Sunday, February 15, 2015

The MovieBob Post-Escapist FAQ (UPDATED with Patreon info!)

UPDATE: Right up top, here's the link to the Brand New MOVIEBOB PATREON!

So. Now that I've got myself some breathing room and some time, I thought I'd draft up a more comprehensive FAQ to answer your questions re: What's going on with me after Friday's sudden departure from The Escapist. Obviously, I can only answer questions that are mine too answer, so if you're looking for industry gossip... sorry, not here.


Why did you leave so suddenly?

Short answer: It wasn't really all that sudden. Again, I'm not here to talk about insider business stuff, but suffice it to say if you follow gaming websites you've likely noticed a lot of closures and consolidations among older magazine-style outlets along with an exodus of original content-producers to YouTube etc happening over the last few years so... draw your own conclusions.

As far as this pertains to me, I've been in the process of setting up new venues for my content (and new content as well) for awhile now, as you've seen with the impending end and reworking of the Game OverThinker franchise; and if you were to conclude based on that that I've been preparing for the possibility of this eventuality... well, like I said, draw your own conclusions.

So this wasn't a surprise?

The timing and completeness of it was, yes. Again, can't discuss internal business stuff, but my assumption had always been that if I were ever to need to transition away from my now-former outlet it would be a gradual thing - perhaps a reduction over time in overall workload.

To have it end all at once, after such a long partnership, was a shock to the system, deeply disappointing and (while the parting was indeed entirely amicable) has left me very shaken and terribly sad - I don't handle change very well, and earlier today I was having a conversation where the subject of movie screenings happening this week came up, and it took a moment for it to occur to me that I had no reason to care what the big movie for this weekend was going to be because there'd be no Escape to The Movies on Friday or ever again... and I don't mind telling you it was a mildly devastating moment to have creep up on me.

So that's it - no more MovieBob content at The Escapist?

Pretty much. There is (I believe) one more written column that was finished in advance that is yet to be published, but I have no idea if they intend to or not. But beyond that? Yes, this is the end: There will be no new Big Picture on Tuesday, no Agent Carter recap on Wednesday, no Escape to the Movies or Intermission on Friday, etc.

I don't know what happens to the backlog of episodes they already have, both on the site and on YouTube. I produced that content under contract, they own it, they can do what they wish with it.

Are you done with criticism?


Can you elaborate on that?


I am a film critic. That's my primary trade right now, what I've made my name in, and while it's not my ultimate life/career goal it's what I have right now and what I intend to keep doing. I also intend to keep writing, talking about news, blogging, making videos and everything else I did before.

Where can we find your reviews now?

Like I said before, I've been making moves toward expanding my number of outlets since before exiting The Escapist was ever a real concern, so it's possible you'll see me in a new regular spot on the web sooner than later. However, I have no intention of being married to only one outlet going forward and nothing is yet set in stone, so for now if I have reviews/opinions I'm burning to write you will likely find them posted directly to this blog. Video work, on the other hand...

Will Escape to The Movies be on YouTube now?

...sort of, probably. Here's the skinny: As the title implies, The Escapist owns the name and all the audio/visual regular pieces of Escape to The Movies. So if I wanted to put movie reviews in video form on YouTube, I can... they just won't use that title, those art-assets, etc. But the overall effect will likely be very similar in terms of content.

What about The Big Picture?

That one is a little trickier.

The thing about Big Picture was that it's "hook" was, "Here's what our opinionated movie-critic has to say about anything else he wants to talk about," so without a website to be a regular on or a fixed presence to be a side-dish to, it basically becomes a vlog (especially since The Escapist owns all of those art/assets, too.)

In other words, while I can near-guarantee that you'll see Big Picture-esque work from me in the near future, it will probably NOT be in the form of single regular weekly series. Rest assured, however, that I'm very much attached to some of BP's semi-regular features like "_____! Are! Weird" and "Schlocktober," and so long as I'm able I want to do more stuff like that I will (though the titles may end up being different - stay tuned on that front.)

Are you in financial trouble now?

Only in the sense that it is better to be employed than unemployed (though, believe it or not, I was always technically a freelancer for The Escapist - never a full employee). But no, I'm not going broke or falling apart here.

That having been said, if you're a fan whose ever felt compelled to hit up the PayPal Tip Jar on the righthand side of the blog or to buy a copy of Brick-By-Brick and haven't done so yet? Now would be a very good time, yes :)

Will there be a MovieBob Patreon?

Yes, and it's right here!

Admit it: The Escapist fired you over #GamerGate - right?

...Not that I know of? :)

In all seriousness, NO - I do not know or believe that to be the case and (without discussing things that are not for public discussion re: employment and contracts and such) have it on good authority that it is NOT the case. I'm aware that because of various things that went on at The Escapist when the GamerGate disaster was at it's initial peak it's perceived as being a "pro-GG" site in some quarters. As a freelancer, I really had no input into that and limited knowledge of upper-level business matters, but at best I would call that characterization incorrect and at worst very unfair.

Well, either way I'm upset that they let you go. Should I not go there anymore?

I don't want anyone to do that, and I cannot stress that point enough.

I've been retweeting a lot of well-wishers on Twitter whose wishes have included their opinion that The Escapist is no longer worth visiting or that they'll actively avoid patronizing the site because of my absence. I've done so because I appreciate the sentiment, because I want potential future employers to see the passion and dedication of the fanbase I can bring to them and - YES - because I happen to be both a little-bit pissed off and A LOT immature. Oh well.

But as I said on Twitter, I do not want (nor do I expect) any plurality of my fans to try to "punish" my now-former outlet. That's not only silly (if they were desperate not to lose a single one of my viewers, I'd still be working there) it potentially hurts a lot of good people. I'm touched that you'd leave a site just for me, but there are a lot of good people and content on The Escapist still (Critical Miss, LRR's Unskippable, Critical Intel, No Right Answer, etc) which very much need and deserve your traffic.

So as much as I appreciate the sentiment (and will continue to share it around on social media etc) please do not stop visiting a site (or start using adblock) as some kind of gesture to me. Seriously.

I know this great site you should totally try and move your content to - what can I do to help make that happen?

Tell me about it in the comments to this blog. Also, if you know an outlet is looking for people, by all means talk me up to them - every little bit helps ;)

I run a site and we'd like to talk to you about working with us. How do we get in touch with you? - just to save some time, while I'm eager to hear from anyone in the business, right now I'm not in a position to entertain any "for exposure" offers. However, if you represent any conventions, public forums, podcasts etc and are looking for a speaker, guest, panelist, etc? Let's talk, regardless of what the arrangements might look like.

Are you just putting on a brave face? Will this really just turn out to be the end, and you'll be bagging groceries at Star Market in a month?

I guess we'll find out together. It's a shitty economy and a rough industry, and I frankly don't know anyone in it who's making what their worth for the work they put in from my perspective. I'm under no illusions that it won't be a rough go for awhile, or that I'm not unlikely to find similar security right away.

But I got where I am by working hard, cultivating a loyal fanbase, putting out content that I'm proud of and making an effort to adapt and survive in an ever-changing media landscape. It's not lost on me that my absence leaves a big hole in The Escapist's schedule and thus in the daily viewing of many people, nor that as I type this I'm getting well-wishes on Twitter from South America, Asia, the Middle-East, Europe, Australia - fans all over the world; and I keep in mind amid this that I got to this point starting from being picked up as a near-nobody posting videos to YouTube for kicks. If I can get to this point from there, there's no limit to where I can get to next.

And I'll be more than happy to have you all come along :)