Join Ashley Kennedy for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding work-life balance and implementing healthy work habits, part of Filmmaking Forum: Conversations.
- Hi everyone, in this episode of the filmmaking forum conversations course, we're gonna delve into that very tricky topic of nailing down a good work-life balance as a post production professional. Editors weigh in on the importance of setting boundaries and they share creative strategies for combatting those grueling schedules. We're also gonna discuss how to implement healthy work habits, and this includes some very well researched advice from editor Zack Arnold. Who created an entire wellness program called Fitness in Post.
I hope you enjoy. - [Eddie] It's very very hard in this industry to find any kind of work-life that makes sense. It was impossible for me for many years, and I've reached a point where I can prioritize family to a certain extent. You know, which is crucially important when you have young children. But when you're working on these films and you're leaving your home at quarter past six in the morning and getting home at half you know, half past ten or eleven o'clock at night. Five or six days a week, it's very important if you have certain family commitments, make sure that you meet them.
- Work-life balance I feel like is one of the hardest things about this job in this business. And it's something I am constantly looking at to make sure I'm doing the best I can. It just really gets depressing and gets kinda miserable when you're just stuck in a windowless room for 12 hours straight. So, I try to get outside as much as I can. Go for a walk, clear my head. I think it's good for your brain, I think it's good for your body. I try to alternate between sitting and standing as much as possible.
So that way I'm not doing one or the other too much of. Cos' I think either one, if you don't do it right can be detrimental. - It is a brutal industry to work in. Really long hours, horrible working conditions, and we're not in sweatshops. And I realize that these are first world problems, but as far as the health of your body is concerned. Sitting all day long, being in a dark room without absolutely no exposure to sunlight, recycled air coming through your air conditioning systems, poor food being shoved under your door twice a day.
All these things are really really bad for the human body and the human mind. - One thing I've had to learn, and I've learned a lot over the course of this year. Is to really plan a life outside of editing during the week. I use to be one of those kind of people who'd be like, "Oh, well no I can't go out tonight, "I can't meet you for dinner, "I can't go to this thing because of work. "And I'm gonna be working for 12 hours. "And then I'm gonna be so exhausted later." And honestly like that way of talking about what you do is exhausting.
It kinda makes you feel exhausted, like it kinda tricks your brain into always being exhausted. And I've actually found that like, if I do make plans. A, it speeds up my workflow, I'm like oh, if I need to get outta here to do something fun at eight. I'm gonna work harder and work more productively. And also, it just gives my life a little bit more meaning outside of the confines of work. So, I kinda feel like when I do that, and I'm consistent about doing that. I'm much more creative in the editing room the next day, because I feel like I've gone out and I've experienced the world, and I've forgotten about it for a few hours.
And I feel more refreshed and I feel like I have more energy. You know, I think energy. I use to think about energy as a sort of finite resource, I only had so much of it in a day. But I'm really starting to see it as something that is renewable. So as long as I'm feeding into it, I get more back. And that's been a new change for me, I haven't always done that before. But I think it's really true. - [Sofi] I mean, I have different things I wanna do each day like I wanna do a good chunk of work.
I workout almost everyday, to try to offset the amount of time I spend sitting. But I'm also sort of sensitive to the idea that editing is a creative endeavour. And I'm not always creative in the morning, so that's not always the time that I wanna work. A lot of times I just work a lot better after dinner. And I'd rather work from after dinner to like one in the morning. Than, get up and do it in the morning. So I think being able to have flexibility in my schedule as a freelancer is really important to me.
Not having to do the exact same thing everyday, but knowing what components of my day are important and figuring out how do I feel like fitting those in today. - [Zack] The idea for Fitness in Post came about because I realized that I'd spent, literally the last 10 years trying to figure out how can I survive working in post production. And 10 years ago, I literally was at a place where I was so burned out, I literally could not wake up and take out the trash without breaking into tears.
And saying there's just no way I can live like this for the next 40 or 50 years. And I've an extensive background in athletics, martial arts, yoga, meditation, I did all kinds of different athletics when I was in high school and college. And I said, what if I just started looking at being an editor the way that a professional athlete looks at being a professional athlete. Where I have to actually take care of my body and take care of my mind. To make myself a better editor. How do I get really good at what I do, by focusing on my physical health and my mental health, and let's experiment with that and see where it takes me.
And I mean, in my belief, it's the number one reason that my career's taken the trajectory that it has. Because I have the mental stamina, I have the focus, I have the energy, and I have the positivity. And I can maintain that consistently over long periods of time. That I wanted to teach others, if you wanna be better at what you do, it's not just the fastest hard drive, having the best graphics card, having a Mac tower versus an iMac. This is the best operating system that you have. And I wanted to show people how to optimize that operating system.
So it's been two years of trial and error, trying to figure out how to share that. And then everybody was like, "This is awesome. I've never heard of anything like this." And, "I need this!" and, "Where can I learn this? "And where can I learn that?" And I was like, I don't know the answers to your questions. So I spent two years, digging in, literally like, devising my own master's program. Like unofficial master's program in biomechanics, and nutrition, and productivity, and brain neuroscience, and just learning all these things to answer all these questions. So when somebody does come to me, and say I wanna do X, Y and Z.
I can now say, well, do this, this and this. Go to this person or this person, or listen to this podcast cos' I've talked to the foremost expert in that specific field. And now I'm actually in the process of developing an online course, where you can actually learn step-by-step, how to sit less and how to focus more. And how to be active at your workstation without having to go find extra time to go to the gym. How to be more productive, find more hours in the day. Stop eating the crappy catered food that they bring to you, so you're optimizing your operating system rather than learning a piece of software.
We all know, we've all heard that sitting is the new smoking that's not anything that anybody hasn't heard. But people think the answer is standing or they think the answer is exercise. And the biggest discovery for me was realizing that neither of those are really undoing all the harmful effects of sitting all day long. So if you're training for a triathlon for three hours in the morning, from 4:30 to 7:30, and then you sit for fourteen hours a day afterwards, you're still on the road to diabetes, and heart attacks and cancer, no different than somebody that just woke up and sat all day long is.
And the same goes for standing, where metabolically you might be burning a few more calories, but all of the same effects of being sedentary apply, because you're just here in one position for 12 to 14 hours a day. So it was when that clicked with me, cos' it always used to be well, I just need to get to my P90X for the day, or I need to go out and do my run, then I'm good for the day and I can sit. And none of that matters. So that's what kinda inspired me to continue building this program and building this online course. Because when you say to somebody, well you have to active all day long they're like "How? I don't know where to start? "I don't know what habits do I need to form and "what things can I be doing? "What are examples?" So that was the biggest takeaway for me above anything else was that idea.
This isn't about showing people how to go to the gym, it's showing them how to turn their office into a gym. So they can get the same amount, or actually more work done during the day, but do it being active. So when they get home they're like, "Eh, I guess I could go to the gym, but I got 15,000 steps and 90 active minutes, so what's the point?" So that's the way that I've gotten at the point where exercise for me is training if I'm doing events like a Spartan race or something like that. But if it's just daily life, I don't feel that I need to exercise anymore, as long as I stay active all day long.
So I'm like a squirrel at my office, I'm just constantly doing different activities, and standing, sitting, kneeling, I have like a stool that I'll kinda lean on. But never am I in the same position for more than 30 to 45 minutes at a time. Because that's kinda the new paradigm, is movement, not so much exercise.
- Advice for novice filmmakers entering the industry
- Finding, enhancing, and tweaking your story
- Experimenting in filmmaking
- Solving problems and troubleshooting your film
- Changing your approach or finding new angles
- Communicating and collaborating on set and in the edit room—and with clients
- Working on different genres of film
- Teaching and mentoring new filmmakers