How Dreams Come True in Unexpected Ways: Producing an Animated Series with Soulpancake

If it’s going to reach the potential you dream it will, your true calling needs all your attention- Biz Stone

In 2006 I applied to business school with the dream of working in media and entertainment. I wanted to work at a television network and choose what went on the air. In what now seems like the universe’s great gift to me I was rejected from Columbia, and NYU, and waitlisted at USC. So in a last ditch effort, to keep from getting fired from yet another job, I submitted an application to Pepperdine. The logic was “at least I’ll be in LA, close to the place where I want to make this dream come true.”

A few weeks after I got there, I received a series of rude awakenings. MBA’s didn’t get to do creative jobs in the entertainment industry, and I was too old to chart a course from the mailroom at William Morris to the top of the industry. So I gave up on the dream of doing anything in entertainment. Ironically I even swore that when I was done with business school, I would do everything I could to avoid a career that involved the internet. But because my resume was filled with tech experience, all the MBA internships I qualified for were with tech companies. That summer in yet another gift from the universe, I was the social media intern at Intuit, where I didn’t receive a job offer after it was over. The boss who didn’t hire me had the foresight to see that it would have been a mistake.

Fast forward to 2009 and my plan to swear off the internet completely had been an abysmal failure. I was reading blogs, starting lots of them and even attempting ridiculous projects like 100 Reasons You Should Hire Me (which failed because I couldn’t come up with 100 reasons anyone should hire me). In the midst of it all, I ended up creating a show called BlogcastFM, which today has evolved into the Unmistakable Creative where I’ve interviewed more than 500 people from all walks of life.

At the beginning of 2014, my mentor and advisor Greg Hartle told me to come up with some creative ways to market ourselves. So I suggested animating some of our interviews kind of the way RSA Animate does with TED talks. So we asked Sarah Steenland, our artist if it was possible. She said “I’ll see what I can do.” And it turned out what she could do was quite amazing. But it was a project that required time, money and resources we didn’t have. So we developed a pilot episode and tabled the idea.

Enter Soulpancake

Earlier in the year, a former podcast guest had mentioned the name Soulpancake to me. The more I dug into their content, the more I loved it and wanted to find out who was behind all of it. And naturally that led me to finding out who I could interview from the company. After a few emails, I was introduced to Golriz Lucina the creative director at Soulpancake, who was an amazing guest on the show. When our conversation was over, we started talking about animation of our interviews. A seed we had planted 9 months before was like one of those little green things we’d see when we planted them as kids. I had something to show.

In April this year, Soulpancake gave us the green light for production on our first 6 episode animated series, Unmistakable Creative Shorts. It’s been nearly 18 months since we started work on this project. The work Sarah Steenland did on this first episode is truly spectacular. It will make you laugh, cry, warm your heart and give you chills. As for my dream of working in the entertainment industry, getting to produce something, it has come true in the most unexpected of ways. I guess that’s what happens when you keep choosing must when you arrive at the crossroads, no matter how much it hurts in the moment. We hope that you enjoy watching this as much as we’ve enjoyed getting to make it.

And special thanks to Brian Koehn , Georgia Koch, the entire Soulpancake crew for believing in our vision and of course to Elle Luna who gave us her blessing to turn her beautiful story into our very first animated short.

I’m the host of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast. Subscribe to the podcast viaiTunes or Stitcher.

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