Today, we’re chatting with Doug TenNapel, a guy whose career spans an impressive variety of genres and media. He’s worked in video games, graphic novels, film, and television, and our conversation really covers some ground.
TenNapel is perhaps most well known as the creator of Earthworm Jim. He developed the original video game (for Sega Genesis and SNES) and created the character, who eventually went on to star in several sequels and an animated TV series. The character actually has a rather convoluted (and controversial) history, especially once TenNapel stepped back and didn’t have as much control over him. I highly recommend reading up on it if you’re interested.
TenNapel continued to work in the video game industry for some time but has since focused his attention on other media. He’s published a bookshelf’s worth of graphic novels with Scholastic’s stellar Graphix imprint including Nnewts, Ghostopolis, and Tommysaurus Rex. And he’s the showrunner for Dreamworks Animation’s VeggieTales in the House for Netflix. The fourth season of that show was just released last month.
On this episode, we chat about his wide-ranging career, how the video game and publishing industries have changed during that time, what elements are mandatory in his creative environment, and how to deal with the inevitable failures and setbacks that come with success.