With all the noise of social media, ceaseless changes in online metrics for engagement and popularity, plus the never stable definition of where, how, and when creators should share content with their audiences, it’s safe to say our definition of success is in a constant state of flux. But to award-winning performer and creator Paul Scheer, the answer to “What does success mean to you?” is simple: “At the end of the day, I want to be proud of the work, enjoy going to the work, and being able to do the work. That’s success.”
Sheer has done plenty of work to give credibility to that statement. He’s been featured in well-known comedies like “The League” and “Veep” and contributed as a writer, producer, director, and podcaster to Hotwives and How Did This Get Made?
Getting his start as an actor and comedian, Scheer worked his way up by taking on bit parts and roles and an extra. In 2007, his collaborations lead to the sketch comedy series “Human Giant” which ran for two seasons on MTV. He’s continued on that path to this day, keeping himself busy with guest spots, podcasts production, writing comic books, and directing and producing shows. He’ll even be directing an episode of upcoming Disney+ show, “Marvel 616” next year.
”I think the only way I can get through the failures I’ve had is by feeling proud of them.”
There’s a surprising aspect of creativity that drives Scheer to continue moving forward, failure.
“I’ve been lucky that I’ve worked on many different shows and podcasts that have been successful and others that have been less so. I think the only way I can get through the failures I’ve had is by feeling proud of them.” In 2016, he co-created, produced and directed segments of a Saturday late-night sketch show called “Party Over Here” with comedic band, The Lonely Island.
Unfortunately, the project was canceled by Fox after one season. “We were not picked up for a second season and that really sucks. But I’m proud of what I created and I think as long as you approach whatever you’re doing with the idea of you being proud of the final product. People are judging you based on the work you created, not how much success it got.”
”People are judging you based on the work you created, not how much success it got.”
Scheer also offers words of wisdom to creatives who are just starting out, sharing, “experiment, try new things, don’t give up on what makes you unique. This is the moment when you can do whatever you want. No one’s seeing you yet. Don’t worry about 10 years from now, just worry about exploring yourself.”
Scheer has seen this first-hand, during his first standup days, he was lucky enough to meet Harold Ramis, best known for his work in “Ghostbusters,” and “Groundhog Day,” who told him something he’ll never forget: Fame isn’t finite.
“When you’re chasing fame and you see someone else getting it and you’re like “well, that should’ve been mine!” No! It’s not going anywhere! It’s not like it’s one piece, it’s not a relay race,” Scheer shared.
At the end of the day, Paul Scheer has a lot more going on than his many creative projects. He’s not just a professional entertainer or creator, but someone who prioritizes the people in his life. As a father of two, his professional drive has shifted over the last few years to focus more on family, another creative outlet to explore. “Career is fleeting, fame is fleeting, and my family and the people that surround me are not. So I want to really invest solidly in that always and be inspired by them.”