for 345 10 weeks at a time. I'm like, oh my god, I just want to start working on the whole thing. So that for me was that's a more fulfilling part of the process. And that's why I gravitated more towards TV for a multitude of reasons. But that was one of the bigger ones.

Troy Takaki

Yeah, interesting that we kind of have the opposite there. Yeah, you know, the period last year where I was on you. And we were we were cross boarding. So I had dailies for two episodes in a row. So I had them for like 40 days straight. And then I went straight on to Cheaper by the Dozen, and I had dailies for 46 days or 48 days. So I literally had dailies every day for like 89 days straight, and I just loved it.

Zack Arnold

Oh my god, I would have been so exhausted, like the bed that to me alone would have been a deal breaker like I just can't do it. I can't do dailies that long, which is one of the reasons that I've gravitated more in the direction of having a producing role, because I love the polishing process, the finishing process restructuring and rewriting, but the assembling process, just it's so dry to me. But again, just personal preference. And you know, it's all about I really identifying what are the parts that fulfill me. And I'm guessing we could like talk about this for hours and hours and hours. But I want to go back to your journey. There was a word that you use at least two times, if not more than anybody that's listened to my podcast for a while is thinking, why didn't he just blatantly interrupted Troy and stop him? Because there's a word that you use, and that word was lucky. And I largely don't believe in luck. There are certain circumstances where I believe somebody is just genuinely lucky. And I think when you said that I was lucky that I and my other friends from this program have moved out at the same time. Yeah, that's a lot that just happened. You really have no control over it.

Troy Takaki

Oh, that wasn't luck. I know exactly what we were going to and that was not luck. Like literally. i We none of us knew what we were doing when you're graduating and one of us was the DP John Smith was a was a bartender and I was sitting at his bar having a drink and he said, Well, what are you going to do after you graduate? And this is like may, you know or April and we're graduating in like June 3 or something, let's say and I said I don't No, let's move to LA. And he said, Yes, let's do it. I'm like, let's get a bunch of us to do it. So it actually, was it actually luck. And I know where you're going with this, which is, yes, I make my own luck most of the time. But where I said, I was lucky that all the nine of us moved together, I actually made that happen. Because I it was my idea with Dawn to get a bunch of us to move together and to be roommates together. So yeah, sorry to interrupt you, but go on.

Zack Arnold

Oh, good. I'm really glad that you pointed that out. Because I was actually going to give you a point. I'm very, very, very hard on people when they use the word lucky. And I was actually go, I think in that case, you're right, you're like, No, I wasn't, I was wrong. So we're totally on the same page. And the reason this is so important to me, is that if somebody's listening to your story, and they think, well, Troy got lucky, and he just happened to move out with his friends. And his friend knew somebody and he was handed the phone and he got the job, that's never going to happen to me, I'm great. It's great that it happened to Troy, that could never happen to me, so much of this is out of my control. And yes, a lot of it is out of our control. But I feel a lot more of it is within our control than we think. And the fact that you and a group moved out maybe it wasn't like meticulously coordinated, but it was an idea that you planted the seed people agreed. And you might not have been able to articulate at the time why this was such a good strategy. But there was a part of you, it's like, oh, this is going to be easier if we all move on together. So that was not just luck, right? But then when it comes to

Troy Takaki

strategy that I tell my students because I'm teaching a college class, and I tell my students to move here with some other people that are friends of yours, because you will get your PA jobs from those other people, they are your roommates. So

Zack Arnold

so my fear now is that somebody's listening, whether they're at the very beginning stages of their career, or they're even much more seasoned. They're thinking, Yeah, but I don't have friends. And I don't know people, and you even said it, you're gonna get your jobs through your friends, and it's all about who you know. So I don't know anybody. So I guess I'm not gonna get lucky and I can't make it happen. And that's where I just like, I could go on for hours and hours and hours about this. And my response is, then you make friends. If you don't know people, then you get to know them. Right. And that's where people especially in our field, that are the, you know, very shy and very naturally inclination towards being introverts. Oh, yeah. But I can't do that part, I just want to sit in a dark room, and I want to do my own thing and be awesome at my craft. I can't go out to events and meet people on stuff. And one of the things about you is that you are very much you know, what I would consider very extroverted, which is like a unicorn in our world. But would you agree that if you don't know, people, just get out there and start getting to know them.

Troy Takaki

In some ways I didn't used to be a extrovert. And it is really hard to say what an extrovert is like a true extrovert can go into any situation and talk to anybody at any time. I can't do that. Like if I go to a cocktail party, where I don't know anybody, and they don't work in the film industry, I kind of have a hard time talking to people. It was an issue in my marriage, actually, where my wife was very good at talking to people at small talk and everything like that. And she thought that I was like, antisocial, that I couldn't do it. And you actually can learn how to do it. So I would practice because we are in therapy. And he would like practice. So I practice I play golf. And when when you're at golf, you're often paired up with people you don't know, set, but you're trapped with them for four hours, or two and a half hours if you're doing

Zack Arnold

I love the craft, by the way, because that's how it feels.

Troy Takaki

So you're trapped with them. And so I would practice being like so Do you live around here? So what do you do for a living? Oh, you make hats? Oh, what kind of hats do you make things like that? So you actually can learn small talk. Now, what's great is in our industry, actually, if you're hanging around with a bunch of other editors, you actually have something to talk about, because all of us will talk about, you know, editing stuff. Do you like Premiere better than avid? You know, how do you import dailies? Do you like cutting dailies? Or do you like producers cut things like that? So, you know, you, you do have to put some effort into it. But you will find actually that even for most introverts, it's actually a lot of fun. Once you break through that wall of of nervousness, you know, and what you can also find is that there's a whole bunch of people that are that same nervous. So because of that, you know, you stick to introverts in a room together. And you talk about, you know, cutting on Avid versus cutting premiere, you will have something to talk about and you know, a few hours later, you will know that

Zack Arnold

person. Yeah, one of the things that I always like to think about is how I love to be alone with somebody else. That's what it feels like when you get to introverts together that it feels like we're not being surrounded by a bunch of people and like small talk at a dinner party with people that I don't know. It's that's my personal hell. I just, oh, I can't handle it. But I think He was really encouraging, especially for anybody that's listening. Even encouraging for me is that I just would have assumed you're probably naturally inclination towards being an extrovert. And when I tell people that I'm an introvert, they think I'm just flat out lie. And my response is always just asking my wife, she's like, Oh, my God, he's so shy. And so like, if you were to ask my inlaws, or people in my extended family, on my wife's side to describe me, I don't really know if I can say too much, because he's just so quiet. He never really talks about anything, he seems nice. But that's just kind of the general response. But because I can get in front of a microphone, or on a stage or teacher class, the assumption is, oh, I'm just extroverted. And it's simple. But it isn't like you, it's a skill that you can learn. It's not like you're born, knowing how to cut a scene and added, you have to develop that skill. But for some reason, I don't understand why we assume we are biologically wired such that I just can't be good at networking, I am bad at networking, versus I currently don't have the skills to be good at it.

Troy Takaki

Right. So you know, with my wife and stuff, the way that I tried to describe it at a dinner party, your personal health is, it's like running in wet sand, you know, or running in sand. So I can do it, but it's really tiring. So what will happen in the dinner party is at some point, I will tell my wife that I ran out of words, I'm like, I'm done. I've run out of words. And she said, You did really well, until now Troy, you can do we can go? Because you know, it's a lot of work that, you know, now, when I'm with a AC party, or something like that, or AC holiday party, I don't have enough words, like eventually, they have to kick us out, you know? So it depends on the situation, honestly. Yeah.

Zack Arnold

So really, I would say that if we had to classify you're more an ambivert. That actually trends towards introvert unless you're in the right crowd. And I think I'm very similar to you in the sense that if I go to an ace party, for example, and I were to talk to you and a bunch of other colleagues, I could go for two, three hours, and be like, Oh, my God, where's the time gone? These were amazing conversations, but I'm still completely drained and exhausted afterwards. So I don't know if you experienced that where as an extrovert, you get around people and you feel recharged and have more energy, that's my wife to this day, I still don't understand it. For me, even if it's really engaging, deep conversation with people that I love talking to, I get in my car, and it's like, I need a week. I can't do anything for a week. Is that something you experience?

Troy Takaki

No, no, no, no, no. Most parties that I go to now with editors, I feel kind of invigorated afterwards. You know, a lot of it has to do with so many of the parties that go to now I have so many of my diversity mentees that just, you know, have gotten so much out of my program and stuff like that, that I kind of get fueled up by love, honestly.

Zack Arnold

Yeah. So I can relate to that with my students as well. And we're going to talk a lot more about the diversity mentorship program in a bit. The next thing that I want to dig into that I think, was just kind of glossed over. And I think a lot of people listening or watching are thinking, Oh my God, how are you able to do that? Because it seems so hard. You said nonchalantly? Well, you know, you know, I kind of jumped between different mediums and I work on features. And then I go to TV, and then I do docs, and most people are banging their head against the wall thinking I've been pigeon holed. This is the only thing anybody hires me to do. How does somebody like Troy bounce around? Like it's nothing

Troy Takaki

I put a lot of work into it over past 32 years is that. And you know, a great example, like I said, which I just sort of blew past was, you know, I made it pretty high up the ladder in television. But I really wanted to try cutting features. So like I said, I cut several features for free like I was, you know, a union editor cutting shows like jag and Nash Bridges, but I wanted to come features. So I did several for free. And I did a whole bunch for probably non union half the rate that I would get for television, then you fast forward another 15 years. And I got hired to edit a you know help on Pauly shores documentary Pauly Shore. So as it stands alone, I got paid $3,000 flat, like when my agent called, it's like, it's paying 3000 I'm like, per week, that's not bad, like, flat. And I worked on it for like two months. But I learned so much, you know, and so, you know, I had a really good time learning how to cut documentaries. I still use most of the documentaries I cut now or still I get don't get paid for. But it really works a whole different part of your editorial brain than narrative cutting. And it's really helpful. So then you say, how do you jump between them now? You know, I try to make it you know, clear to the television shows that I'm working on that I might leave for feature. I work really hard for them. Sometimes I make it to the And sometimes I don't for movies, then I do like one a year or whatever, every other year or something like that. It's not easy. It is not easy to do. There are times where I go, I just should do, the easier one to do is television, I should just do television and just work on good television shows and make my life easier. But I don't do that.

Zack Arnold

And I'm so glad you went deeper into that, because the short version of the story is, well, Troy bounces around between mediums. And that's great for him. But I can't figure out how to make that work. Because the objection always is and I would guess the you heard this at one point or another. And this is what compelled you to edit these features for free. Oh, Troy, you want to edit features? That's great. Yeah, but your TV guy, sorry, we're not going to have a meeting with you. So you said, Well screw it, I'm gonna have to be a feature guy and show them that I had the skills even if I don't have the experience.

Troy Takaki

Right. So so let's go forward in that. And so so my first like I said, I got my first you know, big feature, which was Sweet Home Alabama. And I got that because I kind of pilot for the for the director, Andy Tennant. And then he wanted to bring me on to the movie. While Disney might not have approved me if I hadn't already done five movies. Now, you know, there are seven movies or something. Now, they were indie movies, but they played at Sundance and stuff like that there was one that came out called Jawbreaker. That was made for like $3 million, that, you know, Sony put out. So you know, you have to be put in a position that once you get that opportunity to maybe cut a studio feature, they don't, the studio does, you know, doesn't detail the idea because you've never done it before. You have to craft your, your resume and your skills, I think it's really important to to to look at everything that every time you do as something that's going to make you a better editor or a better person. And think like two jobs ahead. Very few people think two jobs ahead. I'm always thinking two jobs ahead. Like, why am I doing this? Why do I want to do this TV show? You know, because if you start taking the first thing that comes around all the time, you you don't necessarily, you know, you aren't necessarily then on the career path that you're building. It's much more fun to build your career path than sort of blindly wandering, whichever way it happens to, you know, go

Zack Arnold

Yeah, and that one of the things that I have said many a time on panels, and certainly on this podcast, and I've gotten a little bit of pushback from it, because it makes people a little bit angry, is when I hear people say, Well, I've been pigeon holed, I say no, you haven't. You've allowed yourself to be pigeonholed. There's a difference. If you continue to say yes to the same kinds of projects over and over and over, even if you don't want to do them. And now all of a sudden, you've done 15 years of reality shows that is the Desperate Housewives of this city in this city and the Kardashians, you've allowed yourself to be pigeonholed such that people make the assumption, you can't do anything but that and that kind of makes people mad, but I feel that's the reality.

Troy Takaki

Oh, it's totally the reality, particularly in television, you know, you know, even I have a little harder time in features because I, I tend to get hired for comedies and family comedies and romantic comedies. And I still, I still come up a little bit against a wall and features for action movies, where they're like, I really like Troy, but, you know, his resume does not scream, Deadpool or something like that, you know, so, but in television, you definitely can, you know, craft your resume a little better. I have a friend right now that has been doing lots of young adult stuff, and she really wants to get out of it. So she is you know, letting people know that. So you know, she she will be interviewing for a much more sort of action oriented a network show, but I knew we knew that you wanted to do that. She let us know that. So so when you know the possible job came up, I recommended her for, you know,

Zack Arnold

given everything that you've done, you've done features, TV, all kinds of different genres, documentary, anybody that looks at your listing on IMDb Pro, and we're going to make sure that we link to your IMDB page of credits. You're clearly a busy guy that loves to work us. I mean, every time I talk to you, you're either on a job or you're getting ready to prep for a job for me. I'll go months and months and months without a show. Like if I go a year without cutting something. Sometimes that's great, because I've got plenty of other things. I've got the coaching, program writing, etc. But it seems like you've been very, very consistent and I'm curious at what point did you decide with how much you had going on but I don't want to stop and I want to write a book all about advice for people that are trying to break into the industry and be successful.

Troy Takaki

I didn't stop what happened. And you've been on these shows too. I'm sure you know, my friend Harry you and came up with the idea of this because I do a lot of mentoring. And the way I often mentors, I give a piece of advice. And then I tell you a story. And he said, You should write a book, there's a book called The Little Red Book for golf that's similar to that keep your left arm straight. And they give you an example of teaching deck notes Nicholas to keep his arm straight or something like that, right. So I had this idea for a book, then I ended up on a TV show where it was one of those ones where they had shot seven episodes, but they hadn't locked in. And they brought me into like, our eight episodes, that brought me into Episode Seven, because they had a hole in the, in the editorial teams. So I cut the dailies for for Episode Seven. And then they started locking shows from episode one, one at a time. So literally, I would go to work. And I would sit there for probably two months, I was waiting for them to get to episode seven. So during that time, I wrote my book, because it gave me something to do, because it's those rare occasions, but I'm sure you've been on those shows, too. Now that it's like every once in a while you're on this thing or like you're on a movie, and they've decided to do reshoots. And the reshoots are in a month and a half, but they do not want to lose their editorial crews. So they just keep paying you or something, you know, those happen. And that's how this happened was I was on a show called six. And I was waiting for my turn to come up with the producers. And I had like four weeks where I sat around and did nothing. And we're writing the first version of the book, the first draft of the book went very quickly. And then it took six months to edit it and move it around and turn it into a book because at first it was just all these little pieces of advice. And then I had to move things around to make it make sense, like a book.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, well, what I admire about that we're gonna get more into the nuances of it in a second. But what I admired about that, is you had every reason to just sit in your office and go on social media, or frankly, not even go into work and just, you know, take your paycheck, knowing the money's coming in. But you said I want to make use of this time, which I very much admire. And yes, I had the exact same scenario wasn't quite as long as I think like four weeks. But I was on Empire season two, and they broke it up into like that as far as shooting, not the way they aired it. But they shot it into like two separate blocks where there's like a five or six week hiatus in between, for the stars because of the schedules and whatnot. And the post schedule was such that we were supposed to be editing consistently. And I was in the middle of an episode. And all of a sudden, the showrunner, we were supposed to be setting up a meeting, she's like, I'm going to be on vacation. I'll see you guys in four weeks, I'm like, but I've got an open episode notes. So I sat around for two days drove all the way from Woodland Hills to Beverly Hills for two days, I sat there and did nothing. And I went into the CO producer. And I said call me when there are notes, I'm not going to be driving back and forth. And that's when I built my first online course. That's where I built move yourself, or at least the beginnings of it. And then from there, I went on to another show where it had a four editor rotation, where I would have a week in between picture lock of an episode and dailies of the next one. So during that week, that was when I continue to iterate and I got done with that show having been paid full time, I had a complete online course ready to go and learn how to market and sell and bring in students that was the genesis of the coaching program, all because I was sitting around waiting for notes. So it's so interesting how our stories are so similar. Yes, yes, yes. Really, really simple. And it also sounds like another area where you and I are similar. And I don't I don't want to put words in your mouth. And you can correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know how to not be a mentor. It's actually kind of annoying. Because there are some times that I just want to go in and do my job and tell the assistant here your roles and your duties and responsibilities. But I can't not be a mentor, which is why I love the coaching program. You could have done a lot of other things with those two months. So what is it specifically about how you were always asking questions and mentoring students that made you think the next step is I want to write a book?

Troy Takaki

Well, you know, I think my whole path my journey to being who I am as a mentor was a is a is actually quite a long journey. Truthfully. I think the first 10 years I was in Los Angeles editing. I mainly just edited I had fun editing and yes, maybe I helped my assistants some but I was not like putting a ton of effort into mentoring or, or anything. Then I joined AC E and a few years after that I started helping out on the internship program, which is a once a year program where you are helping and mentoring people that are just out of college. So I had done I did that for about 10 years. I'm still doing it. It's like 18 years now 20 years now, but um, that's where I started mentoring people. And then about seven years ago, I started the mentioned diversity mentorship program and about you know, and then soon after that I wrote my book and I have sort of mentoring is become a bigger, bigger Part of my life to the point where I think mentoring is actually more important to me than editing at this point.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, and clearly I've made that decision because I'm essentially turning down every opportunity that comes my way that's not called Cobra Kai. So I can focus on mentoring and building all the resources for networking, or time management, or all the other things that we're doing here, because I just, I love this so much more. And I think one of the things you said about why you enjoy parties is that I love talking to students and hearing about their success, I just absolutely love it. Like I could just eat it up all day long, every day, where I get so much more joy and fulfillment out of somebody else, landing a dream job than me getting some really cool dream job of my own. Like that is just so much fun. And I think that that's part of the component of being a good mentor is actually getting joy and getting your own personal selfish fulfillment out of the success of others.

Troy Takaki

Oh, absolutely. You're in know, I do have a stock answer now. Which is like, why do you do all of this bedroom toy? And you know, how do you have the energy to do it? And I say, because I get paid back with love. And truthfully, that's what it is like about the joy that I get from mentoring and from people appreciating my mentoring and watching them then become good mentors, is extremely fulfilling for me.

Zack Arnold

Yeah. And I obviously you and I are very much on the same page there. I want to go into that in one second. I have one last kind of quick follow up question. And then we're going to dive into the nuances and really in depth into the weeds about mentorship. But for anybody that since the beginning of the episode is thinking, what do avocado milkshakes have to do with mentoring? Give me the two minute version for why you titled it what it is, so they better understand how that actually relates to it being a mentor ship book.

Troy Takaki

Okay. So when I wrote the book, it is a combination for anybody that reads it knows this, but it's a combination of, of pieces of advice, about getting jobs, and working in the industry and little bits of advice on editing and how to edit a scene and stuff like that, and sort of life advice, which is like how can you have a more fulfilling life, either outside the editing room or in the editing room, you know, piece of advice, like, eat lunch with your co workers, you know, is is literally like some of the tips that I'm giving. And the avocado milkshake one is a story that's about two thirds of the way through the book. What it is, is when we when I was on location in Australia, we would go out on adventures because you can be on location and just do your work and go back to your hotel. Or you can say hey, I'm gonna go experience things. A rat, you know that in the place that I'm visiting, you know, like, I'm into Johannesburg, I want to go to museums or whatever. So we're in Australia. And we would go on these adventures where we'd go look at crocodiles or we would go swimming in a streams or or we'd go ballooning, you know, hot air balloon rides. And so one of them told one of my assistants told me a story about a friend of hers that was in the Philippines. And she was there for like three months. And she kept on hearing about these Avocado milkshakes. Oh my god, the avocado milkshakes are so good. You have to try one. Well, she tried. She was going home the next day. And she's like, I just guess I have to try one. And so she tried one. And she's like, Oh, my God it is the best milkshake I've ever had. Well, e tried it on his last day she was there. So the don't miss out on avocado milkshakes is sort of two things. One is, make sure that you try things and you live life to its fullest. And make sure you don't wait too long, so that you don't discover that you really liked sailing when you're 77 years old, or something like that. So that is the story. The way that the book got named is obviously you're trying to write, you know, a editing book and you're using all the buttons that everybody is that's, you know, the, you know, in the blink of an eye or a you know, everybody, every editing room is like a plant of some kind, really. And I was going through all of the ponds. And then I was having all these assistants read it and one of them said, Why don't you call it don't miss out on avocado milkshakes, which was like, you know, just one of the chat one of not even Chapter One of the piece of advice later on. And it actually is perfect, because it's kind of once you want to read that it sums up basically my view on life, you know, and my view on mentorship and my view on editing. So it really kind of encapsulates is all and it is not a silly question like every other editing book.

Zack Arnold

Right? So I was thinking you could have called it like how to live a Reel Life R-E-E-L Right? Like there's so many things like that. So no, I think that I think this is one It's more unique way to approach it. And I love how it becomes such a much bigger idea about living a fulfilling life and not missing out on chances and embracing the fear of the unknown. But you know, it's also enough to be like, the hell is this about? Like, what does this have to do with like being a film editor? And I love all that. And it just kind of begs the question, should I read it. And I'll give everybody this listening A pro tip, when it comes to mentorship to lead us into this conversation about finding a mentor. If you know somebody like Troy, or like myself, or somebody else out there that has a resource, don't even connect with them until you've read their book, or their article or their podcast, like, don't be the guy or the girl or the person that reaches out to Troy and says, Hey, Troy, do you have any good advice about how to be successful in the industry? My guess is you have a stock answer to that, which is, read my book, and then get back to me, read my book, and then get back to me, right? So what people want to do, I believe that if you want to start a relationship with somebody, before the first contact, you got to do your homework, you've got to put in the effort, so you know something about them. And I use this example, in my coaching program all the time, if you're gonna reach out to me, you don't say, Hey, I feel like I'm not moving enough at my desk. What do you think, what should I do? Why not go to my website, and do a search for the 100 articles that I've written about this or have 150 hours of podcasts with experts, then let's talk as opposed to I'm going to rewrite all the things I've said in hundreds and 10s of 1000s of words. If you do your homework first, I feel that's a good good place to start the relationship with mentorship. But I want to talk more about this idea of what it means to find a mentor or be a mentor. Because in your diversity committee specifically, you have a really interesting way that you approach this. And I want to talk more about your thoughts on what it means to be a mentor or a mentee. And is there a difference?

Troy Takaki

Yes. So when I started the diversity mentorship program, I realized that most mentorship programs are built on the idea that the mentee is really early in their career. And the mentor is really well late in that career, that they're like, you know, miles apart. And I realized, actually, some of the best mentoring that you can do is, is within the same level of people, or just one level above, and one level below. So when we started this program, we started it with a what I call the pod system, which people use the word pod all the time now,

Zack Arnold

everything's, everything is a pod,

Troy Takaki

everything is a pod. But basically, we started at let's say, we had one to one, mentees that we started with, we split it into one mentor and three mentees. And my job was to get to know those three people really well. And those three people's job was to get to know each other really, really well. And to mentor each other. Now, you were allowed to, like become friends with the other 18 people or you know, plus mentors. But your job was to really get to know those people well. So it's gotten bigger now. So now, our pod has four mentors and six mentees. But we also try to make it so that we have enough editors, and Assistant editors, and maybe somebody just starting out so that they can like, help each other out. So all of the pressures and just on Troy or Pam Martin, it is it is within them helping each other to

Zack Arnold

Yeah, this is a very, very interesting concept that I've written about. And I talked about my coaching program to and I knew nothing about how you structure this diversity program. My assumption was from the outsiders, I'm assuming most people do, oh, Ace diversity mentorship program, that must mean that I might have a minority of some sort. And I'm coming in, in an urgent, early stage of my career, and somebody that's very successful is gonna help me get in the door and show me how to get the ropes we can get more people that are minorities into the industry. And it's not that that isn't one of the goals. But what I love about it is it's not V goal. Is that an accurate representation?

Troy Takaki

Yes, absolutely. I'm trying to think of it as if it's even one of the goals.

Zack Arnold

Because that is the perception from the outside people in my program, that's why I want to get into this right

Troy Takaki

oh, we actually kind of purposefully a few years ago made it so you had to be in the industry for three years before you could even be in the diversity program because we wanted to separate the internship program, they see internship program from the diversity program. So the internship program is definitely for people that have just started out their careers. The diversity program is for really people that are are already in their careers and, you know, want to be able to advance their careers, you know,

Zack Arnold

yeah, but as we, as we're talking about here, being willing to help other people advance their careers. And the thing that I found so similar, which again, not really knowing anything about how you ran it, just kind of knowing what it was and making assumptions based on the name What I've been teaching my students for years is what the concept of an expert is. So I think that from the outside, the assumption would be, I come into a mentorship program like this. I'm very young in my career, and you're going to pair me with Walter merch. And Walter Murcia is going to show me how to become successful, which, like you said, huge levels and gradations of difference. And I talked about this concept of expert, is Walter, merchant expert. Sure, are you an expert at what you do? Sure. But if I'm a PA, and I want to move up to apprentice editor, the person that's an apprentice editor now, that was a PA a year and a half ago, that's the world's foremost expert on understanding the challenges that I'm facing to move forwards in my career. So it's not about finding an expert, it's about finding your expert. And just today, or maybe it was yesterday, I have a student in my program, that is from a totally different industry in the tech world where she works on apps. And she's called, I think, a QA specialist. So quality assurance. She's moving into the world of TV and film to be an assistant editor. And she had sent me a message saying, I'm doing all this research and realizing that if there's anywhere that I want to be, it's working on The Walking Dead. And I sent her a message saying, you know, the PA that works on The Walking Dead is in this community, mind blown, right? So that pa even level seemingly below is now an expert for this person that wants to break in. And that's very much how you're structuring your program as well, yes, for sure, for sure.

Troy Takaki

Because also, you know, in our program, we have a lot of people that want to move around a little bit. There are assistants that want to become editors, they work in non scripted, and they want to get into scripted, they work in scripted, and they want to get into documentaries. And so we are trying our best to make sure that we have experts in every field, so that you are able to like hunt down the person that is probably the most helpful to you.

Zack Arnold

So I would assume that if I'm somebody that is like in your position, or Pam Martin's position are relatively similar, fairly clear that I'm probably going to be considered a mentor. But if I'm coming into this fairly early in my career, like you said, three years experience, and I'm a fairly junior or green assistant editor, I would assume that when they first come in, and you say you need to be a mentor for others, some of them are like, What do you mean, I have to be a mentor? I've I don't know how to do that I have nothing to offer? How do you help people through this process of realizing it's not just about me, using the resources, I have to be a resource? How do you help them learn how to do that

Troy Takaki

in the questionnaire for the application, one of the questions is, give us an example of how you have mentored somebody in the past, it does not have to be an editorial. They know coming in that that is one of the goals of this program. So you know, they will you know, you know, and a lot of almost everybody has mentored somebody, I mean, everybody has mentored somebody, you just don't necessarily think about it. And this is where from the very beginning, before they're even in the program, we're teaching them to think about it. Think, you know, think about how you have helped somebody learn how to ride a bicycle, you know, when you were a kid or something like that, you know, or taught somebody how to invest or whatever you might have done in the past, you know, they don't get surprised by it. Because we we preach it from the very beginning. Now some people are better at it than others. And that's we understand that that's going to be true. You know, some people really embrace the idea that they're going to be mentors to other people in you know, in the program and then later outside the program because it spreads like wildfire, honestly, you know, next thing you know, they're mentoring every single assistant that's on their TV show and stuff. So where are year before they would come to work? And then they go home, you know?

Zack Arnold

Yeah, well, like you said, it's paid back in love. So that that can be very addicting.

Troy Takaki

It is very, very addicting. I think the people that are like, Oh my god, this is so much fun. I just love doing this. You know, I love talking to other assistant editors about you know how because a lot of it isn't. I'm trying to teach you something a lot of it is we are sharing information amongst our each other. And we are learning because of that, like how do you get your editor to let you cut a scene? Oh, well, you know, my editor didn't really offer I asked if I could do it and he or she said no, I like to cut my own footage. And I said oh but what if I just did it on the side and I promise I'm not gonna mess up your bins. I'll make my own bands that are like oh, okay, you learn from each other. How did you learn after effects? Oh, I just went on to this YouTube this YouTube and this YouTube and then I practice doing this first you know? So a lot of mentoring is not as sort of like straightforward and rip the you know, as you would think it is where you're giving pieces of advice quite often, especially if they're on the same level. You're sharing tips of things that you've learned In the past,

Zack Arnold

you know, in my process when I teach people about mentorship, doing outreach, how do I connect with somebody, I always talk about this idea that if you want to get somewhere different, where it's not a matter of here are the credits on my resume, I just need to get a gig so I can get another credit just like that some people are in that position, and that's fine. And there's nothing wrong with it. Most of the people that I work with whether they're brand new in their careers, or they've been working in this industry for 40 years, they've decided I want to do something different. And I'm up against that wall where I don't know the right people that are doing this thing. And I say, you're gonna have to find a mentor, the odds of you doing it on your own are very, very slim. And I break it down into three different types of mentorship. And I'm still workshopping and refining how I explain this, but I'm curious what your thoughts are, how you can add to the conversation, or how you can argue against it. But I have essentially classified it as I believe that there's something called a meet and greet mentor. There's a Sherpa mentor, and there's a Miyagi mentor. And depending on your tastes and films, it can also be a Yoda mentor, or a Morpheus mentor, but you get the point. The meet and greet is I just want to learn some basic stuff, or I'm lacking some knowledge. And here's this person I want to meet with become their friend, and maybe they can answer a few questions. The Sherpa is more, this is going to be a long journey. And I don't need somebody holding my hand every single day. But boy, it would be nice every few months to be able to send a text message or email and say, I'm really struggling with this, how can you help me, then the Miyagi mentor is I show up at their house 6am Every single day I'm waxing on I'm waxing off, I'm painting the fence, and I'm learning every granular part of the process. So I'm curious your thoughts about how that breaks down? And also where you think you fit in with what you're building with a diversity mentorship program?

Troy Takaki

That is a good question. I think that we use all three of those,

Zack Arnold

which I assumed would be the case. So I'd like to know how.

Troy Takaki

Okay, so and I would say that the way I described, our mentorship program, clearly breaks it down. So I am one of 21 mentors or something like that in the program, to the people not in my pod on the meet and greet and mentor, like there's some of them, where I might talk to them only a few times over the two years that they're in the program. But they might have a piece of advice, you know, want a piece of advice every once in a while or something like that, or I might only see them at the parties. Okay, so that's where I'm a meet and greet mentor, then in the pod, let's say or, you know, it can be one or two people outside the bar. I am the the long term mentor where Perry Yun still will call me asking advice about something or just, you know, asking my advice, meaning, let's just, you know, role play this out in both of our brains or something like that. Or I you know, some one of the mentor mentors, mentees from several years ago, like that will call me almost every time that he has some question like, should I take this job? Or should I take this job, and then there I have some that are the ones that like, you know, become my assistants and literally like, will just live with me and, and I will teach them everything I know. Now granted, there's, I think a fourth tie that I also have that might work in this but I'm not quite sure where it stands, which is the ones that are mentees and then they become really good friends of mine. And they go paddleboarding with me and they go bike riding with me. And they you know, they, you know, they become family friends basically. And those ones are sort of a combination of the second two. They're they're the long term Sherpas. And they are the ones that like I will I will teach them like how I kind of seen or something like that. So so that's my favorite, honest guy.

Zack Arnold

So it's kind of a Sherpa Sherpa-Miyagi hybrid, maybe?

Troy Takaki

Yes, you know. And by hybrid, it's not like you have half of one and half of the other. It's more so do you have 100% of both, you know, Oh, I like that. And that's my favorite kind though. The ones that become sort of my best friends and you they really become almost family friends. They're the ones that my wife really likes, and are like, Oh, when's Jen gonna come over? I love jet. You know, those are my favorites. Honestly, the ones that become really good friends of mine. And I give advice to and I give advice over years and yours. So Right.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, I love all of that. And I think that so far, what we've really covered is if I'm able to get into the diversity mentorship program, here's how the process works. And I'm going to step outside of that. And I'm going to ask a much broader question with which frankly, I don't even think is a very good question, but I think it's the most common way most people are going to phrase it. I'm curious how you would answer it. How do I get a mentor?

Troy Takaki

You know, okay, I And I think we've talked about it enough to really go into this, you actually want to find all three of those types of mentors that you are meant for, you're talking about, you can find some editors, or some assistant editors that you really look up to that work on shows or movies that you really like. If you're clever, you can find out how to contact those people, either through the Union or the ACA, like you can, anybody that's an ACA member, you can't get their email, but if you email your AC office, they will get passed to them. So you could say, I really, really just really want to meet Debbie bourbon or something like that. Because I really love all of the movies that she's worked on, you try to reach out to some of those people, a lot of them will actually contact you back because we're like, dorks. We're like we are, we are a felt like, emailing Brad Pitt, and everybody's emailing him, like, the number of people that are actually email some editor is really, really small. The question is whether or not you take a person that is a permit meeting with people, it's very, very important that you don't do it as sort of a random person that you're thinking about, you have to really care about that person's editing. So you aren't, if you're going to email them, or email that the AC officer, you're really trying to talk to one or two people really, that you really care about, you really like Better Call Saul, or something like that. So you're going to buy, you know, email scam, or somebody, I don't know, if you meet with people, but I will tell you that probably you'll probably hit 5050, at least you know, which is a pretty, it's not like you're sending out you know, a form letter, you know, you are trying to make sure when you write that email that you say why you want to meet with that person? It's not just, you know, I admire you like, it's, it has to be very personal, it has to be like, what show did they work on that you care about? Why do you care about that, okay, then you also want to try to find these long term people, once again, the long term people aren't necessarily, you know, the people that are, you know, Dodi Dorrans of the world that that you look up to, because they cut all this amazing stuff in the past. It try to find somebody at your level, or just one level above you is what you want to do. So that's where it's like, if you're a new assistant editor, find somebody that's been assistant editor and find somebody that's, you know, worked on stuff that you that you've worked with, and you turn these casual relationships that you have, you're on a TV show, when those three assistant editors try to turn some of those into long term love affairs, that your like, become your best friends for over years that you can be like, hey, you know, I, you know, I just checking in I know, we haven't worked with each other lately, but I'm, you know, I want to check in and what do you think about me going on to this show, you know, and then, once again, you just really hope that you match up with an editor and assistant editor that takes you under their wing. And that just has to do with making sure that you put that out there when you are on a TV show. And you will know pretty quickly whether or not it's somebody that you can, you can just eat a little bit more out of that you don't go home at the end of the night and are like when the TV shows done, I'm never going to work with I'm never going to talk to Janet again. You know, so, you know, I have those people I have those people like Phil Neal that I was my mentor is my mentor. That was the CO producer on seaQuest back in 1994. And I'm still friends with him. And I still talk to him every once in a while, you know, it's very, very important to keep those really precious mentorship, relationships going, even if you haven't seen them in years. Like it takes a little bit of effort to go to lunch with somebody once a year because but it's a really important thing to do.

Zack Arnold

All of that sounds great, but you don't get it Troy I'm scared of sending an email to somebody I don't want to bother them. I'm a nuisance. I don't want to ask for advice and just you know, feel like I'm desperate. And I need all this help. So how do I overcome the barrier of just like breaking through because the way that I always describe it as everybody starts as a meet and greet mentor you can't email somebody and by the way people do this to me all the time. They really do it to hi ZACK I found you online and really liked Cobra Kai will you be my mentor? doesn't quite work that way. It's kind of like with dating, you know, maybe buy me a drink first before you want to, you know, spend the weekend. But how do you help people overcome this idea that I can email Troy I heard on the podcast he's so busy, or Debbie Berman? She did Black Panther. These people are too busy. They're too important. For me, I don't want to bother them.

Troy Takaki

I know I don't. You know, I mean, honestly, the biggest issue with with with barriers is actually just breaking them. It's very similar in some ways. With this one in particular, it's some, it's very similar to like jumping off the high dive, where you're like, I'm just going to count to three and do it. So you have to make goals of something that you're trying to accomplish that day. And literally, if you said, next week, I'm going to send out one email, and you guessed do accomplish that one thing. It's not going to be that painful. In the end, you know, truthfully,

Zack Arnold

well, I think you actually answered this question already. And I want to dig into how I think you've answered this question already. What I teach is a very specific formula for sending outreach. I don't give templates because like you said, you don't want it fill in the blank. Hello, Mr. Takaki. I am a big fan of insert your latest show here. I am seeking a mentor here is my resume attached for your review. If you hear of anything, please pass me along? I would appreciate it. Clearly templates like that don't work. But I believe there's a formula and I think the most important part of the formula, which you've already answered without know you've answered it, is you have to provide value to that person, by demonstrating I genuinely love what you do, I watch it, and you've impacted me and inspired me,

Troy Takaki

I will tell you exactly how I teach to do this. Because I actually do teach this and I do it to my people in my mentorship program, and I do to my students, you start off by writing a fake letter a template, okay. So what I do with my students is I say, Okay, tell me three television shows or three features that you like, and the television shows have to be current. Okay, so they do and usually from those six people, six, I can find one that I know that people are I know of that people, okay, so you say, I really would like to have a show that I really like is, is Stranger Things, let's say, what you do then is you find you go to IMDb and you find one of the editors that does Stranger Things, and you want me watch a few of their episodes, and then you watch other things that I've worked on in the past, then you write that letter and the way the letters usually should go, it's very similar to like a three, paragraph, you know, five paragraph essay that you that you wrote in college in high school, right? So the first sentence will be something like, Oh, I really, you know, we'd love to meet with you sometime, or I found it. But I really liked amid no big fan of, of Stranger Things. The second paragraph is either about the person and why you want to meet the person or the show that they're working on and why the show is important to you. Then the third paragraph is usually about yourself. And when you say yourself, you do not you never list a list of skills, your list of skills will be on your resume or something like that. You say, Why are you passionate about editing? Why? How did editing come into your life? Why do you care about green grass, whatever it happens to be, it's about you. And then you write you write as a thing at the end, which is sort of like, if you have time for coffee, I would love to take you to coffee, it's very important for you to be the host, if you are inviting somebody out, if you're going to take them to lunch, you should pay for lunch, if you're dealing with coffee, you should pay for coffee, sometimes the editor will will laugh at you and pay for coffee when you get there. But you know, you are inviting the person to come. Once again, the important thing about this is that you are showing why you care about the person or the show that they're working on. And then why you care about editing and why you care about you know, the subject of editing and post production. It is it is not a once again not a list of skills. It's not a I know avid and I noticed and of the that it should be relatively casual though then and not businesslike. Right. It's now to somebody that you weren't even going to send it to. Okay. Because once you have that one written, you're like, Okay, I get the idea. And then you when you're going to do it for Dodi Dorn, you get to watch a bunch of her things. And then you get to tailor it towards that next person. And yes, you're like, oh, but Troy, you're telling me how to write a form letter? I'm like, No, it isn't. It's just that you have a template. You know, it's good to have a template because then it's less scary. You're not writing each one from scratch. You're writing each one that's like, tailored to the person but not from scratch.

Zack Arnold

Yeah, and I think that the words in this conversation template and formula are interchangeable because what you're talking about is what I call a formula because in my mind a template is all the words are written out. Fill in the blanks, Mad Libs style. So what you're calling tempo, we're on the same page because it's about here's the purpose of each sentence or paragraph. And I know if I read The Matrix, I'm kind of writing the same message over and over. But the person that receives it thinks, oh my god, this is one of a kind. And this person really spent the time to learn more about me, the least I can do is respond. Yeah. So totally on the same page. And if I showed you my formula, you'd be like, Dude, did you rip me off? Because it's almost exactly the same thing. You and I have never talked about this ever. But again, very much on the same page, the only thing that I would add to it, where I think we differ is that I advise people in the first message to not ask for somebody's time. What I advise is to ask for something even smaller, which is a very small question that gets them started on the road that they want to walk down whatever the goal is, whatever the path is, because it makes it more likely that somebody is going to think well, yeah, I can respond to this in five minutes. Versus Do I really have time for coffee with a stranger, but it usually leads to that very, very quickly.

Troy Takaki

Right, right. Right. Yeah. Yes. So So I agree with that, which is, which is you tried to make it so that they will respond to the email?

Zack Arnold

Beautiful. Yeah. So the the way that I always teach it is it's not just about getting a response. It's about getting a useful and favorable response. Because the mistake I see all the time, and I bet you get these messages to somebody asks a question just for the sake of asking a question. Hey, man, really excited about Cobra Kai, love this montage? Do you call with Avid or Premiere? A call with Avid? Like, does that really help them? Like if right now the one thing where they're stuck in their life is I don't know if I should spend a year learning Avid or Premiere? I might have just changed the trajectory the next year of their life. Sorry, if they already know that, or they do a two minute internet search. That question didn't help them. But they just wanted to ask for the sake of saying, oh, Zack responded to my message, or Troy responded to my message. So I always make sure you're asking a question that actually is going to get you results. And here's the reason why. And I want to see what your thought is on this. Have you ever heard of something called the Benjamin Franklin effect? No. So the Benjamin Franklin effect to paraphrase it is this idea, obviously coined by Benjamin Franklin, where when he had a political adversary, the way that he would build that relationship and overcome the friction is he would ask them for a favor, which is totally counterintuitive. Instead of doing something nice for them, he would ask them for something. And the example was, he would ask to borrow a book. And they would give them the book, and he will come back to them and say, I cannot thank you so much for letting me read this book. I learned this this and that, I wouldn't have learned these things without you. Do you have another book. And what he then does is he creates this friendship and there's this like, mutual feeling of admiration. So this is what I use to help people overcome the feeling of well, Troy is super busy, even said, so in his podcast, the guy never stops editing, and he's running a mentorship program. I can't ask Him for anything. But would it not provide value to you? If I were relatively young in my career, and I'm stuck with something that I just can't figure out, but you can answer it in two seconds? Doesn't it? Just kind of make your day a little bit better to say, yeah, here's the answer. And then they follow up and like, Oh, my God, this made all the difference in the world for me. Sure. I love that idea. So for me, if I can make it a super, super easy way to not only get a response, but a favorable response, such that I might be asking you for something, but you actually get pleasure out of providing whatever that advice might be. I've seen over and over and over again. And maybe this has happened with you as well, where my students say, Yeah, but you know, it's, it just seems so simple. And I really want to set up a meeting, I say, wait to watch what happens, they send a really simple question. And the response is, here's the answer. By the way, I'd love to tell you all about this thing and tell my story even further. Are you available for coffee, or a zoom call? Or like, this person is asking me if I'm available? Like, that's crazy. I'm curious if you've ever been in a position where you offer that

Troy Takaki

I am trying to? I'm sure that I have, you know, I have no doubt. I'm sure that I have.

Zack Arnold

I feel like I'm asking you, what did you have for lunch? Three weeks ago, we ate lunch every day. I don't remember.

Troy Takaki

I'm trying to think I you know, I there's so I go to so many things like that, that I'm trying to think of how I ended up at some of them. I'm sure that some of them I they asked to take me to coffee and some of they asked about something else and we eventually got around having coffee. So I have your idea though.

Zack Arnold

But the point being that what I really want to help people with is breaking the ice and overcoming that fear of who am I to think I can reach out I'm just bothering this expert. They don't want to have anything to do with me. They don't have time for me. That's what I'm trying to overcome.

Troy Takaki

You can also write it and not ask for anything. You literally could just write it like a fanboy and be like I really love your reading that I just writing this because I think that your editing on Breaking Bad is just amazing. You will get a response

Zack Arnold

you will absolutely get a response for sure. And if you're looking for Meet and Greet mentorship, I think that is a great way to do it. If you want to extend it further at some point. I feel like there's got to be a give and take but you're right. There's no reason not to just reach out and provide your admiration

Troy Takaki

just reach out and just Say that you're a fan of that editor or this assistant, you know, I, you know, get your assistant edited on for Marvel shows Oh my God isn't that cool to be working on for Marvel shows that assistant editor will email you back and then you can start a dialogue and eventually be like, hey, you know, do you want to have a coffee? Or they'll say, Do you want to have coffee or beer or something like that? So because realistically, you're the the first email that you're sending is just to let the note the person know that you exist. And hope that you get a response is what you're saying. There's no way I would get a email saying, you know, that they wrote, they read my book, and they really love that book and not asking for anything that I would not respond to. You know, it'd be weird for me not to be like, I'm so glad that you met my book you read read my book, let me know if you have any questions about anything. Like that would be my response. If somebody just emailed me is like, I read your book, I love everything about your book, it really helped change my life that are responsive, be like, that's amazing that you love my book that much. Let me know if you have any questions about anything, or you want to go to coffee or something. So I see where you're coming from. I'm going one step further and say, don't ask for anything, if you don't want to just say,

Zack Arnold

Do you see what you just did? In your templated response? You offered the coffee, you've done it so many times, you can't even remember when you've done it, because it's just part of your response. Hey, if you got any questions, let me know, let's grab coffee. I love that you do it so much. Like I can't recall a time that I would have offered that because you've probably done it 100 times. So one of the other fears that people have is they're thinking, they're gonna see through me, they know that at the end of the day, all they want is a job. And I just kind of feel like I'm using them or manipulating them.

Troy Takaki

But to be clear, you are not doing it because you want a job. That is the most important thing you are not, you are not getting any of these mentors because you want a job.

Zack Arnold

So then that begs the question, if I do really want to break in, or I want to get more experience or get hired on something, what does it take to go from I'm going to be able to have coffee with Troy to Troy's legitimately going to consider hiring me. So he can be my Miyagi mentor.

Troy Takaki

Well, you know, this is where this is where you're, you're thinking too high up the ladder honestly, is what you really want to do is you want to meet with the writers is that you know, what is the post PA on euphoria. And you you're hoping to have coffee and become friends with them or have coffee with the post gear and euphoria. Because next thing you know, that becomes a friendship. And next thing, you know, she is an assistant editor on a TV show and they say do you know anybody that could be our PA. And so, you know, it is so important that you're not going on any of these meetings or writing any of these letters because you want a job. The job is what naturally comes later on. From relationships. It's not why you have relationships, you are totally not networking to get jobs, you are networking to meet people, by knowing people, you get jobs. You know, it is absolutely an imperative because people absolutely smell blood in the water where you're like, oh, this person just wants a job. I don't want to meet with those people. I want to meet with the people that want to meet with me because they just won't, you know, want to have a good chat of some kind, you know, and learn some things and maybe get to know me better or something. And, you know, then next thing I know, I go oh, you know, maybe that would be a good person for the diversity program. Or oh, I, you know, I hear we need a PA on the next on the HBO show I'm going on. Maybe Samantha would be a good PA or something like that. It is and I'm repeating myself here, it is so important that you're not doing any of these things because you want to have a job. In fact, you know, when you should be doing these things the most is when you have a job. Like, the best thing you can do is go to lunch with somebody and say, oh, yeah, I'm working on this HBO show for the next the next nine months. But I just wanted to meet with you because I you know, I admire you. You're not even looking for a job. That's what that's it takes all the pressure off of the person that's meeting with you or talking to you or even you're emailing web because they know you aren't looking for a job, you aren't doing it just because you need a job,

Zack Arnold

which goes back to what you said, which is that you're always looking several jobs ahead. And when it comes to relationships, there's going to come a day if I'm an Assistant Editor and television or features and I really admire you Troy as an editor thinking, I've got a gut feeling there's this intuition that says that Troy and I would be a really good pair and I think he could be the Miyagi mentor for me. That's going to take years you're not going to meet with somebody wants and say you I'm gonna hire you on my next film, I'll see you in two weeks, maybe you will, but I doubt it. But if I'm thinking, I want to genuinely build a relationship with you, I'm on a job right now. But I just want to have coffee, I want to chat. And maybe I'll catch up with you in a few months, I'll tell you, I implemented some of your advice and worked really, really well. In my opinion, that's the way if I know that I, there's no better place for my career, than to be sitting on the other side of your wall as your assistant, I'm going to see that as a multi year game, not I'm going to send three emails have coffee, and I'm gonna pass you my resume.

Troy Takaki

Some of my best mentees, I have never got a job and I've never hired, but how they have advance in their careers because of my mentorship. And that's the best type of in a lot of ways, one of the one of the best types of the mentee mentor relationship is somebody that needs nothing from you, because they you know, as far as work goes, because they work all the time. And they are just getting your advice, where you're helping them, you know, with their career path, and not necessarily helping them get their next job.

Zack Arnold

We've covered a whole wide gamut of a whole bunch of different subjects, I want to be very, very conscious of your time. And if my usual question of, you know, what's your best advice for doing the following your responses? I've already given you all of that for the last 90 minutes. So that's a very redundant question. But is there anything vitally important to this conversation specifically, that we haven't covered? That you feel needs to be shared?

Troy Takaki

The most important thing is that when you get a piece of advice from Ford, Zack, you do it. So here is my piece of advice. And an example of it. Because that's how I do my thing. I did a lecture at LMU. I wouldn't have lecture 35 people, I gave them my email, I said, if any of you email me, I will go to coffee with you. And I will give you give you future advice. And they said, Oh, Troy, you you can't do that. You're gonna get so many emails, you're not going to have time I'm like, I will not. I will, too. Have you will email me. And they're like, I like I dare you guys to email. You want to know how many emails from the 35. I got to, to both of those people ended up I ended up mentoring, I helped get them jobs. They're incredible. I'm still friends with them. So during this podcast, you have been told to retroist book, you have been told to write a letter. You know, that will become a template? Or what did you call it? A formula, a formula for a real letter. If you do that, if you do those two things, you will have done a lot. And you will have done a lot more than 90% of the people that hear this podcast, I will guarantee it.

Zack Arnold

I agree with everything except it's more like 97%. Okay, because nobody does this stuff. Nobody does.

Troy Takaki

Literally you hear this podcast, we told you two things to do read my book, and write out a letter so that when you write those real emails to people, you have practice and you're like, Oh, I get this, you know? Do it be the 3% that actually accomplish? It does what Troy and Zack just told you to do?

Zack Arnold

So if I'm one of those 3%? How do I get a hold of you and show you that I'm the kind of person that follows through,

Troy Takaki

you can order my book on Amazon, it cost a total of 7.99. It has an email address in there that you can email me and if you email me, particularly with that email address, because it's you know, a Gmail, you know, from the book, I will respond, I promise I will respond. If you email me and you say that I read my book, and this is you know what I thought of it, you will then get a response from Troy.

Zack Arnold

If you're listening, follow through, get the book, send the email, that is how change happens. That is how you're going to move your career forwards. Troy, I cannot thank you enough for finally carving out the time in your schedule to have this conversation. So happy to have it on the record and share it with people that it can really influence and impact and make a positive difference. So I cannot thank you enough for being here today.

Troy Takaki

Great! It's been a pleasure. I'm glad that I'm getting to know you better Zack.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


Guest Bio:

troy-takaki-bio

Troy Takaki

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Troy Takaki, ACE is a top film editor who has cut such box office hits as Sweet Home Alabama starring Reese Witherspoon and Hitch starring Will Smith. He is one of the few picture editors that splits his time between features and television. He recently edited shows such as You for Netflix and Mr. Mercedes for Direct TV. He recently edited Cheaper By The Dozen for Disney Plus and the Dead Boy Detective pilot for HBO MAX.

Show Credits:

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

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

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

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