Ep142: Michelle Tesoro (ACE) On Playing Chess With Your Health & Well-Being - pt2

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How many times have you finished a job and felt like you had nothing left in the tank? You gave it everything you had 24/7 thinking to yourself, “I’ll start taking care of myself when the next hiatus comes” only to be cursed by the fact that you’re good at what you do...and that hiatus never appears. You repeat the cycle for months, years, or even decades wondering where all the time went.

When you imagine a high-profile award-winning editor like Michelle Tesoro you imagine burnout wouldn't be a problem - that’s just for people struggling to “make it,” right? Given her track record having worked on shows such as House of Cards, Godless, On the Basis of Sex, When They See Us, and most recently The Queen's Gambit, Michelle must have it all figured out. Right???

As you'll hear in part two of my conversation with Michelle, just like us she too often finds her tank completely empty at the end of a project. In part 2 of our conversation (here’s part 1 if you missed it), we specifically examine the question of what is leaving her so drained. Michelle is incredibly open, honest, and brave to share her challenges maintaining such a demanding career while balancing it with friends and family, and she even allows me to put her on the ‘Hot Seat’ to really dig into what is driving her to still work so hard at this level of her career (Spoiler Alert: Even she fears missing out on the next gig). One key takeaway from this interview that I hope everyone understands is that greater success does not make career and lifestyle decisions any easier. In fact, if anything, it's the opposite. It becomes harder to say no and the fear of missing out never goes away.

P.S. If you missed part 1, you don't need to listen to it first to understand this conversation. But I do recommend you listen to part one if you’d like to hear Michelle talk about her career path and what has driven her success.

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Here's What You'll Learn:
  • Michelle has come to realize that there is a balance between high profile projects and having a happy home life.
  • Three important priorities Michelle tries to balance.
  • The defining moment that gave Michelle a reality check about her priorities and where she spends her time.
  • How Michelle came to be on my email list and what attracted her to my work.
  • The piece of software that changed the way Michelle worked and gave her more balance in her life.
  • I put Michelle on the hot seat to uncover what is the source of her draining her tank on every project she takes
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: The fear of missing out is high even for someone like Michelle.
  • The process of restoring herself is always something that she struggles with.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Compressing creative time allows for better pacing of energy levels to work smarter not harder.
  • Michelle's process of working through a day of dailies.
  • The realization Michelle came to about her next gig.
  • Michelle's wish list of how she would love to spend her time.
  • Why she hasn't been able to commit to a long-term gig since the Queen's Gambit.
  • Michelle tries to answer which fear is greater: experiencing burnout from filling the gap or taking a break.
Useful Resources Mentioned:

Twitter: @mtesorito

Instagram: @michtesoro

Michelle Tesoro's Website

Continue to Listen & Learn

Ep115: How to Be So Thorough You Can’t Be Denied | with James Wilcox, ACE

Ep127: Chasing After the Next Gig vs. Building Your Career | with Kabir Ahktar, ACE

Ep132: How to Pursue Fulfilling Work and Find Your ‘Calling’ | with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar

Ep128: How to Have a Successful Career Without Sacrificing Family | with Farrel Levy

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

Ep47: The Ugly Side of Depression, Burnout, and Imposter Syndrome | with Gen Malone

How Total Burnout Led to the Most Productive Year of My Life

How to Overcome Post-Production Burnout

Struggling to “Do” It All? Try “Being” First. (Three Strategies to Reclaim Your Time and Sanity When Working From Home)

Ep136: Promoting Mindfulness, Well-Being, and Sanity In the Edit Bay | with Kevin Tent, ACE

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Guest Bio:

Cutting-edge film and television picture editor Michelle Tesoro is an industry rising star, known for seamlessly weaving narrative through the artful and elegant editing of a visual story.

Her most recent works include Netflix’s Emmy-nominated series “When They See Us” directed and produced by Ava Duvernay, and Netflix’s hit limited series “The Queen’s Gambit” directed by Oscar-nominated Scott Frank.

Tesoro’s versatile slate also includes Focus Features’ biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “On the Basis of Sex” starring Felicity Jones, Bold Films and Participant Media’s “Shot Caller” starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Netflix’s Emmy-nominated series “Godless,” directed by Scott Frank, and starring Emmy-winner Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, and Merritt Weaver, Golden Globe-nominated show “House of Cards,” and the HBO’s series “The Newsroom”.

The Cinema Guild’s SXSW Grand Jury Prize-winning feature film “Natural Selection,” earned Tesoro the 2011 SXSW Award for Best Editing.

Tesoro’s unique perspective and refined expertise in composing striking narratives began early, growing up in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Whitney M. Young High School, studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Tesoro currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Show Credits:

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

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

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