Ep147: [CASE STUDY] From Total Burnout to Shooting for the Moon (Literally) | with David J. Turner

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You would think that being nominated for an Eddie Award for your first feature documentary credit would be a dream right? For David J. Turner, the editor of Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound it absolutely was...but making it the finish line of a grueling project that took years to complete came at a pretty steep price, not the least of which was ending up in the emergency room just weeks before picture lock.

Which begs the question...what price are you ultimately willing to pay to hold whatever your version of a gold statue is?

And more importantly, do you have to make that choice at all, or is there a better way to pursue your professional goals while maintaining some semblance of work-life balance?

As a filmmaker and storyteller who wears multiple hats beyond editing such as composing, cinematic sound editing, sound design, and documentary filmmaking and shooting, David found himself under an immense amount of self-induced pressure to deliver on his very first big project. When he found my article, Dear Hollywood: We Don’t Want to “Go Back to Normal." Normal Wasn’t Working he felt relieved that many others out there were feeling like he was - burned out, exhausted, and fed up with having to make the choice between health and success. At this point he was questioning whether he still wanted to be in the business at all anymore. Desperate to find a better way David decided to join my Optimizer coaching & mentorship program.

In today’s candid discussion David I talk about the steps he took to slowly rebuild his health one “easy win” at a time, and then we dive into the deeper limiting beliefs that were holding David back from pursuing his next big project (not the least of which were perfectionism and imposter syndrome). And then we talk about the seismic mindset shift that David made that allowed him to go from thinking he wasn’t in a place to pursue difficult projects to literally applying for the opportunity to travel to the moon (no really...literally applying to fly to the moon). Learn how you too can apply the simple steps that David did to start building habits & routines that will set you up for success in both work and life.

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Here's What You'll Learn:
  • How David landed his dream gig on Making Waves.
  • David's self-induced pressure on the job led to unhealthy work habits.
  • Suffering from burnout, he came to me asking the question, "Do I really want to do this job anymore?"
  • The story of how he ended up in the hospital at the end of the project with typhus.
  • The paradox of unshakable focus: Is it a superpower or kryptonite?
  • Managing the costs of trying to sprint a marathon.
  • The first easy win that David tackled to recover from months of burnout.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Small steps lead to big changes.
  • How David has dealt with losing momentum on healthy habits and getting back on track.
  • The lifestyle habits that boosted David's career and creativity.
  • How a paint can project became a metaphor for David's perfectionism and limiting beliefs.
  • Discovering the deeper psychological reasons that were getting David stuck.
  • KNOWING YOURSELF BETTER QUESTION → What would you pursue if you could get rid of all expectations?
  • David's skepticism about creating an ideal calendar turned into finding his own way to make time blocking work for him.
  • How Trello became the one stop organizer for all David's to-do lists and tasks.
  • Why it's necessary to go through Focus Yourself before pursuing networking.
  • The confidence that David gained during the Optimizer program led to him reaching for the moon, LITERALLY.
  • How shooting for the moon has shifted his perspective and made him excited to live his life again.
  • David's advice to others who might be where he was before he started the program.
Useful Resources Mentioned:

Ep118: Legendary Editor Walter Murch On Optimizing Creativity, Productivity, and Well-Being In Hollywood For 50+ Years

Dear Hollywood: We Don’t Want to “Go Back to Normal." Normal Wasn’t Working

Ep35: FOCUS: The Superpower of the 21st Century | with Cal Newport

Ep04: The Zen-like Art of 'Getting Things Done' | with David Allen

Japanese billionaire seeks eight people to fly to Moon - BBC News

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Guest Bio:

David J. Turner is an ACE Eddie-nominated film editor, a Cinema Audio Society-winning sound mixer, and a 23 Telly Award-winning documentary director. From 2004 to 2008, he traveled around the world as a videographer based out of Minneapolis, MN - helping raise over $3 million for crisis response domestically and internationally, and garnering 23 Telly Awards for his documentaries. He went on to earn an MFA in Film & Television Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2011, and discovered a passion for film editing and sound design that led him to teach sound re-recording mixing at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and picture editing at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center. In 2013, he worked as a sound editor and Foley mixer on Fruitvale Station - the directorial debut of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. He then embarked on a years-long journey as a film editor and production sound mixer on the documentary Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound. The film premiered in 2019 at the Cannes Film Festival, and David was nominated for an ACE Eddie award and won a Cinema Audio Society award for his sound mixing work. Currently, David is pursuing his lifelong passion for music composition, which he is building into a second career alongside his filmmaking.

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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