Hello! This is Carl King. Maker of cartoons and music, and this is a trial run of a new format. I am going to try making a weekly podcast / blog where I talk about my creative process, productivity, and get a little bit philosophical. I’ll tell you what I’m working on, what I’m thinking about, and answer some questions submitted by you, the listeners and readers. There will also be the occasional interview, or anything else I see as valuable. Basically, it’s ALL THINGS CARL KING. If I feel like this first episode hits the spot, I’ll make more. So if you like this podcast, be sure to let me know by supporting me over on Patreon. That’s Patreon.com/carlking. Any money collected there goes towards supporting my independent albums, cartoons, and any other Carl King project I release.
Also, for the Q&A portion of this podcast, submit any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to answer in an upcoming episode. And since this is a hybrid podcast / blog, you can also read all of this on carlkingdom.com/blog. Now, onto the news…
First, a Carl King life update.
November was a dark psychological month for me. I was depressed and anxious and eating mountains of unhealthy food. Ever do that? Ever do some indulgent thing, because you expect it to make you feel better, but in the end you only feel worse? It’s insanity. Somehow when we’re depressed we do things that only reinforce the depression. I’ve learned that I’ve gotta trick myself and do the opposite. Force myself to do the things I’d do if I were feeling GREAT. So yeah, I discovered over here that I put on 20 pounds since the pandemic started around March. My clothes aren’t fitting me.
I decided ok, that’s enough of that nonsense. Gotta snap out of Mr. King. So… I’ve been back to cycling a few times a week. Like a lot of guys my age, I discovered the joy of putting on a tight bicycling outfit, clipping my special shoes into the fancy pedals, wearing a giant helmet and gloves and racing around with my butt in the air. I have an 18 mile ride I do around town, which takes me about an hour and a half… so yeah I’m not really racing. A nice pace of 12 mph in the sun shine. And the more heat the better. I love it. I also take breaks to do daily walks around the block, look at the trees. They’re turning yellow lately, I guess that’s a fall thing?
Add to that, I’ve gone back to eating a mostly whole food diet. That consists of a lot of raw or fresh foods, or at least foods that actually LOOK like food. Broccoli, greens, carrots, beans, rice, healthy soups, and small amounts of vegan meat. Yes, I am a weirdo vegan and it’s my least favorite topic. Anyway, I start the day by making a smoothie with banana, superfoods, and a bit of peanut butter. Delicious and keeps me going for a couple hours. I try to avoid heavy carbs and overly-processed stuff. That means no more wild feasts of Mac and cheese at 10pm. So far I’ve lost 4 of the 20 pounds in a week, so I’m hoping I can keep that up. The point is, I’m done being sick and depressed, and I’m getting my mental and physical health back under control. I recommend all of you out there join me, and do the same. Let’s all look like those models on the packs of tighty whiteys.
BEST OF FIVE: THE CLASSIC TETRIS CHAMPIONS
Up next, that Tetris Documentary. I’d like to thank everyone who backed the Kickstarter for BEST OF FIVE: The Classic Tetris Champions. I’m referring to a new documentary series by my long-time friend Chris Higgins. I’ve known him Since high school. He now has an insane beard and The campaign ended today! Chris was able to raise over $20k! Wow. And his goal was only $4000, so that’s an outstanding result. His plan is to release 6 episodes telling the story of the 2014 Classic Tetris World Championship, featuring some of the greatest competitive Tetris players in the world. I’ve been hired to score all the the music, and I’m looking forward to blending a bunch of orchestra, rock, and retro 8-bit sounds. In the 90s people complained that my music sounded like video games, so I’m hoping I can finally please the critics. This is gonna be a fun one! Find out more at http://www.BestOfFiveMovie.com
AMANDA TO THE RESCUE
One other small piece of Carl King News. One of my library music tracks was used on Animal Planet last year, in a show called Amanda To The Rescue. It was an episode called Frenchie Fix which was Season 2, Episode 10, and it happens around 7 minutes and 13 seconds in. Basically, I wrote some music tracks and licensed them to a production company that makes stock music available to TV and movies. If you’re wondering how much I get paid, I’m wondering that same thing. It might be as much as a couple hundred bucks, but ASCAP says they’ll be processing the cue sheet this month. It takes a while to get paid for this stuff, if at all. So now… onto the next segment.
THE SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS OF SELF-PROMOTION
This week’s Philosophical Thought… let’s talk about the self-consciousness of making something and putting yourself out there. Because here I am, making a podcast that is all about me… Carl King. And of course, the things I make. Music. Cartoons. Books. Whatever else. Right off the bat, I worry It might look self-centered, maybe even egotistical. People could think, hey, this guy must be an attention whore. Like, who is this LA d-bag talking about himself? He probably wears sunglasses indoors.
Well, if you don’t know, I am an EXTREME introvert. Any ability to advertise myself or get attention is 100% a learned skill. Like all creative people — and please realize, I don’t call myself creative as meaning anything special — I’d rather just make things and not have to market them. I know so many people who feel that way. All my friends do. Probably everyone does. So let me promise you, I have ZERO desire for attention from an audience, for the sake of stroking my ego or feeling important. I don’t want to be a star. I don’t want to be on a stage. I enjoy being kind of a nobody.
Promoting myself or a project is DRAINING in a BAD WAY. In fact, I feel like the act of marketing is almost like an Anti-Creativity. Yes, I know, it can be done creatively. But that feeling of someone WATCHING me, it shuts off my flow and stresses me out. I can’t work like that. I need to go away and be alone and do my thing, come back when it’s done. The pressure freaks me out. That said, I feel it is important, as an independent creator, to break through the algorithm and reach my specific audience. Can I reach enough people? Is Carl King interesting enough? Maybe he is!
If you asked my wife, she’d tell you I don’t talk enough. And I get that complaint a LOT in real life. it can be awkward. And I avoid talking about myself to others in real life, unless I’m having a crisis and need feedback. So, please understand that I am doing this Talking About Carl King on purpose, with much effort, using a skill, in order to reach you, my audience.
BUT… then critical voice comes in. Maybe you have heard this critical voice before… who cares what you do? Does the world need yet another podcast? It’s such a cliche. Everyone’s got a podcast. Or two podcasts. And probably three or four blogs. There’s probably more podcasts and blogs than people now. Or at least more podcasts and blogs than people who even consume podcasts and blogs.
Well, these things are simply tools, or containers. Like a phone, or a car, or a mouth. Most of us have these things, and the difference is what we use them for. Most people don’t listen to Joe Rogan because they need to consume a generic podcast product. They go there for… Joe Rogan. So, unless we have a mass delivery system for our creations — for instance, if we don’t have our cartoon characters on Adult Swim — we must get out there and act as the delivery system. As much as I don’t want to think this, my theory is that people are interested in other PEOPLE more than they are interested in THINGS. This bothers me A LOT, probably to no end, because I want to believe the creations should be enough. It feels like as a society we’ve ended up getting it backwards. But that’s how it is, and I don’t see it ever changing. Humans being interested in other humans more than things ACTUALLY makes sense. So, I’ve got to put Carl King, the person, out there. I think it’s a necessity, for CarlKingdom, this “Company of One” to have a platform. To bring you along for the ride with me. And preferably, outside of social media. Because who needs a robot to decide if you’re allowed to see your friend’s content?
Bottom line is… if you’re a creative person, and you want to be creative for a living, you probably have to BECOME the delivery system. Unless your creation can go viral and magically sustain you financially. Good luck with that. The way I see it, this podcast / blog is my marketing department for my creativity, starring Carl King. Can I do this once a week and sustain it? I don’t know the answer. Let’s find out. And now, on to updating you on my current creative projects that are in the works…
CURRENT CREATIVE PROJECTS
First of all, what is going on with That Monster Show? We released and promoted it all through October, and got 5,000 views on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a 13-minute animated pilot that I created and directed, and you can find it at ThatMonsterShow.com.
So… the next step is trying to sell it to a network like Netflix or Hulu or Shudder. I tried pretty hard for 6 weeks to find an agent but no luck. I’m talking with a producer who is interested in helping me, but we won’t be potentially starting on that until January. In the meantime, my artist and animator Lance Myers has been creating more stunning visual assets for me to use in what is called a Pitch Deck. It’s a fancy name for a Powerpoint that is used to convince development executives that you know what you’re doing. And I am pretty confident I do. I’m still finalizing that pitch deck, and if we’re lucky, we’ll get a chance to use it in some zoom meetings in 2021.
And if that doesn’t work, I will be releasing the rest of the season independently, seven episodes as an audio-only podcast, like an old Orsen Welles radio drama. They’re already written and partially recorded. If we go that route, I can hopefully get them ready in time for next Halloween. I’m proud of how the show turned out, and with enough funding, I’m confident I could make this into an ongoing series.
ANIMATED MUSIC VIDEO
I have this animated music video I have been working on for a friend since… you’re not going to believe this… 2012! Hey. That’s a long time. Earlier in the pandemic I ended up with a ton of time to work on it. I got 3/4 of the way done before I had to switch gears and release That Monster Show. But, the good news is that my skills have improved since 2012, and it’s looking pretty amazing. It combines 3D animation done in Blender and compositing in After Effects, as well as a bunch of Green Screen and 2D animated characters in Flash. It’s pretty surreal, and I am hoping to get back to work on that soon! Hopefully before the 10 year anniversary of starting!
And third, I’m working on a new orchestral music project. It’s a reworking of a piece of music by a notable rock musician, and I’m maybe 25% done. Since the piece was originally just drums, bass, and guitar, I need to elaborate on the arrangement a bit. I’m beefing up the counterpoint and even doing a bit of theme and variation. Adding my own ideas in there while trying to maintain the character of the piece, as if the original artist wrote it that way.. This was originally going to be another demo project for Vienna Symphonic Library, but now I’m releasing it myself. I hope to get it out there in the next couple of weeks.
So now, let’s do some Q&A. I asked some people to submit questions, or maybe I just made them up myself.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Harold Camping asks: What is your religion?
Thank you for your question, Harold Camping. As I said before, all questions are submitted by real listeners, definitely not written by me, so believe me, that truly is Harold Camping. Here’s my answer.
I often describe myself as “an atheist, but NOT AN ANGRY ATHEIST.” Here’s why: I don’t enjoy fighting with people, and I don’t look at myself as superior. It seems like atheism often means those two things? But wait, is that me saying that if I’m not an angry atheist, I’m superior to angry atheists? Hmm. Anyway, a few years ago I went through a phase of reading books by Richard Dawkins, and there is one called The God Delusion that converted me away from being what I call a mystic. I used to be pretty far out there into magical thinking, which is a topic for another time.
The other influence that led me to this point is my interest in evolutionary psychology, which I got into years before that. For me, evolution makes a ton of sense, and explains a lot of our behavior as mammals. I think It answers so many questions about how we behave. I want to point out again that I’m not an atheist as a reaction against religion. I have nothing against religious people. So if you’re religious, or spiritual, or magical, don’t feel attacked.
Now, the second part of my answer is that I consider myself a Lay Buddhist. Sounds kind of French, but it means I’m not a devout Buddhist who gives up the world and lives in a monastery. How did I get into this? Last year, I was going through some difficult times, and I found peace in some of the ideas of Buddhism. Mostly, this idea that as humans we are Suffering, the suffering is caused by this thing called an Ego, and since we’re all suffering, our goal should be compassion for everyone… especially our enemies. That is mega difficult to do on a daily basis, because I’m great at holding grudges, but it’s something I try to remember. Particularly, I know I am a victim of my own ego and fear. Keeping that under control is important for me. If you are also an atheist and interested in secular buddhism, check out the Buddhism Guide Podcast at BuddhismGuide.org. Good stuff. Now that I think about it, maybe calling myself a secular buddhist would be better than saying atheist. But I usually try to avoid the topic altogether unless someone asks. Thanks for the question, Harold Camping.
OK, now that we’re wrapping up this first attempt at a new format, I wanna say… if you enjoy hearing Carl King talk on a podcast, or enjoy my creative projects, head over to Patreon.com/carlking and sign up. My work is mostly self-funded. For instance, I spent $20,000 of my own money making That Monster Show Episode 1, which was a major problem. I can’t do that anymore. Of course, the dream is to someday find enough supporters that I can make cartoons and music and books full-time. Wouldn’t that be fun? Well, Thanks for listening to this episode, and if I get a good response, I’ll be back soon with another. You can read this podcast in its entirely, and find out about everything I do at http://www.CarlKingdom.com.