Ep136: Promoting Mindfulness, Well-Being, and Sanity In the Edit Bay | with Kevin Tent, ACE

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“We want to promote health and wellbeing to editors because they work so hard.”
– Kevin Tent

As the recently elected President of American Cinema Editors (ACE), Kevin Tent is leading the charge to make working smarter instead of harder in the edit bay one of his top priorities. He’s dedicated to making changes like taking regular walk breaks, adding in meditation, and even taking an occasional nap (the horror!!!!) to enhance your creativity and get you through the day with more energy left over for your family and yourself when work is done.

Kevin describes himself as a “somewhat professional film editor who has worked in Hollywood for nearly 30 years,” who is best known for his collaboration with director Alexander Payne having edited films like Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, Nebraska, Blow, and Girl Interrupted. He has learned the value of taking care of his body and mind while trying to balance the demanding schedules of Hollywood feature films.

In our conversation, Kevin and I talk candidly about the habits he’s implemented for better health and creativity while editing (many of which came about from learning the hard way from years of neglect). He also clears up the confusion about the American Cinema Editors organization and details how someone can qualify and become a member. And most importantly he speaks honestly about the value of becoming an ACE member and the benefits that doing so can have on your well-being and career (Hint: It’s not to boost your career or find more jobs).

If you want to know how one of the top names in the feature editing game stays sharp and continues to work at such a high level, today’s conversation is for you.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Kevin’s origin story of how he got started editing.
  • How ten years of editing for Roger Corman made him an “overnight success” after the success of Election.
  • The steps he took to avoid getting pigeonholed.
  • Kevin wants to use ACE to promote healthy lifestyles in post production.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Exercise and meditation habits stick when it is something you want to do rather than something you have to do.
  • His morning bike ride often gets him out of creative blocks in scenes.
  • Afternoon walks with Alexander Payne are creatively beneficial for both of them while working on a movie.
  • Kevin uses naps to give him a renewed sense of energy.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: All the best ideas happen when you’re away from the computer.
  • He wants to influence people to understand it is healthy to take walks and breaks during your day.
  • The political instigator that got Kevin to start a meditation practice.
  • The types of meditation he’s tried and the benefits he’s gained from a regular practice.
  • The myriad of soft skills necessary for an editor to have and how meditation compliments these skills.
  • Why editors are so undervalued and not treated as the integral creatives that they are.
  • Director Alexander Payne has a deep respect for editors on his films.
  • Being invisible artists makes it hard to get the credit we deserve.
  • Kevin describes what ACE is, the history of how it began, and how you can join.
  • Best advice for anyone who wants to edit big feature films like Kevin.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

American Cinema Editors

ACE Member Directory

Requirements for Joining ACE

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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, an American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of Optimize Yourself. For over 10 years now I have obsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits, writes or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you. Hello, and welcome to the optimize yourself podcast. If you're a brand new optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you'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 clicked the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show, and thus the more people that you and I can inspire to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show, as the recently elected President of the American cinema editors, also known as ACE Kevin Tent, is leading the charge to make working smarter instead of harder in the debate one of his top priorities. He is dedicated to making changes like taking regular walking breaks, adding in meditation, and even Oh my god, taking an occasional nap or to enhance your creativity and get you through the day with more energy leftover for your family and yourself when the work is over. Kevin describes himself as a quote unquote, somewhat professional film editor who's worked in Hollywood for nearly 30 years. And He is best known for his collaboration with director Alexander Payne, and he has edited such films. As Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, Nebraska, Below and Girl Interrupted. He has learned the value of taking care of his body and his mind while trying to balance the demanding schedules of Hollywood feature films. In our conversation today, Kevin and I talk candidly about the habits that he has implemented for better health and creativity while editing, many of which, by the way, came about from learning the hard way from years of neglect. And Kevin also clears up the confusion about the American Cinema Editor's Organization, and details about how someone can qualify and become a member. And most importantly, Kevin speaks honestly about the value of becoming an ace member, and the benefits that doing so can have on your well being and your career. By the way, spoiler alert, it's not to boost your career or find more jobs. If you want to know how one of the top names in the feature editing game stay sharp and continues to work at such a high level. today's conversation is for you. If today's interview inspires you to get up and start moving again. But you have spent so many years stuck in your desk chair and you're so out of shape that you're not even sure where to start. Well then you're in luck, because I have over 50 pages of tips, tricks, strategies, and my favorite tools to share with you and my ultimate guide to building a more active workstation. This Ultimate Guide is a collection of over a decade of my own research and experimentation that summarizes how I stay active, focused and energetic all day long, Despite living in front of a computer for the past 20 years. This includes my favorite recommendations for standing desks, ergonomic desk chairs and mice, tools and equipment that I keep within arm's reach all day long to alleviate and eliminate wrist, forearm, shoulder neck and lower back pains. Seriously, this is a manifesto on how to not let your desk chair slowly kill you. To download your free Ultimate Guide visit optimize yourself.me slash workstation Ultimate Guide. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with the newly elected President of American cinema editors Kevin tent 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 show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview. Please visit optimize yourself.me/podcast.

I'm here today with Kevin Tent who is as he calls it a somewhat professional film editor this living in Hollywood, California. And somehow this somewhat semi professional editor on the side has become the newly elected President of American Cinema Editors. You've cut such films as the Peanut Butter Falcon, Downsizing, Nebraska, The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt, Election and many more. There's some real classics in there. Kevin, my god. Is it a pleasure to have you on the show today? Thank you for being here.

Kevin Tent 5:09

Thanks for having me, Zack.

Zack Arnold 5:10

So this is going to be a really exciting conversation for many, many reasons. I've been an admirer of many of your films for years. election and sideways are two of my favorites. I actually did some extensive marketing work for sideways very early in my career. So yeah, it's not not that we ever crossed paths. But I lived in breathe sideways for about six months doing TV spots, and marketing and DVD pieces and whatnot. So we got to know that film very well. Yes, way back.

Kevin Tent 5:38

Very early in my career, you worked at searchlight, then

Zack Arnold 5:41

I didn't work at sur slit, I worked for a smaller marketing agency that was doing marketing materials for searchlight. And then I subsequently because of that, I ended up cutting a Fox Searchlight feature and cutting all the trailers for the feature that I done for searchlight partly because I had the experience working on sideways. So there's a lot of connections we have that you didn't even know.

Kevin Tent 6:02

Yeah, how about that, that's so good.

Zack Arnold 6:05

The the crux of our conversation is most likely going to be a lot about the the process of editing and staying healthy, making sure that we're taking care of ourselves, these are all things that are huge bullet points of importance, and something that you wanted to talk about and bring into the world of American cinema editors, and I promise we will get there. But for the few the met the very few listeners that might not be aware of you your story and the work that you've done throughout your career. I love to get a little bit more of an origin story just to understand the most common question, hey, how'd you break into the business just so it just we have some background, and then we're gonna dive into more of the the process, the habits, the health and all that good stuff?

Kevin Tent 6:45

Well, I guess I could start, I'll start at the when I move to Los Angeles, or I'll start a little before, I will make it brief.

Zack Arnold 6:54

Because you're an editor. So you can you can do that.

Kevin Tent 6:57

I'm gonna try to hit just the headlines. But I never even knew what editing was when I was a young when I was a teenager and stuff. But I had this vague notion that I wanted to work in movies. And there was some friends of mine in high school, actually, maybe junior high, had made a couple of little separate films. And I was like, Ah, that's so cool. And we became friends. And we made a couple of films and really amateur stuff. But when I went to college, in upstate New York, as we go state, I went to the broadcasting department, thinking that that was kind of something I wanted to do, but I got it, but it really was for broadcasters, and I decided that wasn't what I that I was interested in. I was really interested in working in movies. And I dropped out. And my roommate, Bob stayed in the program and wound up working at like right out of college, got a job at a TV station down in Florida and work there as a director and everything like that. So the department worked really well funneling people into the broadcasting part of, of our world. I dropped out, travelled around the country for a while looking for adventures. And with always the hope of was always the plan of coming to Los Angeles, which I did. And through as another kind of crazy story. I wound up going to LA City College, I was working on a short film for somebody at LA City College. And I went to that school and I was like, well, this is pretty cool. It was brand new building a it was really quite, they had great brand new equipment. It was before proposition right before proposition 13 went through. So they had all this. They had this great building funded and paid for and everything, but they had no funding for instructors, they had very few instructors. So it was kind of like, you went in there and made films, and you got to show them and it was kind of great. It was perfect for me a lot of hands on experience. And that actually that's editorially speaking, there's something that that happened when I made one of my short films, a friend of mine, came into the cutting room to look at what I was working on. And he goes, What if you just cut from this shot here to this shot way later in the scene, and it cut out all this stuff in the middle? And I go Oh, that's good. Yeah. And so I did it. And I was like, Oh my god, it just made the whole scene better. And so that was the first time I remember thinking, whoa, editing is that's that was amazing that that just happened. I was really stuck. And it just made everything better. And it went from one job to another and it was just much faster and everything like that. Anyways, they made a couple of short films. And then that same friend of mine had been working for an educational Film Company, part time doing set work and stuff like that. And he said, Hey, they're looking for an editor at this place. I said okay, so I went in there and took my short films, and it was at a place called al Hagen's productions and they were those really bad educational films that we all saw when we were in grade school in high school and stuff like that. films about drinking and driving and BD and all sorts of stuff. So anyways, I wound up getting that job. My very first film was, I think it was cities, what are they, which was really little kids, which was a hilarious little film. But, and I always tell people this. The good thing about the job was that it was just me. So I had to do pretty much everything. I didn't cut our own negative, but I did everything else, I had to cut sound effects, music, take it to a little mixed stage, mix it and take it to the lab. So I learned all these the step by step processes that that I needed to know, for when my next job came up, which was reaping a film for Roger Corman. And that was when I realized, well, first of all, that was a great place to be an editor, because you had to move so quickly, and you could be cutting one film one day, and then you know, or you could be an assistant on a film one day and then cutting another film, but they had a problematic film that Roger had bought, and made no sense. And it was kind of just a disaster. They wanted me to recut it. And then because I had the skill set up getting it all through the lab and everything, didn't want to spend a lot of money. They just wanted to hand it off to somebody and finish it, you know, get it done. And I happen to get the job because of that. Anyways, I worked in I did a lot of Roger movies, a lot of low budget horror films and comedies and stuff like that. years later. Sorry, I'm feel like I'm jumping around all over the place.

Zack Arnold 11:22

But uh you're not sorry, these are just the dailies. We'll edit them later.

Kevin Tent 11:25

Okay, thank God. All right, good. make some sense out of them. That'll be a great thing. A couple of years later, or maybe five, six years later, I ran into Tamra Davis, who was one of my co students at LCCC. And she, I ran into her at the supermarket right over in Silver Lake. And she said, You know, I said, We kept in touch. And she said, What do you do? And I go, Well, I'm still editing, I do this. And I said, What do you do? And she goes, Well, I just got my first feature to direct. Do you want to cut it? And right there in the aisle of the Mayfair market? And suddenly like I said, Sure. And anyways, that movie was gun crazy. And that was the first early, like, independent film that kind of became like a hip thing. Like, I remember friends of mine in York have actually stood in line to go see it. And then they called me up and said, Oh, man, you know, I can't believe that. We saw your movie. That's so cool. And, and, and it was the very beginning of this kind of what we now have our independent films, and it was really a good film. It's actually really good. And super low budget and everything like that, but a very good anyways, then a couple years later, after that, I got a call from Alexander Payne, who was looking for an editor for his first movie citizen Ruth. He got my number from a mutual friend of ours, who was also a student at LCCC, Carol Kravitz, I interviewed with him, and we hit it off in the interview, and I showed him my reel, which had gone crazy on it. And I think he had known about going crazy, I think he'd seen it or something. And he loved the idea that I had worked at Roger Corman's. And, and, you know, we're very, we're basically the same age and he's from Omaha. I'm from Buffalo, New York, they're very similar. I don't know, we had similarities that we sort of connected. Anyways, he asked me to cut his first film citizen Ruth. And I have to say that that's when my that film. And then when we did election, the next film really sort of launched my career in comedy. It basically took off especially after election, anyone who had anything to do with election, you know, the composer, cinematographer. Everybody got a career bump from that. And, you know, you hope you have a film like that. And I didn't know it at the time, but that was the one that that was gonna pop out and do some business. And we worked really hard on it. We worked a really long time on it. But I had no idea. I mean, I loved it. And I had no idea it would become a hit, or I guess you'd call it a hit. It wasn't a commercial hit. But it was an idea.

Zack Arnold 13:52

I put it in the category of classic election has now become a classic. It's not just a hit. It's a classic.

Kevin Tent 13:58

Yeah, I had no idea that that would be the case. Although I did go This was an interesting thing. I did go to the there was a theater on the corner of Melrose and labrea. And it was playing there. And I was standing in line to go see it. And it was night and this car drove by and this is true. And this guy means out the window with a bunch of other guys in the car. He goes, just yelling to the people in line, great movie, great movie. And I was like, is he talking about election? That's funny. It's kind of funny thing. Yeah. And then after that, you know? Yeah, really. Basically, after that my career kind of took a huge bump. And right after that, I had a really run of really, I thought really interesting films. I went right into girl interrupted, with Jim mangled. That was a totally different film full on drama, which I loved. I loved and I've been very fortunate, and it's just been kind of a fluke in a lot of ways. But I mean, I've sort of sent my guidance along, I suppose, but I've always tried to do some comedy. And then try to throw some dramas in there just kind of mix it up. So you don't get pigeonholed into, into one genre, you know. And I've been fortunate in that. I mean, some of it is up to me. But a lot of it's been luck, and just the way the cards have fallen, so. But that was a really great film to do. So, one year, I had an election come out and grow interrupted. Alexander and Jim got nominated for Academy Award for the screenplay, Angelina Jolie won an Academy Award for girl interrupted. So all of a sudden, I was, you know, I was getting more calls than normal.

Zack Arnold 15:35

So all of a sudden, you are an overnight success. It just, it happened like that, right? 10 years, and then that, and that's what I want to point out, there's gonna be two very, very different audiences that we're going to speak to today, the first audience that I want to talk to, is going to be those that are still working their way up the career ladder, that are so frustrated that they're working on stuff that nobody's watching. It's not very good. And what I tell people over and over and over, if you want to be not just a good editor, but a great editor, you've got to work on bad stuff, because nothing makes you a better editor than solving problems on set with lack of coverage. Bad story. And you've got years of being in the Roger Corman camp, which as we all know, now is like the breeding ground for some of the best talent, because you're working on really challenging material. So true.

Kevin Tent 16:27

So true. It's really true. Yeah, really, that's 10 years, what I just said, was 10 years from when I got my first feature film, which was the manual five, which was done a Roger Corman's to, let's say, since the roof, maybe that's nine years for system with the technical election comes out, it's 10 years, 11 years. So, you know, and I worked on tons of ridiculous I mean, I started out in educational films, believe me, I didn't even call myself an editor. And it was a producer, who wound up becoming quite an established producer once told me he goes, I was like, Well, I'm still cutting these educational films or like, well, you're an editor. I'm like, Well, not really, they're, they're just as you can, because what do you get paid to do? I go at it. He goes, you're an editor. I was like, Okay, thanks for making me think about it that way. But yeah, you're talking to me, I cut for four years, I cut ridiculous, bad educational films. I mean, so it takes a long time. And then I started doing the features, and you know, cutting anything I could, I would, you know, I would just constantly be cutting. And I always tell people, young editors that too, even if they're frustrated and stuff like that, just keep on cutting stuff, you know, just get more and more experienced, you know, that's at least that's how it's worked for me. So and

Zack Arnold 17:41

i think that i think that's how it works for most people. What I it's funny, I just had this conversation in a previous episode that I recorded. with somebody that said there, there's always going to be this 1% of editors that just hitch their wagon to one director, and they get lucky. And that's their whole career. And on the surface. I'm sure people have said more than once. Oh, yeah, your Alexander Payne's editor, right. Yeah, must be nice. Must be nice to just have all the jobs handed to you. It's like, if you do three and a half minutes of research on IMDB Pro, it's pretty clear that that's not the case with you. And yes, you did hitched your wagon to Alexander Payne, you've had the luxury of being able to edit multiple films of his but that's because you've earned that right. But my guess is most of the conversations you have your story starts at election. And then you talk about it from there, and so many miss all the struggles and all the challenges and the educational films and everything else before you became the overnight success. Right.

Kevin Tent 18:38

It's so true. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Oh, man. I don't even think a lot of them are not even I clean up my IMDB page every once awhile because I'm like, well, like, no one cares about that movie. You know,

Zack Arnold 18:49

I love that. You must have annual five though. That takes courage.

Kevin Tent 18:54

I love it. And Frank and hooker, which is a movie that I used to say there's something to offend everybody. And yes, I left that out there too. That was so funny to me. When I when you used to go to job interviews, and you actually had your resume and everything I would I would go in and I would sit down. And I would watch the people go like this. They can see their reading. And then they go down to the bottom and they go, Oh, you got Franklin hooker. It almost always happened. It was very funny.

Zack Arnold 19:22

I love it. Yeah. Well, as I alluded to, there are going to be two different audiences that I think we're really going to be speaking to today, one of which, as we've already talked about, are going to be those that are still working their way up, earning their their credits feeling like Alva, am I ever going to get my version of election or am I ever going to get my about Schmidt or whatever it is. And as we've already said, you just have to keep doing the work, keep honing the craft keep getting better at your skill set, but I think the more important audience to speak to are both those people but more importantly, those that have gotten closer to where you are at your level. The reason I want to talk to them is not so much about the craft because there are already doing what you and I are doing. It's how you're doing it that is so important. And that's the conversation that I think is really the most important one. So talk to me about how you and I first connected, and what's really important to you, as the new president of the American cinema editors?

Kevin Tent 20:16

Well, I think one of the things that and it's taken me a while to kind of evolve to this place is just that staying healthy, both mentally and physically, while you work so hard, because and also, I started out on film, which was very physical, you were constantly getting up reaching, pulling it and putting reels on you know, what you were all day long, you were moving. Now all of us sit, well, I'm sitting now, but I sit and stand. And that's not good. It's just not good and healthy, not good, mentally, and not good physically. So one of the things I mentioned to Jenny, that I would like one of the things for Ace to start just promoting, you know, I don't even know how to promote it. But I

Zack Arnold 20:58

might know a guy that knows how to promote better health and house reduction. Act you with him?

Kevin Tent 21:03

Hence, we are here. He said, You got to talk to Zack. I was like, Okay, great. And I admit I'd seen you on one of the videos. Maybe it was that the annual is do we need before? Oh, yeah, we did me once. Yeah.

Zack Arnold 21:16

Very briefly years ago at an event you spoke out. But other than that, it's well, we haven't had any meaningful interaction.

Kevin Tent 21:22

Right? Well, Jenny was saying you got to you, she talked to Zach. So one of the things I would love to do is just kind of just promote healthy, General healthiness and just happens to me happens to all of us, I imagine, we just get in our own world. And especially when you're super focused on a project or something like that you forget about it, forget about your, your I mean, I I tried never to do this, forget about my family and stuff like that I basically had my life down to my family and my work. And that's really kind of what all I focused on for the last, you know, 1015 years. But yes, I think that promoting healthy mind, and body would be something that Ace could do to help our other editors, just, you know, and also just socialize with other editors and stuff like that. Like I think, you know, we talked I think we talked about it too, like you did, yeah, we did talk about, you know, going on hikes, and just socially, walking, and just like, seeing one, you know, like that kind of thing, just to get out of our own heads a little bit would be good. Yeah. And you know, like, and this all came about, really, I was not very healthy. For many years, I gained quite a bit of weight. And, but when I was I had worked with Ted demyan, the movie blow, which was also a really fun movie. And I just loved him so much. He was just the greatest guy and Chris director.

Zack Arnold 22:45

Yeah, by the way, if anybody hasn't seen beautiful girls go see beautiful girls. It's one of my favorite films. I love to blow too. But beautiful girls is just a classic.

Kevin Tent 22:55

Yeah, it is so good. It is so good. And he, he was such a joy to work with. And I, I think about him all the time. He's actually influenced my life, all the time, because he was so positive and so full of life. He was also a guy that would eat a steak at 11 o'clock at night, you know, and he was young. And, you know, anyways, he when he died of a heart attack, which was so sad. It kind of woke my wife and I up and we were like, geez, man, you know, he was a little younger than me. But we're pretty young, I think I just turned 40 or something. But, you know, my wife went out bought a treadmill and we started exercising every day. She's really good mad about it. And then I got a bike shortly thereafter, and I started riding my bike a lot. Just to and I find it so good on so many levels, creatively and just physically and just you know, overall health it just feels good.

Zack Arnold 23:52

Well as somebody who put in your your self written intro that you're you know, a semi professional editor, it's it's kind of your side hustle editing, editing all these movies, you realize that we did we don't have time for this stuff. Kevin, like, this health is something I do during my hiatus. But how do you expect me to do this during a movie or a TV series like health? That I'll do that one, I get to it when I have time, right? Like how am I supposed to be able to do this on a busy schedule in Hollywood,

Kevin Tent 24:20

it's so true, it's really hard and it takes some discipline, you know, it means getting up earlier. So you have a half hour to meditate or whatever first thing in the morning and that means then if you're going to exercise for half hour, it means you got to build that half hour into your day. You know, sometimes I'm pretty, I'm pretty much do something every day. It's maybe not as a big workout, like riding my bike or, you know, a full hour in the garage, you know, on the treadmill or whatever. But I tried to do something and something but I'm also I don't beat myself up if I if I miss my morning because I overslept or whatever. And I'll do it in the evening. I tried to do it in the day before dinner or something like that. If I can, or after dinner after I'm done working. So I mean, I'm, it is hard, you are absolutely right. But I think if you, I think what happens when you miss it, then you will make time for it. And that's what's happened with me like, now I know if I miss my morning meditation, I can feel it later in the day and I'm like, Damn, I should not have missed it. And it's not again, like, I'm beating myself up, it just, it's just become a necessity for me to have that to start my day. And same thing with exercise. If I missed a day of exercise, I just don't feel as good. It's something I really want to do. You know, I think that's what happens when in the beginning, when you start getting into the routine, it feels like a job. And you're like, oh, I've got to go out. And and I feel that way, sometimes a lot, actually. But I think, now at least for me, that I've been doing it for many years, and I feel much better. It's like a habit like you're much better doing it.

Zack Arnold 25:57

And I think the important thing here is the idea of it becoming a habit and realizing that it's not going to require effort forever. It's not that it doesn't require effort to exercise. But as you alluded to, you get to the point where you notice the negative side effects of not doing it more than being worried about the effort to do it. And I think that that's a really big point that I want to make for anybody that might be listening that's been doing this for 20 3040 years. And it's like, now I'm supposed to start exercising, like, Ah, it's too late for that stuff, right? Never take, no, first of all, it's never too late. But I think you also have to understand that it's all about the result that you're working towards. And that motivating you and what's happened because of the diet in the fitness industry. And everything else we believe Well, I'm an editor, I don't really care if I'm not, you know, 34 inch waist and looking perfect. Like I just sit in a dark room and I tell stories. To me, if you're exercising, eating well, all these other things, side effects might be weight loss and looking better and feeling better. But to me, the result that we're working towards, that you and I have talked about in the past, is the creativity. We get paid to make decisions for a living, we get paid to take other people's ideas and tell their stories and package them in a succinct way. It's really hard to do that if you never exercise and you never move and you don't meditate and you eat crap, your brain doesn't work anymore. So talk to me about some of the side effects that you notice, both positive and negative when you stick with a habit versus when you don't?

Kevin Tent 27:26

Well, absolutely. And I feel for people too, because when I'm here I am. I don't always practice what I preach. Because when you get really deep in the film, or you know, you basically work, you come home, you go to bed, you get up, you get back to work. So it's really hard. But I think I don't want to repeat myself. But when it becomes something that you actually really miss, like you said, or you you feel it really helps you ally, if it clears your head, it I think it becomes something that you just really want to do and and you make time for it, you make it somehow work. Some of the things that one thing we talked about last time to what I find. So I live by Griffith Park, which is beautiful. And so I ride my bike up there, three, four times a week, just do my little loop, my little morning exercise loop takes me 45 minutes. But a lot of times I'll go Okay, today I'm going to be cutting a scene, or we were cutting the scene yesterday wasn't quite working out, I'll just put it in the back of my head, put on my headphones to listen to music, whatever, right up there. Almost all the time, like halfway up. I don't know if it's because of the blood go into my brain or whatever got more oxygen, I don't know, like an ideal come to me. I'm like, Oh, that's great. Yeah, maybe that or some other idea. And some other scene will come up and I'm like, Oh, we should change that. And we don't need that, you know, I'll be thinking about things but not like hard thinking about like, how that's my focus. So that's kind of a meditation thing, too, I suppose. You know, we're just not thinking about things and thoughts are coming. So, but I find it really helpful. And I find it really good. Just to clear my head first thing in the morning with some exercise. Just be personally, I think other people feel that same way. And then another thing that I'll mention that, you know, obviously I've worked with Alexander Payne so much and he's also very health conscious, and he goes from big hikes every morning. He doesn't ride a bike or anything like that. But his big thing is to go in for walks. And then we almost always want to work them together, take an afternoon walk 15 minutes, 20 minutes. And as he said, and as he says, You never regret a walk. And it's really true. You know, we'll be working and you know, isn't that something's not working about about four 415 it will be like let's go for a walk. And I'm like, Alright, let's do it. And we just walk around the neighborhood, you know, just get some fresh air and it's always super helpful. It also gives you just a little more energy like just being outside. So I think, you know, to all the editors out there when they about four o'clock when they've been sitting in their chair after lunch for the last four hours and you know Yeah, go for a walk, get some fresh air just around the block or wherever just, it's really helpful creatively and physically. Yeah, for me, it's all about the the creative benefits that I get from exercise from taking walks from taking breaks. I think the problem is that we have this mentality that's been burned into our brains and conditioned for decades, is that as a technician,

Zack Arnold 30:23

we're being paid for the hours that we work, therefore, I'm earning my paycheck if my hands are attached to my keyboard, however, how dare I go out and take a walk? Because then I'm not working. But what you're alluding to it kind of sounds like you're working if you're not at your computer,

Kevin Tent 30:38

right? Yeah. Thoughts are coming to you you're talking or even taking, even taking your mind off of something for a while, you could, you could call it work. Because you come back and you might have a fresh, you just even though few minutes away from it gives you a fresh perspective on what you're working on. So it's a plot. But yeah, I suppose if you have a, you know, somebody behind you with a whip telling you to work that it may not look like it's paying off, but I'm sure it pays off. And also may as well bring it up right now. I'm big mapper. I like taking a short 15 minute nap in the afternoon. And so does Alexander thankfully. So, you know, that is also a big thing that if you're going to work till eight or nine at night, afternoon nap 15 minutes, literally 50 I'm really good. My brother can do it. And I can do it. We can lay down zonk out, wake up and get back to work. I don't know if it's a genetic thing or what, but we both can do that. And we both do do it. So I think that's a great thing to do, too. Now that's really hard for people to like break away and say I'm gonna go take a nap. But you know, they can go to their car or something lay down for a second 18 minutes and or maybe they can build it in their schedule somehow. I don't know. But now with everyone working from home, it's way easier.

Zack Arnold 31:52

Now you just turn off the zoom camera. Oh, sorry. I must have had my phone and do not disturb I apologize.

Kevin Tent 32:01


Zack Arnold 32:02

Yeah. When it comes to the naps, that's that's a whole nother level I think of a mental barrier that people are going to have. I've talked to many people, many of the students in my coaching and mentorship program about how they can better organize their day to have consistent energy. And even when I talk about walks, they'll say, Oh, I just I feel so guilty doing that. It's like, first of all, we have to eliminate the guilt, the naps, that's a whole new level of guilt. That's really a it's a cultural thing. It's just about the culture that we've been trained to believe. We're only earning our pay if we're actually working. But how many times have you had the most brilliant editorial idea in the world, staring at your computer exhausted, versus on a bike, shower or taking a walk all the best creative ideas happen when you are away from your workstation Not in front of it. The work happens at your computer, that's when you're actually putting the bricks in their piles. That's when you're building the wall, designing the wall and solving problems that happens away from the workstation. You can't be creative you if you don't get away. It's just not possible.

Kevin Tent 33:03

Right. Yeah, I think that's well put Zack. Absolutely. I think that's exactly right.

Zack Arnold 33:09

So the big question that I have for you, given your you're definitely one of the the more experienced people that I've certainly brought on to the show have a huge array of projects that you've worked on you you've you're very seasoned and have been in this business for a long time. And you're now in a position where you can affect change. How do we start to rewire the culture of many of your colleagues and my colleagues that still believe because they've done this for so long? The only way to do it is to work harder? Not work smarter?

Kevin Tent 33:39

That's a good question. I think by supporting the ideas that we're talking about, and just saying, No, you these, this is a good way to be creative. This is a better way to be creative, just by I mean you can, you can make laws, but you can guide people and tell them that there are other ways to approach these things. And I hope that that we can work together at Ace and do that, just to put it in their bright minds. Not everyone's gonna jump to it right away. But a lot of people might be like, No, I think the right and that, that they are right, I thought about that. But I never, but maybe I gotta be more proactive myself and make these things happen, you know, change some life styles, they have to do it. We can't do it for them, you know, but if we say this is actually this is a good thing. It's okay to want to take a walk every day, you should do it. You know, you a lot of editors do it. A lot of creative people do it, you know? And, yeah, it's like, you know, I think like that would be the best way to approach things, telling people. Okay, and that it's not only just okay, but it's good.

Zack Arnold 34:50

Yeah, and I couldn't agree with that more. As editors, as assistant editors as people in post production. We live in this insular world, where it's just us by ourselves in a small Dark Room. And we have to make assumptions about how other people are doing it. So I would just assume looking at your IMDb pro page, well, you must work all the time. Therefore, if I'm going to be Kevin 10, someday, I'm going to have to do the same thing. You coming out here and saying, guys, I take naps during the day. That's how I cut my movies, making that more acceptable. That that's the first step. Because my firm belief is that the way that we did things in the 20th century, the assembly of blind model, you punch in at a certain time you punch out, you have to be at your workstation, those days are over, especially now with remote work, I believe that we get paid for the value that we bring, not the time that we are doing some specific service. And we bring better value. And we solve challenges by working smarter, not just working harder, because frankly, I don't know if it's possible for any of us to work any harder at this point. So we've got to find a different way to do it if we're going to create the same output or even better, 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 Evercast co founders, Brad Thomas and award winning editor Roger Barton.

Brad 36:20

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 demo to ever 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, 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. It's like this is exactly what the director wants. 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 37:29

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 overcast for the freelancer and indie creatives. Anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood,

Brad 37:51

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 38:06

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 and live. Visit optimize yourself.me/evercast. Now back to today's interview.

Kevin Tent 38:30

Right? Well, I agree completely. And yes, I think all the things that we've been talking about exercise for sure is, at least something B makes me a better editor. And also meditation I do a lot and I do meditating now, which I never, I haven't done. That's something recent that I've done, but it's been great. And it's one of those things where I go, why didn't I do this years ago, but I wasn't ready, you know, wasn't a thing that I was in my head yet. But uh, you know, now I, I I really miss it when I don't do it.

Zack Arnold 39:01

So what was the instigator? Because for a lot of people they're hearing meditation, like it's one thing if I get on the treadmill for 20 minutes, but like I have time to meditate. I'll do that later.

Kevin Tent 39:11

What is it that what does it change your mind because I'm assuming it wasn't an easy transition to make. It was really easy it was when Donald Trump was elected, literally the next like the day or two after he was elected. I was like, I'm gonna have a hard time handling this. And I don't know why. I just decided that I'm going to need to meditate or something. And so I think I'd read about this app called headspace somewhere. I was like, Alright, I'm gonna try that. So that's what I started with a I and I started that like, two, one or two days after that test. It was like I was gonna do that. And it's been enormously helpful. You know, it doesn't change what's going on in the world. It just basically allows you to react to things a little with a little more perspective and a little more calmness which is, which is what I do good. So I did that I used headspace for a while, which was great and very, I really liked it a lot, then I did. I did like a year, year and a half of tm, which was interesting just to mix things up.

Zack Arnold 40:11

And for those that don't know, that's Transcendental Meditation. That's one of the favorites that Tim Ferriss likes to talk about.

Kevin Tent 40:16

It's good, it was good. And then the last couple years, which I've really enjoyed is another app called 10%. happier. And the reason I like it is because there's many different instructors on it, and you can switch around if you want to hear somebody else's voice, or you want to hear some other meditation, you know, prompt, you can listen to it, and they have little courses and stuff like that. And I, I find it really, so I, you know, if we hadn't had a shutdown, I was getting ready to go on a retreat. I was like, You know what, it's time for me to go out and meditation retreat. But I'll do that one, when this all passes, but so I haven't gotten that far yet that some people are such good meditators. But I'm still in my early infancy stage.

Zack Arnold 41:01

I think that the important thing here that you mentioned, a little bit that I'll reiterate, is meditation isn't going to change the world. However, meditation can drastically change your perception of the world. And frankly, in my mind, that's all we have is the perception of our world. Right? If If you really want to go deep into the matrix theory, all we have are the sensations and the information that's coming into our brain, whether it's artificial, whether it's real, nobody can actually prove, but you have control over your perception of things, and how you react to them. So how does that meditation translate to you better managing political issues, better managing schedules, demands, challenges in the Edit room? How does the meditation translate to being a tool for you as a storyteller?

Kevin Tent 41:44

Well, I would say the same thing, it helps you react to what you're working on the politics involved, because Don't forget, I mean, you know, I know and all the editors out there know, you're also like, a total politician, while you're, while you're in the cutting room. So and that's a skill set, which we haven't even touched on, which is really, I think, one of the most amazing things that we wind up doing, as people. But you know, I would imagine it is helped me in that, although i think i because my father who was really easygoing guy, I think it was pretty good with reading people in the room in the editing room and able to, you know, make things work with people like think. But meditation has definitely helped in that, where you just have a little bit, just less, a little less reactive, think a little bit more. And then you can kind of come back with what you want to say, or how you're supposed to react, you know, so I think it just gives you a little bit of buffer, and a little bit of thoughtfulness in what you're going to say or do, you know, in the cutting room and an A and actually your whole life, and you don't really notice it. Like I didn't really notice it, again until I until I miss it now, like if I don't meditate in the morning, and I realized that I'm a little jumpy in the afternoon are a little short, you know, it's because probably because I didn't start my day that way. Like to, you know, I think creatively it helps to, again, it's like one of those things, when you're not thinking about something, you're just kind of like ideas will come to you, you know?

Zack Arnold 43:18

Well, one of the things that I wanted to mention is this idea of the soft skills to better manager, because everybody talks about the tools, oh, I did this in avid or you know, maybe I do this in Premiere, whatever it is, or here's how I assemble a scene. But the soft skills are where I like to focus my attention, because I feel like not nearly enough is paid towards those. The joke that I always make is that if somebody is looking for an editor, the job applications and say previous careers must include janitorial experience, experienced as a mediator experience as a politician, and most importantly, must be a certified therapist. Oh, so true, right? Like it's so anybody, the focus is just on the craft itself, the craft is obviously incredibly important, because that's what people see on the screen. But I believe the editor has to be the one person in the room, which brings us back to meditation, where you can just bring everything in, not immediately react in process and think, before you give your thoughts because you have to be the one that takes all the disagreements and says, I think this is maybe where we need to land. Let's try this. And it takes a lot of those different skill sets.

Kevin Tent 44:22

It does. It's really true. It's really true. And that is something that I think is a huge part of the job, I mean, gigantic part of the job. And you know, it's not, it's not always easy, you're often put really in a tough jam. And you got to figure out what you think is best for the film and you got to figure out or show or whatever. And if everyone else disagrees, you got to kind of deal with Oh, you know, they're going against what I think is best and it gets really complicated and really difficult. But, and I i think that that's probably a skill that maybe a lot editors already have. Maybe that's why they're wound up in the editing room. I don't know I mean, but it's something that should be nurtured. And if there's any way we can talk about it for as if there's any way to kind of nurture that kind of thing and people to to understand interpersonal relationships or something like that, like how to deal with some of those difficult things. But it is tricky. Yeah, that's a very tricky thing.

Zack Arnold 45:20

And I think that the the mentality right now is, well, you just you kind of have it or you don't. But is it something that can really be taught and the same can be said for networking, as well, as editors as people in post production? Most of us, not all of us. But I would say that the majority are introverts. We chose editing for a reason. You can't take an extrovert just like the general run of the mill stereotypical extrovert and say, here's what you're gonna do for the next 30 years of your life. You're gonna sit by yourself, you might have a window, you might not, you're gonna have very little personal interaction, and you're just going to work and generate ideas. I know a lot of people that say, kill me now.

Kevin Tent 45:57

Just kill me now.

Zack Arnold 45:58

Yeah for us. It's like, yeah, sure, that sounds good to me, like the pandemic, you know, globally, withstanding everything that's going on. For me personally, oh, my God, it's been heaven. Because I just get to stay home and do my own thing. And I know, for a lot of people it isn't. But as an editor, that's just kind of part of who we are. And then we have to bring in interpersonal communication skills and networking, who God scares me.

Kevin Tent 46:20

Absolutely. Yeah, makes me nervous still. But I think I totally agree. And I, I think one of the greatest joys about editing is that there's nobody closer to a film or project, it's like, you are at the center of it all, you know, however, it evolves. And however, your changes, you're not the only one, but there's really no one closer to a film, except for being a producer, director than the editor, you know, and it's, you have this I, I think of it as having a relationship with this thing. I think it must be how a painter might feel about a painting, you know, they're very engaged with the blank canvas, and it becomes a thing. And, you know, that's kind of how I think about editing, which to me is very fulfilling. And, and I and the older I get, I realize everyone else wants to be as close to the project as you are, and they're jealous, you know. So, I always feel that way. I could tell like, Oh, they wish they was close to this project as I am, or, you know, as we are as editors.

Zack Arnold 47:21

So let me throw this out there. This is gonna be a challenging question that I don't necessarily expect an answer to. But it's a conversation that I've been having for years, with quite a few very high level editors. I've asked this question of Walter Murcia asked this question of Steven Rifkin. I asked that of Carol Littleton. If we are closer than anybody else. And arguably, you could say that the writer is very intimately involved with the story, the director is the producer. But we're on the very, very inner circle, if you're going to put together the minimal crew, you need an editor no matter what, unless it's a one hour and even then you need an editor. 1917 has how many edits in it? And this is a war, right? So you need an editor. So then why To this day, are we still treated as the technicians we were when Film Editing began? Why are we not in the conversation about being in the same place as a director or a writer? Where it's not above the line, as opposed to we're just the bricklayers? What Why do you think that is?

Kevin Tent 48:19

That's a good question. I mean, I think it's gotten better, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe just for me, it has because I think but I think editors are much more respected now than they were even a few years ago. I think, probably one of the reasons is because of a lot of things that Ace does. But it's just one of those things that maybe was more of a considered more of a blue collar kind of job back back in the days, which kind of was I guess, you know, and I think now, maybe more, maybe the stakes are higher. So some of the bigger films and projects have, you know, want to get the artistic integrity of from an editorial perspective. So they bring in, you know, editors, they treated more like artists, I guess. I think now, more so not not not enough yet. But I think editors are being considered similar to writers will not writers are a little higher up on the food chain, I suppose. But it seems like it's coming. It seems like it's getting better to me. But not not where it should be. But, but uh, me personally, you know, I'm very lucky because Alexander Payne is a huge believer in editing. And he's a real filmmaker. And I think he just understands the power of it. And so, and he treats all his people on all his films with a lot of respect, and wants your input and everything like that. And, you know, that's how we, our relationship has always been. So now, when I go into other films, most of the time, that's what the, the relationships are already set up like that. I'm not there just to push buttons. I mean, sometimes that happens, you know, sometimes you just okay, well, that's what they want to do got to do it, but so I'm not sure I answered the question yet, but I think it's getting a little better, but it's not there yet. And it's causing All I can think of is that, as at the film industry used to be just more of a blue collar industry. And now it's in the last, let's say, 50 years, it's evolved more into a different kind of industry. Does that make any sense?

Zack Arnold 50:13

Oh, yeah, it does make sense. And what I found really interesting about your answer, you may not even realize that you did it. You said, well, editors, you know, and writers. Oh, wait, no, hold on a second. The writers are still above us. And in my mind, there's if there's an equivalent, the directors of course, they're they're the ones that are running the ship. Right. They're the captain. Right. But tonight at least be on equal standing as a writer, when really we are the final digital writers. Yeah, the logic of that doesn't add up to me. I'm not taking away from the writers. I'm not saying that they shouldn't be where they are. They deserve to be where they are. But we're essentially doing the same thing with different tools. So I've never really understood from a logical perspective, why are we not treated at the same level? As far as above the line? As far as the protections that we have? It just never really added up to me? And it seems to me if there is something to work towards, we should be in the same conversation? Should we not?

Unknown Speaker 51:04

Yeah, yeah. I guess probably because editors come in, you know, in the clinch when the when the script is not good. And when the writing is not good. That's when editors are really prove themselves. And maybe because of that. We're not. We're kind of like, it's a last minute thing, you know, just out and out. I'm not quite sure why, why it is.

Zack Arnold 51:23

My belief is, and this is where I think ACE really comes in, like you said, ACE is a big part of sharing the information about what editors actually do. It's really easy to judge good or bad writing. Yeah, you can see that some man like this project is what it is because of the writing, the dialogue is crisp, the structure is great. And most likely that was on the page. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes the writing wasn't so great. And the editor came in and fix the writing. But guess what, nobody knows that. We are the invisible artist. So it's much harder to put us on the same level as a writer, when most people watch the Oscars and say, What is the editor do again, right? Everybody knows what the writer does. Everybody knows what the cinematographer does. But when there's editing and sound mixing and sound recording, they're like, what are these people do? Right? Why wouldn't you just treat us like a below the line blue collar worker, if that's the perception of our role?

Kevin Tent 52:17

Yeah. Maybe what he should do is release projects before they've been cut. And then after they've been cut.

Zack Arnold 52:25

I've always been a big believer and I don't actually think this but as a side note, that when you submit for awards, you should have to submit your editors cut. Yeah, right before anybody jumps into it. And then you're like, Okay, now I see where this started. But anyway, that's that's all side conversation now. So the the last thing that I want to ask you, specifically as the president of Ace, I had this conversation a while ago with Steven Rifkin. But I'd like to refresh it for anybody that's listening. What is a? How does it work? And if it's something that I want to be a part of, how do I get in? I get this question all the time. And there's a lot of misconceptions about what ACE actually is.

Unknown Speaker 53:00

Well, you know, what, it's an honorary society. It started back in the 1950s, where a bunch of editors said, they were not getting treated. Well, they want to just elevate, like, what do we do? No one knows what we do. And I imagined back in the 1950s, and early television, everything, it was all assembly line, you know, so they wanted to elevate what we do. And it is an extremely, it's a craft, but it's, you know, but we raised it to an art form so many times. So we're artists, or craftsmen. So really, what Ace is, is an organization of editors that have gotten together to promote what we do. And also just to socialize, and just to see each other and just to commiserate, and just have a word. There's so many of us now and more than ever, just to have a community so we can talk about ideas and promote what we do. And if people are interested, please join we love and it's expanding because we have, you know, editing, just expanding, it seems like, I mean, I don't know if there's more editors now than ever.

Zack Arnold 54:08

But my son's an editor. He's real. So he's he's 11. He's got iMovie and he's got a YouTube channel. Everybody's an editor now.

Unknown Speaker 54:15


Zack Arnold 54:17

Nothing to do with it. If anything, I tried to dissuade him. I'm like, Oh, god, no, just please choose anything else.

Unknown Speaker 54:22

But he did. How funny. Oh, that's so funny. That's great. Good. See? Yeah, that's good. And I think editing is now cool. Editing has become cool.

Zack Arnold 54:30

It's becoming cooler. I don't know if it's cool yet, but it's becoming cooler than it was. It's not sure yet, but Right. Right. Right. Right. Right. Well, that's what we're gonna work out.

Kevin Tent 54:38

But anyone who's interested should for sure, join and help help and you know, it basically it's a community of other like minded like professional people, and it's men, women, everybody, so we, you know, come on and join. And, you know, they're if they have the credits and all they need is a couple of they need a couple of references They can join so

Zack Arnold 55:01

and that that's one one myth that I want to dispel, because people a lot of times will say is ACE, like, another union is a part of the editor. Very much.

Kevin Tent 55:09

Now though, it's not part of the Union, the union is great, too. I mean, thank God, we have it, but no, it's really think of it as, you know, a honorary society, it's a, it's another group of editors that like to get together, promote editing, promote our history, you know, there's a lot of, we do a lot of with education and stuff like that. So and I hope we even do more for that stuff, you know, I'm going to work towards promoting more of that stuff, and health stuff, and you know, just what we're doing right now is really part of Ace, okay, you're a member, I'm a member, we want to, we want to promote health, and well being to editors, because they work so hard, and they gotta, you know, let's keep our heads on straight, you know, and stay healthy. So this is just one of the here's a perfect example of what Ace can do. And what we're trying to do with ACE.

Zack Arnold 56:01

One notion that I want to misspell is the idea that Oh, just come join, because it is it's the barrier of entry. isn't anybody can just go to the website and say, Oh, I enter my email address. And I'm a member of Ace, right? Some people are very confused about what does it actually mean? To be a member of a see the credits on TV or in the movies? Whatever it is? So if somebody wanted to join, what are kind of the the minimum barriers of entry, just to be considered and be a part of this group?

Kevin Tent 56:29

Well, you should I think most people join when they've had some experience. They've been around, they've been editing for a few years, we have specific benchmarks that they have to meet, do you so many feature films, so many television, hours of television, that kind of thing? Or documentaries or, you know, whatever, you know, reality television? And I don't know what those are exactly off the top of my head. But they're, I think they're on the website. So basically, though, we're, it's not like, there's been some people that have talked to me, they're like, they think it's going to be a career boost for them to be an ace. And I'm always like, well, that's not really the point. For this, you know, you it's be more like when your career is, is started and settled a little bit, and you are committed to being an editor? Yeah, then then it might help your career, I don't think I don't know if it does or not. But I don't think people hire people just because they are members of ace. But so we definitely are looking at as a as an organization with established somewhat established people. I don't want to seem like we're snobby at all, because we're not, but also, people out of film school are probably not going to join us, or they probably won't be accepted. And you know, and we're there, you would need a couple of letters from established Ace members. And you know, basically, you go, you submit your application, you have an interview, and then you're voted on, to join or not. So we rarely, if anything, we just tell people, you know what we love you, we can see you have a great future, please hit us up again next year or two years from now, when you have some more credits, that's really the only reason that people are ever turned down. And it's never turned down for good. It's turned down just for, you know, till they have maybe a little more experience. So we're looking I guess, ACE's got more experienced editors, and non experienced,

Zack Arnold 58:20

Right, and I'll be the first to say just put it right out there. I was one in that category of I didn't get in the first time. really discouraging. But at the same time I came in, after I'd done my first TV show, I done four seasons of it. But I only had one show under my belt. The meeting went great. I loved everyone, it seemed like it was the perfect fit. It just wasn't the right time. I put in another year of experience had a new show on my resume got in the next year.

Kevin Tent 58:45

Yeah, that's really the only reason we turn people don't get in. So it's just because just a little more experience, you know?

Zack Arnold 58:54

Yep. So and just to clarify a point that you made you kind of stole my next question, which is, well, I'm assuming that Ace is going to help me find work and it's really gonna, you know, be a big boost on my resume, and I now get paid more and like, no, that's gonna be a big shocker for you, if that's the reason you want to join?

Kevin Tent 59:09

Yeah, if you want to join that, in fact, I just had a friend of mine say that not to me. Not that long ago, I was like, Well, I don't think and he's been around a while I go if you want to join the ACC join, because you want to just be a part of this, of these all these other editors. I don't think it's gonna get you jobs. I mean, I doubt people go down and look at the list of your credits and go, Oh, they're an ace. It's not like it's not great a stamped on, you know, the size of the cow or something like that. Although maybe it is maybe there's a little bit like

Zack Arnold 59:37

Maybe we need to make it a test where you have to cut sample scenes and if it doesn't breed a certain benchmark, then you're not a certified that would be so hilarious.

Kevin Tent 59:45

We should do that.

Zack Arnold 59:46

Yeah, that should be that should be a recruitment video. Yeah, like two minutes to cut a scene. Well, the way that my mom put it, because when I was going after Ace and didn't get in the first time and then get in the second time, she learned all about it. And she put it So succinctly to help me understand what it is. After we went through all this, she's like, Oh, I think I get it now. Ace is kind of like Phi Beta Kappa, for editors. I was like, right? That totally makes sense honorary society based on your past work experience, but you get to connect with like minded professionals. And to me, I think the most important benefit, if you're looking at it, selfishly, there are so many benefits to being a part of the community, the learning resources, the events and networking, if you're going to be totally selfish about it, I think that having a center resume is a credibility marker, that other people that are good at what they do have accepted you into the same group. But other than that, it's not going to get you a higher rate. No studio is going to say, Oh, you get a $500 a week bump, because you're Ace, they don't care at all, nothing to them. But it's a credibility marker that people know, you know what, you've been doing this for a while, and you've you know what you're doing and you're amongst other like minded professionals that agree with that.

Kevin Tent 1:00:56

Right, Zack? That was so well put, I wish I would have said what you just said.

Zack Arnold 1:01:00

You can steell it by the way going forward, you can steal it, it's all yours.

Kevin Tent 1:01:04

I gotta, I gotta write it down and have it in my hand for the next time. It comes up. But you your and your mom put it perfectly.

Zack Arnold 1:01:12

Yeah, I was just like, Oh my God, that's brilliant. Because I had such a hard time explaining to like, my in laws like what's as I see the people's name I like, I don't know, it's hard to explain. It's like a 10 minute conversation. Right now I just say it's Phi Beta Kappa for editors. Oh, okay. I get it out the union. It's not job recruitment. It's none of that.

Kevin Tent 1:01:28

Right. It's so good. That's so perfect. Short and sweet.

Zack Arnold 1:01:31

Exactly. Well, that's where editors would like to condense things into a story possible, right?

Kevin Tent 1:01:35

That's our job clear?

Zack Arnold 1:01:37

Yeah, exactly. Well, what I would, would like to commit to and I know that this is something you want to do as well, for anybody listening, whether you're still breaking in still learning trying to get to the ACE level, or for those that are listening, that are as members, you and I, we've got some work to do. We're going to be building some new materials and doing whatever we can to bring just a little bit more life into the work life balance into the world of being editors and creative professionals.

Kevin Tent 1:02:04

I love it. Well, let's do it.

Zack Arnold 1:02:06

So on that note, on that note, I'm very excited to make this happen. As an editor, you think my timing would be better. But we're two minutes over. I'd like to keep it nice and succinct, but it's the pandemic. So it's pandemic time. But last simple question that I'm going to let you go. For anybody that comes to you with the same question over and over and over. How do I get started? How do I break in? How do I succeed and become the next Kevin 10? what's what's the best succinct short advice that you usually like to give people about succeeding?

Kevin Tent 1:02:35

I tell them, the young ones, I say just keep on cutting, cut, whatever. I mean, I've cut so many stupid things. And I didn't want to do them. I cut stupid features that I didn't want to do. And I filmed that I'm not proud of and everything like that. But I cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. And then, you know, part of a longer answer I was I didn't plan this. It just kind of happened. But every time and another door opened, I was confident I was able to because I had done so much editing on those educational films or whatever. I knew when when I got that call Roger Corman, I was nervous, of course, was like a big life change. But I was like, I can do that. Because I did that here. And I did that there. And I can go through that door. And when I first got my first big feature, girl interrupted, I remember thinking, oh my god, it's like a multimillion dollar movie. Everything else I had done was the most expensive thing was maybe election and that was like a, I don't even know how much it was five, 6 million I don't even know. Girl interrupted was like a big Hollywood movie. And I remember being so nervous about it. But then I was like, wait a minute. It's just film like all the other ones. Just let me do it. Treat it like how it is. It's just more film. It's just more expensive film. You know, I just stayed focused on what I was doing in my job. So anyways, the short answer is keep cutting stuff. And you'll get experience. Even if you're cutting your brother's wedding video or something like that, just cut it make it the best wedding video ever. A baby shower video, just just cut music, videos, anything. Just keep on cutting and get good at it.

Zack Arnold 1:04:06

It's not about the material as much as it is about what you can do with it. That's what I always tell people, what have you done with what you were given? Not Oh, I'm gonna judge you on what you were given because we get so self conscious about, oh, I don't want to put this short on my reel or I worked it Oh, nobody should see it. It's like, I don't care what it looks like, I care what you did with it.

Kevin Tent 1:04:22

Right? Yeah, no, it's true. And you'll get better. And you'll discover things. You're like, Oh, I can do that here. This is great. This made this way better. This wedding video is going to be awesome. They're gonna love it, you know? And, and you'll want it for the next wedding video to maybe do like five of them. And you've learned a couple tricks that you can use and that you learned on one that you can use and number five, you know, who knows, but you know, just being brilliant, that whatever you're doing,

Zack Arnold 1:04:46

And then you reach the point where you say I'm never doing another wedding video again. We've all been there. We've all reached that point. We said this was the last one, Omar.

Kevin Tent 1:04:54

Yes it's true. It's true. It's okay. But then when you do that, that's alright, then you're moving on to the next thing. And you're confident that so that's a good thing.

Zack Arnold 1:05:03

For those that were inspired by today's interview that want to connect with you learn more about ACE learn more about career in general ask you questions, is there a way that's easy for people to connect with you?

Kevin Tent 1:05:13

Well, they can connect with me. Check me out, find me through ACE that would probably the best way. And you know that you go to the ACE website and poke around there. And there's so many things on there. And, and I'm hoping we're gonna get more and more stuff up there. So that would be one way. Yeah. And then they can track me down through there. If they weren't.

Zack Arnold 1:05:30

Well, that sounds great. Well, on that note, this has been a tremendous pleasure. I'm glad that despite some of the zoom challenges and technical barriers, we got this in the can and I think it's going to be really helpful and inspirational and educational for people. So I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me today.

Kevin Tent 1:05:49

My pleasure, Zack. And let's do some great, let's do some magic.

Zack Arnold 1:05:52

Yes, sir. We will indeed I appreciate it. Thanks so much for being here.

Kevin Tent 1:05:55

Okay, sounds good. Talk to you later.

Zack Arnold 1:05:58

Before closing up today's show, I would love to ask for just a couple additional minutes of your time and attention to introduce you to one of my new favorite products created by my good friend Kit Perkins, who you may recognize as creator of the Topo Mat. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Ergodriven co founder and CEO Kit Perkins, talking about his latest product, New Standard Whole Protein.

Kit Perkins 1:06:22

I've been to health and fitness generally. But I want it to be simple and straightforward. About a year, year and a half ago, I started adding collagen into my protein shakes. And man, the benefits were like more dramatic than any supplement I've ever seen. So I thought if I could just get this down to coming out of one jar, and it's ingredients that I know I can trust, and you just put it in water. And you don't have to think about it. When people think of protein powders.

Zack Arnold 1:06:44

They think, well, I don't want to get big and bulky. And that's not what this is about. to me. This is about repair.

Brad 1:06:49

So a big part of what we're talking about here is you are what you eat, your body's constantly repairing and rebuilding and the only stuff it can use to repair and rebuild is what you've been eating. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by everyday getting out of bed, it's like you know, two or three creeks and pops in the first couple steps and that I thought you just sort of live with now. But yeah, when starting the collagen daily or near daily, it's just gone. So for us job one eight here was make sure it's high quality, and that's grass fed 100% pasture raised cows. And then the second thing if you're actually going to do it every day, it needs to be simple. It needs to taste good,

Zack Arnold 1:07:22

What my goal is that for anybody that is a creative professional like myself that's stuck in front of a computer. Number one, they're doing it standing on a Topo Mat. Number two, they've got a glass of New Standard Whole Protein next to them so they can just fuel their body fuel their brain. So you and I, my friend, one edit station at a time are going to change the world.

Brad 1:07:40

And even better for your listeners with code optimize on either a one time purchase for that first, Subscribe and Save order 50% off. So if you do that, Subscribe and Save that's 20% off and 50% off with code optimized that's a fantastic deal.

Zack Arnold 1:07:54

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Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Guest Bio:


Kevin Tent

website link

Kevin Tent (ACE) has been a somewhat professional film editor in Hollywood for nearly 30 years. He is best known for his long time collaboration with director Alexander Payne. Their first collaboration was on Payne’s Sundance hit “Citizen Ruth,” starring Laura Dern. Followed by the critical hit “Election” staring Reese Witherspoon (for which Tent earned his first American Cinema Editor’s nomination). Tent received his second ACE nomination for “About Schmidt” starring Jack Nicholson and his third for “Sideways” starring Thomas Haden Church & Paul Giamati. In 2011 Tent was nominated for both an ACE and an Academy Award® for his editing on “The Descendants”, starring George Clooney. He won the Eddie for best dramatic film of 2011. He was also nominated for an ACE award for his work on “Nebraska” in 2014 and worked with Payne on his most recent film “Downsizing” staring Matt Damon. After attending Los Angeles City College’s film school, Tent got his first break working for legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman cutting classic films like “Emmanuelle 5” and “Not of This Earth”. While continuing to hone his skills in the throws of B-movies, Tent also tapped into the emerging Independent film movement in the US. Cutting the underground hit “Guncrazy” directed by Tamra Davis and the above mentioned “Citizen Ruth” by Payne. Some of Tent’s other credits include “Blow” the late Ted Demme’s drug epic staring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. James Mangold’s “Girl Interrupted” staring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, (Jolie winning an academy award for her performance). “Disconnect” directed by Henry Alex Rubin, “Welcome To Me” starring Kristin Wigg and “Parched” a foreign language film by Indian director Leena Yadav. More recently Tent’s credits include “Otherhood” from director Cindy Chupack & producer Cathy Schulman and “The Peanut Butter Falcon” staring Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen. Tent has worked with director Barry Sonnenfeld numerous times, Nancy Meyers on the “The Intern” and Martin Scorsese on his short film “The Audition”.

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).”