Kevin Parry is a stop-motion animator and video wizard who creates fun animation and mind-bending illusions!
▶️ Watch this episode on YouTube
Kevin Parry is a stop-motion animator and video wizard who creates fun animation and mind-bending illusions.
Kevin has a knack for going viral – and, as a result, he's built a massive following on just about every social media platform. He has nearly 2M subscribers on YouTube, 1.3M followers on Instagram, 2.3M followers on Tikok, 200K followers on Twitter, and Kevin even has more than 100K followers on LinkedIn.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
Full transcript and show notes
Follow Kevin on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / TikTok / YouTube
00:00 - Going Viral Isn’t Luck
01:43 - Importance of Patience
06:31 - Stop Motion Films Take A LONG Time
08:57 - Transitioning To Social Media Full Time
11:15 - LinkedIn Is Underrated For Creators
13:16 - How Kevin’s Strategy Evolved Over The Years
17:17 - How Kevin Works With Brands
19:06 - Being A One Man Studio By Design
22:56 - Managing Capacity As A Creator
26:00 - Balancing Commercial Vs Personal Work
28:51 - How To Approach Different Social Media Platforms
30:15 - You Can’t Do The Same Content Forever
32:56 - Developing On Camera Presence
34:31 - Lessons From Working On Feature Films
36:30 - You Don’t Have To Build A Community To Be Successful
37:58 - Kevin’s Stop Motion Course
39:42 - Masterclass On Shareable Content
45:26 - What Is Kevin Struggling With?
🙏 Make a guest or mailbag request
📝 Check out our curated Playlists
💼 View all sponsors and offers
💜 Leave a review on Apple Podcasts
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jay Clouse 00:00
We all want our content to go viral. We all want more people to see our work. But it's going viral luck, or is there a way to hack the system?
Kevin Parry 00:09
Any viral video you've ever seen? You can tell a friend about it. It's basically like, Hey, have you seen the video where blank does blank? And in my mind, if there's a third blank, you've lost.
Jay Clouse 00:18
That's Kevin Perry, a stop motion animator and overall video wizard. He has 10 years of experience in the film and animation industry. And now he uses his skills on social media full time. But Kevin isn't just doing one platform. Well, he's crushing every platform. He has nearly 2 million subscribers on YouTube. 1.3 million followers on Instagram 2.3 million followers on Tiktok 200,000 followers on Twitter. And Kevin even has more than 100,000 followers on LinkedIn. Not only is Kevin's content incredibly unique and engaging, but he's so good at packaging that content into something that's shareable that he sets himself up to go viral.
Kevin Parry 00:57
I've kind of pinpointed the key to share abilities like how someone tells their friend about your video, like, Hey, have you seen that video where X does x, where that guy turns into a bunch of random stuff like follows and turns into stuff. If someone can't tell their friend about your video like quickly like that, then you it's not going to be shareable.
Jay Clouse 01:13
So in this episode, you'll learn how Kevin approaches the different social media platforms, how he works with brands as a one man studio, how he developed his on camera presence, and why context determines whether or not your content may go viral. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode. As you listen, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram @jayclouse. Tag me,say hello and let me know that you're listening or if you're here on YouTube, leave a comment down below. And now let's talk with Kevin.
Kevin Parry 01:52
I studied animation in college I graduated 12 years ago now. And I specialize in stop motion and worked my way through working on animated feature films. So I really learned everything through working on big kind of, you know, Hollywood level productions, and then slowly found my way into social media doing my own animation.
Jay Clouse 02:17
What's harder, being good enough at stop motion and animation to get a job on films like that or just getting the job? Like are there a ton of people that are vying for a few jobs or is it actually a really high bar and they're not enough people with the skill set to do that job well?
Kevin Parry 02:33
I think with stop motion specifically, it's a it's a really high bar, especially at that feature film level on most of those films. There's about 2025 animators it always seems like there's one from every country like everyone's from a different parks. There's one person who's crazy enough in a country to get to that level. So I think it's very much that high bar.
Jay Clouse 02:55
What does it take to get to that level? Like how did you how did you get there? Is it just a lot of practice? Did you have to like learn from somebody else? Because I don't meet a lot of people who have this skill set. And when I come across them on like Instagram, I'm just thrilled because it's fun to follow along. But it does seem very small. So how did you do it?
Kevin Parry 03:12
Any stop motion me I think they have a passion for observation. That's, that's true of a lot of animators, you're observing life, you're observing how people move, how a foot you know, rolls off the ground, how a hair flows, when someone turns their head. So there's that passion. So it's definitely that that microscopic observation and just a passion for putting that into a character.
Jay Clouse 03:38
I've watched a bunch of your how I did this type videos, which I love the put those out, by the way, I love any discipline, putting those out. But when it's like such a visual medium, it's so cool to close that loop and see how things are done. It seems to me like you need just the most patients in the world. Is that true or is that something that is I'm overestimating the importance of?
Kevin Parry 03:59
A lot of people say that they say you must have an incredible amount of patience and it's true all I think all stop motion. Animators do have a lot of patience, but I don't think we see it as a tedious patients the way a lot of people do. A lot of people have a negative kind of connotation with patients that it must be torturous, but we enjoy it so much. And I've always seen it as a puzzle. And you know, every frame, every movement, every little nuance of a performance is like piecing together a puzzle that builds this overall performance. So I love that I when I'm in that tedious zone of tweaking a puppet I love it. That's that's kind of my sweet spot of my creativity.
Jay Clouse 04:46
I think part of where this feeling of required patience comes in is a watch this and it makes me feel like the system isn't super resilient. Like it seems like if you're doing a progression from a Point A to Point B, and you're doing it in a stop motion way, it seems too good to be so precise, which makes me think that you have to be really careful and really slow. But maybe I'm under estimating how resilient the process actually is to go from like, starting frame to finish frame with everything in between, do you feel high pressure to capture all the right moments or is there more resilience there?
Kevin Parry 05:21
That's a good observation, because that's the key difference with stop motion is that it's called straight ahead animation where you're starting frame one and flowing to frame two and three, and four and onward. Whereas, you know, computer animation or hand drawn animation, you can do the keyframes, and then you can time those out and then pepper in in between frames, and then space them out even more and add more stuff and tweak it where a stop motion is, it's kind of more of a theatrical performance, where you just you show up on stage, you start and you very slowly make your way through the performance. And there's a lot of pressure with that, especially on feature films where, you know, if you have a puppet running 20 feet down a set, and that puppet has to hit a mark 400 frames later, exactly. to line up with a planned camera and you're gonna get there in four weeks. You have to you pretty certain of have all those frames. So you know, the best stop motion shots are the ones where you can start and not have any questions. You just you've planned everything, you know exactly how everything's gonna go. And you just kind of flow through the performance. That's not to say that things don't go wrong all the time, in some motion, you're you're kind of writing a bowl and that you're trying to, you know, rein it back and get back back on track. So is it's a bit of a dance.
Jay Clouse 06:42
I need to double click and zoom into what you just said about working on a feature film and you're moving this puppet and you're gonna get to this endpoint four weeks later, is that really what it's like? Are you really moving, progressing a scene for a period of four weeks to move an object, like 40 feet?
Kevin Parry 06:59
Yeah, I've done shots where I've gotten maybe 12 frames in a day. And it's just that four weeks at a time. So you're doing you could be doing like half a second a second footage in a day.
Jay Clouse 07:10
That is insane to me. Exactly. So that's why you have like 25 animators in on a roll, right?
Kevin Parry 07:20
Yeah, in slow motion, you can you have many sets going at once. So 20 to 30 sets, and you produce many of the same actors. So you have duplicates of every character.
Jay Clouse 07:31
Whoa, okay, this is this is completely new to me. So in these films, you have like duplicates of the same physical actor, and you have several, like many sets actually progressing certain scenes. Yeah. How long does it take to shoot a feature length film that is done in stop motion?
Kevin Parry 07:49
It's typically about two years of animating.
Jay Clouse 07:53
That is an insane, I'm just thinking like, from an overhead perspective, if we have 25. Animators assume like a salary of 100k, each has 2.5 million per year, just in those people salaries times two years, we're talking about a big budget just to do this.
Kevin Parry 08:09
It's it's about half the budget of a lot. I don't know about half, but it is lower than a CG production for sure. Because you aren't, you're just producing physical stuff, which are expensive, but not as expensive as a building of computer servers, you know, processing the most complicated water physics or, you know, effects and stuff for CG features.
Jay Clouse 08:29
I would have to assume that going to school for this type of work and getting a role doing feature films, did that feel like you achieved what you set out to achieve? Like pretty early on? It seems like it's kind of at the top of what you'd want to do.
Kevin Parry 08:44
Exactly. Yeah, I started on features. It was a less than a year after I graduated college, and I started as a Junior Assistant animator, so doing pretty simple stuff. Yeah, getting to do features immediately at the best. One of the best Stop Motion Studios in the world was, yeah, I felt like I peaked. In the the animation world.
Jay Clouse 09:07
So what happened? What happened next? Because you're, you're independent now. So at what point did you change your aspiration and say, Okay, I've done this I did, this box is checked, I'm going to try something else.
Kevin Parry 09:18
A lot of it had to do with geography and that my wife and I were in Portland, I was working at Leica. I worked on three movies. And so 2017 And I had started to do the social media thing. And it got to a point where at a large enough audience, were starting to get interested in brands and all that kind of stuff. And my wife and I decided we should get back to Toronto where we're from, you know, start the family get the roots planted there. So everything kind of lined up where I could. I could I had a bit of a safety net and leaping into stop our social media while the life stuff get back to Toronto. So and then we We go back here in 2018.
Jay Clouse 10:00
Was there a period of time while you were doing like beginning the social media stuff that it was at conflict with the work you're doing in the studio? Or was that encouraged? Or at least tolerated pretty well?
Kevin Parry 10:12
It was supported quite well. It was in conflict in my time, in that I didn't have any time to do both. Really? Yeah. You know, when you're in a final question, with film, you're doing really long days, you're working, you know, Saturdays a lot of the time and then trying to squeeze in doing, you know, I get home and finally a time to my wife, and then I want to make a video and do this stuff. So yeah, there was there's conflict in my schedule, but the studio did support it.
Jay Clouse 10:39
Was Vine where you started? We haven't really talked about Vine on the show. I don't know if I've had a creator who like got big on Vine and had to continue on. But I'm thinking about timeframe. 2017 Was that where it all started?
Kevin Parry 10:50
Yeah, I and I didn't really hit vine that well, in that I kind of bookend it, I kind of knew some of the people involved early on in vine. So I was on it, like first day, checking it out. And then I kind of forgot about it, and then it peaked. And then I jumped back on in like 2015. And at that time, there was already the drama of like, people were starting to leave. So by the time it's shut down, I only I had less than 10,000 followers on there. But I was lucky enough to have a few that did really well. And that brought in attention from an agency who I'm still with today.
Jay Clouse 11:26
You know, I in researching this, I looked at your different social media profiles, and you have 1.3 million followers on Instagram, 2.1 million on Tick Tock 1.5, on YouTube, 180,000, on Twitter, and even 107,000 on LinkedIn, like you are on all of these platforms. I'm interested to know the sequencing of that in terms of how you approached and built on each one.
Kevin Parry 11:47
Yeah, I think that so it was vine. And then that kind of happened alongside Instagram, I think pretty early on Instagram hit a few 100,000 almost right when I started posting my stop motion stuff. And then YouTube has been a slow crawl, and then recent explosion because of YouTube shorts. Yeah, luckily, my content does really well on YouTube shorts. And that's like 1000s of subscribers a day every day. And then Twitter's just been like a, you know, been on there for 1012 years and a couple big hits and brought in an audience. And then LinkedIn has been recent, I'm doing a big push for LinkedIn for creators to get on there. Because it's a really, really good platform currently.
Jay Clouse 12:29
Tell me about that, like I wouldn't, I wouldn't expect someone doing stop motion to be taking LinkedIn seriously, I just don't see that type of content on there. Most of the content I see on there is like, pretty one dimensional, pretty boring and pretty, you know, think boy like? So I'm curious what why LinkedIn stands out to you as an opportunity for creators in the more like, visual and even physical realm.
Kevin Parry 12:51
Yeah, I think if you if you look at LinkedIn today, versus even a year or two ago, they are doing a lot more of a creator push on there. And video and image are a really big part of it. And I've always saw it just from the business side of is that the eyeballs on LinkedIn are much better and more qualified than the eyeballs on, you know, tick tock and, and other platforms and that the people are seeing your work on LinkedIn are the people who hire are the people who have the budgets and can pass your name up to the top to get work. So I'm constantly getting inquiries through LinkedIn, just by posting on there.
Jay Clouse 13:27
So when you went back to Toronto, was the plan to do basically, freelancing, freelance work? Or was it like, I think I can do sponsorships and brand deals? What was your strategy?
Kevin Parry 13:38
I thought about this a lot recently, in that my plan when I first got back is so different than where I'm at today. So when I first got back, it was very much the only way to make money is YouTube. So you have to start making long form YouTube videos, and you have to be the personality, you have to sell the T shirts, you have to, you know, do the badges for like all that kind of stuff. And that's what that's what I started doing. So I had a series of videos on YouTube that came out of being an animator and the first one was this video called 100 walks where as an animator, you always film yourself acting the character before you animate it, just just see all the nuances and little details. And those cell phone videos of us acting out the scenes as cartoon characters often the most fun thing to see. And so my wife would always see these videos of me acting as as these cartoon characters. And I was like, oh, that's something I could turn into a YouTube video. So I create this video where I walked on a treadmill and 100 different ways as different characters. So do like heavy or you know, dainty or skipping or all these different just to show how movement creates character. And it really took off as like millions and millions of views. I was like, Okay, I'll turn this into a series. So when I got back to Toronto, I started doing this series host 50 ways where I'd take an action like eating or jumping and do it as 50 different characters they hit I don't know what it was at the time, but they just hit every single week. Like millions of views, and it started immediately bringing in pretty decent income. So I started rolling with that. And then just over the years kind of quickly got bored of being in that box. And that that wasn't really what I trained to do. It wasn't my passion. So over the years, I've really pivoted back to doing stop motion. And then completely forgetting about the whole, like being a personality selling T shirts thing, basically, now I'm just as a one man production studio, and that most of my content is nowadays creating commercials for companies.
Jay Clouse 15:35
After a quick break, Kevin, and I talk about how he works to create campaigns with brands. And later we talk about how he approaches the different social media platforms. So stick around, we'll be right back.
Jay Clouse 15:46
Welcome back to my conversation with Kevin Perry. I've seen some of Kevin's commercial work. And it typically seems to come in two different styles. Sometimes it takes the form of brands sponsoring his content. And sometimes he creates dedicated videos for the brands to use themselves. So I asked Kevin, if those are two different types of projects in his mind,
Kevin Parry 16:02
it's kind of rolled into one these days, it's been morphing in that it was typically just posted my channels. But now there's there's all this back end stuff to support brands with their ads, I found this groove where if I'm going to make, you know, say the Intel commercial, I'm going to make a piece that's really good. It's like TV ready. It's slick, it's polished. And when I post that Intel has all this back end stuff to post it and put ad spin behind it and push it out to tic toc. And I know that piece of content isn't going to really resonate a lot with, you know, the TIC tock audience who likes to low budget, you know, talking to the cell phone kind of stuff, the stuff that performs well. So I'll still provide the high budget thing. And then I'll support that in the deal with like a behind the scenes where I'm detailing how I created it. It's all shot with my cell phone. It's messy. It's voiceover. And that's the piece that I'll post as well, that really gets the views and kind of feeds eyeballs to the main ad.
Jay Clouse 16:57
That's crazy. That is such a in depth, big package of work that you're that you're selling there. How long do you put into a typical campaign that somebody purchases from you?
Kevin Parry 17:09
It's usually way longer than I expect. But it's it's somewhere around somewhere around three to four weeks, probably per job.
Jay Clouse 17:18
And that's pretty is that pretty, like full days for three to four weeks? Or is there like time there's a lot of time like thinking up front and storyboarding? What's that three or four weeks look like?
Kevin Parry 17:29
There's usually about a week of setup, where it's planning, storyboarding, gathering materials, that kind of stuff. And then a week of production, then usually a week of posts. The Intel one was about a full month where there was a second week in there, it was a whole week just of setting up the scene and the camera, and the lights and everything and building the puppet. And you're just a one man studio. Yeah. And that's that's by design. That's that's very specific, that was part of the growth is that when I first started, I thought, Okay, I have to keep this every video has to be bigger, I need to grow a team, I need to end up in a warehouse with a bunch of people. And every video I tried to push bigger and bigger, it kind of got out of my grasp. And as I dialed it back and and made each video look like one person made it, that's when more success started coming. So that's kind of the brand is that when someone sees my video, and they're like, oh, one person was crazy enough to do that stop motion for three weeks. That's kind of the story of it. Even the VFX stuff, I very much frame it, you know, the cameras on a tripod, it's locked. Oftentimes, I'll fake like, tap the screen to record and then perform. And it's very much designed to look like just one person in their living room making a video. And so that's kind of the brand part of it. And then it also it helps with the magic, right? If my video looks like it's just a guy in his living room, and then all of a sudden, there's this Hollywood special effect. That surprises you that kind of helps.
Jay Clouse 19:00
The pure number of skill sets you'd have to employ to do this is kind of boggling my mind because you're talking about storyboarding and planning. You're talking about shooting video probably mastering audio or at least engineering the audio to some degree, you're talking about visual effects. You're talking about stop motion, this is an insane number of things. I would imagine that you probably feel some pressure at times to hire but that would that that would directly conflict with this promise that you're talking about. So how do you deal with that tension?
Kevin Parry 19:29
I have a pretty small bag of tricks. I think it's not it doesn't seem to me like it requires that that much specialty in every area like my visual effects. All I do is masking that's it. I don't know anything else. Well, probably a future but 99% of time just like masking I've gotten good at masking then audio like I just know enough to put like room tone and not have it just you know in the right levels and a lot of the higher and I just don't trust anyone to do this to my work. I've hired people to do some of the mindless reg removal stuff, kind of the non creative stuff. But the the visual effects, I'm very specific about, like down to the pixel down to the frame, you know, it's not just visual effects it needs like an animators eye. And I think a lot of stuff specifically needs my eye. So I don't trust a lot of people to do any of that kind of stuff.
Jay Clouse 20:19
I think I saw on your Instagram that you were you do this work is in the basement of your house? Yeah. And it seems like it's probably taking up the majority, if not all the basement, right?
Kevin Parry 20:28
It's the whole basement. Yeah.
Jay Clouse 20:30
How has that conversation gone? Do you plan to build your own studio at some point or as your as your wife just conceded the use of the basement?
Kevin Parry 20:38
Well, we we were in a house renting a house and then we moved in. Right as the pandemic hit in 2020. And we picked this house because of the basement. She found it. Yeah, because of the basement and we kind of knew Okay, I'll own the whole basement space.
Jay Clouse 20:56
I'm in the basement right now. And if my wife is existing in the house above me, like sound comes through, which is not great for an audio medium. Do you have to coordinate with that? This is me just commiserating at this point.
Kevin Parry 21:09
Yeah. And now Now with a toddler. And it's a very open concept house, my studio doesn't have a door. It's just free space up the stairs to the main level. So yeah, I just don't do any sound at this point. Stop Motion doesn't need sound. That's all post sound or a wait till, you know, my toddler's down for a nap and record. Foley to add in. And then VFX. I'll often just I haven't done a VFX video in a while. I even know how I do them anymore. But I think I just do post.
Jay Clouse 21:40
Well, you mentioned that you have an agent that helps you with some of these these client deals and campaigns and things. Can you talk a little bit about that experience? And when it makes sense for someone to explore getting representation?
Kevin Parry 21:53
Yeah, so my agent, he he pretty much just takes care of all the discussions with the client. And if if so much more beyond, you know, budget and negotiation, that kind of stuff is about, you know, under this like big picture like, like a more I'm working with this brand and our exclusivity window is this. So can I work with another brands that overlaps with that? And that kind of stuff? How that all pieces together? And then just, you know, him understanding what the value is of a campaign what the value is of a story post or a Lincoln bio, that kind of thing?
Jay Clouse 22:27
How do you manage capacity on this? Because I imagine he could probably sell more campaigns than you could do in a period of time. So how do you guys communicate in that way to make sure that you are protecting your capacity? And you're also prioritizing clients that are either a better fit or have a higher budget?
Kevin Parry 22:46
Yeah. So that's been a conversation of how do I scale my business? Do I fill more stuff and have people edit it, and it's really come down to, I just don't have enough hours in the day to to tackle it all. So the only area I can scale is the budget. And it pretty much comes down to a conversation of if you want to do this campaign with us, you know, it'll take X number of dollars for me to fit it into my schedule. So yeah, it's just it's just been a matter of kind of scaling the budgets up.
Jay Clouse 23:13
That's so interesting, because theoretically, I guess I could be infinite. You know, like, it could just go up and up and up. And with enough demand, like your supply is finite, and it's just just economics, baby. But I would imagine also, that might get you into a place where the only companies willing to pay a certain threshold, a budget become less fun or interesting for you. Do you have to struggle with that at all?
Kevin Parry 23:35
I haven't struggled with them being not fun or not interesting, lucky enough to work with some amazing partners that, yeah, who have the budgets to work with us and are willing to let me be as creative as possible. Yeah, it's not it's not good getting into like, you know, tech companies want me to showcase an app or something. It's then letting me just saying like, here's the product go nuts. Do your thing.
Jay Clouse 23:59
What are the directions look like from them? Are you brought in to help plan the campaign and come up with a creative idea? Or did they come to you with a pretty well baked idea and say, Can you deliver on this,
Kevin Parry 24:11
ey typically have a direction and and a campaign kind of guideline of you know, this is the the slogan of the campaign. This is the theme of the campaign, I typically gravitate towards companies or campaigns that involve a product. So I really can only wrap my head around physical products. For my type of work. I get a lot of offers from gaming companies and apps, which I typically turn down, you know, 100% of the time, so I just can't figure out how to show an app, how to show digital footage, I don't know it has to be something I can hold and move around.
Jay Clouse 24:46
And all along the way. You're probably interested in continuing to share on your own channels, things that are just your ideas and things that just you want to do. So how do you balance that? Where do you find the time for your your own work?
Kevin Parry 24:59
Currently, I don't I think I'm going on like month eight of not making any of my own. It's been all all branded stuff for a good seven or eight months. Just been Yeah, just been constantly booked up doing stuff and constantly trying to be like, Okay, I'm going to next week I have the time to do my own stuff. And then something happens and I either a job gets pushed or a new job comes in. So not It's not finding much of a balance these days. But I don't think it's, you know, going into it when I when I get this busy, I think, Oh, I'm not making my own stuff, people are gonna hate me and abandoned my, my channels, because it's just all advertisements. But I think I'm finding a good balance with what I was saying. In that, you know, I can do the job and do the behind the scenes support and that it makes it interesting enough to let people in on that process to kind of do appreciate the work.
Jay Clouse 25:52
So I was gonna ask is if you see a material difference in the completely out of Kevin's head stuff versus behind the scenes of Kevin's work for another client? Like is the is the reception by the audience. noticeably different,
Kevin Parry 26:06
I think for the actual ad is noticeably different. I don't think people engaged too much with the commercial, but the behind the scenes stuff people really respond well to, especially when you kind of frame it in that lower budget, cell phone. Look, there's there's an art to doing that. Well.
Jay Clouse 26:28
Yeah, at first, I heard you say like, Well, I haven't done in eight months. And my immediate response was, that's a bummer. But then I thought, but is it because if you were if you were doing the different things on social media in order to build a pipeline of qualified clients that give you fun work to work on. If you already have that pipeline bill, like it doesn't quite matter. But I'm sure like as as a creative person, there are things that have been on the back of your mind on the backburner that you want to do that you just haven't found time for.
Kevin Parry 26:57
So I was at the I was at the mannequin store the other day. So I do have the mannequin store something in the works.
Jay Clouse 27:07
There's just a mannequin store in Toronto?
Kevin Parry 27:09
Yes, like five minutes away, goes by in buying a mannequin. So I got something in the works. Yeah, but the me tackling a lot of ads these days, I think it it kind of fits in with the overall story of my career. And that two years ago, all I was doing was my own videos. And now, I'm so booked up with work that I'm making advertisements, I think a lot of the audience appreciates that. I'm busy doing the thing I love to do, and I'm letting people in on that process.
Jay Clouse 27:36
As you think about posting to the different platforms, pretty much every platform now is trying to compete on video to some degree. And I could I could see the argument where it's like, you can actually just make an unbranded vertical video and just post the same exact video to all these different platforms. How do you approach sharing on these different platforms, because you're doing all of them well, and they're all different in some ways. So I just love to hear your thought process.
Kevin Parry 28:00
Yeah. And to that I say, finally, it's taken so many years to be able to post a short video to every platform, you couldn't do that a couple of years ago, you had to do the long form on YouTube, and then this on Twitter, and that on Instagram. But now you can just make a vertical short form video and I just posted the same video on every platform. And I might just tweak the caption like LinkedIn might be a little more techie or business See, whereas Instagram might be a little more personal or Twitter might be a little more you know, flashy to help push a bit like a little with the word. Click Beatty, almost two, okay to help it be shared. So it's it's more of this the caption stuff, but the video is typically the exact same video for every platform.
Jay Clouse 28:47
That's such a hack. It's such a superpower. I don't have that ability to just make one thing and post on there. Because,
Kevin Parry 28:53
well, I felt for 10 years.
Jay Clouse 28:56
I know I missed my opportunity. This is now the time of Kevin, I missed the time of day. You had these super popular animations, or I guess it should have stopped motion around. Cutting through fruit. Yes. And you did a couple of them. And every video you did with fruit performed really, really well on those channels. What if you just did fruits forever?
Kevin Parry 29:17
Yeah, I don't think it works. You can't I don't think you can do the same thing. Forever and ever. And I thought about doing this where I have I have so many well, not so many but I have a decent amount of viral videos. And they're it's almost like I've just reinvented myself every time a new one comes out and I think you have to do that. You can't at least I don't feel like I can do the same thing over and over. A lot of people are good at doing that. But I I want to be on kind of that cutting edge of creativity where I want to blow people's minds with something completely original every time.
Jay Clouse 29:48
Yeah, I've been thinking a lot lately. Well with with short form, I get bummed out by thinking that the stuff isn't very enduring. And I've been kind of interested lately in this this idea that it If you do short form really well for like, a year, two years, and you're able to catalog your work in short form, you could actually just go back into the archive and reshare something like a year later, two years later, literally the same thing. And a lot of people who have seen it would forget and be like, thrilled to see it again. And most people just haven't seen it. But I don't I don't know if that's like an uncool thing to do, just say like this performed really well, two years ago, let me just re upload it.
Kevin Parry 30:29
That's kind of how I built my website. I'm not good at web design or building website. So I just made a single page. And I just wrote, like, here's 10 things I've done. And I just I made, I just posted 10 videos of like some of my best hits. So that's my, that's my website, just to a lot of people have seen my stuff and don't know that I made it. So I just wanted to remind them.
Jay Clouse 30:49
When we come back, Kevin and I talked about how he learned on camera presence, and how he tailors his content to each platform. So don't go anywhere. We'll be right back. Hey, welcome back. When you watch Kevin on camera, you notice that he has great on camera presence, which I think is a key part of his success. So I asked him if you learn that, or if that came naturally to him.
Kevin Parry 31:10
No, it's not natural at all. I'm a very introverted behind the camera kind of person, I guess until I'm in front of the camera. And it kind of just turns on a bit. It very much came out of being an animator and working on animated films, some of the first jobs I did on stop motion features, I think it was like the first week or two on my very first big job, you know, there's big directors and Disney people and stuff. And you'd be in the edit suite. And I you know, I'm like young 20s animator, and they're, they're like, looking at my the planning for my shot. And they're like, I don't know, if you're feeling it, can you like act it out for us right now. And you have to like get up in the edit suite and like perform for them the shot. And they're like, you're not feeling like you know, like feel it like be the character mark. It's experiences like that, that really kind of burst your your shell and and get you to perform better and be more comfortable. One of my first jobs was in San Francisco. So I just did like an improv class, like an entry level, you know, few months of improv, which I hated. But I, it helps me like, you know, be able to perform in front of people and on camera. And then yeah, just just years and years of acting as cartoon character has made me more comfortable in front of the camera.
Jay Clouse 32:26
I had no idea that was part of the job that you would have to be that active as like a stand in for the character. Did you expect that when you first got into doing the work? No, not
Kevin Parry 32:37
at all. It was a little bit there was a couple of classes like that in college, but I didn't think it would be part of the job at all.
Jay Clouse 32:45
Do you have any other takeaways from your time working with films at like a Disney level that have guided you today towards storytelling or creativity? You know, it seems like that's kind of a legendary organization and creativity and storytelling and curious if you took anything else away that you still think about today?
Kevin Parry 33:06
Yeah, a lot of it is just controlling where where the audience is looking. That's, that's kind of the big thing for me, you know, when you're creating a performance, one frame at a time, you have to completely understand at every frame where the audience's eyes should be, you know, not move things too much, where they're not looking and move things specifically in a way to keep their attention where they are looking. And to just to have the confidence to hold that for seconds at a time and not, you know, not get distracted and do things that you shouldn't be doing. A lot of that comes from, I'm also super interested in magic. So I was just gonna say sounds like sleight of hand. It is yes, sleight of hand misdirection, focal attention. So yeah, it all kind of combines to just controlling where people are looking.
Jay Clouse 33:54
I watched you behind the scenes of how you made a video where it was like a tick tock trend with an avocado where you're trying to blow the pit out of an avocado. And I'm watching the behind the scenes of this and you're showing, you're saying, Okay, here's what I need to do to get people to look at this, so they don't see this thing happening. And that's exactly what I'm talking about. That's so fascinating. And I don't know if that plays into the typical world or life of a non animator, but gonna be thinking about it to see if there is like a way where or a time when I should be really thinking about what are people focusing on in this shot?
Kevin Parry 34:25
Yeah, it might be very specifically animation and VFX it might be because he had when I when I perform. That's kind of the guiding principle when I'm acting on camera is where the audience is looking. So a lot of my gestures that I'm planning are designed to, to control where the attention is,
Jay Clouse 34:44
with this many views that you get on all of your videos. And now you're posting it to you know, five different platforms, maybe even six. How do you manage the comments?
Kevin Parry 34:56
I don't think I do. I just, I just kind of like see See them see some as they come in, and then check out some like Tic toc. I see a couple I don't think I ever scroll through the comments. A lot of the times I try to not engage with the comments specifically for the VFX stuff, because I don't want to give too much away, it's better to have people speculate and to, you know, talk amongst themselves to give away the secrets. Yeah, so I don't I don't think I engage or manage comments too much. It's so
Jay Clouse 35:27
interesting, because most of the creators I have on the show, you know, they're trying to build very tight knit audiences, to them that are almost like a community. And so it's like, they're trying to be on top of every comment that comes in. And they're trying to, like build this affinity because they have a product to sell. And you're you're basically building a very public portfolio and resume so that you can very confidently be hired by large organizations with large budgets. And that's, that's the game. That's exactly
Kevin Parry 35:55
Jay Clouse 36:12
Well, you do have you have a $500 course that you put out for sale? Yeah. How has that done relative to your expectations? And what expectations did you have it sent? Okay?
Kevin Parry 36:23
It's, it was a lot of work, compared to just a single campaign. It was months of work. And I don't think financially it met expectations. It's pretty niche. But at the same time, I did it right. I signed on to do it right as the pandemic hit, right as I moved into this house, and that was when no work ever all the campaign's were hit pause. No one was spending money on ads, no one knew what was going on. And so I did have months and months off to do nothing. So luckily, it did fit into my schedule. So I'm, I'm glad I made it. It was a lot of fun to put together. I'm glad it's out there to help people learn stop motion.
Jay Clouse 37:09
Do you foresee yourself doing more direct to consumer style, stuff like that?
Kevin Parry 37:14
I don't think so. I don't know if it's I don't know what I do is so niche that it's hard. Yeah, I think I've done stop motion course, if I can't get any more advanced and stop motion. It's like it's basic stop motion. And the more advanced they get, the less people will want to do it. There's just such a small audience that I I could maybe do some VFX stuff. But even that's pretty specific. So no, I don't think I'm going to do much more of it. I've debated giving talks about a lot of yeah, a lot of my videos are there's a lot of thought that goes into how I caption them and how I present them. So I've thought about getting talks about that kind of stuff, because I'm very passionate about that. But I've just been so busy that I haven't had the time to plan you.
Jay Clouse 37:57
Tell me more about that. Because a moment ago you're talking about well, now we're at a point where I can basically upload the same video to any of these platforms. So how does packaging and presentation come into play in your mind? Yeah, so
Kevin Parry 38:09
I think Twitter is a really interesting one for this and that you can basically make any image go viral on Twitter with the right caption by giving it the right context. What's an example like a baby smiling, right? A picture of a baby smile, okay, there's a million babies that are smiling. But if you say that baby is like just got your surgery and is hearing his mom's voice for the same for the first time, that's a pretty meaningful image. That's a special image that people are going to share. So right giving it the rights, caption or context is everything for what makes it shareable. You know, when I post the video, if I if I just tweak the details a little bit to make it a little more interesting. That's kind of all the whole have kind of a world of difference. And the way I typically go about it is understanding. Now I'm getting into my this is my lecture. I love this. You know the key I've kind of pinpointed the key to share abilities like how someone tells their friend about your video, like hey, have you seen that video where X does act like we're that guy turns into a bunch of random stuff like follows and turns into stuff. If someone can't tell their friends about your video like quickly like that, then you it's not going to be shareable. So oftentimes I caption how I think I want people to tell their friends about my video. So that one of me falling and turning into stuff. I just put it as like here's a collection of beef turning into random objects, because I knew that's how literally the caption Yeah, that's how people should tell their friend about my video. So that's kind of like the secret sauce of how I've got a lot of these videos to be popular.
Jay Clouse 39:45
That's crazy. I haven't thought about that.
Kevin Parry 39:48
The Netflix one I did the Netflix intro where I redid all with yarn and that one I think I titled it recreating the Netflix intro with $30 worth of yarn because I knew I wanted people to tell their friends. Oh, have you seen that enough? sentro made with like a cheap amount of yarn. And I think that one I that was at least $200 worth of yarn, but I just lied and said it was $30. Because I was like, Okay, this is funnier if it's a lower budget it like amplifies like this, you know, Hollywood product versus like a cheap amount of product?
Jay Clouse 40:20
At what stage in the process? Are you thinking about this framing? Is it at the ideation stage? Is it at the finish line? Is it through the middle? I mean, I'm sure the answer is like kind of all over the place. But typical
Kevin Parry 40:31
all over the place. But I knew the Netflix one, I had that one. That title, basically, that was the concept of it was I knew that would be how people would tell their friends about it.
Jay Clouse 40:41
I hear that feedback from people on YouTube all the time, too, is like the more advanced someone gets on YouTube, they say basically, I need to have a good idea. And think of it from the standpoint of the title, if not the title and the thumb line, or thumbnail, before I actually make it or even commit to making it.
Kevin Parry 41:00
Yeah, thank you for any any viral video you've ever seen. You can tell a friend about it. It's basically like, Hey, have you seen a video where blank does blank? And in my mind, if there's a third blank, you've lost like that's it. It's estimated that framework,
Jay Clouse 41:14
it has to be so simple. I love that framework. Because yeah, like most of sharing still is word of mouth. Of course, like if you're on Tik Tok, you can just like, hit share and send it to your friend. But if you're in conversation, someone says something that drives a thought in your mind, you need to be able to say, Hey, have you seen the thing? Where blank does blank?
Kevin Parry 41:29
Yeah, you have to Yeah, you have to, you have to give people the confidence to tell their family about it at the dinner table. Like to bring it up. Like that's, that's going to be you have to make it simple enough that they can pitch it.
Jay Clouse 41:41
And also search for it, probably because they're either gonna remember your name, or they're going to remember that description and need to search for that in some way. Yeah, so you're not much of a long form caption person on Instagram.
Kevin Parry 41:55
Now, oftentimes, it's like an emoji or like a couple of words.
Jay Clouse 42:00
I like that because a lot of people are long form caption people. And I just I've never gotten into that. But it seems to work for some people not usually for like a video that's meant to be viral. But for like, still image and posts, they want to go well.
Kevin Parry 42:12
I did it I did long form. At the start of my Instagram career, where I was, I was working on animated features. That's basically all the content I had was the the time lapses and the fun, like Hollywood production stuff I was doing. And I wanted to appear like an expert who could pass on a lot of cool information. So I would just fill almost like blog posts with those. So I did a lot of the long form stuff early on.
Jay Clouse 42:39
The other thing that I think makes some of your work so viral, is you make everything so perfectly loopable. Maybe that's like another advantage you have of being in stop motion or animation where it's easier for you to do that. But it feels like something people could take more advantage of. Because I would assume you know, if you let something looping the second time, and you're still watching, that's got to go crazy with the algorithm to say this is something good, how much time you put into making sure your stuff is actually very loopable.
Kevin Parry 43:08
It's yeah, it's very much a decision. And if it is going to be movable, it's going to be perfectly Luvable. down to like the pixel. And yeah, a lot of that is, is kind of the algorithm and keeping people watching and that they don't know what starting again, or where it's there's some kind of satisfying element where they want to watch it again. And that's that's kind of the pitch I give brands a lot is that I want to make ads that people want to watch twice. That's kind of the holy grail of advertising is that if someone if someone sticks around to watch an ad again, and you've you've really got them.
Jay Clouse 43:41
That's awesome. Well, I guess to wrap this up, I'm just curious. Everything seems to be going super, super well seems like seems like all up into the right. Is there anything that you're currently trying to work through or struggling with as a creator today?
Kevin Parry 43:53
Maybe time? I think everyone struggles with that as scheduling, you know, working at home with a toddler. It's yeah, it's it's basically just scheduling. No, it's going pretty well. Like I'm overall very, very happy with with what I'm doing. It would be nice to do more of my own stuff. But the ultimate goal is working is doing what I love making cool stuff for companies. So I can't complain that I'm too busy with that.
Jay Clouse 44:28
People like Kevin, who have a unique visual skill set have such an advantage right now in our short form visual world. But it was fun to hear just how much he thinks about packaging his content. And I think that's something that we can all learn from. If you'll learn more about Kevin you can visit his website, kevinperry.tv or just about any social media platform. Links to all of that are in the shownotes. Thanks to him for being on the show. Thank you to Connor Conaboy for editing this episode. Thank you to Emily Clouse for making the artwork for this episode. Thanks to Nathan Todhunter for mixing the show and Brian Skeel for creating our music. If you like this episode, you can tweet at @jayclouse and let me know. And if you really want to say thank you, please leave a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Thanks for listening and I'll talk to you next week.
New to the show? Check out some of our most popular episodes.
Guy Raz is an independent producer who has been described by the New York Times as "one of the most popular podcasters in history.”
Thomas is a YouTuber, podcaster, and author who helps people become more capable and productive.
Chris Do is the founder of The Futur and CEO and Chief Strategist of Blind, a Brand Strategy Design Consultancy.
Sam Parr is the co-host of My First Million and the founder of The Hustle. My First Million is one of the top business podcasts on the planet, generating more than 1 million downloads per month.
Tiago Forte is the creator of Building a Second Brain. Tiago has spent more than 10 years researching and personally experimenting with a new way of organizing our digital lives and improving our productivity as creative professionals.
Dickie Bush is the creator of Ship 30 for 30, a cohort-based course and community of people developing a writing habit in 30 days
Codie Sanchez is the Founder of Contrarian Thinking and Cofounder of Unconventional Acquisitions. She helps people think critically and cashflow unconventionally while allocating to what she calls "sweaty & boring" small businesses.
Hrishikesh Hirway is a musician and podcast creator. He’s the host and creator of Song Exploder, an award-winning podcast and a Netflix original television series, where musicians break down the creative process behind their songs.
After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori quit her corporate job in marketing and founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money.
Marie’s transition from agency job to full-time freelance, her discovery of online education, her foray into creating a software product, the origins of Notion Mastery, and why her inconsistency hasn’t slowed her down one bit.
Andy J. Pizza is an illustrator and the host of the Creative Pep Talk podcast.
Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of a trilogy of illustrated books about creativity in the digital age: Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work!, and Keep Going.
Tim Urban is the writer of the blog Wait But Why. Tim writes about topics including artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, alien life, the size of the universe, and more.
Ali Abdaal is a Cambridge University medicine graduate, now working as a junior doctor in the UK's National Health Service (NHS). He started making YouTube videos in his final year of medical school at Cambridge University in the summer of …
Matt D'Avella is a filmmaker, YouTuber & podcaster that explores what it means to live a good life. Matt directed Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, which was acquired by Netflix in 2016.
James Clear is a personal development keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling author of Atomic Habits.
Seth Godin is one of the most prolific writers on the planet.