Jacob Calta: Iron Age Marketing Podcast 022

In today’s episode of Iron Age Marketing, I talk to Jacob Calta, the mastermind behind the quarterly magazine 365 Infantry and YouTube channel Quality Candor.

Let’s Meet Iron Age Creator Jacob Calta

Filmmaker, writer, and composer Jacob Calta is a newcomer and tour de force in the modern indie scene. Born and raised in upstate New York, Calta’s a film buff with a knack for filmmaking, and a massive knowledge of the medium that he puts to use editing for review site A Fistful of Film and on his video review channel Quality Candor. His rampant imagination has also given birth to hours of vintage-styled electronic music released on his Bandcamp and his pulp sci-fi project 365 Infantry, a quarterly magazine that’s equal parts “Blade Runner,” “Mad Max,” and “Heavy Metal” and is on track to becoming a multimedia juggernaut.

Living Your Own Post-Apocalyptic Aesthetic

Jacob Calta appears in aviator sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt with a vibe reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson. Jacob explains his unique look as part of his own personal brand. “There is usually someone in a Hawaiian shirt running around somewhere in the space.” Following this up he reminisces about some of the more eccentric embellishments to his garb and the responses they have elicited amongst the general population.
Clothing aside, the twenty-one-year-old Jacob lets us in on his upbringing in upstate New York. A life I know all too well. Though Film is where he originated, experimental creative pursuits of all kinds have built up to Jacob becoming a creator on his own terms. 365Infantry is a story told principly through a quarterly pulp magazine but his multimedia approach to the post-apocalyptic remnant of Pheonix AZ flush with anthropomorphic wolves, lasers and hotrods sets him apart.

365 Infantry And Anvil Magazine

Since so much of Jacob’s time is spent working on his one property 365 Infantry, it seems fair to assume that he might feel creatively stifled. I’d suspect he doesn’t get to stretch his legs into other worlds, but he assures me that despite its specificity, the world of 365 Infantry is diverse enough to let him create whatever he likes. In addition, he spends plenty of time working in other genres, we just don’t get to see them as of yet.
From 365 Infantry we drift to another big project Jacob has been a part of, Anvil Magazine. Anvil is a quarterly speculative fiction magazine put out by Rich at ironage.media. The magazine is an independent approach to releasing poetry, short story, and art much like the magazines of the past such as Heavy Metal and Strange Tales. The first issue is currently shipping and the second crowdfunding campaign is just around the corner.

A New Age Of Old Style And Multimedia Storytelling

Describing himself as “the oldest twenty-one-year-old on the face of the earth,” Jacob Calta talks about the pulp magazine scene of the past and how happy he is to be involved with reviving the medium. He looks romantically at Manhunt, Astounding Stories, EC Comics, etc. Calta laments that the market in its current state can’t support the creators looking to take part. He sees Anvil Magazine as a first step in the evolution of this modern scene or Iron Age.
Beginning the really in-depth marketing discussion I try to get to the core of Jacob’s multimedia approach to his world. Jacob Calta tells us a bit about always exploring and evolving as a creative by using many different methods to tell his stories. He calls out projects like Wolves of Steel, and Alan Firedale; musical creations which play on the edges of the world he’s created. No matter the medium however Jacob aims for all of his creations to feed back into the building of his world.

Alienation And The Relationship With Your Audience

While I question Jacob about some of the marketing he uses to keep contact with his audience, I managed to spark a bigger conversation about the nature of the relationship between creator and audience today. Jacob finds that his most passionate fans have become more like friends than fans and relationships like these make him consider Discord as a communication platform. But, while he has these relationships he also has what he calls a ‘silent readership’ of people who enjoy his creations but don’t have much personal interaction with him. 
This leads us down a road discussing how alienating working in this field can be. Historically you used to have agents editors and publishers to hand off manuscripts to directly. Those days are gone thanks to the modern digital age.  The lack of interaction and feedback can feel a lot like apathy from the market.  

Value Your Work Or No One Else Will

I lament how little creatives seem to value when they put their work out into the market. Some creatives barely cover costs and you can see them becoming jaded as time goes on. Jacob follows by giving me some insight into how he sets the value of his creations. I’ve seen creatives so desperate to have eyes on their projects that they are afraid to place a fair price on their work.
This predicament is further exasperated by many of these projects requiring input from other artists who had to be paid for their commissioned portion. Jacob uses the Substack subscription platform for his work and although his core issues are free for anyone to enter the world, for sustainability he puts a price on many of the supplemental offerings that build up the lore of the world.

Build A Consistent Brand And Take All The Opportunities

Drawing the episode to a close Jacob gives us his tips for other creatives. His first bit of advice is to build a consistent brand identity. Jacob stresses consistency in quality, planning, and voice so your audience knows what they’ll be getting no matter what you’re endeavor is. Point two is to be open to opportunities and engage with people personally. The second point is a fantastic way to pursue the first. The more opportunities you take the larger you build your presence, and the more honest it is the farther it can carry you without you undermining yourself.
Hopefully, today’s episode with Jacob Calta serves as both inspiration and education in your own journey to bring your creation to the world.

Shilling In The Iron Age

Need help connecting with or growing your audience for your book, comic, TTRPG, or other creative endeavor? Check out Nicky P @ ironagemarketing.com
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