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Jake Fellman

Jake Fellman is a self-taught 3D artist who spends his time making original, animated content for YouTube and TikTok. As of this episode, Jake has 10.9M YouTube subscribers and 11.7M TikTok followers—so whatever he’s making people enjoy watching.

Forget The Algorithm
Forget The Algorithm

Forget The Algorithm

Ep
180
Mar
16
With
Jake Fellman
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Done is better than perfect.

Jake Fellman is a self-taught 3D artist who spends his time making original, animated content for YouTube and TikTok. As of this episode, Jake has 10.9M YouTube subscribers and 11.7M TikTok followers—so whatever he’s making people enjoy watching.

The videos Jake creates are anywhere from ten to thirty seconds long and often reference pop-culture and video games, like Among Us and Poppy Playtime. These animated shorts walk the line between comedy and horror and typically involve a surreal twist.

In this episode, Jake tells us about how he got started making these animations, the meteoric rise in their popularity, and what his plans are for the future. If you are interested in making your own content for YouTube or TikTok, then don’t miss this one.

Hosted By
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produced by
edited by
music by
Appearances

Episode Transcript

Jake:

Being a perfectionist is going to be your downfall if you're trying to turn your passion into a social media thing or a full-time freelance thing. The thing is about making good artwork, you can't make good artwork or you can't make a good social media video until you've made a lot of bad social media videos, because through the process of making a lot of bad content or not necessarily even bad, just stuff, even at the time, you can be proud of it. But through the process of making a lot, you're going to learn about what is good or what are the redeeming qualities of the bad videos that you've made along the way.

Chris:

I'm excited to talk to you, Jake, because you have posted some serious numbers on your social media platforms. You're smashing it, you're crushing it, and you're so, so young. I'm very impressed by everything that you've done. And the other thing that I'm really impressed by and something that I want to champion is that as I understand it, you start out your journey to build a portfolio to get work, but now creating content is your primary source of income. So you're now fully part of this whole creator economy, you no longer have a boss, you're self directed, you're an artist, and hats off to you. So in case people don't know who you are, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are?

Jake:

Yeah. So my name is Jake Feldman. I'm a 3D artist is the easiest way to kick it off. And like you said, I am a full-time social media person now. I got my start doing 3D art as a freelance gig a couple years back. And as my social media started taking off, I switched over to doing social media full time. So now I'm sitting at around 10 million on YouTube and 11 million on TikTok, but both of those figures have really come about in the past year. And so it's like, I've only been and doing social media full time for one year. And looking back, I mean, if we go back to January last year, I was maybe around 1 million on YouTube or 2 million, but if you go back even just two months earlier, I was at like 10,000 subscribers only. And so it's really been like a 15th months journey to get me to this spot. And so it's been a rocket ship of a ride.

Chris:

Wow. Okay. So I was really happy when we were posting like 30,000, 40,000 new subs a month. I'm like, "This is freaking incredible." And you're up there in the hundreds of thousands, also a million subs a month. And it's very hard for people to kind of process that, because think about that. Like, how long would it take a person to grow their social account on YouTube to get to a million subs? Which is an achievement in itself. And you're doing numbers like that a month, a month. And I'm looking at your YouTube channel right now. I'm going to brag on your behalf, okay?

Jake:

Sure thing.

Chris:

I'm looking at your videos. And if you go to Jake's YouTube channel, you are going to see his videos. If you sort them by numbers of viewed, your highest viewed video is a 19 second clip. It's 212 million views. It's a Short, I believe, right?

Jake:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Chris:

Is all your content Shorts right now?

Jake:

Yeah. I don't have any long form stuff on my YouTube channel.

Chris:

But short also in that they're vertically format, under a minute long, right?

Jake:

Yes.

Chris:

Okay.

Jake:

Yep.

Chris:

So look at this, it's not an anomaly because he has multiple videos, I don't even know how far I have to scroll down, that have millions or a hundred million plus views. These are staggering numbers. And do you mind me asking how old you are?

Jake:

Yeah. I just turned 24, last week. Yeah.

Chris:

It hurts me a little bit. I can be old enough to be your father. My oldest son is only six years younger than you. So you are by all accounts, completely crushing and living the dream. All right, let's get into it. So do you mind if I just ask you some really, kind of just business questions? Are you pretty transparent about what you do and how you do what you do and everything attached, or?

Jake:

I'm transparent about everything, but in terms of like specific figures, I haven't shared anything in terms of like what my actual revenue is. But I'm more than happy to speak generally about it. Little known fact, it's actually against YouTube terms of service to share revenue figures. And so-

Chris:

Is that right?

Jake:

Yeah. And so I have like a team at YouTube and they have been like, "Well, you could. A lot of people do." But like on the back end, it's kind of... In my impression, it's a little bit frowned upon. So I haven't shared anything specifically, but I'm more than happy to talk about it generally.

Chris:

Okay. So I'll ask questions and you determine how you want to answer anything and feel no pressure to disclose more than you want to.

Jake:

Absolutely.

Chris:

I generally disclose every single thing. So I don't make that assumption about people. First of all, I just want to comment really quickly, because I also got this very unexpected surprise from YouTube and I saw that you posted it on Instagram, your NFT. So let's talk about that a little bit. So they sent some creators, I don't know how many creators they sent it to, these intangible sculpts.

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

And I see that you shared it on Instagram. Do you have a crypto wallet?

Jake:

No, I don't. I haven't even claimed it yet. But like, it's weird because I support crypto and like Web 3 and stuff. I'm like, following a bunch of people who like speak about it all the time, but I haven't like really gotten into it personally yet. It's a time constraint for myself, I like to think. But yeah.

Chris:

Well, you not alone because I haven't gotten into it either. I still have my box here and I need to claim it. My son, my 15 year old son has a crypto wallet already and I don't. That's just letting you know how the world is working right now. Okay. So I presume they've sent it to creators, I think, who've been pretty active with Shorts. I'm not going to make that assumption. I don't know. Because there wasn't a detailed note that said anything. But one thing I will say for me at least, and I want to know how you feel about this. I think YouTube is such a special and unique platform that they will assign an advisor to help you grow your channel and to give you support and to make gestures like this, to send you things and... I mean, what's your take on it? What's your feeling towards YouTube specifically as a social platform?

Jake:

Yeah, it's the absolute best. I sent a, when I hit 10 million this past, or two weeks ago now I sent an email to just like all my contacts or people who have touched my career in unique ways that work at YouTube. And after I compiled the list, it was like an email list of 14 people. And I was like, how blessed am I to have connection to that many people who work at headquarters who are like actively trying to support me to be the best I can? It's incredible. And so it's like, as someone who's the doing social media full time, of course it's nice to have somebody to email and just say, "Oh, I have a question about how do I start up a secondary account." Or, "Do I need it to be branded in this way, or?

Jake:

It's nice to ask questions, but of course, I do not expect to receive end of year gifts like that. And so it's like icing on the cake. I don't need that, but yeah, it is certainly a special place and it really makes me feel valued as a contributor.

Chris:

Same here. And I think there are many platforms that one can create on. We know that if you have the short form, vertical format video, you can post it on TikTok and you can also do Instagram Reels, but there's a special place in my heart for YouTube because of how they deal with and the relationships with creators. I think that's really, really unique and I hope more platforms will do this and respect that it's a lot of work to actually to create content on a consistent basis. Now, for people who aren't familiar with the kind of Shorts you create, can you describe it?

Jake:

Yeah. So the layman's term for the software I use, I always say it's the same software that Disney and Pixar use. And that gives a little bit of context stylistically, maybe to what I'm making. So it's like animated characters. And I really focus on doing pop culture and video games. And so I create... It's stylistic as in it doesn't really look exactly like the games typically do, so it has my own artistic take on it. But yeah, they're really snappy. Most of them are actually even under 20 seconds long. And lately I've been doing a lot of horror content, but in the past I've done a lot of snappy comedy stuff, physical comedy sometimes, if that gives a little bit more context, but yeah.

Chris:

For the most part, they look like HolyCG environments that are bordering now, sometimes photo real. There's very dramatic lighting in your horror series when I'm looking at it. And there's this character which feels familiar yet unfamiliar. It's like this furry creature with really long exaggerated limbs, a really happy looking smile until the creature opens its mouth and it's got all these jagged teeth in it. So it's funny and scary at the same time. So you've got this weird appeal, I think, where it's like, I want to be scared, but not so scared that I'm worried about my life. So first question for you, is it all CG or is there some compositing done with live action?

Jake:

Oh, it's completely CG. I've thought many times about getting like a Rokoko motion capture suit to make things a little bit quicker, but with the way that I work, it just makes sense for me to key frame everything. So everything is like manually done, every arm movement is like key framed.

Chris:

Key framed, hand key framed.

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

So again, since this is kind of like an audio platform, I want to describe to you a little bit. So if you imagine like Monsters, Inc and solely, as I believe, is it solely the blue?

Jake:

Well, actually before you go on this. The most recent series that you're describing here is actually a video game. So it's not of my own creation.

Chris:

Oh, is it?

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

Okay.

Jake:

And so it's still along that franchise that I don't own and the game is called Poppy Playtime.

Chris:

I see.

Jake:

And so some people may recognize that name, but it's very niche.

Chris:

Okay. Very good. I'm glad you disclosed that because I'm not familiar with that. But it's just like this blue feathered furry creature which, if you know anything about computer rendering, hair and fur, it's pretty computationally intensive to do. And you're building these characters in 3D and they're rigged with skeletons and you're sitting there animating each and every part, every primary and secondary, and even tertiary animation, right? And you're dealing with lighting, camera movements. So there's a lot of work. So on average, I think you said like, you spend like a full day making 15 second animation and it takes hours to render these things out. Is that right?

Jake:

Yeah, exactly.

Chris:

Okay. So when we're talking about building content, this is like a full time morning to night endeavor for you on a daily basis, right?

Jake:

Absolutely.

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jake:

Well, in this past couple months I've actually been doing like every other day because doing a full video like this, even though it's, I always feel like a little pathetic when I say it out loud, but making a 15 second video sometimes takes two or three full days of work and I've kind of come off of the daily grind because I've made it to my milestones that I've really been reaching for. And there was a while where I would just like get up at 6:00 and just like work for 12 hours and then set it to render and then sleep. And then when it's done rendering in the morning, do it all over again.

Jake:

And so now I'm kind of relaxed a little bit. Not that I'm like a jaded, old 3D modeler, because I've only been doing this for a year, but I think with the success a little bit, I've been able to be like, "Okay, I can eat lunch now." Or like, just chill out a little bit. But so I do even spend multiple days making some of these. Pretty much my practice is just get them out as fast as I can. And so when you see two days in between, it's like, well, it's because I'm spending a lot of time on it. It's not because I'm hanging out on the beach.

Chris:

Yeah. I want to talk to you a little bit more about the creative process because even every other day, even every third day, think about it, he is making a 20 second, fully animated, 3D film, every single or every other third or fourth day. That is a lot. That pace is incredible. Forget about every day, just even once a week is a lot. So take me through your creative process. How does an idea begin? And take me through the major steps that you go through?

Jake:

Well, I'd say first up is like getting the right idea.

Chris:

Right.

Jake:

And everybody always asks me, that's like one of the main questions that I get quite frequently is like, "How do you come up with your ideas?" And my answer is like, "Honestly, I don't really know where they always come from." And times there's direct inspiration from other creators, right? So I follow a plethora of people who inspire me. And when I was doing the Minecraft stuff specifically, I did 100 part series on Minecraft, a lot of that is like following trends and saying, okay, what are the other Minecrafter doing right now? And with the horror stuff, there are still are a few people who do similar content online, but it certainly is difficult to come up with ideas regardless of what sort of concept you're revolving it around.

Jake:

And so I'd say typically it comes from a shower thought or sort of like my own experience in game. These are all mostly video game related content. So my own experience in game or something I've seen someone else do, but there is really no straight answer. I go on a lot of walks. And so when I'm walking around, I'm thinking, I dedicate a lot of time to creative thinking. Like, on average it takes me an hour to two hours a day of like just sitting down and kind of like closing my eyes or having a cup of coffee and only thinking about, what am I going to make today? And so it's kind of weird when I'm just like sitting with my eyes closed and I've been at home for the last week. So I'm like, just sitting in the fire room, I'm like, "Mom, don't talk to me. I'm trying to think of an idea."

Jake:

But yeah, there's dedicated creative thinking time in my life. And that's the biggest thing. And so sorry for going on a rant about that, but after there's the right idea, it's pretty typical creative process, sketch out a storyboard, know what my shorts are going to be, know what assets are going to be before I go into creating the actual thing and then animating it, which is, like we already, discussed hand key frames and then there's the rendering process. And so yeah, above and beyond everything else, it's like, once you have the right idea, everything else kind of like is a mechanical process.

Chris:

Then it's production at that point and you know what to do, right?

Jake:

Yeah. And I have the office going on a second monitor. It's very like... Yeah, it's kind of just like [crosstalk 00:13:57] not thinking about it too much. Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. Okay. So do you have a large asset library of 3D set pieces, furniture objects, or are you modeling a bunch of stuff as you need it?

Jake:

One of the sweetest things about doing this as a full-time job now is that I have a budget for buying stuff, which save so much time. Like, if I was actually modeling every couch that went in the background or designing the buildings myself, it easily adds an hour to two hours onto production to actually do all that stuff. Oftentimes when there's a unique character, I do a lot of the character design myself. And there are many times where the scenes can't be just simply bought, but a lot of it is kitbashed from TurboSquid or CGTrader, those type of places. So I do have quite a large and growing model set.

Chris:

Is that also like with a large and growing shader library so that you can quickly change the way things look?

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah.

Jake:

Yeah, absolutely. And I have an immaculate file system. Let's just say that. I learned early on that if things are not labeled in absolutely every single little sub folder, it adds so much more time to like try and, "Where was that rock picture?"

Chris:

Right.

Jake:

So anyway. Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. It's what my former creative director, Matthew Encina would call digital hygiene. You're very clean in how you organize things because anybody that's a prolific content creator knows this already. If you haven't paid the price, you now know it, that if you spend minutes every day looking for an asset, that's minutes away from creative thinking, working, or doing nothing. And so that's the thing that we all learn hopefully earlier in part of our career. You mentioned something that, you said you have a budget now to buy assets and produce things. Now, in the beginning we talked about how you built a portfolio online to go and get work, presumably to get a job at one of these design animation studios, right?

Jake:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:

And did you actually ever wind up doing freelance design work and animation work?

Jake:

Yeah, I did. For a year and a half or so, I did just freelance stuff. That was my full time thing. And to clarify that, building my portfolio, or as you mentioned, wasn't necessarily to get a job at a advertising agency. My goal was, I enjoyed doing the freelance stuff. I liked being my own boss. And so it wasn't necessary to land a job. It was a more like to land clients, sort of thing.

Chris:

Right. And so they're showcases for your skillset, right?

Jake:

Yes, exactly.

Chris:

Okay. So were you freelancing while still in school? Because I'm trying to get the timeline here.

Jake:

Yeah, so basically I started freelancing the summer after my junior year in college. And then I had so much success with it and I had clients that were like, "Well, we still have work for you regardless of whether you're not going into your senior year." And so I just continued working with people, sort of juggling my schoolwork and my clients at a balanced rate, right? And then by the time I was ready to graduate, I already had several people who were like on my line ready to go with work. And so I did that for eight months or so, I did it for the whole year, right? And there was all that COVID stuff going on too. So it's like, all my school went online. So I was like equally spending time doing freelance and schoolwork to the point where I was like, I was just ready to do full time freelance by the time I graduated. So, I would like to think that if I had never did social media, I would've survived as a freelance person.

Chris:

Yeah. I think you would've. So were you doing similar things? Were you doing modeling and animation or something different?

Jake:

Yeah, it was similar in the way that it was a one man band. So I was doing all the modeling, texturing, animation, rendering. At that time, working completely from my MacBook, which now is like, I can't believe that I ever did any of that for my MacBook, in the first place. But yeah, it was one man band all the way through, so.

Chris:

Okay. So for most people, they actually never break this kind of orbit. I get it. The traditional linear path is you're at school, you do a couple of freelance gigs and then you finish school and then you do a lot of freelance work and you post some things on social, but that's the cycle that they're happiest in. So you're trying to finish school and also doing freelance work, which to me is like trying to juggle on too many things. Did you feel tired, stressed out, burnt out, trying to like finish school and also doing freelance work? And what compelled you to finish school when you were getting freelance work as a student?

Jake:

I had my schedule lined up pretty well, whereas like my senior classes weren't the most difficult. And so I kind of had known for a while that my senior year wasn't going to be my hardest year. And so with that, and with everybody going online, I had two professors actually just say, "Okay, we're not doing finals online." Like, "You guys, you end the grade which you had the grade." And when COVID went online, they're like, "We're done." So part of it's that, and I think I was so passionate about doing the work too, the freelance stuff, that it never really bugged me too much, like spending a couple extra hours every day at my computer. And it's not like I was a full time freelancer, right? So there's balance there. And all my clients were well aware that I was a student too. So they're like, "Well, cut him some slack. He has finals week."

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). I see that on your about page that you studied marketing. And that seems quite different than what you're doing. And is this something that you taught yourself to do?

Jake:

Yes. I'm completely self-taught in the 3D world. The story is actually kind of funny. If you don't mind me going off, running a rant here for a moment.

Chris:

Please, tell me. Yeah.

Jake:

So at the end of my junior year, I was trying so hard to get a marketing internship. And for the longest time I thought that I was going to be working at a clothing company. I like clothing a lot. And I feel like it... The way I always think about clothing is like it's branding for people. And so I think that working in the marketing section of a clothing company would be cool. And I had plenty of interviews with like... I actually went out to the Abercrombie headquarters to interview for stuff and like Tommy Hilfiger. And there was like all these brands that I really liked and I just kept getting rejected from them.

Jake:

And so anyway, by the end of my junior year, it's like, well, I have nothing going on this summer, I might as well give the old college a try and sell some animations because this is something that I've been doing on the side just for fun for a while. And so what ended up happening that summer is that actually one big client that ended up pushing me beyond my comfort level, to the point where it's like, all of a sudden, it's like, okay, I promise this deliverable. And I need to get this stuff out the door as professional quality. And so I developed a lot of skills that summer that made me realize like, "Oh, I don't need to get a job at a marketing place." Or, "I don't need to go work for a clothing company." And it's like, I have my own little business starting up here.

Jake:

Funnily enough, this is the time period when I discovered The Futur and all of your work, Chris, because it's like, I was all of a sudden looking for mentors and like, how do I sign a contractor? Or what do I value my brand at? Like, is this worth $1000? Is this worth $10,000? Like, what do I price this stuff at? And so this is the time period when I was like, turned onto your stuff. And I listen to your podcast every single day during this time period. Like, just trying to learn about contracts and stuff. So yeah.

Chris:

As you're a freelance professional, now we have to learn about the business stuff and how to price our work, right?

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

So for that period in between you doing freelance work before you just went full-time content creator, there was that moment where you were working it out. Did you find that you were able to overcome these challenges and these questions that you had?

Jake:

Yeah, but not without mistakes along the way. I think my first project that I sold for, I won't say who they are, but the first project that I sold for this one company, I sold it for $1000 and it was like a one minute animation, 3D animation, which is like drastically undersold myself. And it took me a whole month to do. And then I turned around in the next month, I was like, "All right, I need to figure out like how I can make this sustainable." Because right on one side of the coin, it's like, when they sign that contract, I was like, "Call my mom and dad." And I was, "Oh my gosh, I'm making $1000 for my artwork." And then I was like, "Wait a second. That's actually not that good of a deal if I'm working on this for a whole month." And so then the same client came back to me and wanted more work. And I was like, "Well, it's going to be a lot more expensive." And they were okay with it. So there was a lot of hiccups along the way though.

Chris:

Okay. Pause right there. I think everyone who's listening to this who probably has a smile on their faces. We've all been there. We're doing something and we're not, I don't know if it's worth anything. And then we find a client who's willing to give us real money to do this work. And so you're going into it like, "I'd be happy with a thousand bucks." Because prior to that, it was zero. So a thousand compared to zero was a lot. Did you estimate in your mind at that point it was going to take you a month to do? Or did you not even think about that?

Jake:

I didn't even think about it. It was like, I was just excited to... Because here I was like, "Okay, well, I failed all of my internship applications." So it's like, if I could make $5 this year selling my artwork, that'd just be fun.

Chris:

That'd be cool.

Jake:

I just remember even debating behind the scenes, like $750 or $1000. Like, I don't know if they're going to sign. And I knew I did something wrong when I sent in the email for $1000 and they immediately, like within five minutes sent it back signed. And I was like, "Okay, that was pretty quick." Like, they didn't think about that.

Chris:

Right. They weren't consonating about should we or shouldn't and can we afford to do this because you are talking about $100. No, not even a... Let me trying to figure this out. Like per second, what is that? 1000 divided by 60. It's ridiculously low. It is ridiculously low. Okay. So you learned a couple things and then you're like, "Wait a minute. This is not going to work." What did you come back at them with in terms of price. And they're like, "Yeah, we could do that still."

Jake:

Then they had a set of three more animations ranging from like 30 seconds to a minute. And I think we signed a $20,000 deal.

Chris:

Oh wow.

Jake:

Yeah. Or maybe it was even 25, but yeah. So it still was like, not what I started charging later on after I'd been doing it for a long time, but I remember I even consulted, I had a friend who runs an advertising agency in my college town and I asked him about it. I was like, "Do you think those are going to sign this?" Or like, "Do you think I should just maybe bump it up to 1500?" Or, "What do you think?" And he was like, "Yeah, they're definitely not going to sign it." And then I was like, "Well, if they don't sign it..." There's a lot of back and forth, right? And there was a couple people that would tell me that this isn't going to work. But they did. And I guess part of it too is like, they liked what I made the first time around, so yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. I want to say this for the future Jakes out there in the world that if you're talented and you're doing this and you're not quite sure, don't call your cousin, don't call your friend in your town. Call me. I will tell you how much to charge. I'll tell you the market rate and you can adjust based on that. Okay. So this is a huge jump though, 1000 to 25,000 in your next gig. It tells me a lot of things. One, you're easy to work with. You delivered something of high quality, because for them to agree to pay you, not quite 25x because we're talking about three different video projects here, but it's a significant jump up. And that means you're probably still under market, but how did you feel then? Because if you were happy to call your mom and say, "Mom, I got a thousand bucks." And she's like, "Awesome. This is amazing. And it's not even what you're studying in school." So when you got 25,000 and they signed that, what was the feeling like for you at that point?

Jake:

I was jumping around, but more than anything, it was that, like I already briefly mentioned earlier, it was an epiphany of like, oh, I definitely don't need to go work for a clothing and company or whatever. Like, I love making art, I feel like I'm getting paid to just like play around on my computer. And so at that point it's like, well, I'm going to do my absolute best at this and then see what we can do to sign the next contract with the same client. And so it's like, let's keep the ball rolling. I was super excited about it.

Chris:

Awesome. So when you're a young person and I think, what are you? Are you 23 at this point? 22?

Jake:

No. Oh man. I was just 21 maybe.

Chris:

Oh 21. Wow.

Jake:

This is after my junior year. It was 2019 maybe.

Chris:

Yeah. Because I'm getting messed up because you just graduated in 2020.

Jake:

Yeah. So I just turned 24 last week, and I've been out of school for two years. I don't know. It's so hard to do the math on it when it like COVID has made everything feel like...

Chris:

Yeah, I know what you're saying. One of my friends tweeted, "It's blursday." Like, we have no idea what day it is anymore.

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

Were you still in your early twenties? And you got this gig for 25,000 bucks and you delivered everything, you get paid. What did you spend the money on? Tell me the first couple of things you bought for yourself with this is money in your pocket.

Jake:

I didn't buy anything at all.

Chris:

Really?

Jake:

Nothing, not a single thing. I didn't buy a new watch or a new pair of shoes.

Chris:

New monitor? New computer? New video card?

Jake:

Nothing.

Chris:

Really?

Jake:

I did not buy a single thing.

Chris:

How come?

Jake:

Because I was like, now all of a sudden it became my stipend because when I decided like, "Okay, this is going to be my thing, this is like my lifeblood that's going to allow me to not get a job at a marketing thing." So I was like, "This is when I have to pay my rent next, when I graduate." So I didn't, at that point too, you don't know if, okay, is this a fluke? Like, did I get over my head? Am I going to be able to deliver on this stuff? And like, is anybody ever going to pay me $25,000 again? So for me, all of a sudden it became like, okay, the most important thing for me is to just like save this and eat ramen noodles for the first three months after I graduate, because I don't know where it's going. So I didn't buy anything.

Jake:

And I think sometime in the winter, after I had been doing a couple more freelance jobs, I bought a new MacBook, but it wasn't insanely expensive or anything like that. But it was like, okay, this is a tool for my business to like be able to, but I was still really bare bones on everything in terms of like things I use for work, like I didn't buy even like a new mouse or anything. I was like, "This is working for me now I'm going to keep it as low key as possible." So.

Chris:

You're a very mature young man, because you are looking at this as long term. You made some money. You're like, "This needs to last me from now until when I make my next gig." And there's no predictability. And I love that you're so disciplined. Where does this discipline come from?

Jake:

I've gotten this question before too actually. And I really think that it comes from listening to guys like yourself, Gary Vaynerchuk too. I feel like he's a very polarizing guy, but I'm sure people who listen to The Future, but there's probably some crossover there. And just kind of absorbing the aura of people who are in the space doing well. And I couldn't necessarily point to a specific thing, but if there's anything, it's like having some people that you look up to that just are pointing you in the right direction.

Chris:

Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back.

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Greg Gunn:

Welcome back to our conversation.

Chris:

So if people are listening to this, I just want to be clear about a couple different things. I think the thing you're referring to about Gary is like, he's like, "You know what? Move the with your parents. Don't spend any money. Be smart about this money. And don't fall in the trap of what many professional athletes and hiphop artists do, which is they make some money and they spend it all. And then five years after they had their moment time in the sun, they're debt broke, each and every single one of them." Because they go out and buy jewelry, they buy cars, they buy things they can't afford. They pay for their entourage. It's a foolish way to spend your money. Okay. So you're doing really well. Now, at some point, your videos start taking off and I'm going to make this assumption that you're, because of the numbers that you're posting, even though they're Shorts, because Shorts don't earn as much money as medium to long form content, that now you're also drawing revenue from YouTube AdSense. Is that right?

Jake:

It's a very, very small amount.

Chris:

Mm-mm (negative). Okay.

Jake:

It's practically negligible. And unless you're at the very top... Like, I'm at the... I would say I'm among like the top five or 10 short form creators on the platform, unless you are in the very, very tippy top, it's like, you can't count on making any money from that.

Chris:

Okay. This is good to know for everybody listening. So you can post huge numbers for Shorts, but Shorts, you're not getting a lot of AdSense revenue from that. And now we're seeing the same thing. So then this begs the next question then, where are you drawing your money from?

Jake:

The short answer is, I'm not.

Chris:

Really?

Jake:

I don't make a ton of money, to be frank.

Chris:

Okay.

Jake:

But there is the YouTube Shorts Fun, which was recently released. I think it's been running now for four months or so, five months maybe, which has a cap of $10,000 a month, which is... I have not met that cap yet. Which again, it's like pulling 200 million views a week and not meeting that cap is sort of a surprise to a lot of people. So I'm certain there are a few people who are meeting that or, I shouldn't say certain, but I'd like to think there are a couple people like, LankyBox, if you're familiar with them, they do a lot of short form stuff. And there's this other guy named Dan Rhodes who pulled even double what I'm doing.

Jake:

So I think there probably are people that make that money, but frankly, I don't make a ton. And as far as I'm concerned, as long as my rent and my food is paid for, I'm happy. And my sort of attitude towards it has been like, just keep the machine running and there's going to be a time in my career... I have no doubt that I'm going to be rich one day, but I feel like right now I'm not doing any sort of cash grab for that reason. I've done a couple brand deals, which also pay the bills nicely, and TikTok also has a creator fund. So yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. Okay. This is really good to know and just very refreshing. So even though you're posting ginormous numbers and depending on which blog you read, you're one of the fastest growing content creators on YouTube, and only need to be rifled by your following on TikTok. So I want to talk to you about a couple different things. I'm a content creator, I'm speaking for our audience. And I can choose to create a short form vertical piece of content for Instagram, for YouTube or TikTok. If I had to pick one, which one would you say for me to work on and concentrate on?

Jake:

Well, it's not a hard question because you don't have to pick. And so if you're asking my opinion of which I like the most, I think there's probably more opportunity on YouTube for like having the breakout success that I have had, but it's such a silly question. Like, there's no circumstance which you should ever put forth effort in making a short form vertical video and not have it on every single platform.

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Let's talk about this. A lot of people call that syndication or content repurposing. So if you are able to make one piece of content that works with the guidelines for multiple platforms, there is really no reason for you to not do this, right? To repurpose your content and post on multiple places. Now I understand that Reels does not like it when the TikTok logo's burned into your clip, they will probably push that down an algorithm. But since you're creating all this content in an original format, as long as it's under, I think 60 seconds, as long as you use the proper hashtags and you can post on any of your platform, you will build your audience. The reason why I asked that question though, because I noticed there's a huge discrepancy between your followers on Instagram to YouTube and then TikTok. 11 million on TikTok, 10 million on YouTube and a little over 100,000 on Instagram. Theoretically, and you have to tell me, using the exact same content, what do you think the issue or the challenge is?

Jake:

All of my content, it got its kickoff when Among Us was really big, which is a multi player game. And this was really a big hit in late 2020. And at that time, I wasn't committed to doing social media full time. And so my Instagram was actually still like very personal at that point in time too. And I didn't start posting my artwork on Instagram until last fall or no, excuse me, last February.

Chris:

Oh, I see.

Jake:

So it missed the initial kickoff point that my other channels had, because literally both of my channels got their start at the same time with the same content, notably with different audiences. But I like to think that one of the main reasons why my Instagram didn't take off is because it didn't get started with the same content. And at that time too, I saw a lot of my videos going viral on other people's stuff. My Among Us stuff, when that was popping off, it still, to this day, has my most views on YouTube, but that was really like the kickstart of my stuff. So I'd like... Maybe that's it, but it's just hard to say. I think that it's really difficult to push your followers from one place to another. The best way to grow a following is to do it organically on the platform itself. And so it's taking a little bit more time, but I think that it'll eventually catch up.

Chris:

Okay. So I have a question for you because I'm still relatively new to TikTok and you're right, we tend to create content somewhere and we get familiar with the platform, how it wants us to label, to add tags or titles a certain way. And each platform is a little bit different. And so you have to kind of switch gears. So I'm noticing wild swings from one platform to the next. Something on Instagram will grow really fast in the first couple of days and then it'll taper off and that's it. And YouTube might take days or weeks for it to then find its audience and then it spikes. And one of the reasons why I love YouTube so much is because it's not so ephemeral, there's this evergreen quality to it. That if it's a good piece of content, if you title it appropriately, that an audience will eventually find it, and you can pick this weird second win, third win, and then you can just take off like a rocket ship.

Chris:

So what have you learned in repurposing the same piece of content on multiple platforms? What does each platform want you to do? If you have any insight there that would be really helpful.

Jake:

I think that a lot of people can get caught up in the idea that they're very different, and this is a personal opinion, right? But I think that at their heart, they're all very similar in that they're just trying to connect the people on the other side of the screen to a video that they want to watch. And so they do it through the algorithms that they all have and they'll... They all have their own little life cycle, which we could certainly debate about, like you said, YouTube has a much longer tail than other platforms. But I think at their heart like, your goal shouldn't be like, okay, do I need to have a different title on my TikTok versus on my YouTube caption? Or whatever.

Jake:

I think the heart of it needs to be like, "How do I make just the best less than 60 second video that I can and trust that the platform is going to do its best with its own algorithm to find that audience?" And so in terms of optimization and stuff among the platforms, like they work differently sometimes, but they really are trying to do the same thing.

Chris:

Right. Well, see, the reason why I ask that question, because I'm in a more nuanced place where I create all kinds, the different kind of content. And I notice some, because I try and write guides to help people through this process. As far as I can tell with YouTube, it's your title and your thumbnail. And I don't even bother with hashtags or meta tags, anything like that, except for Shorts. You have to have the word Shorts as a hashtag for it to work. And then Instagram people are saying, it's like six to 10 hashtags, so I got a little bit more work to do. And then I'm adding captions, which I don't do for YouTube. It's kind of weird, like what each one wants. And I really believe in this, in that, even though it's the same piece of content, you still have to post it in a native way and speak in the native language of that platform. Because you're training that algorithm to understand and recognize this piece of content.

Chris:

And I think your Shorts work really well because there's no dialogue as far as I can tell. It's a cool visual, you're tapping into different trends, so you're being powered by a trend and also the kind of interesting stories and the sometimes funny, dark comedy that you're able to do. And so it has this kind of much broader universal appeal that has a much higher chance of going viral than talking about, here's how you price a project, which is a very narrow audience. So I have to understand and work the algorithm a little bit more and understand what each platform wants. I just want to throw that out there.

Jake:

Yeah. And so, like you said, I'm treated to a little bit of a different... Well, yeah. I get pampered a little bit because my stuff is not that niche for the most part. And I haven't had to work that hard to distinguish how I'm posting each video. I really just slap them up on each thing. And that has worked for me and other people may have to work a little bit harder on it. So, perhaps I'm not the best person to give advice on that.

Chris:

But I love your answer. Your answer's still super awesome because you're like, and I believe in this, if you make content so good, you don't have to worry about what the algorithm is doing at all. And I think that's your philosophy. I will spend, I'm speaking on your behalf here, like I will spend 8, 10, 12, 14, 24 hours working on something to make one piece of content. And that effort shows up in the way that you're rewarded, with the audience that you're able to build, right?

Jake:

Exactly.

Chris:

Okay.

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

You said something, and I want to circle back to this, which is, you said, "I'm confident I'll be rich. I'm not worried about it right now."

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

Okay. So I love that confidence. What does being rich mean to you?

Jake:

It's funny because I'm not a collector of cars, I don't have a nice apartment and I don't really necessarily have aspirations to own like a iced out Rolex. For me, rich is like being able to travel without worrying about my work. And so there's whole plethora of things that would have to happen along the lines for that to happen. But also in a lot of ways, I feel like I'm rich already with my following online. It's a wealth in and of itself. And so yeah, it's not always necessarily a monetary payoff that I'm looking for and yeah, maybe that's why I haven't been driven by money in the first place.

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). So is being rich just you having freedom?

Jake:

Yeah. Yeah, I would say that's probably a really shortcut to it. Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. I think somebody else I read online said something like, being rich or being wealthy, I think that's a word they used. Being wealthy means being able to do what you want with who you want whenever you want. And we all have different definitions of that because you're not, or saying I'm not a materialistic person per se. I don't need to floss and flex how much money I have. So that means your threshold for being wealthy or rich is much lower. And you can go for much longer because you're not spending that money in ways that don't really mean something to you, right?

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

Okay.

Jake:

When I committed to doing social media full time, I had made like a total of $100 from my TikTok and no money from YouTube at all. And so I committed to knowing that the money I'd saved up from my freelance stuff was enough to last me like eight months or whatever, eight months, maybe a year. And so I was like, "All right. If I really put my head down and work at this, I believe that it's going to bring some money in." But even at that point, I was prepared to just eat ramen and live in a apartment that had rats in it and stuff. So it's like, I'm, seriously, I'm not living high and mighty. It's funny because I think a lot of people who have 10 million subscribers who are benefiting from AdSense are sitting pretty in a mansion in Beverly Hills. And so it is different to be a Shorts creator too, but also I don't really necessarily have aspirations to just spend a bunch of money.

Chris:

Yeah. Okay. And I hate to do this because it, it feels like you're not a guy who's motivated by money, but I have to ask you the business question, because I don't get that many opportunities to sit in front of somebody who has just very recently hit huge milestones on multiple platforms. I'm just curious, comparatively speaking, not necessarily the number, but the creator fund from YouTube to TikTok, are they about the same or is one overperforming the other for the same kind of content?

Jake:

I'd say if I was going to like give you percentages, I'd say 60% or 70% comes from YouTube. Yeah, actually probably 70%. TikTok pays me a fraction. And it's funny because we mentioned this briefly earlier, like people often share screenshots with their earnings and stuff. And I look at this stuff, I'm like, "How is this person making so much money?" And even on TikTok too like, I feel like I'm making a fraction of what other people are making and I'm not sure what the deals with that, maybe it has to do with the frequency of my posting or the number of views I'm getting, but in terms of where my revenue's really coming from, mostly from YouTube.

Chris:

Yeah. Okay. That's good to know. That's very good to know. Thank you for sharing that. Okay. I'm curious with everything, you're a passionate human being, you're a designer, an artist and you make stuff because it gives you joy to do. And then an audience emerges and then you have some level of notoriety and fame. How has that been for you? Because I heard you on Clubhouse. I'm like, "Who's this young man talking right now?" Right? And people were saying, "We want to interview you for this or that." How's that been like for you?

Jake:

I really haven't had that many run-ins with "fame." I'm in a pretty unique position where people don't really know my face. And so it's like, I've never been recognized. And it's also, I'm not getting DMs about like, "Oh, you're so cute." Or, I'm not getting anything like-

Chris:

I get those all the time by the way. I'm just kidding, everybody.

Jake:

Yeah. Well, no. I mean, when people think about fame, I think that's really what they're thinking about. And so it's like, I always like to say, I'm not famous. My artwork is famous. Because as a person, people don't necessarily care about Jake Feldman quite yet, and it's on the agenda eventually. But at this point, people who care about Minecraft or Among Us or Poppy Playtime, they like me because of my artwork. And so I haven't had that many run-ins with it. It's cool for people to want to hear me speak, it's pretty cool. And like this, you and I sitting right now, it's like, yeah. It's a dream come true. It's like, I used to listen to your podcast quite a bit. And so yeah, there are a few opportunities here and there that have made me feel like, oh, this is like a small degree of famous, but I wouldn't necessarily call myself famous.

Chris:

Okay, good. I would love for you to kind of reflect, because you're still in this place where you're close enough in age to my two sons, I have an 18 year old and a 15 year old. That if you were to talk to someone who wants to be where you're at today, where you're an independent creator, an artist and you're self sustaining and you're able to do the things that you love and not have to worry about working for the man, what kind of advice would you give? Because my son is into video games, he's into making art and paintings and drawings, but he hasn't found his groove yet. Like, what kind of advice would you give to him?

Jake:

The number one piece of advice that I give to people who are trying to do their own thing or to make social media full-time job, I think it applies across a lot of things is to just number one, find self-directed projects. Like, before I had any freelance clients, I made a commercial for Rolex. Like, if Rolex hired me, this is what I would animate for them. I made another one for Nike, right? And so I made a couple different things on my own, right? It's very, self-directed. Nobody's going to tell me like, "Jake, you need to build a portfolio of things." Looking back at them, they're so bad, right?

Jake:

And that's where the second part comes in is like, you need to be... Being a perfectionist is going to be your downfall if you're trying to turn your passion or whatever it is into a social media thing or a full-time freelance thing, because the thing is about making good artwork, and this is again, personal opinions, right? You can't make good artwork or you can't make a good social media video until you've made a lot of bad social media videos. Because through the process of making a lot of bad content or not necessarily even bad, just stuff, even at the time, you can be proud of it. But through the process of making a lot, you're going to learn about what is good, or what are the redeeming qualities of the bad videos that you've made along the way.

Jake:

And so, yeah. It's like, I don't necessarily have advice for how do you find your groove, but if there's something that interests you, certainly follow that path and don't be afraid to put things out into the world that you may look back on even six months from now and say, "Oh, it's kind of like a cringy video." Or, "Maybe I should take that down." That's all I have.

Chris:

All right, great. I just wanted to make sure you weren't looking for the next thought there. Okay. I have a question to ask of you in that if someone is sitting there and thinking, I need to make a really high quality video, because at one hand, you're saying, spend the time to make a really great piece of content, so you don't have to worry about the algorithm. And I'm also hearing you say that you have to get through a lot of quantity before you get to the quality. How does one reconcile that? Because so many people, and I'm sure you know this too, in the creative space, they never make anything because they're like, "I need to make my thing, my pièce de résistance. This is it. My whole meaning of my life has to go into this first piece." And they don't make anything. How do you help them to reconcile these two opposing ideas where, make a really great piece of content, but in order to get there, you have to make a lot of crappy stuff sometimes that you might not be super proud of later?

Jake:

Yeah. It's tough because it's also one of those things where it's like, do as I say, not as I do because I'm sitting here at the upper echelon of the amount of time and effort that you can put into a 15 second video, right?

Chris:

Right.

Jake:

But I didn't start out making animations like this. And if you scroll to the very first TikTok that I made, it's a screen recording that took me less than 15 minutes to make. And the first 50 or a hundred videos that are on my page are these very quick, snappy screen recordings. And they're really low production. And this wasn't even my very first TikTok account. I had two TikTok accounts before the one that took off, where I tried different formats, different content styles, I showed my face on one of them. And so it's like, you don't necessarily always see... When you see someone successful, you see what they're doing that makes them successful. And oftentimes it's something that has a very high quality output.

Jake:

But if the average 3D artist came to TikTok and said, "I'm going to make an animation like Jake Feldman does, and it's going to go viral." Odds are, it's not going to go viral. Because you haven't made... I've made 300 animations now and I have that leg up and it's like, this part needs to be five milliseconds shorter. And it's like, I have the innate ability to know what is good and what is bad about a viral piece of video, because I've done it so many times. And so, yeah. It's hard when you're at the beginning to know that you just have to get something out the door, but that's the reality of it for people who are already in the successful positions. They have put a lot of stuff out the door that isn't high quality.

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. Very good. And I think what you're saying echoes so many different things we've said in the past, which is, it's like the iceberg thing, you just see the tip, the success and you don't see all the ugly, weird, bad things that somebody has to go through and you put in the time on the mat or on the road so that you've learned. And little tweaks, you've gone through so many iterations that now you can do them fairly intuitively. You kind of know what works and what doesn't. Now that comes through thousands of hours of practice. And you put in that time. Wonderful.

Chris:

I have to ask you a couple other questions before I get out of here. One is, are there days... Because I'm astonished too that you've made 300 Shorts. Because I used to work in animation and production and I know what it takes to do something like that at the level in which you're doing. So do you have days when you're like, "You know what? I'm just not super amped up today." And if you do, what do you tell yourself? How do you feel? How do you process that?

Jake:

I have those days quite frequently and I do it anyway. I do the work anyway. And so that's not necessarily good advice for the average creative person. Like some people, it makes more sense for them to take the day off. But for me, it's like, I'd rather have a concept that I'm not necessarily passionate about or a video that I'm not necessarily proud of. I'd rather have it posted and up, out the door than to spend an extra day wallowing. And like, "I don't feel like animating today." And so that's a personal thing. I don't know if it's necessarily healthy all the time, but I do the work regardless of whether I want to or not. And they're plenty days where I don't want to do the work, but I think that... I know how much of a blessing my career is and I, overall really enjoy a lot of things about what I do that make it worthwhile.

Chris:

Yeah. I think it was Seth Godin who said something to the effect where the difference between a professional and amateur is a professional shows up even when they don't feel like showing up, right? That it's not on your creative whims if you're so inspired. You just do the work and eventually you'll get through the funk and then you'll do the work that you feel passionate and strongly about and that hopefully will inspire other people.

Jake:

One of the thing I'll add on to that is there's plenty of videos that I have, like halfway through production, almost scrapped and been like, "This is just a bad idea. And I just want to go grab a beer with a friend or something. I don't feel like doing this." And there have been plenty that I've been very close to just like scrapping the entire file. And was like, "We'll start over tomorrow with a new idea." And then I power through and it gets 100 million views. And it's like, "Okay, that was definitely worth it." And you do that a couple times and you realize like, it doesn't matter if I think it's good throughout the process, it, more than anything, it matters that it's posted and it's up. And so, although all my stuff looks pretty polished, it still has that same mindset, this scrappy mentality of like, "I'm going to get it out the door, whether or not it's something that I'm super passionate about in the moment."

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). What do you attribute to that kind of idea? That mindset that, "I'm not loving it, it's been a painful process, but I'm going to check myself and I'm going to finish it and I'm going to get it out there." And that is its own reward. Just finishing the project. Where does this come from?

Jake:

I think it comes from what I briefly said a minute ago is just that once you get it out the door and it gets 100 million views and you have that anecdote to remind yourself of, okay, this is what I was very close to throwing out the door. And you see, okay, even the bad days can turn out to be good days once they're up.

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). But that sounds to me like a chicken and egg problem. You have the evidence that you push through and persevered, and so you're rewarded with the result. And so the next time you're like, "Hey, remember last time it worked? You would do that." But there's a lot of people out there who are going to be listening to this. Like, they actually never went through, they didn't push through the pain, they quit, they dropped the project, they started something else, and then they stopped that and they started something else. Seth Godin describes this in his book, The Dip, where there's this valley where the amount of effort and the results that you're getting are upside down, where you're putting a lot of effort and not getting a lot of results. So most people just quit. They quit before it gets good. You have consistently gone through the dip, emerged on the other side. So you have all the positive reinforcement and affirmations that you're able to get. What can you tell someone who stuck in that dip who quits and changes their mind again?

Jake:

I don't necessarily have advice, but I'll tell you this, for a long time, I wanted it so bad. Like, I really, really want this. And like I said, when I committed to doing social media full time, I wasn't making any money on it and I wanted it. And there is two things I keep taped to my monitor. One of them is a little quote that says someone else wants it more. And it's this constant reminder to me. It's like, if I don't want it, there's somebody else is going to go out and take it, whatever it is. And for me, it is success on social media, freedom like we talked about, monetary gains down the road. But without that grit, for me, frankly, it's grit. Like, you have to put your head down, whether you like it or not.

Jake:

And so, yeah. It's not necessarily good advice or like, it's bright around the other side, because sometimes it isn't bright around the other side. I don't know. But what I'm saying is like, I really wanted it and that's what's put me through the... I think my big dip was like, okay, how do I turn this into a full-time thing? And the other thing is, that I keep on my monitor and I don't know if this is necessarily relevant, but I have another thing that says, are you capable? And when I feel like not doing something, I look at that and it's like, just read it, and it's like, well, I am capable of doing this today. And it's not a matter of like, do I feel like doing it? It's like, can I do it? And if the answer is yes, and if there's enough hours left in the day, I sit my butt down and keep working. And so, yeah. It's not necessarily good advice. And perhaps you want to add on to that, something for The Futur listeners here, but my advice is grit.

Chris:

Yeah. Grit and perseverance and just trusting the process and not probably allowing yourself to excuse yourself. The, "Are you capable?" Says, "Well, I have time. I can move my hand and there's still like oxygen in my lungs. So really the only reason why I don't want to do this is it's emotional." Otherwise, you are able to do this. I love that. That's awesome. Okay. Here's the last hard question for you, I think. You're 24 years old, having all kinds of success with content creation and a massive following. I think you're unique and special in many different ways and in which way you want to interpret that. But a lot of people can slog at this for a decade and not to get to that number. And so they're going to say, "Well, you're an anomaly, you're lucky," and all that kind of stuff. And they're a little bit older. How can we help people who may feel like maybe that moment has passed them up?

Jake:

I'll say this, that on YouTube specifically, some of the biggest creators in the short form game have not entered the space. Charli D'Amelio, Lil Huddy, the whole high post crew, among a plethora of other, have not posted a single Short. These are people who have upwards of 50, 100 million followers on TikTok, right? Who are killing the short form game, who have not even posted a single YouTube Short, right? And so the space is actually really, really new still, it's growing up, but the opportunity certainly has not passed. And I have no plans of doing anything different on YouTube this following year. And I think that there's a lot of opportunity for people to jump in this space now and have the same exact story that I had starting it tomorrow, throughout the next 15 months. I really do believe that. That it's not a mature format yet on YouTube specifically. And if you're making it for YouTube, might as well post it on TikTok. And I really do believe that the opportunity is all still right at the front door.

Chris:

Yeah. A lot of times what we don't recognize is opportunity, when it's knocking at the door, we don't open that door. And you're saying what, and I also believe this, that it's not oversaturated yet. There's some shocking statistics about how many videos are uploaded to YouTube on a daily basis. It's astronomical in terms of minutes and hours of content created. But a very small percentage of that, those hours and billions of hours. I don't know how many hours of content is created on a daily basis. But a very small percentage is actually short content. And so there's an opportunity here. Jake, we've experienced massive growth on our channel, not compared to you, but compared to our old self, in that it feels like there's a gold rush here. You're tripping over bricks of gold. And you're like, "Guys, it's right here. All you have to do is do it and stick to it and get over yourself and be consistent. And every day do a little bit better than the day before. And eventually the platform might reward you." Right?

Jake:

Exactly. Yeah, exactly what I'm saying. It's still there.

Chris:

Yeah. Okay. Do you get a special plaque after hitting the 10 million views or subscribers?

Jake:

Yeah. There's like a... I'm pretty sure it's the last award that YouTube gives out. It's like a diamond play button thing. It's not really diamond though. It's like chrome.

Chris:

Right.

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

That would be very valuable plot that you get.

Jake:

Yeah, well.

Chris:

Did you already get yours?

Jake:

You have to order it and I'm moving next week. And so I haven't ordered it quite yet.

Chris:

All right. Well I can't wait for us to get there. We have many years of work ahead for us to get there at 10 million mark, but what a wonderful accomplishment that you've had. And I would say this, I mean, I think whatever conditions in which you grew up, the town you lived in, the parents, the culture, the society, they did a good job. They did a good job in to you young man. You got your head on straight. And I love that you're a success story. What I like to do is collect success stories of creative people who have gone on to become their own independent person without the need for clients. And you've figured out the balance between revenue versus expenses. And as long as you manage those two things, you can live this way forever and do whatever you want from wherever you want and do it whenever you want. And so, congratulations.

Jake:

Yeah. Thanks, man. It means a lot coming from you.

Chris:

Well, what is next for you? Anything that we can get excited about? Or are you just going to plug away for another year and just see what happens?

Jake:

One of my big goals for 2022 is to hire additional animators and start taking a step back into a creative director position and stop spending 10 hours, 12 hours a day in front of the computer. So I don't know if that's necessarily outwardly anything that you'd notice on my channel, but certainly something I'm trying to get done this year.

Chris:

Love it. So you're going to scale the team, you're going to have a couple of additional creators helping you, maybe you'll take on bigger projects, maybe things will get more complicated or you can have a specialist doing dynamics and particles or other things, so that you can tell the story the way that you see it in your mind. I love that.

Jake:

Yeah.

Chris:

Look at you. All right. Trailblazing here. If people wanted to find out more about you, where's the best place they can go?

Jake:

I have a website. It's jakefeldman.com. All my contact information is on there. To be honest, though, the best way to actually reach me is Twitter DMs or Instagram DMs. Those are like the only places where I'm not getting overwhelmed with messages. I'm not very responsive to email. So yeah, jakefeldman.com. You'll find all my contact information there.

Chris:

Wonderful. Jake, thank you very much for doing in this podcast with me. Appreciate it.

Jake:

Yeah. Such an honor. My name is Jake Feldman. You're listening to The Futur.

Greg Gunn:

Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. The Futur podcast is hosted by Christ Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barrow for editing and mixing this episode, and thank you to Adam Sanborne for our intro music.

Greg Gunn:

If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favorite by rating and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me? Head over to the futur.com/heychris, and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit thefutur.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening. And we'll see you next time.

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