Film Agent Peter Trinh's Trick For Dealing With Burnout

Plus, the bedtime routine he has for his phones.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What's the first thing you do when you get out of bed? 
Peter Trinh: I tell Alexa (echo) to set a timer for ten mins so I can get back into bed for a little while longer.

TG: What gives you energy? 
PT: I recently gave up drinking coffee daily, so it definitely is not caffeine. Working out and/or surfing in the mornings, believe it or not, gives me a burst of energy and sends me off on the right path every day.

TG: What's your secret life hack? 
PT: Turn off our phone and devices once a week and appreciate being unplugged during that moment. Who knows? You could have an amazing discovery or insight realized during that time.

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 
PT:  “Tuesdays with Morrie.” It’s such a great story about friendship, mentorship and the bond people have. It made me realize how to further appreciate life, friendship and people more.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? 
PT: I actually have two. And no, they do not sleep with me. The reality is I’m dependent on them and appreciate how efficient they’ve made me, but when I go to bed, I go to bed and they are on silent and “resting too.”

TG: How do you deal with email? 
PT: Given that I get over 500 emails daily, I try not to get crazed by them. I go through all of them and briefly categorize them in terms of time sensitivity. Email is both a blessing and a curse. They’re a blessing in that you can get so much work and communication done these days because of email, but they’re a curse because they sometimes create a scenario where the sender believes the email is time sensitive and needs an immediate response when in fact the e-mail is not. Plus, everyone’s had that instance when they get an e-mail from someone they are not a fan of. In that instance, perhaps, the good old fashion response, “unsubscribe,” might work like a charm.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it? 
PT: I would call family or a friend to catch up and see what is going on in their life.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why? 
PT: A talent and literary agency work environment is pretty high volume and intense. Whenever I get on the verge of feeling burned out, I stop what i’m doing and let my mind take a break. Otherwise, I'd probably feel burned out a lot. Plus, the reality is you need to have fun while working. So don’t let yourself get burned out.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
PT: I believe there’s different types of failure. Failure because of not trying (i.e. making excuses, giving up…) or failure because of trying too hard or to reinvent something. Humans fail all the time but you shouldn’t fail because you did not try aka were lazy. You shouldn’t be afraid to fail. Maybe you are trying to innovate a deal/product or want to do something differently that you think is better. Once and a while I fail, for example, trying to reinvent a deal or precedent, and that doesn’t bother me one bit.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
PT: There’s a great small surf brand I have always loved called “Hawaiian island creations,” and their slogan is ‘enjoy the ride.’  I think it’s a great quote to use in life. Life’s a ride, enjoy it.

Peter Trinh is an agent (Managing Director) in the international and independent film department of ICM Partners, a talent and literary agency representing clients in the fields of motion pictures, television, publishing, music, theater, corporate branding and digital media. In his role at ICM Partners, Mr. Trinh, on top of being on teams for various clients throughout the agency, packages creative and financial elements to films and negotiates the distribution deals for independent films. He was named by Variety as one of “Hollywood’s New Leaders” in 2012 and Fade In Magazine’s “The Top 100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know 2013.”

Thrive Questionnaire, Career Advice, Advice

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!