Creative Pep Talk

370 - 5 Pieces of Incredible Creative Advice that Lit Me On Fire with Zak Rosen of the Best Advice Show

Episode Summary

If you’re in need of a quick jolt of creative pep this episode is for you. We have incredible guests best piece of creative advice. Today I’m joined by Zak Rosen the creator behind The Best Advice Show podcast. The Best Advice Show is a super short podcast where super interesting people show up to give the one piece of advice that’s the best they have. Zak was kind enough to curate the 5 pieces of best advice that he knew would be perfect for Creative Pep Talk and he was right on the money because I felt so creatively on fire after talking these through with him. Tune in for powerful creative advice from: - Filmmaker Mike Mills- Artist Author Poet Holly Wren Spaulding - Artist Consultant Beth Pickens- Screenwriter Sharon Mashihi- Author Brian Selfon

Episode Notes

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Episode Transcription


[00:00:00] Yoni Wolf: On the creative journey, it's easy to get lost, but don't worry you'll lift off. Some times you just need a creative pep talk.

[00:00:21] Andy J. Pizza: Hey, you're listening to the Creative Pep Talk podcast. I'm your host, Andy J. Pizza! Today on the show, we have an episode that is jam packed with the best creative advice. And I can hear you pushing back saying, Andy, I know you believe in your ideas, but come on. That's a bit egotistical, but I can say that with all the competence in the world, because this is the best advice.

Because it's not coming all from me. It's coming from an incredible group of people from The Best Advice Show with Zak Rosen south, I was a guest on The Best Advice Show a while back and after getting to know Zak and a little bit about his show. I was thrilled to get him on here, sharing a bunch of little clips from his wonderful guests.

Why? Because he has the most incredible people on his show. If you've known me more than five minutes, you probably know one of my all time. Favorite bands is Waxahachie. AKA Katie Crutchfield. He had Katie Crutchfield on his show and it was a fantastic episode. He's had people like comedian, Chris Gethard.

And on this episode, he is going to bring some amazing advice from an artist that I've been a huge fan of for ages all the way back to college filmmaker. Mike Mills started in illustration. Graphic design was featured in that movie. Beautiful losers with a bunch of my favorite artists. We're part of a movement that really inspired my whole thing.

Um, and then he became a filmmaker making movies like beginners with you and McGregor or his latest. Come on, come on with walking Phoenix. We're gonna hear from Mike Mills on the show today. And I was, I just love the advice I thought about it. I've taught, I've thought about that advice a ton since, and really, really good stuff all the way through.

Today, a fresh take on a Creative Pep Talk episode. Zak's going to bring a bunch of clips that the kind of amazing creative advice that he knows that our listeners are all about. And I just loved lesson through these and diving in and chatting through and riffing on these clips with Zak had an absolute blast.

Zak is an incredible podcaster, and he's got a bunch of amazing work under his belt in that podcasting space. Experience than, than me and, and, and that way, and it was just cathartic to talk to a podcaster of that persuasion who really takes the craft seriously and, uh, educational and just a ton of fun.

So you're gonna want to check out his show after this called The Best Advice Show. The best part. I know what you're thinking. You're like I don't have time for another podcast, man. These podcasts are under 10 minutes. Most of them are under 10 minutes and the juiciest part of the conversation. Perfect for shower listening or little commutes or drives, go check out The Best Advice Show.

After we dive in to some of the best creative advice from the show in this episode with Zak Rosen himself. Let's do it.

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You're going to learn. InDesign some, some graphic design with Photoshop and illustrator create incredible design portfolio and master how to discuss and sell your work essential skills for every creative career. Go check it out.

There's nothing better than getting better. Every time I say that in the Skillshare ad, I, it just nearly tips over into country. Um, there's nothing better than getting better. I tell you what personal growth and development. Boom, that's satisfying stuff with on layer, online classes from Skillshare that make it possible and about illustration design.

Tography everything else in between all that who ha wow. Bang. Sorry, man. I love when I start learning, I just in Indiana, man, just go out, work creative, pep talk and skill shares like PB and J man can't believe it. It's really so. Seriously, Skillshare dot com. I creative pep listeners get a free trial.

No, I never did a class on, they're doing a country accent and I promise you that. Um, and, uh, halfway through this episode, I'm going to tell you a little bit about a classroom. Uh, my buddy Tom froze that I think is really important for, uh, illustrators who are trying to make a living at this, um, stay tuned for that.

Get into this episode.

Zak Rosen is the creator of The Best Advice Show, The Best Advice Show as a podcast with these little, many sodas, many episodes, almost always just like five to 10 minutes long. Each one contains those kind of juicy. Super insights that we're, we always try to pack every creative pep-talk episode full with, and they come from a wide range of diverse, really interesting guests.

Some of my creative superhero, people like writer and musician, Katie Crutchfield of Waxahachie, which. Every listener knows. I've just, I've asked drive and, uh, as well as like psychologists, journalists, comedians, and even Zak's wife. I met Zak when I had the honor to be on The Best Advice Show a while back.

And I've just been really inspired by his podcasting skills and experience. And I'm super pumped to have him on the show and bring a bunch of. The best advice from The Best Advice Show, that's really creative, pep talky, and I'm just pumped to have you. Thanks for coming on the show, Zak.

[00:06:56] Zak Rosen: Thanks for inviting me out for this a show and tell episode.


[00:07:00] Andy J. Pizza: also I saw that as we're recording this, you just released an episode with the singer songwriter behind the band, the weather station, which me and my wife have listened to a billion times. That song I tried to tell you.

[00:07:16] Zak Rosen: Who was

[00:07:17] Andy J. Pizza: good. Oh, man. That met dear to every time, every time it comes on, every time it comes on my wife and I look at each other and we're like, oh man, it's so good.

[00:07:29] Zak Rosen: It's so good. I released that episode in honor of earth day.

[00:07:33] Andy J. Pizza: Okay. That's fantastic. And the. Do you, I mean, just as an aside, when you talk to somebody who has made you feel emotions, do you get intimidated?

[00:07:48] Zak Rosen: I feel like it's my duty to let them know how their work has impacted me. Yeah. But it's a fine line between.

Saying what I feel or telling them specifically what I love about them and going overboard, you know, and just like fanboying out for the whole thing. So I try to keep it like a. I tried to leave him with like something really potent, but then like, try to remember that it's just a human being that I'm talking to and like, you know, respecting their time from there, but it is like one of the great benefits of what we do.

We get, we have an excuse to just call people and say like, can I talk to you for an hour? Which would be weird if we didn't have podcasts, but it shouldn't be, but it, but it is. That's the way the world.

[00:08:29] Andy J. Pizza: And it's cool. You know, I get, I do. Very intimidated. And I try also not to super fan boy out. I, but I, at the same time, I try to do that same thing of like, I want to thank them because as a creator, as you know, You know, you don't always know if what you're doing means anything to anybody.


[00:08:49] Zak Rosen: So I feel good when someone

[00:08:51] Andy J. Pizza: tells you. Yeah, absolutely. And you, the first person we're going to talk about, we're going to share some advice from one of your episodes. And if I had interviewed Mike Mills, I would have been extremely intimidated. He, I got introduced by, uh, the documentary beautiful losers way back in the day.

It was, I don't know that. Oh, you haven't seen that? Oh, it's so good. Oh man, you Def, all of my listeners should go watch that. It's so good. It's kind of, it's just a picture. It didn't make it. He he's in it. Uh, it's a. It's kind of a snapshot of the art scene that he grew up in, like in the, uh, mostly on the west coast, but not exclusively.

And all of those artists, um, uh, Barry McGee, Geoff McFetridge, Mike Mills, all these kinds of people. They're just like, it's, you know, that's where my interest in graphic design and illustration came from where these people wow. And so he CA yeah, so he had all this, this massive transition from like illustrator, visual artists, graphic designer into the filmmaker that, you know, most of us know him as you know, he made the movie thumb suckers during Lou Poochie.

I remember seeing that back in the day, and I love beginners with you and McGregor and, um, the late Christopher Plummer, but yeah, Mike Mills is a massive hero and he brought some incredible advice to.

[00:10:21] Zak Rosen: Yeah. So we talked about, well, I guess it comes down to like the goddamn blank page w which can play any of us, whether we're writers or painters or radio makers, just that beginning when we have nothing, like that's where it starts.

I feel stuck all the time. I think it's totally normal to feel stuck. And there are different strategies. I know you've talked about for when we are feeling stuck, but the thing that Mike talked to me about, which I hadn't heard before, which I love is this thing. So if you're feeling stuck, try this thing that Mike does.


[00:11:04] Andy J. Pizza: So I think that loving anything, being excited by anything. And ways we can't tell you understand a name is going to do a night, that Jenner generative process inside your itself. And often when I'm really stuck, I'll just write down pieces of art that I love.

[00:11:22] Zak Rosen: Uh, you know, and just as like a hope

[00:11:24] Andy J. Pizza: making, someone's like a gratitude list or something, and then a, and there are, or I'll just pick one piece and just describe it.

I'll just

[00:11:31] Zak Rosen: like, write like why I think it's great or what are its qualities

[00:11:35] Andy J. Pizza: more important than, than why? I think it's great. Just to describe it sometimes. That's, that's the second important. That's amazing. Just to add that, feeling this for me kind of often like lifts me up and like kind of makes me want to do something.

So I, when I read this now not when I read this, let me take Dale. Uh, this advice from Mike hit me super hard because for me, As an artist, like even though I do the creative pep talk podcast and I've seemed super jazzed all the time, only because you're getting the sliver people just get the sliver of my most jazzed hour of the week.

Um, but the truth is I have just as much of that, um, no energy to life as probably any other artists does. And just hearing Mike talk about. Ruminating on the things that make you love life. It gets you into that head space and that's the kind of place that I want to create from

[00:12:35] Zak Rosen: a hundred percent. What's that?

So this thing about like remembering what you love and then like noting its details, describing what it is, um, about the thing what's, what's. Artifact or art thing that you've tried to just deconstruct a little bit to understand the magic inside of it.

[00:12:55] Andy J. Pizza: Yeah, honestly, I've been back, I've been having a, another phase, a whole new phase and appreciation of my love of dreams.

When I was in high school, I got real into like, trying to. Like trying to master lucid dreaming on purpose. I was that guy that kind of you did, did you ever, did you ever have any luck with it once I've had all the dreams? What do you want to tell us anything about it?

[00:13:27] Zak Rosen: It was, I had, I just listened to this incredible radio documentary about Leonard Cohen and I was, it was.

Not long after my heart was entirely broken. And I had this lucid dream where like I was in the room with this person who broke my heart. And I just like, was able to tell myself to like reach over and just like touch her shoulder. It was very. Like subtle and minimal, but like I woke up just feeling all of those same emotions that I had felt when, when my heart was broken, that's incredible.

I didn't fly or anything, but like I had a slight, a bit of slight bit of control over my, my dream state.

[00:14:13] Andy J. Pizza: I would do that. And then instantly fly. I also liked that you made us all feel comfortable and safe. When I touch the shoulder, it was respectful. It was gentle touch. Uh, that's amazing. But I have been the dreams for me have been doing it because I've been getting back into just kind of the young Ian dream analysis and how much it's just totally in sync with how I think about storytelling and that kind of metaphor.

And, uh, yeah, when I start dying and I'm feeling really crappy about life going to that place gets me like, oh, this is what is romantic about life. This is what makes life worth making art about. Um, so that I love that practice because it's a systematic thing that you can turn to in those moments when you're like, man, why do I even make creative

[00:15:05] Zak Rosen: work at all?

And like, he likens it to a gratitude list. Yeah. Yeah. Which is true. It's just like, there are so many things in this world that are worth getting excited about. Therefore I should try to make something that's worth getting excited

[00:15:18] Andy J. Pizza: about. And speaking of making something worth, getting excited about, I, you know, I feel like, uh, for me personally, sometimes.

I feel like usually when I've had a really big breakthrough in a piece of work, if a story broken a unique way or a piece just was like, oh man, that was exactly what I'm trying to do. The next time I come back to the blank page. Uh, I am intimidated cause I'm like, well, that's not gonna happen again. And so I love this next piece of advice that you're bringing about.

It's about tiny goals, right?

[00:15:52] Zak Rosen: Tiny goals. And whether, you know, you're a full-time artist or you're just trying to make space for your creative. When you can, as you quest toward like, just putting whatever it is substantial out into the world, make these tiny goals. And this is something I learned from the novelist, Brian cellphone, who wrote what became a really critically acclaimed book called the night workers.

But he did this while working a full-time job. And so he had to figure out like, how can I just get this done without being overwhelmed by the goal of trying to make an important. And I think that if you

[00:16:29] Andy J. Pizza: can lower those standards to almost nothing, like, can I sit down in my chair? Can I think of thought, can I, well, let's just talk about writing.

Like, you know, is there a sentence that I can write? And I think that if you stop and freeze at that moment or trying to make a great sentence, you haven't lowered your standards enough. Like whatever, the lowest standard that you got. And I think that if you can kind of have two brains, one where you have that immediate, low standard, just trying to make something.

And then in the back of your brain, you have the bigger goal and you can kind of keep flipping back and forth between them. You won't get paralyzed with fear, but then you also won't get so comfortable with producing the easiest simplest thing. That could be a good path to move. So giving up on trying to write a big bestseller giving up on trying to write a great novel, really freed me up to just be a little bit more playful and just try to see if I could write something that was kind of mad.

I mean, that could be another way of saying the same thing as aiming at math, but then each time that you're revising it, you could have a similarly logo of, can I make it a little bit. Can I make it? And then the next time you sit down, can I make it a little bit better? So each time you have in the back of your mind, your high-end big goal, but the goal, every time that you're sitting down to work on something, you could have it be a very immediate goal.

Can I have the character and not enter a room that they've already entered once, you know, can I have the character who died five pages ago, not suddenly appear alive on this page. And then you could achieve those little goals while keeping the bigger goal at your mind, and it can help you get there without being paralyzed by, you know, I'm not there yet, you know, I don't have the skills.

Um, and then it gradually, you could be building your skills as you're moving through a little bit. I love this advice because every time I watch a movie or I read a book. I'm always just overwhelmed by not even the quality, just the quantity of work that went into it. I'm just like, man, I don't know how anybody can get themselves to do something like this.

And I heard a quote recently from, uh, Jordan Peele, where he was talking about the rough draft is just him putting sand in the sandbox and then he can build castles later. And I thought that kind of reminded me of this, this advice because. I feel like when you hear that advice of like, just do a little thing, just do a little bit, you can feel like, yeah, that sounds great.

But are you really going to get any castles from that? Like, it's just going to be a bunch of crap if you just kind of chipping away, but you can slowly like Hong Kong, you know, take chunks of that marble away and crafted over time. If you just show.

[00:19:22] Zak Rosen: Totally. And I love how he's just keeps saying, like, if you're feeling overwhelmed, just keep lowering the goal.

Like just sitting down in the chair for a minute, there that's the first goal. Good. Done. You know, so just be super realistic. And I think it's also about like, being, being kind to yourself. Cause we can so beat ourselves up when we like sit down and like, oh, we don't get, we don't get that chapter done or whatever, but it's like, no, just like get a sentence done, get a word done.

And just.

[00:19:47] Andy J. Pizza: Yeah. And, and that, that notion of when you go sit down, uh, you know, one of the things we've been exploring a ton on this show is I've been thinking a lot about how the, our outer spaces are a reflection of our inner space and that you can, you're trying to. You can use your setting, whether it's a different desk or a different chair or different pencil or whatever it is to kind of trick your brain into going into different spaces.

Because for me, Creative activity of any kind requires you accessing different parts of your brain, because there is a time to just word vomit and dump all that stuff into a document. And there's a totally different part of your brain. That's editing that

huge, huge fangs and shout out to Shellington would love Shillington and the graphic design. They are dead serious about making real graphic designers that know their stuff, the theory, the software, everything in between. They'll just take it from me, take it from one of their students. Sophia Joffrey, Sophia says a family friend told me about Shillington and it seemed like a great fit.

As you learned the Adobe big three and design illustrator and Photoshop, which I had realized were skills I needed to learn hearing how career focused the course. This is Andy saying, you know, we love that back to Sophia was, was really what stood out from the other ones I looked at. I love that Shillington gave me the technical skills I need.

I'll also tell, teaching me to be a designer, frankly. They completely launch my career through all their guidance, help and resources. Go check it out. that's S H I L L. That design slash pep to learn more today

at the top of this episode, I just shamefully did some kind of awful country accent and a. You know, sometimes I think Tom froze is kind of the foil I got. He's a guy I've met a couple of times at conferences and, uh, love the guy. He puts out great stuff, but he just kind of, if you get some who's like, man, I cannot take that Andy energy right now.

Go check out Tom frozen's classes because he's got a, a calming kind of vibe. Um, he has a new class, the six stages of illustration leading clients through your art. You want to build a successful practice, go check this out. And the intro to the class, he quotes Christoph, Niemann illustrator, Christoph Niemann saying relying on craft and routine is a lot less sexy than being an artistic genius, but it's an excellent strategy for not going insane.

And, uh, I think this class is if you're doing this as living and you want to know about like, how to go through the process of doing a professional job, he goes through onboarding, uh, the ideation, the realization, the delivery, all that stuff in between. And I think that, um, there's. Material out there like this, go check it out. pep to learn from Tom froze and a whole bunch of other incredible creators.

The next piece of advice. Is around this idea of an autonomous zone, which I feel like gets at this, the importance of space so that you don't beat yourself up. What's what's the autonomous zone all

[00:23:29] Zak Rosen: about. So it's really just in order to give yourself the space to, to aim it ma what Brian was talking about.

And if that space is five minutes a day or five hours a day, just try to embrace this idea of being very forthright and explicit. Creating your own autonomous zone.

[00:23:52] Andy J. Pizza: In other words, to have free spaces in your life free of other people, free of PR the profit motive, you know, the, the pressure to be earning a living during that time free of interruption, free of social media, free of duties and obligations that impinge on for one thing, the imagination and the way in which this is.

Practiced in my life. Most diligently is in the morning hours, which from seven to 10:00 AM. I treat us sacrosanct. There's no appointments, no email, no social media, no interaction with family members. That's my writing time. So my agent Ryan, who also is kind of an agent slash manager. Uh, we talk about managing, managing time managing projects, what we're taking on, what we're not taking on.

And, you know, I have a bunch of different pieces to what I do and the F for the longest time, fitting the podcast in or fitting a kid's book and fitting things into my schedule that were extremely important. And we're kind of neat, required the best creative energy that I had just felt completely impossible.

And this notion of like, you know, I think what we ended up doing is we think that we can multitask and just like switch in and out of things all the time. But that idea of having set blocks, that is a complete game changer and it doesn't have to be, uh, you know, it doesn't have to be, you're a full-time artist and you get to block out three days a week for this stuff.

Even any amount of space that you can block out for yourself like that, that helps. Big time.

[00:25:45] Zak Rosen: As a listener to your show. I think your other listeners will be curious how, tell me about like these blocks of time and how you schedule them and how long they are and stuff.

[00:25:54] Andy J. Pizza: Actually, they've grown over time because I've realized that if I will cut up my week, I can actually get more done in each section.

And so at first it was just saying, I just said to Ryan, I was like, look, you're going to see on the calendar. Monday is completely blocked off. No calls, nothing. That's all podcast stuff. And then that turned into Monday, Tuesday, where I was like, I'm going to take all those days for. Deep work stuff. And then that crept up into, uh, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday morning, Thursday morning.

And so all of that space is now just deep work stuff that I, that whatever it is, whether it's illustration on a book or a client thing, or if it's working on the podcast or, or, or what have you. That is uninterrupted space. And the truth is that, you know, all the other time is way more regimented. It's more like, and then after that time's up, we have four calls in a row.

Um, but just separating that energy, it's just like access in that different parts of your brain. It's the hardest part is getting into the flow state, staying in it isn't that hard. And so I think. It's it's just, uh, it's been super effective for me. So I love that

[00:27:10] Zak Rosen: advice. And so when you're doing these, these big chunks of time, are you able to have the discipline to like actually not checking email and not check social and all that stuff?

Cause it's very, it's very hard for me.

[00:27:23] Andy J. Pizza: That's a great question. And the truth is sometimes yes, sometimes. No, but honestly, The most sacred of all of those spaces is the key. And everyone laughs at me about this, but from about five 30 in the morning to six 30 in the morning, Monday through Friday. It's just an hour long in the bathtub.

Sorry for everybody's mental image. But, um, that's what I write in the podcast. So every day I'm showing up in that space, waterproof laptop. I know I just write it on my phone. I even, you know, this kind of goes back to that notion of, uh, shooting for ma this idea of life. Uh, sitting in front of a laptop is too intimidating.

So just like riding on my phone feels like, wow.

[00:28:07] Zak Rosen: Yeah, just texting. Yeah. Oh, that's amazing. So you write the podcast in the bathroom at five 30 in the morning,

[00:28:14] Andy J. Pizza: pretty much every day. And that, and it goes that same, that same thing of like, most of it's trashed. Most of us, you're just like, I'm just going to do, I'm just going to do this for an hour and know that, you know, it's probably not going to turn into anything.

If I just keep doing this, eventually you have you pile up some, some decent stuff.

[00:28:32] Zak Rosen: Yeah. Yeah. And for those of us who aren't in the, the Andy Pizza role of being full-time artists, but who are just trying to carve out that time, you might have kids, you might have, you might be working jobs and you might be thinking like, yeah, right.

Like this is just too luxurious, this autonomous zone. I can't do it. And I think this gets into. My next piece of advice, which is maybe the one that I've thought about the most out of the 400 or whatever episodes I've done. And it's very simple, but the advice is. Ask for help and learn how to ask for help.

And so when you're thinking about this need that you have to live in this autonomous zone for five minutes or five hours, whatever it is, think about the people in your life, the people who make your life work, whether that's your partner, whether it's, you know, your, your mother-in-law and expressing to them, I need this time.

Not so I can go, you know, doddle, but I need this time because it's going to make me. Person, it's going to make me show up better as a parent, as a kid, as a friend, as a colleague. And so being really explicit saying, I need this. And like, there's a vulnerability there and admitting when you need something, but it turns out we all need stuff.

And. Uh, I'm indebted to, to Beth Pickens, who is a psychologist. And she does a lot of therapy, uh, with artists. And, and this was the advice she gave me ask for help. I think we have to

[00:30:10] Andy J. Pizza: always tell people everything that we need, because we all float around. Like we're just little children masquerading as adults, just assuming that nobody needs anything and we're the only ones with needs and we have to get rid of those needs or diminish them.

But we all need emotional support.

[00:30:27] Zak Rosen: What's a way that we can practice giving and asking for help. I like to

[00:30:30] Andy J. Pizza: do, I'm saying just starting with a quantity, just quantifying it like a goal of, I'm going to ask for three things this week that are directly related to my creative practice and here's what those needs are going to be.

And here are some appropriate people. I think I could have. And I'm just going to practice on the asking. I have no control over the outcome. Then I'm going to avail myself three times to people. Maybe I'm asked for something or maybe I offer something or I connect with another artist friend and say, this is the kind of help I need right now.

What kind of help do you need right now? Let's help each other. Find.

[00:31:02] Zak Rosen: And not necessarily a one-to-one where the help you're offering, you're getting back from that same person. Right? Cause maybe

[00:31:09] Andy J. Pizza: the things you asked for, maybe you don't know how to get for you don't have that resource to give, or maybe the person you're asking from something from they, they have a different thing to reciprocate with.

Cause we all have different things to offer. Some are universal, but many are very different. And we also have to identify who do we ask. How do we match the, ask the request to somebody who's appropriate rather than I'm going to try to ask this person for emotional support, who I know cannot and will never give it, but if I just try hard enough and then I can prove that I won by making them, by going to the hardware store for a gallon of milk, they don't have it to give.

Right. So we also have to think about who are we going to for which things, and not one person can't meet every need, which is like, you know, the fallacy of, of marriage. And Moderna. I love this. And it actually came to me at a time where I needed to be reminded of this. And I needed to hear this fresh because I feel like every artist has that burden of you're doing your thing.

It feels, there's an element of art that just inherently feels selfish. You know what I mean? And you're, you're making something you're expressing yourself and you can work yourself into this place where you're not asking for help from anybody, but the truth is, you know, even my spouse back in the day when I wasn't working full time.

There were these important conversations that had to happen where we negotiated our time and said, look like these, this is what I need. What do you need? How can I help you? And part of that was like, you know, we had early on, had really in-depth conversations around. Uh, just like energy levels and how our energy goes throughout the day.

And so we both kind of figured that, like in terms of creativity, my energies in the morning, hers is at night and we can kind of flip flop kid duties in between that, so that we're not spending the creative energy, uh, in, in that way. And so I, I love this because I feel like everybody needs to be reminded that.

You need to, you need to speak up for yourself. You need to ask for help. Um, you need to have those conversations that there's never a good time to have them. Um, but they really are the building blocks to being able to get the best work from yourself. And, and, and do some of the stuff that you that's actually really important to you.

[00:33:34] Zak Rosen: Totally. Yeah. Like, I mean, like all this stuff it's practice and I had to practice. This during the pandemic, when I was just feeling like, man, I am so freaking depressed. I'm in my house with my kids. I love my kids, but I need to get out. And I needed some artists dates with myself and I felt first, I felt guilty asking my wife, like I need to go see a movie.

Um, I need to go to the show, but it's like, no, I actually did. And when I told her how important it was to me, she totally was fine. And it's made me feel so much better. I think the key is, if you are talking about this navigating, you know, navigating the stuff with your partner is like making sure to help them ask for what they need as well.

That it shouldn't be one sided. I

[00:34:20] Andy J. Pizza: completely agree. And I also just want to highlight that, uh, yes, it's the people in your life, but it's also getting people in your life that aren't currently in your life. You know, for me, honestly, it's, I, I say this knowing it's not. Simple to connect with people that are a few steps ahead of you on, on the creative path.

It's not easy to get time with those people, but I say it because it's so important. That there've been times where it's taken me years to find those people that ask for help that knew that went to places that I had never been that could actually give me some direction, uh, those little moments. And they, they literally might be a 30 minute conversation at a conference or, you know, whatever it might be are an email, um, seeking out that help from people that have done the kinds of things you want to do.

That is a game changer. And I think we just constantly just toil in our own perspectives in our own little blinders and realize like, you know, that outside perspective we're looking for. We're not gonna find it by just pushing harder.

[00:35:34] Zak Rosen: Absolutely. Yeah. This one ties into what I think will be the last piece of advice that I'll share today.

It's a help asking practice that. In a way it's very clean and reciprocal. Unlike some of these other things where you're asking some people for help, and then you're, you know, you're offering help to other to other people like this. This is clean, it's called a structured walk. And I learned it from radio goddess, Sharon mushy.

[00:36:06] Andy J. Pizza: All right. Uh, it's recording. And, uh, unfortunately I'm not able to fully monitor the levels, but they look good. You and I would take a walk and the. And we didn't time it. I was thinking we could do 25 minutes. You and then 25 minutes me and we'll both walk in one direction, then walk back. Does that sound good?

[00:36:24] Zak Rosen: Perfect.

[00:36:25] Andy J. Pizza: Okay. You know, my friend, Erin Findland devised this, but I always think of like Socrates and those dudes, they were

[00:36:32] Zak Rosen: walking. So I'm walking on Belisle, which I may have mentioned to you before. It's this it's the big public park. So it's very simple. Like you get someone in your life who is invested somewhat, or perhaps not at all, um, in your creative practice.

And they themselves are venturing down some road that they don't know, and they themselves are working on their own project. And basically you are going to walk with them, say for 50 minutes or an hour, and for the first half of the. They tell you about what they're struggling with in the second half.

Like it's, it's very it's time. So at the 30 minute marker, whatever your halfway point is, you switch gears and then you talk about yourself. And so it's equal. And it's like, uh, I, I started doing this with my friend, Christine. We check in now every month, she has her own art practice, which is very different from mine.

And. We have suggestions for each other that we wouldn't have otherwise come up with, partly because we're working kind of in different areas, but also, um, just because we're totally different people, but we're both like invested in our friendship and in, um, each other's wellbeing that we look forward to this monthly thing where half will be her half will be me.

And by the end of it, you have gotten some stuff off your chest and you don't even have to be an artist to do this. Like. Have a structured walk friend. You can do it once. You can do it in installments, whatever, but just like someone who will listen for a half hour and then you will then listen to them for a half hour.

It's very basic, but hugely helpful.

[00:38:10] Andy J. Pizza: I feel like this kind of action had played a big role in my, the most formative relationships I've had in my creative practice. And I think that the biggest stumbling block or the biggest obstacle to. Actually living this advice is just the willingness not to be chill.

Like just to be like, you know what, like it's EV and it's the same, like I'm thinking about, we're kind of doing a structured walk right now in that this isn't a regular interview. When we started talking about how we were going to do this, uh, it got me really pumped because I thought, man, this is a totally.

It's like an elevated kind of approach to a guest episode and it takes a little more effort, but also takes a little bit of vulnerability. And the same goes for approaching a friend and being like, Hey, I'd like to talk to you for half an hour and then you can talk for half an hour. It's not chill. It's not, if there's an, there's an intentional nerdiness about that.

And I honestly feel like you have to, you have to have people you're comfortable doing that with first of all. Second of all, you've just gotta be willing to take the risk, to just look like a complete goof. Those, those things have been so essential. And in getting over those little internal hurdles, do you ever feel like that you ever feel kind of embarrassed of like, okay, we're going to do this thing now.

[00:39:31] Zak Rosen: I think it's also embarrassing. Like I think, you know, it's, it's this thing that I think about a lot is just like, I think it's related to the diluted. That we have something important to say, um, you know, as, as, as creative people, like, it's, it's ridiculous. Like, like it goes back to this thing, like making something is to feel self-indulgent, it's delusional, it's awkward.

Like it's all these things, but like we know that in our hearts that we really want to do it. So, you know, if we, if we're honest with ourselves, It's really important to us then the awkwardness and the delusion and stuff. I think just come with the territory.

[00:40:07] Andy J. Pizza: I completely agree. I can't remember what the there's like a, there's a phrase for maybe, you know, it it's like, uh, the something effect where, you know, the, the dumbest person in the room thinks they're the smartest and the smartest person has the most humility and things.

Like, I better not say anything, but I'm mostly talking about. Hopefully my journey from going from as a young artist being like, I've got stuff to say, man. And then as I got older and more experienced and skilled, the less comfortable I fell within serving myself, which, you know, there's some stuff I could probably have taken to take it a few notches back.

So that's not the worst thing, but I do think, you know, you have to remember that. You know, even if you're not saying something the world never heard, maybe you're saying it a dumber than some experts can say it. There's still people that need to need to be seen, see themselves seen, or just even be validated or just be reminded, um, by these kinds of things.

And so, uh, you know, getting over that kind of inner critic is a, is a huge part of the process.

[00:41:15] Zak Rosen: Yeah. And you actually just reminded me. Sharon mushy who told me about the structured walk. She gave me another piece of advice where the goal perhaps might not even be to get over the inner critic, but instead to fold that inner critic to fold the doubt into the work.

So not to pretend it's not there, but just to like whether or not you use it or not, but just like start the piece with I'm a piece of shit. I don't know what I'm saying. You know, like just use the doubt and then I think that you're going to be. I think that's going to draw you closer to the listener because who isn't full of doubt.

If you're thinking

[00:41:50] Andy J. Pizza: about it while you're making it, it's probably relevant to the work and that applies to doubts concerns. Usually the tensions that you feel within you. Belong in the work. I think I love that. And it kind of gets at this idea of, uh, Linda Barry talks about the comic, uh, artists, um, talks about how every time we make a piece of work, we often feel like the objective.

There it is. Yeah. What it is, that's a, it's a classic. And Linda Barry is just an incredible, um, creator who is just so unique and interesting, but she said, um, W every time you go to make something, you feel like you're being asked for an answer. And it can just, as it's just as interesting or more interesting to start with a question, like here's what I'm like doubting working through.

I, you know, that impulse often gets to a lot deeper stuff because most of the deep stuff doesn't even have a clear answer. So I, you know, I think you're totally right about.

[00:42:57] Zak Rosen: More questions, more answers. Yeah. Total questions are more interesting than the answers is what I was trying to say.

[00:43:04] Andy J. Pizza: I, yeah, I love it.

Uh, and I completely agree. And I, and I actually, uh, over time through that whole process of the eight years of doing this show, I actually have tried to, instead of coming up with an episode where I'm like, this is an answer I've, I've more often be like, here's a question we're going to try to like poke at cause.

Cause who knows? That's great. Uh, well this was kind of like a structured walk and, uh, and I really appreciate it. You're, you know, Zak you're somebody who has a lot of experience in the podcasting field, something that I just kind of stumbled ass backwards into. So I've, I've really treasured. Getting to chat with you and get to pick your brain on all things, audio and podcast.

And I'm really glad that you got to make some time to be on the show.

[00:43:50] Zak Rosen: It was a huge honor. I'm a fan of your show. That's why I emailed you asking to be on it. So this, this has been a real thrill. Oh, and for your listeners, I bet they could guess what your advice was on my show. The truth is, think to yourself

[00:44:07] Andy J. Pizza: to say,

when I say it, you're going to be like, of course, taste and Andy Pizza's essential advice wise.

You got to get high on your own supply, man,

which is absolutely related to taste and you gotta be tasting your own dish all the time. Make sure it's lightened up those internal taste buds. Yeah, of course. I said that incredible

advice. Thanks Zak. I really appreciate it. Thank you so


all right. Massive. Thanks to Zak Rosen of The Best Advice Show. Remember, go check out The Best Advice Show it's got. The best advice as you've already heard was I'm just pumped to be, uh, chopping it up, collaborating with, uh, a podcaster of Zak's stature and experience. Very satisfying to me. And I loved being on a show and he's got a ton of great episodes that are short, that you can fit in into the weird places where you want to listen to a podcast, but you don't have the time.

Best advice show that's the one, go check it out. If this kind of thing, this worked for you, that show is going to work for you. Go check it. Massive. Thanks to the Yoni Wolf and the band WHY? for our jingle and theme music. Thanks to Conner Jones of Pending Beautiful for editing this show. Huge thanks to the CPT team, Ryan Appleton, Sophie Miller, Katie Chandler all making this happen every single week without me losing my mind. Um, so grateful and, uh, until we speak again, stay pepped up.