Jon Schnepp: The Carl King Podcast

(Transcription by Eric Alexander Moore.)

CK: Hello. This is Carl King talking on the Carl King Podcast. Quick shout outs to my endorsement logos, Ernie Ball, Fractal Audio and TuneTrack, and then we’re getting right down to business. You won’t believe this, but Jon Schnepp and I are both running Kickstarters at the moment. He’s running a campaign to fund the publishing of a new original superhero comic book called Five. That’s spelled F-I-V-E. And I am running a Kickstarter to fund my new Adult Swim-style animated TV show pilot, The Oracle of Outer Space, which Jon will be starring in as a voice actor, along with Dweezil Zappa, cosplayer Joanie Brosas, Ebony Amber, Clarke Wolfe and more to be announced soon. So, head over to and search for the word Five, that’s spelled F-I-V-E, to fund Jon’s comic book, and to get to mine, you can go straight to

Today’s episode is a 100 minute marathon in which we talk about our current and past projects, diet, spelled D-I-E-T, motivation, creative freedom and Jon even goes on a few tangents about movies all while riding around Hollywood on his motorcycle.

• • •

CK: I’m here behind a restaurant in Hollywood with Mr. Jon Schnepp.

JS: What’s up, Carl?

CK: I’m very sleepy and I’m fighting it.

JS: Oh man. It sucks to be sleepy.

CK: Are you sleepy at all?

JS: I am not, but I had a good night’s sleep, so …

CK: Do you ever fight the sleepiness?

JS: I do.

CK: As you get older? We’re getting old.

JS: Oh yeah, all the time. I’m watching a TV show, I’m like, “I’m falling asleep while I’m watching the show,” which is … normally that doesn’t happen.

CK: Yeah, because that’s the thing you’re excited about.

JS: Yeah, you’re like, “I can’t wait to get to this program,” and now I’m tired while I’m watching it. But I’m not tired right now, especially because I’ve been drinking all this coffee.

CK: Oh good. By the way, does coffee mess with you at all physically or can you just keep chugging it? How much do you drink?

JS: So much of it, I can keep chugging it. I love it. It is my drug of choice and-

CK: Oh my God.

JS: … it doesn’t really mess with me. I mean, I just … I love being amped up, so it’s a good thing. When I’m writing or drawing-

CK: Yes.

JS: … I go to a coffeehouse. I like to be outside in an environment where there’s stuff going on, but then I could constantly get a refill of coffee and keep writing weird shit or drawing weird shit.

CK: Yeah. It amazes me what types of things we can come up with when we’re jacked up on caffeine that might not have otherwise happened.

JS: Yeah, and then if you’re too fucking jacked up then you’re sort of like … you might be overthinking or thinking about nothing, but then you can just let that be something, you know?

CK: You might think what you’ve done is really cool and then look back on it. I guess it’s kind of that way with people who do other drugs and stuff.

JS: Yeah, that’s not as … It’s less like that with coffee. I’m usually-

CK: But with coffee it’s like enthusiasm for me. I’m like, fucking excited about whatever I’m working on at that moment. I’m like, “I’m going to make five documentaries today.” You know?

JS: Yeah, I don’t think … but with some other drugs that you were mentioning that we won’t go into details with, maybe you’re talking about something that seems really cool but it’s really not or you’re talking about kind of vacant ideas but filled with a lot of words. I think it’s less so with coffee. I think you can really kind of almost tunnel vision focus whatever it is you’re doing.

CK: Yeah.

JS: I think that’s what-

CK: Yeah, that’s true.

JS: At least for me, that’s how coffee works.

CK: That’s true. I used to write a lot of music in college sitting between practice spaces, so there would be somebody playing piano and somebody be playing saxophone in stereo on sides of me and I would sit there and write my music.

JS: Sure, and you’re feeding off of that sonic dissonance. You’re like, “Oh, oh, oh yeah.” I like that.

CK: It was good. It worked. We’re both doing Kickstarters.

JS: Yes.

CK: I want to ask you about yours. You have this enigmatic title. I think it’s called The Five? Or just Five?

JS: No, just Five.

CK: Just Five.

JS: Yeah.

CK: But it has only four letters.

JS: Yes.

CK: That’s kind of weird.

JS: That is weird.

CK: Why did they do that?

JS: I have nothing to do with that spelling. There should have been a P-H-I-V-E, phive. Yeah. Well, it’s a comic book that I’ve been thinking about writing for many years and it touches on a lot of different … of my favorite subjects in comic books. Not just superheroes or the idea of being transhuman or superhuman, metahuman, but it also deals with horror and science fiction elements of comic books. One of my favorite runs ever is Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing.

CK: Oh yeah.

JS: As well as Miracle Man. So he really kind of did his horror take and then he also did his superhero take, and so …

CK: Are you getting into a dirty bathtub in the mud and the weeds and stuff when you write like Alan Moore did with Swamp Thing?

JS: Nope. No. [inaudible 00:05:09]

CK: I think I saw you flopping around in a trashcan behind this place?

JS: Yeah, trash, not bathtubs, yeah. It’s dumpster diving, but … Yeah, so this is sort of … I feel like I just kind of wanted to do a different take because the more I’ve been reading a lot of more recent comics, the more I’ve been looking for a take on all of my interests, so I was sort of like, “Well, why don’t I just do it?” Because I’m not getting it. I’m getting different people’s takes on certain things, and also I sort of felt like I love the character of the Batman and I love the Fantastic Four and I love especially certain versions of those characters done by certain writers and drawn by certain artists. So, I’ve got my own stories with those characters in them and I felt like I’d probably … It’s really tough to get to work for DC or Marvel, so I just started to mutate my own stories and transform them, and then I was like, “Well, I should just combine them.” So then that’s kind of what I did, is I made Batman part of the Fantastic Four.

CK: Wow.

JS: Which is why it’s called Five.

CK: Oh.

JS: And it’s also playing with certain tropes that happened in Movies-

CK: Have you said that publicly about what it is or in the Kickstarter or anything?

JS: I said it’s what if Batman was part of the Fantastic Four or what if Batman joined the Fantastic Four. I’ve been very enigmatic about it because really it’s like a composite version of a whole bunch of different kind of vigilantes, like that kind of mindset. So it’s not specifically Batman but it’s also not specifically the Fantastic Four. It’s like a lot of different kind of superhero origins that all happen. But it is definitely … there are family members involved in this and it’s a larger group of people. There’s basically 13 people who get kind of mutated and/or transformed by this event that happens, and of those 13, five of them kind of join together to become sort of like a team. So I’d almost call it a little more like Challengers of the Unknown which is a comic book that Kirby did before the Fantastic Four, but this one has a lot of other kinds of science or science fiction elements to it.

I’ve also wanted to do a comic where I could have giant robots fighting giant monsters but also be really savage and kind of as realistic as something like that which is obviously totally Godzilla-style, but take it really deadly serious. So I’m kind of having fun with all the things that I loved as a kid, but then kind of writing them as an adult and a little more serious. It’s not going to be with zero fun or zero … There’ll be a sensibility to it but it’s definitely not the Marvel style and it’s definitely not like what I might call a DC style, where it’s like … I don’t know, I feel like as I’m writing it right now, it’s like it’s not … not everyone is psychologically damaged and brooding in a corner or something, but I definitely have a couple of these characters who’ve gone through a lot of stuff and are still going through stuff, still going through situations.

So it’s not like a supervillain every episode. I’m not writing it like that. It’s more like a series of things happen to these people and now they are all reacting to it in different ways, both positive and negative, and that’s where the story starts and we go from there.

CK: A lot of motorcycles out here.

JS: I know. “I’m on a motorcycle, yeah!”

CK: “Everybody look at me.” What is your actual process when you write one of these things? Because I see you in there, when I got to the restaurant, you’re back there, you’re drawing these panels and everything. You’re drawing the comic. What happens before that and how do you formulate these things? On paper? Notes?

JS: Yeah, you know, for myself-

CK: Scripts?

JS: Yeah, I started out, the last couple of years I’ve been writing a bunch of different comic books. I wrote the Slayer comic and I just wrote a kind of a one-shot for Zenescope which is like a kind of a Tales from the Crypt comic that I wrote.

CK: What do you mean by a one-shot? What is a-

JS: It’s just one episode, so it’s a self-

CK: An episode of what-

JS: It’s called Tales of Terror, I’m pretty sure.

CK: Oh, okay.

JS: It’s a Zenescope new comic book.

CK: Wasn’t that the guys that you did some stuff with a few years ago?

JS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I did a Grimm Fairy Tales animated pilot-

CK: That was it.

JS: … with them, and so, yeah, I just … After I finished writing the Slayer comic, I kind of was asking around to a few different companies because it was like it’s like kind of getting into this writing kick, so I wanted to explore, and they were like, “Hey, we’ve got a rough idea if you want to jump in on that.” I don’t even know if I successfully followed their rough idea, but they were cool with it, so it was like they’re like, “Well, you didn’t really do that,” because I handed in the script. I was like, “Here it is,” and they were like, “All right, but it’s good.”

But yeah, so my process is sort of like as I’m thinking about the rough idea or the rough story, then I start to come up with characters and motivations for those characters and who they are, what happened to them, and how they interrelate to the other characters. And then as storylines or characters come to me, I’ll just write them in my phone. Like I just have a notes page where I just keep adding to it. So, over the course of a couple months I’d been working on this and I didn’t even really have a title or a name for it yet. I just knew, I was like, “Oh, hopefully by the end of this year after I do my poetry book, I’ll launch this comic book,” because those are the two things I really wanted to do this year was I wanted to get my poetry book published and then I wanted to write my own independent comic book.

So, as I moved forward and got the comic more shaped out, I started to write out scenes. Scenes would come to me, and that’s how all of my writing is. I think about stuff and then I don’t think about it for a while, and then I’ll be out doing something and then a scene will come to me. It’ll get triggered by something and then I’m like, “I’ve got to write it down.” So I instantly go to my notes and I write the scene down, and it doesn’t even have to be fleshed out. It just has to be the scene.

Sometimes I don’t even know which character it is for. Sometimes it’s like I know which character it’s for, but a lot of times it’s like a situation or a scene or a conversation that relates to the general story. So that’s kind of where I’ve been for the last month.

CK: But I mean you sort of make the start and endpoint of the container of the project and then throughout your day you’ll see things that trigger and start filling in the details kind of?

JS: Yeah, with no particular place. I don’t know if it’s going to be in episode one or episode two or episode three. There’s five issues, but the one thing I did know is I’m structuring each issue as in an act, like as a five act movie. So each issue is like act one, act two, act three, act four, act five, which a lot of blockbuster films now have … act two is literally act two-three, and act three is act four-five. So it’s like there’s these semi-climaxes which are not real climaxes, and certain things are figured out but a lot of things aren’t. So I just thought it would be kind of a fun way to approach that with that kind of a writing style but I’m also kind of, especially within the first issue, jumping back and forth in time. Not time travel but just years and days and things like that.

And the other thing, too, is a little bit of how I’m structuring the fourth issue is because this is sort of a … it’s an introduction to these characters who are the Five, but it’s also an introduction, too, about four other characters who are all part of this but also kind of spin out into their own stories. So, that’s why I’ve been promoting it like, “Hey, I’m launching my own comic book universe,” because-

CK: I saw that, yeah.

JS: … that’s kind of the idea, is after I get this one done… and a comic book company has already said they would publish it for me, so after I get these initial five issues finished, and I’m going to be laying them out. I’m not 100% sure I’m going to draw or pencil all of them. I know I’m laying them out and doing breakdowns for every single page-

CK: So are these the breakdowns that you are doing right now? Just sort of these-

JS: No, those are super rough layouts. Like the actual breakdowns, I’ll be doing on a comic book page, like an actual, full page. It depends, though. I mean, I asked for the bare minimum as far as for my Kickstarter. Like what is it going to cost to print five different comic book issue ones with five different covers? So I have all these amazing artists contributing a cool cover for each of these variants. Then how much is it going to cost for making the trade paperbacks and hard covers and a couple of these one-shot, one-offs? I didn’t go crazy. I don’t want to, “Here’s a patch, here’s all this other stuff.” I was like, “I’m just going to keep it very specific to the item,” because that’s where with the Death of Superman, I still owe people in Europe posters because it was so expensive. I’ve ran out, I didn’t have the money to send them, so I’ve literally got … everyone got their Blu-ray, everyone got the DVD. All the people in America got the posters except for about 20, so it’s been like this piecemeal thing, you know? Years later a lot of people are still like, “Where’s my stuff?”

It’s like, everyone’s going to get all their stuff. It’s just so expensive, and that’s one of the things that since this was a little early on in Kickstarter’s universe where it’s like … I mean, I remember even the year before that, I remember with Grimm Fairy Tales, they were like, “Here, get this key chain and all this other-“

CK: Oh man, yeah.

JS: “… crazy stuff,” and you’re like, “Oh man, what a nightmare.” So it’s just for myself-

CK: And here’s the other thing that people might not realize when you’re doing all of these different items, if you don’t ship them out at the same time, that’s another shipping fee to ship the key chain-

JS: Well that’s what I mean, yeah.

CK: … then to ship the poster, then to ship the Blu-ray. And I got in a little bit of trouble for my last project because I waited until I had enough of the things all at once because I wanted to ship everything at once, but people started complaining, and I was like, “All right, I’m just going to eat it. I’m just going to have to do multiple shippings.”

JS: Yeah, but it really sucks because when you’re shipping something that you had accounted for being $2.64 and then it’s two costs of $10 each, you’re like, “Oh, each one costs $20,” so it’s almost like you’ve just lost half of the money you raised on Kickstarter. So I’m trying to be really smart about that as far as like-

CK: Luckily most people are supportive and understanding that they’re doing this thing because they’re going to support the artist and the creative person and-

JS: Yeah.

CK: … that’s why I do it.

JS: That’s why I do it too.

CK: I don’t give a shit if somebody sends me their thing or whatever.

JS: With my poetry book, I was like, “Look, I’m going to get this poetry book done and it’s going to take a little bit of time.” And so I just give people updates like I’m doing … each chapter has an art piece that I’m doing an art piece for. Originally it was going to, “Hey, I’ll get it done in San Diego Con.” Well now it’s New York Con and then it’s like it’ll be definitely around Christmas or somewhere around there, but everyone’s been like, “Look, we bought it because we want this thing from you. You don’t need to rush it. Don’t deliver it in six years, but we’re cool as long as you keep updating us.” So that’s kind of been my approach and that’s why I like with the comic book, the bare minimum is what it is but it’ll take me … It takes about a day to pencil a page, to fully pencil something-

CK: Yeah, wow.

JS: … so I’m hiring an inker and a colorist and a letterer, but I would like to hire a penciler but I’m just not sure I’ll have all that money. So that’s kind of where I’m at, where it’s like I’ll figure something out but ultimately right now I’m just concentrating on the story and how it’s all going to play out, and it’s pretty exciting and it’s really fun, so it’s like … It’s looking good too. The Kickstarter’s about 58% funded-

CK: That’s really good.

JS: … as of today and there’s about two weeks left-

CK: Yeah, so you’re halfway through and it’s halfway funded, that’s great.

JS: Yeah.

CK: Something popped into my head when you were talking about this stuff, and I don’t remember if we talked about this before, but I remember clicking on your Kickstarter profile and it showed how many Kickstarters you’ve supported.

JS: Yeah.

CK: And it was like somewhere around 100, and that’s unbelievable. How many people support 100 Kickstarters, you know? That’s amazing.

JS: Well, me.

CK: Yeah, I mean you’re putting it back into the community and-

JS: Most definitely.

CK: Here’s something that people might not know because they haven’t hung out with you or whatever.

JS: Right.

CK: I remember years ago when you were doing Metalocalypse and we’d go out to dinner or lunch or something, you’d always buy dinner or always buy lunch. You’re super generous with your money, so it’s interesting to see the Kickstarter thing and it’s sort of like tame this energy flow of money and direct it towards something. It doesn’t go into you and your lifestyle or something.

JS: Yeah, no, I’ve always been relatively broke and even when I was doing Metalocalypse and I was making an incredible amount of money, I would put it back into other people’s art. I would hire-

CK: Yeah, you were always buying people statues, and you did, you hired a lot of people.

JS: Yeah, I would hire a lot of artists to work on different things with me-

CK: Yeah, that’s true.

JS: … because I feel like that’s what I want to do. I enjoy creative projects and-

CK: Yeah, I remember you were always making something and hiring a bunch of people to do visual effects and …

JS: Yeah. Yeah, so it’s sort of … It’s a weird thing. A lot of corporations don’t understand that, but that’s the difference when … At least with Kickstarter that’s why I like doing projects through Kickstarter, because it’s artist-driven, it’s artist-funded. There’s other people who are out there to help artists, so that’s why I love contributing. I’m not one of those people who only buys tech stuff. I’ve bought a couple of-

CK: Buys tech stuff?

JS: Tech, like, “Oh, this phone’s camera lens,” but I did buy a couple of camera lenses this past year that would work with the iPhone because it was like, “Oh, that’s kind of cool.” But mainly I’ve supported art books, comic books, films, all kinds of things like that, photography books, stuff in the arts, comic books, other people’s comics.

CK: Yeah, I started having that feeling recently because I bought a bunch of more corporate statues and stuff, like a big Iron Man bust and Juggernaut, Danger Room, Kotobukiya type stuff, and then when I start seeing places like Monsterpalooza, there’s these people who make shit by hand, like one-off, like Doug Stanat or … I don’t know if you know him. His booth was right next to mine when we were hanging out there. Unbelievable one-of-a-kind pieces and I’m like, “I need to support that shit.” That is more meaningful and goes directly to this independent artist.

JS: Oh yeah. Well there’s DesignerCon that’s coming up November 11th and 12th, and that’s got a lot of people’s … the artists-

CK: Tara McPherson?

JS: Tara McPherson will be there, Alex Party will be there, Skinner I think is going to be. There are a lot of artists that I’ve worked with and they’re friends of mine. Stranger Factory will be there. I mean, a whole bunch of these different people who are just independent artists who have their own style and make their own prints and toys and so it’s great to go there and see what they’re up to and get some of their art or prints or whatever. And they’re always discovering new artists and new things there, so that’s what I love about DesignerCon, and that’s what I kind of like about all the different bigger cons. Like New York Comic Con has a thing called The Block where it’s just this area which is all kind of like Mondo posters or like independent vinyl toys or this whole section of non-corporate-

CK: Massed produced …

JS: Yeah, non-mass-produced products, so to speak. But honestly it’s sort of … Kickstarter’s a place where if you want to try to make something, I think that’s the place to go. It’s a good place to prove your project not just to yourself, but if other people … If everybody’s like, “I’m not interested,” then maybe you shouldn’t do it, or maybe you should rethink it. And that’s what I did with … Not all of my Kickstarters have been successful. I did a documentary that I was trying to raise all the money for and I should have just done it in sections. It was the Sweaties Unite. I was trying to do a documentary about comic book stores and I feel like … And I raised quite a bit of money, almost 50 grand, but I pulled the plug on it because I wasn’t going to raise the whole amount and some person that contacted me was like, “I’ll give you the money outside of Kickstarter,” and I was like, “Well I’ve got a week left. I might as well pull it.”

And then that person didn’t come through, so I was like … Which is fine. I was going to pull it anyway. I was like, “Look, it’s not going to magically appear, like $100,000.” So, I’ve got to rethink it and when I rethink it, I’ll relaunch it. So I’m pretty sure next year I’m going to relaunch it with a much smaller way of doing it where I’m like, “Hey, look, this is what I’m going to do.” And then if we get this money then I’ll do these other comic book stores, but I’ll basically cover a certain amount of stores and the general idea. So that’s kind of what I’m thinking about, because I think it’s important for people who are not comic book readers and people who are afraid to walk into a comic book store to just walk in and experience it, and also know what to do once they walk in there.

So I feel like just going through and purging that weirdness is part of what I want to do, and then the other part is to make people aware of not just comic books but graphic novels and just the idea of reading comics and why it’s great. So I feel like that’s slowly becoming a missing art. As giant superhero movies become the biggest movies on the planet, there’s less and less people actually reading the original source material as to where they came from. So it’s kind of an odd predicament.

CK: Do you have the same sort of feeling that Alan Moore has towards comic books being made into movies at all?

JS: No, not at all.

CK: But you do have a deep respect for comic books and graphic novels-

JS: I do, but-

CK: … as their own thing, sort of.

JS: … it’s like everybody’s a nerd and yet nobody’s a nerd, so it’s like everybody’s proudly wearing a Green Lantern shirt but they don’t actually know who created Green Lantern, where Green Lantern came from, what was the first appearance of Green Lantern? And I’ll admit none of those things matter, really, but that they never actually read a Green Lantern comic at all kind of bugs me a little bit because it’s like, I get it, it’s like you’re into football but you’ve never watched it get played and you don’t know any of the people who’ve ever played it, but all you’ve ever done is play a video game version of it, but you’ve never actually watched it.

CK: When I see a Mr. Bungle shirt at Hot Topic, I’ll have a mental breakdown like you’re talking about, but that might be the same kind of thing for me. Like something that I feel like I’m deeply connected with or understand.

JS: Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s like when you’re into a band and then all of a sudden everybody’s into it, you’re like, “That was my band first.” There’s a little bit of that but at the same time I’m really happy that everybody loves comic book characters and it doesn’t have to be the same way that I love them. I just think it’s cool that everybody’s getting into the storylines and all the things that were … that I was so into when I was a lot younger and that I’m still into, a lot of people are finally discovering that or experiencing it on some level. They don’t have to experience it on the same level as me, but Alan Moore’s like a … he’s an interesting guy. I love his writing. He’s one of my favorite-

CK: Did you ever meet him?

JS: Never met him. I think he’s one of my favorite writers of all time. I’m bummed that he’s turned into kind of this curmudgeony warlock who … Look, he’s completely welcome to exactly how he is and his opinion on his projects and what people have done, but I feel like to a certain degree, he’s kind of done what he’s complaining other people are doing to his work. In one sensibility where he did The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, he’s using all these different people’s characters, like Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and all these other literary characters. James Bond. I mean, he’s using all these different people who are dead, the writers and authors of these characters. H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds. These are all … Jules Verne. They’re not alive anymore, but he’s taking those creations-

CK: [inaudible 00:26:34]

JS: … and combining them into making, “Oh, all these different characters have now teamed up to be this super team.” Now imagine if all those people were still alive. They’d be like, “I don’t want you to do that with my character.” So it’s sort of like I feel like now DC is doing that with his Watchmen characters and he’s pissed, he has every right to be pissed because he’s alive, but I’m just saying, it is kind of one of those things where you’re like, “Look …” It’s real difficult sometimes to think about … Especially when it’s contractual. I don’t really know what was said. He was supposed to get his rights back when Watchmen stopped behind published, but it’s been in constant publication because it’s one of the biggest selling books ever, so DC is always going to keep it in publication so they’ll keep the rights to it. So it is one of those … it’s like a catch-22 that he was like, “Oh, well eventually they’ll stop publishing it.” Well, no they won’t, and because you signed off on that, he didn’t think that so that’s a … It’s weird.

And also I get it that he loves film and he actually kind of wants to be a filmmaker. He’s been kind of getting involved in making short films and stuff, yet he’s really reticent to sign off on any of these other films or work with any other filmmakers for adaptations of his own comics, I think mainly because there’s all this bad blood with what happened with all of his other comics. I kind of just … honestly I try to separate those two and don’t really think too much about it. I love his new comics that he is writing, when he writes them. I loved Neonomicon which was crazy weird. H. P. Lovecraft, he also did a whole thing about him and about …

I take any kind of new Alan Moore writing and I’ll buy it and I’ll ingest it, but I try not to get too into where he is with the rest of the comic book field because he’s got a lot of issues that are not my issues, so I feel like … And I’ve tried to see both sides, and definitely I tried to see his side, but ultimately I’m not him and I can’t really fully understand it.

CK: I think you mentioned Lovecraft and also related to Kickstarter, did you see that Pete Von Sholly recently just completed his … got funded?

JS: Yeah, I contributed to that.

CK: Yeah, me too.

JS: Son of Urg, or Son of Ugh.

CK: Yeah.

JS: He did a really great Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness …

CK: Yeah. And that’s another nice thing to see, is dudes like that with their booth jammed full of crazy art and still doing his thing.

JS: Yeah, totally. Yeah, no, Pete’s awesome. But that’s what’s so great about Kickstarter, is when you’re asking for, “Look, this is what I’m going to need to make this thing,” and you try to just keep it at that. “And then I’m going to also need money to ship it.” You try not to make some crazy promises. “I can do all of it for $7.” It’s like, “Look, I’m going to need X amount and if I don’t get that, then I’m glad I’m not doing it because I don’t want to make false promises. That’s what some of these other crowdfunding sites, they’re like, “If I don’t raise all of it …” Well, you were asking for 20 grand but you only raised three. How are you possibly going to make all those pogo sticks and ship them? “Well, I can’t.” Well, what are you going to do with that three grand? “I’m going to eat lunch every day for a month and no one’s getting anything.”
I don’t understand that kind of like, “If I only raise X amount …” It’s like, well you didn’t raise enough to even make the thing that … the lowest thing you promised.

CK: Are you talking about Indiegogo or something?

JS: I’m talking about all the different ones. I just don’t understand that price point where there’s … You have to be able to deliver what you promised, and I think a lot of people like yourself and myself especially learned the shipping problems and the “Don’t overpromise all these weird things,” like, “Here’s t-shirts.” I know you might have some better way of doing t-shirts than I did, but t-shirts are super expensive and hard to ship and make. I regret promising t-shirts because I was like, “Oh, we’ll make t-shirts.” And it was like, “Oh my God, it’s super expensive.” And then all these different sizes and making them and buying them.

CK: And did you do full-color t-shirts and stuff?

JS: No, we just canceled them and I sent posters instead.

CK: Oh, okay.

JS: I was like, “Look, I was stupid and I can’t send t-shirts.” Some people were pissed, but to be blunt, 85% of everybody was like, “No, we get it,” because it was a couple years later and people were like, “Well, where’s my stuff?” I was like, “I can’t make this stuff.” Literally people forget Kickstarter’s to help the artist make the thing. It’s not just like, “Where’s my Blu-ray?” It’s like, well, you’re helping me fund this thing and then in exchange for that, I’m sending you a Blu-ray. It’s not like, “I’m paying a lot for this Blu-ray.” You’re not paying anything for the Blu-ray. The Blu-ray is a free thing. What you’re paying for is the-

CK: Sort of a shift of mindset, of what it’s about.

JS: Well, but people should really think about it like that. It’s like the old school PBS telethons where as a little kid I never understood, “Why is that book $90? It’s not worth $90.” No, it’s not about the book being worth $90. It’s about you contributing $90 so that you get more PBS programming, and because you contributed $90, they’re going to send you this cool book that the author signed or some shit like that.

CK: Yeah, there’s people I support on Patreon just for the hell of it, just because I think, “It seems like a cool person. I don’t even really know what they’re doing. I’ll learn about them as I go.” And then-

JS: But honestly I think that’s about 70% of all the people who still are on Kickstarter get it. They’re like, “Look, I’m going to contribute because I support you. I don’t care how long it takes. I know I’ll get it eventually. I just think it’s a cool thing and I want to help you make this thing.” And that’s the kind of thing I dig. I’m like, “Look, those are the people that …” I’m like, “All right, well, you’re contributing for the right reasons and if you like the other stuff I’ve made, then you won’t be disappointed because I’m staying in the same kind of wheelhouse.”

Your thing kind of came out of the blue. You’ve been doing a lot of different projects. You did a documentary. You obviously were the DP on our film, me and Holly’s The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? And then you were like … I know you were doing a bunch of different things but then you were like, “Hey, I’ve got this cartoon thing.” And I was like, “All right.” And then I watched it. I was like, “This looks like a lot of fun.” How did that come about?

CK: I started writing it a couple years ago, started working on the concept when I was on a road trip.

JS: What is it called again?

CK: It’s called The Oracle of Outer Space.

JS: The Oracle of Outer Space, which I actually contributed to on Kickstarter, which you should also contribute to-

CK: Yes, thank you.

JS: … ye, who are listening, contribute to both me and Carl’s Kickstarters, because there’ll be about a week and a half left when you hear this-

CK: I’m going to get this up as fast as I can, so …

JS: Yeah, so it’s Oracle of Outer Space, and Carl, I think you called or emailed me about it and I was like, “Oh man, I’d love to be involved,” so I’m going to-

CK: Yeah, I texted you at random. We were just talking about something else and I said something about, “By the way, I’m doing this cartoon.” You’re like, “I want to do a voice.” All right, cool.

JS: Yeah, because I’d done a bunch of different podcasts with Carl pretty early on, like when I met you, and I just had fun doing dumb voices and doing really stupid interviews.

CK: There’s a particular voice you do that I don’t know if you’ve ever used in anything, but you do sort of like this evil alien voice that’s kind of high pitched and screechy and-

JS: Is it like this?

CK: Sort of.

JS: Where are they? Uh-huh. I will destroy all of them.

CK: Something like that, yeah.

JS: Well you’ll just have to play it for me. I could mimic it.

CK: Yeah, yeah, it’s really close to that.

JS: It’s weird, but-

CK: But yeah, I know you-

JS: How did this Oracle of Outer Space come about?

CK: Oh, driving through the desert, I went on a road trip with the wife, driving around the middle of nowhere. We decided to go … and this’ll sound a little stalky but we’re like, “Hey, let’s look up where Art Bell lives and try to find it,” doing the …

JS: Sure.

CK: We do that in LA all the time with, “I wonder where David Lynch lives,” or something. “Let’s go check it out.” Take a ride by, take a peak, keep going. You know, don’t infringe on their privacy or anything, but we decided to drive out to Pahrump. We found Art Bell’s place and I was a huge Art Bell fan-

JS: Oh yeah.

CK: … for a million years, living in Florida, in the middle of the night, staying up all night listening to AM radio. Drove through there. We went out by Area 51. That was fun. We stopped at some weird little café right by Area 51. It’s in a trailer, they set up a café, and on the walls they have Polaroids of all of these old time conspiracy theorist dudes that I used to read. I’m like, “Oh, they’ve all been here.”

JS: Nice, nice.

CK: “They all stopped at this little trailer to …” you know, whatever.

JS: That’s awesome.

CK: And just getting that whole vibe of AM radio, and I was like, “Oh, I need to make a cartoon about this. This has got to be a thing, because I love it.”

JS: Great.

CK: So it was just a sentimental thing to me that I wanted to capture the vibe of, and I thought, “What if there was this horrible AM radio station that they’re trying to do their thing and it’s falling apart, in outer space.”

JS: Nice. Well that sounds exciting.

CK: In sort of the modern age, where is the place of AM radio? And they’re like the last holdout for AM radio.

JS: Yeah. Art Bell, I’ve listened to many a nights.

CK: Yeah.

JS: Back in the day when I lived in Chicago I remember listening to him many times.

CK: Really?

JS: Yeah.

CK: Wow. That’s like the up all night driving thing, and you find it on AM radio when you’re doing a cross-country trip or something, middle of the desert, and it just creates this vibe.

JS: Mm-hmm. And so you’re doing this animated, so have you already … I’ve seen from the
Kickstarter you’ve got a lot of the characters designed.

CK: Yep. Yeah, we got pretty final designs on them by Lance Myers. I don’t know if you ever saw any of his stuff but he did a cartoon called Skip and Lester, which is how I discovered him. He also did a thing called The Ted Zone, I believe. You ever heard of that?

JS: No.

CK: I think it was made for Adult Swim and then it didn’t get aired or something, and he also did A Scanner Darkly. He was lead animator on that.

JS: That’s great. Very trippy, trippy film.

CK: Yes. So he’s been doing tons of my artwork for years. I’ve been hiring him whenever I have money. “Hey, I need another poster or something. Draw me this.”

JS: Right on.

CK: So I’m there funding him on the side as his freelance thing.

JS: Nice.

CK: And just love his animation, and I’ve got a couple of writers who I almost never see in person and almost have never seen in person. We’re only friends on the internet. For like 20 years they’ve been writing stuff with me.

JS: Wow, you’re cracking out that Art Bell fucking handbook, right?

CK: Yeah.

JS: But there’s … in this, there really are aliens, right?

CK: Yeah, there’s an alien. I’m not sure how that’s all explained in anything yet but we’ll get there. But yeah, so-

JS: That sounds like a-

CK: … we’ve got you doing at least one voice.

JS: Yep.

CK: If not two. We’ve got Joanie Brosas, the famous cosplayer extraordinaire. Dweezil Zappa is onboard. He was the first one onboard.

JS: Yeah, that’s right.

CK: Which I think is huge.

JS: Dweezil, I remember him doing a voice for Metalocalypse.

CK: Oh yeah.

JS: Yeah, he’s a-

CK: Do you remember what he did?

JS: He plays the bully …

CK: Oh.

JS: … who was picking on Toki at band camp.

CK: Yes.

JS: He did a great job too.

CK: Was that at all related to the episode with Mike Patton somehow?

JS: No, no.

CK: Was that Rikki Kixx or something? Was that who that was?

JS: No, the Rikki Kixx Mike Patton one is totally different. That was the “no drinking,” like when Rockzo is going sober. Rikki Kixx was ultimately a total asshole who was murdering people. But yeah, Dweezil did a great job.

CK: Yeah, he did stuff years ago for Duckman. Do you remember that?

JS: No.

CK: It was on USA or something. So yeah, he’s got a voice that’ll work.

JS: Yeah, for sure.

CK: I was going to ask you about your old comic book that you did. Do you want to talk about some of your old indie comics that you did?

JS: Sure.

CK: What was that thing that we found in your garage one time that was published by King Robot?

JS: Was it Feral, the yeti, the Sasquatch comic or was it King Robot itself, the comic book which is-

CK: I’m not sure.

JS: I did self-publish two comics in 2003 and I self-published one zine comic in 1991 called Unrefined Visions, which I sold in Chicago. I made it at Kinko’s and I drew hand-drawn covers for all of them. And that was really more of a weird autobio comic in 1991. People just had started doing that stuff and I was kind of exploring doing something like that. I was literally just a few years out of college, so it’s not like I really had a full life anyway yet but I was more kind of exploring a lot of social ideas. But yeah, years later I was like, “Hey, I’m going to just …” It was really like I’m going to take the money I’m making from editing the Orlando Jones TV show and throw that into making a comic book and to publishing my own sci-fi movie called The Removers.

That was made through Film Threat. They were the distributors but I made the film, and so it’s a short 20 minute … I’ll have to get you a copy. It’s this bizarre telepathic sci-fi action-adventure. These secret agents, they didn’t talk because they weren’t real actors so I was like, “How do I get around them not talking? They speak via telepathy.” So it’s really crazy, and then I made these two bizarro comics, one was about bigfoot based off a screenplay that I had written, which is like … It wasn’t a nice bigfoot, it was a straight horror movie where it’s like if you really found bigfoot, you wouldn’t want to find bigfoot.

It was called Feral and then the other comic was a sci-fi anthology comic which I had just called King Robot, but that were three short stories that were, I think, seven pages each. But I spent all the money paying the artists and publishing the … printing the comics with high-glossy paper. I was so dumb and I didn’t know how to distribute them and I didn’t know how to deal with getting Diamond Distributors to … I just didn’t have the follow-through and that’s been a lot of my problems my entire career, is when I make my own stuff, the actual follow-through is the hard part.

CK: What do you mean by follow-through, when you say that?

JS: “Oh, I finished the book. Now how do you get it into bookstores?” That part, being the publication part, the producer part of that.

CK: Well you got your documentary on Showtime, right?

JS: Yes. Well, that was because Showtime showed up at the second time we were showing it at the Egyptian and they were like, “How do I contact the people who own this film?” And I was like, “I own it. You can talk to me.” It was literally like that’s how that happened-

CK: Oh cool.

JS: … and the guy who ended up getting it bought, I was really happy to hear a lot of the other people who worked with him were like, “No one’s going to want to see that,” and he was like, “No, no, you don’t get it. There’s a big audience for this.” And they were like, “Well, we think you’re wrong.” We made our deal, they put it on Showtime and though he couldn’t reveal the numbers to me, he said every single person had to kind of secretly apologize to him because everybody watched it and it was a giant hit for two years. So it was like there’s a mass amount of people who still recognize me not even from the Collider Movie Talk or Collider Heroes show that I do on YouTube but they recognize me from being the face on that movie. They’re like, “I saw you …”

So it was kind of the benefit and/or not the benefit of being recognized is people will remember me from being that person interviewing Kevin Smith or interviewing Tim Burton, so … So yeah, the Showtime thing was really great, but as far as doing publications and books and stuff like that, that’s why for my comic book I’m definitely … I was lucky enough to have this company, two separate arms of the company reach out and say, “Hey, we’ll publish the book when you get it done.”

CK: Through Kickstarter? I mean, they saw you on Kickstarter on said that or they just wrote about it?

JS: No, no, it’s just separate people, separate company people that I know from doing other things were like …

CK: They just heard you were doing your new comic …

JS: Yeah, and they were like, “Hey, do you have someone publishing it?” I was like, “No.” They were like, “Let us do that.” And I was like, “All right.” So, once we get into next year, once I have the things done, then I’ll announce that. I can’t announce who’s doing it because I don’t even know if I’m doing it yet. The Kickstarter’s not done.

CK: Yeah, things change so much.

JS: Yeah, but at least it’s nice to know that I don’t have to worry about that part of it because I’d like all people everywhere, not just in America at comic book stores, but all across the world to be able to get this comic if they so desire, at a comic book store. It’ll have a different cover. It’ll be different than this deluxe version that is only available on Kickstarter. That’s the whole reason you get a Kickstarter. You’re like, “Hey, Bill Sienkiewicz is doing a cover.” Liam Sharp, Chris Burnham, Nicola Scott. They’re all doing variant covers and they’ll only be available for these variant covers for this Kickstarter. They won’t be individual comic covers again.

CK: I’ve got a question for you. When I’m making my stuff, I usually try to make something really high quality, if I can. Try to get all the technical shit totally right, and obviously I make mistakes or whatever, but I aim for that expensive look, and then what I do is I will intentionally fuck up a few things so that it still has that vibe of, “Oh, somebody kind of had their personal hand in this thing in messing it up,” or something. A little bit of Troma thrown in once in a while or self-sabotage. Do you-

JS: I don’t do that.

CK: Okay, so do you aim for that same high quality or do you like things that are lower quality or how do you fit on that spectrum?

JS: Boy, it’s a-

CK: Because do you like, when you see Troma stuff and it’s just awful, or something?

JS: Not a super fan of …

CK: Yeah?

JS: I’m not a super fan of that. I love seeing the craft of filmmaking and there is a certain joy of anti-craft where it’s just like some shumbly person, like all the camera angles are wrong and stuff like that, but that’s not why I like film and that’s not what I like about storytelling, so I’m not trying to add defects into stuff. If I’m shooting something and I have a certain amount of budget, I’m going to try to do the best thing I can with that budget, but yeah, sometimes there’s way more craft to things than others. Especially with making documentaries, I learned slowly about, “Hey, you can put more effort into doing better shots,” because I wasn’t really thinking about it like that. I’ve always come from, “Oh, well it’s …” Not thinking about it like a movie, and that’s what I should be thinking about. Even doing interviews, you should be thinking about it like you’re watching this interview, but it should be shot as filmicly as possible or cinematically as possible.

Which sometimes is difficult to do. Sometimes you can’t do it. You have an hour, you know what I mean? And here’s where-

CK: Yeah, sometimes some of those things that we were shooting, it was stressing me out so bad because it was like we’re going to be in this little room in a corner somewhere. It’s like-

JS: Yeah, and you’re like, “Hey-“

CK: I’m just sweating. I’m like, “Oh my God, what am I going to do?”

JS: But that’s part of it, you’ve got to roll with it, where you’re like, “Here, this person-“

CK: Yeah, and sometimes I just can …

JS: They’re not going to go to your set-

CK: It’s just, it’s the way it is.

JS: … you have to shoot in their living room or you’re shooting at this stage and this is the only place and all the lighting is weird. You find the best place possible, where you can actually record the thing with sound and it doesn’t look like garbage, and then you have to rock and roll. I mean, that’s just a lot … I mean, imagine low budget filming where, “I’ve carefully crafted these storyboards.” None of those matter. We’re not using them at location, it’s all on the beach now. You’re like, “I know, but … No! No!”

CK: It’s on the beach now, yeah.

JS: Yeah, it’s at the beach. There is no background. “What?” So you just have to roll with it. But that’s kind of the exciting part. What you’re talking about, for me, the exciting part is rolling with it and thinking on your feet, especially when making stories. So for me, less so documentaries is where I’m going … Like for next year I’m going to, outside of that comic book doc, I’m really going to just kind of focus on storytelling i.e. via through comics, I’m going to try to make a feature film next year that’s like a super weird feature film, and when I say it’s a super weird film, I’m not striving to make it weird, it’s just simply already whacked out and strange. So it’s not like your typical story. I’m like, “All right, well, we’ll see how that goes.” But I’m excited to make it and to be able to run and gun a little bit of it, but the script is there. I know where I want it to move and how I need to move through it. I’ll be doing location scouting probably in the middle of the year, so I find all the places where I’ll actually be shooting it.

And the best thing about living in Los Angeles, there’s a lot of incredible locations-

CK: Well there’s that parking lot where we shot your Superman-

JS: Yeah. What I’m saying, though, is there’s a lot of amazing locations that you can just run and gun and you just steal the location, so that’s that Troma aspect that you’re talking about that I’m into, but I want to do it really locked down and I’m going to board out everything, but I take photos of the backgrounds, but I’m like, “This is how it’s all going to come together.” I mean, there’s a certain craft to that aspect of it, and that’s where those kinds of things, the run and gun and steal the location type thing meets I’ve methodically planned this out and why is that background the best? Or why is that location the best for this scene in the film?

CK: I think a high budget or low budget, if you look at Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve and his DP, Roger Deakins, every single scene-

JS: Oh, that was Roger Deakins?

CK: Yeah.

JS: I didn’t even realize that. I did not even think about that.

CK: Every single scene-

JS: No. Roger Deakins?

CK: Yeah, yeah. Every single scene-

JS: Holy shit.

CK: …is really thought through. Whether they’re walking through a hallway or whether there’s a scene of a person on a phone and then they’re talking to the other person on the phone, every single scenario and background reveals something about the futuristic world and about that character, and that’s what’s really important, I think, where it’s not just a white hallway, or it’s not just they’re at the corner of their building, or it doesn’t matter where they are. It does matter, especially when you’re creating a tone and a world, and I feel like that film, I don’t give a fuck whether it made money or not. It’s an amazing film and people are so hung up on, “Well I heard it didn’t make money.” Why do you care? What, are you an investor in it?

JS: That always bothers me when people are all hung up on, “How much did the box office …” It’s like, I didn’t realize you’re somehow going to make money if it makes money? No. How about let’s talk about whether you liked it or not. I’m way more interested in hearing why somebody didn’t like a film or why they did like a film than how much the movie made. This kind of hangup on the box office, I’m not going to say it’s not the ruination of film but it’s part of the reason there’s a populist idea about films and certain films. “Well I’m just going to wait for Netflix on that. It’s not worth my money.”

There’s a whole kind of thing that’s happened over the last 15 years, 10 years, and it’s not just streaming. Streaming is definitely the positive part that I think. It’s like a lot of people were doomsaying, “It’s the death of film, it’s the death of cinema.” It’s like, no, it’s actually just a transformational technique where people are like, “Look, now I’m binging a 10-hour movie.” So it’s the idea of what a story is now, is changing and the context of how a series can be made, instead of evergreen standalone episodes as a thing that is one long story, because people are going to watch them rapidly in succession. I think that’s a really amazing thing that’s happened in the last few years and it’s great to see all of these different streaming channels take advantage of that. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and a lot of the other ones that are like, “We’re destination viewing” are all going to die, because advertisers are not going to put any more money into any of those basic cable channels, and most of those basic cable channels only have one or two shows that people care about.

So when you really think about that, you’re like, “So you’re making 30 shows that nobody cares about and literally blowing hundreds of millions of dollars on these 30 shows that nobody is watching, and all the advertisers are putting money in and they’re losing money, and you have one show that people are watching that’s on at 9:00 on Tuesday or on at 8:00 on Friday. You have one show that the people are paying for those ads, it kind of works a little bit, but ultimately it doesn’t because then they’ll watch it streaming later anyway.”

So I feel like now it’s like, “I’ll watch it when I want to and now that all of us have that power and that choice, it’s kind of obliterated the destination, primetime whatever.” None of that matters anymore, so … I feel bad because a lot of people are going to probably end up losing their jobs in the next two, three years. Like all of those jobs will all be gone, so they’ve got an “adapt or die” kind of a situation, and it’s only … it’s a natural progression because it’s like as people now, as all of us have … we’re all on the internet, we all are on our phones, we all have these interconnected things and that’s just how it is now. It just happened naturally, or unnaturally, or however you want to say it. How’s that for a tangent?

CK: I’m curious about your viewpoint of competition in the scene that we’re kind of in. You know, in entertainment and all of that. You’ve said in the past you were in some tough situations where you were kind of clawing your way to get in or something like that. How do you view that sort of thing now, or do you have any more thoughts on that?

JS: The idea of making content and getting paid to make content is what everybody who not just comes out to California or Hollywood … The idea is like everybody wants that. So when you go to conventions and are talking about a project or a TV show or a movie that you’ve worked on and made, a lot of those people in the audience, they all want to be you, but not you in particular but they want your job or they want to have what you have. So their questions are always like, “Well, how do I get to what you have?” Or, “How do I be you? How do I become you? What did you do to get that?” And sometimes people think, “Oh, you just do this, this and this,” so they want you to tell them some easy answer, and there is never an easy answer because I think every single person has their own individual story as to how they not only just got to where they are or where they’re going or where they’ve been, but how they got those site-specific jobs and how they not only held onto those jobs but were able to succeed in those jobs.

And that therein is sometimes where it gets like there’s people that you’re working with who can almost be counterproductive for you so that they can get ahead. They might lead you one way just to … Like, “Hey, go down this way.” “Huh, it seems like this is a cliff. Ayyyye!” You know? But they’ll be all supportive of you jumping off that cliff. So you have to kind of … The other thing with any job in the business as far as making television or movies, there’s 30 people ready to replace you and they’re super hungry, especially if you’ve been doing it, like, “I have had this job for four years.” There’s easily … When I was directing Metalocalypse, there were easily 20 people who wanted my job, who wanted to direct the show, who wanted to edit the music videos, who wanted to do all the different things that I did on that show.

Luckily a lot of them didn’t, couldn’t … they were not me and since I have a specific sensibility, a lot of people who end up making that show ended up copying my sensibility, so it still … it didn’t bother me. I was like, “Well, you’re just going to make it like I’ve already done, so you’re just copying my style,” so that’s not a big problem for me. But what is, is when you step away from something, you’re replaced, and then whatever that thing is that replaced you, or those people are that replaced you, it’s not like you can come back and be like, “Well, I’m ready to come back now.” It’s like, “Sorry, there’s four people who kind of came in and now they’re doing what you did do.”

That’s kind of like it’s always a good time to know when you want to leave or when a good time to leave is, and I always … I’ll sense it and I was like that’s why I left. I left the show while it was still being made because I was kind of done. I felt like I’ve said everything as a director and as a producer and everything creatively that I want to say on the show and now I feel like I’m repeating myself and other people are now repeating what I’ve already done, so I was like, “I’m done.” So I felt like it was the right time to go, and I felt like especially after watching some things that happened later, I was like, “I made the right choice.”

But sometimes you don’t know what the right choice is while you’re making something. You kind of have to just go with your gut, and I’ve kind of ever since then went with my gut and kind of … I mean, how I even got into making cartoons was just by simply being at this music video company, acting in music videos and then making props and learning how to edit and doing animation because I had already done that while I was in art school, and just-

CK: Yeah, I have the sort of respect for your history because I think of you … I don’t know if this is accurate or not but I think of you as this crazy college kid in Chicago probably sleeping on somebody’s floor or something and just churning out crazy shit, one after the other. Just, “This is my crazy art film. This is my crazy poetry. This is my performance art.”

JS: Pretty much.

CK: Going in every direction.

JS: Luckily I-

CK: “This is my comic book.”

JS: I had a little bit more than a floor to sleep on, I had a futon, but for the most part, yeah. It really was like that, and-

CK: But, I mean, there’s still that side of you that, through all of the Metalocalypse stuff and the Superman Lives, all of these different things you’re doing, you still came from the roots of being this wild artist, creative mind that just … spewing ideas.

JS: Yeah. Well thanks, man, I am still like that. That’s the hard part to work in a corporate … That was me on a bike. Hard part of working in a corporate world is they don’t understand that, and so they’re sort of very … usually it doesn’t work out too well when I’m working in a corporate environment. So I’ve tried to stay away from doing that as much as possible and will continue to stay away from that as much as possible and be independent and work on my own projects and/or work with other companies that want to make cool stuff. So kind of that’s-

CK: Having the freedom to move around and work with different people?

JS: Yes. And that’s one of the things I have enjoyed in my career.

CK: So freedom is something that’s very important to you creatively?

JS: Ultimately it’s the most important thing to me, is-

CK: I just saw a Frank Zappa documentary either last night or the night before, and Gail Zappa was saying something that I had never heard before. She said that Frank loved two things the most in this world. And I thought, “Oh, what is she going to say? Music and his kids or something like that?” You think that’s what she’s going to say, but she said, “Number one, he valued freedom. He loved freedom. Number two, he loved music.” And I was like, “Wow, the guy loved freedom even more than music. That’s pretty crazy.” So, it’s interesting.

JS: Well, without freedom, you can’t make music.

CK: Right.

JS: I mean, it really is like you have to have your freedom to be creative, and when you have people who are kind of shackling you or telling you what to do, who obviously, number one, don’t even know what they’re talking about, number two, telling you what to do with your own project that you came up with, there are big problems. And that’s what happens in the corporate world, where there’s a giant lack of understanding, there’s a giant lack of patience and time, and usually that comes because there’s deadlines on these things that are structured that all come with the money, and so it’s like there’s certain things where you’re like, “Look, I get it, but that’s why it’s way better for me to work without those structures in place,” where it’s like it’s going to take as long as it’s going to take, and then when it’s done, it’s done.

And also, you can’t tell me how to make something because it probably won’t come out as good as if I can make it myself, because I actually know what I’m doing. And so it’s really important to know, A, who you are and what you’re doing, and B, to make sure the people that you work with understand you and are going to give you the freedom to make the thing that they’re actually hiring you to make. Otherwise it’s going to be a bad situation.

CK: Yeah. I try to sort of jump back and forth between those two worlds and have a clearly defined understanding of which world I’m in at what time. Like there are corporate projects that I do that pay the bills that I have no problem following the rules and following the powers that be. “These are the instructions. This is what we’re doing.” Okay, I’m doing it. Thank you, we’re good. Now I’m going to go do something completely fucked up over here that I want to do.

JS: Dude, I get that too, but it’s like, the older I get, the less interested I am in doing any of those types of projects, and yeah, I’ve … back in my late 20s and early 30s, I was cutting people’s reels while I was editing TV shows and editing movies and doing animation for all these different projects, and it was just jobs. And now I don’t care to do that and I don’t want to do that and I don’t even have the interest in doing that anymore, so I’ve-

CK: It took me a while to get used to the idea of doing that, though.

JS: Yes.

CK: I mean, at first I was like, “I have to be creative all the time and do my own thing.” And then I started learning to separate, and now at this point in my life I’m okay doing a little of both.

JS: And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. All I’m saying is even with that separation, I’ll do everything I can to not have to do those things …

CK: Sure.

JS: … because I feel like ultimately-

CK: Well, if you don’t have to, then you don’t have to.

JS: Yeah.

CK: It’s a nice place to be.

JS: And talking and doing these YouTube shows is one of those things that to me is my outlet to do that but it’s fun for me, so it never feels like work because I’m talking about things that I’m really invested in, i.e. film and fantasy, science fiction, comic books, the horror genre. All these kinds of things that I love and I’m talking about it with other people who love it or have the similar interests. So I feel like these discussion shows that I’m a part of, I really enjoy doing, so-

CK: You’ve got great hosting skills.

JS: Oh, thank you.

CK: I remember the first time I saw you really do that is you went on stage at the last minute. Somebody came up to your booth and was like, “Can you get on stage and interview,” what, Michael Rooker, is that his name?

JS: Yeah, Michael Rooker, yeah.

CK: And you were like, “Shit yeah, come on. Get your camera, let’s go.” And we ran up to the stage, you went on the stage and you were on fire. It was great.

JS: Oh, right on, man. Thanks. Yeah-

CK: And I remember you coming off stage with this high of like, “Man, why can’t I do that all the time?”

JS: Well, you know what was funny about that Michael Rooker thing, too, is because Michael Rooker’s awesome. I’ve actually ended up doing a Comic Book Shopping episode with that guy, but-

CK: Oh, I didn’t know that.

JS: I was a big fan of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, so I followed him in all-

CK: Yeah, I remember you … yeah.

JS: … of his movies that he’s been in, but he was hot off The Walking Dead and whoever was going to be the host/commentator/MC or whatever bailed out and so they’re like, “Schnepp, can you do this?” And it was like literally, yeah, it was like five minutes before. I was like, “All right, let’s rock this.” So I went backstage and met him, and he was like, “All right. Remember, I’m the star.” He said that to me. I was like, “Dude, I got you, man. I know your entire discography. Relax.” But I think he felt like, “Who is this dude?” And it totally makes sense. Any actor is like, “I’m not going to get grandstanded by this guy.” And I was like, “No, dude, I got you.”

CK: It’s kind of a weird thing to say, too, but whatever.

JS: Well, but look. I get it though. He just was saying, “Don’t grandstand, they’re here for me,” which I’m like-

CK: Wow.

JS: … “I get it.” But it was so much fun for me to introduce him. I was like, “How many people …” to get everyone psyched up, “How many people know about Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer? What about Cliffhanger? What about …” I listed off all the movies all the way up and through-

CK: Yeah, you were ready to go already.

JS: Yeah, yeah, all the way up through Guardians, so I was like, “Yo.” So by the time he came up, people were cheering and asking all the … He got into asking for the people, like different questions similar to me where I was like, “Yo, Stripey.” Like some guy was wearing a stripey hat, I was like, “Caps, what’s up?” So he started chiming in, like getting people to answer questions. It was a lot of fun-

CK: Yeah, it went really well.

JS: … and so that’s kind of … but that’s fun, that’s-

CK: Everybody around it could feel the sense of excitement that just happened.

JS: Well good, man. Well, I mean-

CK: “Schnepp went up and did a good job.” It was crazy.

JS: Thanks, but that’s why I do that stuff. I mean, it’s kind of like it comes from … I was doing theater back when I was in high school and then doing weird, crazy performance art stuff. It’s just fun.

CK: No, and you did that on my old podcast where you played a character, maybe?

JS: Yeah.

CK: People might not realize, but it just turned on. It was like, “Holy shit. I’m watching something happen right here that I’m-“

JS: Well, so many of my friends back in Chicago were all improvers, and even though I never was part of the Upright Citizens Brigade or any of those things, they were all my friends and I hung out with all those people, from the Annoyance Theater, the Upright Citizens Brigade, and so that’s why I ended up directing an episode of the Upright Citizens for their pilot is because I just knew all of them and they worked on a weird science fiction thing I made with a friend of mine called Mad Science, which I’ll put out next year at some point. It’s like the 24th and a half anniversary, so I was like, “It’s probably time for people to see this weird thing that a ton of Chicago celebrities from the ’90s are all in.” So it’s just like one of those things.

CK: You’ve got sort of different worlds going on, because you’re doing the hosting thing and everything. Do you ever run into that … I could imagine someone complaining, like, “Oh, he’s just a movie critic. What does he know about making movies or writing?” Or stuff like that?

JS: I love that.

CK: Does that ever come up?

JS: It happens all the time, because it … The weirdest thing is when someone identifies with you, sometimes they automatically, in their own mind lock you out of even the things that you did. They’re like, “Well, you’re just like me. You love movies. What’d you think of Man of Steel?” And stuff like that, and they are right. I am just like them. I have either similar or opposite opinions, but they forget that I’ve actually been in the business for 20 years making TV shows and movies, like all facets of storyboarding, designing, editing, directing, producing. So it is one of those weird things where people talk to me like I haven’t made these things or that I … You know? That’s the weird thing.

And it’s a disconnect, but I understand why the disconnect is there. But I always get a kick out of it where I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, no, I know. I actually was directing a TV show for eight years and went off during my breaks and directed eight other shows.” So it’s like it’s a weird thing because a lot of people can’t comprehend that. I’ve had so many different little careers like editing Space Ghost and all these little micro jobs that I could have just been an editor for the rest of my life.

So, for myself, it’s not that I get board doing any of these jobs, but I want to challenge myself. That’s the whole reason I did a documentary. I had never made a documentary, or a feature film, for that matter, and a documentary feature film, and it was one of those things where I was like, I’d just been directing cartoons for literally 12 years of my life and I was like-

CK: I remember you saying that many times on set when we were about to interview someone. You’d just be like, “Man, I don’t know. I’ve been making cartoons. I don’t know, I’ve never done this.” And you were straight up about it.

JS: Yeah. No, it was true. Yeah, no, it’s totally true and it was really for the experience, and boy was it an experience. It took a lot longer, like almost three years to finish the documentary, but I’m really glad that we took our time with it and we made it the way we had to make it. I mean, these are all learning experiences, so for myself, like people who … Or there’s a lot of people who don’t know I’m a host on a YouTube show and just know me only as a doc filmmaker and don’t know I directed TV shows and made narrative. So they’re like, “When’s your next doc?” So I get that a lot, which I’m not angry with. I’m like, “Oh, well I’m working on this.” I always tell people. I try not to take any offense because if anyone’s interested in what you’re doing, that’s a bonus. That’s cool that they like what you’re doing, whatever aspect of it is that you are doing.

CK: It seems to have really helped you to do this hosting thing.

JS: It has. It’s been an-

CK: It’s opened a lot of doors, I think.

JS: It’s opened so many doors and it made me happy not only with the things I’ve done in my career but it also kind of helped me reach out to new fans and new people who might appreciate the other things that I’m doing, and, I mean, doing these talk shows with people who have never done a television show in their life. A lot of these people are sort of like, they just love talking about movies, but they actually haven’t made that much stuff. So it’s sort of like it doesn’t matter. It’s like I can have a great, amazing conversation with a lot of these people. Some of them have done their own shows, some of them are in different fields. Like the host of Movie Talk now is Mark Ellis and he’s a comedian, and he’s incredibly funny. He performs across the country. Almost every other weekend he’s somewhere else … “Tonight I’m at Funny Bone or next week I’m at Zanies.” And he’s really good.

I’d went and seen him perform. I was like, “My God, that guy is hilarious.” And that’s his amazing skillset. I feel like it’s kind of cool that we have a lot of different people as part of this roster of people talking about their opinions on movies coming out, or for Heroes, I’m constantly doing the shows with Amy Dallen, who works at House of Secrets and has her own shows and writing her own stuff, and Robert Meyer Burnett who’s … he wrote and directed Free Enterprise and he’s edited a ton of behind-the-scenes DVD special features. He’s a director in his own right.

So it’s like all these different people that I have on as a regular, regular guests, panelists, and it’s why? Because we love talking about, “Well, Thor: Ragnarok, what happened? What’s going on with that? Or, Justice League?” And it’s sort of like, because we read those comics when we were kids, and it’s kind of fun to see all of this stuff happen now. And so constantly calling it, “We’re in the golden age of movies and television.” The golden age of comic book realizations is where we really are, and like I said, everybody’s a nerd but nobody’s a nerd. It’s sort of like it’s kind of true, everybody’s wearing a Batman shirt or some Captain America shirt and they don’t even know who Captain America is, or they’re just like, “Yeah, I love that movie.”

Outside of that, I’m not mad at people anymore. I did harbor some kind of-

CK: I remember that you were pissed off about that. You made some different videos about it and things like that.

JS: Yeah, it kind of irked me a little bit that people didn’t know what the hell they were wearing.

CK: You were an angry young man like I was.

JS: Yes, and then you slowly realize, it’s like, it’s okay, because guess what? There’s an interest there, and I think that’s the most important part is to not stomp the interest or, “No, you don’t …” It’s to fan the interest and to say, “You know, if you like that, you might like this.”

CK: So I’ve known you somewhere around eight years.

JS: Wow.

CK: I think. I remember the first time we hung out was sort of at a place like this. It was called The Corner. That place.

JS: I remember that. No, I remember that.

CK: It was a place over by Titmouse.

JS: Yeah. It was Lexington.

CK: Yeah, I think we-

JS: Lexington and Highland.

CK: Yeah, I think we sat down there and had lunch, talked about … You actually said some of the things you said way back then, and I thought, “Wow, that’s one of the first things he ever said to me when we first got together.”

JS: Well, I guess I’m saying the same shit.

CK: Yeah, no, but I’m curious, I’ve gone through a lot of changes in those years. I wonder if you have any thoughts on your personal growth or changes as time has gone on, in that time period?

JS: Sure. Boy-

CK: Any valuable lessons you’ve learned or how to change yourself or grow?

JS: Patience. I feel I’ve gotten more patience. I’ve learned to accept that some things are just not going to work out no matter how hard you try to make them work out. They’re out of your control. And when things are out of your control or you’ve given up control over certain things, even if you trusted them to be done the right way and then you’re betrayed or whatever happened, because you gave up your control, you just have to accept it. That’s one of those things where there’s a certain thing where it’s like, “All right, well, you can be angry, you could fight those things, or you can actually move on and learn from your mistakes.” And I feel like there’s nothing wrong with learning from your mistakes, and I feel that’s actually how you become a better person. So those are the things that I’ve learned over the last eight years of going through a lot of different projects, working on different projects, making different projects, not making different projects. A whole bunch of different things.

And just trying to be a better person in general. Sometimes it’s really important to be able to listen, and sometimes you get so carried away with your own life that you can get wrapped up in your own life, and it’s important to be aware of your friends, be aware of everyone around you, the people that you work with, the people that you love, and be aware of what’s going on. It’s like, life can go by very quickly, and sometimes it’s like you make decisions and I feel really comfortable with a lot of the decisions that I made, and I was questioning a lot of them, maybe eight years ago or six years ago. I was questioning, “Should I do this? Or should I leave this one company? Or should I do this?” And I’m so happy that I did these things because I’ve grown so much from doing those things.

Sometimes you find yourself in a place that you could just be and it’s safe, and it’s like, “Well, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe or staying safe, but at the same time, how will you grow?” And you have to challenge yourself, and I felt like over the years I’ve realized I’ve done the right things and I’ve become more comfortable in doing those things further on, and moving forward in challenging myself as a human being and as an artist, and moving forward with a lot of these other ideas or projects or working with other people or trying different things, or just as a human being, speaking, interacting with other people, trying to have that ability to grow and learn and be a better person.

So, I’m not perfect. I’m definitely not 100% there yet, but it’s one of those things that I feel like if I look back at eight years ago and where I am now, I’m definitely a different person from then. I have, like you said, the same kind of mentality about a lot of those things, but I feel like I’ve also learned a lot from doing those things.

CK: Well, there was just that one … Just to be honest, there was that one thing you said when we first met, was everybody wants to work in media. That’s why they come to LA, and that’s okay. And I remember you saying that, and that was the thing I was referring to. I wasn’t saying, “Oh, you’re just repeating yourself.”

JS: No, no. Well, it’s good that you remember what it is, but that is a truism, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I said that to a gal, I was in a Lyft and she was like, “I just moved here from Washington, DC and I’m not very happy and I’m trying to get into photography.” She was like, “I think I’m going to be leaving at the end of this year.” She’s only been here for like four months or something.

CK: Oh wow.

JS: I said literally the same kind of thing where it’s like there’s like 30 or 40 other photographers who want to do exactly what you do, and maybe you were a bigger photographer in Washington, DC and now you’re here and there’s 50 people, but you’re in LA so it’s a very surface world, and that’s what a lot of people when they first come here to specifically Hollywood-

CK: What do you mean by a surface world?

JS: What I mean is some people are overcome by the amount of artifice that might be present in … It’s really hard to meet people. It’s really hard to break through or break in, so some people are so awkward and weird about it, they’ll just instantly be like, “Hey, I want to be an actor.” That’s not how it works. “Hey, I’ve got a script.” Don’t do that. There’s all these things that you can’t do, but because people are all awkward and, “I’m brand new here,” they end up freaking out and then they just stay in their room and they’re like, “This sucks, I’m alone,” and then they leave. They get a job, they work this job, they know a few people, nothing really kind of works out, they might … If they’re an actor, they might do a few of these theatrical presentations or might pay to do these five minute acting reviews or whatever.

But it’s like it’s really about, all right, well, if you’re going to … whatever it is you’re going to do, you want to start to hang out in the places that those things are happening at. Start to try to find people who work in that field, in that business and start to get to know them. And so a lot of them are going to be not your cup of tea and a lot of them you’re probably not going to like, but eventually you’re going to find your group of people, and they are all here.
I mean, I’m friends with a ton of awesome people, like incredibly talented, amazing, really smart, fun, creative people. Like hundreds of them.

CK: There’s hundreds of me?

JS: There’s literally thousands of Carls. No, but it’s like, but it took years to meet all these people and it took years to get rid of all the people that I don’t want to hang out with, and are like, “I met this person and they suck,” or whatever. It’s like, you’re going to meet all these different people in your life, and some people are going to become your best friends and some people are going to not, you know? And that’s just how … But when you’re brand new, you have to put in the time, and that’s why I was like, “Well, it’s like there are 50 or 60 photographers who probably want to do exactly what you want to do and it isn’t a competition but in a certain sense, it is about getting out there and doing what it is you want to do, and just start doing it.

“Don’t wait for someone to hire you to do it, start doing it. You’re a photographer, you need to photograph things, people. Or what are you photographing, plants? That’s free. But if it’s like people, go to places where there are people who need to get photographs done and just do a bunch of them until you feel like you’ve got enough done.” “Well, I did that in Washington, DC.” So it’s like sometimes you can’t answer a question for someone, you just have to say, “Well, you have to put in that time.” It’s especially difficult in Los Angeles, because that’s where … it’s all happening here or a lot of it’s happening in New York or Toronto, or it’s like if you want to get into TV, film production, a lot of people are making things over there, but you as an American aren’t going to get hired … You can go to Toronto but they’re hiring all the people who live in Toronto. They’re not going to hire you. You’re going to be knocking on a door, “Hey, I’d like to work on The Flash.” Get out of here, you know? Go apply for the job in Los Angeles. You know what I’m saying?

Yeah, so it’s a weird thing and none of it’s easy, because think about it like this. Say you’re brand new here. No one is going to hire you because what if you screw up? The person who hired you is like, they’re going to look like shit and that just kind of echoes forward, so the reason it’s such a hard circle to get into is because everybody’s got each other’s backs, and so the whole reason you would get hired in the first place is because that person would be like, “No, I trust them to do their job, because these other people are trusting me to do my job,” so it’s a whole [inaudible 01:18:25]-

CK: And a lot of times I’ll end up working with people even if they have lesser skill just because I trust them and know that they’re not going to get in there and …

JS: Exactly.

CK: … cause a problem for me.

JS: Well, you’ve answered exactly that question. It’s like the burning question for everybody who comes here. It’s like, “How do I get into the inner circle?” It’s like time and meeting the people, and then working with them. So you’ll end up, maybe you’ll work with 30 different people and all 29 of them will not hire you again, but that 30th person will be like, “Come on back next … I’ve got another job in a month.” And you prove your worth to those people, those few people and they’ll continually keep hiring you, and probably you’ll slowly work your way up and then those other people that work with those people will hire you, because they’re like, “That person’s trustworthy and they did a great job working with Carl or Jon, so I’ll hire them on my projects,” and then all of a sudden now your network of people that you’re working with have now expanded.

And now all of a sudden in three, four years, now you’re working with 20 or 30 different people at any number of times. Like I’m booked on this weekend because I’m doing this, and that’s … and you’re doing the thing that you wanted to do, and now you’re moving forward in the things that you want to do. Really, it’s about, there is no right amount of time. It could take a year, it could take one week, it could take two years, it could take three years, and it’s also about the perseverance, not giving up on yourself. Who’s your worst enemy? You. Your worst enemy is the person that you look at in the mirror every day. They’re the person who’s holding you back. There’s no other people who care about what you’re doing.

Think about it. We’re doing these weirdo projects on Kickstarter. Nobody else cares, really, whether they-

CK: Yeah, we have to care about them way more than anybody else.

JS: Yeah, but it’s an honest thing. There are people who are like, “Hey, I’ll pitch in some money. I want to see whatever you’re going to make.” That’s the cool thing, but it’s like you’ve got to be the motivating factor for making the things that you want to make and then that person in the mirror’s also the one who’s going to be like, “It’s not going to happen,” or this or that.

CK: That was a rough one to get over, realizing that nobody’s waiting around for me to make my next thing. I’ve just got to get up every day and make my next thing, and just keep doing that.

JS: But the freedom of knowing that is the most exhilarating thing, because that thing is like you’re making what you’re making for you and a few other people who you know are going to dig it, and then when you exponentially make those few other people a thousand people, and exponentially make those thousand people a hundred thousand people, then you realize, “Oh, I’ve actually got a lot of people who will really appreciate this when they finally see it.” So, that’s what it’s all worthwhile, because you’re trying to communicate an idea, trying to share something. Whether it’s funny or a weird idea or whatever it is, that’s the reason you do those things, so you shouldn’t be stopping yourself from doing those things, you should be helping yourself to do those things.

CK: Sometimes I just like to learn how to execute a project.

JS: Right?

CK: Like I wonder how I can do this? How would I write a book? Well, I’ll learn how to write a book, you know what I mean?

JS: And that’s a cool thing. I’m not like that but I know you are and you’ve done all those things. You’ve written books, you’ve made CDs, you’ve done music, you’ve done documentaries, so it’s like you have that interior drive which is different than my interior drive, but they both work. The output is there, so it’s one of those things that I wish people wouldn’t give up on themselves as easily as they do, and that’s what happens. When I moved out here, a lot of people were out here for a year or two either before me or after me and then they moved … they stopped or they gave up. “It’s not working out.” Well, because you’re giving up on yourself. Like I said, no one else … It’s not like nobody cares. People are like, “It was fun to hang out with you.” It’s like, yeah, of course, when you have friends, you’re like, “Oh, that person’s moving back or leaving.” They’re bummed or whatever, but it’s like you end up moving on with your life. It’s not like, “Well, my life ends because this person moved away.”

So it’s like ultimately when you give up on your own dreams, no one else is there to, “Oh, you should really do your dream,” because they’ve got your own dreams to do.

CK: Right, exactly. Yeah.

JS: So it’s like you have to be your own dream fulfiller.

CK: Another part of that is a little bit … it can be hard … I used to always have this thing where I wanted my friends to pursue their dreams, and I’d try to drag them kicking and screaming, like, “Come on, let’s do your thing.” And then it just … I couldn’t get them to do it.

JS: I think a lot of people had that, Carl, because I had that too. In my 20s I would kind of like-

CK: “We’re all going to get together. We’re going to be …” Wow, this motorcycle that we’re riding is loud.

JS: But you realize ultimately when you’re doing that, you’re wasting not only your time but you’re wasting their time too because they really don’t want to do that thing that they say they want to do. You’re like, “Come on, remember that thing we talked about and you did that thing and you made a few efforts to make that thing? I’m going to help you get to the finish line.” They don’t even want to get halfway to the finish line. They’re filled with their own self doubt and they’re like, “It’s not going to work.”

CK: And then all it does is push them away because they don’t want to be around me because they know I’m going to hound them to …

JS: Or they cling more to you and, “Oh, I’m lost without you helping me do this.” You’re like, “I didn’t say I would do the thing for you. You’ve got to do the thing.” So it really is about … This whole thing has become a self help empowerment hour, but I really do think it’s like you’ve got to help people realize they’ve got to do things on their own, and it’s good. That’s a good thing you’re doing this on your own. It’s a positive thing. I’ve got your back. You can call me and talk about the thing, but you’re doing your dream. I’m making my dream, so it’s kind of like that’s the most important part, and also, like I said, being aware of what it is you’re trying to do and why you’re doing it, and not stopping and blocking yourself from doing it. Those things are easier to say than to …

I’m not saying that sometimes I’m not blocking myself. Sometimes I am. I’m the big obstacle. I’m like, “I’ll get over there as soon as I get myself out of the way. I can’t move myself.” You know? “How did I duplicate into four larger versions of myself in my way?” So sometimes you are the thing that’s in your way and you have to figure out, “Why am I in my way this time?” There’s not always an easy answer for it, you know? It’s not just the version of you in the mirror, it’s all these other multiple deeper versions of you that you’re stopping yourself from doing certain things. And that’s for every single individual person to figure out on their own, and it’s-

CK: Well, on this whole topic, neuroticism is often defined as someone that’s susceptible to depression and anxiety. Are you a person that is neurotic or susceptible to depression and anxiety?

JS: No.

CK: No. You’re pretty steady?

JS: Yeah.

CK: Yeah.

JS: Which is a weird thing, because I always wonder about that, because I’m not, so I’ve never been on any kind of antidepressants and I’ve never fallen into a depressed mode, or really-

CK: That’s interesting.

JS: Or even anxiety. Sometimes I might get a butterfly or something about certain … but I don’t have anxiety about meeting people or getting onstage or talking to anybody, so I don’t really have those kinds of … and I don’t really get depressed, or, “I’m in a depressed, funky state. I’m not going out,” or whatever. If I am ever depressed, I snap out of it, like literally by myself or on my own. So yeah, it’s harder for me to put myself in the mind space of someone who is like that because since I truly don’t understand it because I can’t …

CK: You just don’t experience it.

JS: Yeah, so it’s hard … sometimes it is hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. When you hear someone say, “Put yourself in my shoes,” and you’re like, “I’m going to try and it’s not like I’m not emotionally able to do it, and I want to be there to be able to try to do that, but at the same time, since my mind doesn’t work that way, it’s really hard for me to think that way and to even understand and be that way.” So, what about you?

CK: Oh yeah, highly neurotic and recently took a test on this, on a big five personality test, extremely neurotic, like 97% on neuroticism.

JS: Wow.

CK: So that was pretty impressive. I was like, “Damn, I didn’t even know I’m that bad, but that’s pretty good.”

JS: Wow.

CK: So yeah, I was curious about that because I’ve known you a long time and we don’t seem to share that same thing.

JS: No.

CK: I mean, you get pissed about things. You seem to have an anger … experience anger.

JS: Yes, yes.

CK: Which I have at times also.

JS: Definitely experienced anger and usually I’ll just be like, “Blah,” and then it’s gone.

CK: Yeah.

JS: So I don’t hold onto it or if it is there, then it’s about specific things, so I could be triggered, so that’s probably a bad thing for me, is that thing that I’m angered about is still there. It’s like the Hulk or whatever. You’re like, “As long as you don’t mention those things, he’s fine, but if you mention that, he might get ornery or mad or mean,” so I have those mean buttons that are … So those are my, whatever, triggers, or I have those things where I’ll get there and then all of a sudden I’ll talk about those things that I’m angry with, but then I’m back to normal.

So it’s one of those things where it’s like if we broach those sometimes-

CK: Well it can be scary because you’re a big dude.

JS: Oh yeah, well-

CK: You know, super tall, intimidating, loud guy, so it’s like-

JS: But luckily I’m usually always seated and people are like, “He’s like a little, tiny person.” So I never have to … I never worry about being intimidating in those ways, but yeah.

CK: All right. Oh, and you’ve also gotten smaller in the waist, I just saw.

JS: That’s right.

CK: Did you say you’re wearing 38 or 36?

JS: Yeah, 36 right here, yeah.

CK: Because I’m between 38 and 36, so congrats-

JS: Well, see, I still have a bigger belly but everything else is shrinking away. So the belly, like right under the belly, it’s a 36 and so-

CK: Oh nice.

JS: … it fits perfectly and yeah, it’s been literally getting healthier because the doctors were like, “You need to concentrate on stop eating all this crappy food and eat better.”

CK: But I can see it in your disposition and everything. Your skin seems clearer, you seem healthier-

JS: Oh thanks, man.

CK: … in general.

JS: Well, I mean, and it’s hard work.

CK: I’m not saying your skin usually looks horrible.

JS: No, no. I follow you.

CK: It’s not one of those backhanded-

JS: “You look like the mummy normally.”

CK: No!

JS: No, I mean, it’s a weird thing though, dude. America is really all about junk food and, “Here’s these Twinkies.”

CK: I just ate two boxes of mac and cheese before I came here, so …

JS: But that’s what I’m saying. It’s so easy to eat crap. They make it like, “Isn’t that delicious?” It is delicious, so it’s easier to eat unhealthy crap than it is to like, “I must eat this, I must consume this salad.”

CK: You have to go out of your way to eat healthy. It’s not what is immediately in front of you.

JS: Yeah, so I’ve been training and trying and not even succeeding all the time in … only maybe 30% succeeding, but I have succeeded in cutting out putting sugar in my coffee, and I’ve succeeded in buying a bunch of shitty snacks in between meals. So I’ll eat a really good breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I always try to have a good breakfast, and then if I don’t, I don’t worry about it. I skip it, and then I’m not going to-

CK: What’s weird is I’ve never known you to eat a lot. For the past eight years or whatever, we’d go out somewhere, you’d be like, “I’m going to have a muffin,” and just a muffin. Like, “That’s it? That’s all you’re going to eat all day?”

JS: Yeah, but then probably three hours later I’d have maybe a burger … Well, I don’t eat … a vegetarian burger or something like that. So what it was for me is I would be snacking all the time.

CK: Wow.

JS: I would have a muffin and then maybe I’d go to work and I’d have a Twix bar and then maybe later I’d go to 7-Eleven and have a pound cake and a piece of pizza, and then later I’d have dinner. See what I’m saying? So I’d have lunch, I’d have dinner, but I’d have all these mini snacks and stuff in between that, and that’s literally why I stayed the same weight that I was. I never bloated too much. Up until the last year and a half, I was always 44, 42, 40, 40, 42, 40. I’d fluctuate. I’d thicken up a little bit but never get too fat and I’d never get too thin. It was always that, and so until I made an active decision to be like, “All right, I’m going to cut out snacking,” and just like I quit smoking and it’ll be my seventh year of not having a cigarette, December 1st.

CK: Really?

JS: Yeah.

CK: Holy shit.

JS: I cold turkey stopped-

CK: It’s been that long?

JS: Yeah, seven years, and it’s crazy, but-

CK: Did you occasionally sneak one or something?

JS: Nope. No, and that’s the whole thing. Since I have an addictive type personality, and I know that, I-

CK: I remember that was the thing at Titmouse, was if I could drive by at any point I’d know if Jon’s there because he’s out front-

JS: Yeah. I smoked way too much, man. It was bad. And I know that I enjoy it too much, so it was like it’s a bad thing for me, and then I’d be like, “I’ll smoke when I’m taking a break or I’m having coffee or when I wake up, when I go to sleep.” So it was just bad, so to master that and be able to control the urge until it’s gone, and every once in a while I’ll see somebody smoke and I’ll be like, “I used to do that,” or even like about a month ago, I saw someone. I was like, “I could have a smoke,” and then I was like instantly, “No you can’t, because you’ll want another and another and another, and that’s how you are.” And I was like, “Yep.”

So other people can still smoke around me and I understand it, and I get it, and there’s people who smoke and I don’t have any problems with them smoking, but I know for myself, I can’t, just like the same reason if I want to get healthy, I can’t be pounding sugar, I can’t fucking be eating garbage food anymore. I need to eat salads, I need to make sure I’m eating vegetables, and make sure I’m doing that. So I’ve really tried to concentrate on making sure I’m getting greens at the very least at least once a day. Who doesn’t like bread? So I’m not gluten free or anything. “I’m trying to avoid nitrates.”

Luckily it’s like, hey, look, I got to rock this way and by doing that, that’s when I started losing weight, and it was just a natural byproduct of that, and then I was like, “Well maybe the next few months, I’ll actually start exercising, and then I’ll even lose more weight and feel even better.” But it was one of those things-

CK: As long as you don’t get a bad knee like I have.

JS: Well yeah, or if you get a-

CK: That’s been my excuse. My knee is kind of fucked up, so I can’t jog or do anything-

JS: Oh man.

CK: … so it’s like …

JS: Sorry to hear that.

CK: Yeah. So don’t do that.

JS: All right, well I well try to not-

CK: [inaudible 01:32:57]

JS: … get a bad knee, but yeah, so it was fun to finally … I was wearing 38s for the last six months and they started getting all baggy and weird.

CK: Yep.

JS: And I hate baggy … What, did you poop in your pants? Like baggy butt stuff.

CK: But do you feel like you lost a lot of weight? When you look at yourself, are you like, “Oh, I’m a lot skinner”?

JS: Only recently have I realized, I was like, “All right, I’m not …” Kind of like I just have to start doing some situps to lose the weight-

CK: My weight goes up and down and I don’t realize it looking in the mirror but then I’ll see a video of myself that I shot six months ago. Like, “Oh man, I was looking porky.”
Well, that’s when I look at the … Facebook has that friendly way of, “Five years ago.” I was like, “round-o face,” like super … I have a super round face, like thickening, The Thickening.
The Thickening.

JS: Yeah, it’s literally like, “Okay, I was definitely … I could see that I was heavier.” So it’s like-

CK: Facebook should tell you.

JS: Right.

CK: Like as you’re … at some point …

JS: You’re four quadrants heavier than you … Three millimeters thicker. Yeah.

CK: Yeah.

JS: But yeah, thanks for noticing. Yeah, I posted it. I’m not really one of those people who does selfie photos with the camera where I’m like … definitely I post pictures of my stupid face a lot but I try to put other things up there too, so it’s not like, “This is my self obsession,” but I was trying on these pants. I was like, “Oh man, I’m kind of proud of this moment for myself, and I just wanted to share that.” And it was great. I got a lot of really great responses from people.

CK: Oh, that’s really cool.

JS: And a lot of people were like, “Hey, I’m right there with you,” or, “I’m trying to lose weight,” or, “Now I’m a size 32, congratulations,” or, “How did you do it?” And I just was like, “Hey, I stopped snacking and stopped eating candy.” I didn’t 100% stop, I just stopped doing it on a daily, regular basis. Like on the weekends I’ll have a piece of pie or a piece of … I’m not punishing myself, like, “Not never!” It’s more like pacing it out and it’s not just like … crushing the routine of, “I’m going to go walk over to this 7-Eleven and get garbage food,” and all this other stuff, and just making it more about, “All right, I’m going to eat three times a day and if I miss a meal, I’m not going to eat late at night to make up for it.” It’s like, “I just missed that meal, then I’m going to make sure I eat tomorrow morning.”

So it’s that kind of thing too, is like kind of bracketing it. Then you don’t want to miss a meal, because then when you’re not feeling well because you forgot to eat, then you’re like, “I’m not going to do that again.” So then you get used to eating three times a day, and that’s pretty regular, I guess. It’s sort of like, most regular people eat three times a day, don’t they? Yes, you know? Even though I’m not going by the weird USDA bizarre triangle of foods that’s all … most of it’s fake and made up, so it’s sort of like, look, just make sure you’re eating vegetables. That’s the most important thing. Everything else, in moderation.

I love bread. I could eat eight pieces of toast.

CK: Chocolate chip cookies, for me.

JS: But why? So it was like, if I could eat two pieces of toast, I’m totally happy. See, that’s where I had to start to limit myself because it’d be like, I’d have four pieces of bread in the morning.

CK: Yeah, that’ll do it.

JS: Because I love toast, I’d be like, “Toast is just really good.” So now it’s two, and it’s like, guess what? I’m going to have two more tomorrow. So the whole idea of what the whole idea of, in my mind, how I was able to at least help myself was there’s no reason to have two bowls of cereal. You can have one and that should be enough, and it actually is enough, but in your mind, you’re like, “I’m going to have three.”

CK: Right. Oh yeah.

JS: Or whatever. Especially as an adult, “I’ll eat as much as I want. No one can stop me,” or whatever the whole reason you end up gaining all this weight is because of that freedom, and you’re not doing it to, “I’ll make sure I screw myself up.” It’s more about, “Well, no one’s going to tell me what to do,” or whatever. “I’m going to enjoy this,” or whatever. There’s these kinds of things that you’re like, “Well, just enjoy it in moderation, because otherwise you’re going to gain a ton of weight.” It’s real logically strange.

Like, “That’s weird that I ate these five bowls of cereal and then gained five pounds.” It’s because you went to sleep. It’s like instantly it all became fat. You didn’t work any of it off, so it’s like your body is just sort of like, “Dude, what are you doing?” You go back to those cartoons where all the body parts are talking to each other and the stomach would be like, “Easy up, mother fucker,” you know? So, yeah. Size 36. I’m not on some kind of “must get to size 22.” It’s like, hey, look. 36 is awesome. 34, 32, fine. 36 is fine too. I’m just more about, like we were talking about earlier, that energy. Like, “Do you ever get tired?” Yeah, because I get up early in the morning to do these YouTube videos, and then all-

CK: Oh really?

JS: Yeah.

CK: I didn’t know that.

JS: Yeah, we shoot all of them in the morning.

CK: Oh, like what time?

JS: Movie Talk is live at 9:00 AM.

CK: Oh.

JS: We have a pre-pro meeting at 8:30, so I got to-

CK: People are watching it live at 9:00 AM?

JS: At 9:00 AM, yeah. Thousands of people are on.

CK: Bunch of East Coasters, huh?

JS: East Coasters and LA, and all around the world.

CK: Holy crap, yeah.

JS: That’s what the crazy thing about YouTube, is it’s global, so there’s people from all around the world literally watching the show.

CK: Didn’t know you guys shoot it so early.

JS: Yeah, so we do that, and then I usually film Heroes about an hour later.

Ck: Oh wow.

JS: And then it goes up three hours later, but I film it right then.

CK: So you do that three days a week at 9:00 AM?

JS: Yeah, so I’ve got to get up at 7:30, which is horrible.

CK: Oh yeah.

JS: Especially for someone like me who’s like-

CK: Yeah, I can’t do it.

JS: Well, guess what? I can, because I have to.

CK: That’s amazing.

JS: No, I have to.

CK: Yeah.

JS: So it’s like one of those weird things where I’ve gotten used to it, but what ends up happening is then I have the entire afternoon free to do my own projects and what I want to do, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been writing and drawing and doing that kind of stuff, and really kind of, especially over the last couple months, I’ve been like, “I’ve got to force myself to enjoy doing this, like my own thing.”

CK: That’s another big part of it.

JS: Yeah.

CK: Actually enjoying doing it.

JS: Yeah, and I do enjoy doing it, but it’s like I’d gotten so controlled by all these other projects and doing these other things that I didn’t necessarily … wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing, is this kind of … You’ve got to work on what you want to do. So, yeah, so that’s kind of what I’m doing right now, and then, like I said, then as nighttime rolls around, I get dinner with Hollie and we’ll hang out. Maybe we’ll watch something, but sometimes I feel like, “Oh man, I’m an old man.” It’s actually, “No, because you got up at 7:30.” This is just natural that you should be tired at 11:00 at night, and you shouldn’t be binging eight shows till 3:00 in the morning, because you’ve got to get up at 7:30. So now I know my clock is like I’m going to sleep around 12:00, 12:30 or whatever. So it makes it like my old party days are definitely like, “Let’s go out to the Burgundy Room till 2:00 in the morning” is not happening.

CK: Yeah, you were always out.

JS: Yeah.

CK: Standing there with maybe a glass of wine in one hand or just some other kind of alcoholic drink and then a glass of water in the other.

JS: That’s right.

CK: That was always your signature.

JS: Yeah. Well, because even when I was drinking exorbitant amounts of alcohol, it was like you’ve got to hydrate. You can’t just be pounding Guinness, yo, you know?

CK: Little sip of water, little sip of wine, little sip of water.

JS: Yeah. It’s important.

CK: Oh man, that’s funny. Well we should rap this up. Remember, everybody, go check out or Kickstarters. Five.

JS: Yep, Five. You could just type in my name, Jon Schnepp, J-O-N S-C-H-N-E-P-P, on Kickstarter, or just … if you type in Five and just spell it out, F-I-V-E, there’s other things that are called Five, so it’s easier-

CK: Pledge to all of them.

JS: Yeah, pledge to all of them-

CK: All five of them.

JS: … but yeah, just type in my last name, Schnepp, and that’ll pop up, and you can get your name in the credits or you could get all five issues, if you want. Support it and then also support Carl’s Oracle of Outer Space.

CK: The Oracle of Outer Space. I didn’t do any name in the credits this time on mine, for some reason.

JS: No?

CK: I don’t know if it’s making a difference or not.

JS: You can add it.

CK: I purposefully made the first reward at like $34 or something.

JS: No, but that’s a smart thing, is I think that you have to … There’s one that’s like, “For $10 you get a thank you.”

CK: I just didn’t do any of those yet.

JS: Okay.

CK: I just didn’t bother because I thought, if you’re going to kick in, come on, kick in a little more, because five or ten bucks isn’t going to do much in the long run.

JS: Right. No, there’s people, but I look at it like there’s people who are, “Seriously, I want to contribute but I’m broke and I do not have more than $5, that’s all I could do,” and I’m always thankful to anybody who contributes anything, so …

CK: Sure. I tried it this way this time around to see what would happen.

JS: Yeah.

CK: I don’t know.

JS: Well, if all you could afford to contribute to Carl is $5, pitch in $5. It might not be on there, but you can contribute $5 and it’ll go in and you’ll-

CK: Right, you can still … There were a couple of people who just put in $10 for no reward.

JS: Yeah.

CK: So maybe I’ll send them something special or something like that.

JS:Well, just send them a digital thank you. That’s kind of what … like anybody who puts in $5 or $10, that kind of thing, but definitely all of me and Carl’s rewards are like … they start out around 25, 35 bucks and then the highest ones are like, “Be a producer,” or whatever. It’s like they’re the 1,000, 2,000 bucks, but there’s all the middle ones where Carl has, like you can be a cameo in his cartoon. I have, “You can be a cameo in my comic book,” and a couple hundred bucks, you can be drawn in or you could be voiced in. So those are ones for people who want to have a keepsake memory who also want to be like, “Hey, can I use it for my reel?” Yeah, you can totally use it for your reel or you can be like, “Hey, I’m in this comic book and it’s going to be a hardcover comic that comes out and it’ll be globally printed all around the world, or it’ll be on YouTube that everyone can see anywhere,” so-

CK: I did that on my last album too. I custom-wrote songs for people-

JS: Oh wow, right on.

CK: … and sold like five of those.

JS: Nice. Well, our helicopter’s here to pick us up.

CK: Oh shit, oh shit.

JS: So …

CK: Bye.

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, join me on Patreon.

Leave a Reply