We’re taking a deep dive into Donald Glover’s history and tracing his humble beginnings from one of the world’s first breakout YouTube stars.
We’ll unpack the stepping stones that lead from making millions of people laugh on his viral videos and culminates in Glover winning an Emmy for his hit show Atlanta, snagging a Grammy under his rapper name, Childish Gambino, and even playing smooth-talking Star Wars smuggler Lando Calrissian in a blockbuster spin-off.
Even if you’ve heard Donald Glover’s story before, we’ve uncovered a couple pieces specifically relevant to video creators who want to create meaningful work that gets noticed.
Matt and Jake also break down some of the fundamental lessons from Donald’s creative journey to fuel your own creative projects.
Loved this show? It would make our month (wait, no, our YEAR) if you left us a 5-star review on iTunes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟
You can hit Matt Woods up on Twitter: https://twitter.com/matopher
Connect with Jake on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jakearenot
Full Episode Transcript
This week on Six Stars only, we’re talking about the one and only Donald Glover and we’re going to trace his humble beginnings from one of the very first breakout youtube channels to becoming one of the world’s most successful, not only video creators, but also comedian, musician, just all around phenomenal creator. We’re going to see how he did it by tracing his journey, drawing out lessons that you can take back to your channel to start growing faster today. Let’s get to it.
Master Jake. How are you today? I’m good, man. How’s it going? Do you like that? A little medieval flare. Is that good idea?
Yeah. Master Jake. How is. How are you still doing CrossFit?
Yeah, I’m doing the CrossFit thing. Brutalize me this morning. I was, oh man, I was suffering but 5:30. I was there doing the. I don’t know what you call front cleans. Something clicked. I don’t know. There are things that sound like something you’d do in the shower, but you actually do with a barbell and now with heavyweights, but power clean is apparently not like a bathtub maneuver. Who would announce a. What else is new with you?
Just work, man. I uh, I applied for a radio station here at Tulsa and I recently got a. I’m in the background check phase of hiring so it’ll be part-time, but I’m excited to Kinda get into the more radio can a world again as opposed to just doing it kind of on the side with this podcast. But uh, it’s good. And then I ate a, a Brahms today, which is always a good day. So
already food reviewed that. So you couldn’t do double duty? No. Yeah, definitely. Well, I have a real treat for you, Jake. Do you know what we’re covering today? What you do? Because you obviously have the show notes in front of you, but pretend for a minute that you didn’t. I have no idea,
but we’re talking about Donald Glover. Man, man, I’m super excited. I have to say in our, like show, like on what we have on deck when I saw this I was like super excited because I know of him and I know of his work obviously because he’s just like a master, but I’m super stoked to just kind of learn more, um, and just to kind of take, just to touch the hem of his cloak and to get a double dose. I shouldn’t be talking about a double dose of Donald. Maybe he can just rub off some of his talent on me because he’s one of the most talented people working right now. And like every field writing music, you know, comedy would have ease in movies. I am so jelly. He’s Lando man.
He’s literally Lando and he’s going to be assembled to. He is, oh my gosh. Blowing up right now as we’re recording this. And what is it? June 2018. A? Yeah, he’s everywhere because like within the span of like a two or three weeks, he hosted SNL and was the musical gap is Childish Gambino, which is. I mean, you could probably just stop right there, but not only that, he was also a star Solo. A star wars certainly came out. So split. He’d just try that again. Alright. Solo, a star wars story. There we go. Uh, came out and he was playing Lando Calrissian, you know, the most famous characters in star wars. I nailed it. I, and he also really stood one of the hottest youtube videos of all time. This is America, which some incredible production, incredible message, really original. Um, and it’s racked up a ridiculous amount of views and a ridiculous amount of time. I think it was one of the fastest. Has anyone growing and views in recent memory.
Marie had a better like few weeks and he did this in terms of just success in different fields cause he just, he was the pinnacle of like everything, like comedy music and he was in a hit movie.
He really is. And it seems like an overnight thing. Right. But like we always talk about on this show, you know, it’s, you know, behind every overnight success story there’s like 10 years of really hard work. And so what I kind of want to do today as I did a little bit of light research and I just kind of want to trace through the history of Donald Glover from those early beginnings in youtube to becoming a mega superstar in, you know, music and video and comedy and all the enacting and all these things that he’s doing super, super well and see, okay, what were the habits, what were the things that he did over time that got him to where he is today. And hopefully we can tease out some lessons after that and kind of break down some of the things that he did differently than most people. Uh, and figure out how that, that’s relevant to us in 2018 as aspiring creators. Who could be, you know. Well, I don’t, I don’t know if I’m going to be the next Donald Glover in 10 years. I probably won’t be, but that’s okay. Still speak a lot to take away from that. If I get
be like a fifth of him in 10 years, Donald Glover, I wouldn’t be happy. That’s your new channel. Name Twenty Percent Clover Club for how many? They type it up right now. But uh, man, I’m excited. I’m ready to learn. My body is ready, so let’s go for it.
All right. Well Donald Mckinley Glover, junior. It was born in September in 1983 in California. But you’ve actually raised most of his life in Stone Mountain Georgia. And He, when he was younger, he’d attended [inaudible] school of the arts and this is one of my favorite little trivia pieces from his high school. Uh, he was given the award most likely to write for the Simpsons in his yearbook, which is really fitting because we’ll get this in a minute, but a spec script of the script of the Simpsons that he wrote actually went on to change his life and totally changed the trajectory of his career, but we’ll get there in a second. Um, so one of the things that he did again, he graduated from high school and he went to New York University and rick got really involved in a few different things. Oh, well actually in backup, just a minute in high school. He was definitely creative.
Dude. He got involved in music creation and stuff. You seem like a pirated version of this music software called fruit loops, which I had you heard of this. I had never heard of it in my life. Heard of that. I only know that breakfast cereal, I don’t know the, the music thing, but it’s certainly he did and he would like bring it home and he would skip school to like make beats and all these things. So even early on experimenting with I’m cool music and different things, but once he gets into college he starts getting really involved in the Improv scene and so in an Improv group and he actually goes onto started, uh, one of the first youtube channels with these people. This wasn’t about 2006, so this is in the first year or the year after the was created you to ground floor of Youtube.
Youtube, yet numa, Numa, Youtube. This is incredible. This is when this was pre sneezing panda, this early days. And I’m no Casey Neistat, no Franco, no nothing. There’s no one out there. There’s just these guys in their old grainy camera making this stuff. And they called their channel Derrick comedy and the reason why they call it derrick comedy, I didn’t know this, uh, whereas the name of the three guys were, well there’s donald and then there’s like Dan or don or some or something, I forgot the rest of the name of the other guys, but the derrick was a dna that was none of their names. And so they’re like, well, just call it Derek, you know, split the difference. So that’s how you get the name Derrick comedy. Um, they started making some goofy to reduce that. It actually caught on really fast and got a lot of views and got a lot of traction because they were doing kind of these very edgy, funny, uh, sort of over the top videos.
And even I was watching some of them and I haven’t do like head shaking and they were like pretty Raunchy. Um, they’re definitely not the exact worse than I remembered them being honestly back. And you’re like, oh my gosh, you can see elements of like, okay, that 30 rock writer that Donald Glover would go on to become like, kind of punching through there. He would hit on different stuff. Um, there are definitely pretty scripted, uh, and I think there were even actually ridiculous. You scripted every single one. I think there’s very little improv actually in those videos, which is funny because they’re an Improv group, but that was him flexing his writing muscles also while he was in college, he got involved in creating more music. He released his first of many mixed tapes, the younger I get and started deejaying as MCD and later he revised that to make a DJ. Um, which I don’t know what that means. That sounds like something on the dollar Menu Button D. Hey, Donald Glover, I can’t find a. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in dramatic writing and at age 23 he was hired by Tina Fey as a writer for 30 rock. So I knew that did because I think a lot of people know, hey, I heard it from. You actually knew about the 30 rock connection, but do you know how he got the 30 rock connection? I did not know. I have no idea.
Let me, let me fill you in on the deets. Uh, cause I, I’m always curious about this to learn about how people got the job or, you know, because a lot of times that slips through the cracks. So you just kinda hear, oh yeah, he worked with Tina Fey is on 30 rock. That’s cool, but how do you actually go from, you know, graduating with a degree in dramatic writing to actually having that job, you know, that’s really cool. Well, here’s how it happened. So there was this producer, his name was David Miner, uh, who has a name that definitely sounds like an executive would go on to do all these shows, such as parks and rec. Brooklyn, nine, nine, master of none is, isn’t sorry, Shell and a unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, he actually reached out to Donald, had seen some of his work. I don’t remember if it was derrick comedy or something else. Um, and basically he was interested in his work. Uh, and Donald sent a spec script that he’s written for the simpsons to David Miner. Uh, which by the way, for all the new kids on the block at home, Jay, can you tell us what a spec script is? I think I learned about this from. You actually went about this together.
Yeah. So the way, and I’m going to butcher this, but essentially a spec script is you find like a show that you really like, let’s say 30 rock or just any show that you like in a spec script is that you essentially just run an episode for him. Uh, and a lot of times it’s used pretty much like in the case where you just Kinda, you, you show your writing skills to a producer or someone and say, hey, here’s like this episode, our roads and it can just kind of pro. It proves that, you know, you’re, you’re funny, you’re great at writing. And also you can take, um, you know, like character traits and stuff that, you know, like it’s already happening within the, within the series and that, you know, that way you can apply it to your own episode and everything. So basically it’s just I’m making something for show that it, that you like and then just shipping it out there and pretty much just showing yourself off. And if it’s really good, like in Donald’s case, then it can get you a job if it’s a really good, obviously.
Yeah, that’s it. Money. Um, and so the SPEC script he wrote in, he loved it, he showed it to Tina fey, she loved it. And so they hired him on a, at a young age, 23 that’s not super old to be working on a major TV show. Um, and you know, I wasn’t probably a sure thing that was going to be such a breakout hit at the time, but it did end up being that, um, and so he was a 30 rock writer for three years for 2000, six to 2009. So actually while he was doing derrick comedy, he was also a writer on 30 rock. So he started in 2006 as a 30 rack writer, um, in 2008. He all, all the while he’s also doing his music right? So he’s getting recognized as a writer and he’s getting recognized and you’re working on a show, getting some experience there, but he is also keeping up with the music on the side.
And so he releases his, another independent mixtape called sick boy, and that same year, uh, was when he unsuccessfully a audition to play President Barack Obama on snl and it actually went to Fred Armisen harmison, which is funny now seeing him host and, uh, go from doing a mixtape to being the musical guest on snl just shows how far you can come, craziness. Um, and this was a really interesting thing that happened to them next that I didn’t realize. So he’s doing derrick comedy, right? They, they’re getting all these views and they wanted to try something a little bit more ambitious. Right? So Donald Glover was not, um, like recognized as an actor really, um, he hadn’t really acted in anything significant. So him and his buddies from his youtube channel decided let’s just go ahead and create our own feature length film. So they did and it was called mystery team.
So, uh, Donald helped write it. Uh, he started it along with the other guys from the Youtube Channel and they released this movie in 2009, three years after starting derrick comedy. I had no idea that existed. Yeah, it’s this full length movie. If you actually go back to the youtube channel now, they’ve changed all the thumbnails and links and everything to go point to mystery show. But yeah, they, they took the attention they’d gotten from their millions of views on youtube and turned it all towards this feature film. Um, which I don’t think did super well, but I think it did apparently well enough and it was, I have not seen it, but I think I know where you’re going to watch on a next movie night. Um, but apparently even though it wasn’t, you know, a broad releases is pretty indy. Um, the, this producer named Dan Harmon who would go on to create the show community, saw the show Mr Tim and it’s released and that’s how Donald Glover was discovered and offered the part of Troy Barnes and community, which was his breakout role into acting.
And so Dan Harmon sees this show that he created with his youtube channel buddies independently, uh, and decided to cast him in an acting role. This guy from the writer room, um, and so totally different thing again, music career, just releasing my mixed tapes on the side, got some writing experience under his belt for Ms Dot Spec script. And then his independent film produced with his Youtube Buddies, um, gets picked up, you know, and recognized by this TV show Creator Dan Harmon, and he gets offered an acting role. So he plays toy barns in the NBC show community for five years from 2009 until 2014. Um, and this was actually where I discovered a him before. I didn’t, I knew he was childish Gambino before I knew any of that stuff. I knew him as like the guy from community, uh, Troy Barnes and actually I think I knew him as childish Gambino and Troy Barnes because one of my buddies was a big Donald Glover fan and a childish Gambino family.
So he found him there. So he did that in 2009. Uh, so the same year he joined his community, he realizes another mixtape named point dexter, and then he follows that up the next year in 2010 with two more mixed tapes. He does a one actually multiple mix tapes was like three mix tapes. He does. I am just a rapper. I am just a rapper. Two points for originality, donald real clever name and cold, the sack a until just hammering out the tracks, laying them down. And again, these aren’t like full albums or anything, these are just mixed tapes, but they’re coming in like this rapid succession all through 2010. I’m also in 2010, he performed a 30 minute standup set a on comedy central presents on their showcase program. Um, which I didn’t know and if you’ve seen the Netflix special, this is not that. This is a precursor to that.
So before he ever got offered an hour long show, this is just a 30 minute, you know, TV show special. And so he did that. Uh, and then the same year was actually when the whole Donald for Spiderman campaign cutoff on twitter. And so, this is while he was playing Troyan community, doing this mic takes on the sides of fan of community, suggested that glover, um, it should play the role of Peter Parker in the amazing spiderman film, though the one that actually went to Andrew Garfield, you know? Yeah. You know, we had totally wire and then we’ve got Andrew Garfield, I know. And instead we could have had Donald Glover, but you know, what’s done is done sone. At least now we have Tom Holland, right? I mean, I like Tom Holland has a happy ending, I guess. Exactly, but we could have added on the glover, uh, we didn’t, um, and, but all his, all these twitter followers of community and of Donald Glover Kinda Kinda took up the rallying cry of Donald for Spiderman and kind of ran with it for a summer.
Um, and it’s actually funny and there’s a whole side story to this where one of the comic creators was a fan of community. And, uh, you know, in the opening sequence too, I think like season three or season four, I’m Donald Glover wakes up in his room and like the spider man pajamas and the guy saw this and he was like, oh yeah, I could kind of see spiderman like that. And he goes and creates this character in the marvel universe, a real character named miles morales who is basically black spiderman. He’s like, uh, I think he’s Latino or black. Um, and he wears like a black suit and a, he’s like in the same neighborhood and he kind of does some stuff with Spiderman. And one of the Donald Glover actually voices him and like a 2011 cartoon, I think, um, which is funny that kind of, this whole twitter campaign inspired a character which was then played by Donald Glover via voice, which is funding circle.
Yeah, there’s a whole thing is it kind of blew my mind a little bit. Um, but all, all during this time, you know, he’s acting on community. He’s getting recognized for some stuff. So starting to get some awards to get like a rising star comedy award, uh, at the, just for laughs festival in the middle of that year and randomly he’s featured by gaps. A holiday ads that December in 2010 you can go google the images. They’re kind of, I mean they’re kind of like nerdy chic and cool. I guess I don’t, I don’t know if he’s, I guess he’s getting it recognized as an actor or maybe just like a normal dude. Yeah. I don’t know. I guess it was the acting thing, right? I had an, I guess I had no idea he was. He ended like go, go google it. Right. Right now it’s actually kind of funny.
He’s wearing like a best in wine I think like a scarf and another one just kind of making a face, but it’s not like a rapper face or like an actor face. It’s just kind of a normal guy face. Yeah, it’s a good check it out. Trying to make sure in my lap or resting. Yeah, worth worth a peep is a little puzzling honestly. But Hey, I guess it worked for gap. Hopefully sold some winter where they didn’t go there, so that same winter with the gap clothing was also the winter of derrick comedy. That’s when they kind of wound down the channel and stopped doing that. His cohost haven’t really gone on to do much of anything noticeable at least compared to Donald. I think they’ve been in some like commercials are a few different things, but nothing really crazy from that. I mean the channel hasn’t been updated in years.
Um, but the next year in 2011, Donald we released this. His first eap is moving from a mixtape and he’s doing an extended play and he calls it again, very originally eep self titled Dph Names Epa. Um, which cool. I mean, I haven’t really seen eps so I can’t talk, but I mean I would have thought a little more time than naming it, but I had a cool guy. I mean, great, you know, that’s, that’s really nice. Um, he, he then goes on to, uh, start a nationwide tour also originally named. I am Donald. I’m good. Very straightforward. This guy shoots from the hip. Yeah, I can appreciate that. Yeah. Short and sweet to the point. Yeah, you go. Um, so it was like, uh, this was actually interesting though because you’re kind of seeing some things to come together. He does a one man show that is a, it’s part video, part comedy and it’s part wrap.
That’s cool. Which is something that a lot of people could do. Um, I don’t know if I’d want to see Louis ck wrapped. I think I might maybe go wash my ears out. I don’t know. Louis Anderson definitely as these in. Sorry. Definitely. Yeah, I could see him, but in short bursts and um, the next, uh, so later that year in the, in the fall of 2011 is when his one hour standup special Weirdo airs on Comedy Central. So he’s moved from the 30 minute one, you know, a little bit prior to now he’s doing a four hour special. That gets picked up. You can probably watch it on Netflix if you’re in the future. Probably not because everything could goes off of Netflix. It’s just the role. It’s so depressing a man. Every time I tell my friends, so it’s like, okay, this, this, this, so and so documentary. Oh yeah, you know it, it should be on Netflix and I can look it up.
They were. Netflix always rips my heart out with like, okay, here’s all this new stuff. Okay, well we’re taking away the things you have yet another Adam Sandler original ready just for you. It’s like Caesar’s pizza. So this podcast we’re going to talk about. Adam said, I’m just kidding. That’s another complaint about the Adam Sandler on that flakes. That’s it. The genius of Sandler. Exactly. November. He releases his first album called camp. Uh, and this is where he gets a couple of singles that start to break out and get some more recognition. They actually get on the radio. So bonfire and heartbeat peaked on number 18 on the bubbling hot 100 singles. And uh, like the mid fifties on hot RNB songs. A camp debuted on number 11 at the top billboard 200 and he sold a little bit over 50,000 copies and critics liked it. Overall it was a pretty good release.
I think this was, I think I found out about them shortly before this, but I remember when this album came out, he keeps at it the next year in 2012. He releases mixed tape number six named royalty. Um, he’s also featured that same year on a single by Leona Lewis. Do you remember Leona Lewis? I do. You haven’t heard? Yeah. Bleeding law. He doesn’t, I haven’t heard much from him lately, but in 2012 she was the stuff you know, is diva itunes store featured, you know, but she, I did store it. Oh my goodness. Twenty 12 thing. Um, but she was. Gambino is featured, which if you didn’t know childish Gambino is Donald Glover’s. Rap name has wrapped pseudonym. That’s what writers say. His rap name. Uh, and it was created actually from a Wu Tang, Wu Tang clan. Wu Tang. Wu Tang, yeah. Okay. I want to say wooed Pan Clinton. Wu Tang. Yeah. This is some guys who spend too much time in the sun. No. Wu Tang clan name generator and he got shot. Was, can be an hour. And that’s what he rolled with, I guess, after he decided to do away with Mc Dj as his name. What? Goodness. Honestly, not all is naming decisions were perfect clearance rate to do to Wu Tang clan generator. Yeah. What’s your, what’s your routine clan generator? Naomi Hall. Let me enter the Wu Tang. Harry. Go arrogant and ambassador. Arrogant. Ambassador fits me. Alright.
And this one’s yours. Tremor. Yeah, go for it. No, no, no. You tell me your as is. No, it keeps on saying arrogant. Ambassador. Let me refresh the page 12 hours later. Do we have the same Wu Tang clan generator name that can happen? Well, one of us obviously has to change. So
we cannot both be arrogant ambassadors. Well, I beg to differ. It says, it says arrogant ambassador. I don’t know if knows. I don’t know if it’s like the Stan says killed you or thanasis. Do you thing where like it never changes. No, I think we’ll put Donald Glover in there. See if he name and generator. Here we go. I’ll go to a different one. And apparently apparently there are several. The actual name generator that gave childish Gambino his name, I bet they’ll say that. It’s like saying Best Cup of coffee in New York City. It keeps on saying arrogant ambassador. Well that’s just the name of a rep group. Yeah. Moral of the story. Ignore that. Wu Tang clan, chaim generator. We’ll have to do some research and find the real one and look it up. But anyways, that’s how we came up with his name, right. He was featured on a Leona Lewis Song, which I guess was cool at the time.
The seeing the song did pretty well in the UK. It was like a top 10 single. So, um, it was a single trouble I guess would have never heard. But um, yeah, it’s, it’s good. Um, this is what I didn’t know. So if as a 20, 18 and Atlanta is like the English right, it is a hot TV show, but it actually has its origins back in 2013 in 2013. Right when he was still on community, uh, Donald signed on to create a music themed show for fx called Atlanta. At that he would star in right. And executive produce, um, and so that was actually like one of the main reasons he decided to wind down. I’m his role in community and the fifth season and step out of that to pursue other stuff, you know, there was more flexible and really to, to create his own show to not resting, you know, that one role, but to go and do something else, which I didn’t realize how early that process started.
So don’t think this show comes out for a few years, but 20, 13 it was kind of when things started moving towards that. He also appears in the, a couple of guests roles in 2013. So he’s in the to do list, which I’ve never heard of. Um, and he also guest stars in a girl’s, which I’ve never had the desire to watch. But apparently he is there though, the HBO show. I guess I’ve heard that. I’ve never seen it. Lena Dunham, she’s from a so done a couple of things like that. He also has some cameos in 30 rock and stuff. So he said he said some other stuff. Um, uh, in, uh, the next year. Well, no, no, no. Same year, 2013, I think, uh, the end of that year he releases his second studio album after camp, which is because the internet and that one doesn’t really. Well, it debuts at number seven out of 200 on the billboard chart and does great.
Which I don’t know, think about billboard charts went a little bit. Um, that’s good. That’s really good. That’s pretty dang good. A better than both of us put together. Yeah, that’s a lot more than I’m done. So that next year, the spring, he goes on the deep web tour, which hey, naming game is getting better. I was going to say, is naming game has improved so much improved. He hired like a marketing team or like read a book about naming guys something. If there’s one takeaway you get from this episode is that you too can get better at naming your eps and uh, well mostly your eps in a rap albums, but uh, no. Yeah, it’s probably why I got rejected from snl the first time. They’re like, what is the name of your act? And He’s like, my act isn’t it? It’s called the Funny Act Man, the funny man hour, but Naila oatmeal of um, he keeps rolling in 2014 because he’s literally a machine.
He releases another mixtape called, I don’t know how to pronounce this Station Mountain. Stn Mtn. How do you say that? A lot. I guess it meant no idea. Didn’t Menton didn’t say that’s actually a strong in the names. And then he also releases an app called [inaudible], which you get sober from, which was a popular every single and that same year in 2014 he gets his first grammy nominations for best rap album for because of the Internet. And sorry, because the Internet no have and best rap performance for 3005. So He’s, the nominations are stepping up, the music is getting more recognized and it, he’s also kind of diversifying out a little bit in 2015. He appears in three more films. He’s a scientist in the lazarus effect, which just like a horror film. I think he was a singer and Magic Mike Xxl, which I did not know. Um, because I’ve never seen that movie.
I’ve never seen any the first or the second one. I really don’t want to see what I will say. Well, let’s not watch that together. That’s weird. I did know he was in the Martian. I do remember that. It’s depressing how the Martian came out three years ago. It seemed like it was yesterday. Yeah, I feel old. That was great. We’re using the stapler as a spaceship. I really liked the Martian to be honest. It was a great. I think it was nominated for best picture that year. I might’ve been. I heard the book is good. Yeah, I, I heard the book is like most things are somehow better than the movie even though I loved the movie, so they’re just different. I don’t know. I know the author we’re going to sidetrack anyway. We should talk about the Martian. It’s so interesting. What I was gonna say is kind of an interesting.
I’ll say this one thing. Uh, I, I know the author kind of released that book initially as like a series of blog posts and so rather than releasing the whole book, you know, in a whole chunk, he, I don’t think he had a publisher or anything yet and so he just released a chapter by chapter as like each one was a blog post and he would build a following that way and then he turned it into a book and then cool that got turned into a movie, which is I think a way to write something and it’s kind of related to this because it, you’ll see Donald, you know, he’s releasing his music iteratively over time is laddering up and the type of stuff he’s doing. Yeah. That’s kind of what we expect quite, but, you know, Kinda five out of 10. Yeah.
Somewhat related seven. Yeah. That’s not bad. Yeah, it’s good.
Uh, later that year in 2015 fx ordered the pilot of glover’s show Atlanta to a 10 episode season year boy. Uh, do you know anything about how pilots and work in TV shows and how they get ordered? I don’t know much at all. I know
like you mentioned, the process takes a long time, so it seems like, oh yeah, they just wrote this TV series this past year when in reality they wrote it three years ago. Usually fx or some company, someone buys the rights to it, which they may or may not ever make it and I think with a pilot or I guess they ordered an entire season, I guess normally they like they shoot a pilot and then if it’s on like NBC, ABC, like you know, the old networks, they do like test audiences and they see, okay, this pilot sucks, get rid of this show or you know, they use that to kind of determine it. As far as the. Nowadays I think it’s different. Like uh, you know, the ordered a whole season. I think they just went for it and then they hope that people like it, which people didn’t because it’s awesome. It’s an awesome show, but that’s something I have to read more into. I’m really, the only thing I know from it is the showrunner documentary, which was on Netflix, like we mentioned, not really sure if it’s on Netflix anymore, but I’d really recommend watching that and if you’re listening
memory we need to make a list like the top documentaries that all is probably a great video creators should make.
It’s really good. It’s like kind of depressing because it’s an incredibly difficult work the way they made it, so it gets like the best job I’ve ever had and I wish I was dead and it’s like, oh, I went to make a show as well. But no, it’s, it’s awesome. Um, and Atlanta’s awesome. So that’s when I first heard of, around this time too, is when I was like, oh yeah, this, this Donald Glover guy’s really talented. And like, Oh yeah, he was in community and I was an idiot and I didn’t know that childish Gambino was also him. Okay.
The only one apparently apparently this was, had been like a huge revelation to people in the past couple months. That challenged can be an ellen donald clover. I the same person.
Yeah. Which is sad because they are, I don’t know, I can’t believe I did not. I didn’t know that at one point in time, but that was three years ago. So wild. Um,
so two years after, you know, the wheels start turning on this show, pilot gets ordered the next year, September 2016 in Atlanta. Premieres. And people love it. The critics love it. Glover writes the show sometimes he directs, he’s executive producing it and he’s starting is one of the main character is he’s earned marks this princeton dropouts and he’s like acting as the manager for his rapper, cousin paper boy because I kind of taken off and the Atlanta rap in navigating around it and all these awkward situations. And these. I’m just, it’s a really interesting show. I like it. I, Mckayla didn’t like it at all. I think. I know, I know boo her, but yeah, I liked it a lot. I thought it was really clever. A glover has gotten a lot of different awards for the show. He’s Gotten Glo, uh, the Golden Globes award for best television series musical or a comedy and best actor.
Um, which for is for a television series musical or a comedy, and then also a primetime emmy award for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series and outstanding director for a comedy series, making him the first black person to win an emmy for the latter category, that director for a comedy series. So bringing home the bacon is dominating in a warrant town. He has a good year for a johnny boy or good few years. The past decade has it been pretty good for him? But, uh, I don’t know, I said that’s great. Yeah, I just started watching the second season says, um, later and at the end of 2016 that winter, uh, donald releases awaken my love for his next album, which charts at number five on the billboard 200 and sold half a million albums, so ways stepped up like the, the album sales shot way higher on this. And it was also a very different type of album.
Then his other ones, this was not a rap album. Uh, this was more like a funk and R and b album. Um, and this is where you get like redbone, which is I think without argument, this is America may have replaced it as the most famous song, but up until that point, it was easily his most famous song. There was a youtube viral video of a girl like selling girl scout cookies to red bone and it’s amazing. It was like an Ela and when he was on Ellen and he bought like everyone in the audience, girl scout cookies. It was amazing. Oh yeah. Um, it was that kind of, that kind of album. What I didn’t know. Did you know about the Vr headset that he sent out? I had no idea. Yeah, wild. Right. So the vinyl release of awaken my love included a virtual reality headset and an APP that let you access these live performances, these series of these three exclusive, um, concerts that he’d done a few months prior called the Faroese experience.
Uh, which I had no idea. That’s such a cool idea. I, I’d never even heard of him doing that, but I think that’s a neat idea. Yeah. Vr stuff. I would totally check that out. The album was super love by critics. It was nominated for a grammy for album of the year and best urban contemporary album and red boned won a grammy. What’s up for best traditional RNB performance. Um, and glover, he had performed at the show that year. So musical career reaching new heights, um, which is manners. I mean, what’s up with that? So the TV show, like directing, which I could kind of see as like, I kind of see that as a, as the pinnacle of like his writing career with Atlanta because again, like the writing is really what makes that show and the directing and producing. He’s also acting in that. He’s also a, is now like a breakout artist performing at the grammys, winning a grammy. I mean, and you can’t cut much higher than that. Uh, the next year in 2017 time named Donald Glover to its annual, 100 most influential people in the world, Tina Fey, his old boss for 30 rock, wrote the entry on him and said that, uh, Donald embodies his generation’s belief that people can be whatever they want and change what it is they want. At anytime. That’s good. Yeah. Wise words from Tina. It’s true though. Tina teen being had to go and ruin it like that. Didn’t you?
Shame on you. I’m a child. I am a frat daddy that’s has not grown up yet. The master of bad nicknames. There’s gonna to forget that happened to move on in June 2017 glover plays Aaron Davis, uncle the miles morales and spiderman homecoming. So I told you about the whole miles morales thing. This is kind of like an homage to that. Actually the director was specifically thinking of that and you know, that there’s the whole Donald for Spiderman campaign.
That was a big part of him getting the cameo in that new reboot in the marvel spiderman at her Disney. I’m the next year in May 2018. This is America. So we’re coming up on the current year was performed, you know, while he was dual hosting snl, like we talked about before, the sign debuted at number one and uh, became basically is most successful song ever. I least like to this point I think at a red opponents probably better established and more listen to. But like in terms of like, the amount of time has been out, I think
yeah, definitely in terms of just like sheer exposure, I would assume that this is America, if not has already surpassed it, but it will eventually, like it’s, it was a freaking like revelation all over twitter of that says anything because I exactly days and days, but uh, uh, it’s, it’s awesome and he’s going to be some by um, and the new lion king. So I think that brings us pretty much up to present how under accomplished you feel now jake? I know. Oh my gosh, if I could just do one of those things on the list, how to be like, man, I finally made it, but dude just goes from next thing to next thing, building off his successes and like, good old teen been kidding. Tina fey said he’s like, he wants to do this. He wants to branch into different fields and whatnot. And he excels at.
And that’s, he’s like my hero. I don’t want to be a rapper for the betterment of society. I think it’s best that I don’t try to become one. But yeah, I had something I think we can all agree on, but uh, just writing comedy, everything so impressive to be that good at so many different things. Um, it’s incredible. He’s awesome. One of the most talented artists, just straight artists. Sometimes people say artists and it’s like, ugh. Like, okay, settle down guy. This guy is a true artist through and through so talented. I want to be him when I’m, when I grow up, even though my 25 year old man, so it’s a little too late for that. But uh,
donald men is my hero,
Donald Man. That’s what’s up. And so I just kinda wanted to draw just a few quick lessons out of some of the things that Donald Glover did. Some of the things from his past that kind of set him up to be where he is now. And hopefully we can draw a few commonalities if you lessons, if you have things to aspire to. And one of the first things I think that is just really cool about his story is that he started on youtube, but before it was cool. He’s like, one of the first youtube breakout star is, you know, I’m with this derrick comedy thing. Um, you know, and they were all doing this improv stuff and they brought it to the, this tightly scripted youtube thing, designing it to get shared and it kind of opened the door to them to create their own feature film. And that’s what unlocks the opportunity to get cast as an actor and make the shift from writing to acting to be in community.
And so just so many things that are like a at develops I think a lot of the way he thinks about comedy and audit, the way he thinks about acting and he gets to try all these things. You just make his own stuff and make his own opportunities. Like no one was telling him what to do, but he got to just create it and put it out there and see success and that he was able to then use that to level up ladder up into this new opportunity where they pushed all the chips in the table, created their first feature film and got noticed by Dan Harmon. And then he was able to jump to that next opportunity and not just stay at that youtube creator of where he is at because he knew he wanted to do, uh, many other different things.
that’s like super. I remember Derrick comedy back in the day and it just crazy to see
where he is now. It’s aware because, I mean obviously those videos are like hilarious, but I’m watching one right now and it’s, you know, obviously they were in Bravo, but just the camera lighting and camera lighting and the lighting and the camera quality and everything. Obviously the main thing that shines through is, you know, the writing and everything and it just shows that from humble beginnings, like you mentioned. Uh, we just keep building off of it. Can, you know who knows what it can turn into as long as you put in the work and as long as you. I’m like, you just have to start somewhere. That’s like the biggest thing I need to Kinda.
When you went to felony video? Yeah. It’s just the. I think it’s a great humor. Yeah. It’s just this like film. It reminded me of like the classes that you and I were in, you know, where you’d go and you’d shoot like a little movie over the weekend and then you have to present it to your class of other people in my journalism score or whatever, who had made movies that you had to do this too, right? No. Yeah, all the time. Exactly. There’ll be okay. Who wants to show their movie? And so the same situation and this youtube show and uh, you know, download. Oh, I do. And like the whole movie, it’s just a very thinly veiled reference to his freshmen college girlfriend who is also in the class you learn later who has been cheating on him and she does the name for Melanie to Belleny and this ridiculous music during the credits and it’s just, he also helped to all his other friends with their movies. And so they’re all about the same thing. Ah, it’s
the class, like say humble beginnings, 2006, man, that was so long ago. Yet it feels like it was yesterday. I’m old, but I’m man.
Um, I, I think the other thing, one of the other things that really sticks out to me about Donald Glover and how he was able to have this meteoric rise is just how he was able to outproduce his competition and really adjust and tweak and learn things along the way. I mean, just look at his journey from that first mixed tape or you know, I’m using a pirated version of fruit loops or whatever the heck that is to make music and high school to winning a grammy and having the most successful like music video on Youtube of all time, uh, in like a weekend or whatever. And he’s just been super prolific in every area where he’s had massive success. And so you see like red bone and you’re like, ah, well that just, you know, he’s a genius. It’s like, no, he put out like six make mix tapes before that.
He put out several albums. He put in all, all these years and years of work and he was really passionate about it and is constantly working. Um, you know, the writing didn’t, you know, tech is making it. Atlanta such a smash hit right now did not come from now or either, uh, years of uh, you know, in the Writers’ room at 30 rock, there were years of getting ready and it was working on silly stuff in high school years of scripting, silly videos while he was a writer. You know, with Derrick comedy, I’m sure he played a massive role in scripting all those. And so he’s always doing it. He’d constantly changing and he’s not sitting back or kind of settling. But when you learn how to master a youtube video, he moves onto a feature film. When you went, had to do a feature film. He learned how to act and put input on that.
When he learned how to do that, he wants to put the two together in Atlanta where he’s doing both at the same time and he’s always laddering up. I think it’s also an inspiration to me to just remember that so much of creativity and getting better and improving, uh, as a video creator is just practice over time, you know, and that there’s not that time aspect of that production aspect that, you know, okay, if you want to learn more in a shorter period of time, make more stuff. Um, and, and a lot of it, there is also an aspect of something that just take time. Even if you’re being super prolific, you know, you can’t cram 10 years of experience into 10 months of not sleeping and slamming red bulls and creating stuff. There are some things that it takes time to digest, to get feedback, to iterate and, and navigate your path and find your own style and find your own voice.
And so I think that’s also encouraging to see just his, you know, the changes between his mixed tapes, the way his music changes, the way has and changes any takes on more diverse roles. You know, the same actor who played Troy Barnes and community is not the same actor who nailed ability Williams voice with Lando. Right? I mean, it’s so much has changed in that time and you can tell he’s really grown along with his craft and that doesn’t happen overnight. Um, any, any other insights you had? I got one more, but I want to, um,
I mean, you’re basically just wording all of, all of them. My answer is just better than I can, so you’re just not letting me with much else to say. I think just like we mentioned earlier of just he’s not an overnight success as much as it sounds like it. Um, and a lot of just success usually emanates from kind of maybe an inherent talent that people have. Obviously, you know, Donald, I just stopped calling them Donald, like as if I know Donald Glover is like super talented, but he got the most out of it over putting in work over years and years and years and it, it just kind of inspiring to me because like you mentioned with the Youtube, he didn’t, you know, he, he made stuff just with his friends, like know he made a. well he put on time for it. Um, but he, he had, you know, what was available and youtube was like a newer thing at the time, but he put it out there for people to see and like you just made stuff.
Um, and he just made it on the rag and like he, he made it, you know, I don’t know if it was weekly or how often they uploaded, but he just kept pounding the grindstone and putting in work and over a period of a decade, was it. Oh, six when it first came out, it that will always yield some form of results you might not ever be as super popular or is successful in the end. Like as him, I’d seriously doubt anyone listening to this, maybe a few of you, uh, depending if you have a few million listeners will achieve that amount of success. But just putting in the time of the work. Um, and like you mentioned like, you know, what’s the term laddering where you just build off of the next thing and that’s the biggest thing. And just laddering up and don’t be like boxed into one thing.
Um, he wanted to branch out to youtube and he used the skills he gained from it to do something else you wanted to and then he, he was in that wheelhouse for a few years. Um, and that’s kind of comforting because I want to do with things other than just youtube and I want to do things other than, you know, radio work, what have you, and it seems kind of daunting. It seems kind of like, okay, maybe I should focus more on this, but you know, you had that freedom to just go out there and just make something and I might not be good at first, but like with most things, just you put time and effort and eventually you’ll get, you’ll get out what you put in. Um, you might not be as like super talented as Donald’s. I could not make a successful like ap or mix tape.
Um, I dunno, I’m going to try and I couldn’t name one. Maybe we’ll see. I don’t know, but it’s just super inspiring to see where he came from. And because I mean, like my youtube videos were just like with me and my friends and to see, oh yeah, like he, he created a career for himself, you know, and it all kind of, you know, the, what’s the old kind of Chinese proverb, it’s been done to death unlike, you know, facebook posts. But like the journey of a thousand steps, you know, like begins with one and super cliche of a thousand miles, 100 miles that I told them, that’s the one step. Like, well technically. But um, yeah,
no, no, that’s good. That’s a good thing. And I think another thing that Kinda goes along with what you’re saying is I’m Donald Glover, you can see it at a few key sort of points throughout his career. He knows when to end a good thing. He knows how to end well right when community was no longer taking him, where he knew that he needed to go in his career where he wanted to go. He decided to end it even though as a bummer, even as a fan, I remember like, no, he was one of my favorite characters. I was so bummed and it probably ended up being a good decision because community went downhill for a couple of years after he left, but um, you know, he went on, he did, who knew that Atlanta was in the works and that the new heights of his music career wearing the works and that crazy roads like lando were ahead, you know, no one could have known, he probably didn’t even know, but, uh, about all those things, but that it opened the door.
It definitely would’ve been possible for him to do all those things and stay on community fulltime. Um, it just wouldn’t have happened. And so knowing when to cut that off as a good thing. And also even he announced a at his last two are in 2017 that he is retiring the name childish Gambino. I’m like, at the, at least we think that’s what he’s saying is, it’s still a little bit unclear. I lot of people are all buzzing about this, but he’s been interviewed about it. Basically what happened is, uh, in the last show of his tour, right before he walks off, he says, I’ll see you for the next Gambino album, and then he, he just walks off and doesn’t explain it. Um, and people were freaking out with her iphone on twitter, what know going on. Um, but he just, he just walks off and later in a, in an interview, he just basically says, you know, I don’t think that his music career, my music career is necessary.
There’s nothing worse than a third sequel. And he says, quote, I like it when something’s good and when it comes back there’s a reason to come back. There’s a reason to do that and quote. And so is he done with music? Who knows? It’s hard. It would be kind of a shame because he’s so talented. So I don’t think he’s definitely not done as a creator. And I, I highly suspect the music will continue in other forums. It’ll just like differently. It may not be under the cellos campaign, a name, it may not be rapid, may just be different things. But one thing’s for sure if you look at his career and just the way he’s come through the ranks, his not slowed down. He has not stayed in one silo. He has not stayed in one lane. Uh, but the triple threat of acting co, I actually really want to see him go back and do more comedy.
I’d love to see another Donald Glover special where he’s doing like, you know, like millennial, Steve Martin, where he can do music and he can do acting and he could do comedy. Like that would be, that’s what I want to see. Um, because I was like, I watched the, uh, the uh, Steve Martin and Martin Short Netflix. And um, now that I think about, I’m like, man, how much better would this be with like Aziz Ansari and like Donald Clover? Yeah. I don’t know, maybe not as easy. I’m sorry. Uh, I don’t know. Someone else like equivalent. Yeah. Well, I guess it kind of works. I mean, Steve Martin’s the one that’s like music, acting, comedy, and then Martin Short is just like a weird, tiny guy who just comes out and surprises you. Have had a really good description of it. Yeah. I love those guys. They’re like, I know them. Yeah. Yeah. We used to be famous. We saw them last week. They just flew up to Oklahoma City for no reason. You’re listening, Steve and Martin. You can be on there. Yeah, please. If you’re listening to this podcast, please be a guest. We’ll fly you up and we’ll, um, don’t say that were poor. Yeah.
Well you guys can fly up for us or is. Yeah, no chick fil a, a cost, uh, will be spared anyways. Um, I think that is a good place to kind of end it. And Donald Glover, I, I learned a lot of stuff from this. Even just going through his journey, the SPEC script, you know, all these, the producing his own movie. I think we’ve hit all the death at this point, but I think over the course of those 15 years I will just kind of leave it at this like if more people worked like Donald Glover did for those 15 years and use their, like what talent they have a, you don’t have three different ones. I can, but if you had your one just, you worked for 15 years, like he did, I think you’d see a lot more people with compound effects like he did.
I think one of the biggest trade secrets here is that he was just willing to work really hard. I was in front of him. He was able to balance those different things of music, of acting, of writing altogether. Uh, I, I don’t think a lot of people have that or can do that or willing to do that. It’s probably not a good idea for most people, but you probably have a lot of. People would probably have one thing kind of like that, you know, um, may not be that specifically, but have a talent they could develop for 15 years and get those compound results. And so, um, I think that’s something that I take away that’s super meaningful to me. And you know, I don’t need to meet Donald Glover, but I can see what the sort of the fruit of his Labor over 15 years, a decade and a half has, has brought a when it’s not quite effectively in laddered up. And you choose to say no and you choose to produce your competition. What about you? Any closing thoughts?
Um, same thing. No. Yeah, I mean basically just I need to focus on my talents and my strengths at hand. Like you mentioned Donald Glover’s a rare kind of breed. Not many people can balance all the things he does. I know for a fact I can send, you kind of mentioned this in the, you know, like the one thing podcast, but, and just hard work. I mean it’s, it’s simple in theory, but it’s very difficult in practice to just like, all right, I’m going to focus on like my youtube channel, which just kind of like I’ve had the realization when I’m to. I’ve been trying to kind of do that and this book and I’m trying to make like a kid’s book and I’m just like my friend in New York where it’s like, okay, I’m going to make this a light line for it. And it’s really stretched me thin again to where I’m like, okay, I just need to stop work really hard on making my youtube channel a more successful and successful in my mind isn’t necessarily derrick comedy level so successful.
I just want to make. I want to get to like a 100 subscribers this year and I think that’s really obtainable. It’s like a, like a lower goal. So why not 10 million? It’s like, no, I just want to get to 101st. And it’s like, you know, like that, um, that laddering thing of like I want to get there. And then like, let’s see what else happens after that. Um, and something else, you mentioned that the end, which is really cool of just knowing when to quit and it’s at different, you know, with, with Donald. But I feel like I can apply it to myself and other people listening can also kind of apply to themselves when, and it also, this is kind of different, uh, just in general, but sometimes you’re working on something or putting a lot of effort into something and it’s just not working.
I can’t really explain it where it’s agonizing, um, you know, with our old blog posts or something in the past, we were really putting a lot of time and effort into something and it just wasn’t, you know, the passion wasn’t there at the love wasn’t there, it just wasn’t going to work. And part of me has a fear of just kind of dropping that and moving onto something else. And I feel like Donald Glover has not had the problem where it’s like, I just don’t want to do this anymore, so I’m just gonna move on to something else. Um, so that’s one thing that I kinda wanna apply to myself or I’ve been trying to be better at pushing through working hard when she asks. You have to have that. But there’s also just a wisdom that you need to have of, okay, I don’t need to focus on this, this isn’t working right now.
What can I do instead that will, you know, kind of grow my skills and kind of grow me into like what I want to be as opposed to just kind of wasting this time and effort on something that’s kind of, I’m just going nowhere. There’s been a lot of stories and a lot of scripts and stuff that I’ve been trying to write where it’s just like, no, I can’t quit. I quit on a lot of things, you know, I don’t want it and I pour so much time and agonize over it and it just sucks. Um, so yeah, that’s kind of a take away kind of a weird way to take, um, you know, that last thing about him, you know, dropping like his pseudonym, whatever. But sometimes you just have to drop what’s not working and just keep on going to the next thing. And I think Donald Glover is a really good at that and it’s something that I knew to apply to my own, my own content, my own videos and whatnot. So
boom, I think that’s good stuff. Well, I think that a land this plane. And so if you want to check out the highlights from what we talked about, go ahead and go to six stars only dotcom slash ten one zero. And you can find all the sweet deet about this episode there. Like that sweet sweet deeds
almost as good as a team been
if you can be much better than team. Yeah, I love that. Um, uh, yeah. So, uh, Jake, who’s apparently better than Donald Glover at naming things. Tom. Ben, obviously. Tell me about the art of leaving reviews.
So I mentioned earlier how, if I could just do one thing that Donald Glover did, that I would feel like I made it, I’d feel like I truly made it. And if you guys would go to itunes and just leave us a five star review. Wow. This stretch there, a grammy, not grammy. What’s going for acting and mes, Gus for TV? Oscar, there we go. What an ugly name for such a beautiful. I guess it is weird when you think about it, but yeah, just go and leave us a review. Um, and just give us feedback. We say this, every episode of your guys’s feedback is really important to us because it tells us what we need to get better at what we did. Well, don’t, don’t spare us. Just say what you want to say about us and we will take it to heart and we were, it will change and we’ll grow and we’ll learn because that’s the point of the podcast is to get better at this stuff because we’re still new. Trying to get better. We’re trying to get to Donald Glover, tier of podcasting to James Altucher level. I guess I didn’t like what the podcasts equivalent is. Yeah, make sure it lasts. A requirement for every glass. There you go.
Beautiful. I love that. Cool. I think we’re good here. From redundancy for listening guys crashing. Derrick comedy. I don’t know. See a little. Watch it. It’s Tricia. What’s Tricia.