(ADHD Version at the bottom)
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.
I decided this post must be pretty wordy for some of the Youtube people, so here’s the ADHD version!