Author Spotlight: the King of Random



The King of Random truly lives up to his name and has posted videos and step-by-step Instructables on everything from how to use diapers to grow plants to how to make your own candy cannon. He never fails to surprise and delight with fun, unusual and relatively accessible projects. Recently I got to ask him how he creates his impeccable videos, where he gets his ideas and how he got started in the first place!

When did you first start making things? What was your first project?

My first project was only a few years ago, actually. It was 2009 and I had seen some advertisements for a program that promised to teach how to run your car on water. I was intrigued, but skeptical. I searched the internet for more information, and eventually found how the process worked, as well as some interesting designs for HHO generators. It didn't seem that complicated, so I tried building my own version and experimenting with the gasses. I never did try using the gas in a car, for various reasons, but I really enjoyed the build and the science behind how it worked, and from then I was infected with the maker bug.

How did you find Instructables and what made you start posting projects?

After a couple of years playing around with various projects, I started making videos and posting them on YouTube. I also started writing articles for a couple of websites about my experiences and how I built my version of these projects. I had a friend who was having a lot of success with Instructables, so I tried posting a few things, and had amazing results with people viewing, and the projects getting featured.

Of the projects that you have posted on Instructables, what has been your favorite project and why?

All of the articles are favorites for different reasons, because they all represent something different that I've been able to experiment, and learn from. Some of the projects I'm most proud of are the Apple Swan, Fight Club Soap, Penny Battery, Magic Mud, Soda Tab Chains, and Hydroxy Generator. Each project has required a different way of thinking, and experimentation and has repurposed common every day items to do things completely different than what they were originally intended.

On the other hand, are there any projects you've made that will never see the light of Instructables?

Yes. I have a few projects that I believe are educational and exciting, however I'm not quite clear on legalities of teaching or posting online.

Where do you get inspiration for projects and how do you keep coming up with fresh ideas?

Inspiration comes from everywhere: books, internet, friends, family and kids. I try to follow passions that excite me, see what others have done, then try my own experiments and add my own touches and modifications.

Your videos have such high production value! What do you do to prepare for a video? How long does it take start to finish to put a video together? What is the process like?

Thanks for the compliment. Each video takes anywhere between 100 - 200 hours to produce, and that probably doesn't include all the experimenting I've done with the project before filming and editing. To prepare for a video I find a project I'm excited about, try making it a few times so I get a feel for different ways to build it, modifications or improvements that can be made, and an idea of what the project can do. Many of my projects have 3-5 prototypes made before I even start filming. The process is really an emotional roller coaster. I never know how the project is going to turn out, so it's always an adventure. I get excited about the project, excited about the prototypes and learning how it works, then I go through the motions of filming and cutting the footage which can be fairly labor intensive. Next I go through an emotional low of trying to write a script to fit the footage and tell the story. It's really the hardest part, and sometimes the script alone can take 3-6 hours to write. Once I have the script though, my wife takes the kids outside to play while I record the audio, then I edit the audio and finally start getting excited again when it all comes together in the final edits and finishing touches.

The King of Random with the Queen and Princes of Random

Do you have any projects in the works that you can tell us about?

I had some really great success with the clothespin pocket pistol, and was contacted by another YouTube channel who took the idea to the next level with a micro-crossbow. They asked what I could do to take their idea and make it even better, so I took the challenge, had a lot of fun, and have a project all about that coming up in the very near future.

If you could give one piece of advice to all of the other authors on Instructables, what would it be?

Commit to what you love, and do it. Then share your experiences to the best of your ability, and take satisfaction knowing that someone out there is being inspired to try something new, because you took the time to post.

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