Monty Oum was my friend and I am so fortunate to be able to say that.
Those who don’t know Monty don’t understand how hard working he was. He was superhuman in his ability. His keyboard was missing keys because his hands moved so fast, the unused keys would literally get in the way and waste his time with accidental presses. I would hear anecdote after anecdote about how dedicated he was to saving time, down to even a couple seconds.
I remember when he first pitched his idea for RWBY to me, all I could think was, “this is so ambitious, this would take forever and take so many resources to accomplish.” Then two years later, he pitched me how he was going to pull it off, and I said “wow, this is a great idea, but it’s so ambitious.”
Then I would tell him my goals, and my creative vision, and he would just tell me, “you can do it. You can pull that off, what are you afraid of? If it’s not good, whatever, at least you MADE something.” Not a single shred of doubt, just blunt but warm encouragement.
Years down the line, while he was neck deep in season 2 of his ambitious project I thought could never be pulled off, he’s greeting me with a hug and asking me about my project I told him about years ago that I haven’t even considered to start on. And he’s asking about the characters by name and moments in the story he remembered after all this time. He wasn’t just a machine obsessed with his work, he cared. He cared about me and my ideas.
So, here was a guy who didn’t want to waste any time that could be spent working. Here’s a guy who bit off way more than he could chew, and chewed it to a fucking pulp. And here he was dedicating this very specific time and space in his life for me and my ideas. It spoke volumes about the kind of guy he was, and what kind of values he had.
I feel like, when people pass, we talk a lot about what was great about them with lavish praise. The truth is, I wish I could have told him these things right to his face. I wish I could have told him how much, even in the little time we’ve spent together, that he changed my life and my outlook on work and creativity, on being a good person and a good friend. I think it’s true that most people don’t really examine that sort of thing until it’s too late, but I would give up a whole lot just to let him know how I felt about him, and then hear him say something like “that’s great to hear, but what are you wasting your time telling me this for? Get back to work!”
If you’re an artist and you’re struggling with the thought that you’re not good enough to pull off what you want, don’t wait. Just do it. Do it now. Make time for it. Nobody cares that you got 8 hours of sleep instead of 6 when you’re gone. Nobody cares that you kept up to date on your Facebook feed every day when you’re gone. What transcends you is your work and the impression you left behind. I met so many people this past weekend who wept for Monty because of what he meant to them, and every single one shared what an inspiration he was for them. He was taken way too early, but I don’t feel like he would have any regrets about the things he has or hasn’t accomplished. That was how he lived his life. He didn’t wait for the next day to get something done, and he didn’t wait until it was the right moment let someone know he cared. He just did it.
He always said that following his resolve would guarantee success, and following his resolve is exactly how I hope to honor him.
//For the love of all that is holy do not sit there and bitch about how “Monty would have made this better” or “This isn’t what Monty would have wanted”
Do not shame the effort his friends and coworkers are putting into the show. Do not pull him into your shit argument because bless his soul and may he rest in peace he doesn’t need to be used as an argument for your piss baby comments.
Monty Don, an English TV presenter and writer on horticulture (perhaps best known for presenting the BBC television series Gardener’s World) once wrote something for The Guardian on “dirty dressing.” That is, how to dress when one needs to get some gardening done. Lots of rules are laid out here, including the things one must wear (high waisted trousers and leather boots) and sartorial no-nos (shorts and baseball caps … though, we disagree with his sentiments on the second). For me, as a guy who doesn’t garden, the best part is reading the opinion of a man who feels strongly about clothes. A long excerpt:
Over the past 30-odd years I have evolved certain rules about my wardrobe. Never wear jeans. They are absurd items of clothing - cold in winter, hot in summer, slow to dry once wet and chafe in places where chafing is not required. I have not possessed a pair for at least 20 years.
Never wear tight trousers. Always buy trousers at least one waist size too big, make sure that the pockets are big enough to comfortably hold penknife, hanky, string, phone, pencil, labels and perhaps a mint or two. The pocket thing is a matter of fine tuning. Too deep and you are rummaging around up to your elbow in them. But I have big hands and if they are too small you cannot find the knife/hanky/label and extract it without causing uncomfortable restrictions or having to let go of the object in order to extract your hand.
Lots of professional gardeners wear shorts all summer, but they always strike me as hopelessly impractical. If I am honest I also feel that, having been bought up in an age when small boys were forced to wear shorts, long trousers are a privilege that I still cling to and shorts are for sports.
Belts are needed to attach your secateurs’ holster to, to support your back when digging and to stop the size-too-large trousers ending up around your ankles when reaching up to prune the apples. Regard your belt as a piece of gardening kit and buy a really good quality, thick leather belt made by a British leather worker. It should mean business. Braces are much more comfy - especially with high-rise trousers - and I wear them most of the time.
If you are not familiar with their joys, highrise trousers are fantastically comfortable and keep your lower back warm. My children still squirm with embarrassment every time they see me in them (which is most days) but that is probably some kind of seal of approval. If you are uncertain about the required cut, check out photographs of agricultural labourers in summer (ie jacketless) circa 1880-1914. The only two fabrics I use for trousers are corduroy and cotton drill. I have two weights of the latter in identical cuts, very heavy and light. Twice as many heavy as light. You have to accept that gardening trousers get wet, muddy and stained, so need washing a lot. If they are ‘good’ they will be much loved and probably expensive, so must last the wear and tear outdoors and in the washing machine. Anyway, good trousers only start to feel right after a year or so.
Wear thick socks summer and winter, if possible of pure cotton or wool. Gardening in light shoes is a joy, but a rare one. I have a pair of handmade leather boots that I use for all digging and heavy work. These cost as much as a holiday for two in the Bahamas but were worth every penny and much preferable to a holiday. I can dig all day in them without any discomfort and they are wholly waterproof. Get a good pair of wear one as a vest in winter. Shirts are the thing. I like pull-on ones that button down to the chest. Get them big with lots of room under the armpit and long enough to cover your bum. Check that the cuffs are wide enough to easily roll up above the elbow. Cotton drill is best. A chest pocket is useful, too. It goes without saying that no gardening shirt (and no other item of clothing of mine) ever sees an iron.
A tweed jacket is really good and I have a number of old ripped ones I often wear at home. They are thornproof, warm, showerproof and have pockets. They won’t let me wear them on telly because they say it looks too patrician. I have yet to work out if that is patronising or right, but I meekly demur. I like waistcoats either waterproof or leather. The latter is by far the best thing for keeping a cold wind at bay and for protecting you from thorns. A waterproof waistcoat with pockets is ideal if it is merely damp. If it is too wet for that to be sufficient protection it is probably too wet to garden sensibly outside. Fleeces are ubiquitous and inevitable, but I wear them surprisingly little nowadays. They are best as an underlayer when it is wet. On the whole I prefer a good jersey. Cashmere is the ideal inner layer when it is really cold and you can pick them up amazingly cheaply nowadays. A thicker roll-neck jersey makes a good outer layer.
I don’t like hats very much. I have no desire to shelter from the British sun and it is rarely cold enough to need headgear. But I especially loathe baseball caps. Not only are they useless but a symbol of a kind of Disneyfied decadence. A wide-brimmed hat is much more effective and keeps the sun and rain off better. Tweed flat caps are good, but distinctly agricultural. I have a Soviet military hat that I bought off a soldier in Berlin. It is great for pruning the more viciously thorned roses.
I believe that nature can heal our social problems as well as our physical and mental ones.
I am certain that a society without respect for the natural world, the food it produces or the detail and ritual of the landscape is horribly impoverished. In my experience, when it comes to grounding, the earth is as a good a place as any to start.
Don’t feel stupid for being sad about someone who died that you never met. It’s okay to be sad. Monty was an integral part of Rooster Teeth and you are allowed to grieve over his loss. You’re allowed to grieve for his friends and family members who are now trying to cope with him being gone. Never be ashamed of your feelings.
To Monty, we love you. I know you’re drinking coffee and ripping keys that you find useless off another keyboard out there. I’m sure of it.
To RT, I’m sorry. I know you guys are trying to make sure that we, the fans, are okay through all of this, but we want you all to be okay, too. We’re standing by your side 100%.
To everyone else, I’m holding your hand through all of this. Just let me know if you need something.
It’s difficult to find words worthy of Monty Oum. They probably don’t exist, in fact. Maybe in German, where they have words for emotions other languages don’t know how to describe. That’s what I feel when I
think about the profound impact knowing Monty has had on me: feelings
i used to think bellamy was really attracted to clarke but this episode made me realize he’s isso in love with her and he doesn’t even know it, it’s crazy. he just knows that he cares about her and of course he cares about all of his friends but this is like a whole different level. we haven’t seen him so scared about losing someone in the past, he could only act like this for octavia. but he has never seen clarke as a sister or something like that. this is different. and there’s a breaking point on this episode:i can’t lose clarke. everyone goes like ??? because he doesn’t show this kind of desperate emotions very often. he can’t believe he just said that, he can’t believe that just came out of his mouth. so he goes like we can’t lose her and looks at monty like “please don’t ask me about that because i don’t even know where the hell that came from i just need to find her and make sure she’s okay”. that moment meant so much to me, bellamy’s exposing these feelings for clarke for the first time. he cares. he cares more than what he can even understand.