Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm nothing but a number, here we are all the same

I did not know goats could smile.

Okay, as promised, the part-by-part roundup! (To date.)

Part I: Wherein you, the faithful readers, read along on the conflict between the Escapist and Extra Credits.
Part II: A couple positive, and several negative, responses to the conflict.
Part III: Ads, scary mesh constructs, and who (so far) has come forward on not getting paid for work done by the Escapist.
Part IV: More on the controversy, along with both the Yahtzee bring-him-to-PAX debacle, and also Yahtzee's bone-deep loathing for Joss Whedon.
Part V: Sex elves and fan rage.
Part VI: The death of Hellboy, strange fan art, hunts in Second Life, weird Disney projects and more fan rage.
Part VII: More from the JIRA That Will Never Die, and more fan rage (along with some direct responses from the actual participants).
Part VIII: Weird captions and even more fan rage.
Part IX: More from the JIRA That Will Not Die, Longbow "shoot-me-I'm-a-target!" costumes, and dear gods, more fan rage.
Part X: More fan rage, and a Meat Loaf song!
Part XI: Cosplay, Minecraft updates, upcoming car engine advances, and more fan rage!

And now we're all caught up. Suffering gods, we're at eleven parts?!?

And here's part XII.

Brockyman from page 20 on the main thread: The Escapist greenlit Jimquistion, No Right Answer and other new shows, and had Moviebob do ANOTHER show AFTER the start of Extra Credits and during the recession. If they didn't have the money to pay CURRENT talent, they shouldn't have taken on extra costs.

Stalydan, some hours later: I can't understand why The Escapist/Themis Group has hired new talent since they went into financial troubles. Yes, I think The Jimquisition has gotten a lot better in recent weeks and it's made me think of it as one of the highlights of this site but it makes me wonder why (or even how) they were able to take on another show to produce and pay for. You'd think that they'd pump more money into paying their already established friends e.g. paying Allison's fees and funding (or partially) Yahtzee to go to PAX.

AshuraSpeaks: And I see no problem with them paying what is due. Whether or not the presence of those incentives led to the donation is...speculative. The reality is that someone has to pay the piper, and a group that so easily told Sony to transform their apology package into something less transparently trying to drum up business, it is expected that they would pay what is due.

HOWEVER, it is up to the Escapist to be truthful and fair and any extra credits that Extra Credits raised is, presumably, Allison's to decide what to do with. There has been no affirmation that this is SOLELY James' idea, nor that such an idea requires the full amount over the amount needed to be raised to save Allison's tissue, and indeed career as an artist.

6-Qubed: You know something I read about on Cracked awhile ago? This thing called the "Monkeysphere." See, any given primate of any given species is only capable of recognizing a set number of living organisms as actual living organisms. Most apes and monkeys in the wild have a limit of a dozen or so, but we humans, with our vastly superior intellects and brain-size, can recognize a whopping one-hundred and fifty individuals.

You may be asking how this is relevant. I shall explain.

Humans are physically incapable of recognizing a large enough group of people as actual people. They get this idea in their head that there might be a people in that group somewhere, and maybe they know of one or two people who affiliate themselves with this group, but up to a certain point, there are limits to the number of people a given person's monkey brain is capable of recognizing. This is why, for example, you may feel it is okay to scream at the teenage kid working the drive-thru at McDonalds, because in your monkey brain you are not actually screaming at Kenny Liebowitz, age 17 and working a job that will surely crush his tiny spirit, you're screaming at McDonalds, and everyone "knows" that McDonalds isn't a person, therefore that teenage kid isn't really a person, either.

Now, to relevance! Extra Credits and The Escapist are both at fault here, in separate but equal ways. The Escapist, for being too poor to pay its outside contractors, and Extra- no actually James of Extra Credits (for those who are confused, James is the long-haired no-talky guy) for taking money that was raised for Allison (make-pretty-pictures girl) so that she could get her arm back, and using it to start his own evil faceless group of not-really-people. However, even though both sides fucked up, your monkey brain can only recognize long-haired no-talky guy and make-pretty-pictures girl, along with preachy-funny-voice man as actual people. The Escapist, meanwhile, is not actually a group of people who are down on their luck financially and had to make a bad decision with worse consequences, because your monkey brain only sees a giant, faceless, stingy, evil, baby-eating dragon that apparently has a pet asshole named Mark.

Brockyman again: My issue with the Escapist is that they continued to green light new material that included more costs, including Big Picture, Jimquistion, No Right Answer, and others AFTER the release and failed payments to Extra Credits (only got paid for 4 episodes). If a business can't pay its current talent, then it shouldn't incur more costs.

TypeSD, some hours later: There is No Tangible Benefit other than removing ads and captchas, that the PubClub provides. Think very hard before committing to a purchase. I did not. I am not renewing my subscription.

lowkey_jotunn: It's not as though James took the extra money and spent it on hookers and blow. As best I can tell, he's using the money to facilitate exactly what the show preaches. And the fund wasn't started with the desire to raise a boatload of money for "personal things."

What exactly would you have EC do with the extra funds? They can't exactly give it back, can they? I'm not too familiar with the inner workings of Rockethub, but I doubt they do reimbursement. I suppose they could have turned off the donation button, but really, that's on the people donating. It's not like they've ever kept the cash-flow secret.

James, and the Rockethub site, were always upfront and honest. If the site says: "We need $15,000 for Allison's surgery. We are currently at $30,000. This is already double what we need," and someone chooses to donate, you should know full well that it's probably not going to be paying for the surgery... that's covered. And the very first day, when they'd already passed their goal, James said something like: We have way more money than we need, and we're trying to find something awesome to do with these extra funds.

I think it's worth noting at this point, for the one and a half of you still reading along, that all of this took place on one night. The past six, seven entries or so? Purely from August 10th, 2011. Keep that in mind.

jumplion quoting 6-Qubed:
...and Extra- no actually James of Extra Credits (for those who are confused, James is the long-haired no-talky guy) for taking money that was raised for Allison (make-pretty-pictures girl) so that she could get her arm back, and using it to start his own evil faceless group of not-really-people.
This is not true.

James, Daniel, and Allison all came to a mutual agreement over what to do with the left over money. James did not up and take the money for his own personal gain, it was decided among the group what they would do with it. All the money gained from the publishing project would go directly to funding the project.

Now, there might be some legal mumbo jumbo in there. Alex of the Escapist apparantly interpreted this as having any leftover money contribute to the show, though if they had to contribute to their own show that still doesn't shine a particularly good light on this situation.

Zorg Machine: I am mostly surprised that the escapist is so low on money.

Me too.

Ipsen: Now here's where the questions start. If you're going to be a credible business employer, I would think that, even if your employees were to give you flexibility on when you can pay them, you're always prepared to pay them when they ask for it (provided it's what they owe

I'm finding the part about he fundraiser having the 'save Extra Credits' reasoning to be bullpies as well. As 'save Extra Credits' may have been the slogan, we all knew the situation with Allison, and we did it for her, a part of a show that we have come to love for now just over a year. I'm so unsure about what the Escapists' part in the fundraiser is in this situation; I'll vote virtually no one gave to the fundraiser for a t-shirt or a pub membership here; it was about Allison FIRST, and our love for Extra Credits SECOND. The Escapists' hand in all this was nice, but also very forgettable considering the situation.

But here is the nail in the coffin for me. As stated by Alex Macris,
...He asked for our permission to raise funds through Kickstarter. We more than gave permission, we threw our weight into supporting it. Unfortunately, Kickstarter refused because they don't do charity. I then suggested James try RocketHub and RocketHub agreed. We again collaborated to make it a joint effort. Our agreement was that we would be compensated for the wholesale cost of the t-shirts and Publisher's Club, and that the funds would be used to save Extra Credits. I reasonably interpreted "save Extra Credits" to mean that anything beyond what was needed for Allison's surgery would be used on Extra Credits production. I also Pay-palled James as much money as we had available at that time.
According to this, James needed permission to start a fundraiser, but nothing else was mentioned that was required of the Escapist; it seems they decided to 'throw their weight to support' by adding in the t-shirts and pup memberships. But how do you expect to be 'compensated' from a fundraiser? It strikes me as a rather large risk to make a business decision based leeching off of our goodness and desire to help someone in need. What if we, the fans, DID NOT support the fundraiser enough, or only JUST enough? Also, as much as its clear that the RocketHub agreement was misunderstood, locking one of your show producers into agreement issues because they didn't use the excess funds for production of the show (a show they've made episodes weekly without pay from Nov2010 to Jun2011)....Garbage.

Now, perhaps James is pulling shenanigans by first accepting more than what was necessary for Allison's surgery, and THEN proceeding to start up an indie label, which the Escapist did not find agreeable. But even this I feel can be countered by the fact that this was a fundraiser; and James is starting something game-related, something that may turn out to support the show.

FalloutJack, some hours later:
King Toasty:
Yeah, ending the PubClubSub is the WORST THING YOU CAN DO.

Hear that, lurkers? DON'T END YOUR PUBCLUB SUBSCRIPTION. YOU'RE HURTING THE SITE.These are sad times indeed.
You DO realize you just told everyone with memberships that they have power over the Escapist now, right?

Another good question, and a good place to stop today's edition of Escapist Gone Wild. Tune in next time when...well, there'll be more of the same.

We start bright and early next entry (or whenever we come back to this next) on page 22!

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