MF 304 : Peter Veunnasack on moving forward with Cobra Kai Kompanion (part 2 of 3)
Today, I continue my conversation with Peter Veunnasack as we discuss The Karate Kid, Cobra Kai, and creating content and community. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Actually, the sequel
On last week’s episode, you met Peter Veunnasack, a USPS mail carrier by day and a devoted family man. Like Clark Kent, Peter also has an alter ego. During his off-hours, he is one of the most active and prolific content creators when it comes to The Karate Kid and its sequel spinoff Cobra Kai.
One of my first questions for Peter was when he become a fan of the original Karate Kid.
Peter can’t remember the exact date but he gives an answer that’s different from most fans. His favorite movie is actually the first sequel, in which Daniel and Mr. Miyagi travel to Okinawa.
Whereas the first Karate Kid movie is a coming of age story of a teenager fitting into new surroundings and overcoming obstacles, The Karate Kid Part II shifts the focus to Miyagi, the sage mentor and grandfather figure introduced in the first film. For Peter and so many (myself included), Miyagi represented the mentor, teacher, grandfather we all wanted to have.
An idea for a podcast episode
Peter has been a podcaster for over five years. He loves talking about movies and pop culture, especially from the 80s. Shortly before Cobra Kai debuted in 2018, Peter came up with the idea of doing an episode reviewing the show. He had already done podcasts reviewing the first four Karate Kid films and now he wanted to continue this content momentum with a look at the new spinoff.
Peter and his co-host binged all 10 episodes and did a marathon recording session while their wives happened to be away on a weekend. Peter realized he couldn’t contain all of his thoughts in just one episode. Fortuitously, this idea ended up taking Peter on a content creation journey he never could have imagined.
And like a bonsai tree, it grew
Peter realized that he had something that was more than a one-off podcast episode. He began reaching out to actors from the show. He swung big, first approaching Karate Kid and Cobra Kai co-stars, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. While he didn’t hear back from either, he moved on, connecting to one of the recurring actors from Cobra Kai season 1.
From there, Peter launched a separate podcast devoted to Cobra Kai. This paved the way to dedicated social media accounts, a YouTube channel, and a dedicated Facebook group. The seed of one podcast episode grew into tree of content and community.
As the podcast, dubbed “Cobra Kai Kompanion,” took off Peter connected with more cast and several behind-scenes-people, including Cobra Kai co-creators, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald.
SEO Content Tip
Peter smartly named his content “Cobra Kai Kompanion,” making a slight tweak to the word “companion.” This not only provides great alliteration with “Kai” in “Cobra Kai” but as Peter shares, converts a common word into a searchable and easily-identifiable handle. This is a really great hack to make your content stand out in a sea of similar-sounding names.
How does he do it all?
As you learned from last week’s episode, Peter has a demanding day job and is a devoted family man. However, he has carved out the time to follow a passion outside of work. What started as an idea for a one-off podcast has become almost a second job. Peter’s content is now a hub for Cobra Kai fans from all over the world to congregate and celebrate their fandom for a beloved movie series and TV show.
So, how does he do it all?
Like a Miyagi-ism, it’s all about balance.
Peter shares two important factors that allow him to manage his demanding responsibilities while pursuing a passion outside of work:
Build a network of trusted like-minded people: As Kompanion grew, Peter knew he couldn’t handle managing the content and the community alone. Today, the Kompanion Facebook group has several dedicated moderators who, like Peter, are committed to creating a fun, safe, and welcoming environment.
Share and negotiate: Often, people shy away from outside ventures due to a fear of lack of time or conflict from supervisors, bosses, etc. Peter juggles a lot of responsibilities. He has a busy day job and a family. When an incredible, yet time-sensitive opportunity arose for Peter to share breaking Cobra Kai news with the show’s three creators, he negotiated time off with his boss. Peter smartly invited his boss to check out Cobra Kai, turning him into a fan. This paved the way for Peter to make this once in a lifetime opportunity happen.
This kind of balancing act is not always easy to do this and I can’t promise smooth sailing when it comes to juggling competing, sometimes conflicting, interests. However, Peter is a great example of why having those interests and passions outside of your day job is worth pursuing.
Check out Peter’s conversation with Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald (plus two surprise guests)
Connect with Peter
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Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) by Jim Butcher (***)
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