Ep162: Stop Waiting For Permission to Make Sh*t Happen | with Mark Gantt

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 “I want to make sh*t happen, but it can’t happen at the cost of the people around me.”
– Mark Gantt

Working in Hollywood as a creative professional can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand the freedom to express yourself and tell stories that motivate, inspire, and entertain others can be a dream come true. But on the other hand the pressure of having to create on a grueling daily schedule can lead to doubts, insecurities, imposter syndrome and perfectionism (especially the days when you’re just not feeling it), all of which lead to feeling out of balance and out of control. (Been there. Done that. Still living it.)

There is no one who knows this dichotomy better than my guest today, Mark Gantt. Mark is a multi-medium visual and performance artist who has worked in the industry as a graphic artist, a painter, a prop master, a photographer, an actor, a producer, and a director. He is best known for co-creating, writing, producing, and starring in Crackle’s groundbreaking, Streamy award-winning series The Bannen Way. (And if you are a long time listener, you may recognize that title because it is where I got my start in editing scripted television.)

But it wasn’t an easy ride to success by any means (and if you ask Mark, he still struggles to call himself “successful”). There were many moments he wanted to give up on his passions and quit. And there were more moments when he wasn’t even sure what his passion was after veering so far off the path (a path which includes countless drinking benders and cocaine). This episode is a conversation about persevering in times of doubt and failure. We candidly discuss how it really feels to fail and what it takes to dig deep, forge ahead, and make sh#t happen in your career – no matter the obstacles – and most importantly without sacrificing the most important people in your life along the way.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Mark answers the question, “What do you do for a living?”
  • How he came to have a multi-hyphenate career.
  • The reason behind Mark’s drive to do all the different jobs he does.
  • Mark has been sober for 33 years.
  • The story of how Mark and I met.
  • What the “woo woo” factor is and the significance of The Secret.
  • How Mark wrestled with limiting beliefs in his acting career.
  • What fears come from imposter syndrome and how to confront them.
  • My story of why I failed in my first season of American Ninja Warrior.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Failure is just a bump on the road to success.
  • How saying yes to an uncomfortable opportunity saved Mark’s career and led to new doors opening.
  • Mark’s battle of negative thinking goes back to his childhood.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Letting go of fear allows space for better decision making to happen.
  • The dark story behind Mark’s drinking and deceptions.
  • Mark learned that drinking was only a symptom of his real problems.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Sometimes getting out of balance is necessary to appreciate being in balance.
  • The phone call that changed my life and how I’m still trying to make it happen again.
  • Mark’s pivotal moment when he knew he had what it took to be successful in Hollywood.
  • Why perfectionism leads to unhappiness and burnout.
  • The importance of learning to enjoy the process so you can bring your full talents to the project you’re working on.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Ep161: Managing Limiting Beliefs, Imposter Syndrome, and all the “Chatter” In Our Heads | with Ethan Kross

Mark Gantt – Writer | Director | Producer

The Bannen Way (2010) – IMDb

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Episode Transcript

Mark Gantt 0:00

You don't feel like it right now. But you are enough. And that if you keep putting yourself out there, if you keep failing, trying to do what you want to be doing, you'll find that you'll have some peace in your life, that you're actually doing something that's of value to the world.

Zack Arnold 0:21

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 the 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 vets, 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.

Working in Hollywood as a creative professional. Well, it can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the freedom to express yourself and tell stories that motivate, inspire and entertain others. Well that can be a dream come true. But on the other hand, the pressure of having to create an a grueling daily schedule can lead to doubts, insecurities, imposter syndrome and perfectionism. Especially the days when you're just not feeling it. All of which can lead to feeling out of balance and out of control. been there done that still living it. Now there's nobody who knows this dichotomy better than my guest today. Mark Gantt. Mark is a multimedia, visual and performance artist. He has worked in the industry as a graphic artist, a painter, a prop master, a photographer and actor, a producer and a director. And I've probably missed like five other things. He is best known for co creating, writing, producing and starring in Crackle's groundbreaking Streamy Award winning series The Bannen Way. And by the way, if you're a longtime listener, you may already recognize that title, because it is where I got my start in editing scripted television. Now, it wasn't an easy ride to success by any means. And by the way, if you ask Mark, which I did, he still struggles to call himself successful to this day. There were many moments that he wanted to give up on his passions and quit. And there were more moments when he wasn't even sure what his passion was, after veering so far off the path, a path which includes countless drinking benders, and cocaine, all of which we're going to get into. This episode is a conversation about persevering in times of doubt and failure, we candidly discuss how it really feels to fail, and what it takes to dig deep forge ahead and make happen in your career, no matter the obstacles, but most importantly, without sacrificing the most important people in your life along the way.

Before jumping right into today's interview. However, I am excited to share with you a new addition to the podcasts. Well actually, I'm kind of resurrecting it from years of slumber, which is the Q&A episode. It has been a long time since I did an informal question and answer show and I plan to do them on a monthly basis going forwards. But here's the thing. I can't do answers without the questions. And that is where I need your help. If you enjoy this podcast and you have specific questions that you would like me to address on the show, it is super simple. All you have to do is visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast and then select the apple podcasts app subscribe, then rate a quick and by the way, an honest review in the apple podcast app. At the end of your review. Leave your question and I will do my best to not only answer your question in depth, but I'm also going to give you credit on the show. How cool is that? And the more reviews that we can amass the better placement we get from Apple and the more creative professionals that you and I can inspire to do what they love for a living without having to sacrifice their health, their relationships or their sanity in the process. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with writer, director and producer Mark Gantt made possible today by our amazing sponsor Ergodriven, who is 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 optimizeyourself.me/podcast.

Mark Gantt 5:07

I mean, I definitely I definitely think, you know, not waiting for permission and you know, you know, creating what it is that you creating your own life, you know, your own career for yourself to the extent that you can. So I guess, you know, so funny, it's like, my life is like changing a little bit where it's just like, imagine, like, I'm on a ride at Disneyland, you know, the man is like, again, like, in go like this as much as I want. But it's like, it's, you know, um, you know, it's all sort of going away, but, but I put myself on a path. And I said, I guess you know, part of that is just, you know, listening to your inner voice about what you're supposed to be doing. And then following that, and you know, getting from there, are you willing to just take those those those actions every day towards that, and then not worry about the result,

Zack Arnold 5:50

you sound like you'd be a good fit for this podcast interview, I can see some alignment and all the things that we're going to talk about. So on that note, we're just going to jump right into the interview. And I am here today with Mark Gantt, who is best known for co creating, writing, producing and starring in the groundbreaking Crackle series Streamy Award winning called The Bannen Way, for anybody that's listening to this podcast, they might be like, Huh, the band in way that sounds somewhat familiar, I'm pretty sure that's where I got my big break, too. So for anybody wondering how I found this guy, it's because you and I have known each other for a long time. And we came up in very similar areas where we were just kind of sorta trying to break in and get noticed. And we knew that we could do it, but nobody was given us a shot. And then we put everything that we had into the band and way and we were in the trenches together for months and months. And then it just started to happen, right? Just got kind of crazy. But beyond you being the actor, writer, producer, extraordinaire, you've also been a painter, and a graphic designer, and you're a podcaster, and you're a coach. And there's a million and a half other things that I could add to that list, but we only have like, 60 to 90 minutes, and I probably wouldn't get through all of them. So my first question for you. And it's really just more research for me, because I have the same problem when you talk to somebody in real life. And they say, what do you do for a living? How the hell do you answer that question?

Mark Gantt 7:11

Wow. I mean, I guess it depends on the day. I mean, you know, I it's so funny, because, for the longest time, I struggled with being multi hyphenate, by having these different hats that I would wear. And, you know, I would say that, you know, so many people have told me along the way, pick one, just pick one, dude, it's way easier just to pick one focus that way, nobody has to, you know, figure out what it is you do. And I can tell you, there's times in my life where I've just like, Okay, I'm going to focus just on the acting, I'm just gonna focus just on the right, I'm just gonna focus just on the director, I'm going to focus just on producing. And, you know, each time I've done that, it's, it's stifling, it doesn't, it doesn't feel like that's the right thing to be doing. Now, you know, so so when people ask me, What do I do at the, at the moment, you know, sort of as my career sort of morphing into stuff, I definitely feel like I'm a writer director, who also produces who also has a podcast, who also coaches and, and that's, that's where I'm at right now. But it is, it's but I guess, that's like one of the biggest things when I talk to people who want to who are actors and want to write and direct or who are like, directors, but haven't written anything before, like, there are all these different things I want to be doing, how do I you know, do I have to pick one? And I say no, because, you know, I mean, who knows what you're supposed to be doing, or how you're supposed to be doing, or how each one of those can influence something. And I can easily say now that, you know, over the course of my career, and my life, all the stuff that I've you know, failed that and, you know, succeed perceive succeeded or perceived fail, that all those things have informed the choices that I'm making today, creatively, you know, and so, you know, all those things together, you know, make me who I am. So I don't know, you know, it's just what exactly do I say? I don't mean, it's like, what am I? What am I doing today?

Zack Arnold 9:10

Yeah, we creatives were a frustrating bunch to do the same way. And I've been told the same thing by people, like, can't just just be an editor, like, what's, why do you need the podcast and this or that, or, you know, like, just you got to pick a lane. And I just don't believe that like, if in your heart of hearts, that you want to do all these different things that great do all of them. But I do think that one of the things that's helpful that I've taught to a lot of my students that I've also had to learn myself, you don't have to pick one. But you probably should pick one next for at least a little while. Well, what's next? Well, next could be for the afternoon. It could be for the next week, it could be for the next three to six months. It really depends on the goals that you set. I do think that it's helpful to pick one or two lanes at the most at a time. And I know that for you there were times when it was it's all in on the act and then it's all in on the directing or it's all in on the podcast, but I do believe that you're really Really stifling yourself creatively? If you force yourself to do what you said, which is a scary word, the easy way, is to just pick one because yeah, might be the easiest. But can you imagine if you had all the success in the world as just an actor, because you pick that one lane, but you couldn't do all of the other amazing things that have had the impact that you've done?

Mark Gantt 10:19

No, no, no way. But I agree, you know, there has to be a focus. And, you know, I'm I know, you don't know anything about focus.

Zack Arnold 10:26

No, I never I see what's happening with Mark and Oh, wait, sorry, I lost my train of thought,

Mark Gantt 10:33

yeah. You know, but but, you know, I think there is an importance to, you know, having some sort of set, plan, even if it's like six months to a year that I'm focusing on these, these tasks, these these goals, so that I can, so that I can achieve some sort of self confidence in whatever it is that I'm doing. I know, you talked a lot about that stuff, too, with, you know, like, even, you know, assistant editing the editor, you know, have, you know, what, are those one of those skills that you need to have? Like, are you doing that? Are you taking, you're doing all those different things to, to build your skill, set your resume, and, you know, do that stuff? So, it's not as easy as saying, Oh, yeah, do it all. Because, you know, doing it all, you know, you'll be there's a chance that you're not going to have that success at any of those things. And, and, and I'm sure that you and I, you know, I mean, maybe maybe there's somebody that, you know, knows us really well, and they could say, yeah, you know, I know you want to do at all mark, but really focus, you know, like, I know, you, you know, and there may be just a little bit of that. And I think I definitely think for myself right now, the, you know, I've definitely see that, you know, acting thing was something that was so great for me to do, and I enjoyed doing it. But it really sort of informed a lot of the other things that I'm doing now. So it's makes me a better director makes me a better writer, better coach, you know, you know, allows me to understand sort of both sides of the camera, both sides of listener, both sides have a viewer you know, that kind of thing.

Zack Arnold 12:01

Yeah. So and I would say the same thing, too, when it comes to this idea of doing it all. My response is always I know, I can't do it all now. But I'm going to eventually get the time, right. And I know that when I don't, I guarantee I'm not going to do it all eventually, what I don't want to do is look back and say yeah, but I didn't do certain things out of fear. Because I was afraid, right? And I just I refuse to let that happen. American Ninja Warrior is the perfect example. I just knew, like ever so many people said, Oh, you got to try that. And there was this big pit in my stomach, like, but that's scary. And it's so out of my comfort zone. But the scarier thing was, I'm 90 years old. And I'm thinking, Why Why didn't I at least try and I failed spectacularly. So far, what I've tried, and there's no fear, and there's no regret, right? That's why when I say I know that I won't get it all done eventually. But I will shoot for that as the goal. I'm never going to look back and say, Well, I wanted to try the coaching thing, or I wanted to try the Ninja Warrior thing, or I wanted to develop my own shows. But I was a pretty successful editor. And I guess I'm gonna have to be okay with that, like, EFF that.

Mark Gantt 13:04

No, no, no, no, no, I can't, I can't do it.

Zack Arnold 13:06

So the one thing I will go even deeper into that I think is really important for people to understand. If somebody said to me, at a party, if I were to answer the same question that you did, if I were going to be really honest, and they said, What do you do? I would say, I inspire people to step outside of their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And they would look at me and they'd be like, I'm sorry, what? No, no, what do you do for a living? But that's the deeper why underneath, whether it's editing, or coaching, or podcasting, or Ninja Warrior, what's yours because you do the graphic design and the posters and the directing and the whole event and the vibe and you do it all, but there's one reason why you're doing it all. I'm really curious as to what drives you?

Mark Gantt 13:45

Well, you know, it's, it's interesting, it's, it's not dissimilar to you, you know, I enjoy inspiring others, you know, part of my journey is, I just celebrated 33 years of sobriety. And it is something you know, mental health and recovery is something that's been a big part of my life, and from being a teacher to, you know, just being on set, you know, I feel like my responsibility, you know, as a director, is to inspire everybody to be their best, you know, I'm only as good as everybody else's around me, you know, if it's my project or not my project, if I'm showing up to do a job, I'm only as good as the next person and so to inspire people, and, you know, and part of that, you know, to inspire people to live their dreams, you know, and so, you know, those are those as I'm meeting people, as I'm creating projects, you know, it's how do I entertain? How do I inspire? How do I, you know, motivate people to see that they're not limited just by their circumstances, by their thinking, you know, by their outside circumstances. And so yeah, that's that's sort of my thinking.

Zack Arnold 14:55

What I think is hilarious. I probably should have brought this up earlier, but I just remember now listening Do this. People need to understand how you and I met? You remember how we met? Probably don't even remember. Do you?

Mark Gantt 15:08


Zack Arnold 15:09

we met on Craigslist. Yeah, we did. I was desperately unemployed and out of work, and I would do anything, just to make 100 bucks off Craigslist, I didn't care. And there you were, as well with your your directing and writing partner, Jesse had a credit card and your shot a few minutes of this pilot, and you're like, we need somebody to help us get this thing off the ground. So the and this is going to lead to where I want to go next. But the fact that you and I have so much in common, and we met on Craigslist of all places, there's something about how the universe happens. And you're already smiling because you know where I'm going. So we've had this conversation 100 times. But there's this thing that my students in my program called the woo factor. And you and I have had at least 15 to 20 conversations about this thing called the secret. Yeah, right. So let's talk a little bit more about this thing that we cannot explain or understand. But the fact that you and I found each other on Craigslist, we have all these things in common we have such aligned deeper why's. And then the other weird tangent to all this is that randomly, like two, three years ago, we show up at the like, same jetway at an airport just randomly, like, how does that you think about the sheer math of that happening? And we just found each other at the perfect time and reconnected. Like, let's just go into some of these private conversations we've had about this thing called the secret and the woo woo factor

Mark Gantt 16:29

Yeah, man, I have no explanation for it. I mean, there's no like, like, real way to be able to say, Oh, yeah, and I guess this is like, I guess this is like, the bigger thing as you know, as you were talking about that, it's like, it's easy for me to say, Oh, yeah, set some goals, take this action, you know, and then you know, follow your bliss, you know, go for this thing, you know, because, you know, there is this other part, there's this thing that you know, that I believe that we're all connected, you know what I mean? That there's a connection that we all have. And so, if we continue to put ourselves on the field, you know, in the arena, if you're, if you're constantly putting yourself in there, I mean, you and Tony, I mean, it's like all those things, like how do you find yourself in these, you know, in these situations, there has to be something that we're listening to some inner inner guidance that saying, you know, do this, you know, and I think this is one of the things I'm sort of going on a tangent here, but this is like where I am today is that for so long? I'm a hustler. That's what I do. I hustle you know, and what does that hustle look like? It's networking. You know, Gladwell said I'm a connector you know, I connect to people I love doing that and love being able to do that and so but also that's helped me get work it's got me you know, opportunities out of the blue and you know, you're in our stories are so similar years with, you know, Burn Notice, by the way, just was just on a zoom with Alfredo. He's going to be doing a movie. Oh, my God, that's amazing. What a small world. Yeah. And he was literally just going like, right, so how can you walk me through, like, you know, your prep for a movie. And I'm like, Wait, you're like a show. You directed already. You've already Wendy's again, but not a movie, you're done a movie. And it's like, that's what's so amazing is to be able to give back to him to be able to, like, share my experience with somebody who's was who could be on paper, somebody that's like, he's up here and I'm down here. But instead it's just like, Nah, man, we're just two artists, you know, on the journey together, you know, thing connected over 10 years. And so, to the point where he was, you know, co showrunner and brands show on six, you know, it's like all those little like, visual pieces. You just got no accident. No accident, no accident, no accident. Oh, so what I was gonna say is just real quick to say that, like, right now I'm in that place where there's a lot of those actions I was I was taking that were potentially out of fear, potentially out of like, I'm gonna miss my, my opportunity. And, and a lot of those those actions, you know, they feel like the, the examples you share about an email, you know, that's like, Hey, man, love your work or whatever, you know what I mean, like, misspell their names and the whole you know, what I mean? It's like this or, you know, constantly over communicating over sharing with somebody that I'm not that connect connected with because I'm, I so eagerly want that to happen, you know, and so, today, it's much more guided and just, you know, I sort of, you know, it feels like there's a there's anxiety about it, not in a she's uncomfortable to put myself out there. But then the anxiety of like, I need this like, this is perfect. When I when I think this is perfect, because this, this, this and this and this, that to me is like danger will Robinson danger because, like that's always like me trying to control and manipulate a situation and and what happens then is like, you know, I can feel out of place, I'm willing to, you know, sort of stretch the truth and put myself in circumstances that don't make me feel so good. So, today, I'm really much more in a place of, you know, putting myself out there in a very authentic, authentic way. And if I don't know how to do something, I'm going to tell that person, you know, but, but these are the things I can do. And this is how I can, you know, you know, do this job, but I'm not gonna lie and say, I've done this thing kind of thing,

Zack Arnold 20:25

right. And one thing to to give you a little bit of glimpse into my process, by the time this is published, this may not be the case. But I always think about, what's the title of this episode going to be I'm trying to put a title before I even had the conversation. So I have a direction. And I'm pretty confident that somewhere in the title of this episode is going to be making happen. Because if there ever was anything that a capsulate, why I wanted to talk to you and who you are, it's about this idea that you make happen, which too many people sounds like the opposite of this idea of the secret, which is why I brought it up, I've had this conversation countless times with my students, where they'll say, one of two things, oh, you know, this, this whole woowoo thing, and the universe is being there, and it all being connected is all bunch of crap, you just have to put your nose to the grindstone and do the work. And then you've got the other camp, which is no, you just you put your thoughts and ideas into the universe, and the universe will hear you, and you create your vision board, and it will happen. And I say you're both writing are both wrong, you got to have both, you got to have a vision board, whether it's a real thing, or it's in your head, you got to have these goals. And you got to make the effort to make it happen. Right, it's the sweet spot of finding both of them, you're the perfect example of how to make it happen. And when I go a little bit deeper into this idea that you said earlier, I think if there ever was a takeaway, or a theme for this, is this idea of these fears, and the these limiting beliefs. And I want you to take me back to when you used to wait for permission to do things because you're not doing that anymore. But for a long time, you were like everybody else, I have to wait until the time that somebody tells me I'm an actor, or wait until somebody says you're ready to direct. So talk to me about that time when you were dealing with those fears and waiting for permission.

Mark Gantt 22:04

Okay, so I will and and I also wanted to say, and I've talked about this a lot. My wife and I talk about this a lot. And it's like, for me, I still wake up every morning, and the voices are, first of all, they've changed, they got smarter, and they're, you know, they're not the normal europese if you're not going to get what you want, blah, blah, blah, they're just, you know, they're like, Oh, you know, you should have you could have, why didn't you? You know, oh, let's go on Instagram and look at that person's career and see what they're doing. And just like do this, there's so it's like, there's, it's, there's always that opportunity for me to embrace that negative thinking. But you know it now I can get aside and clear my clear my head and move forward. But there were times where it was. That's all I thought about. And so I can specifically say that when I started acting, and I was in an acting class, and the teacher was mom could sell us early hills Playhouse and I was doing really good. And I was having some great success. And here little parts here and there. And you know, but I was I was watching him direct and I was like stage managing and assisting him. And I found myself just like watching as a director, I was like, Oh my god, like I'm yeah, I'm watching Giovanni ribisi act or like Giovanni ribisi is like, I can't like learn from him as an actor. It's like, he's just genius, you know? And then like, you know, like, I'm good. I can watch how he's directing him and things like that. So it came to him and said, You know, I don't want to act anymore. I think I just want to direct you know, I said, I enjoyed directing scenes and stuff. And he said, Well, you wrote down that he wrote, he wrote down something. He's like, hands me this, you know, what's up this Notepad, it says, After there's a line down the middle, and then director, he said, You can only pick one. You can't pick and can't do anything else when you pick. I said director hands down. He said, All right. He's like, I think you can do both. But if you pick directing, and not the acting and don't confront the stuff, you're not confronting and you're acting, it'll come up and directing. So I want you to do look at these scenes do this work for me. And you know, let's go from there. The next week, he pulled together this, like, small group of actors from the school that were in the advanced class masterclass, but hadn't like got to the place in their careers they wanted. And he wanted to know, like, what's going on? Like, why aren't you getting the teaching? Why aren't you getting to the next level? And so you were all sitting there. And he said, Mark, What's your deal? Why aren't you where you want to be? And I was just looking at him. I didn't know. And he said, He's like, so you know, why is your acting career, not where you want to be? And I was like, and I just broke into tears. I said, because I don't think I'm good enough. I don't think I'm good enough actor. Cut to, you know, 18 months later. 27 scenes later, I'm sitting on stage. And I'm looking at the class and I'm like, I'm an actor. I had done 27 scenes, I put the work and I'd failed. I'd like, you know, got up failed. And you know, found that truth found that purpose found that inner sense inside thing. And soon after that was just within a month after that, I was in a class, same class, same class, different teacher on Barton. He was talking to my scene partner about her sister who is famous, and she can't, she doesn't have the career she wanted. And he said, you know, you just got to build your own door to walk through it. He was talking to her, but I heard it. And I was like, Yeah, I've done like, all this production work. I've directed shorts, I know how to make a movie. Why am I waiting? I've got my foot in the door, like this little crack of the door as an actor, the back doors open, and my friends are going, Mark, come on, dude, come on. Yeah, just make something. And then that's how, you know I wrote that night on the wall. I said, Today on my my whiteboard, I said, Today, I stopped fighting. And that's when I wrote down three directors names that were writer directors, Jesse Warren was the first person. And I was like, these three guys that want to work with me, they talked to me about working with me, and let me see if I can create something with them create a vehicle for myself. And that was that process. And you know, that whole situation, definitely took me into a place of going through fear, you know, all those different things. But seeing at the end of it to see like, wow, like this is possible. You know, there's only there's obviously more to that story of us together, finally getting to you and I but there was that was, that was a big part of it. It's like putting in the work, willing to fail willing, and that was part of it was just like, I really wanted to quit, like I was willing to just switch to directing because I just thought that was just going to be the easier thing to go to. And for me to be able to show up and hard scenes and fail and have him go, I don't believe you. I don't believe you know what's going on, you know, and to get to the point where he's basically said nothing. He just turned to the class and said, anybody have anything to say, you know, and I was like, Wow. So

Zack Arnold 27:03

what that really comes back to is something that I think every single creative person suffers from their entire career no matter where they are, is imposter syndrome. And this is something that I have suffered from myself for my entire life. And all the students that I talked to, they suffer from the same thing. And I have been doing a deep dive to figure out what is the solution to imposter syndrome? How do you overcome it, right. And I'm not I'm not a doctor, not a, you know, an academic. And I've actually spoken to academics and talk to them about this exact subject, because that's how I learn. But really, what I've come to understand is exactly what you talked about, you identify the imposter syndrome, you know that the fear is there. But you just start chipping away at it one swing at a time over and over and over. You do your scene, alright, it sucked. But it was a little bit less than it was the time before. And then you do it again. And then you do it again. And then one day you stand on the stage, you're like, I'm an actor, right? But it takes a long time to get there. And you have to both confront the fear. But also you have to be willing to embrace failure as part of the process. And I think that's where so many people get stuck is they say, Well, I'm not made for this, or I'm not good enough. So why should I try? As opposed to that's exactly why you should try and try more and try harder, because eventually you're going to work through it. And like people are thinking, Oh, yeah, well, maybe that's how you felt 20 years ago, but now you're on Cobra Kai and this and that. Let me just tell you a little bit, little story. Right? I haven't even told the story yet. But you're bringing it out of me. Because you know, you're, you're being super honest. I'm gonna be super honest. So I did not do well, on my first season on American Ninja Warrior. I did not do well at all. And I've been spending months trying to dig in and figure out what is it that happened? Well, wasn't my placement of the hand on the rope, or I should have jumped off the left or to the right foot. I know that it's none of those things. The reason that I failed and didn't reach the potential that I know that I have for this sport, is because I was on that set, thinking to myself, I don't belong here. I just I don't know why I'm here. I don't know how I got here. This is a cool experience. I don't belong, and they're gonna figure out that I'm a fraud. This was not 20 years ago, this is like three months ago. And to this day, I'm still trying to figure out, how do I show up on that set again, and say to myself, I belong here. This is for me. Right? I'm doing all the exercises, and the push ups and the pull ups and the chaise and everything, but it's still How do you get to that switch where you stand on the stage and say, I'm an actor, and I can say I'm a ninja, dammit. And I belong here on that journey as we speak.

Mark Gantt 29:33

Yeah. No, I mean, it's it is. And I think that's where we've, as we first started talking about there is this thing that you can't I can't explain I can't I can't put into I can't package this up and say this is how you figure out how you can get over this imposter syndrome by just doing this like I do. I really do believe there has to be this willingness to To trust the process and to to fail, you know, I mean, it's, it's funny, it's like I go from I was recutting my new directors reel, and this producer was helping me because she felt she was really, you know, she believed in me and she wants to help me. And she's like, you know, we're we have all these, like, all these single things that you've done, but I want to, you know, I want to get your feature stuck in something with all these other pieces. And as soon as the end so she, she's like, I've got the editor, this is the guy. And so we know, we get on the zoom with him. And we're talking. And she's like, so this is Mark, Mark is this guy. And then she just goes on launches and to the most amazing guy she has ever wanted to work with, as she's ever worked with, like my, like, every quality that I didn't even know that I had, like, the way she just like, she described to me. Like, like how I want to be feeling about myself. And there was an I got on the phone with her. And we taught we called and I just said to her just blew me away, what you said how you described me, she goes, it's true. She's like, that's what I see. That's what you show up with. That's how you, that's how you show up to set. So whether or not that, you know that, you know, and I would I definitely would say the last three or four times, showing up as a director there was there was something that happened and and I'll say this, you know, to you, man, and this is not your thing, necessarily. But, you know, what has helped me is, it's not about me, like I'm being of service. And so you know, for you being on American Ninja, you're being of service, you're being of service to the audience, to your people, to your family to yourself of like, just, you know, we're here to be we're a part of this whole thing. And you weren't supposed to do what you you were supposed to get there this first time. That's exactly your journey. That's exactly everything happens for a reason. So like, you couldn't have got there, you can't find that thing. And until you've gone there, now you're going to get to that next thing is like, Oh, right, I've already done it. Now I can get Oh, this is here, there was there was actually this one little thing, whatever it is, you know, mean that I sort of Who knows, maybe it's something that you didn't take care of in your life that you needed to handle, you know, some resentment, some bs that you know, something with somebody that you need, you know, who knows? I mean, that's the thing. It could be just one little, it's the it's the sliver, and then giants thumb or something, you know, it's just like, we don't know until we are willing to look until we're willing to like, do it, and then look at it and go, Okay, wait, something's not working. Something's got to change. And I, you know, as you're looking at it, it's not outside. You know, it's not the, it's not the competition's not the way they rigged that thing. It's not your trainer, it's not the way that you, you know, it's like, it's something inside of us. And you know, the only way we can get through it, is through it. There's no easy way around that.

Zack Arnold 32:58

Yeah. And the way that I will always reframe failure. And it's really hard in the moment because man, like, when I told the story to my brother, he had, you know, been watching the videos on social media and heard about like, he knew three and a half years ago when I declared this goal, and they hadn't heard what happened. And I explained to them what happened. And he just laughed. He's like, Oh, my God, all that training and all that time and money for nothing. And like, no, it was exactly the opposite. That was one viewpoint. I'm like, that's fine. But the assumption was, Well, you did that you failed. So now you move on. And my response is very different. And what's interesting, and this is one of the things I talked about in another podcast with one of the world's foremost experts and researchers on limiting belief in the chatter in our head, and the voices that we hear was at my episode with Ethan Kross, and we can put a link in the show notes. But it's this idea. First of all, that you can hear somebody else talk about you. And you're like, That's amazing. But you can never talk about yourself that way. But if I were to ask you the question, and I've done this to students, and it's amazing what happens if I said, I want you to explain all of your best virtues. Oh, you know, I don't know. I mean, I'm, you know, I'm pretty good director and designer, but I've got so much to learn. But if I said, describe to me, Mark Gantt and third person you sound a lot more like that other person. Right? Right. And I did ninja with a really good friend of mine who I met through the whole ninja journey. And he also failed very, very early. And he was like, supposed to be going to like Vegas finals. Like, he's done it four or five years, like, he's legit. Right? And to me as like, Oh my god, like, I just failed. This is so embarrassing. But then when it happened to him immediately, I was in coach mode. And he's like, oh, I've just I, how can I do this anymore? Like, I've let my family down and I, I quit. I'm done. I'm like, dude, you've got two choices right now. Either. You've worked this hard to get here. And the end of the story is you failed on this obstacle and you suck. Or this is just going to be a really, really good part of a much better story. When you succeed. Choosing to move forwards or not, is a choice. What happened here? It is what it is. You can choose to react however you want. But the choice is is it failure? Or was this just feedback? And I keep moving. And then I'm like, oh, maybe I should listen to my own advice, because I'm feeling like, but the story is going to be so much better when I can talk about this big giant failure once the success happens. And I realized, yeah, that's kind of the pattern I go through over and over and over. Right? And I know that you're very, very similar, where it's not like, well, oh, shucks, I tried that, and I guess I suck. It's like, Nope, I'm just gonna keep going forwards and make the story better, but

Mark Gantt 35:32

I love that I love the the failure or feedback, you know, I love that. I haven't heard that before. And I definitely see, you know, for me, I've, my experience has been, you know, the biggest breakthroughs I've had, are, you know, at the end of the breakdown, you know, and so, and that goes with, you know, relationships to, you know, to my career to everything. And I think that that's like, you just can't get to the breakdown, like you can't get to you can't sort of break down all those limiting stuff. By being safe. It just, it's doesn't happen, you know what I mean? You can, because I, I've always I've been saying this, and this is like, the bigger shift for me that happened in 2019, Mazal get into a real quick, right, we're in it, let's do, you know, so, you know, 2018 I have my, my son's born in April, I'd worked a teeny bit, you know, the end of 2017. April comes, we're just going to take off, you know, three or four months. And then, you know, everybody says, you know, you have a baby, like, all the work comes in by, you know, whatever, middle of August of 2018. There's, like, not a ton of work, you know, where's where's this loaf of bread? Where's all this money, you know, and my wife book the job brand books job and, and St. Croix, like soon, like, four months after we went there and did this movie, we're like, okay, so it's all flow, here's the flow, but then it just slowed down from there, like nothing was happening. And there's a couple little jobs here and there, and, you know, sort of the, you know, earning jobs, but not in like, my vision, you know, and like our directing and props and stuff, but not like the directing, writing and acting and stuff. So, now, let's fast forward to like June 2019. And I'm like, May, June, July, and my balances down to like, two hours and 32 cents, June $23.16. And I'm not getting I'm not like I'm not, you know, haven't had to borrow money. But it's just like, it's literally like everything is like right there. And I'm doing so much stuff I'm hustling, I'm doing the hustle and doing this thing. And it sort of hit me one of the things was, I was much more willing to do the work. That was just not scary. You know, I was much more willing to like hustle for the work that was like the proper art, directing work. And all that kind of stuff was much scarier for me to go, let me go ask somebody to hire me as a writer, the Mingo asked me to hire me as a director. Even though I was doing some of that outreach, it was more like the like the low hum of discomfort for me, that's more uncomfortable, it was more it was more comfortable for me to do it. I didn't want to do than to put myself out there and do the stuff that I really wanted to do. And so that just hit in August of 2019. I was like, Okay, I guess I gotta get like a real job. Like if I'm not, you know, because nothing's happening. And so what does that real job look like? All I've done is production for 25 years I don't know what what skills do I have that's got some regular job. And so I started to go well, there's that or there's like, get a job like get a gig writing get a gig directing get a gig produce something,

Zack Arnold 38:44

I can see a men's wearhouse like you're a good looking guy, you look good in a suit, like that could be a decent job for you. Now you tell where were you that you show you show your pictures from the band way like why are you at Men's wearhouse in a second

Mark Gantt 38:55

man, that is me and ski car. together. We go in there. co managers we got this ski car was getting in the way. So But anyway, so when it happened is I was reaching out to people that could hire me, you know, in that capacity while I was still doing this other stuff. And I ended up getting this meeting with these guys that were production company and they you know, was my friend Jim Clemente, who was like an FBI, former FBI agent who worked on criminal minds. And you know, we were trying to work on projects together. And, you know, I came to I call them I said, Hey, man, I'm willing to do like, Whatever it takes, you know, do you need a writer? Do you director Do you need a producer do associate producer like I want to get in I want to be doing something much bigger to provide for my family than to just do this other stuff. You can come in the office and talk to the CEO see what they can do to have this meeting talk and talking about him for for 75 minutes. Talk about me for 10 we got an early he's like this is the best meeting like this is fantastic. And it was it was great. Just a what we were talking about. I was asking him I was asking about himself. I was asking him about his, his wife had just been killed. We were talking about this horrible situation and what he was going through and, you know, week later followed up, he's saying, you know, yeah, send us some writing samples. Sorry, man. Yeah, send us some writing samples. So it sounds from writing samples. week later follow up. They're like, yeah, we love your scripts come in here. You know, so come in. Oh, hey, so we don't really have anything, but maybe, have you done like an audible project? before we're working on some sort of like docu series, we need like a show runner, like a writer producer to do that? Would you be willing to do something like that? And it was like, my voice in my head was like, What? I'm a visual person. I'm a director. I'm a writer. I can't Yes. And a great way, well, let's, let's talk next week. And then next thing I know, I'm the negotiating this deal to like, you know, write an executive produce this, you know, audible original series, I had no idea what I was doing. But it was definitely in this was like, in the realm of my skills, where once it started, I was like, Oh, yeah, this is why I'm on this. I know how to connect people. I know, I was stories, I know how to break down a story. I know how to like interview people, I know, they pull something out of somebody, I know how to, you know, right. And, and that was like this huge shift, and like, oh, for 12 weeks for 10 of the 12 weeks, I was I was uncomfortable every day. I actually had a You and I were talking at that time, because I had I bought the program, I was listening to the tape to your program, you know, the lessons on the way there on the way in the car. I was trying to get my, my my time, my time in place. Scheduling had my calendar, like my calendar was like, like, blown up, because I didn't know what it was know what it was doing. But like my first week was like, you know, 27 tasks. It was like, I had to put everything in there, you know, meditation to thing my meeting to think, for me. That uncomfortable in that was was like it was excruciating. And on the 11th week, it was like, oh, oh, this is what I'm doing. Oh, I can I can do this, you know, and there was no outside validation for the 10 weeks. No one's saying you're doing a right. It was just like, How do I know I was I thought I was drowning. And the 12th week, I was like, oh, wow, I could do this again. And they came in, hey, do you want to do this again, you know, we'd love to do again with you. And I was just like, really? Because like, you know, that's how I'm thinking the last two weeks, but the first time, you know, that was so much more uncomfortable than living a life doing something I don't want to do. You know, which I felt at the time, like, do I don't want to do props in order to the art director, and I don't wanna do that anymore. I want to be doing this. yet. I was so used to it. Like I was so used to just like, not getting what I want. So it was just like, okay, I'll just do that compared to putting myself out there. And the big thing, you know, and then, oh, getting it and then like, Oh, now I gotta like, move forward. Now, how do I do that? And you really own that. So

Zack Arnold 42:55

yeah, and there's a very, very dangerous word that I teach all my students they have to eradicate from their vocabulary except for the most opportune times. Do you know what that word is? No, yes. The problem was, you were saying yes to all the things that were easy, because yeah, it was a lot scarier. Right? Yeah. And no can be the most powerful word to direct you towards what you want. Everybody thinks focus is all about here, all the things that I should be doing. Ultimate focus is about knowing what you shouldn't be doing. And that comes from deep inside, where you're thinking, you know, what art directing is great, or making these posters or doing prop work, like, I lose track of all the things you've done. So whenever there's just a whole laundry list, but you've decided, I don't want to do these things anymore. But you weren't telling the universe that and you weren't telling all the people hiring you that? So it's like, yeah, I mean, you know, I got 23 bucks in the bank account. So I better say yes to this art director thing. But if you can just live through that discomfort long enough to say no to those things. I firmly believe again, it comes back to this whoo factor that we can't explain whether it's religion, or faith or universe, I don't know. But as soon as you say no to something, a whole bunch of new doors in your life open up, but God, Is it scary as hell?

Mark Gantt 44:06

Well, I think absolutely. I think that there's and that's what I was doing. I was saying no to that work, and saying yes to this. And, and I would say that I say this a lot of times to people too, when it comes to agents, managers, you know, when actors or writers or directors, they're in, like, my manager, you know, they're good and nice that this or whatever, then I can talk to people that are like, you know, my girlfriend, my wife, my husband, by, you know, boyfriend, whatever, there's always, you know, it's like, we have to make it new. We are the only ones, you know, like, in charge of our lives like that. And so, so there's a space there's, like, you know, in our universe, like a space for all of these, you know, things that these people are taking, or jobs are taking, and the minute that we remove that like, let's say a manager and go, okay, that means I'm not gonna have anybody fighting for me and try and make calls for me, but it's not working. You know, I'm Willing to like, let that person go. And that then all of a sudden, there's that space the entered the universe goes, Oh, oh, you want something different than that, because otherwise, is just gonna keep giving us what we want when we keep going after there's no flow. And that goes, I think for money as well. Like, you know, if I'm like this with my mind, like holding tight, like I can't, I got it. You know, it's like fevers like, Alright, cool. Well, that's all you want. Alright, that's it. That's okay. Cool. There's no more room in there for you. Because I can't give you any more. But if it's just a flow, if it's just like, Hey, man, cool. Oh, wow. $7,000 going out. Okay, well, there we go. That goes, you know, but the flow and then boom, 10,000. And you know what I mean? It's like, it's this is a flow, and it feels like there that you have to be willing to say no to like, you're saying, like, notice these things in my life. And it's so hard. That's why I was talking about recently about the fear about the hustle. And you know, doing it because out of fear, because if I say yes to those things, and there's the thing, and I'll go there's a business situation that's in my life right now that I said, No. And the person kept coming back to me and said, you can say, no, it's cool. But like, Look, it's this month, it's about this much money in this thing. And I was like, Yeah, I really think that No, and I talked to Brian and I said, No. And then he came back and said, you know, are you sure? You know? He's really like pushing for it. And I said, Well, maybe. And then I says, the whole point of it just felt wrong. It just felt like I'm just like, what am I doing? And nothing's happened. Nothing's happened with it. But my mind wants to go back and like, Oh, I should go check. Like, is it happening because even though I don't want it, like that's, that's my mind is like, trying to hold on to that with and that takes me out of me getting the more getting more of the stuff that they do want to know. So it's like, it's such an interesting, and that just happened a week ago, like I'm so you know, I'm still capable of making those choices that aren't going to help me get what I want. Because the fear goes like, right, I want to miss that out. It's like good money. You know, even though it's like, I don't want to be doing that, you know,

Zack Arnold 47:07

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Kit Perkins 47:38

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Zack Arnold 47:58

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Kit Perkins 48:05

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Zack Arnold 48:38

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Zack Arnold 49:10

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I'm literally in the middle of a negotiation right now fighting the exact same battle so it never goes away. Ever, right everybody thinks you reach a certain level of success. Your life gets easier and you have less problems. The current problems you have go away, you just get new problems. It's all the same ones and I'm I don't want to sound like I'm ungrateful. I'm absolutely grateful and I have so much gratitude for what I've accomplished and where I am. But people think that it all just goes away. It's just different problems that are more complex. They don't they don't. It's just it's the same thing. Right? And I'm sure it's the same thing for you to where it's just a matter of Yep. I'm much further along than where I was a decade ago feeling great about it. But there's still a bunch of problems in my way. Right? Yeah. And ultimately, the problem is always up here. It's that voice is like, Where's that voice coming from that wants to hold on to these old identities. Right, which is going to take me full circle, to going back to the beginning of the story, which you alluded to a little bit. First of all, anybody that either saw you in video form or a picture, and you said that I'm 33 years sober, and be like, what did you go sober? And you're like, five, like, dear Lord, how young were you when you were drinking? So you've, you've aged very, very well, and taking good care of yourself. But I'm curious, what does it take to even at that whatever young age was, and you can tell a little bit more about the story of when you became silver? Because I think that's really important for this conversation. There was an identity that you had, and every single day, I'm sure, even 33 years later, that identity is not gone. And you have to battle it. Right.

Mark Gantt 51:05

Yeah. I mean, I would say, I was so so interesting. Um, so I shared this too, because so I had shared that on social media, and 33 years, and I got a note, like, a message dm from this, from somebody I don't know, doesn't follow me. He had followed the hashtag that I hashtag the sobriety hashtag. And he said, Hey, just wanted to say congratulations, I follow the sobriety hashtag saw your thing, very inspiring. Any advice for somebody that's made some poor choices, but you know, knows that he's got his life together? And it's, you know, I just, I want I, I just don't dove in, like, I must have, I must, you know, you can only write so many things on Instagram, you know, words, how many words is but I had to, like, keep continuing to write, you know, I'd like, send, I was like, wait, what's going on with my computer's Oh, no, it's just, so I sent like, you know, probably 10 of these, and I just basically broke it down to him. I was just saying, you know, for me, you know, knowing what to do? Is that enough, like, for me, knowing that I'm not supposed to eat that thing, knowing that I shouldn't pick up bedroom, knowing that I shouldn't spend that money when I don't have it. All those things do me no good. You know, just in my head, because my head created this situation that I met, same head is here, the same, you know, doing it can't, can't come up with a solution. And so for me, you know, growing up, I was I wanted to be perfect. Like my family, my parents got divorced. When I was like, nine, I became my mom's like, little man, I had to take care of my brother's sister, she expected me to be she always told me like, up to that point, like how great it wasn't everything like I was, you know, I was so handsome. I was so smart. I was so you know, courageous, and all these things, all of which are correct, by the way, I didn't believe in that. I didn't believe any of that stuff that, you know, to me, because my head already was already sort of in this sort of diseased mind and negative thinking about myself because, you know, all the stuff that was sort of going on, and so to take it to another level, where then, you know, getting getting to a place where I was wanting to escape sort of reality, it was wanting to constantly not feel these feelings, you know, and that was always just, I was always like, a sensitive kid. Like, you know, if somebody got mad at me, I cried, like, I couldn't like a fight became like, I was so emotional. And so I just wanted to just, like, just numb that, you know, and that was, whether it was like, you know, drinking or video games or, you know, working or, you know, whatever it was just to avoid work hard as that, you know, to get paid to get the, you know, get on the football team, or whatever it was. And so for me, and so I was gonna say is like, you know, so because, you know, I had to have this, this idea of being perfection. I was constantly, you know, shucking and jiving to kind of keep these things going. So no matter how much trouble I got in, you know, I was always able to sort of get my way out of it. I would, you know, I can't tell you how many times I got caught doing something, lied about it, and then came back after was like, clear that, like, there's no way that I'm going to get away with this and say, I'm really sorry. I was scared, and I shouldn't you know, and I always get away with it. People will go, Oh, he's making he's, he's, he's taking responsibility when I totally lied to totally, you know, and so what happened was, there was so many of those times where it just wasn't working anymore. And I got basically into a corner. And you know, I was drinking doing drugs, wrecking cars. And my boss was like, you need help, you know, and I was like, Yeah, you're right. And so like, I'm gonna take this week off and, you know, I'm gonna, you know, talk to my aunt who's sober we're gonna you know, I'm going to get sober. I mean, just like party for a week. Like I couldn't even like the best thing thinking couldn't get me there. And he showed up at, you know, my door A week later and said, You ready? Go on. Yeah. And I've been up for like three days. And he said, You're a mess, like you need help. Or you talk to your dad, you didn't go talk to your aunt, I talked to your mom, she said that, you know, part of the deal you living here was you didn't drink, and you've been drinking. So she's gonna kick you out. And my dad always said, I can't live with him. And so it was literally like, I have no place to go. They said, I can let's let's go get you, let's get you into rehab. I didn't think I had a problem. I just knew I didn't have any place else to go. And so I went, and I made it 29 days, you know, as a three day program, the 29th day, I went to my friend's house to go to a movie, you know, I use my mom's car, I got there. And he had like a beer in front of them. And it was just like, you know, I was like, little parks to me to have like a little sip to kind of, so I took a drink. And

yeah, cool. So we just started talking, the next thing I know, I just finished the beer. And then we went and got a six pack out of his refrigerator from his dad. And then we went to this party. And the next thing I know, I was selling my watch for a line of cocaine at eight o'clock in the morning. And I was like, Wait a second, I came for one drink. That's all I was gonna do. And so when I, when I got back to that program, the next morning, you know, I copped to it. And, you know, it was great example to the other people that wanted to go drink the next day, at the end of that 30 days of like, what not to do. And, and that was, you know, September 11 1988, you know, and I was, I'm grateful that I didn't, you know, that the obsession was finally removed, you know, probably three or four years later, but my journey has been, you know, okay, so I take it alcohol away, like, that was just a symptom of my disease, my, you know, like, I still, like, all those thoughts, all those feelings, were still there, you know, and so, I found myself, like, cutting myself off from relationships, I'd be in a relationship, but as soon as it got to real, I'd be out or wouldn't commit, because I was afraid, you know, so there's like, constant 10 year things where I was like, then I'm in a relationship, like, you know, in therapy, crying every day, because like, you know, she's not calling me back after an hour, like, you know, it's like, I didn't know how to have these emotions. And so having this journey of constantly, you know, peeling away the onion, you know, just as you were saying, the why, in what we do for, you know, sort of our vision or our career, the why of, you know, why am I doing this? Why is this behavior still happening? Why am I still having this, this addiction to these negative thoughts, and a lot of is now just being able to just break it down and just go, like, I mean, it's sort of going back to the secrets, like, it's sort of like, I don't know, you know, it's just, I just go like, if I just, if I look at all those things, and go right now, in this moment, you know, little EQ are totally, you know, Power of Now, like, in the moment right now. I'm great. I have no problems. You know, I can't control the stuff I've already done. I definitely can't control anything beyond the next, you know, now. Now, now, I'm fine. It's only one I'm like, trying to control that stuff. sticks, things that I've done in the past and make up for that. And that stuff is when I start to get like, I start to open that sort of open this door to all that negative thinking to just jump in there. I just like I find it and just go Yeah, that's not real. That's not real. It's not real. Okay, so what am I supposed to be doing today? Right, let me go do that. I hear you, thank you. Voices. Thank you. Yeah, I know, I'm a piece of it. Thank you for telling me I know, I know, I should have combed my hair. I know, I know, I should have not had that extra cheesecake. Thank you, you know, and just go and say, I know this is a horrible sense. I'm just gonna write it anyway. You know. And that's, that's just that one thing next to you know, the next step, the next step is just chipping away, as you said earlier,

Zack Arnold 58:45

well, and as you know, having gone through the program, but going going through my program, specifically because we're not talking about multiple programs. But having gone through the focus yourself program, that one of the very first key mindsets that I teach my students and is one that I have to internalize every day, because they say that people teach what they need to hear the most, which is one of the reasons I'm a coach, and I'm sure you are too, right, don't pursue perfect at the expense of good enough. My bar for good enough is still way higher than most people's. But it's low compared to what my expectation is. And I've had to learn how to find that fine line. Because as you said, Your perfectionism literally drove you to drink. Right? It was that fear of I'm not going to meet other people's expectations or meet my own. Therefore, I need something to numb the pain and the fear and the overwhelm. Right? Absolutely. The drinking was just a symptom. There was a much, much deeper underlying issue. And it's that fear that again, I think just drives us to make the decisions that aren't in alignment with why we're really doing what it is that we're doing.

Mark Gantt 59:44

And I heard this I don't know if I can't believe it yet, but I heard perfections not possible but I mean, I'm hold now that it is

Zack Arnold 59:53

I intend to prove people otherwise that's my pursuit. I mean, the name of the program is optimize yourself. Right? that's as close as I can get to perfect yourself. Right. But at the end of the day, what I've had to learn is that it's all about how can I look at my choices like you said, it's all about now, right? And there's there's a saying that I've learned throughout this ninja journey. And what we do and we get, you can just see on somebody's face when they're ready to like climate, 20 foot rope or swing over, like, all this crazy terrifies me, I couldn't have picked something that was scarier for my level of skill of mine. I hate heights and water. And it's like, Why did I choose this? But again, it's about embracing the fear. But we have a saying that we tell each other and we can see that look in somebody's eyes, we ask them, Hey, where are you? And they say here, what time is it? It's now and you can just see like, wow, okay, this so I have to worry about, I just got to grab this bar, and I got to swing to the next one. And my hand needs to grab this chain. And then the left hand needs to grab this doorknob. And then that's it. Right? But it's really, really hard to do that when you're so wrapped up in where is it that I'm supposed to be right now? Where am I supposed to be in a year? Everybody tells me I should be this one thing. Don't be a jack of all trades, like just that the voice is never flippin and ever. Yeah. So let me ask you this question. What haven't I asked you yet? What is it that we really need to talk about that we're here? We need to share our experiences. We're going deep. What is the question? I have not asked you yet?

Mark Gantt 1:01:20

That is a great question.

Zack Arnold 1:01:22

And it takes all the responsibility off of me. It's a genius question for a podcaster. You can steal it?

Mark Gantt 1:01:26

Yeah, I'm going to steal it. Well, you haven't asked me yet. But I know that you, you definitely talk about it. But I would, I would say, you know, how do I balance this pursuit of my career? And being a husband and father and son, you know, how do I balance that all? And so then I'll take that opportunity to answer.

Zack Arnold 1:01:54

So Mark, talk to me, about how do you balance it all between their career and being a husband and a son and a father? How do you balance it all?

Mark Gantt 1:02:05

I don't know. I mean, that's, that's just a gift. No, I mean, well, it's funny, because why? Why I, it's, it stands out to me, because so I told you this, this journey about the 2019. And that sort of led to me doing a couple audible projects, directing two movies, directing TV promos, and commercials, it was just like this insane, sort of, you know, almost 14 month 15 month period, leading, or I guess it was almost 18 months, leading us right back into March 12 2020. You know, lockdown happen. And so all of last year, having my son here, no daycare, you know, and seeing that the industry, you know, slowing down, if not shutting down completely at times, to see how much I was unwilling to be present in my life, how much the under the under the making happen, hustle the mark and hustle under that, under that sort of hat of that, what that did was it allowed me to not be president, it allowed me to, like disconnect and not feel, you know, feeling is not feel, you know, not just not just to accept that I'm okay, just as I am. And so, you know, there's like this numerology stuff like, number I'm in number three, which is like achiever. And like, that's, like, that's my thing. So here I am, like, you know, August of last year of 2020. And like, literally, you know, I can't achieve anything, because they're nothing happening, nothing is happening. You know, yeah, the movies gonna, they did coming out, you know, in September, but like, there's, like, and I was realizing, oh, wow, I am like, I am obsessed with, like, my achievement will, will provide my self worth. And so so that was like, the big thing. So has it have to do with balance, because now I'm seeing that I needed to have, you know, the only way that I can see my true worth is to be present and be able to see what I'm actually bringing to the world, you know, not what the world is bringing to me. And so, that was the shift. And, you know, being able to you know, I mean, the phone is just like it was like, the amount of time I was like, on my phone on my computer like I can just so many commerce so many, like arguments with my wife, you know, she's like, You're not even listening to me. And I'm like, yeah, babe, I just turned to finish this email, like that email was the most important FM email in the world. No, you know, and my son wanting to get my attention. Like, I'm just trying to finish up this, this thing, that thing, like, it's just, there was nothing. You know what I mean? There's nothing that can't be done in 10 minutes to stop and have a conversation and listen, and so it was painful another, like, breakdown, like we had some breakdowns, you know, all three of us, you know, have been able to just go, oh, wow, none of us are patient, none of us want to just stop and listen, none of us are willing to just be okay, without getting the ice cream without getting the thing I want right now without getting that you know all those things. And so finding that balance of like my careers, my career, it's over here. So now how do I fix that? I get up at four o'clock every morning. And I'm like, getting my time in before 730. So that I've got that time, my work my writing anything that's like, super important before my son gets up. And now I'm with him from 730 till my until I take them to school, or 830. Now, you know, that's, you know, I'm there, we're getting everything ready. We're, you know, we're spending time together, there's not, you know, dad's on the computer, dad's on the phone. And obviously, there's a word thing, this specific thing, because obviously that, you know that, but we we work like that we make that work. And finding that balance. And that's been, I can see the difference. I mean, my wife and I are connecting on a completely different level, you know, and he and I, and he and my wife are, you know, connecting on a totally different level where we're being able to just say, you know, because because of that, then you can say, Okay, I have, I mean, 10 minutes, because I need to do this thing, I need 20 minutes to this, dad's gonna be in here working for an hour, when I get done. Mom's on a podcast, mom's doing an interview when you know what I mean? And, but when we're done, we're done. We're not like checking the phone, we're not doing the thing. We're not trying to you know, it's just like, we're there, you know, and he's involved with this, our chores, and he's doing all this stuff with us. And it's not like, Oh, we got to, like, entertain him. And, but it's like, the fun of being in the moments that of us trying to like hustle. And so that's been the big thing for me is to really see that. Yeah, I want to make that happen. But it can't be at the cost of the people around me. And or be me, you know, like, it can't be it doesn't it's not it's not me, what, what I achieved is not me, and my acting teacher used to when we used to have cassette tapes used, we used to record the critiques. And so he pulled these two tapes up and say, so this is Mark, you know, Mark just did this great thing. People love him, or he says to this movie, they just can't, you know, look, he's amazing, right? This is the character that isn't his thing. And then he pulls up this other cassette tape, he goes, and this is Mark, the actor sitting in class today. He thinks he's this guy doesn't, you know, the movie? And this thing is like, no, that's just that's outside. That's this outside stuff. It's like, they look very similar. It's very easy to deceive yourself and go like, Oh, I'm that success or on that failure? You know, and so to be able to just take it back to saying that said, That is who I am, you know, I have to be okay. If my directing writing career goes anywhere. And that's, that's sort of where I'm at. And this was sort of like, when we first talked to me this weird place right now. Because I feel like, I feel like there's, I've done all that vision work. I've done all that. Like, it's clear that I there's all these things that I want to be doing. I know that I want to be of service to people, I want to inspire people, and I want to ride like the universe and I are all connected. You and I are like perfect. It's like taking this much time for us to get together and be on the podcast together. No mistake, no mistake. It's like yeah, this is when it's supposed to be happening. 10 years ago, not that important. Five years ago, could have been cool. But now, like the journey that I'm on to be able to connect with you like this, I'm looking at you right now, like, connect with you on this level. It's amazing, because they feel like this, this this ride at Disneyland. There's like, Oh, it's scary. It's like, Oh, no, I'm like trying to turn the wheel on. It's like a weight is right. What do you want me to do? Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to have fun in this moment. When the door opens up, it's like, oh, water, we got sprayed. Oh, that's awesome. I got scared or whatever. So that's where I'm at right now is like in trying to enjoy this ride. Seeing that I'm connected to everything and that I don't have to hold on so tight and try to control and manipulate every situation. On a good day. That's the goal. That's the goal.

Zack Arnold 1:09:12

Yeah, on a good day, you know, we all have the voices that are trying to do otherwise. But using that ride analogy, like you're thinking to yourself, oh my god, we're gonna go into this this pit or whatever, and you're trying to turn it and then I realized in my mind, oh, wait, this thing's on tracks. Yeah, it's, it's gonna go in the direction that it's going to go on this wheel. This is just a prop for the little kids to think they have some some level of control. But ultimately, this ride is going to go in a specific direction. And I kind of need to be patient and sit here even if it's dark right now knowing that the doors are gonna open guy that's the hardest part. Like with the person just call me back today. So I know I can have control of my life again, like would you just give me an answer? Or would just come on make it easy for me? Right? Like I don't want to have to be in the dark.

Mark Gantt 1:09:55

Yeah. And and, and it's funny. It's like, even when that does happen, like right like, I'm waiting For the call and I get the call like that. Oh, okay. Like it did, you know, I mean, even then it's like, you know, even like, like, you would say, like, you get the job now it's like, oh, now I get to negotiate the deal. Now I get Okay, let me get this, like, Oh, wait, not gonna do the job. Now there's like, Oh, they have the pressure, they want me to be doing that, you know, I mean, there's, there's, it's an, it's an, I can always find something to kind of say, and it's really difficult to really just be able to say, you know, it's okay that like, you know, yeah, I want them to call, I want them, you know, and, you know, I've actually had this like, say, you know, recently, this is very recently to where I'm just like, I'm not going to text that person, I'm not going to, I'm not going to use send them an email, because everything in me feels like I need to, they need me to, you know, remind them that I'm out here and this thing needs to happen. And in order for it to happen, it needs to have all I actually don't. I actually don't, you know, again, I'm not talking about specific thing. You know, we're work related. If there's a deadline, like you go, Well, I'm not going to call the showrunner to say, you know, our, I didn't get any of the stuff that you use the notes. And this needs to be turned in to like, yeah, you, you've you followed that. But if it's something else, where it's just like, you know that it's not, it's you wanting to control the situation, you're like you wanting that you want to get the feedback so that you can sort of know, am I on the right track here? It's like, let me just keep going until they come in and say, Okay, we're ready to take a look at whatever.

Zack Arnold 1:11:27

Yeah, and I did the other thing that this reminds me of, too. And maybe it's a tangent, maybe it's not well, I promise we'll we'll wrap up soon. Because I'm a big fan of time management. We've got we've got a few more minutes. But what this made me think of as well. And I think that both our stories are really representative of this, we have this expectation that this one thing is going to change everything, right? It's the one phone call the one deal. And we think that we're going to put in all this work, and then all of a sudden, we're going to make it big. And what you realize it's just this these little tiny changes these emails and these offers and these jobs over and over and over. And I was thinking about that recently. And the problem is that if you ever have a big win, you always want to chase the next big win. And I know that you have I have at least had one big win in our careers. It's like, I got to make that happen again, I don't know what yours is. I'm going to tell my story very quickly, because you were a big part of it. But I will never forget today. And it's funny, you brought him up because I haven't thought about him for a while. But Alfredo called me. I remember exactly where I was standing. I remember who was around me. And he said, Hey, Zack, it's Alfredo overborne notice, just wanted to let you know, we're super excited to have you on board. We'd love you to come cut our show. I broke down in tears and I couldn't speak He's like, Hey, you there You are right. Like, yeah, it's just, it's been a really tough road to get here. Like I couldn't even talk to him. And that once since with all of the opportunities that I've ever gotten, has there ever been that big of a transformational change? Where I thought to myself, Oh, my God, I've made it. I've worked so hard for so many years. And it paid off that was in one phone call in 60 seconds, my life changed and I knew it would I keep chasing that phone call. And I wanted again. And I have to remind myself, it's all about tiny incremental progress. And I know you suffer from the exact same affliction.

Mark Gantt 1:13:13

Yes. Well, I mean, I have like, you know, it's so funny. I mean, when you were telling that story, and it's in, which is why I brought up Alfredo, because I remember the story you told me and you know, and I know, you know, I know intimately all the journey that it took for him what you did all those, like every one of those steps, you know, to get there and how you did it. And, you know, and so, you know, I mean, I think you know, Bannon was one of the was like one of the first stepping stones for me, whereas like I you know, I realized a couple there's a couple moments in there were one I was Jesse and I were at the at Sony at the table before we sold it and they're like we were there pitching 32 people like this massive conference room and like just an hour one with Jesse Albert, our agent and everybody else sorted like there's like two empty chairs. And then like 32 people, and Aaron Berger and Michael Stratford and Michael Ross, rove all three at the end over there. And so we're all talking and, you know, we're all except we're pitching identity, you know, and then somebody you know, said, so, you know, we we sell, we really love, you know, the trailer and you know, the two episodes that you guys did, and, you know, no offense, but we just, we just want to ask, you know, are you open to have somebody else, you know, play Neil Bannon. And before I get answer from a booming voice from the end of the day, Michael Stratford, like slammed his hand down on the table and said, there's nobody else that can play that part. That part, Neil Bannon is that guy right there. And there was a moment of just like, I'm getting the chills now thinking of it. It was just like, wow, like he's he saw, like, we knew we had to create something for him to see it to be able to like believe that we couldn't just pitch it and had to be in that place. We had to make something to show people like that was it and we kept, that was our time making that in thing. It's like, you know, you're directing it, I'm acting it, there's no other option. Like, that's the only way we're going to, like make this thing happen. You know, and I hear people, you know, still do that today trying to you know, focus on that and this like, yep, but good show that you can't just like write a piece of paper and go, here's the thing I want to do, like, Can I do that. And that moment was such a huge thing for me. I walked out of that room. And I was like, holy, that somebody like, saw me, somebody saw the vision that I had, and there was no doubt whatsoever, and never came up ever again. They were placing people all around me, we wanted to have different, you know, that the last minute DVD cover need to have these different people. But that was something that was just such a huge thing for me. And so, you know, those are those things for me where, for me, what happened is that for that was like, the next thing, well, then I have to sell it to the TV series, you know, and then you know, that whole process and just after the after, it wasn't an initial thing happening. Then I went to like trying to make 50 other shows anybody else they'd like basically came to me and said, I love the band away, I want to create this project. But I said yes, I had like 25 projects that I didn't care about, you know, because it was just like, I'm just trying to, like, get the next thing, get the big sell or get such a big thing. And, you know, brand, you know, being an actress and director as well. It's like, you know, we've constantly been saying that, and that's just writer, it's just like, it's so easy for us to just like, you get the one thing and it's like, you know, if you if you don't, we don't just own it and just go like, this is great. This, this is great. Because it doesn't matter. Like it doesn't matter. If it's this, it's going to move up to that like money. How many ratings how many views? How many this? How many calls, you know, like, it doesn't matter. The yardstick is constantly moving, you're constantly moving. And so, you know, it's such a, it's such a challenge to be to be like in the process. And I think that's, you know, like you with American Ninja. It's like you're in the process of you remain there's no, you know, like, the minute that you that you get to a certain place. It's like, Yeah, but I didn't win, you know, I mean to, you know, it's like, Okay, well, you got to a place that most people could never get to, you know what I mean? And so how do we, you know, embrace that in the journey, you know?

Zack Arnold 1:17:22

Yeah. And that's been a real struggle for me that I have to constantly remind myself of, if I'll put a video up of me doing, you know, some crazy pull up swing lash a thing or whatever. I've had people that are that have said, Dude, you know, you're an editor, right? Like, when did you become Spider Man and all this stuff? And my initial reaction is, Oh, no, but you don't understand, right? Like, that's cool. But there's this other thing that I really suck at right now. And I'm like, stop it. Like, here's an idea. How about an unsaid respond with? Thank you. Right? That was really nice of you to say that. And I really struggle with that. Because immediately when somebody wants to give a compliment, my immediate responses, yeah, but you don't understand I still suck at all these other things, right? And that both is really exhausting for yourself. But it's also you know, kind of insulting to the other person that just wants to really point out what you've done. And that's, that's a hard thing for me to to grow into. Because again, like you, I'm what I call a recovering perfectionist. Yeah. Right. I'm constantly have to remind myself that I don't always have to be perfect, and it's okay to fail. I just prefer to fail as fast as humanly possible so I can get to the success, right, I got to fail over and over and over as fast as I can. But every once in a while, I have to be like, you know what, thanks. You're right. I couldn't do two pull ups when I started this and you know, now I'm banging out 15 as a warm up, but I forget that I forget that part. Right. And I think everybody does, when they're on that journey. They just keep looking forwards they forget to look in the rearview mirror or look at the odometer and say man I've been I've been on this journey a lot longer than I thought and I'm doing okay,

Mark Gantt 1:18:50

well if you don't do that, then you're not you're not enjoying the process and that's where I get again where I feel like you're then not being of service to the project you're not being you're not you're not bringing all your talents and everything to that certain thing that tasks that you're doing. If I'm if I'm if I even in that situation I'm constantly thinking all the things that are not wrong with it because x y z and is not going to be that great because the thing I want is not happening and the thing and this but or as soon as they give us a call then this is gonna bit and this is my thing like if I get this then it's gonna lead to this because if I'm gonna get to because we know like the business is just trying to like okay, this is going to move my career to the next level. There's a part of me that's like not in in that project. There's apartments like well, it's not as good as that project but they're so you know, in need that you know, kind of thing. And then that's like when I'm finished and I've like delivered this thing and the people that want it they're going wow, this is fantastic. I all I see is the imperfection and how it's not, you know, I mean, I've literally done like you and I have like you have been so gracious to I think you've watched a cut at least one cut of every single project I've done and I haven't seen You have, and and I say at least once because I know you've seen several more than three or four times. And, you know, it's to be able to say, I'm getting better that I'm, you know that this process is to the net, you know, I'm doing what I can and it doesn't have to be the only I was gonna say it does as well. So I was like, in this process, and then I like, go watch it, like Star Wars. And I'm like, Oh, my movies, not like Star Wars. And it's never it's never been, you know, it's never gonna be as good as that, you know? I mean, it's like that. Why would I go see Star Wars in the middle of post production on my movie? That's like, the worst thing that's like that sabotage, like doing that thing? Because it's like, oh, it's not that and that allows me to just, you know, poopoo on the thing that I'm doing just because it's just like, that's, that's what I'm looking for. I'm looking for that thing. It's like, Yeah, but see this speck of dirt. So yeah, I mean, I just think that it's, you know, it's such an important thing to be able to enjoy this process as I'm doing.

Zack Arnold 1:20:58

Yeah, it's funny because you remind me of a story that I don't know if I've ever told another human being in my life. But hey, we're here. We're recording it. We're on the record. But this reminds me of a story. I so vividly remember this. I don't know the year I'm sure if I looked it up on IMDB. I would know the year but I saw 21 grams in the theater all by myself. So I'm guessing it was like, you know, mid 2000 2005 2006. Somewhere there. Right. And I was still very much at that part of my career where I had some success as a trailer editor. I don't like one or two really low budget Indies. But asking the question, am I ever really gonna make it? And I started crying watching that movie. Because I felt so sorry, from ourselves thinking, I want to be doing this. Why? Why don't I get to work on stuff like this. When I look back at that now and I'm like, you idiot. Like you were a child, the guy that edited that was an Oscar winning editor. And you're all upset about the fact that you didn't get to edit 21 grams, because it's one of my favorite films of all time. It's so brilliantly I know. It's my one of my great Yeah, yeah, of course. I mean, I think you and I, we did a short together, and I scored it with like, all 21 grams. Oh, yeah, of course. Yeah. One of my favorite films, and I just sat there crying feeling sorry for myself, why am I not doing this stuff? And when I looked back at that now, I'm like, seriously, like, just be patient? And like you said, trust the process. But you got to keep going. That's the key. If you quit, then you fail. Yes. Right. Yeah. So on that note, is there anything else any final words of wisdom or advice that you want to give, and the person specifically that I want you to give it to, is going to require a time machine, you're going to jump in a time machine to September 12 of 1988, you get to talk to yourself, what advice you're going to give yourself,

Mark Gantt 1:22:39

I'd say you don't feel like it right now. But you are enough. And then if you keep putting yourself out there, if you keep failing, trying to do what you want to be doing, you'll find that you'll have some peace in your life, that you're actually doing something that's of value to the world. And it may not be in the moment, you may not feel like that's happening anything, you want something that's outside of yourself. But if you can acknowledge the small, tiny little wins, that you've done small little things, you know, the little step up a couple steps up a couple of steps up the mountain, then you're going to be okay. And guess what, it's gonna be a hell of a ride. And you can either choose to have fun, or you can be miserable the whole time. And I'm going to say, I go for the fun,

Zack Arnold 1:23:34

nailed it. I if I gotten in a time machine, I couldn't given you even half as good advice. So that was pretty awesome. On that note, if you've done your job, and I've done my job of inspiring people today, and somebody wants to connect with you, because you've inspired them, how can they find you and connect with you?

Mark Gantt 1:23:51

My on social, I'm at Mark Gantt. Everything's at Mark Gantt and my website is markgantt.com.

Zack Arnold 1:23:59

That's really complicated. Yeah, I try to make it really difficult. Yeah. And that's ma rk even,

Mark Gantt 1:24:05

you know, I mean, don't even mess with it. You know? Yeah, don't

Zack Arnold 1:24:07

mess with the spelling or anything else. Well, this is an interview that I think 1112 years in the making, I'm not sure. And like you said it needed to happen when it happened. And something tells me that a lot more is going to happen after it as well. And there might have to be a follow up in the future. But I put this one on my calendar, and I'm like, I'm going to enjoy this one. And I knew I was going to need zero preparation. I did nothing. I was watching television. 60 seconds before I click the connect button, because I knew how good this would be because we didn't need the prep because we've got over a decade's worth of prep. And this was beyond the pleasure. So I cannot thank you enough for your time and everything that you've done to inspire me and just being a good friend and everything else and, you know, to another 10 to 20 years of us making that happen. I can't

Mark Gantt 1:24:54

I can't wait. Thank you.

Zack Arnold 1:25:01

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 optimizeyourself.me/podcast. And as a quick reminder if you'd like me to answer your burning questions on an upcoming Q&A episode, all you have to do is visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast, subscribe via apple and then leave us an honest review. At the end of your review, leave your question and we will answer it in depth on an upcoming Q&A episode and we're even going to give you credit for it. And once again, a special thank you to our sponsor Ergodriven for making today's interview possible. To learn more about Ergodriven and my favorite product for standing workstations the Topomat, visit optimizeyourself.me/topo, that's t o p o and to learn more about Ergodriven and their brand new product that I'm super excited about New Standard Whole Protein, visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.

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Guest Bio:


Mark Gantt

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Whether he’s working on commercial or feature films, award-winning director Mark Gantt is in the business of authentic, creative visual experiences. With a diverse, 25-year career in the industry, he has learned the business from the ground up and had the good fortune of collaborating with top directors, including Steven Soderbergh, David O. Russell, Sam Raimi, and Robert Rodriguez.

A multi-medium visual and performance artist, Mark integrates his talents as a painter, photographer, actor, and graphic artist into each production’s look and style. He utilizes technical expertise, a keen eye for detail, and a genuine love of storytelling to transform words from concepts into visual realities.

As one of the early pioneers of the digital era, Mark is best known for co-creating, writing, producing, and starring in Crackle’s groundbreaking, Streamy award-winning series, The Bannen Way. Mark’s feature directorial debut, Murder In Mexico, was based on the actual events of Bruce Beresford-Redman, premiered on Lifetime. Last year, he directed Model Citizen and The Surrogate, both premiered on Lifetime in 2020.

For two years running, Mark has created successful spots for ESPN and Nissan’s Heisman House campaign and popular and effective branded campaigns for GMC, AOL, Capital One, Kohl’s, Fox and Lifetime.

As a writer, Mark’s upcoming Audible Original True Crime books, Injustice Collector and A Devil in the Valley, will be released in the fall of 2021. He is currently pitching two tv-series with his wife, actress, writer, and director, Brianne Davis. The two produce the popular personal journals podcast, Secret Life. They live in Los Angeles with their son Davis.

Show Credits:

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

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

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