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Chew On This: Chewbode’s Blog
CARL KING THE HUMAN UPDATES
Very Good Friends of Carl King, I have just a couple of Carl King The Human Updates, and then we will officially get beginned.
1 – I’ve waking up and doing my Huberman Lab routine. That consists of walking a mile outside with no sunglasses at 8 am followed by a cold shower. In addition to that, I have been doing a ton of introspection, journaling, and mental therapy. I believe I have some combination of Autism and PTSD. Lately, that has made my life more difficult. Those two things seem to be intertwined, and I don’t know how to separate them. To make it even more confusing, I can’t seem to distinguish between my identity and those conditions. I’m starting to think they cannot be separated. The sensory issues are a big challenge, and they are causing me a heck of a lot of problems in the past week. My creative output has severely decreased. And that just has to happen while I try to make some progress.
2 – You might remember I have an animated pilot in the works called DragonTooth Inn. Lance Myers has been working on new drafts of the cover poster art. That’s right, we are still messing with it! There’s just one more major change I requested before he does the final pass. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing that current rough design on Patreon, so head on over there to see it.
Today, we’ve got another AUDIO-ONLY episode. It’s PART 4 of my Chat With Chewbode, my longest-term friend and creative collaborator. If you haven’t listened to Part 1 or Part 2 or Part 3, go back to Episode 62, where we talk about becoming friends and growing up in the swamps of South Venice, Florida — and Episode 64, where we talk about attending Venice High School and How Education Failed Us. And Episode 66, where we tell the story of D.E.M.I. (Device To End The Music Industry) and the filming of the Sir Millard Mulch Fake Ibanez Instructional Videos.
This time, we talk about:
The Lost Sir Millard Mulch Documentary
My Dabbling In Egomania
Advice Kevin Smith Gave Me
The Illusion of Fame
How I Think I Get Too Much Credit
As a reminder, Chewbode has been involved in most everything I’ve made… he’s contributed to all of my Carl King, Sir Millard Mulch, and Dr. Zoltan projects. As far back as designing the cassette J-card for my first demo tape, all the way through to story-editing my animated pilot That Monster Show. In this multi-episode conversation, we tell the story of our 33-year friendship — from riding the school bus as teenagers, to dressing up in business suits and selling a fake invention in New York City. Part Four begins now.
CHEWBODE PART 4
CK: We moved on to … we decided, “Let’s make a mockumentary about Sir Millard Mulch, about the real guy who is behind Sir Millard Mulch, named Paul K. Mavanu,” which is a fake real name because I wanted to protect my real name, Carl King, because I was still living in two worlds. I was working in advertising, graphic design stuff, and I didn’t want the two worlds polluting each other. Like I didn’t want my boss finding out that I was doing this wacky stuff on the side. And, the opposite. I didn’t want … in music it’s like I have to be cool. I can’t have an actual real job. I was separating those things, so I made up the fake real name, Paul K. Mavanu, and this was a documentary about the fake me. We called it Behind the Mulch, based on the format of Behind the Music.
Chewbode: The VH1 show.
CK: VH1 show.
CK: I remember that that process was pretty frustrating to you, because I wanted to jump in and just start filming without much plan in much the way we did the Ibanez thing. There wasn’t that much structure to it. It was pretty lightweight. But this ended up being a big project-
Chewbode: Oh yeah.
CK: … and we did a lot of work, and we interviewed maybe 15 people or something.
Chewbode: Close to that, yeah.
CK: Like long shoots, many hours long, with-
Chewbode: Sometimes multiple dates.
CK: … with tons of improv. We brought in really funny, smart people to play characters that we were interviewing about Paul, the fake me, revealing all of the bad things that are about Paul, about all these terrible things about me, supposedly. And luckily we picked a bunch of … as I was saying, a bunch of really great, strong comedic improvisors who could take lines and add their own twist to them and go a new place with them in adding to the mythology. And then we could go back and interview the other person and have them continue that story, building this entire myth, this backstory about this guy who didn’t exist, who played Sir Millard Mulch. Really weird concept. We described it to someone one time as, “There’s Peter Parker-“
Chewbode: Who’s behind Spider-Man.
CK: “… who’s behind Spider-Man, but then there’s Tobey Maguire who’s behind-”
Chewbode: Peter Parker.
CK: “… Peter Parker.”
CK: It was a multi-level thing that was very confusing. It got pretty chaotic. I went off into abstract artist land feeding off of all of this improv stuff and mythology and writing and trying to capture these people basically lying to the camera, which is what you were doing with D.E.M.I, and I was trying to create this … finding it in the process. And it started to build this mythology. We started to discover new things about Paul as we went, creating him as we interviewed people. We ended up with a major problem with this project, which is why it’s still stalled to this day.
Chewbode: To put a little color on this, this was 2005. We started shooting in the summer of 2005 with a lot of structure to our shoots. This wasn’t just, “Hey, let’s do this tomorrow.” We were planning a lot of stuff out, queueing people up. We were doing it the right way. We had documentation and paperwork people were signing for rights, all of this kind of stuff. So we were really trying to make this a very impressive foray into this. I think the last set of shoots that we did was probably January-February of 2006, because I knew we plowed through the Christmas season and then we picked up some stuff early the next year and that’s where things kind of started collapsing a bit.
CK: It stalled for really two reasons, and I forgot about the other reason, which was very important. Number one, it stalled because we got to the point where we had a 90-minute rough edit. Upon finishing that and looking at it, realizing we’re telling a false story like Spinal Tap, but we don’t have any footage of Spinal Tap. We only had the interviews, people talking about Spinal Tap.
Chewbode: Well, we didn’t have nearly enough. We had a little, tiny bit but not enough to tell a story.
CK: We had a little bit, but I wanted really strong visual component to it that actually shows Sir Millard Mulch and Paul doing these dumb things to represent it on the level that it was being talked about. I wanted the visuals to be as good as the stories that were being told, and realizing, “Oh man,” just the sheer amount of B-roll … Let’s say you have a 90-minute documentary, if you were to make half of that people talking but cutting away half the time to B-roll shots of footage of Millard doing something or whatever-
Chewbode: Out on tour or whatever, yeah.
CK: Yeah. That’s 45 minutes of visuals, which is very hard to create because I work in video production and when I create a B-roll shot, I typically aim for 12 seconds, and so if you take 45 minutes and divide it by 12 seconds, how many B-roll shots do you need to create? I don’t know what that number is off the-
Chewbode: And even further, we all know that what originally gets shot, you only use a portion of that, right? So there’s what’s on the cutting room floor-
CK: Yeah, and you never have enough B-roll when you shoot.
Chewbode: Never. Right.
CK: There’s never enough B-roll.
Chewbode: So it’s just a tremendous amount of work to get all that.
CK: Yeah. A huge amount of media and assets of graphic design, flyers, drawings, video footage, recordings of live shows, blah, blah, blah, and it was just like, “Oops, I didn’t think of that.” And we just paused. “Oh man.” And I-
Chewbode: We tried. We tried initially. We were trying to muscle through it, and we were trying to stretch the idea of, “How could we do this and do this?” And at one point you’re just like, “Chewbode, this isn’t going to happen. This is way too much work that has to happen,” and you had to convince me a little bit.
CK: But, I mean, I wanted to still do it but I was like, “We need to hold on this until we have the resources to actually tell the story,” because it’s a cool story. Okay, so second, let me just say the other reason it stalled, the process of making this thing actually was digging into my subconscious kind of like therapy and I had never been to therapy before about my childhood and about bad things that happened to me, tragedies, trauma that were buried in me that I was covering up and hiding from. And through the process of this, these things emerged and I was having people say those things on camera.
Chewbode: Literally right in your face. You were just offscreen and they’re telling you this to your face.
CK: Yeah, and it was the first time I heard it out in the world being spoken back to me-
Chewbode: Over and over again, too.
CK: Yeah, and watching footage of … And at first I was laughing, like, “Oh, this is genius. This is hilarious that I’m putting this in a documentary under a fake name talking about someone else, but it’s actually talking about me,” and then when the two things connected in my mind, I thought, “Oh my God, that stuff that I was pretending is about another person is actually true of me, or I actually believe that it’s true of me and it’s talking about me, and this is a documentary about me, and I didn’t realize that at first.” And then I’m like, “Oh no.”
Chewbode: When in the process did that hit you? Was it later, or-
CK: Sometime around July or so when we were recording the temp narration and stuff. The whole premise of this thing was about a … well, I’ll just say it here. Premise was about a person who was addicted to failing, and-
Chewbode: Yeah, the Sir Millard Mulch character.
CK: … self-sabotage. He wasn’t addicted to drugs, he wasn’t addicted to fame, he wasn’t addicted to whatever, like rock stars are. He was addicted to failing as a rock star, and then that all kind of collapsed on me because I realized, “Oh my God, that’s what I am. I’m sabotaging my own rock stardom in a way, my chances of achieving something. I’m working against myself all the time. I’m doing those things.”
Chewbode: Well it’s Devin’s wife’s comment echoing in your ear again.
CK: What was Devin’s wife’s comment?
Chewbode: “Why don’t you just use your powers for good?” You know what I’m saying?
CK: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, Devin Townsend, yeah.
Chewbode: Yeah, I’m sure … I mean, I’m not trying to speak for you, but I think … we’ve talked about this in the past and I think some of that introspection was like, yeah, we could have actually done something important instead of make D.E.M.I. Why are we doing these things? Why are we making silly stuff? Right?
CK: Yeah. And so, I had a moment where I was sitting there and I was working on Behind the Mulch and I was sitting at my desk in my office/bedroom/studio apartment thing behind my mom’s house, still living with my mom a year after I released How to Sell and was in all those magazines. A bunch of people kind of thought I was something, and I realized I was sitting at that same desk and nothing had changed and now I’m making a documentary about how I’m addicted to failure.
Chewbode: That your head’s underwater on because of the largeness of it, too, so there’s that weight as well.
CK: And I realized I can’t sit at this desk anymore. I have to physically get away from this desk, because I am going to be trapped here forever making documentaries about my failure. And it was like, “Oh my God, what am I doing?” And then I thought, “What kind of a person goes and gets a bunch of their friends to all talk negatively about them on camera?” And I was like, “Whoa, hold on. I need to go to therapy.” So, I went to therapy-
Chewbode: By the way, I didn’t know a lot of all this, what was going on, in real time. You explained that you had to take a break from it, but you didn’t really get too deep into it until after you had gone to therapy a little bit.
CK: Yeah. And so, this is ridiculous. I flew to LA and went to a famous therapist who … This is even more ridiculous. This was Ayn Rand’s boyfriend. I actually hired Ayn Rand’s boyfriend as my therapist, and it was so bad, the whole experience was so bad, to where he just [bleep] on me big time.
Chewbode: Tore you up?
CK: Yeah. Just pointed out how stupid I was and all this stuff. Just beat the crap out of me, and then I remember how … He was kind of old and he was really rich living in this fancy thing in downtown wherever. I remember he didn’t know how to operate the credit card machine, and I had to help him pay him-
Chewbode: Oh the irony.
CK: … for that horrible situation he just put me through. I just got crapped on by Ayn Rand’s boyfriend. How much higher can you go on the … in my mind, at the time, how much higher can you go? But what I considered the greatest psychologist in the world who was a famous psychologist who wrote all these books and dated Ayn Rand and stuff, who was … I was huge into Ayn Rand at the time, and I just lost it. I was like, “I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what I’m doing,” and I left my mom’s house and didn’t go back, and I moved in with Chewbode briefly on the couch, and I got a ride with Will Mayer, my friend who worked with us on a bunch of stuff, to go stay with Chris Higgins in Portland.
Chewbode: From the outside world, like whirlwind impulsive weird things going on, like, “Whoa, what’s going on here, man?” And you’re just like, “I’ve just got to take care of this. Bye.”
CK: I just left town one day, just like gone, moved to the West Coast. So that’s what happened with Behind the Mulch. It’s why it got put on hold forever.
Chewbode: Yeah. I don’t know if this is really irony. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not, but there was a piece of the concept of the Behind the Mulch where at the time Carl was really outgrowing the Sir Millard Mulch person and he got to a point where he realized that it was time to make a pretty big shift and get out from under that character.
CK: Can I just say real quick-
CK: … and I won’t go into this in detail, but there was a problem where I was having a hard time distinguishing what was Millard and what was Carl. I was actually having a problem there.
Chewbode: Which I wasn’t realizing at the time. To me it seemed more like, “Oh, I’m just kind of exhausted. I’ve outgrown it. That’s a kind of a kid, adolescent kind of feel to that character and it’s time to move on.” And you had been toying for a little while … I don’t know how much work you did on it. I can’t recall the timeline off the top of my head, but you had been doing some … you’d been fermenting the idea of Dr. Zoltan, and I don’t recall you actually had put anything out at that point. Maybe you had some stuff, but if you had done anything, it was all internal, I think, that we’d talked about and we were bantering around and-
CK: I was basically trying to rebrand, in a way.
Chewbode: Do you want me to say what-
CK: Go ahead, go ahead.
Chewbode: I don’t want to be a spoiler guy, but the concept ultimately, which was what jazzed me about the whole thing, was Behind the Mulch was basically the farewell to the Sir Millard Mulch character and it was going to bring Dr. Zoltan into the foray, and it was going to do that by essentially psychologically beating down the Sir Millard Mulch character to a nothingness, almost literally, throughout the narrative. And then literally the people, in part of the documentary and the narration of the documentary was literally going to be something along the lines of, “And he just disappeared, and we’re not entirely sure what happened, but narratively the Dr.-“
CK: “Here are some suspicions of what we think happened.”
CK: There was an interesting ending to it.
Chewbode: And there’s this other character now that’s out there that’s Dr. Zoltan that’s got this very mystical wizardry vibe about him maybe that we’re not quite sure of and there’s some other alien kind of weird stuff with this guy. We’re not sure about what all that means, and did he destroy the Sir Millard Mulch character or did the Sir Millard Mulch character jump through a portal and became Zoltan? It wasn’t defined at that point. That was a story element that was going to keep growing in the future.
It was a beautiful way of doing this, and it was literally beating Sir Millard Mulch out of existence. Unfortunately one of my best friends got all messed up doing this, and that was an unfortunate side effect. It was an unfortunate side effect that I didn’t realize actually had happened. And so from my perspective I’m looking at this and I’m like, “Man, this is great.” And a lot of the documentary was shot very off the top of the head through just notes that Carl had put together. He had a basic structure of what he wanted to do with certain characters and where he wanted the story to go, but at one point we just sat down and we talked about it.
My frustration, as you were calling it, wasn’t really frustration with the process in general. It was a need to … I felt like I was the guy in the background of the movie who’s got all of the blueprints under his arms and he’s racing to keep up with the designer, and the blueprints are falling to the ground and he’s having to stop and pick them up all the time. He’s the guy that’s got all the information and he’s keeping it together, but the other guy’s daydreaming and trying … I felt like I was just trying to keep up, because there was an extra layer of effort that had to be done with release forms and equipment checklists and make sure there was nothing in the gate, you know?
CK: And I don’t know how overtly disrespectful I was towards that stuff but-
Chewbode: You weren’t.
CK: … I definitely was disrespectful-
Chewbode: You weren’t overtly.
CK: … and I should have respected that.
Chewbode: Yeah, yeah. Well, I’m not upset about it. I wasn’t at the time either. It was just a … we had not done anything like this before, so we didn’t know, and I knew what I had to do to get things done because I was handling the majority of the technical stuff other than the audio recording you were taking charge of. We knew there were certain things we had to get down on paper and get certain things organized on set so that when we went to editing, we weren’t lost. And that got way more relevant, the bigger the system in this project got. And so I was just feeling the pressure, question mark, of just being like, “I don’t want to be dropping any ball and make it so that when we get to editing, Carl’s like, ‘Oh, Chewbode, we can’t use any of this,’ or something, like, ‘Oh damn, that person’s not going to be able to reshoot anything and we’re screwed now,'” or whatever.
I was trying to just avoid making a big project even bigger and more painful, and I was stressing myself out over that. So that’s kind of where my stress level came. It was all self-imposed, really, racing to keep up with a genius mind.
CK: I definitely don’t like to consider … I would never think of myself as that and I hope that I never put that across. I remember when I was, I think, going to record the Dr. Zoltan album in Northern California. I ran into Kevin Smith.
Chewbode: Yep, the director-writer, yeah.
CK: The writer-director, one of me and Chewbode’s favorite people growing up, watching his stuff and being-
Chewbode: Bit of a hero to us, yeah.
CK: Yeah, and I was struggling at the time … This was never said but it was a struggle with my relationship with Chewbode creatively, and I asked Kevin Smith for advice. I walked up and I said, “Hey, I’m a big fan and do you mind if I ask you a few career advice questions?” He put his newspaper down. “Sure, man. Sit down,” or whatever, in the Kevin Smith voice. And I sat down on the edge of a seat really nervous and I was like, “So, I wondered if when you’re working with people, do you ever feel bad that it’s your ideas that … you have so many smart, creative people around you. Do you ever feel bad that it’s your ideas that they are doing?” And I was like, “Why your ideas instead of theirs?”
Because the way I saw it, Chewbode’s a genius, and sometimes I felt really conflicted that Chewbode was, in a way, working for me on my ideas. And I always felt in so many departments inferior to Chewbode in a lot … We had our ways of, “Oh, I’m better at this, you’re better at that,” but it always felt like, “Oh, I have this genius who is carrying around the blueprints and I’ve got these dumb ideas and he’s helping me make them when I should be helping him probably sometimes.”
Chewbode: I wasn’t the only person. There’s other people that were carrying the blueprints for a long time too.
CK: Yeah. I felt terrible inside about it but I also felt like, “I need to get these ideas done, and I feel they’re important and I’m glad that Chewbode and others are helping me with them, but I also feel bad because, man, their ideas are great too, but my name is often going on stuff,” or Sir Millard Mulch’s name. Anyway, I explained that in a very simple way to Kevin Smith and was like, “How do you overcome that feeling that, ‘Why do your ideas get to be made instead of your creative friends’?” And he just said, “Well, it’s pretty simple. I write a script. If they like it, they help me make my script. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to help me.” And he just kind of looked at me, just like, “Anything else?” It was just like this moment of, “Wow, okay. I guess it’s that simple. If Chewbode wants to help me, he can help me, or not.”
My point is, I was dabbling in egomania at certain times and I was kind of struggling with that. Especially during the Sir Millard Mulch stuff, on whatever tiny microsuccess I had, I was battling against … I remember going to a music festival in Philadelphia. There was this girl looking at me. “Oh, what’s going on there? Why’s she looking at me?” And then it kind of got awkward because I’d look around and then I’d look back and she’d be looking at me, and I’d be like, “Whoa, okay, what’s that … girls don’t look at me. I don’t know what’s happening here.” And she turned to this … then she started talking to this guy and talking to him and pointing at me.
Chewbode: Oh boy.
CK: And I was like, “Wait, is this guy now mad because he thinks I looked at his girlfriend or his daughter or something?” Like, “Am I in trouble?” And the guy and the girl walked up to me and the guy said, “Hey, my daughter here is a really big fan of yours and she wondered if she could take a photo with you.” And I’m like, “What?”
Chewbode: Where in the world did this … How did these worlds collide?
CK: Yeah, and so the guy is like, “Yeah, she knows all about you and got all your records and she thinks it’s really cool that you’ve been doing stuff with Steve Vai and she’s read all these magazine things. And I’m like, “Oh no, they think Sir Millard Mulch is real.” I didn’t have enough money to … I got there and then I ran out of money and crashed my credit card, and this festival is in a fancy hotel, and the guy is going on and on. He’s like, “Yeah, I bet you got a nice room in this hotel here. Bet they’re treating you real fancy here. This is pretty cool. What are things like out in the rock star world out in LA?” and all this stuff. And I’m just like, “Oh man, this is embarrassing. He thinks I’m a big deal.”
Chewbode: But at the same time, that’s exactly what you wanted to happen, is you wanted that separation-
CK: Right, and then I felt terrible when it was actually happening, when someone believed it. Then the guy kind of pushed his daughter off on me, like, “Here, why don’t you guys go and go hang out somewhere,” thinking that maybe I was going to-
Chewbode: Buy her a sports car or something, yeah.
CK: Pushing his daughter off on the rock star, kind of weird thing, like, “Wait a minute, this guy is … he’s totally wrong about what he thinks is going on here.” I remember having to call my mom that night. “I’m going to have to sleep in the car because I don’t have any money. Is there any way you can wire me money or put money on my credit card somehow?” And I couldn’t even get home. I was like, “[bleep] I’m stranded in Philadelphia in a rental car that I can’t pay for. I screwed up.”
Chewbode: Wow, perception.
CK: And this illusion of … even on that small level really messed with my head and I was like, “I can’t do that. That’s not okay with me.” And so this idea that Chewbode is the guy carrying the blueprints for the genius over there, no way, absolutely not. And I wanted to say that sometimes I get too much credit for a lot of the projects I’ve done. Like people think the How to Sell album was all me, which it wasn’t. I had two really important co-writers, Martin Pursley and Ian Koss. They wrote tons of the lyrics, the concepts for songs. We would split, collaborate on ideas. Chewbode has done a ton of stuff over the years. So this idea of Sir Millard Mulch might not actually be the creator of a lot of Sir Millard Mulch stuff.
I almost want to right that wrong, in a way, you know? Because I have gotten so many people come up to me and say, “Oh, I love that song you wrote about such-and-such,” and I have to tell them, “Oh, I didn’t write that one. That was my friend Martin who lives in Maryland somewhere that you’ve never heard of, and he’s a genius, and you should go look him up.” I absolutely don’t want to ever perpetuate that myth.
Chewbode: I can understand where you’re coming from with that. I think what I’d add to that is what maybe people don’t realize is all the collaborations we’ve worked on and stuff that I’ve seen be worked on between other people and you, if I had any type of insight at all at the time, what I’m seeing is more of you’re the guy that has the momentum, and that is 80% of the game sometimes, and maybe most of the times. I think if you’re the one that is literally cheerleadering this and saying, “All right, we got to get this done, this is going to be a cool idea,” you’re really banging the drum to get this thing going, other people just naturally are going to be like, “Okay, this is something he’s passionate about. We don’t know what the impetus is necessarily, but it’s some sort of creative thing that he wants to thrust upon the world. Let’s go ahead and help him out.”
By virtue of that occurring, we give you the ownership of that, and we say, “Well, clearly you feel very passionate about this, where you’re steering the ship, and we’ll help you do whatever you need to get done.” So, I don’t think … at least from my perspective, I guess I can’t talk about the other guys that we’ve worked with, but from my perspective I’ve never seen it ever like that. And so you don’t have to apologize to me from that perspective. It’s always been something where our relationship of creating content and all these kinds of things really is a direct result of the fact that I don’t drive a lot of stuff, and I don’t have as much freedom, I guess … That’s a bad word, but I feel like there’s more constraints upon my time and the amount of brainpower I can put toward certain things. There’s a large barrier to entry in certain projects for me that aren’t worth the effort.
That’s where when you involve yourself in something and say … you almost have no barrier to entry. You’re just going to make it happen, and we go, “Yeah, let’s do that.” If the shoe’s on the other foot, you’d never have any projects you are working on because I just don’t have that bandwidth to be able to push the big projects. I can contribute and I can be partners and stuff and things like that, but you’ve always been the one that’s been the mastermind, if you will, on getting the ball rolling and pushing it and making sure it gets done, and I think that’s where the credit usually … That’s probably why you feel like it’s … people think you’re the genius behind it. I mean, in the inner circle.
CK: But a lot of times it’s also because my name goes up front and I’m the one pushing it.
Chewbode: Because you’re the one pushing it. Yeah, yeah. And to be honest with you, too, it’s usually projects that are chaining off of other projects. It’s the next album, it’s the next video, it’s the next … So it kind of naturally feels like that’s a progression.
CK: I don’t know what word to use, but you use the word “momentum.” Maybe that’s a good word. I think that on some level I do recognize that I have some sort of a “Let’s do this” kind of thing. I don’t know what that is or how to define it exactly because I’m not exactly a super positive cheerleader. I’m not like, “Come on, guys. This is going to be great.” But it’s more like, “I really want to make this thing. Can you help me make this thing? And it would be really cool if you could do this somehow. And I’m going to do it.”
On some level I have a fearlessness about that where I … I’m not that afraid to fail in public putting stuff out there. I can make a song with me singing pretty bad and I’ll put it out there and promote it everywhere and let everybody hear me singing really bad, and I think that’s a barrier for a lot of people because they’re … I think, psychologically, they’re like, “Well, what if no one likes it? What if it’s not a winner? What if it doesn’t succeed? Why should I do it?”
Chewbode: And sometimes it’s scope, right? Like, “Okay, an animated pilot to a TV show. Holy cow, that’s a lot of work.” And granted, you’re not the one necessarily drawing everything. You’ve hired someone to do that and you’re not doing all the voicework. You’re hiring people to do that. But you step back and look at that, you’re like, “That is a big, big thing going on there. That’s a lot of work. That’s many, many hours and lots of money and blah, blah, blah. I can’t devote my time to starting something like this. That’s too big of a pill to swallow, too big of a bite to take right now.” And that’s kind of where I come from, is, thank God you’ve got the vision to be able to want to do those things and you’ve got the energy to want to push that forward. People like me are just lucky enough to get a ride. Otherwise, if you were like me, and had a similar life to me and had the same kind of thought pattern as me from that perspective, we wouldn’t have done a tenth of the things we’ve done.
CK: I’ve always seen it as an equal creative team but then where I come in in the last 10% and make the decisions of what gets cut or stays, and-
Chewbode: You’re like the director.
CK: Yeah, and it’s weird though because I never want to put myself above the other people I’m working with. I do not like that feeling.
Chewbode: Well the people who don’t like them can screw off. The rest of us will have fun, you know?
CK: I wanted to see that there’s something to this concept of bootstrapping. I don’t know why but I have always had this idea of building my own thing kind of small scale, making it work, proving the concept and then scaling it, sort of. I really believe in finding out if you can do something by just doing it and just jumping in and starting it. And I think maybe a lot of times that’s what kind of drives you crazy, because it’s like where I’m like, “Let’s discover this project as we work on it,” start with the end and say “I’m going to make an animated pilot,” and then go back to the beginning and say, “How do we make an animated pilot?” Or work backwards from, “We have a finished product.”
Chewbode: With all those steps that are involved, yeah.
CK: And a lot of times I find that people think the opposite way where they’re like, “Well, first I have to be able to draw, and I can’t draw, so I can’t do it,” or something like that. It’s like thinking forward versus thinking backwards. So maybe that’s somehow what I bring to the whole thing. Looking back at so many of these projects we’ve done, many of them not well received, some of them financial disasters. We have had so many brilliant, really quality ideas that are worth exploring and expressing but that often, ever since we were 15 years old, a lot of times we’ve lacked the resources in the time that we needed them to be able to execute them. But it’s interesting to now look at you and I are pretty successful project managers, basically, and we can execute huge projects if we need to. So it’s interesting to think that now where we are in life is we could take that 15-year-old kid in us if we can find him again and we can take him through and execute the thing, because now we do have resources. It’s just that we’re more selective now, like what you were saying where-
Chewbode: Time’s a constraint now.
CK: Yeah, like, I’m not going to jump in and spend six months on a project unless I do think there’s a good chance of it being something. And so it’s cool to just reflect on that. We have made so much progress in our storytelling, our skills-
Chewbode: Our organizational skills, you mean.
CK: Our organizational skills, mainly. On so many levels, we’ve developed better taste, better communication skills to present something, and I think that if we live long enough, we’re going to continue to make some really cool stuff, and something is going to work out.
Chewbode: We had a lot of fun doing a lot of what we’ve done. I don’t think we’re done. As a matter of fact, you and I have been talking about some stuff here and there, and I’ve had a sea change a bit in how I can handle my time lately that will benefit me in being able to contribute more into things as well as potentially starting to create some more of my unique stuff that I’m going to make you involved in, and kind of flip the script a bit. I think that collaborative process is going to continue. It’s just a matter of, what’s the next thing? Someday we’re going to look back and we’re going to see something that we’re going to want to resurrect and redo, or we’re going to say, “That was a funny concept, let’s do another chapter of that,” or whatever.
CK: That’s the thing, is that so many of these core ideas we had, these premises for things, whether it was a book barbecue or D.E.M.I. or whatever, maybe it wasn’t executed in the best way because we just didn’t have those skills for executing something, but it might later exist as a comedy sketch or a multimedia thing or whatever. Our core creative ideas, I think, are really clever and good-
Chewbode: Yeah, I agree.
CK: … and it’s our execution that continues to try to keep up with … How do we express these great ideas?
Chewbode: We have to always keep in mind, we’ll get better at doing these things but we can’t go to a point where it makes it not funny or cool, it’s too technical or something, or it’s not a funny inside joke to us anymore or whatever the case might be, which there’s been plenty of that. I think a lot of the stuff that happened in the stuff we’ve done in the past is-
CK: I feel like so much has just gone over people’s heads because it’s just inside jokes.
Chewbode: Yeah, but that’s-
CK: And that’s a big learning curve of, “Maybe we need to dial that back a bit or find a way to get people in on the jokes,” because Oracle of Outer Space, I could make a list of the hundred inside jokes, because it’s just inside joke after inside joke.
Chewbode: Yeah, rapid fire.
CK: Someone watches it and they’re like, “I don’t understand any … There’s no reference-”
Chewbode: There’s a lot of stuff I don’t understand and I’m on the inside.
CK: I don’t understand what’s happening at all. Yeah. I mean, I felt that when I watched the rough cut the first time. I was like, “Oh no, I can’t even make sense of this. I don’t know what’s happening, and I wrote it.” I didn’t write all of it, but I wrote a lot of it.
Chewbode: Yeah. There’s a lot of room to keep getting better at what we’re doing, and I think spending the time to talk about these things now is a bit fortuitous because I really feel like I’m going to be able to be doing some stuff in the near future. Like I said, I’ll have a little bit more drive even than you on certain projects and bring you in. We’ve talked a little bit about some of these things, to a degree, and I know you’ve got stuff that is percolating for you that you want to get out there in the world too. So, I think there’ll still be a bunch of fun stuff, and it’s just different. It’s the same energy we’ve had, but with some extra wisdom and stability now into how we handle these things.
CK: And more selective.
Chewbode: And more selective. Right, yeah, yeah.
CK: We were just firing off any whim back then when we were 15. So, this is what, 33 years?
CK: That we’ve been getting together and working on weird stuff.
Chewbode: We’re old men. Yeah.
CK: Yeah. That’s amazing.
Chewbode: But it also goes to show you that it can be done.
Chewbode: Again, we haven’t had huge critical success but some of that is not the point, too. Sometimes it’s-
CK: It’s also the learning process and the changes that you go through while doing the stuff. The creative process expands your understanding of the world.
Chewbode: Yeah. Every time you do a project, you’re learning something new that you can apply to another project, make it better.
CK: Yeah. Well, thank you, Chewbode, for 33 years, I guess, of-
Chewbode: Of hell. Oh, and I mean-
CK: … of chaos and order.
Chewbode: Yeah, oddly.
CK: Dang. Chewbode.com? Is it there?
Chewbode: Chewbode.com exists. It’s-
CK: It occasionally goes through changes or-
Chewbode: It’s pretty stable now but it’s basically a personal … It’s kind of a little, tiny peek into my personal life but it’s more of the kind of things I’m interested in, and it doesn’t get updated very often. I don’t know, if I get some extra interest maybe I’ll update it a little bit more frequently, but yeah, that’s pretty much it. I don’t really have much else out there right now.
CK: Thank you again for everything, and thank you for continuing to help me with my weird ideas, my crazy ideas.
Chewbode: Thanks for having me on.
And that’s the end of Part Four, the final episode, of my Chat With Chewbode. Head over to chewbode.com to see what Chewbode is Chewing On, In His Abode.
OK, that’s the end of this Episode of the Carl King Show. Remember to subscribe on Spotify, Apple, YouTube, or anywhere else you consume to these dang episodes.
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