For my regular readers & listeners I know I may sound like a broken record at this point, but when it comes to forging your career path in any field it comes down to the same basic components:
- You need to clearly identify the right ladder to climb.
- You need to focus on becoming awesome at your craft.
- You need to make sure the right people know you are awesome at your craft.
Having natural talent definitely doesn’t hurt, but talent alone doesn’t automatically entitle you to success. And working on projects you love never happens because of my least favorite word – “luck.” The difference between success and failure almost always comes down to perseverance, consistency, and building solid relationships. Today I’d like to add one additional ingredient that is often overlooked (but is the hidden superpower for longevity as a creative professional).
That ingredient is humility.
My guest today is a multiple award winning, seasoned film and television editor, Scott Powell, ACE, who is best known for his work on 9 seasons of the Fox series 24 where he was awarded 5 Emmy nominations, 3 American Cinema Editors (Eddie) nominations, and 2 wins. He has since worked on Prison Break, Person of Interest, The Chi, The Orville, and most recently, Queen of the South. But to hear him talk about his career path he’s about as humble as they come.
Despite believing that “you need to be an a**hole to make it to the top in Hollywood because nice guys finish last,” humility is a valuable asset in any career path you will pursue. In our conversation you’ll hear why it’s so important to cultivate humility in your own life and the relationships you build throughout your career and how to better do so. Like me, Scott is a natural mentor who has helped many land their dream gigs and offers words to anyone hoping to climb the ladder and become a successful editor in network & streaming television.
Want to Hear More Episodes Like This One?
Here’s What You’ll Learn:
- Scott’s origin story of becoming an editor.
- The unusual way Scott got hired on the Fox series 24
- KEY TAKEAWAY: Persistence pays off in the editing bay.
- Why Scott doesn’t have a lot of assistant editor credits on his IMDB profile.
- How he made an impression on the producer for 24 to get hired.
- Advice from his dad that has served him well (along with some great stories).
- Why Scott enjoys mentoring and the mutual benefits it provides to himself and his mentees.
- What Scott looks for when he’s hiring an assistant editor.
- How his relationships are the foundation of his career.
- Why Scott has an agent despite his ability to get his own jobs.
- The value of having an agent and how to build trust and loyalty with an agent.
- What it would take for Scott to recommend someone for the editor’s chair on a show he’s on.
- Scott’s advice to someone trying to make it in the industry and what he would change from his own life.
Useful Resources Mentioned:
Continue to Listen & Learn
Zack Arnold 0:00
My name is Zack Arnold, I'm a Hollywood film and television editor, a documentary director, father of two, an American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of Optimize Yourself. For over 10 years now I have obsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits, writes or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you.
Hello, and welcome to the Optimize Yourself podcast. If you're a brand new optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you're inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about 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.
For my regular readers and listeners, I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point. But when it comes to forging your career path in any field, it really all comes down to the same basic components. Number one, you need to clearly identify the right ladder to climb. Number two, you need to focus on becoming awesome at your craft. And number three, you need to make sure that the right people know that you are awesome at your craft. Having natural talent definitely isn't gonna hurt. But talent alone doesn't automatically entitle you to success. And working on projects that you love never happens because of my least favorite word on the planet
"Luck". The difference between success and failure almost always comes down to perseverance, consistency and building solid relationships. And today, I would like to add one additional ingredient that is often overlooked, but in my belief is the hidden superpower for longevity as a creative professional, and that ingredient is humility. My guest today is a multiple award winning season film and television editor named Scott Powell, who is best known for his work on nine seasons of the Fox series 24, where he was awarded five Emmy nominations, three Ace Eddie nominations and two wins. He since worked on shows such as Prison Break person of interest, the shy the Orville and most recently Queen of the South. But to hear him talk about his career path he is about as humble as they come. Now despite believing that you need to be in a hole to make it to the top and Hollywood because why nice guys finish last. I believe that humility is a valuable asset in any career path that you are going to pursue. In our conversation today, you're going to hear why it's so important to cultivate humility in your own life, and the relationships that you build throughout your career and how to better do so. Like me. Scott is a natural mentor who has helped many land their dream gigs and he offers words of advice to anybody hoping to climb the ladder and become a successful editor in network and streaming television. Now before diving right in, I'd first like to thank my podcast insiders, Annie Cohen and Danny Brugman for contributing questions to today's interview. Wondering how you can do the same well if today's interview provided you value, but perhaps there are a few of your own questions that you wish you could have asked, or you have a guest suggestion of your own, then I'm excited to share with you our podcast insider program. As a loyal listener and reader, you have the opportunity to become more involved in the content that we create for future episodes. And before you ask, becoming an insider is completely totally free. And all it requires is your honest feedback. All you have to do is visit optimizeyourself.me/insider and fill out a short survey and you're in. That's it. That simple. As an insider, you have the ability to provide feedback on current episodes, suggest future guests and provide questions that I can ask them and you'll also be the first to hear about upcoming workshops and masterclasses with discounts and you might even be a guest on a future Q&A episode with me live on a zoom call. Once again, all it takes is five minutes of your honest feedback at optimizeyourself.me/insider. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with film and television editor Scott Powell made possible today by our amazing sponsors ever cast and arrow driven, who are going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview, please visit optimizers dot me slash podcast. I'm here today with Scott Powell. And Scott Powell, your reputation precedes you because I've been told that you're a very humble person that doesn't really love the limelight, and you, my friend have given me the best answer ever to my intake form. On my intake form. When I have new guests, I asked them the question, how would you like to be introduced at the beginning of the interview? And your response is my favorite ever. Scott Powell, an editor? And like, really, like I would say that we could probably go a step further. So if you don't mind, I've actually written another introduction for you. But I love this intro. But here's how I would introduce you from my perspective, you tell me if you agree with us or not. I'm here today with Scott Powell, who's a multiple Emmy Award winning editor with numerous other nominations. And you've done work in primetime television and films with a shortlist of your credits, including 24, Queen of the South, the Chi, the Orville Prison Break, Person of Interest, and many more. That, to me sounds a little bit more like the Scott Powell that I know. But I love the fact that you said, I'm an editor. That's who I am. I respect that a lot. There's, there's a lot of humility in that. And it's one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the show. So welcome.
Scott Powell 6:14
Thank you. Nice to be here.
Zack Arnold 6:15
So I'm excited about this conversation for a few different reasons. But I want to start with the story. And you don't know that this story exists. But one of the very first visits that I ever did that inspired me to go the direction with my career that's very similar to yours, is I built a relationship with Paul Gadd, many years ago, through a connection of a connection. And I was this green kid, maybe three years out of college, I had cut a couple of low budget, feature films. And I'd done a whole bunch of trailers. And I realized, I want to work in television, because I am obsessed with this show called 24. And I want to learn everything about it. And I want to know how TV works, and got connected with Paul Gad. And Paul said, Hey, why don't you just, you know, come by the the satin posts, and I'll walk you around. And I'll kind of show you how the, you know how the team works. And I got to walk around, you know, CTU, and everything else. And you don't know this part. And I've always wanted to tell the story. I sat outside your edit bay for an hour waiting for you to be free just so I could come in and introduce myself and say hello, and say how much I admired your work. And Paul was finally like, dude, I'm really sorry. Like he's trying to get a cut out today. Scott, super busy, Mike, no worries. Because I just thought at that age, oh, opportunities like that happen all the time. And they're so rare. But I actually sat right outside your door and kind of peeked in and watched over your shoulder for an hour as you cut an episode of 24. And that would have been I mean, if it was season five or six, that must have been almost 15 years ago. But it's a very, very fond memory of mine. So that having been said I wanted to, to use that to kind of tip off the show, because I'm excited about this moment that now I have the opportunity to talk to you about your path and your career and everything else. So this is going to be fun. We're cool. With a alone in the room at the time, I believe so yes. I mean, it was a long time ago. But my memory was like you were just in the zone. I think it was like a Thursday or a Friday, and you were getting out of network cut or something. So I didn't pick the best time to show up. But Paul really tried is like, yeah, I want to introduce you to Scott. And I think I met one or two of the other editors. And I got to spend like an hour with one of the assistants. And they explained to me how you guys do the recaps and how the assistants get the cut the recaps and I was like, Oh my god, that would be my dream someday to cut a recap for 20 for that realizing where my career would eventually end up. But that was like the dream for me at the time. And you know, it just didn't work out. And I wasn't able to come in and visit you. But you know, here we are a decade and a half later. And we get to talk his colleagues. And so
Scott Powell 8:40
But you got to come right in because I actually like having company in the room?
Zack Arnold 8:45
Well, sure. Sure. You told me that 15 years later, all should have known to just send you right in. Yeah. And he was super nice about it. But at the end of the day, he's the producer and he had the same deadline to meet as you and I think he wanted to get the cut out. But I was so nervous, I can still picture myself sitting there like oh my god, oh my god, they're cutting 24. And I'm listening to episodes that haven't released yet. Like this is the coolest thing ever. And I was so nervous. And I did I didn't want to be that guy that was interrupting your your flow. But anyway, it only took a long time to get here. But finally I get to quote unquote, pick your brain about the industry. So very excited about that. Where I want to start is I want to learn a little bit more about your own personal journey and your trajectory to get to the point where you've worked on what I think are some of the coolest, most iconic shows and TV over the course of the last 10 or 15 years. So what's the origin story and we don't need to go into every single little detail but what led you to being the guy that worked on one of the most transformative network shows on TV, which was 24
Scott Powell 9:47
That's a pretty good story. It took a long time I didn't you know i i started in 1984 as an apprentice and when we were you know cutting and splicing film 35 million Mater film, my first job was putting code numbers on film. It took too long, boring story, you know, I won't explain what that is, but it's, you know, it's an entry level job for sure. And then I gradually, you know, get to thinking dailies and popping tracks and ordering opticals. And people took me under their wing and, you know, taught me how to be an assistant editor, film assistant, much different than what it is now. And then, you know, I just worked my way through the ranks, moved up to editor on, you know, just a dramatic series, a thing called Blue skies, which was sort of a feel good family series very short lived, you know, I was bumped up from assistant, then it was canceled right away. And then, shortly, you know, maybe a year or so later, I got a job, I was actually hired as an editor on a show called wolf. And it had great potential, but it got canceled also. And then, of course, you know, I've only got two credits, I can't get arrested. So I had to take a, you know, an assistant job or or two. And one of those assistant Jobs was for it was a TV movie that was produced by the makers of rescue 911. It was like very early reality TV or docu TV, hosted by William Shatner. And so I get to show off quite a little bit for the producers, and I begged them to hire me on rescue 911. And they did. And so now I'm in the sort of reality world, the docu reality world, which is a completely different world, I had no experience with it. And I'm used to, you know, looking at a script and, you know, lines on the pages telling me what, what to do. And they gave me a box of three quarter inch tapes, dropped into my lap and said, Here, let us know when you have a first cut. So I start going through these tapes of these interviews with, you know, the real people who are involved in the, in the incident, fumbling and mumbling their way through these stories, and what the hell am I going to do with this, you know, so, you know, I just go through and get everyone's side of the story and start pulling little sound bites that seem compelling or emotional, or whatever. And, you know, to, to tell the story that way. And it was a tough transition. It wasn't, you know, very, very frustrating. I think it took me five weeks to get the first cut of a 10 minute segment. That was my introduction to documentary editing, which is very good for the skills and not always as much fun. You know, it's a little more grueling, then
Zack Arnold 12:49
yeah, when you're in the documentary world, you're very much in the trenches, wearing a lot of ads. Yeah, I've I've done just about every genre and medium at this point and documentary, it's just a slog, I it's really rewarding. And there's something great about the emotional connection to very real stories and real people. But from a process standpoint, in a daily level, God, it's a slog, there's so much material and so much detail. And I think one of the other challenges that I found is that when you look at doc versus scripted, and scripted, yeah, they kind of do most of the work for you. And they tell you what order to put the words in the scenes. And granted, we have some license, and we can rearrange things, but you kind of sort of have a story. With documentary, you can make the story whatever you want, which means you can edit forever. So it's it's a whole different kind of challenge,
Scott Powell 13:35
for sure. But anyway, it was, it was a good experience. And it got me into that world. So I didn't take any more assisting jobs. But for 10 years or so, I was mostly doing that even though I wanted to be doing scripted. So you know, I worked on that on rescue 911 it was a steady gig. It could have been like a year round, steady gig. It was not. It was not union. It was IMDb, actually, it was International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which was, you know, a whole different thing. But anyway, I was hired to do a TV movie a Western Gunsmoke. And the reason I was hired to do that was one of my early assisting jobs. I met a director named Jerry Jamison. Great guy, and we were on a cam session, you know, the the flatbed movie Ola. It was a big rush to get this thing out. So it was all hands on deck three editors and me as the assistant taking notes. He remembered me because there was a an issue that I made a suggestion that solved the problem. And he claimed that I was the only one out in the group who really knew what he was talking about. And they came up with this suggestion was a disaster on set. It was a car chase that failed for some reason. Then I said, well, you got enough of a foot chase after the car chase, can we, you know, I came up with an idea that helped Jerry remembered me, you know, a number of years later, and hired me to cut this great big Western TV movie Gunsmoke. And then I, you know, ended up doing one of those a year, for three years, it was only three months of employment and the rest of the time I filled out trying to do you know, reality stuff. And that's kind of the way it went for a while, you know, I was sort of doing, you know, I did some music videos, I did some, just a variety of different stuff to try and keep busy a lot, you know, that's really not resume worthy. But I met, I met an assistant named Larry Davenport, and hired him. And we work together, we had so much fun together, we just laughed our asses off every day, practically, we just had this. We just triggered each other, we made each other laugh. And so we became great friends and work together. And then I couldn't get arrested. So I was back onto a reality thing. And he, so we got out of sync and went different ways. a year or so later, he called me and he said, You know, I just got this new Kiefer Sutherland series, and I think I got you a job on it, too. So what, you know, assistants don't get editors jobs, and he's usually the other way around. But he knew the producers from you know, past experience working with him, you know, you know, 20 years prior to that. And so I went, you know, in for an interview, and then a callback, and he had already sold me to these people, you know, he, he got the job. And he very outgoing guy, he said, Well, you have all three editors. Now, we're still looking for one, well, I got a great friend named Scott owl team player, blah, blah, blah, really, you know, just sold me to them. And that totally put me on the map being on that show, you know, it was my first ever consistency, you know, not looking for another job every three months, you know, it was like 10 months of work for nine years. So it was it, you know, it was a whole new world for me, and it was so much fun to cut, you know, and, you know, we want awards and what was cool about 24, most people don't understand what we do, you know, we only call attention to ourselves when we go up, you know, that was a jarring cut.
But this people is very visible editing. You know, mostly because of the split frames we did and such, but in just the very frenetic cutting we did. And so people who know nothing about editing love the way it was edited. So, you know, that was cool. So neighbors, you know, a lot of fans, you know, friends and neighbors are really into it. And I'm not used to, you know, I'd never really mentioned to people, I wouldn't bother telling them, Oh, you got to watch, you know, the show that I'm that I edited I, you know, I didn't really have anything worthy of that until I got on 24. And that's see I got in and 1984. And now we're it's 2001. So, you know, 1617 years, until I really got some consistent, good union work on something that I could really be proud of. So that, you know, that's it, that goes to show how long that can take, you know, I was making a living up until then. And I was working hard. And I was for the most part enjoying my, you know, my career. But that's when I got good. And since then, you know, of course, they're like a dozen writer producers on that show. And I got to know all of them. And they all want to do different things after 24. So I you know, I the phone, thankfully has been ringing since then.
Zack Arnold 18:58
Yeah, I would imagine that it's a lot easier for you to get meetings now than it probably was in 1999. With with the things then your resume probably a little simpler.
Scott Powell 19:05
Well, yeah, it was I was honestly getting ready to give up mainstream TV because I was really frustrating with going for a lot of interviews, getting the call we really like to but we had to hire this other guy. And, you know, I remember I was I went through like six of those in a row. Thankfully, I had this company that I was was you know, would keep hiring me back. They did a lot of things for discovery channel, these cool little, little docu series, you know, little budge non union, but you know, pays the rent
Zack Arnold 19:37
one of the processes that I go through and maybe not as much anymore but especially when I was just learning the industry and coming up. It was identifying people that I really want to connect with but also understanding what was their career journey in the first place. You start as IMDb because it's the simplest version of what's your career journey. And I remember looking at yours and this would have been years ago now so you Although Latest credits you've had probably in the last decade weren't even there yet. But even as of like 2004 2005, I remember having two very distinct questions when I looked you up and started a research you. The first one was, you don't really have many assistant editing credits. And you were an editor almost out of the gate, which is actually very similar to my trajectory. But then the bigger question and I'll put you a little bit on the spot, but it is on IMDB. The biggest question was Hold on a second. How did you go from playboys, playmates busting out to 24 in one year, what is going on? So I want to talk about both of those.
Scott Powell 20:36
Okay, the Assistant thing. We didn't get screen credit on assistant editing gigs, I did most of them for CBS. And I did one for Warner Brothers. I didn't I didn't get credit. I got credit on one. One assistant gig even though I was an assistant for five years, and never got a screen credit. That's the reason for that.
Zack Arnold 20:57
Five years still isn't that bad, though? That's a lot shorter than a lot of people to get to the kind of place that you were but five years is more than reflected on IMDB for sure.
Scott Powell 21:05
Yeah, it was probably more like seven I got moved up after five. But then didn't stay there. I was back and forth. And then when I got rescue 911 you know, that was it was probably six years in the Union something like that. The playboy thing I forgot how I landed on that. But that's a funny story. You know, I'm not ashamed of that. It's not porn. It's it's you know, it's it's a very artfully done really good directors and good. Very good cinematographers shoot that stuff. And you know, it's our full and Who wouldn't? You know, they would normal dude would say no to that. And it would feel blocks of time, and I, you know, make a living. But what they did on that was they would recycle old segments into new video releases. So there was a time when there was, I should have known to not put my real name on that, you know, because they did put credits on the video releases, and they would release them. And then all of a sudden on IMDB, but it looks like I did you know, I had like a dozen titles. And that was embarrassing. You know, voluptuous, mixings. And these I finally got an agent. Well, not until, like 2010, who who is assistant had to work very hard to get those up there. I kept trying to delete them off IMDb and they would not go away. would not go away. It's terrible. So anyway, my, my agents assistant finally got rid of all but two, and there's still two on there. And I said, that's fine. And you know what, as long as it doesn't look like I made a career out of it. That's That's okay.
Zack Arnold 22:53
And I think at the time when I was doing the research, you had like 10 of them, or 15 of them. And I was just like, this makes no logical sense. Because you did it sound like you had a bunch of really high end network stuff. And all of a sudden, you end up on 24 the next show. It's like, yeah, What in the world? Like, how does this happen?
Scott Powell 23:11
I did a handful of those. But like I say they recycle segments into new video releases and call it something else and make make money on it. And but you know, it wasn't a bad gig right now.
Zack Arnold 23:24
Well, now that makes a lot more sense.
Scott Powell 23:28
I was in good company. I respected the cameraman and the directors who were who were on it with me. And there you go.
Zack Arnold 23:37
Well, I think the other thing that's smart about it too, and I think this is a fear a lot of people have when they're either just starting out or kind of in that that middle area of their career where like you said you were really frustrated for a while. They fear taking things just to pay the bills because of how it will look. But you're taking it because you had to make a living and you had to continue working. But because of some of those relationships that you would build over time, whether it was on the ad or previous ones, ultimately 24 in a way kind of sort of fell in your lap.
Scott Powell 24:06
It did, I had no idea it was happening until Larry gave me a ring. And
Zack Arnold 24:12
the other thing that I want to bring up, though, and this is more, I think where a lot of our conversation is going to go, you couldn't have just shown up with your resume and your reel and gotten the job on 24th show at that level. And again, I think one of the pieces of context that maybe you can speak to a little bit more is that back in 2000 the idea of Kiefer Sutherland doing television like that's kind of weird, like that was before a lot of actors were actually doing TV. So my guess is it was easier to take a chance on somebody unknown, because I'm thinking some people are like, Oh, yeah, that experiment 24 like, what is this even going to be? Maybe I'm wrong, but I know that it was a lot riskier back then. And in hindsight, it's like, Well, duh, it's their biggest show. But back then it's like, what what is this thing that they're doing?
Scott Powell 24:54
No, it was a lot of luck. Really. I think it was Larry had the most to do with it. But the producer, you know, I went in twice. And both times he kept me waiting for an hour. And I sat there with Paul Gad, and I made friends with him. And I think he was rooting for me. But I remember Joel sir, now who ended up hiring me. Like the way I had a firm handshake. And I looked him right in the eye. He commented on that. So I think he was also in a hurry and didn't want to mess with it too much more. He, you know, he thinks we're gearing up and he had more important things to do than, than to talk to me. So my two meetings with him were brief, but I guess he liked the way I shook his hand, looked him in the eye, in whatever I might have said, briefly, and he just wanted to be done with it. He said, Okay, yeah, good, fine. Hire that guy.
Zack Arnold 25:47
Ultimately, though, what I want to point out, and I know, you're probably not a regular listener of the show, which, by the way, no hard feelings. But anybody that is, knows that you just said the magic word. You said the word luck. And I don't believe in luck nearly as much as others do. And I think largely, the reason you probably got the job is because of the relationship that you had with the person that connected you. Because he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, you have got to hire this guy. So I think you earned a lot of that. And that's one of the lessons I want people to take from this is when they're looking at your trajectory from assistant to editor, and then from editor to landing this huge opportunity. There had to be a part of you that every single day, there were some certain mentality about who you were when you went to work and the quality of the work that you did, because otherwise you wouldn't have been sold that hard. And it wouldn't have been as simple as well, that guy's already amazing. And he's got a firm handshake. So hired. So what is it? Do you think about the way that you do what you do, whether it's early on, or even now, that made you so hireable and so recommendable,
Scott Powell 26:47
in that case, just making friends, you know that it's as simple as that Larry and I had so much fun together. And we just both had the same screwy sense of humor. And we ended up just doubled over laughing almost every day, just because of stupid memories we share with each other. We put me we found each other very funny.
Zack Arnold 27:06
So what you didn't say is that well, I'm very good at avid and I'm good at organizing trim bins, and I can composite well, like you. You are it's all about relationships. We haven't talked about craft or the technicality of the job at all. You're talking all about the quality of relationships,
Scott Powell 27:21
you know, I I found and this is advice for my dad actually. Keep it anecdotal. You know, if you go for an interview, have a have a good story to tell. If you if you're spewing out a resume. I'm no good at that anyway, but I did when I when I hire people, it's if I sense, a quiet confidence. That's how I met Larry, the who got me the job on 24. I think this is a story worth telling. I was I was hired on a dick wolf series and I was in an office with a couple of post producers and another editor, and we were interviewing assistance. And we had like a dozen of them come through there. And in Larry came through and he's, you know, he's an older dude and his resume. I mean, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley Mork and Mindy, he goes way back, you know. And he was he was kind of a hipster. He came in wearing shorts and boots, and he had a big old earring and long hair. I could smell cigarettes on his breath. But he had this quiet confidence. You know, he just he smiled. He had a couple stories, and I could just I just know, this guy's really good at what he does. He's not worried about a thing. It was just a sense I had. And when he left, I said, Okay, guys, we're hiring that guy, right? And they said, Well, no, you know, we wanted and very unlike me to be so aggressive. But I fought to hire Larry. We hired him. You know, I'm usually very passive about that kind of thing. I'm not very aggressive. I don't you know, confrontation is not my thing at all. I avoid confrontation, you know, whenever I can. But anyway, I, I fought for Larry. And then, you know, a couple years later, he was the reason I, you know, Mike, my career got completely turned around.
Zack Arnold 29:27
All because you looked out for him. He looked out for you.
Scott Powell 29:30
Right. Well, plus, we had a blast, you know.
Zack Arnold 29:32
And imagine had you not gotten in that job where your career might be today.
Scott Powell 29:36
Yeah, there was a twist of fate right there. Me being you know, I surprised myself that. Why? Why am I you know, well, I'm for you. I don't know what compelled me to fight so hard for him. But But the other folks in the room are not. He wasn't on the top of their list and there were plenty of others. We could have hired I think, I think we hired two and he was one Have we got on a dad? I was talking about the way I interview and maybe it might have been observing Larry the way he did his thing. And another thing I might add, I mentioned, I was ready to give up mainstream TV. And I had been on all these interviews and not gotten the job when I thought the interview when spectacularly You know, it was it was always the, you know, we sorry, or, you know, they the ones who did call to tell me, I didn't get the job where, you know, I told me, I was a close runner up. But I was kind of cynical at the time I was, yeah, I'm gonna get this job. Right. You know, so I didn't really, I had no anxiety about it. And I, I was, I was probably kind of like, Larry, and that I was sort of quiet confidence. Maybe I was confident I wouldn't get the job. But I knew I was good at what I did. So
Zack Arnold 30:58
I think that that's actually a really good point. I think there are a lot of people that are stuck in that place, I was stuck in that place more than once in my career, where I knew I had the experience, I knew that I could do the job. And nobody would take a chance. The big break just wasn't coming. So having gone through that yourself, knowing in hindsight, well, I just kept doing this thing. Let's say that you're talking to somebody right now. That's like, Listen, I have years of experience in Hollywood, but the big break just isn't coming. How do I manage it? Like what what advice would you give them in that situation?
Scott Powell 31:29
Well, I think it will eventually happen. Sometimes it takes a lot longer than you want it to, but it will eventually happen. I had an assistant for quite a few years. And she was a great assistant and a very good editor to you know, she, she cut things for me and I, you know, I shared credit a few times. And she was you know, she was in her 50s and she'd been doing it almost as long as I had and and, you know, she'd done great big features and good career as an assistant was just done with being an assistant. She just stuck it out. And you know, took her a lot longer than me Even then, you know, and then now she's got a great career. She's She's doing really cool TV shows. And but sometimes it takes longer than others. I mean, we hear about people who, right out of the gate, just get these great opportunities and move up to editor, you know, when they're, you know, I know people in their late 20s, early 30s, who who just hopped on it and you know, did one good show after another moved up to director even. I don't know what the formula is. It's, you know, I think if you want it bad enough, and you just stick stick to it. Just keep thinking positive, eventually it will happen.
Zack Arnold 32:46
Yeah, I would agree with that. And I think that the the trap that I've seen so many people fall into both younger and more experience where it's not just how do I go from A to editor. But how do I go from editing docu series in playboy to working on huge network shows, the trap you fall into is it was supposed to happen by now Why? Why is it taking so long, but the only thing you can control is your effort. That's it. You can't control the timeline in this business, this Alec, you can go on Google and say how many years does it take to be an editor the way you can a doctor? I know exactly how many years I have to be in the trenches to be a doctor. It's very mathematical. And as long as I survive, and I stay upright, I'm getting the lab coat and our world You don't know how long it's gonna take. But you can control the effort.
Scott Powell 33:27
Right? And that's all you can control. Yeah, absolutely. And so you got to roll with the punches. You got to another thing My dad told me you got to eat a lot in this business. I remember. My dad was a producer in a studio exec. He got me my very first job as an apprentice, but he didn't actually hire me on anything to like, prove myself over and over again. He let me find my way, but he would get good advice. Not Yeah, he, he he's, I was complaining about getting screwed over by something or other and he said, Well, son, you got to eat a lot of this business. So here's another turd sandwich for you.
Zack Arnold 34:11
Well, I already like your dad, because I liked the fact that he didn't let you use him to climb the ladder. He forced you to learn how to do it yourself. I have a lot of respect for that.
Scott Powell 34:20
Yeah. And he and he said, you know, you have two choices. You can stay where you can just leave. You know, no one's forcing you to stay. You can you can just quit on him. And then yeah, he's right. I guess I'll stick it out. Take a bite in that turd sandwich and stick it out.
Zack Arnold 34:36
Absolutely. That's that's really what you have to get very good at consuming on a regular basis as you climb the ladder in Hollywood. So I couldn't agree more. One of the subjects that I really wanted to dive into deeper and the reason that you and I actually connected to give a little bit of backstory to anybody listening. I interviewed Scott Jacobs a few months ago. Apparently it's the Scott club here where you know Scott and Scott sounds like maybe it's a Law Firm. But I talked to Scott Jacobs, all about the world of being an assistant editor and rising in the ranks and some of the politics of it and such. As soon as we were done. He's like, Dude, why have you not had Scott Powell on your show? I'm like, this is a really good idea. Like, I admire him. And I 24 is one of the inspirations for me to move into television. And frankly, I watched a lot of 24 and stole from you guys, when I worked on Burn Notice, because that's how we learned how to make the boxes. So I watch 24 I'm like, Alright, I'm gonna do what they did on 24, but inject steroids. And that's what ended up happening number notice, the thing that I asked Scott was, what do you really want to hear about from Scott Powell? Because we get chitchat about 24 in the business in the industry, he's like, Scott's gonna tell you that he's not this thing. But Scott's a mentor. He doesn't even know it. But Scott's a mentor. And he helps people along the process, and he teaches them and you are a hugely important mentor to Scott Jacobs. So the first question I have for you is do you even consider yourself a mentor?
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Zack Arnold 36:44
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Zack Arnold 37:29
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Zack Arnold 38:05
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Scott Powell 38:29
Yeah, I like being a mentor. It's feels really good to help people move up in the world. If you're helping them they're working their very hardest for you. And my mentees, all these little side projects and such and people call me and ask me to cut their short film in what I do is they get one of my mentees to cut it. I say well, I can't I don't have time, which is usually the truth. But I'm going to have a mentee do it and I'll do a final pass for you. It's a win win for everyone, you know, the assistant or the mentee gets a bunch of really good experience. I like helping people out, you know, actor friends and such. So, I've done that quite a bit. And yes, it's it's very rewarding. Last night, I went to my former assistants house and looked at scenes that she could she was just pumped up on a show that her and I did together. It was it's the shy. And after we were all out of work, you know, for COVID. You know, I was in the middle of my first episode of Queen of the South when everything shut down. So, you know, I had to go back to that because it was an ongoing thing. And I wanted to go back to it. It's a great, you know, great, great show to work on. But because of that the shy was starting up shortly after I couldn't do both. So when I told him on the show that I couldn't do it I recommend that they hire my former assistant who co edited some things with me. And I really felt she was up for the challenge. So I helped her get the job. And I was just there last night, going through her cuts because she's a little insecure. It's her first solo trip. But she has done so much for me, you know it, she's really worked hard for me. I've been doing a documentary. At the same time, I'm working on queen to the south. And that that is a real handful and she's you know, she she was awkward for a little bit and cutting sequences for me this docu, which was good experience for her, but it helped me so tremendously. So anyway, it's a it's a, it's a lot of give and take.
Zack Arnold 40:44
Well, that and that I want to go into that a little bit deeper, because I think the simple assumption, and I would have made this assumption in my early to mid 20s, when I was kind of putting you up on a pedestal, and oh, my God, it's the guy that cuts 24 I would never in a million years assume that you love to mentor and you would want to help me, I would just assume Scott Powell doesn't want to help me Who am I? Like, why would he ever be interested in helping me achieve my dreams? So what is it about mentorship that makes you look at an assistant or somebody younger coming up that makes you say, I really want to help you and teach you and take you along this path. Because I think it's important for people to identify that you're not out of the norm. I believe the most of the people we work with not everybody. But I think the majority of the people that do what we do, we want to help others. But when you're on the outside looking in, you just assume Oh, this person will never want to help me.
Scott Powell 41:33
I think one of the things it's you know, if you really love what you do, which which I do it, I'm going to select doing this this webisode indeed reminds you why you love doing what you do, and you go away with a good feeling. So it's, it's the same thing you like, teaching is sort of an addiction, you know, and when you get results when, you know, when you first hire on an assistant, now, they're not so good at, you know, cutting music and sound effects. But after a few months of working with them, they get really good. Not good, they're great at cutting scenes, but you know, you work with them, you you bring them in I I don't like being alone, you know, editors are alone a lot. You know, I like having company and bouncing ideas off of people. You know, also, you know, I didn't grow up with computers, and I'm terrible with technology. I mean, I've I've gotten to where I can survive, you know, I can, you know, obviously I can run everything. But having a smart young millennial grew up with computers is very handy. That's a selfish reason right there. But
Zack Arnold 42:51
sure. And I think also, it's interesting that you see it more as a partnership. And like you say, I don't want to be alone in the Edit room, I think that largely probably comes from starting in the film days. Whereas an assistant editor, your hand in hand in the same room, like here, use this, what do you think like you're breathing over the editor shoulder and nowadays, so many assistant editors complain? All I do all day long as data management and the editors in their own cave, they don't want to deal with me, how am I supposed to ever learn to be an editor? If all I'm doing is being an assistant? It's a big challenge this come along in the digital age.
Scott Powell 43:23
For sure. And now that we're all working from home, even more so. Yeah, you know, that's exactly right. I love being a film assistant. Man, that was fun. You know, the physicality of it. The partnership, when I first moved up to editor, I had this great assistant, and he and I would throw trips back and forth. It was you know, it was like, it almost reminded me of that movie cocktail with Tom Cruise, and throw bottles at each other and stuff. They had this full routine. You know, we did some of that it was it was it was cool. It was fun, and just you know, the feel of you know, film whizzing through the, through the block really fast and rattling through the movie Ola. And it was it was great fun. It was fun. It was more of a partnership.
Zack Arnold 44:08
I've never had anybody in over 200 episodes talk about editing and compare it to Tom Cruise and cocktail. Yeah, that's a first I love that image. That's so wonderful, because that's not the world that I was brought up in. And oh, I cut one short film in college on film since then all digital and it's always been about Rome with four walls and a door, another room with four walls and a door and it was just that down the hall. So I've never been I wish that I could have experienced it back then I've always said that I was born in the wrong time period. Because I love being physical. I'm here at a standing desk now. I missed her move around the office and take breaks. I can't imagine how much fun I would have had to literally doing spools of film and being on the cam like oh my god, that would have been so much fun.
Scott Powell 44:48
It was cool. Yeah, I I really enjoyed it. And we played we played core hockey in the halls to Sure. I love to take bring those, you know the film core is about that big.
Zack Arnold 45:00
Sure, you can't do that with hard drives. So what I'm curious about Next, I want to look at this from a couple of different angles. One angle is more from the person who's looking to take it to the next level. And they would love to be the assistant editor for somebody in your position. And then the other angle is somebody with a little bit more experience that's already editing consistently. And they're wondering how in the world, why not get pigeonholed, and have a varied and wide career like you, those are kind of the two places I want to go next. And the first of which is extending this conversation about mentorship and assistant editors? What's the difference in addition to having a very firm grip, so everybody listening work on your grip strength, if you want to meet Scott Powell, but other than that, other than grip strength? What are some of the things you're looking for when you want to hire an assistant editor? What are the qualities that go beyond just basic technical requirements? What what are you really looking for? And the difference between this is definitely somebody I want to mentor and hire versus, and probably not a good fit.
Scott Powell 46:00
I don't know. It's mostly personality, I guess. It's just a feeling you know, it's it's my current assistant. I've been mentoring her for about five years, a one of my 24 cronies, a buddy of mine, who is a post super on 24 just called me and said, Hey, this girl who's working as a PA, she just moved here from New York just graduated college. She just wants to get into a cutting room. And, you know, she wants to get into mainstream TV. And I said, Yeah, sure bring up you know, she's Welcome to hang out with me No problem. And she's been for five years. And and she, she got in the Union just last year. And when my assistant just recently moved up on the shy, man, it was her turn, I think, you know, she she got in the Union, she paid a lot of dues. And so she she is, you know, she she's definitely earned a nun that that a place with me is so spectacular, but she's earned, earned a place in my, in my room, she's become a good friend. And she, the words escaping me, but she was consistently, whenever she had free time, she called me and said, Hey, can I come hang out with you? And then you know, I introduced her to the assistants. And, you know, she would get around and learn as much as she could, you know, being in the room with me while I'm cutting. But also, you know, with maybe with my assistant learning how to do that. She said stamina, what's the word I'm looking for? She she had she had the
Zack Arnold 47:39
I call it persistence
Scott Powell 47:40
Persistence. She was persistently, very enthusiastic, she would drive across town, get there at 6:30. And I go, Oh, I'm sorry. I gotta leave at seven. You know, I gotta have you thought traveling to get here. But she was no problem. I'm glad to spend any time I can. She was just great attitude, consistently, you no question she wanted it, you know, and she was working really hard for it on the way to that I helped her get a job as a PA at Sony. And, you know, a couple other things. But it was, I was I was very happy to tell her that, you know, if you're available, I'd love you to, you know, come work with me and I'm gonna hang on to her until she moves up to editor I think, you know, I usually hang on to the same assistant. Hopefully, I can keep them busy enough. In recent years, I've pretty much gone. You know, I've worked consistently enough that I, they can just kind of come with me on all my projects, which which is nice.
Zack Arnold 48:44
You I think you then have the same curse that I do, which is you love mentoring assistant editors, which means that you never get to keep the really good assistant editors because they keep going to the editors chair and then you got to find another good assistant editor. It's just it's like this cycle every two to three years where it's like, well put another one in the editors chair. So I got to start over and find a new one where it'd be more convenient to have a career assistant, but it's not nearly as rewarding.
Scott Powell 49:07
True. Yeah. It's it's very rewarding. I was so proud of of my former assistant Dinara when I went to her house and watched her the scenes she's been cutting it was just okay, you know, most of that you did the way I would do it was cool. And you know, it's only a couple years she was with me. But she she just she just worked really hard and really wanted it in my current assistant, you know, she only been with me for a couple of months and didn't take her long at all. You know, she's she's, she's been cutting scenes for me and doing some really nice sound work in music editing.
Zack Arnold 49:49
So knowing all that now let's transition from more the assistant editor mindset and how I break in. Let's assume now that I've maybe gotten my first credit Maybe it's not 24. But I've got a creditor too. And I'm starting to get concerned. Is this the only thing that people are going to hire me for? I personally went through this myself, where my first TV credit was burned notice. And if you look at my resume before that kind of similar to yours, it's like, how did that happen? So I would have multiple people ask me in interviews, like I went on IMDB Pro, and I did research and like, I just doesn't make any sense how you got on never notice at all. I worked on it for four seasons. And I thought to myself, Oh, man, four seasons on a hit cable show like, I'm the man, I'm gonna be able to get interviews and shows anywhere and it was crickets. Because everybody said, Oh, yeah, well, you're the Burn Notice guy. And that's your only credit, so we can't really take a chance on you. So I was really concerned, the only shows I was going to get for the rest of my career, were going to be more Burn Notice type shows, which frankly, there aren't a lot of them. But I was really concerned about making choices, and not just taking the next gig to make sure that I had a wide and varied breadth of work that I was working on. And when you look at your resume, it's all over the map. And I say that as a compliment in the best way possible. So do you feel that all of that was just chancing based on phone calls? Or is some of that you specifically charting the path and perhaps saying the magic word, which is no, it was very haphazard? And I rarely said no. Well, that just ruined the whole whole interview. But so do you really feel that all of this came about? just by chance, and there was no sense of you know, what 24 was awesome. But I want to see if there's something that might be a little bit off the beaten path, because the Orville and 24 very different types of shows even The Chi, very different kind of show.
Scott Powell 51:39
It's all just people I know who lead me to right after 24 I hired an agent who's been fantastic, who rate of 24 my wife and I were traveling in Europe. And he kept calling me with the things that he's got me up for. And he told me, the most promising show is his Hawaii Five O. And he sent me a, a trailer. And I said, Okay, sign me up. That was it. So he got me that job. That job turned out to be not so much fun for reasons I won't talk about. So I said, Brady, get me the out of here.
Zack Arnold 52:19
Yes, I've heard a rumor or two, so we won't talk about them. But the word has gone around about the working on that show. I understand.
Scott Powell 52:27
And, and so my agent lined me up. He said, you can just get out of there for lunch. I've got you an interview with these people. And it was another Kiefer Sutherland shows. So they I know how to corral grill Kiefer for sure. But
Zack Arnold 52:45
I'm assuming that was touched, correct? Yes. And that was was that one or two seasons? I think it was just one season, wasn't it? That was two seasons.
Scott Powell 52:52
Yeah. So anyway, I had no idea that was even happening. And so he got me an interview, I snuck out and did an interview on my lunch break and then got that job. And so from there, you know, Howard Gordon, who from 24 called me and asked me to do a pilot. Not gonna say no to Howard. It's pretty much friends calling me and I'm not gonna say no to him, you know, directly, john kasar is just kept me busy. I'm no way I'm saying no to john kasar. He's a very close friend. And he's the best director I've ever worked with, you know, another another director. After 24 hours, friends calling me up and asking me and, you know, my agent Brady might have a different job for me. And I tell him, it sounds good, and I appreciate your efforts. But I'm not gonna say say no to, you know, to this person. You know, he's he keeps calling me to do pilots and I can't, you know, I've said no to him three times. I'm not gonna, I gotta do this. No, you know, I make choices. When if there if there's more than one offer, or I have a hard time saying no to anyone, especially a friend,
Zack Arnold 54:13
which I think goes back to this idea of how much you disdain conflict, right? here's, here's another question that I'm curious about that comes up all the time. Why do you need an agent? If all of your jobs are coming via referrals? Like what why would you want to give away 10% of your income? If all of your friends and buddies keep asking you to work on stuff? Why do that?
Scott Powell 54:33
Well, there are a couple of reasons. He gets me a little more dough. It's very comforting not to be alone. You know, he's good to have for advice. A good handful of times where I really needed him, you know, I did it in a studio feature. I had no idea how to negotiate that. You know, and it involved travel, you know, per diem, and that's when you really need an agent and I you know, Again, not like not liking conflict, but I want to, you know, make a respectable amount, you know, and he is good at without pissing people off squeezing a little more out of them. So
Zack Arnold 55:13
yeah, my my mentor, one of my mentors is Dody Dorn who I've had a relation mentor mentee relationship with basically since I came out of college. And I actually did an entire podcast interview about how it shifted from the mentor becoming the mentee where now I help her with health and lifestyle and you know how to how to better balance the hours and whatnot. But she still helps me with career stuff. But I asked her that question years ago, I said, I don't get a dodi, I find that I keep getting jobs from referrals and people that I've worked with, why am I wasting my time on my agent? And she said, Just wait until you have to have a conversation with one of the studio executives when you're negotiating a deal, then you're gonna see how valuable having an agent is. And I was like, Oh, yeah, never mind. Because just the thought of having those back and forth and how that can just ruin a relationship. The expectation is they're going to have conflict with an agent, that's their job. But you should have a really good relationship with the head of the post at a studio or on a show or whatever it is. That alone, in my opinion, is worth the amount that you're paying an agent just to be that buffer between everything.
Scott Powell 56:18
Absolutely. Yeah. And it's a very uncomfortable place, negotiating for my own rate. So, you know, it's paying sometimes it's painful writing a check at the end of the month, that's like almost as much as your mortgage, but he's also a good friend. And, and he has earned it even if, you know, I worked on the same thing for a couple of years, and he doesn't have any anything to do. I think about what he's done for me in the past, especially when there's travel involved. It's, you know, I wouldn't know where to begin on on that. So I definitely make 10% more because of him.
Zack Arnold 56:57
That's the way that I always looked at it. Worst case. If it's a wash, then it's worth it. Right that 10% mark
Scott Powell 57:02
right back to him. But that's, that's still cool.
Zack Arnold 57:06
Yeah, exactly. So you end up getting the same in the bank account with a whole lot less conflict and heartache and burning bridges and all that other stuff. But yeah, financially, maybe a wash, but I think you're not losing anything. At least that's my perspective.
Scott Powell 57:19
Yeah, I had an agent, early in my career, that was not a good experience. It was it was almost like a facade where they did practically nothing for me. One book, courtesy interview and another setup, getting me a pass a day at the gate. You know, after I already, literally that was it in a couple of years in paying. And my dad finally hired me on a on a thing. And I said, Come on, guys, I you know, Mike, I really kissed up to him. I said, I love you guys, I want you to be my agents, but I can't pay you 10% here, come on, like my dad is hiring me. Well, flames were shooting out of the phone, you know, they're threatening threatening to sue and stuff. So it was okay, my friends are not really my friends, my friends, if I'm thinking so that really I said, that's fine. I'm never having an agent. But then at, you know, at the tail end of 2014, during 24, I got a meeting on a on a feature it was was a pretty big deal. And it might have been worth leaving 24 you know, like season seven, to do a big, you know, studio feature. And a friend of a friend hooked me up with this agent, one of which being the agent I've got now. And they gave me a bunch of really good free advice and offered to negotiate for me or, you know, to help me out, just to help me out. So I said, I like these guys, if you know, when I just even when I decide to have an agent, I'm calling them and that that's that's what happened. I you know, 24 was kind of a big deal. And I thought an agent would help me out at this point helped me parlay that into more stuff, which it you know, it did.
Zack Arnold 59:08
I love the humility, you know, 24 it was kind of a big deal and like it changed network television. I love it. But the humility is so much fun. It's funny though, because I had a very similar experience, where I also had an agent very, very early in the day and I we didn't have a bad relationship, but it was more he was pounding the pavement a little bit and frankly, he's the one that got me the meeting with Paul Gad in the first place. But it never really was leading anywhere. But then the agent I ended up going with they negotiated several low budget contracts for indie films and other like you know, indie pilot, stuff like that just as I was building my reel and resume never charged me a thing but the clincher for me was when I did get burned notice I got a totally on my own. They still stayed in touch with me and after I think my second season, they said listen, we see the potential we really want to represent you. We're going to let you not pay any commission unburn noticed until the show's finished, then we're going to talk about doing Commission on all TV shows going forwards, but they let me do an extra two seasons, and not give them the commission but helped represent me because I got the show. And I was like, that's them playing a long game, they see the strategy, and they know the short term commission is worth far less than seeing that the much larger game and that loyalty has lasted for over a decade now.
Scott Powell 1:00:23
Yep, I did a similar thing. I just said anything. 24 from here, 5%. My dad hires me for something 5%. And we've gone with that.
Zack Arnold 1:00:34
Yeah, that's smart. I like that. So another thing that I'm curious about? This is a question that comes up a lot in my coaching mentorship community, because I'm like you were I almost don't know how not to mentor people. It's almost kind of like you said, it's an addiction. Once you start to see it and feel it and you see these people move forwards. I went beyond the point of You know what, I want to mentor, my next assistant editor and like, I'm going to build an entire business around mentorship, and I absolutely love it. But a question that comes up all the time from the more seasoned editors that are not in scripted per se, or that have a combination of unscripted and scripted, but maybe they have a show from the 80s or the 90s, or whatever it might be. And they're trying to break back into scripted. They keep hitting the same wall. Yeah, but you haven't done scripted lately. So as somebody that comes from the unscripted world that I know, it might have been a little ways back. But what do you think one of the the clinchers is that helps people understand, you might not have all the recent credits that you need. But we know you can tell a story and we have the confidence to hire you on this scripted show. Well, what would you advise to somebody that's kind of in the position similar to where you were around 2000?
Scott Powell 1:01:41
It's hard to know what the what the clincher is, I've got two very close friends, who are from the reality world. I've hired each of them over the years, his assistance, and they go back and forth between editing, you know, making really good money on reality, but they still haven't hit it. It seems to be a hard thing to do. And I'm, I'm not sure what to tell them. I started in the scripted. And then at a point where I was in limbo, did reality, and just just kind of filled time and, you know, made money. Now, I'm not sure how to answer that. I don't know what cut as many short films are as much script as you know, as you can. I don't you know, it's hard for me to give advice there. I'm not sure I know. It's I know, it's another point, one of my buddies is super talented. editor in reality, and doc you I mean, he's really good. And he, you know, he's making top dollar for it. When he first started cutting scenes for me, he didn't really know how, and that surprised me. And that was kind of it was sort of sort of an eye opener. And you know, I had to work with him. And he, he caught on, but I was thinking, Oh, you this guy can do anything. I mean, he's so I've seen how talented he is at non scripted. But it's sort of a different world. And if you get a scene, a dialogue scene with a whole company of people around a table and all these different angles, and it's really a different world. And it just takes a lot of experience. And after doing it for so many years, you kind of take that for granted. But when you know, like I said it was an eye opener to see someone who I thought was, you know, absolutely could do anything talented, had trouble with a complex dialogue scene. Yeah, it just takes time and a lot of practice.
Zack Arnold 1:03:42
Well, I was gonna say that, I think it's a bit of a double edged sword. And there, there's a trap that you can fall into on both sides. And I've seen it from both angles. One of the traps is you think I'm incredibly experienced in reality and unscripted, or docu series or whatever it might be. So I'm just do going into scripted, and I know that I can cut anything because I'm a great, successful editor. And that's could be true, but like you said, you saw a guy at the top of his game really struggle with what could be considered a relatively simple scene of people sitting around a table. But then I think the flip side of it is there are a lot of people in scripted that automatically assume you can't do scripted, because you're an unscripted person. So it's like there's both sides of this. And I think your advice is perfect, which is you can be great at the unscripted but you still need to be able to show and prove that you have the scripted experience, which is this catch 22 Well, I but I need the script the job to get the scripted experience. Right. So it's that trap that everybody seems to fall into,
Scott Powell 1:04:40
right. I mean, it's most people when I first started working, in order to get any experience, you had to have a job first. No one had a movie Ola and 35 millimeter film in their garage. Now there are a lot of people You know who graduate high school who've already done a lot of editing and maybe just simple stuff, but they can gain a lot of experience.
Zack Arnold 1:05:08
My son is 11. And he has a YouTube channel, and he's doing multi layer composites and Final Cut Pro. I'm just like, I can't even imagine what I would have done with these tools at 11 years old. Right? So yeah, I very much understand where you're coming from there. But there's still always that catch. 22 gotta have the experience to get the experience. Yeah.
Scott Powell 1:05:26
So I mean, they're cutting short films cut, you know, I mean, even if you're not, I've heard of editors, going to colleges, even if they're not enrolled to cut student films, man, I'm not really sure how to advise on that question.
Zack Arnold 1:05:45
Well, let me ask you this question that know me rephrase it a little bit. Instead of worrying about giving the advice, what would it take for you, Scott Powell to recommend somebody to be in the editing chair for we're open on one of your shows? What level of experience or skill with scripted work, even if they don't have the credits? At what point do you say you know what, you need to take a shot on this guy, cuz that's kind of what happened with you and Larry, where Larry said, you got to meet this guy. And then eventually, they hired you. So what would be the minimum basic criteria for you to do the same thing for somebody else in return, if they were an open chair on one year shows
Scott Powell 1:06:22
For me to confidently recommend someone I, you know, I'd have to have worked with him or seen enough of his work. You know, even if you see really good work on the screen, you're not sure how, you know, the process, how the process was getting there, to confidently recommend someone, I'd have to know them well enough and know their work, which means I probably have to work on the same show is them.
Zack Arnold 1:06:50
So it's a pretty high bar, then just to just to give everybody some realistic expectations. And again, I'm not putting you on the spot. And I don't want people to start asking for recommendations. But in general, if somebody is trying to reach out and build a relationship with their own version of Scott Powell, I'm guessing that most people criteria is about the same and mine is similar. I would say the same. If there's an editing chair on a show open, I'm very reluctant to recommend you if in some capacity, we have not been in the trenches together. Because a real tell so little of the story. And a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking, Well, my work is cool. What Why does nobody notice me? And nobody hire me? I need to know how you manage the politics, how you manage the late nights? And how do you manage relationships and notes. And there's so many other factors that go into it. But people feel that there's some sense of entitlement, because I've done the work, I've got the credits or the experience, and it's long enough, and it's my time, but there's a lot more factors that go into it that are much as going back full circle to the beginning, that are about relationships, not just about craft.
Scott Powell 1:07:50
Yeah. And unless you work with someone, and you know, I like working with team players, I like to go, you know, next door nowadays, I call my friends who are the other editors on this show, one in particular is a good friend I've worked with before. And he calls me and I call him and we collaborate a little bit, you know, we, if we were in the same office space, I would, you know, walk down to his room and talk to him and you know, look at some of his stuff. And vice versa. I just appreciate that kind of love a teamwork, you know, the going back to not wanting to spend a lot of time alone, I like being around people. There are a lot of editors who just want to be alone, they close their doors, and they're by themselves all day, you know. It's just that there's nothing wrong with that. It's just, it's just not me.
Zack Arnold 1:08:48
Last question. Because I want to be very, very conscious of your time, after all, at least as far as our live recording, it is our Friday evenings. And I don't want to take too much of that from you. But the last question is imagine you jump in a time machine. And you can go back to the mid 80s. And you can have a conversation with yourself knowing everything that you do now, what would you tell your younger self just starting out of the industry? Let me think I gotta think of potential mistakes. And you might say, dude, do everything exactly the same. This is awesome.
Scott Powell 1:09:21
No, don't don't try and be a big shot. Don't try to be the smartest guy in the room. You know, I think early on, I was so worried about saying the right thing and it can cause anxiety. And then I work too hard at it. And I've seen people who come in and try and be the smartest guy in the room and try and have all the answers, even though they're fresh out of film school and they need to spend time as a PA. Don't do that. I mean, I didn't do a lot of it, but I did some of it because I was insecure. Relax. That's it, relax and make friends. That's the way I moved Listen more than I remember being in an interview myself, and I was I was in this mode. I knew I was a good editor, people, people like me, but I was, in my own mind, rehearsing things I needed to say. And I wasn't listening enough. And the guy embarrassed me because I asked him something. And he said, I just told you that. And I realized I was so trying to be smart and try to be I wasn't relaxing. I wasn't listening. And then that's, that's some some of my own add. But I guess, my early years, I would say that I mean, I always did. I knew you just had to show up and put in the time. And if you if you do that for long enough, you know, you'll you'll get ahead. Yeah, I think that's it. You know, it's the work ethic. But But don't be a dick. You know, just yeah, that that's it.
Zack Arnold 1:10:57
If there was ever a piece of advice that could turn into an entire t shirt line, it's got to be Don't be a dick. How simple is it? Right, hollywood? It's not the easiest place. But I think that's sage and wise advice. Yeah. So final question for you. Are there any questions that I haven't asked you or anything that you'd like to talk about? Or impart before we wrap up today? I guess not. Um, we we covered a pretty wide gamut. I would say that you you've you've dropped more than a couple of knowledge bombs that I think are really good for others to hear. So don't feel the pressure. If there's anything anything to leave on the table. We can leave it on now. But I I'd say we we definitely did. Okay, cool. It was fun. It was good to meet you. Yeah. And I'm glad that I'm glad this God connected us. And if you're willing, if somebody were listening to the show, and they were inspired by you, or the value that you bring, or the things that you teach, and they wanted to connect with you, is there a way that people can connect with you directly? Through you? How's that? Yes, I love that great answer. I love facilitating mutual connections. But then you could use me as your screener,
Scott Powell 1:12:01
if you could be if you could be my buffer my screener recently, like I said, I'm doing two shows, I forgot all about this appointment, we had until, like about a half hour before and not that I would prepare it. But feel you can feel free to call or, you know, text or email me whenever you want. And I'm always open to meeting new people. But in recent months, I'm not going to have time.
Zack Arnold 1:12:30
And that's a really, really good expectation to put out there. But the expectation I'm going to put out to anybody listening, that says I want to connect to Scott, Scott has made it very clear, you have to come through me first. And that's a high barrier of entry, because I teach people how to do good outreach and provide value to others. So if you don't come out of the gate, wanting to give Scott Powell a ton of value, when you first connect, I'm probably not going to connect you. But if I sense that it's a great mutual connection, and it benefits you just as much as it benefits them, then expect an email or text message from me. Okay, cool. So on that note, I really appreciate you taking the time, especially given that you've got so many other things going on. And this wasn't even on your radar. But again, it goes back to you know what, I forgot all about this, but I don't want to be a dick. So I'm going to show up on time, and I'm going to do the interview. So I do I very much appreciate that.
Scott Powell 1:13:20
Exactly. Okay. Thanks.
Zack Arnold 1:13:20
This has been great. I'm gonna let you get back to your Friday evening. But I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this and just how cool it was for me personally to put a book end on this story that started for me like 15 years ago.
Before closing up today's show, I would love to ask for just a couple additional minutes of your time and attention to introduce you to one of my new favorite products created by my good friend Kit Perkins, who you may recognize as creator of the Topomat, here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Ergodriven co founder and CEO Kit Perkins, talking about his latest product, New Standard Whole Protein
Kit Perkins 1:13:58
I'm into health and fitness generally, but I want it to be simple and straightforward. About a year, year and a half ago, I started adding collagen into my protein shakes. And man, the benefits were like more dramatic than any supplement I've ever seen. So I thought if I can just get this down to coming out of one jar, and it's ingredients that I know I can trust, and you just put it in water. And you don't have to think about it.
Zack Arnold 1:14:18
When people think of protein powders they think, well, I don't want to get big and bulky. And that's not what this is about. To me this is about repair.
Kit Perkins 1:14:24
So big part of what we're talking about here is you are what you eat. Your body is constantly repairing and rebuilding and the only stuff it can use to repair and rebuild is what you've been eating. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by everyday getting out of bed, it's like you know, two or three creeks and pops in the first couple steps and that I thought you just sort of live with now. But yeah, when starting the collagen daily or near daily, it's just gone. So for us job 1A here was make sure it's high quality, and that's grass fed 100% pasture raised cows. And then the second thing if you're actually going to do it every day, it needs to be simple, it needs to taste good.
Zack Arnold 1:14:58
Well my goal is that for anybody that is a creative professional like myself that's stuck in front of a computer. Number one, they're doing it standing on a Topomat. Number two, they've got a glass of New Standard Protein next to them so they can just fuel their body fuel their brain. So you and I, my friend, one edit station at a time are going to change the world
Kit Perkins 1:15:16
and even better for your listeners with code optimize on either a one time purchase for that first, Subscribe and Save order 50% off. So if you do that, Subscribe and Save that's 20% off and 50% off with code optimize it's a fantastic deal.
Zack Arnold 1:15:30
If you're looking for a simple and affordable way to stay energetic, focused and alleviate the chronic aches and pains that come from living at your computer. I recommend New Standard Whole protein because it's sourced from high quality ingredients that I trust and it tastes great. To place your first order visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard and use the code optimize for 50% off your first order.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Optimize Yourself podcast. to access the show notes 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. As a final quick reminder if you would like to more actively collaborate with me on future episodes suggest future guests get early access to new programs and more, visit optimizeyourself.me/insider to learn more about becoming the newest podcast insider, which is totally completely 100% free. And a special thanks to our sponsors Evercast and Ergodriven for making today's interview possible. To learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame and to get your real time demo of Evercast in action visit optimizeyourself.me/evercast. And 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.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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Scott Powell was born in 1958 in Los Angeles. He’s the son of Producer Norman S. Powell and the grand son of entertainers Joan Blondell and Dick Powell. He started his career in 1984 as an apprentice editor and received his first editing credit in 1988. Since then he’s enjoyed a diverse career editing long-form and series TV, feature films, award winning documentaries, commercials, and music videos.
He is best known for his work on 9 seasons of the Fox series 24 where he was awarded 5 Emmy nominations, 3 American Cinema Editors (Eddie) nominations and 2 wins.
Scott Powell is a current member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, American Cinema Editors, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is also a photographer and owner of North Pond Images, Inc. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Laurie.
The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).
Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.