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

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ACE Editor Steve Lang truly means it when he says,

“If I can help somebody get a job, it’s almost just as satisfying as if I got the job myself.”

As we discussed in part 1 of our marathon interview together, not only did Steve play a huge role in getting me my first television editing job on Burn Notice (despite the fact I didn’t have enough experience), but he has helped countless numbers of his assistants get into the editing chair and move on to successful careers. If you missed part one, you might want to go back and listen to that one first, where we discuss in detail, how Steve has navigated a varied career in post-production while avoiding getting pigeonholed, and how it’s possible to use skills over experience to get the jobs you want (if you know how to tell the right story).

What you’ll hear in part two is Steve’s philosophy on mentoring his assistants, how he approaches his editor’s cuts, and his best advice for making the transition from assistant to editor. We also dive into Steve’s work habits, his lifestyle choices, and how he has learned to balance his intense focus abilities to avoid wreaking havoc on his health and relationships. Steve has generously shared his knowledge and experience through mentorship over the years and I’m immensely grateful that he has given his time to talk with me and share his wisdom with you.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Why Steve likes hiring assistants that want to be editors.
  • Steve’s playbook that he gives to every assistant he hires to help them get into the editor’s chair.
  • Steve’s philosophy on putting his editor cut together.
  • How Steve helps his assistants learn and grow as editors.
  • Advice for seasoned assistants having trouble getting into the editor’s chair.
  • The one thing Steve finds more valuable than experience or skills when hiring an editor.
  • Why you have to love the process of editing to keep your sanity and passion alive.
  • Steve talks about his battle with Crohn’s disease and how it affected his career and his life.
  • How the pandemic has affected his work hours.
  • How he manages his habit of working late and trying to balance his health and creativity.
  • What is next on the horizon for Steve.
  • Final advice from Steve for new editors and assistants.
  • How to connect with Steve.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

The Optimizer Coaching & Mentorship program

Steve Lang’s Instagram Page

Steve Lang’s Facebook Page

Steve’s email

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Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold 0:00

My name is Zack Arnold. I'm a Hollywood film and television editor, a documentary director, father of two, and American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of Optimize Yourself. For over 10 years now I have obsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits, writes or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you. Hello, and welcome to the Optimize Yourself podcast. If you're a brand new Optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you're inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about this show and help spread the love. And if you're a longtime listener and optimizer O.G., welcome back. Whether you're brand new, or you're seasoned vet, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you click the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show, and thus the more people that you and I can inspire to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show, which is part two of my marathon interview with ACE editor Steve Lange, who truly means it when he says if I can help somebody get a job, it's almost just as satisfying as if I got the job myself. As we discussed in part one of our marathon interview together, not only did Steve play a huge role in getting me my first television editing job on Burn Notice, despite of course, the fact that I didn't have any experience doing television whatsoever. But he has also helped countless numbers of his other assistants get into the editing chair and move on to their own successful careers. Now if you missed part one, you might want to go back and listen to that first, where we discuss in detail how Steve has navigated a very career in post production, while also avoiding getting pigeonholed, and how it's possible to use skills over experience to get the jobs that you want. If you know how to tell the right story. What you're going to hear in part two is Steve's philosophy on mentoring his assistance, how he approaches his editors cuts and his best advice for making the transition from assistant to editor. We also dive into Steve's work habits, his lifestyle choices, and how he has learned to balance his intense focus abilities to avoid wreaking havoc on his health and his relationships. I just gotta say that Steve has generously shared some amazing knowledge and experience through mentorship over the years, and I am beyond grateful that He has given us time to talk with me and also share his wisdom with you. If today's interview inspires you to take the next step towards a more fulfilling career path that not only lines you with projects that you're passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance, and especially if you would like support, mentorship and a global community to help you turn your goals into a reality this year, then you and I need to talk because enrollment is now officially open for my optimizer coaching and mentorship program. Over the last three years I've worked with well over 100 students, helping them to strategize how to design healthier lifestyles, increase their focus and productivity, better manage their time, and I have helped many students land career changing opportunities. But to be honest, the biggest obstacle for many who knows this program want to make a difference. But having joined has just been the cost. I have now made this program a lot more affordable. And I'm also offering all of my online courses, masterclasses and workshops, Netflix style as part of the program. Needless to say, if this year is the year that you need help developing a new strategy, you should visit optimize yourself.me slash optimizer to learn more about how you and I can work together. I review applications in the order they're received. And I fill my slots accordingly. So the earlier you apply, the better your chances are of getting into the program. Enrollment closes Friday, January 15. All right. Without further ado, part two of my conversation with ACE editor Steve Lang made possible today by our amazing sponsors ever cast and arrow driven, who are going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview to access the shownotes for this and all previous episodes as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview. Please visit optimize yourself.me/podcast.

You and I have one fundamental flaw, which is that we want to hire assistant editors that don't want to be assistant editors. We want to find people that really want to cut so we can mentor and we can help them grow which means we always have to keep looking for good assistant editors which is really really frustrating. And I partly learned that from you, but there's a method to the madness. So why won't you just hire somebody that you can keep under your wing forever?

Steven Lang 5:08

Ah, because, listen, you know, it's a good question. It's not that I, it's not that I wouldn't, because I said, I, I have some friends that are sort of those lifetime assistance. But you know, I mean, like, they tend to be, you know, they tend to be more than nine to five, which, you know, which I'm fine with, but, you know, I, I tend to work on, on shows that need those little sort of extra touches, you know, they're not, they're not easy sort of, necessarily to put together. So in the sense that, you know, I mean, I need a little bit more. And so I catch myself, you know, like, I get, I get more excited when I, when I see that excitement, of somebody who's sort of young and hungry, you know, like, I've got a very simple approach when it comes to it, because I, you know, I get the, I get your type of calls a lot. And, you know, and now it's, you know, easier to have phone calls, and sort of get together beyond just the pandemic stuff. But, but what what I do is, you know, I give them the playbook, it's the playbook that's worked for almost every assistant, you know, that I've, that I've hired, which is, you starting from nothing, you know, you gotta go, gotta go into the reality world, you know, you gotta, you got to make all your calls, and you got to figure out a way I mean, I can sort of introduce you to some people that are in that world and, and see, if there's, there's, you know, they can keep their ears and eyes open, but get yourself in that reality world, you know, get, you know, get abused, but trust me, this is the abuse, you're gonna get there, you're gonna literally come back, and you're gonna be like, I know, you're road tested, when you sort of gone through that, and the people that have reached out to me and sort of follow that, that playbook. The every single one of them, they've had success, you know, I mean, it wasn't one of those, like, I can't, you know, I can't make it happen, I can't, you know, what, what I ended up doing, though, is, you know, because it's always one of those keep, you know, keep in contact with me, let me know how things are going. So, you know, the ones that are really serious, because they actually follow up, you know, six months from now you hear from them again, hey, just want to let you know, I'm doing this show, I'm doing this blah, blah, blah, you know, fantastic, you know, and then all of a sudden, you get that call, hey, I'm looking for an assistant, you know, like, you know, anybody's sort of young, I sit, you know, like, you know, I mean, I said, I've been talking with this person, I feel I've got a good feeling about them, you know, but you know, but why don't you meet with them and see, you know, with the understanding that at some point, I might steal them back. Because, you know, if I'm looking for, you know, these are, these are people that I feel like I you know, I put the time in in terms of getting them sort of, you know, mentally sort of ready for, for what it what it kind of takes, so, I've had really good success when it in that sort of sense of, you know, and, and it's except it's a constant, sort of getting those phone calls, what I need to do here, you know, let me introduce you to these three assistant editors, that I know, you know, that, that basically follow this playbook. And I've had a lot of good success for it, you know, call them and, and everybody, like, everybody's been, you know, is always good in terms of taking those phone calls. And, and, and helping out. And that's, that's one of those things, and I tried to, like, emphasize, like, the importance of that, because it really is, you know, because I do it without an agent, you know, never, you know, I've never had the agent and never done that. It's sort of the goodwill of, of the, you know, the creators, the writers, and people and all that's, that I've done I've worked with, and I've been sort of fortunate to sort of keep it, you know, but, but then, and the most important thing I want to say, because I always, like, you know, when I have these conversations with assistants, you know, like, I always stress, like, the most important thing that you need to remember, is we work in a very creative field, you know, and everyone needs to feel like they're part of the process, you know, because it's so easy, especially as an editor, you know, obviously, I'm, you know, I'm one of those who tries to get the show 90% there in the editors cut, because I believe, if my editors cut is close, then that director and producers cut can go so smoothly and easily as compared to and I get it, you know, you know, some people like, you know, they put it together and they wait for someone to give them direction, and it keeps getting better and it keeps getting better. And then by the time you lock it, it's, it's there but you know, like, I don't necessarily Wait, I like you know, I can problem solve, I know where the issues are, you know, I, I you know, I try and get this this thing close. But, you know, but, but you also got to remember that there is a process. So, you know, I mean, even though I think this editors cut is you could basically lock this thing tomorrow and air it the next day and it's in, it's never going to get better. You know? Sometimes you nail things and sometimes you don't, you know, and it's not a fight of Oh, no, this is the only way it it needs to be done. It's Oh, I, you know what? I know what I, what? You tell me what you don't what you're not liking right now and let me see how I can solve it, you know? And then you know, I mean, when I figured that out, I really did sort of, to me the process got even better, because I was one of those guys that stuff by Oh my god, you know, it was, you know, in terms of just really making sure that my cut was was the one that sort of survived and and then you know, and then I realized, I don't know if I was that that much fun in the editing. For sometimes when I was told that once or twice, and then you anything I said those things where you realize, I don't want to be a unpleasant experience. So let me let me figure out a way to, to figure this out. So you know, it's the one thing I try and stress to the assistance early on, it's just just remember that, you know, it's a very creative process. And we got it, you got to make sure everyone feels like they're, they're part of that process.

Zack Arnold 11:04

You and I are very much the same. As far as the editors philosophy were similar to you, I'm going to give them what I think is arable. I'm going to deliver the editors cut my dream, by the way, is to go from editors cut to lock just like you don't think I'm trying to achieve a boy is that the dream? The point being? That's the mentality of how I'm putting editors cut together, the sound and the music and every cut perfect. And then it's not like here's this kind of a rough assembly, what do you think it's more here, err, this, you got a problem with it, tell me what you want to fix. But I like you and I have a similar philosophy. What I'm curious to learn more about, I want to dive into this idea of the playbook a little bit deeper. I love this concept of the playbook. There's two sections of the playbook that I think are really important to cover. The first of which, let's assume that I'm the person that's done all the reality. I've gotten my hours, I paid my dues. If I want to get your attention, or somebody similar to you, but I don't have the experience. What do I need to tell you to get over the hump of you know what this person has never done scripted? But I think they can and I'm willing to take the chance. What is or isn't a

Steven Lang 12:08

system that are you talking about as an assistant?

Zack Arnold 12:10

If you're an assistant in reality, you don't have any scripted experience, people believe I can't do it without that experience. It's a catch 22 what do I need to tell you to convince you otherwise?

Steven Lang 12:20

Well, I mean, let's say me personally, you don't have to tell me anything. Because I don't like the whether I've done script or not, like I know, your road test. Because what the script, I mean, what the reality world is doing compared to what we're doing, it's a cakewalk. Like, I mean, you guys, you know, they're not scripted. Like, they're 10 years ahead of us in terms of everything is finished, you know, they're finishing in that room, they're doing sound are doing all of that stuff, they're working with, you know, five editors at a time, like, now you're telling me you're gonna come and work on a one on one relationship with me, and all of that energy that you were putting in, in terms of, you know, working over multiple, like editors, like, I'm going to get that all that focus myself, like it really, it really, you don't have to convince me, you know, too much with that. When it comes to the assistant editor, you know, I said, I don't think that's a, that's a problem at all, it just comes down to what you're sort of comfortable with. Because obviously, when you're dealing with that, you're also dealing with, you know, like, you know, not from the obviously the technical aspect of it, you don't, but you do you know, when it comes to the cutting, because obviously, it's like, I want to cut, I want to do this, I want to do that, then you start throwing them some, you know, some scenes, you let them do the sound stuff, you know, you get all the stuff that you don't want it to. And then you start letting them cut. And that's the cutting is where it always like, you know, that's where you go, Okay, this person, like, you know, like, I've definitely had the assistance where you were one of the first things you get from them, you're like, Oh, this guy can cut, you know, like, Oh, he's, he's good, you know, like, like, which is kind of like, Oh, thank God. And then there's other times where you're just like, yeah, okay, you know, like, we're gonna have to dig in, because, you know, it's easy to take a scene away and just fix it, you know, but they don't learn too much, you know, so I try, you know, I might be the hands but I'll try and get them to come in the room, hey, let's sit down, let's talk about it. You know, I like what you did here, you know, this moment here, I don't feel like we're being realized. And nothing's it's, you know, like, remember, we're talking about this, this mat. So, I do try and, you know, like I said, be able to sort of talk through exactly what it is what I'm liking or what I don't like, and then, you know, at a certain point to, like, I always like to try to remind as I go, listen, at a certain point, it's gonna come down into individual taste, you know, like, it's not that it's not working here, but I don't like doing these type of cuts, you know, where I don't like jumping the line in this sort of way. If I, you know, I give this seem to, you know, if I, if we both came in the same scene, it's not going to be exactly the same. Hopefully that you know, the idea of the scene is going to be the same but it's not gonna be cut back Cut. So, you know, I mean, I, I always try to encourage word, you think I might have destroyed the scene, meaning like I, you know, like I just took it away and just kind of, and but I mean, it doesn't mean you were wrong, it just means this is how I like to sort of do things, you know, but then these are the things that you can sort of work on or not. So, you know, like, I always try and make it the learning experience. And, and when we talk about, like what we talked about in terms of that editors cut, you know, I need those assistants that are willing to kind of, you know, to go that sort of extra mile, because there's no way to do that, or just cut like that, unless you kind of have had that type of a system kind of working with you, too.

Zack Arnold 15:41

Yeah, I think that a huge point that I always emphasize to people, is the quality of my assistant editor dictates the quality of my life while I'm on a show. Yeah, if I have to manage everything about them, and walk them through the process, and basic issues aren't done, and I have to cut all my scenes and do all my sound design. My life is hell, I want a creative partner, where some other editors, they just want to hoard all of the work, do everything, you know, what do my dailies do my exports do my visual effects list. I can't even imagine working that way. Because I'm working 90 hours a week.

Steven Lang 16:13

Yeah, I said, I don't understand. Cuz, you know, the thing that's, that, that I laugh about now, because when I meet, you know, these young guys, so when I talk about, like, so what sort of experience of you know, you know, avid premiere, you know, I mean, they're, like, you know, the knowledge that they have now compared to like, what I had, when I started, I literally opened up that avid book from page one, and it was a thick book, and I just turned the page and just kind of looked at the windows and, you know, I mean, like, just from the technical aspect. And meanwhile, like nowadays, you know, you know, they have just as much knowledge as, as I do, they don't realize how much sort of knowledge it is, sometimes I have to remind them like, okay, either your visual effects editor, or you're an editor, like, in theory, you could be both, but do you want to spend 90 hours a week doing trying to do everything? Like, it's, you know, I mean, like, I love cut it, you know, like, I love doing music, you know, the rest of it, it's like, I need I need an assistant who can who's really good with sound I need, you know, an assistant who can cut where I can throw them scenes and know, I'm gonna get something back that's in decent shape. You know, I mean, like, you know, it's, it's truly like, when I'm, when I'm meeting with people and talking, I know exactly what to ask. And I can tell right away like, Okay, this person, you know, it's got the definitely has the potential, because when they say, Oh, I don't know anything about visual effects, or I'm not much of a sound guy that it's like.

Zack Arnold 17:36

I don't know about that.

Steven Lang 17:37

Yeah, it's like, those are the type of things where you just like, okay, yeah, thanks for Yeah, yeah,

Zack Arnold 17:42

not not a good fit. I'm right there with you. What I always emphasize is that, number one, your job is to make this person's life easier in whatever way you possibly can. And what you also need to emphasize and this is something I tell all of my students, you don't need to know everything. Because the people that are in reality, they're thinking, I just, I don't understand turnovers. And this is like, it doesn't matter. Do you know enough to not get fired on the first day. That's it, show up and know enough, you can learn everything else on the fly, if you're a problem solver. And you can work hard, you don't need to know everything you can learn it. Just be in a position where you can succeed your first day, from there, everything else will happen that and I find that that's been good, useful advice for people that just feel like oh, I'm not ready yet. Like, you're never gonna be ready. I wasn't ready to cut Burn Notice. Are you kidding? I was completely out of my league. But I figured it out.

Steven Lang 18:30

Yes. But you want it, we're gonna jump back for a second. Because when I when I used to run posts, here's the thing that I did do stuff like, so obviously, when you're when you're working in post production, when you're working with a post producer, who nine times out of 10 knows nothing about the ins and outs of post. They don't realize like, Oh, I I totally fucked up this output, like, like, 30 minutes into you're like, Oh, I got to start this thing over. You know, then they come in, Hey, what's going on? system crashed, you know, like, I, you know, I gotta, I gotta start over, it's gonna take another hour, you know, like, those those moments where it was like, What do you just do? Like, like, I know, you, you know, like, what did you forget to do? Because there's no way the system, there's no way to tell me this, this system crash that those are those sort of moments where, you know, that you could sort of get away with, with things that you normally can't when you don't have someone who's a creative person in terms of post because, you know, like, because he was talking about, as long as you don't get fired on that first day. I mean, yes, those are the type of things where, you know, the technical aspects can be learned very, very quickly, you know, the rest of the stuff like said, I don't mind, I don't mind teaching any of that stuff. I just need to know you have a general, you know, understanding of what of what it is that it takes, you know, and, and, and you're willing to sort of work hard enough to, you know, to figure that stuff out.

Zack Arnold 19:56

Now, I want to dive into one of the biggest content Flex with the way that our departments are organized. And again, you're a very unique person they can, they can look at it from both perspectives. As an editor, you have a very specific need for an assistant that has a drive to do creative work that wants to go above and beyond and wants to do the sound design maybe wants to do 10 visual effects, cut a scene here or there to offload your workload co producer doesn't care. The CO producer has the assistant editor for very specific purposes that, frankly, have nothing to do with the editor. And as you know, there's a lot of conflict between the producer and the editor, and the assistant is stuck in between both of them serving two completely different masters.

So how do you manage that both as an editor as an assistant editor and a co producer, because it's, it's a very fragile relationship that I've seen lead to people not being a part of a team? Because one of the three pieces didn't fit?

Steven Lang 20:50

Yeah, I mean, you know, and I feel like, during our period, when we were working together, that was, that was sort of an issue, because, you know, it was bad enough that it was a two editor two assistant, but it was like, Okay, we'll give you a three editor, but you only gonna have two assistants, which means some, you know, some assistant has to share the responsibility with the third editor, which, you know, like a show like that, it was all like, I sometimes used to say, it's almost easier with a two on two because at least it's a one on one relationship. You know, I mean, we're, we're in this battle together in a three on two. And thank God, that world has pretty much gone away. I haven't been in one of those situations in a long time. Nor I think I'd let myself be in to one of those situations that that's like one of those things where you say, well, what's going to decide like, yeah, that's one of those things where it's like, yeah, I'm not working on that show. But yes, I mean, that's a, that's a tough position to be in. I mean, listen, at the end of the day, I can do my own sound, I can do my own music. I mean, in theory, I could do everything if I had to. And there's, there's sometimes there's, you know, I've been in those, not recently, but where it's like, Okay, I'm just gonna have to dive in here and do a little bit more than sort of expected. Because it like said, it isn't fair, because I, you know, obviously, you always have the assistant who's willing to kind of go that extra mile, I'll take care of this sort of after, but it's like, you know, did I don't want you to be here until midnight? And I don't know, I mean, like, there's, you know, there, there will be conversations that I'll have just to say, Hey, you know, what, what's the importance here? Because I've got a cut that's going out, I need, you know, I need this this net. I feel like when you have those conversations, you know, I mean, you can, you know, you can usually figure out a workaround or a workflow that can that sort of can benefit both. But you know, you gotta, you gotta have those conversations, instead of those are shouting matches, you know, I'm not being supported and all of that crazy. Nonsense.

Zack Arnold 22:53

Yeah, I've been in the middle of more than one of those, as I'm sure you have as well. So the second part of the playbook that we haven't talked about yet, which I think you can provide so much insight into first part of the playbook, how do I just break into scripted? The second part is more complex. I am a highly skilled assistant editor, maybe I've cut a bunch of scenes, maybe I even have an additional editor credit a co editor, creditor to, I just can't get the chair, I cannot get that first season. What do I need to do to make that happen?

Steven Lang 23:25

I know those are those are tough ones. Because I there's a, I've got a couple of those, you know, that I that I still sort of talk with and it's, it's so weird how those, you know, some, some of those opportunities just open up just perfectly for some people and others that just, you know, it just for whatever reason, it just doesn't happen as simple. You know, it's frustrating, because, obviously, the idea of, you know, you always like I got to go back to that first season show to sort of hope for that, you know, for that, that opportunity again, you know, I wish I wish I had a better answer. But, you know, but in terms of that, it's you just got to, it's the persistence part of just, you know, of not sort of just giving up and, and, and like said, you know, setting yourself up for that, that opportunity. So when it comes it just doesn't go away. But, you know, I mean, you know, you know, it's one thing about getting that, that first credit or that first season, but you know, but the show goes away, and all of a sudden, it's like, I'm back to sort of square one, you know, so at the end of the day, I think, you know, the there's enough opportunities, and they said it might not happen right away. But I mean, the the opportunity will come again and and if it's a right fit, it's just it's it's gonna happen. You know, you just gotta, you got to believe ultimately that it's going to happen

Zack Arnold 24:50

as a supervising editor that hires younger editors, especially ones that were your own little underlings, his assistance. But let's say that there wasn't somebody that you brought up From assistant, they're just a young editor with maybe a season at the most, let's say you don't have a relationship with them, what do I need to do to convince you that I can do a season of TV, knowing that I've been a highly skilled assistant, I've worked on great shows, I've done some of my own cutting, as you know, a lot of it isn't credited. What do I need to do to convince you that I can sit in that chair and I can do a season

Steven Lang 25:23

it's really gonna come down to personality, you know, I mean, like, you know, I like cuz, obviously, we're gonna just sit down, we're gonna have a conversation, kind of like with you, I mean, and I'm going to be able to feel out and says, you know, we're going to talk movies, you know, I mean, we're going to, like, I'm going to kind of push, push your buttons a little bit, in terms of, you know, to make sure that we're sort of on a similar sort of wavelength in terms of, you know, the type of material that we're going to, you know, like, obviously, it's going to depend on the show, too. So, you know, I'm gonna have a very specific, I mean, I can give a good good example, in terms of like, the, what we're working on now, you know, the, the, the third editor's spot, ended up being hired, we hired a guy who very familiar with his work, but never worked with before. So, you know, I mean, it's, it's, it works both ways, you know, like, you know, he has had a great reputation, great reputation, Lance lucky. So, it was one of those, you know, you know, somewhat similar, you know, he happened to reach out to me, when we were, you know, when we were sort of looking at it was like, Oh, my God, lunch are available, I said, you know, what, do me a favor, you know, send me your resume, because, you know, it was one of those things where perfect drama, you know, I mean, action comedy, kind of had a little bit of everything, and it was one of those, like, this is exactly what we're looking for, in terms of foreign editor. So I mean, that's in terms of someone with, with credits, if you don't have the credits, but you have the passion. Listen, you know, I mean, you know, me, so it's like, it's not gonna be as difficult in the sense that, like, unwilling to sort of, take a chance, but I can see where, you know, without sort of the credits, you know, you're gonna be in a situation where it might be a little bit tougher, but, you know, I think kind of, like, what you what you sort of did, you know, you need to sort of suss out, you know, what you're, you know, who you're sort of dealing with terms of maybe the credits that they've worked on the shows that, that they've worked on, you know, like, you know, some of the interviews we had, one of the editors sent me a really nice note in terms of a show that I worked on, you know, which was, you know, me like, it was a while ago, but I really appreciated the sentiment of just, you know, I mean, taking the time, doing a little bit of research, you know, being able to sort of break down and, and talking about the episode and, and, and this, you know, the seeing the way they did so, it's that type of stuff, it's, it's, it's the details, I mean, listen, at a certain point, you know, you have, you know, you know, obviously when I go in for interviews, you know, the resumes is there, you know, usually I'm already you know, I've been recommended, so it's not as pressured as it might be, for, you know, for someone who's just, you know, I mean, trying to kind of, kind of get that break, but I think it's those type of those type of details, you know, of kind of trying to trying to figure out the world, you're stepping into that, you know, the type of person that you're you might be meeting with, I think those are the things that, you know, I mean, listen, not, you know, the internet's a beautiful thing, you can google almost anything. So you can, you know, you can find out how I've caught like, I've done that a lot of times, you know, like, sometimes I think it's worked really well, you know, in terms of being able, you know, it's helped me in terms of interviews. And then but then it's funny, because, you know, like, I remember one of the, one of the better interviews I had with walking into a situation where I felt like, because I didn't really know anybody, it was one of those like, Oh, I got this, like this one, I nailed this one, like, I'm getting this job, did not get this job, you know, so even sometimes when you feel like, Oh, this is this one's gonna happen. And then you have those ones where you're not sure about and then by the time you actually get your card, you know, you get the call, like, we want you and you're like you do. All right. Yeah, let's do this. Yeah. So, you know, it's excited. Sometimes it's sometimes you don't know, but, but um, but I think you got it, you got to put in the time to, at least, you know, set yourself up to present yourself in a way that this person, you're going to sort of excite the person, you're, you're you're meeting with

Zack Arnold 29:39

going back to this idea of the assistant editor trying to get into the chair, we've talked about all the personality and the things they can bring to it and that they can convince you with what's the bare minimum when you say it's a deal breaker. If you're not, at least at this level. I don't care how passionate you are, how much research you've done on me or the show. If you're not at least here. You probably need to do more. work before I even consider you,

Steven Lang 30:01

you're talking about getting into the editor's chair

Zack Arnold 30:04

no getting into the editor's chair, what's the bare minimum where you say, I love you, we had a great meeting. But it's it's not enough, you need to at least get to this point where I'm willing to take a chance on you to give you the editors show. My sincerest apologies for the interruption in the middle of this interview. But if you are a content creator, or you work in the entertainment industry, not only is the following promo, not an interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life. Because collaborating with Evercast is that powerful. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with ever cast co founders, Brad Thomas, and award winning editor Roger Barton,

Brad 30:39

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

Zack Arnold 31:03

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

Brad 31:34

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

Zack Arnold 31:48

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

Brad 32:10

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

Zack Arnold 32:24

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

Steven Lang 32:48

Listen, I'm gonna, you know, at a minimum, you're gonna have to cut a couple of episodes, you know, co editing, you know, I mean, I get all of that stuff, you're if you're if you've got no credits, it's it's gonna be tough. I mean, if you just have a system credits, that's, that's gonna be, that's gonna be a tough situation. You know, I would what would probably, you know, what would help is, you know, coding and credits, but I would probably need some really good recommendations too. So, I, you know, I would need, you know, you would, you would need to be able to have an editor call me and be able to have a conversation, where I can kind of almost grill them to, to feel like, okay, you know, I mean, like, you know, I like you I trust you like your work. You know, I mean, if you're saying these types of things, then this is something that, you know, that, that I'm willing to listen to, more, for sure, I need, I need some, I need a couple of credits, you know, and like, I know, that's a little deceiving. Because Listen, you know, when it comes to the credits thing, you know, you know, my, my assistance whenever I can get them an opportunity in terms of CO editing stuff, like, um, you know, I'm totally gamed for it. So, you know, like, I know how much my assistants work and how, how deserving they are, you know, in terms of those credits. But I mean, the code, anything doesn't mean anything. It's kind of like when people say, hey, do you have a real? And it's like, Yeah, no, I mean, I do want to, you can watch any episode, but I could also watch you and explain to you the craziness of how I put that scene together, which is probably better than ultimately what you're seeing here. Or, you know, I mean, so there's, you know, that stuff is always I always kind of find a little bit, you know, I'm not sure, you know, to me, it's, it's more about personality, you know, I mean, like, Can I sit in a room with this guy? No. Now, granted, we're in a position where, especially in television, you know, it's not like a movie where, you know, I'm gonna sit with this guy for the next eight or 10 months. You know, we have the luxury of every month. It's you know, you're you're working with a new director, and it's kind What I love about television is no matter how good or bad it is, in a month, you get to start the process all over again. I mean, obviously love the process. Gotta love the process because, you know, sometimes you work on good shows, and sometimes you don't, you know, so, you know, but as long as you love the process, it's always gonna be a pleasant experience. Yeah, I'm in TV for the exact same reason because I was doing features and I'm thinking, I can't work on the same 90 minute thing for six months, eight months, 10 months with the same people.

Zack Arnold 35:32

I just can't do it TVs perfect. And like you said, You wait a month, and you might have something much better I remember on Burn Notice No offense to burn notice. But I worked on my least favorite episode ever. Right before working on my favorite episode of the whole series. Like they actually overlapped for like a week. That's what I love about TV. Like one was just like pulling teeth. Like, he's really gonna air this. Like, I remember. What are they doing? This is not the show. The next episode was my favorite thing ever. I'm so proud of it.

Steven Lang 36:01

I always remember that you had that episode where they did that whole crew did that. Hello?

Zack Arnold 36:06

The montage? Yes, that was the montage was five.

Steven Lang 36:10

Yes, I saw I remember. I remember seeing it. And then I think I had a conversation with Matt Nix and said, Thank God we hired Zack. Because if I had to do this, like I think I would have quit, you know, like, you were so young and hungry, like you would have done anything. And it was fantastic. Like it was one of those things where it was like, Okay, this, you know, me like, this is exactly the type of person we needed for this show. Because, unfortunately, it was one of those shows where, you know, sometimes things work brilliantly. And sometimes they didn't. And then once you had to think outside the box, oh my god that could just take you in a direction of like, forget it, you know, and that was so good. Like he could fix. You can fix things so easily with a voiceover but then all of a sudden, you're like, I need to put a picture. So this doesn't just feel like a you know, a voiceover.

Zack Arnold 37:00

Yes I've done entire presentations on the before and after of just that. One of the proudest moments of my life.

Steven Lang 37:06

Can I borrow that?

Zack Arnold 37:07

I'd be more than happy to let you borrow. But that was I won't go too deep into it. But that was one of the proudest moments of my career where it was, like, all it was like the confluence of all the experience in short form and promos, and advertising and trailers, and long form. And the ironic thing is that multiple people said, We're so glad you had trailer experience to put this together, when in reality was well, he's got trailer experience, can we really hire him? I'm

Steven Lang 37:31

like, come on. Exactly. I know. Now I know, it's so it's such a fine line. Like, it really is like to me that I get excited when I see someone who has that type of diversity, you know, on their, their editing resume, because I know how difficult it is to be able to kind of do all of that, you know, but yeah, I mean, it's like I said, it's a business that just constantly, constantly wants to pitch. Now, let me let you get it, you know, I mean, you know, there's, you know, there's, there's money at stake. And you know, people like doing a comedy, like, there are a lot of good half hour comedy editors out there that just love to just do that and don't want to do anything else. So, you know, it'd be so much easier just to hire one of them. But I get excited when you get those guys that like said think more outside the box. Like No, I want a different perspective, because it's like, I can give you a different perspective trust.

Zack Arnold 38:23

Absolutely. So the the last question, this is going to be a total tangent segue from everything we've talked about. But it's clearly the foundation of everything I've been been building for the last several years, which is not just being successful, but doing it without losing your mind or your health in the process. And you are an incredibly hard worker, but it has it has come at the expense of your health more than once. So would you be willing to talk, talk some about the challenges that you've had with your health navigating your career?

Steven Lang 38:52

Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah. You know, I got diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and was it 2002 1004 and there was, you know, it was a it was a, it was a scary time for me because obviously, never been sick before. And, you know, and, and, you know, to, you know, like I said, wake up one day, next day, you're in the hospital. Next thing, you're having surgery, and then sort of dealing with complications and all of this other stuff. You know, it was a it was a, a hard process in terms of kind of getting back to sort of my healthy self, and in the process, trying to continue a career, trying to sort of maintain a career, you know, trying to find the balance in terms of that career, to sort of keep yourself healthy. It's, you know, it's a, you know, post productions is a tough is a tough one when it comes to the health stuff. I mean, obviously, you're one of those guys on the forefront in terms of, you know, trying to change all that around and, you know, and, and I always appreciate all that. All that because it's, you know, the patterns of post productions, the late hours, the bad eating habits, just the The city and you know, like, all of that stuff is just so you know, is, is not conducive to a healthy, you know, lifestyle at all and, you know, just just those minimal amount of changes from the standing desk to the match to the just, you know, going out and going for walks like I, you know, I can remember working with Peter, one of my first editors, and he used to like to do the walk thing and, you know, I catch him he just be staring, you know, and I'd be like, what do you agree doing? Oh, it's good to just kind of focus in the distance on something, you know, in terms of the eyes because of the eyestrain and all that stuff. And you know, you're always just like, Oh, yeah, I'd never even thought of something like that.

Zack Arnold 40:42

But he's working. He's not doing stuff. He's wasting time.

Steven Lang 40:46

No, but like, you know, and listen, you know, like, it's easy to sort of get into those good and bad habits. I mean, just the, in terms of the stop working with the pandemic, I mean, you know, I put 10 pounds on like, like that, you know, like, they say, No, I was one of those guys that says, I'm never gonna watch Walking Dead. Everyone keeps talking about walking dead. Like, if they say, No, I've been like nine seasons of it, but

Zack Arnold 41:10

you made it all the way through nine. Good for you. I think I gave up.

Steven Lang 41:13

I made it. Yeah, it was one of those. I basically got to the point where it's like, okay, you know, I got what I need. I think I feel like I'll get back to it eventually. Maybe, but it's got sort of what I yeah, I got what I sort of needed out of it, ultimately. But you know, next year, I'm just not sure I'm doing this. And, you know, so, you know, in terms of the health aspect, yeah, it's a little bit of a battle. I mean, obviously, you know, I feel good, feel great. Now, you know, try and be conscious about all of that, about all that stuff. But uh, but at times, it can be very, very difficult.

Zack Arnold 41:49

I don't think I've ever worked with anybody that has the level of hyperfocus that you do, I think the only person that can maybe compete with you is me. Other than that you like you would just come in here. And when I say come into the job you mosey in and you know, 11 3012 o'clock, maybe one o'clock totally on your own schedule. But I remember the few late nights that I had, because I would come a lot earlier because I had kids. But there were some times that I would stay late, and I'd walk out the door at 1am. There you are light still on, you're just glad come say hi. And you're just in it. So what's, what's the line for you? Where do you say, you know what, I do got to watch out for what I'm doing. And I need to be careful with my health, because I know you've crossed that line more than once, like, how do you know yourself as somebody was such crazy hyperfocus as much as I want to cut, I got to step away. This is this is kind of my line that I don't want to cross?

Steven Lang 42:38

Yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's interesting, cuz there was a period where it's probably true, but I felt like I did my best work after 6pm. You know, there was like, you know, because I would, I'm one of those later guys, right? That you know, but there's just so many distractions, there's so many things kind of going on, then all of a sudden, everyone starts to disappear around six o'clock. And, and also, my focus is just there. And then I'm just off to the races, you know, so, you know, it's, I battled myself in terms of trying to reprogram and say, you know, it's not the reality is, if I can just, if I can sort of focus myself, so when I step in, I'm just kind of going, there's no reason to have to go to do the sort of late late hours. So it's been interesting, because obviously, now being able to work straight from home and going from the bedroom, into an office, you know, now I sit down and go, ooh, this is, you know, and this is the situation, I think, I've been waiting for my entire life, you know.

Zack Arnold 43:38

Which is very dangerous, because it's very addicting,

Steven Lang 43:41

it is, you know, so it's like, you know, and I've had those conversations, how long is this going to, you know, how long do you think this is gonna go on, it's gonna go on for, you know, if it makes it makes viable sense for, you know, financially for the studio's networks, you know, it's going to depend on who you're working with, because, you know, a lot of the younger showrunners they don't, they don't care if they're sitting there in an office that, you know, you know, some of the older ones, they definitely like the idea of being able to be in the room. But, you know, if anything, I feel like I'm used to, I'm working with the directors more than I probably ever have, because it's so easy for them to say, hey, I've got a couple of minutes, can we look at some things and it's like, yeah, let's jump into the overcast room and I'll show you some stuff. But let's jump back into the health stuff. And it's, that's a, that's really a tough one, like I, you know, I I have my good times, and I have my, my, my bad periods for sure. So, you know, that that's a constant sort of battle, but, but in terms of just the actual time part of it, and I you know, I've literally done everything where it's like, I start early in the morning, I do the late night stuff. I mean, you know, I will say this, you know, having a little bit more luxury in terms of when you're doing the supervising editing, being able to not have to carry all this sort of responsibility. You know, I mean, those are the things where, you know, trying to have the be healthier on that side of it with relationships too, you know, I mean, you know, in a new relationship, you know, making sure I'm, you know, I mean, I'm putting in my time, and it's not all about the work because, you know, at a certain point, it's just television. I mean, it's, it's fun, and it's exciting, but, you know, but there's a lot more to it, too. So, you know, I, I really do try and make sure I balance, you know, all of that when

Zack Arnold 45:30

I have the money, I'm going to create an entire billboard that says, at a certain point that not it's just television, but if I can just get everyone else to understand that I know, hard.

Steven Lang 45:43

I know. And like I said, there's so much of it out there now to them. It's so crazy, because you really, you know, you work so hard on these sometimes. And you're so excited. And then, you know, I said some things take off. And other things are just, you know, they come and they go, you know, and you're just like, boy, I thought that was gonna go be bigger, or that was gonna be you know, better. And, you know, but but I said, but the beauty of it is there's a there's always another show, and there's always these other relationships. So

Zack Arnold 46:09

which is why one of the things you said is so important, it's all about the process. Because you can work for months, and months and months and months. And guess what, it's a thumbnail and Netflix. That's it, it's one thumbnail, so you better enjoy the process. Because if you're hoping that it's going to lead to something else, or be big, or whatever it is, you gotta love the process.

Steven Lang 46:27

Listen, if you do not like the intricate of post production, if you don't like I mean, obviously, we don't have to worry about the technical side. But I like to geek out and get the understanding of, of all of it. You know, it's funny, I was talking with a high school friend of mine who reminded me of one of my first sort of editing projects that I did with him, we had to do like this commercial. For some like product. It was like a business class, we were taken in high school, we have to do this commercial for this product that we were trying to sell. And I had him come over the house, I had two, two forehead VCRs set up with the ENI. And I bought a microphone that I plugged in. And we basically I dub movies from, you know, all of our favorite movies, and we just re recorded the dialogue with you know, you know, pitching this, you know, this these product ideas. And I remember him saying to me, what the hell are you doing right now? Like, I don't understand, like, how do you know how to do this? And it's just like, Oh, I don't know. I mean, you just, you know. So it's like, it was one of those things where, you know, it was a process that's, you know, either you, either you love it, or you don't I mean, there's no sort of faking it. Because I've definitely, obviously, I've worked with assistants and editors, you know, where you could tell it was a nine to five job, which is great. But then you know, you, you you don't, you know, because obviously you can make a good living as an assistant editor, you can make a good living, you know, good living as an editor, if that's all if that's what you want it to be. That's, you know, that's fine. But if you want to do the advancements, and you want it, you know, become an editor, and then you know, then you have the owners who want to become directors, and, you know, I mean, so it's, it's one of those things where you know, that there has to be a love of that process. Otherwise, you know, you'll never get those opportunities and, and, and breaks.

Zack Arnold 48:14

So final question for you. I'm very curious about this one, because I definitely don't know the answer is somebody like me who loves to challenge who gets bored of doing things that they get good at? Now that you've reached the point of supervising editor managing a whole bunch of other editors working on big shows? What's next for you?

Steven Lang 48:29

It's a good question. I mean, you know, the, the directing aspect is something that I always keep in the back of my mind. I mean, you know, I, I wrestle a little bit with it, it's, you know, I think, I think ultimately, I feel like I'm gonna need to challenge myself. And that that might be, that might be the next step. But I will say, supervising editing is a nice position, you know, it, it sort of gives me that balancing act that I've, I feel like I've worked for a while to sort of achieve and at the end of the day, I do love, like, I love the editing room. I love that process. I mean, I've been on the set, you know, you know, I mean, I've been on, on on all aspects of it, and that I can get bored very quickly. And that were like, I love the material when it's already there. And I mean, I'll yell at it, and it makes it it frustrates the hell out of me. But, you know, I mean, in terms of the way my brain works, you know, like, that's where I'm at my, my most comfortable. But But I do keep the directing thing in the, in the back of my mind, because I you know, I think it's the logical sort of next step. You know, if I, if I want,

Zack Arnold 49:42

well, I'm going to pencil in a podcast in a year or two to help people understand the transition from editing to directing even better, so well, we'll have to put that on the calendar. Perfect. That having been said, this has been a tremendous pleasure. It was everything I hoped it would be in more for the years and years. I wanted to get you on the microphone. I'm glad we could finally make it happen. Any other final thoughts, anything else that you want to share that you think is necessary for people to hear, that want to move forwards that want to grow themselves? They want to take the next steps in their career, have we missed any final nuggets of wisdom?

Steven Lang 50:12

The persistence part is really, you know, you know, I mean, it's, it is one of those things that you, you gotta, I mean, it's easy, it's easy to sort of put yourself out there, you know, like you did, and, you know, like, a lot of people that sort of reach out to me, but you, you know, you got to continue with the follow up to, you know, like, I, I get, obviously, you don't want to pester people, you know, but I think it's important that once you start getting those, you remind people that you are sort of, you're taking those steps, and or you're remind people that you're taking those positive steps to make things happen, because those are the things that do sort of excite me, and, and, you know, we'll keep me in your will, I'll remember when people will cap in a call and say, Hey, you know, I'm looking for an assistant to you know, you know, do you know, anybody, or even just to show, hey, we're looking for an editor, any recommendation? So, you know, like I said, it's the remaining people, which, you know, even myself, I, you know, I mean, like, obviously, I'm fortunate that I tend to get the, you know, I get the calls, but you know, but I do try what I do have those downtimes, I catch myself a lot reaching out to people that I haven't in a while, just say, Hey, I mean, I'm out here, I'm not necessarily looking, but just want to say hi, and check in and see how you're doing your, what you've been working on. And, and what's sort of going on that type of stuff. So, so the persistence part and the, you know, and, and letting letting people know, you know, even if just the you know, the minor sort of detail, because it's it's easy to send a text, or send an email just to say, hey, just letting you know, I'm working on so and so. And, you know, to be here, if anything, just let them know, because you'd be surprised. Like, I feel like there's been a lot of times where someone has sent me something. And within a couple of days, something just happens to at least come out. I mean, not that they've gotten a job over it. But at least I've been able to recommend that gotten an interview that type of thing where you know, where it's easy to just remember somebody when they're frustrated when you when you're sort of taking that up for reaching out and sort of checking in?

Zack Arnold 52:18

Yep, I always tell people that are not necessarily going to recommend or hire the most qualified candidate, they're going to recommend the most recent one. Oh, yeah, I just talked to this guy the other day, right. And I always teach my students, I have an entire flow chart, which probably doesn't surprise you a whole flow chart. And I call it the Andy do frame technique. Because it goes back to Andy dufrane, wanting to get the money for the library. And Shawshank he just sent the letter every week, every week, every week, years later, stop sending us these letters, here's your damn library and all your money, right? You got you got to be polite, and you have to be patient, you also have to be persistent. So, yes, we're out. We're totally on the same page. Speaking of being patient, you get on the microphone for just short of two hours. And I want to I want to thank you for that and appreciate your patience. This has really been great. It's been almost two hours. So no question at this point. We've got ourselves a full on two part episode for sure. But this has been a tremendous pleasure. I'm just gonna say it on the record right now, I owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude, because you are one of the people that recognize that I could do this. And I could do it at a high level. And without you making the recommendation, I would be telling very different stories about my career right now. I know, I would have figured it out. And I know I would have made it. But you help me make?

Steven Lang 53:31

Yes. There's no doubt you, you would have figured it out. Because you were one of those guys. But trust me, you're one of those people that you know, that I'm I get very, I'm very happy and excited in the way that things have sort of worked out for you because like you've taken it beyond anything that I would have met imagined. I mean, like you're, you know, what you've done in terms of post production and trying to take it to that next level? Like, I don't know, where you have the energy from I mean, you know, I mean, I know about the hyperfocus thing, but I'm really good about hyper focusing on one thing, and you seem to be able to kind of take that to the next level. So, you know, congratulations in terms of everything that sort of happened for you. And it couldn't have been to a better person. No,

Zack Arnold 54:13

I very much appreciate that. On that note, if somebody listening says, Man, I gotta connect with this guy. What's the best way that somebody can reach out to you and I promise you're not going to get a deluge of messages, but there might be one or two. Somebody wants to connect with you? How can they do that?

Steven Lang 54:26

They can always send an email Stephen Lang Oh, [email protected].

Zack Arnold 54:30

So you've at least you've at least made the migration from AOL to Gmail. That's good news, because I still have your AOL account.

Steven Lang 54:36

Oh, trust me that it's like one of those. I can't get rid of it at this point. Now, you know, but and when it does make its comeback, and it will be any minute. I am prepared.

Zack Arnold 54:47

Love it. All right. Well, this has been absolutely awesome. beyond my wildest dreams cannot thank you enough once again. So thanks for being here.

Steven Lang 54:52

Thanks, Zack.

Zack Arnold 54:53

This episode was made possible for you by you guessed it Ergodriven the creators of the Topo Mat my number one recommended product if you're interested in moving more and not having sore feet at your height adjustable or standing workstation, almost every new person that I meet in this industry starts our conversation with, Hey, I got a Topo Mat because of you. It's changed my life. Thank you. Listen, standing desks are only great if you're actually standing well, otherwise, you're just fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti fatigue mat. The Topo Mat is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout your day, which helps reduce discomfort and also increases your focus and your productivity. I'm literally standing on one as I read this, and I don't go to a single job without it. And if you're smaller and concerned, the topo map might be too big, or you simply don't have the floorspace Well, there's a turbo mini for that. To learn more visit optimize yourself.me/topo. That's t o p o. Thank you for listening to this episode of The Optimize Yourself podcast to access the shownotes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one. Please visit optimize yourself/podcast. And a special thanks to our sponsors Evercast and Ergodriven for making today's interview possible to learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame. And to get your real time demo of Evercast and action visit optimizer self.me/evercast. And to learn more about ergodriven and my favorite product for standing workstations to Topo Mat, visit optimize yourself.me/topo. That's t o p o. If today's interview inspires you to take the next step towards a more fulfilling career path that not only lines you with projects that you're passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance, and especially if you would like support, mentorship and a global community to help you turn your goals into a reality this year, then you and I need to talk because enrollment is now officially open for my optimizer coaching and mentorship program. Over the last three years I've worked with well over 100 students, helping them to strategize how to design healthier lifestyles, increase their focus and productivity, better manage their time, and I've helped many students land career changing opportunities. But to be honest, the biggest obstacle for many who know this program will make a difference, but haven't joined. It's just been the cost. I have now made this program a lot more affordable. And I'm also offering all of my online courses, masterclasses and workshops, Netflix style as part of the program. Needless to say, if this year is the year that you need help developing a new strategy, you should visit optimize yourself.me slash optimizer to learn more about how you and I can work together. I review applications in the order they're received. And I fill my slots accordingly. So the earlier you apply, the better your chances are of getting into the program. Enrollment closes Friday, January 15. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.

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Guest Bio:


Steven Lang

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Steven Lang was born and raised in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1992, but his real education began the six years he spent working at a video store from the age of sixteen to twenty-one. It was there where his love of movies began and planted the seed that the entertainment business was where his passion lies. He moved out to California two weeks after graduating college without a single contact or connection to pursue his dream and never looked back. One of his first industry job was at a TV movie production company that owned their own Avid editing systems and gave him the opportunity to learn his craft. Self-taught, he literately opened up the Avid manual and started from page one. He spent many late nights and weekends learning the system and editing anything he could get his hands on. Eventually, he was given the opportunity to assist on a TV movie, and his editing career was born. Twenty-four years later, Steven has edited over 120 hours of television while working with many of the top Writers/Producers/Directors/Creators in the industry including David E. Kelley, Billy Crystal, David Milch, Steven Bochco, Ridley & Tony Scott, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ray McKinnon, Larry Charles, Ben Watkins, and Matt Nix. He most recently edited the pilot and season 1 for the “Turner & Hooch” reboot for Disney + directed by McG.

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).”