Sneak Peeks: Fat Head Kids, The Movie

That sound coming from my office is me taking a deep, relaxing breath. For nearly two years, much of my evening and weekend time has been devoted to the Fat Head Kids film. Now it’s done. Well, okay, there might be a tweak or two when we get feedback from our distributor. We’ll also have to cut a trailer, produce some poster art, etc. But the big job is done.

Like the book, the film is presented in chapters. I’ve uploaded chapters two and four to YouTube as sneak peeks. As you know if you’ve read the book, Chapter One explains why getting fat isn’t about your character. Chapter Two goes on to explain that getting fat is about chemistry. That’s the chapter where we introduce The Nautilus, the biological spaceship that serves as our analogy for the human body:

In Chapter Four, we explain how the ship’s fuel system works. Later chapters explain how a bad diet causes that system to go haywire:

The brief opening credits aren’t actually part of those chapters, by the way. I added them to the YouTube videos just to make sure anyone who sees them embedded elsewhere knows they’re part of the Fat Head Kids film. Some of my Fat Head clips ended up embedded in blogs with no attribution or link to the film.

Man, this film was a ton of work. When I made Fat Head, I paid other people to create the animations, compose the music, mix and master the music, record and mix the soundtrack, and color-correct the video to broadcast standards. It was a huge financial investment … and then the first two distributors never paid us.  You’ve likely heard that story, so I won’t repeat it except to say I had no intention of ever making another film.

We have an honest distributor now, but because of my experience with Fat Head, I nonetheless didn’t want to be in a position where I need to sell 20,000 units or whatever just to break even financially. So we decided to do all the work ourselves this time.

For each of the animated sequences (more than 400 of them), Chareva and I kicked around ideas and created a thumbnail storyboard.  Then she drew the necessary cartoon characters, props and environments — most of them by hand before scanning them into Adobe Illustrator to vectorize and color them. Then I composed the animations in After Effects — after learning how to use the software, of course.

I recorded and edited my narration and all the character voices (most of which were performed by my talented relatives) in Adobe Audition. I composed and recorded the music, which required learning how to mix and master music in Logic Pro. And of course, I edited the whole film together in Premiere before adding sound effects and mixing the final soundtrack.

Like I said, it was a ton of work. We may have to sell 20,000 units or whatever to earn the equivalent of minimum wage, but knowing I won’t have post-production debt to pay off is quite comforting.

Those of you coming aboard this year’s low-carb cruise will see the entire film on Monday night. After that, I plan to spend much of the cruise catching up on sleep. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see me at the breakfast buffet.


32 thoughts on “Sneak Peeks: Fat Head Kids, The Movie

  1. Dan VanDeRiet

    Congratulations on finishing the movie–that looks like a ton of work and the two clips look really well done.

    Something I’ve wondered since reading the book, and that I was reminded about in the chapter 4 clip, is the statement that the brain has to have sugar for energy, when it can get most of its energy from ketones. I know you didn’t want to take this too far in depth since the target audience is kids, but it seems like there could have been a way to modify that statement without going too far in depth.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’m not sure what the upper limit is for how much the brain can use ketones in place of glucose. I’ve read figures suggesting maybe 50% of total energy, although some people claim 75%. Either way, we know it isn’t 100%. If your blood sugar drops below a certain level, you will pass out, ketogenic diet or not.

      We chose not to push the ketogenic angle for a book and film intended to convince kids to cut the processed carbs and eat real foods. I don’t measure ketones and we don’t aim to keep our girls or ourselves on ketogenic diets; we keep them on real food diets, which automatically means lower in carbs, which probably also means they slip into ketosis now and then.

      1. Bob Niland

        Whether the brain’s max ketones is 50%, 75%, or the 60% I’ve seen, the fact is that some extreme diet trials included extended periods with zero carb intake. Presumably gluconeogenesis of protein, or even fat, provided the brain glucose requirement. But sure, shift suddenly from a USDA MyPlateOfMetabolicSyndrome diet to a ZeroCarb diet, and BG could get seriously disregulated (I don’t advocate ZC, by the way).

        On the movie, what formats are planned?
        . streaming from PPV hosts like Amazon, Netflix, etc?
        . standard def on DVD?
        . high def on Blu-Ray?
        . 4K on UHD with HDR?
        . 3D?

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Sure, but gluconeogenesis kicks in because of exactly what Dr. Fishbones says in the film: the brain absolutely, positively requires a steady supply of glucose.

          The initial plan according to Gravitas would be to make the film available as DVD and digital rent or buy via download for some months, then go to the streaming platforms.

          1. Firebird7478

            I see a lot of Gravitas films on Hulu, which is where I discovered “Fat Head”. Hopefully “Fat Head Kids” will be available there soon.

          2. chris c

            My understanding is that many neurons are too thin to contain mitochondria and it is those (not only in the brain) that require glucose. The glucose needn’t come from carbs, which is obvious to everyone except dieticians.

            1. chris c

              Indeed. The light went on for me when I read that there is effectively only one hormone that reduces blood glucose (insulin) but a whole bunch of them that increase it, so we obviously evolved in an environment where carbs were relatively scarce. Gluconeogenesis seldom causes hyperglycemia, unlike Holy Health Grains, we produce as much glucose as we require and no more. You’d think important people might have noticed this kind of thing, but they remain impervious.

  2. Kathy in OK

    Now that’s a labor of love! And the timing – the film is “in the can”*, your shoulder is healed – couldn’t be better. You can go on the cruise and return to full on farm work!

    *Isn’t that the term they used back in the day, when there was film and a round flat can to store it?

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Coming back to full-on farm work is exactly the plan. I recently spent a Sunday afternoon tilling an area Chareva wants to convert into a garden. Man, it felt good to work hard again.

      1. Walter

        Ah, the resistance to exercise in the general population is due to malnutrition mainly. A healthy person *wants* to exercise. In fact can hardly keep from exercising.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Yeah, I fixed it in the book, but not the voice-over. I tried to cut in an extra “plus,” and it sounded unnatural and jarring, like an obvious cut and paste. Maybe I’ll try cutting in “sharp.”

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I may have tried that. It will depend on how the intonation sounds. We say words differently when we’re finishing a sentence. I may have to just say “C++” into the microphone again and hope I can find the right combination of reverb, EQ, etc. so that it doesn’t sound punched in.

      1. Dianne

        No, thank YOU. You aren’t going to get rich from any of this, and I doubt if you are even making minimum wage considering all the work you put into your books, films and blog, but you are helping a lot of people including me. I could never pull all of this information together, let alone make sense of it, but you do it for me. You’ve also made me a lot more skeptical of the “studies” that crop up in the media all the time. Right now I’m researching cause and prevention of kidney stones, having just gone through surgery for same, and many of the sites I’ve visited blame animal protein, especially red meat, though eggs and seafood come in for their share of the blame. Some sites also recommend low-fat diets. I’m not taking them too seriously — after all, meat and fat get blamed for everything from ingrown toenails to brain cancer. But there was a time when I’d have taken every word as gospel.

          1. Firebird7478

            Some people can put a price tag on that. Some cannot. I think the ones who cannot are the ones who end up being more revered.

            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              Well, it’s like this: I get rich from one of my projects, I won’t complain. But I’ll keep doing them anyway.

  3. KidPsych

    In case you missed this – it was posted on Mark’s Daily Apple:

    FTL: Probably the most vegan item you can buy in the supermarket is a pound of grass-fed beef.

    I was thinking about that heretical idea as I drove through my neighboring countryside, scanning empty cornfields for signs of life and wondering at the hubris of mankind. When did we decide that we can own all the lands of the Earth and use every square inch of it for our own needs? About 10,000 years ago, actually, when we invented the idea of agriculture.

  4. Randal L. Schwartz

    Well, here’s *one* guy whose life you saved with your wonderful movie. Thank you for that! And I’ve been buying copies of the Fat Head Kids book to hand out to my skeptical friends.

  5. Walter

    Guerrilla marketing vice the good doctor from Harvard’s gorilla marketing.

    (Sorry can’t resit a setup like that.)

  6. Denny

    Awesome continuation sir my wife and I are me to and are working to get our kids into a more paleo style diet
    Would you please let us know when you have a release date and format we are looking forward to watching it with our kids


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