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Optimize Yourself | The #1 Destination For Creative Professionals

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Ep65: Becoming a 'Digital Minimalist' | with Cal Newport

Cal Newport is an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, and he’s also the author of six (amazing) books including Deep Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You. You will NOT find Cal on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platforms. And if you’re wondering why, you’ll learn a lot more in today’s interview when we discuss his brand new book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life In a Noisy World. In my previous conversation with Cal we...


Ep64: [CASE STUDY] Overcoming Burnout and Imposter Syndrome | with Chryss Terry

Chryss Terry is an Emmy-nominated documentary and unscripted television editor who began her career editing independent feature films (that have played at the Toronto, Sundance and Berlin film festivals). But after recently discovering her true life’s purpose - to use her challenging upbringing to create scripted television that inspires women worldwide to lean into adversity - she has begun the transition into the role of narrative assistant editor. Chryss is driven, ambitious,...


Ep63: [CASE STUDY] Overcoming Procrastination and Getting Focused | with Moni Salazar

Moni Salazar is a Mexican assistant editor (and now editor) for feature films who has been KILLING IT since she moved to Los Angeles. In fact her first feature film as an editor, Honey Boy, is about to screen at Sundance! As an assistant editor she has also worked on such films as Netflix’s All Day and a Night, The Beach Bum, and Zoe. In addition to the many hours she spends in dark rooms, she is also the Vice President of Blue Collar Post Collective. Moni approached me last year...


Ep61: The Difference Between 'Amateurs' and 'Professionals' | with Allon Khakshouri

My guest today is Allon Khakshouri, a sports agent who managed three of the world’s #1 tennis players including Novak Djokovic. He is also a best-selling author who specializes in high performance habits and helping ambitious entrepreneurs (and creative professionals) to feel more energized, productive, and inspired. Having worked with some of the world’s top athletes, Allon is a master at understanding the psychology behind the highest levels of performance, and this interview is SUPER...


Ep60: Getting 1% Better Every Single Day | with Westley Silvestri, ANW

My guest today is Westley Silvestri, a two-time American Ninja Warrior, a highly decorated and award-winning real estate professional, a Spartan Racer, a Tough Mudder, the creator of ‘Ninja Beach’ in Santa Monica, CA, and he’s also a former golfer and stand-up comedian. Using Westley’s own words, he has “Professional ADD” and wants to do everything...but also do it well! Westley also happens to be one of my primary ninja warrior training partners who has inspired me to push past my...


Ep59: The Craft of Film Composing (And Working with Composers) | with Joseph Trapanese

Joe Trapanese is a friend, colleague, and film composer who has worked on some of the coolest project and film scores of the last 5-10 years including The Greatest Showman, Jean Claude Van Johnson, Straight Outta Compton, Tron: Legacy, Oblivion, Only the Brave, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., and The Raid series (which is my #1 secret weapon as a film editor). Rarely is there an episode of TV where I don’t use a track from The Raid if I’m working with a fight scene...


CYBER MONDAY: The lowest price for 'Move Yourself' EVER

It’s Cyber Monday, and I’m opening enrollment for my Move Yourself program at the lowest price I’ve ever offered - only $87 - and this is the last time you’ll be able to enroll in this program, at this price or any price. To learn more about the program you can visit optimizeyourself.me/move. I don't know about you, but every year around this time I feel like I'm running mile 25 of a marathon, and the finish line is visible in the distance...except I have an elephant who just ate a...


Ep58: How to Get a Script Made In Hollywood | with Kyle Long

Kyle Long is a Hollywood feature film and television writer, producer, and the showrunner of the recent limited series 'Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac & the Notorious B.I.G.' He has also worked on the popular USA series 'Suits.' For those who may already know, I edited the pilot, the finale, and two more episodes of the series Unsolved, and Kyle and I spent A LOT of time together working on a very complex story for months on end. And during that time we both learned a lot about each other....


Ep57: Pursuing Your Passion With Authenticity (And No Apologies) | with Dr Noah Arnold

My guest today is Noah Arnold, a veterinarian and business owner who runs his own veterinary clinic in Shorewood, Wisconsin in a very unique way, to say the least. Before going any further, if you’re wondering why in the world I would interview a veterinarian on a podcast that’s all about reaching your full creative potential, trust me. This is one of the best and most inspiring stories you will ever hear, especially if you’re a freelancer or small business owner struggling to build your own...


The Ten Commandments of Working With Editors

Hello and welcome to a special episode of the Optimize Yourself podcast where I provide my written articles in audio form so you have the opportunity to listen instead of read if that’s your preference. My hope is that you’ll use this opportunity to get up and step away from your desk to build the habit of moving more throughout your workday. Today’s reading is for an article I wrote for Frame.io titled “The Ten Commandments of Working with Editors.” » Click here to read the whole article...


Ep55: How Tiny Changes Can Create Remarkable Results | with James Clear

My guest today is James Clear, an author and speaker who specializes in habits, decision making, and continuous improvement. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Time, and on CBS This Morning, just to name a few. In addition, his website receives millions of visitors each month, and he has hundreds of thousands of subscribers to his popular email newsletter which you can find at JamesClear.com. On top of all of his writing, James is also an accomplished speaker having...


Dear Zack: "Is pursuing feature film editing worth it given the sacrifices?"

(Author's Note: If you'd like to submit a question for an upcoming article, don't hesitate to reach out and send me a message. I read every single email I receive.) On a weekly basis I receive emails, Facebook messages, and tweets from people all over the world who work in creative fields. Some people send me pages worth of their life stories, others are looking for quick tips to optimize something very specific in their lives, but most often the messages I receive are from people...


Ep54: The Darker Side of Creativity | with Daniel Arnold

Daniel Arnold, is a world-renowned NYC street photographer who has been hailed by Gawker as ‘The best photographer on Instagram,’ by Wired as ‘Instagram’s ultimate street photographer,’ the New Yorker turned over their Instagram feed to Daniel for a week to document activity on the NYC subways, and his work is regularly featured in Vogue as well as The New York Times, just to name a few of his accolades. And in the interest of full disclosure...Daniel also happens to be my cousin. In this...


The Ultimate Guide to Building a Healthier Workstation (And Being Less Sedentary)...All For the Price of a Single Desk Chair

Author’s note: This ‘Ultimate Guide’ is a collection of over a decade of research, experimentation, and many of my past articles on the topic of living a less sedentary lifestyle. This guide is also based on many conversations with the world’s foremost experts on proper ergonomics, the dangers of being sedentary, and the benefits of more consistent movement throughout the day. There’s A LOT of information in this guide to help you build a healthier workstation and move more during your...


Ep53: Never Take 'No' For An Answer | with Natalie Asatryan

Natalie Asatryan is the youngest female in the country to be certified as a yoga instructor. If you’re not terribly familiar with the process of becoming a yoga instructor, trust me...it’s not easy for college-educated adults, much less a thirteen year old girl. But as we talk about in our interview, Natalie simply refuses to take NO for an answer. Which is why I wanted to share her inspirational story, because no matter what creative or athletic endeavor you might be pursuing, I guarantee...


Ep52: Taking Recovery to a Whole New Level with the TheraGun | with Dr. Jason Wersland

Dr. Jason Wersland is a chiropractor, athlete, and the founder & inventor of the TheraGun, a revolutionary neuromuscular percussive therapy device...or in laymen’s terms, the most badass massage power tool you’ve ever seen. Whether you’re a professional athlete, a ‘Weekend Warrior’ running Spartan Races or training for American Ninja Warrior like me, or if you’re simply someone who lives behind a computer all day long and battles chronic discomfort, aches, and pains, I say this with zero...


Ep51: Don't Just Sit...SitTight | with Scott Bahneman

Scott Bahneman is the creator of the SitTight (use coupon code 'OPTIMIZE' for 10% OFF), an active sitting chair which has become my new #1 recommendation for anyone looking for “the best ergonomic desk chair” (a question I get ALL THE TIME). While a bit difficult to describe if you haven’t seen one, the SitTight basically looks like the coolest bar stool you’ve ever seen attached to a Bosu Ball. Trust me...it's awesome. If you haven’t heard about the SitTight yet, you are going to hear a lot...


Ep50: EditFest 2018 Panel "The Extended Cut: How to Survive and Thrive In Editorial"

This bonus episode is a raw recording of my recent appearance at the wonderful event Editfest in Los Angeles where I was on a panel sponsored by Avid Technology titled, “The Extended Cut: How to Survive and Thrive in Editorial.” The panel was moderated by Matt Feury of Avid Technology, and in addition to me the panel also included Lillian Benson, ACE (ACE Officer and co-chair of the diversity committee), Carol Littleton, ACE (Member of the Boards of Governors of the Academy, Past President...