I’ll never forget the last conversation I had with Jon Schnepp.
The sun shining down on a hot Los Angeles day as we ran into each other in a dusty alley behind the Collider Video studios. We did something that is kind of rare in this business and, unfortunately, the normal course of our time here -- we stopped and talked to each other. You work with people for so long they just become part of your routine.
“What’s up, Ken?”
And that might be it. You both move on with your days always believing in “next time” or “when I get back.” We are the center of our radar screens and everyone else is a blip that flies through.
But not that day.
Jon and I stood under the sun and caught up. We got onto the subject of the business we’re in and I moaned about my struggles with recent changes in my career. Jon had a wonderful and varied career. There are projects that will forever be linked to his name. He had success. But he also had struggles. He and his wonderful partner in life and business Holly Payne had to fight and scrape to get projects made. It was never easy. And somewhere along the way his particularly brand of talking about the things he loved connected with so many people. He is one of the reasons the media discussion world even exists. In the early days of it he brought, one, a credibility to it, but more importantly, a personality that transcended any subject matter. Knowledge, passion, and a distinct personality -- a blueprint for success.
So when Jon took the moment to talk to me about my career. I listened. You should as well.
Jon powerfully preached to me the importance of accepting your unique voice. Accepting that you bring value to the conversation, the game, and building on that. He could have gone back to several of the jobs and corners of his career at any point, but would he have been happy? Probably not. Jon told me how much he loved what had sprung up out of just him being himself. The Sweaties Uniting around him, with him, and beside him was something powerful and not something he took lightly. And on this day… he looked me directly in the eyes and passionately told me that I had to accept what value I had.
It’s a powerful message and one that is not easy for a lot of us. No matter what you do or who you are it is sometimes the harsh truth that we can’t look ourselves in the mirror and say, “I have value.”
Jon Schnepp was a wonderful, warm, and defiantly unique person. He was larger than life, the center of Collider Video’s soul, a leader, a rebel, and all those appropriate descriptions. But, above all that, he was real. Honest and real. When he spoke, you listened.
And on that day, in what would be the last time I spoke to him, Jon told the truth.
“You have value.”
I remain forever sweaty.
It's time for this month's Patreon Patron Profile! A spotlight on the people that are the pillars of The Napzok Files.
This month we're sitting down with Khai Thach. Khai has been an active member of The Napzok Files and ForceCenter communities and always brings a fresh, heartfelt perspective to Discord conversations, Q & A's, and more! Let's meet Khai.
1 - Who ARE you and where you located in this world?
Hello, there! I’m Khai Thach and I live in Orange County, California. For those unfamiliar with the OC, it’s about 30 miles south of Los Angeles and it's where Disneyland is located. I have been here for 7 years. Born and raised in Utah.
2 - How long have you been listening to The Napzok Files?
I jumped in during the hiatus or shortly thereafter. It feels like it’s been longer, once I got hooked I went back and listened to lot of past shows.
3 - What are some of your favorite “things?“(books, shows, movies, hobbies)
My big 3 fandoms are Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. Star Wars is my biggest passion, by far. In general, I love all forms of entertainment, whether it be movies, television, theater or other live performances. If someone is putting on a show, I’ll watch it! I’m a big gym rat, I spend a lot of time exercising. I love sports and played many since I was a kid. American football is top of that list. I like paintball too and try to get out and play whenever I can.
4 - What is one life goal you are working toward?
I am an actor and my goal is to work at it full-time. There are more specific things that I want to accomplish and projects I want to work on in this realm, but it all branches out from a successful acting career.
5 - What is something in your life that you’re really proud?
I’m proud of who I am. This goes for everyone, but nobody else has exactly what I have. The combination of my culture, my heritage, my beliefs and all that I’ve experienced in my life. I take pride that I represent the different communities in everything I do. And in my work, I can create something from a unique perspective from that base. As far as my career goes, I’m proud of every little thing I’ve done. I’m still far away from what many consider the “top” of the industry, but it’s a tough business and I’m proud that I have even made it this far.
6 - When you’re feeling down, what are some things you do to turn yourself around?
I like to immerse myself in other worlds. I watch movies like Star Wars and LOTR because they are so different from our regular lives. It gives me a chance to escape, but it also drives me and sparks my imagination. That’s why I love entertainment so much, it can inspire people to accomplish amazing things. Exercise is also a huge help for me. When I feel physically fit and healthy, I feel much better mentally as well. It's a daily reset button.
7 - Who are some of your biggest influences in your life and/ or career?
Of course, George Lucas and everything he’s created in the Star Wars universe. As a kid, I dreamed of being in the NFL and my hero was Steve Young. The way he lived his life on and off the field gave me a lot of direction. My entertainment influence as a teenager was Conan O’Brien. I grew up on The Simpsons and I later learned a lot of my favorite episodes came from him. I stayed up late to watch his show almost every night. I like to say that’s why I did poorly in school and became an actor instead of an engineer. There is something about Conan’s comedy that really sticks with me. Tina Fey is also someone from the comedy world I really connect with. It’s strange, because I don’t consider myself a comedic actor, but those two have had a great influence on me. If you ask me which actor’s career I see myself following, I would say Tom Cruise. He plays the type of roles I want to play. And we're both short, so that gives me hope. Lately, I’ve really admired Dwayne Johnson. His work ethic and outlook on life are traits I try to follow.
Famous people aside, my dad has been the biggest influence on me. Long story short, my parents are first generation immigrants and he literally put our family on his back to escape Vietnam. His story has affected my life in so many ways and I try to honor it as best I can.
8 - When was the last time you ate food from a convenience store and what was it?
About a month ago, I tried the pepperoni pizza from 7-Eleven. That’s what happens when you hang out around The Napzok Files for a while. I enjoyed it quite a bit!
9 - What is one cool fact about yourself that you’ve never revealed publicly until NOW?
I sang The Rainbow Connection with Kermit the Frog on stage once. I got pulled from the audience and because that song is before my time, he was surprised I could sing along. Honestly, I only knew the lyrics because of a Me First and the Gimme Gimmes’ cover. It happened a long time ago, before the rise of social media. So, I don’t think I’ve ever shared that! Otherwise, I’m a pretty open book and I’ve gotten used to exposing a lot about myself publicly.
10 - Shine on a light on your own work or the work of someone you admire
I want everyone to check out comedian Zara Khan on Facebook and Instagram @mentallymuslim. Not only is she a funny person, she does incredible work advocating for mental illness. I met Zara when helping with the production of a Ted X Talk she gave about her experiences living with schizoaffective disorder. Her story is powerful and the message can help a lot of people. Also, she’s always doing stand-up shows so you can see if there is one near you.
If you want to keep up with me I’m @khaivien on Twitter and Instagram and my website is khaivien.com
That's the Patreon Patron Profile for July! Take a moment to check out Khai's work and his link to Zara's Ted X Talk! We here at The Napzok Files appreciate Khai's support and hope you enjoyed spending some time with a fellow listener.