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Reckoning

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(ADHD Version at the bottom)

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Hey people, I've got another update which you may or may not care about, but it will affect production for a little while. Some of you probably saw this coming, but I've recently made the decision to leave Machinima.com as an employee. I'll still be working with Machinima, but on a different view-based contract, which will pay substantially less, but I won't have the same kind of deadlines I've had lately.

 

The reason for me leaving is pretty simple. I was getting less done on the stuff I wanted to work on, and I found it much more stressful than working independently. I was working 7 days a week for months, (about 70-80 hours a week in October, 50-60 hours a week in November) and I was either just barely making deadlines, or falling behind on all fronts. Also it led to me having basically no free time, and I had to neglect everything else; exercise, basic household maintenance, recreation, time to research new technology for future episodes, etc. What's worse is that I felt like some of the projects might be at risk. "The Tunnel" trailer was a perfect example of this because it was rushed out the door without sound effects or the right music, simply because I needed more time. Working indepedently, there would be less Freeman's Mind episodes out now, but I think the entire episode of The Tunnel would have been completed before Halloween. As it stands now, it probably won't be until at least January (I may have a different surprise video for December though). I felt like my only choices when producing content was to either lower the quality standards dramatically so I wouldn't have to spend as much time on it, or else to put in more hours to try and keep up. I obviously went with the latter option and it still wasn't enough in most cases.

 

I think pretty much all of this came from a misunderstanding about how much work some of the episodes required and my goals v. Machinima's. I got along with everyone at the company and don't think there was ever any negative intent. They never asked me to work those long hours, it was just the only way I was able to try and meet the deadlines. I think the whole situation was simply Machinima being used to producing content faster than what I'm able to keep up with, plus I've never been terribly good at time estimates. I've noticed in past comments, that some people seem to demonize the company, but you should remember that I accepted this job with some idea of what it would entail, plus I was doing all this on a salary, so it was their money being spent producing content. While I took that very seriously, it's also the main reason I'm leaving, so I can afford to spend extra time on the videos if I have to.

 

Some of you may think I'm insane leaving, and maybe I am, but it's simply a matter of values. My new income will likely put me slightly above the official poverty level, so I may have to find some part-time work to balance things out. While I absolutely care about having enough money to support myself, my main motivation with the videos is making something I'm satisfied with. Some videos that I make I really don't mind cutting corners on (Freeman's Mind falls into this category). Others, primarily ones that haven't even been produced yet, I care about extremely and wouldn't want to rush or sacrifice anything that wasn't absolutely necessary. Although I want to clarify that statement a bit since it's misleading. I do feel some aspects of a good production shouldn't be rushed, like writing, editing, voice acting etc., my view on that will likely never change. However, working with the Source engine can be horrendously inefficient for some aspects of production and I'm constantly on the lookout for better ways of doing things. So while I do like to take my time, I also feel some things could be done faster and I sympathize completely with the frustration some of you feel with how long it takes for some of the videos to come out.

 

On that note, things are likely to be delayed until 2010 because I'll probably be moving back to Virginia and try to find a cheap house to rent where I can make a lot of noise, so I can record any time I need to. I have a lot of things I've been wanting to research technology-wise and I'm pretty confident there will be an increase in videos for the next year. For Freeman's Mind, while there will be a lull period, I can see myself doing another "marathon month" at some point in the future and promise to make many more episodes. I may alternate between that and other projects. For people who don't care about my other projects and just want more Freeman's Mind episodes, that's fine, but realize that if I were to sacrifice anything, FM would be first in line; so just be glad I'm alternating and not killing off anything.

 

In the meantime, I'll be trying to catch up on a million things (I'm months behind on the subtitles), and continuing work on Civil Protection.

 

 

 

EDIT:

 

I decided this post must be pretty wordy for some of the Youtube people, so here's the ADHD version!

 

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Good call. It sounded like they were running you ragged.

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It all comes around, man. Good luck with the move.. good luck with life in general.

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damn, that is some story. But I think machinima has a good point of deadlines. Because yourself say that producing the way you do doesn't make enough money.

 

I do respect your quality demands and if any great artist rushed there work they wouldn't be great.

So I really hope you get some small jobs to get your more money. (maybe some scientist job in a underground base)

Good luck!

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Fair enough, mate.

Best of luck with that decision.

I think everyone will be on the lookout for new jobs for you.

And hey, if push comes to shove we'll have a fundraiser for you

Cheers

Crux

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Never sacrafice quality for the sake of time. I don't mind how long it takes to push out series, as long as they have your full effort in them. and again, congratz on leaving, hope you get a good job.

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I applaud your (courageous) decision to *not* ruin your health by drowning it in stress hormones, and am looking forward to the coming videos. And I'll gladly accept fewer FM episodes, if it comes with a return to the style of the early (non-rushed) episodes. Take your time, we'd rather have quality than quantity (or a quitting video producer).

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I think you made the right decision here. By the sound of it, you didn't seem to enjoy working full time for Machinima. I would preferr quality over speed, so I'm glad you decided to take your time and make sure everything comes out perfectly.

 

Good luck.

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Sounds like my old job Anyway this is probably for the best. I always thouht that machinima was just using you, because you, alone, created two shows that hundreds of thousands watch (in my country that is a sucess, but for a large tv station) and they provided you with just some money while moving your life to LA. This will be much better, and if you ever choose to make some serious bucks of your work then you may find a much better sponsor - you just need to look outside the world of machinima. Best of luck.

- Lucas

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I don't think you made the best decision here. Let's face it, you got payed to do what you were basically going to do anyway, without making a dime. The difference is time restraints, deadlines, busy weeks, I think you could have come to a new agreement with the company, FM is a wildly popular series, and most people bow to whatever it is you produce anyway, so I doubt Machinima would of hassled you too much.

 

It seems like you're putting yourself into a tough situation, moving, less pay, and this time of year can be especially stressful. I think you would have been better off just relaxing a few days, instead of making a decision in the heat of it all.

 

I'll tell ya, I don't know what you were thinking with documenting the entire HL1 series, big job, popular series, and just so much more to do, even now. That's a hell of an obligation not to mention people will be begging for the HL2 series. Honestly, the FM is like a filler to some of your work like Civil Protection, when a nice CP episode comes out, its very entertaining, FM is very entertaining too but of course it's less cinematic, and a bit more like stand up comedy, it's the jokes that make it great.

 

I think if you're going to continue this machinima stuff, don't stress FM so much, I think your talent lies in other places too, you shine best when you use your imagination but FM kind of restricts you to an extent. If I were you I wouldn't even think of FM for a few weeks, get it out of your head, the damn series musta been your life for months take it easy breathe. If you're going to do more of this come back with fresh stuff. Keep it organic and fresh.

 

That's my 0.02

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Anonymous at 01:52:15: Well this wasn't a spur of the moment decision. It was quite gradual actually, I more or less made up my mind back in October. All the recent FM episodes were as a good faith gesture to Machinima since they wanted to get a lot out before I left. Besides you said it yourself: You think I shouldn't stress over FM episodes and should focus on my more cinematic stuff. I agree, but I can't make that decision as a salaried employee, but can working independently.

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I think whatever decision you made, you made for yourself, and for the sake of the videos and what you love to do. Let's face it you aren't pumping out MW2 top 10's or horrid halo 3 machinima. Your machinima is the only machinima I watch. I love freeman's mind it reminds me of how much I love half-life. And as we can all clearly see in the videos these series you do take time and if these videos become more of a "job" than a hobby that brings in some extra income you would hate it. Overall YOU decide what happens because YOU make the videos...

 

Good luck man, I hope everything works out.

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I support you Ross, I'm having issues myself at the moment concerning going with my passions or having more money, so I don't think you're crazy for your choice =) I'd do the same.

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Best of luck for your move back to Virginia and hope your problems clear up soon

 

and nice pics

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LOL on the ADHD version, I might even steal it !

 

Gutsy move Ross, I don't know if I'd be so brave in these times, hat tip to you.

 

I'm sorry to hear that Machinima couldn't give you some slack, or perhaps a (cheap) assistant/volunteer to help you do the stuff you have to do, leaving you some time off for the stuff you *want* to do (like eating, sleeping etc.)

 

Good luck with your move, and THANKS for putting quality before quanitity, even if it means quitting your job (!)

Hey, if you like, we could start harassing Pixar or LucasArts with an online petition to hire you...!

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Thanks for posting the ADHD version. It helps even after I read the entire newspost. Also, congrats on having the determination to be willing to sacrifice pay in return for being able to do your own thing. That requires more cojones than most people have.

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I disagree with cutting Freeman's mind. You have come way too far with that one, and I will be very disappointed if that one gets cut.

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Seems like a wise choice. Well-intentioned though they may have been, it seems Machinima's expectations were a little unfair, especially since you're mostly working alone on these projects. A lot of their employees have an entire team to help them out, and they do the "easy" (multiplayer) kind of machinima too. So perhaps the Machinima guys had the wrong idea.

 

Also, moving from Virginia to LA and then back again after three months can't be fun. I wish you luck with that.

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