An Oil Change with Sam Cardon

I took Turbo Schlock in to Jiffy Lube yesterday, and saw a guy who looked kind of familiar sitting in the lobby. I turned back to the check-in desk, and the fancy screen that faces customers told me it was Sam Cardon.

Background: when I was a music student at BYU back in 1990 there were a couple of famous and successful local alumni we variously admired, respected, and envied. Sam was one of these guys. Here’s the official CV, if you want it.

Anyway, I turned back to Sam and said “Sam Cardon! I thought you looked familiar — the screen here helped me out.” He told me that I looked familiar too, but he wasn’t placing me. So I introduced myself — “Howard Tayler – I studied music at BYU.” He recognized me then, and immediately asked if I was still “doing music.”

I told him I wasn’t — I was now a full-time, independent cartoonist. He was genuinely thrilled.

And there began a very enjoyable and enlightening 15 or 20 minute discussion. We dicussed the “cult of the amateur” in our various fields, and how the free content model was or wasn’t working well there. He seemed happy to know that it wasn’t just the music industry falling apart, though we agreed that they’re being pressured less by a rising tide of free-content amateurs than by file sharing among their customers.

We also talked about how technology has provided such cool tools for our jobs. Sam wistfully spoke of the $100,000 in recording equipment that he and Kurt Bestor put together years ago, whose functionality now exists in a single laptop Sam carries around.

I wish we could have talked longer. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to talk again. I gave Sam a Schlock Mercenary URL card, along with my email address and phone number. Not that I hope to illustrate his music, or have him score my comic, mind you.

14 thoughts on “An Oil Change with Sam Cardon”

    1. It would either be grabd, sweeping anthems, long slow durges, or the theme from Benny Hill’s “speed gag” skits…

      1. I dunno, I’m hearing Thus Spake Zarasthustra myself.

        dun-Dun-DUN! DUNDUN boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom dun-Dun-Dun! DUNDUN!

        Schlock Mercenary, in full stereo (trinary speaker systems where available).

    2. Not too hard to achieve. Just use You’re The Man Now, Dog.

      I’ve sometimes considered attempting to voice comics and put them up there, except I’ve found when I’ve tried my hand at it, it needs some foley to ‘sound right’ and foley’s a difficult art to get right.

  1. I was reminded about the march of technology just a little while ago, when I fired up Hercules on my shiny new 8-core Mac Pro and ran an IBM OS faster than any mainframe I ever worked on for a living…

    1. 1) it’s a book title
      2) It’s a theory stating that because the internet has enabled so many amateurs to find an audience, we will eventually see a degradation of the overall quality of the arts we consume.

      I disagree. 90% of everything is always crap. If we’ve enabled another 20 million people to be cartoonists, musicians, illustrators, journalists, or filmmakers, we haven’t lowered the bar — we’ve quintupled the size of the sample, and should start seeing that same 10% chunk of not crap. The good stuff (almost) always floats to the top.

      1. The problem is wading through the suddenly increased olume of crap to find the not-crap…even though there is more of it to find, the work has still increased dramatically. After all, how many folks haven’t found Schlock Mercenary yet because there’s too much crap to wade through?

        1. I think a big part of web 2.0 (I hate buzzwords, but we all know what it refers to) is creating tools which not only make it easier for amateurs to get their own creations out there, but also creating effective filters for people to find and share the good stuff.

          I’m pretty confident that these ‘crap filters’ are slowly getting better. There’s all sorts of sites now, like Digg, which make it really easy to find stuff which lots of people think is cool.

          Obviously, not everything that’s popular is good, but for the most part, browsing Digg and other such sites tends to lead to much better webpages than the same amount of time browsing randomly does.

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