Okay, so by now you’ve probably heard that Phelan, Lindsay, Andrew, and I are the most recent folks to exit TGWTG/CA. If you haven’t, well, you have now. But I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it, so here’s a long post explaining what happened as far as I’m concerned.
(EDIT: Clarifying none of the exits outside of Phelan had anything to do with me, and even then Phelan and I had been planning on leaving for quite some time.)
(EDIT 2: I didn’t think this would be an issue, but let me also clear up who Mike is. Mike Michaud is CEO of Channel Awesome; Mike Jeavons is the video producer and has nothing to do with any of the events listed here.)
So was I fired? Well, yes and no. I was let go, but calling it being “fired” implies I worked for CA, and I did not. The only people with contracts/a payroll are those who work directly for them in Chicago. No producer has ever been paid by CA, and that includes the anniversaries. All profits from those, including the DVD sales, go directly to CA, and we were paid in “exposure” and “a free trip with our friends.” The only contracts we ever had to sign were for the anniversaries, mostly to sign over to them any crossovers we filmed (to pay for our trips there). So in actuality we were not on a “free trip” with our friends; we were working off our trip while also acting in a film we would have no profit from (the exception being commentaries, which we could keep). If we questioned this, we would be told we didn’t have to go and that was that. We did get a free copy of the movie for ourselves, if they remembered to send it to us. If you didn’t get a copy of To Boldly Flee, don’t worry, neither did I. One of Mike’s favorite things to tell us was how great it was that they hosted our stuff and never asked for a cut of our profits.
ANYWHO, my exit starts with the midrolls and Patreon. I’d been struggling for awhile to pay the bills, and ad revenue was down, and one of the things keeping me afloat was extra midrolls, which weren’t extremely popular. But I also had to do that to make barely enough to live, as this is my job. So while I’m in Chicago, Mike corners me while I’m alone and proceeds to tell me my midrolls are screwing everyone else by making people turn on adblock. It was very hostile, unprofessional, and uncomfortable. I told him I needed to do that to make enough money to live, he didn’t care (and also told me they left up comments about the midrolls as a hint to me, apparently), and it ended with me crying in a bathroom over how I was going to pay my bills. This was followed shortly after with a call from him and Doug mandating how many midrolls we were able to use, among other insulting things. Doug suggested I simply make more videos, like his TV show vlogs, because that was just his “work ethic.” I, of course, wouldn’t know about a work ethic. Mike was also unaware that I’d been posting on Sundays for 3 years, and implied that videos that weren’t OLPs didn’t count.
Anyway, I’m looking for alternative ways to make money, and Patreon is starting to do well for some folks. I decide why not? It wouldn’t hurt to try it out. So I start one up, and ask if Mike can put a link up to it under my next video. Mike and company do not know what Patreon is, and have not checked, because they’ve decided in their heads what it is. So he tells me I’m not allowed to promote it. I explain that it’s like an ongoing Kickstarter, and he tells me they won’t promote those either. This is despite them having already promoted Nerdquest stuff and their own Indiegogo, which you might remember was given $90,000 for something they have yet to produce.
(Side note: how many times does it take to film a game show pilot? As it turns out, at least 17, most with the same questions and guests. The other shows don’t even have a title, much less any start on production.)
Incidentally, the reason I don’t use as many midrolls now? Patreon. If they’d had their way, I’d still be broke, and people would still be using the same archaic system.
Rob then messages me and tells me adding Patreon to midrolls is a “slap to the face” and that their Indiegogo was “executive authority."
Suede had made a video about the pros and cons of Patreon, and they told him he could not post it on the site. We weren’t allowed to put up any links, and only after the news about Suede got out and they looked bad did they tell us we could do a promotion at the end of our videos. After many of us had filmed them, they randomly told us they could only be 30 seconds long. I don’t know why.
Fast forward to now, and I see that they’ve posted Brad’s Patreon video on the new site. I ask Mike why it’s okay now, and quote the previous conversation with Rob. He tells me there was no reason to bring that up again because they’d said it while they were "still on the fence” with Patreon (“slap to the face” = “on the fence”). I told him, yes, there was reason to bring it up, because they never told us any of that was okay now. About 50% of the site’s problems could be fixed by them simply telling us things. I told him they were being hypocrites and should apologize, he deflects me, and I told him they’re always making excuses why things aren’t their fault.
So he asks me if I have time for quick call. I tell him no.
2 hours later, I’m away from the computer and Mike creates a new convo with me, him, and Doug. He asks if I can talk now. I don’t answer because, again, I am away from the computer. He waits approximately 15 minutes, and then tells me because I’m ignoring them they’re taking my stuff off of the site and letting me go. My stuff is immediately removed, which, coincidentally, is the only thing they’ve updated since the new site has gone up. Keep in mind, when the Noah incident happened, they never let him go, they simply kept extending his suspension. I was never even put on suspension. And he got a nice farewell post!
(Edited to add that Mike has been known to stop contact for weeks at a time and, to think he’d be available within 15 minutes of any contact is laughable.)
They’re getting a lot of bad PR right now, which probably could be fixed if they hadn’t fired their PR person the day after her surgery.
The site has had many, MANY behind the scenes issues, and ANYONE who has said anything has been labeled a troublemaker. Also, anyone who has said anything is gone now. It is a site fueled by yes men and denial, and many broken promises. They’ve referred to the other producers as “children” on more than one occasion, which is as patronizing as it sounds. The site has ALWAYS been about Doug, and they don’t care about anyone else there.
But what does this mean for videos? Nothing, actually. Us former CA members are still making videos on our own sites, you can find me, Phelan, and Andrew on Phelous.com, Lindsay on Chez Apocalypse, and I encourage you to continue to support folks who have or will leave the site. The producers are still friends, we will still work together, and we still love what we do.
tldr; I was let go for being away from the computer for 15 minutes.
UPDATE: Relevant links, if you’d care to read the convos yourself:
It’s time I parted ways with Channel Awesome. This has been coming for a awhile. So it might not be a shock to some. The direction and attitude at CA changed after the filming of the 4th year anniversary movie, To Boldly Flee.
Now things weren’t always perfect before that, of course, but it really was the start of the team/group feeling at CA being lost. Once upon a time I used to watch almost everything on TGWTG. That was something that was actually kind of possible at one point. Now it’s gotten to the point there are so many people I don’t even know most of the names on there. That’s nothing against them, I’m sure there’s a lot of talented producers on there, but it’s more of a crowd than a team at this point. CA itself used to also make us feel remotely like we were part of team but post TBF it became clear the only goals were productions made in their studio with the Chicago crew. The company goals/focus for it’s other producers had changed. There had been quite a few things promised to us over the years including us actually being hired on by them at some point if we were consistent with our videos. Of course none of that was even close to happening. The main thing was I wasn’t a part of any of CA’s plans and it certainly doesn’t make sense for me to stay on as an appendix to the site.
While I don’t wish to be OVERLY negative about my departure I do want to be truthful and being part of CA just stopped being something I was happy about. And believe me I WAS happy about it before. I wanted to support the site before. I made that original CA bumper on my own just as a way to plug CA and give people something to show the group we were a part of, if they wanted to use it. I also did a lot of the more complicated effects for Suburban Knights for free, plus the amount of effects I had to do for that movie ended up pretty much doubling.
This leads to to another major problem I had with the company during the making of effects for the next movie, TBF. This time they promised me some pay, which was cool and there was no problem with that BUT after completion of an effects sequence I was accused of half assing it. Actually, accused sounds a bit more forthright than it actually was. They talked about it behind my back and decided to send Mat (Welshy) to covertly try and find out if I was “half assing” my effects for the film. Mat is an actual friend though so he wasn’t going to play that game and just told me flat out what was going on.
The exact effects sequence in question was where Noah has turned into the containment unit from Ghostbusters, they unplug him so there was a red light flashing, Noah’s eyes glow white, energy shoots out of his mouth and explodes through the roof.
Now if there was a problem with an effect last year on SK, Doug would simply ask me if I could make a change to it and I would. Apparently that was far too effective, so gossip and attempted covert information gathering was the way to go next year. By the way the response I got from Doug when I originally sent him these particular effects was “LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! …” I should have known there was a problem clearly. He would have said “love it” one more time if he was actually OK with it. Holly was the only one who actually apologized to me for the situation either. Any of them that actually started the high school BS drama about something that could have been as simple as asking me, didn’t. That was my thanks for doing so many effects for them last year for free.
They seemed grateful back when I did them but with CA it always seems to be what have you done for us lately. I really wish it didn’t start feeling like that but the sad fact is it did. I’d been with them since late 2008 and started realizing they didn’t really care about me or what I did. The sad fact was we weren’t really important to CA. It was my disenchantment with the site that partly lead to me going into a heavy depression during the beginning of 2013. You might have noticed I barely did anything during the 1st few months of that year. This was partly why.
There’s been many times other producers have had a hard time with management. Especially getting answers on anything. So much so we had several meetings with them to really try and get things fixed between us and them. It resulted in a monthly newsletter they didn’t send consistently and died a quick death. Then, they let Holly go. The one person that actually communicated with us regularly. Plus it was right after she got out of the hospital. Those things were pretty much the end of me wanting to remain a part of CA.
I had made the decision to leave all ready not planning to post to the site anymore in 2015 when Michaud had an argument with Allison and told her she was off the site for not being around to talk to him with in 15 minutes. It can take DAYS to get a response, if you get one at all, from them so yeah 15 minutes in return is pretty fair. I didn’t want there to be any drama crap going on with my departure but apparently I couldn’t even have that. I informed Rob of my decision to leave the site which he was cool about but I guess Mike wasn’t and my vids were removed immediately. 6 years on that site…
“I should make something pretty clear because there’s probably gonna be a rant in this. Just know that whenever I get like really emotional and waving my arms and stuff like that, I’m not lying and in some way I’m not playing it up either, I mean, I am a touch, but, it is my opinion but it’s not to be taken too seriously.”
Alrighty! Now that Blip is shutting down, us internet reviewer types have been posting where you can find our stuff, so I thought it’d be helpful to have a list of what folks have posted. I’ll update it as I get more links, so please send them my way if they aren’t here!
What's all this about sass and a contest? I feel like I missed something D:
Channel Awesome is running a “contest” for their latest DVD cover art. The winner gets $100, a link on the DVD case, something for their portfolio, and that always fantastic promise of “exposure.” Yes, portfolios, meaning they’re asking professional artists to make some art for free in the vain hope of having Channel Awesome make a profit off their work on their DVD. Keep in mind, only the winner gets paid.
Keep in mind, Doug mentions they’re looking for Drew Struzan style artwork, otherwise known as the painter guy who’s done all the iconic posters of your childhood (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, etc). For the chance at $100 and exposure. Because lord knows if you’ve got that kind of talent you need Channel Awesome for exposure.
Also they offer no reference photos, Doug just said “there’s pics of us on the internet, google it, lol”
I don’t like GamerGate. That’s pretty clear by now. But the most recent manufactroversy pisses me off so damn much.
For those unaware, Todd in the Shadows spoke out against people using the GamerGate hashtag with JewWario’s hat on their Twitter icons, since it goes against what JewWario stood for. The TGWTG crew have been fairly close to each other, and it’s safe to assume that Todd would know JewWario better than anyone in GamerGate and what he would and wouldn’t support.
If you did not know a dead person, then you do not get to tell those who did know them not to speak on their behalf. Only the ones who had close relationships with the deceased have the authority to speak for them.
By deliberately misinterpreting Todd’s act of concern for a friend’s memory, you are doing the exact same thing that you are accusing him of. You are turning him into a weapon to use against “anti-GamerGate”, because unlike Todd you are only pretending to care about him. You are only pretending that you have any authority to speak out on JewWario’s behalf.
What GamerGate is doing is incredibly disrespectful, and I will not tolerate any of it. If you think that it’s in any way acceptable to tell Todd that he has no right to speak on the behalf of someone he knew lightyears better than you did, then I have no reason to respect anything you have to say afterwards.
He showed me it was okay and cool for a dude to identify as a feminist, and that comics weren’t for babies, and what it meant to be a nerd, and that you could be christian and totally approve lgbtqa etc people/relationships, and changed my mind about superman.
He is my favorite reviewer, and honestly a really good person. He has had a good impact on who I am and I hope he never stops being this awesome.