Command+Edit Podcast

The post-production podcast that goes beyond the desk

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Perform Better By Getting Into Your Zone

Nick MontgomeryComment
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So I was at the gym the other day and had a revelation. 

Whenever I go there I always stock my phone with podcasts and audiobooks to listen to. It's a great way to digest some new info while running on the treadmill or cooling down (Hint: play them at 2x speed to rip through them faster…as long as you can follow along at that speed). 

One of the books in my queue recently was The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance written by Stephen Kotler (http://www.amazon.ca/The-Rise-Superman-Decoding-Performance/dp/1480570834).

Highly recommend this book to hear some inspiring stories of humans becoming temporarily "superhuman" in the heat of the moment. 

Highly recommend this book to hear some inspiring stories of humans becoming temporarily "superhuman" in the heat of the moment. 

In it Stephen explains what he defines as a "flow" state of mind and recounts several stories of mostly athletes who achieved it and thus pushed the boundaries of human limits.  Skateboarders who jumped the Great Wall of China, rock climbers who traversed unscalable mountain passes, surfers who used a crazy new technique to surf impossibly large (and deadly) waves. Each was a story where a person succeeded at something that was before thought impossible. And in all cases the subjects recounted what was going through their minds at the crucial moment when success-or-failure (or life-or-death) decisions had to be made in a split second. They all described this "flow" state of mind they were in where all distractions were eliminated and their minds were completely focused on the task before them.

Take a second to consider that state. Do you even recall a time when you had  100% uninterrupted, unwavering focus on the task before you?

At the time I was listening to this, one of the TVs in the gym was showing a movie, Wanted (also one of my favourite recent movies!).

"Shoot the wings off the fly." 

"Shoot the wings off the fly." 

In it, the main character Wesley (James McAvoy) is a schmuch of a man working a mind-numbing desk job when he gets told he is actually a member of an elite group of assassins. These people have the ability to achieve mind-bending moves like curving the trajectory of their fired bullets, all by their super-heightened focus.

This movie would have definitely been a lot different if Angelina turned out to be wrong about Wesley's abilities in this scene.

Now to bring this all back to reality for a moment, I know we aren't here to become Superman and we're not aiming to perform feats that defy physics, but here's the takeaway. Both of these stories, Rise of Superman and Wanted, illustrate the importance of achieving that state of mind where your focus is as sharp as it could possibly be. 

Both showed that when you are in your "flow" state of mind you will see you perform your best, make instinctual decisions that are on point and push your boundaries of what you thought you were capable of.

Two things happened for me as Stephen Kotler's speech about "flow" poured into my ears and Wesley curved his first bullet on the TV screen before me:

1) I turned off the audiobook and ignored the TV

2) I hit the weight rack and achieved a personal best for my deadlift (140lb) 

3) After finishing I went home, sat down at my computer and quickly cut together 4 new scenes for the comedy series I was working on.

That deadlift personal best is still remarkable to me because a shoulder injury often prevents me from putting too much weight on. That day, no pain. And the scenes I cut together? The director loved them and they changed very little for the final cut of those episodes. The pacing was right on for each of them.

After turning off the audiobook and quieting my mind I was able to focus wholeheartedly on my gym goal that day. And when I got home, I blocked distracting tabs on my browser like email, Facebook and Twitter and put my phone on silent. 

In those moments, I achieved a bit of this flow state of mind I had heard so much about. 

What's distracting you while you work? Right now, you might actually say it's this blog (ummm…touché) . But there are other things that may be distracting you externally (social media notifications, text messages, other colleagues dropping into your office or that cat sitting on your keyboard) or internally (What to make for dinner tonight? When should I call that person back? Gotta remember to pay that bill!).

Nowadays "flow" also goes by a different name: mindfulness.

Whatever you call it, you can achieve it by recognizing what is distracting you and taking steps to block it from your mind.

You may not always be able to achieve it (unless you truly are superhuman…) but for those times that you do, you may surprise yourself with what you're able to accomplish. 

We want to hear from you! 

What steps do you take regularly to achieve your "flow"? 

E-mail us or tweet us with your tips on focusing your mind.

Share this post by clicking the link below to distract your fellow colleagues. 

Hanging out with the PremiereBro Sean Schools : Cmd+Edit 033

Nick MontgomeryComment
Interview with Premiere Bro Sean Schools about his Adobe resource site

This episode we're chatting with the Premiere Bro (aka Sean Schools) who runs the similarly titled site www.premierebro.com which serves as a valuable resource for those Adobe editors out there.

Sean earned the nickname by being the go-to Adobe know-it-all among his colleagues and started the site in 2014. He has since fostered it into a site where editors can find hot tips on using Premiere better in ways they didn't realize, as well as keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest in Adobe news.

He currently works in New Jersey for the ad agency JK Design and in his very limited off-time gets asked to attend this year's Editor's Retreat. I don't know about you, but I would love to achieve a level of success where I get asked to go places. And not the "Sir, would you please leave?" type of request that I usually get.

We talked about how he got hooked on Premiere, how he earned the moniker "Premiere Bro", how he balances work plus life (with a family) PLUS maintaining his online presence as an Adobe expert, as well as some other kind of invasive questions.

Plus listen to Josh get irked that he's outnumbered 2-1 by Adobe users...while I was outnumbered 2-1 by Americans. It all works out.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Obviously you should check out Sean's site, www.premierebro.com
  • Editor's Retreat (which is currently being held in Albuquerque, NM from Feb 2-7)
  • We also mentioned Full Sail University again which Sean attended. If you're looking for a school to check out, evidently it's got his two thumbs up.

Even editors need a vacation

Nick MontgomeryComment
Josh doing an obligatory selfie in front of the Ghost Dog of Christmas Past

Josh doing an obligatory selfie in front of the Ghost Dog of Christmas Past

#PostDontStop is just a hashtag. We all know that everyone needs to get away to recharge the batteries. Otherwise you risk overworking yourself which leads to burnout, and then your work will surely suffer. Either that or you become easily irritable and become no fun to be around, which your workmates and clients will surely notice. Because of this you should never neglect your mental or physical health and should allow yourself a break when you need it.

If you have a contract or permanent position then your employer should allow for vacation time, but if you are a freelancer then you have both the freedom and responsibility of choosing the right time to go on vacation.

Before you pack up and leave, you should leave your business in good order so that you're ready to operate when you get back. Here is my own 4-point mental checklist for going away:

 • Contact your clients

A simple email to your current clients to tell them when you're gone and what time you'll be returning is all it takes to cover your arse. Allow them enough time to ask any important questions before you leave. They'll appreciate that you took the time to let them know.

Update your co-workers and assistants

Any members of shared projects should be aware that you're taking off, and you should make sure that they have everything they need to do their work without you. The last thing you want is an email from a panicked co-worker who needs files off of your computer and no access to it.

Upload files for yourself that you wil need

If I ever feel like there are project elements that I may (even in an emergency) need to get at, they go up to a Dropbox/Google Drive folder or I email them to myself. You never know.

Write up a To-Do List for when you return

I don't want to be thinking of work while I'm away, so anything I need to remind myself of goes into a Return To-Do List. This list doesn't get looked at until I'm back in the office. That way it's out of my mind and I can relax without worry.

Nick in BC doing an obligatory beard-selfie on a hike. 

Nick in BC doing an obligatory beard-selfie on a hike. 

Coincidentally both Josh and myself planned vacations for ourselves at the same time. He's over in Japan while I'm over in BC. 

But worry not! We left the Cmd+Edit offices on autorun, with new episodes to go out each Monday morning. Even vacation doesn't keep the podcast from running. So I guess there still is a bit of truth to #PostDontStop even when work does go on pause.

4 Steps to a Healthy Work/Life Balance for Video Editors

Nick Montgomery2 Comments
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Hey there! A few of you over on Twitter asked for some ideas on how to maintain a healthy work/life balance for video editors. We talked about this in Episode 5 but this is such an important topic I want to touch on it again in written form. Below are a couple of ideas that have worked well for me over the years.

1. Designate times when there is absolutely no work.

You cannot do any work, talk about work and you cannot even think about work. No work whatsoever! I completely understand if you can’t do this for hours each night. For me I do this during dinner most nights. I don’t talk about my work or think about it. I’m 100% focused on our meal and listening to my wife talk about her work and day.

2. Tell your spouse why you have to work late. 

For me, recording Command+Edit takes up two hours on a weeknight each week. That weeknight I could have spent with my wife and dog doing whatever. But I have to sacrifice that time for the podcast. My wife didn’t necessarily understand what I was doing at first with it and I didn’t explain myself. It caused friction whenever I had to record. After sitting down and explaining why I’m doing the podcast and what I’m hoping to get out of it she understood. Now each week when it’s time to record she’s completely cool and takes Peyton and goes upstairs so I can record in relative quiet.

3. You remember why you are working late

I often forget why I’m working late. Why am I up at all hours hustling on this project? I have to remind myself when I’m working at 8:00PM on this project because of X. X is something like “I’m passionate about this video I’m working on because this topic...” or “I want to travel to Asia and need the funds from this freelance gig.” Stuff like that.

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Another reason I find myself working late is because I want to secure time with my family and financial capital in order to do that. However sometimes I’m trying to secure time with my family by sacrificing time with them. When this happens and I don’t have to be working I stop so I can spend time with them.

4. Include your family in your project

Get their opinions on things. Show them your videos and have them share their thoughts. Not only does getting an outsider’s opinion on things help but they feel like they have a stake in you succeeding and are more likely to be cool with you working late into the night.

 

How’s your work/life balance?

Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is absurdly difficult. For me I designate a time when I cannot talk or think about work. I keep my family informed about why I’m working late. I continually remind myself why I’m working so hard. And lastly I include my family when I can in the project.

How’s your work/life balance? Do you do something different?

One last thing! If you know an editor who could benefit from this post could you send it over to him or her?

Let me your comments below!

– Josh

 

Cmd+Edit #005: Balancing your life with your career

Nick MontgomeryComment
balance life and career work for film editors
 
 

It's incredibly easy and all too common for a career in post-production to take over your life.

There's the high demand of time from your employers, there's the passion that we all feel about our work that pulls us deeper into it, and when we're not actively working we are training or searching for opportunities. Not all of our family and friends understand the commitment we must put into our careers. As we progress in our careers, the rest of our lives can take a backseat.

Our passion to be successful at work can come with the risk of losing relationships, our health, or any other priorities we may have in our lives. Not to mention that lately it's become obvious to many that an unhealthy balance between our personal lives and our work lives can ultimately cause a detriment in the quality of our work.

So how do we maintain a healthy balance between our lives at our desk and our lives away from it? Josh and I discuss some tips on how we tackle that challenge, and how you can approach it, too. Let us know how you feel about setting boundaries between work and life and if you've ever felt that strain between the two.

Speaking of setting boundaries, have you ever been approached for a job you felt like turning down but wasn't sure how to do it without upsetting the client? It's an important skill to recognize when you should say no to a job (whether it's beyond your skill level, you don't have time to do it, or the budget is not enough for the work involved), and it's another entirely to say no professionally.

Here is how you can do it. Tweet us at @CommandEdit about how you found this episode to be helpful for you.