At 21 years old, Caleb Farrell has already reached one of the biggest goals of most millennials – monetizing their online presence. After a viral video animation showing Mary J. Blige wielding a lightsaber reached over a million views before he could get home from school, Farrell realized that he was destined to pursue a career in animation. The Raleigh NC native is now the CEO of his own company and is living a dream that sometimes surpasses his own ideas of success. Sitting down to speak with this young entrepreneur was not only eye opening, but also inspirational.
Having downloaded his first software program at the age of 7, Caleb has consistently continued to work on perfecting his craft, taking pride in perfecting each project that he releases for his company Wolfinity. His family has been pretty instrumental in allowing him to grow and express himself creatively. He worked with his father to make enough money to buy his first computer, and received a new camera from his grandmother for more intensive projects. From there he started making money online with small projects. Unlike most people his age, he knew that in order to grow he would need to take those earnings and reinvest in more equipment, better lighting, new software, the works. This mindset was what kept him motivated and grabbed the attention of some major brands and celebrities.
As CEO of his own company he now manages a team that helps to develop assets for the brand. The Wolfinity platform offers both paid and free visual effects in packs that are easy for gamers to implement into their own projects. He also offers merchandise and content on platforms like Roku. His business is steadily growing mainly through digital media, where he is known as CalebDigital.
Although still very young, he has developed a keen sense of business and knows the importance of creating multiple streams of income within his brand. He is strategic in releasing content that serves as both an ongoing portfolio as well as a form of marketing. His product speaks for itself and draws people in to discover more of his work. The young creative says his goal is to have 7 streams of income, and he wants to achieve that by continuing to work on his craft. When asked about his goals of succeeding in his industry he remembers the turning point in which he had to step his game up. He said to himself, “If I’m going to make this my full time job and have no 9-5, I need to make sure that I’m good”. From that internal declaration, Caleb figured out how to showcase his talent to the world. His site offers a working portfolio of products and projects he’s worked on. He offers a ton of free content that is often the catalyst for new business. His premade digital packs offer a convenience factor for others who are interested in developing their craft. The drag and drop packs allow users to create effects similar to what he’s showcased on his page. But creating these offers hasn’t been easy. When he first decided to launch the idea, he shared it online and made nothing. It wasn’t until his friend Ray Rod, another visual effects artist shared it on his page that people started to notice. Caleb says that after his friend shared his work he made a couple thousand dollars within a couple of days. From then he continued to build more packs, more merchandise, and build more industry-wide connections.
Inspired by television shows like Sonic, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto, Caleb’s mission became to create his own projects where he could insert himself into those same types of stories, where he could fly, punch walls, and become larger than life. These films take action to a new level and deliver an adrenaline rush that has kept Caleb Farrell wanting to learn more about how to create an impact in the digital world. “The storylines and the action are something that you don’t see in Western cartoons. That’s why it’s so captivating to people”, Caleb says of the anime and visual effects he saw as a kid. He continued to create new things consistently, and before he knew it, people and brands all over the country were reaching out to him for collaborations. Over the years, he’s worked with many of his creative idols including animator Funny Mike, Jaleel White, and Michael B. Jordan. The digital creative recalls his encounter with Jordan as one of the highlights of his career, and has since gone on to work with brands like Coach and Atlantic Records.
But his true passion and new focus is on making films. He wants to do more industry work that will take his career into another direction. He strongly believes that with working on films with bigger crews, better lighting, and more expensive cameras he will have a chance to show people just how much he can do creatively. “You can only do but so much with internet popularity”, Caleb says. In his short time working with big brands and celebrity clients he says he’s seen people with up to 8 million followers get turned down for contracts because they simply lacked the talent to back their online popularity. Caleb has used these lessons to keep him grounded and focused on the end game.
When asked about his future and the future of his industry, Caleb gave some very insightful gems.
SM: “As a young man having achieved the success you’ve had, what’s next for Caleb Farrell?”
CF: “Next for me is doing more industry stuff. I realize that you can only do so much with internet popularity. I’ve been to places in LA where they would turn down people with 8 million followers. It doesn’t matter what you have, it’s what you do. I’ve gotten into places where people with millions of followers have gotten rejected but I’m still there in that spot because of my talent.”
SM: “How do you find those free moments to break away and relax?”
CF: “If I’m not working on the next project or creating something for a client, I love going out with my team and my crew. But free time is very limited because I want to stay consistent. Even though I can take breaks, I don’t feel comfortable right now because I feel like I should be working. It’s like what Michael B. Jordan said. He said he didn’t feel comfortable until ‘Creed’ and ‘Black Panther’ hit – even though he had all of those other big movies – he felt like if he stopped then, he would fall off”.
SM: “Where do you see the next generation of young people like you who are striving to go into this industry?”
CF: “I definitely believe that it will be a lot easier. It’s really hard right now growing and doing what I’m doing because it’s not a big thing yet. A lot of content creators are doing videos but they’re not doing effects and making short films. But later on it will be easier because there’s already a place for it. I feel like this is the foundation of it really becoming a big thing. And my advice would be to never, ever give up. That’s always been my motto.”
Above all else, Caleb credits his success to the implementation of the 3 Cs: “consistency, creativity and collaboration”, a concept that he developed when he was still in high school. He explains why those three C’s are so important : “If you don’t have consistency, you won’t be able to grow. If you’re not being creative it’s not going to stand out And if you’re not collaborating then other people in those fields won’t be able to see you”. Insightful and powerful words from such a young business owner.
A conversation with Caleb Farrell leaves you feeling like it’s time to step up your game, but with a warm hug and encouraging words from your younger, cooler little brother. Check out his work online at www.wolfinity.com or on Instagram at @calebfarrell.