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  • A Peek Behind The Curtain Of Robert Rodriguez's and James Cameron's Alita: Battle Angel!

    3 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    James Cameron took a very long break after the exhausting production and release of Titanic. People forget now, but the common thought in Hollywood was that Cameron was working on a Heaven's Gate-level bomb. Too much money was being spent on a romantic historical romance, they said. The audience just wasn't going to show up. Then the movie made two billion dollars.


    It was twelve years before Cameron made another movie and that next movie was almost Alita: Battle Angel. In fact, he was developing it alongside what would become Avatar and went back and forth between the two on which would be his Titanic followup. At the end of the day his script for Alita was just way too long and Cameron couldn't manage everything he wanted to do in just one movie, so he shifted focus to Avatar and once again made box office history.


    Cut to 2015. Robert Rodriguez was having lunch with Cameron and asked him what projects he worked on that never happened. Cameron mentioned Alita and Rodriguez asked to read it, all 180+ pages of it.


    Rodriguez was immediately enamored with the story, based on the Japanese manga, of an android girl discovering her history and deciding on whether she was going to be a force for good in the world or the brutal weapon she was constructed to be.


    So Rodriguez came back to Cameron with an interesting request: Could he edit the script? He was clear that he didn't intend to rewrite it. He said he could edit the material already there down to a shootable version and Cameron could do whatever he wanted with the result... Re-develop it for himself, throw it out, whatever.


    Cameron said sure, go for it and four months later Rodriguez sent him the drastically shorter script and when Cameron and his longtime producing partner Jon Landau read it they were astonished because while the script was shorter by a third they couldn't tell what had been snipped. Everything they wanted to say with this story was there. The action set pieces were still there and still thrilling, the tale of a girl transitioning into womanhood was still at the forefront. It was the movie Cameron had in mind, just more concise.


    He was so impressed with the work Rodriguez did he figured he had found the man to actually make the movie a reality. Once again Avatar took priority for Cameron who was neck deep in all the sequels he was writing, so he tasked Rodriguez with directing Alita. Cameron was always a phone call away to answer questions and Cameron's right hand man, Jon Landau, was always at Rodriguez's side.



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    You'd think that could be suffocating for a filmmaker who has defined his career by getting his complete vision on the screen doing as much of the movie as he could. From operating his own camera to writing, producing, composing, editing and even doing his own VFX, Rodriguez has a reputation for being a lone wolf, creatively speaking.


    But in this case his vision was to make this film as much like a James Cameron movie as possible. He underlined this to me when I visited the Austin set of Alita: Battle Angel last year. He said he didn't want to make a Troublemaker Studios movie, he wanted to make a Lightstorm movie, which is why all the footage from the trailers look a bit different from what you expect from a Robert Rodriguez joint. Lots of CG and dynamic action, yes, but also huge practical sets and a little bit more breathing room when it comes to the editing and character moments.


    Wrongly or rightly Rodriguez's style has become synonymous with greenscreen filmmaking pretty much since Sin City. But that's definitely not his approach this time out.


    The result is an approach that hopefully takes the strengths of both Lightstorm and Troublemaker and melds them into something new and unique. The integration was so important to Cameron that he even had a sign put up at his California offices that said “Troublemaker West,” and Rodriguez answered by putting a sign up in his Austin studios that said “Lightstorm South.”


    A full year of preproduction went into designing this crazy world. James Cameron's art team worked hand in hand with Rodriguez's Austin team and came up with designs that are both faithful to the look and feel from the original Manga while also being something that worked for the big screen.



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    In the Battle Angel world cybernetic augmentation is the norm. Sometimes it's slight... a hand, a foot, an arm. Sometimes it's major. There's one character, played by Jackie Earle Haley, that is pretty much just a human head on a gargantuan 8 foot tall robot brute body.


    The design team took that year and cranked out many variations of cybernetically enhanced people. I saw art of an old man playing a double-necked guitar with robotic arms that had two hands, one for each neck of the guitar, for instance. You've seen the trailers by now, so you've seen a glimpse at how far they've gone to populate this world.


    The majority of the film takes place in Iron City, a poor slum city that lives off the discards of the rich, exclusive, protected floating city above them. This is where Christoph Waltz's Dr. Ido finds a broken Alita (played entirely in motion capture by Rosa Salazar) in a junkyard. Something about her moves him and what he does to help her might give a hint at what exactly he feels for this person.



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    She awakens with a new body constructed with loving care and attention to detail. Floral patterns are intricately carved with silver metallic flourishes. It's a small body, built for a child. We find out Dr. Ido built this for his sick daughter, with the intention of giving her back her mobility and freedom, but he was too late. In short he begins to view this stranger as the daughter he never had.



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    This is a story of second chances. Ido has a second chance at being a father and Alita has a chance to be a different kind of person. She may not remember her past, but her past remembers her and it's not exactly filled with rose pedals and puppy dogs.


    For the set visit I was walked around Iron City, which was built on Troublemaker's backlot, just across the fence from where I sit typing this over at Rooster Teeth's Austin Studios offices, as a matter of fact. On screen the city will tower dozens of stories tall. They didn't go that far in reality, but they did build multiple connected city blocks up two stories. CG will take care of the rest, but the foundation will be real. Every wall, window, door, sign, road, step will be real so it won't just look like actors composited against a CG backdrop.


    Iron City had a very Rodriguez feel. This place looks like futuristic Desperado. Heavy Latino influence, but mixed with a handful of other cultures, especially Asian, to create a new blend that's lived-in, patched together with every available resource and feels like it's covered in dust.

    The only filming I got to witness with my own eyes was a crowd scene as spectators cheer and boo the players of a brutal but popular sport called Motorball. If you've ever seen the James Caan Rollerball, think of it that way, but with way more robot augmentations that allow for some crazier games.


    Christoph Waltz was in the stands watching on nervously. Alita is taking part and the deck is stacked against her. While in the stands Waltz recognizes some of her competitors as assassins and tries to warn her that this isn't just a game and her life is in danger.


    One thing I noticed is that most of the extras weren't dressed super futuristically. This isn't Blade Runner where everybody is wearing plastic ties and holding glowing umbrellas. There was a punk vibe to those in the stands, but still pretty modern-looking.


    In short everything I saw and personally experienced felt every measure the combination of James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez I was promised by producer Jon Landau at the beginning of the visit. They're taking some wild swings with this one, particularly in the design of Alita herself. 



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    Much has already been made about the giant anime eyes. Some hate it, some love it, some are just perplexed by it. It's weird and so will a bunch of this movie, but that's usually the secret to Cameron's success. Giant CG blue cat people was weird as hell, too, but then became the biggest movie in the world for a decade.


    There's no guarantee this movie will hit anywhere near Avatar levels. In many ways it's a harder sell and the filmmakers seem to know this.


    When asked if this movie was being planned as the start of a franchise or a complete one off, Landau gave a real interesting answer. He said they didn't want to have the hubris to assume a sequel, but they wanted to be smart and have some pieces in place for further films. That's the reason for the slight change in the title. The original manga is called Battle Angel Alita. The reason for calling it Alita: Battle Angel makes it easier to title potential sequels, like Alita: Fallen Angel, etc.


    I myself can't make any kind of final judgment call on what we'll be getting come December 21st, but I can say whatever the final product ends up being it wasn't haphazardly thrown together. It has two insanely creative filmmakers joining forces with all the strengths of their individual teams and some of the best effects houses in the world to tell a futuristic action adventure with actual time spent on character development.


    Anyway, I hope that gives you guys a little peek behind the curtain at what's been going on with Alita: Battle Angel. Thanks for reading along and thanks to Fox and Troublemaker for letting me wander the streets of Iron City and letting all you guys know about what I saw.



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  • This Week at ScrewAttack - 7/27/18

    3 weeks ago

    JoshuaKazemi @joshuakazemi


    The Desk of The Desk of DEATH BATTLE - The Power of Friendship  - Editor Notes 

     

    • It's always fun (sometimes also hard) when the script doesn't describe anything specific in terms of TV/Movies/Comics/Games cause then I get to rack my brain for scenes from movies etc. It's one of my favorite film geek activities.
    • Also it turns out adrenaline has been depicted in movies quite a bit.
    • Lisa really really brought her A-game this week. She got so much mileage out of those cookies. Haha oh my gosh. I let every single one of those clips play out as long as they could because I didn't want anyone to miss a frame of it. Wow. 
    • ALSO has anyone had the new oreo flavors?? I had the red velvet ones a couple weeks back and they are SO GOOD. (This ISNT an oreo ad) 
    • Sometimes when I'm editing I can't help but rewatch bits from the movie or show. This week it was that scene from Deadpool that I used. Gosh, that movie is funny. Like is it a straight comedy? Probably not but for a comic book movie, it's funny. I gotta check out Deadpool 2. I missed it. Did you see it? Is it good? 
    • Also, I love Scott Pilgrim. There was A LOT more footage from this movie in my first draft of the video. 
    • If anyone is interested in the context of the Buffy scene I used: The scooby gang uses a spell to transfer all of their "power" to Buffy. So quite literally the power of friendship. 
    • Random thought/question: Anyone here a Coheed & Cambria fan? I've been listening to them all morning. Such a great band. 

    Watch the video!

  • #17: No Outside Help - Death Battle's Road to 100

    3 weeks ago

    Ben B. Singer Ben B. Singer

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    Episode - 22: Link VS Cloud


    Time to talk about one of our most controversial episodes ever!


    Link and Cloud unfortunately got stuck with an episode that perfectly encapsulates Death Battle’s “awkward adolescent” period. Remember how I said Peach’s Mega Strike calculation caused me to re-evaluate how we establish our victors? This was the episode that put my re-evaluation to the test… but it was more like taking a driving test with my eyes closed and underwater.


    Don’t get me wrong, I think given the circumstances presented in the episode, it still works well enough on its own. The problem I have with it is the circumstances themselves.


    By this point, I had established 4 rules that would apply across all Death Battles at the time. I’ve discussed at length how the rules have changed over the years on our Death Battle Cast podcast, but long story short I have a big problem with these rules.


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    I had already changed the ‘personality restraints’ rule to ensure the characters were represented correctly (you can thank the TMNT Battle Royale for that one!) but I made a problematic oversight with the fourth rule. “Research used is determined equally unless specified.” This meant that if we used non-canon sources for one character, the other character would also get non-canon sources added to their analysis.


    The problem, of course, is that there was no guaranteed restriction on what makes non-canon sources viable in the analysis. So even if we applied non-canon material to both characters, one could have an enormous library of said material with all sorts of crazy feats and abilities that contradict the primary canon source… and the other could have nothing more than a dumb movie. It was pretty imbalanced, even if I didn’t intend it to be that way.


    But that’s not all that was over-complicating this match-up! I was just two episodes into my re-evaluating phase, and I had inadvertently set myself up for one of the most difficult questions a versus show can have; how do you incorporate RPG video game characters which rely on player choice?


    Cloud in particular was a challenge. What weapon would he carry into battle? Since his best weapons aren’t part of the Final Fantasy story, do they count as canon? What materia would he have? What armor would he wear? See, in the game the player gets to decide all these things, not Cloud himself. From what we could tell at the time there wasn’t an answer to any of these questions that didn’t involve including our own subjectivity.


    So we came up with a scenario:


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    We essentially boiled down Link and Cloud’s arsenals to whatever they brought into their fighting games. Clearly, this wasn’t a perfect solution, as their fighting games were wildly different. The arsenals these games  provided were dependent on game mechanics, so they weren't built in a way that could compare between games on a one-to-one basis. If we were to bring these characters back today, we would likely evaluate them in an entirely different method. While it's not quite the same ordeal, I think our recent handling of Sephiroth is proof of that.


    The final unique rule in this scenario was “No outside help.” This was specifically to ban elements like Cloud’s summons and Link’s bottled fairies. Unfortunately, the way it’s presented in Wiz’s dialogue makes it sound like the rule applies to Death Battle as a whole, even though it’s not listed in the rules at the end of the episode. This flub led to thousands of future comments about us supposedly breaking our own “no outside help” rule with Strider’s robot cats, Snake’s buddy Otacon, Gaara’s mom-sand, and so on.


    Back then, the discussion of who would win usually only took place between Chad and I. However, for this episode in particular, EVERYONE got involved! I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but at one point everyone in the office was sitting on the floor in Chad’s merch room arguing points for Cloud and Link. I think we spent two or three days just talking about this one.


    To add even more to the mess, we lost contact with our new animator. Many weeks ago I had sent him all the assets for the battle, including sprites, and was trying to get an update on his 2D animation for the episode. I finally got in touch with him just a few days before the episode was scheduled to air. I was really worried… is the animation ready? Would we have to delay the episode? Luckily, he told me the animation was good to go, and sent it my way. I opened the file, expecting to see another stellar sprite fight…


    ...but it wasn’t a sprite fight. It was 3D animation.


    Um. What!?!


    That was a helluva way to kickstart our 3D battles!


    Frankly, I’d love to bring both these characters back one day. While this episode is… fiiiiiiine… I don’t think it does either of them justice, and our modern format could present a much better and more interesting analysis for both of them.


    Anyway, next Monday I’ll be looking back at our classic Batman VS Spider-Man! One of our most popular Death Battles ever! I remember really enjoying this one, but it’s been quite some time… so let’s see if it hold up.


    -Ben B. Singer


    P.S. Is there a character who has already appeared in Death Battle that you would like to see make a return?

  • Day 5 coming to TV & Blu-ray, plus Season 3 updates

    3 weeks ago

    JoshtheFlanagan

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    Hey guys. Long time no… sleep?


    Lots of you have been asking what’s up with Day 5, and today I FINALLY get to spill some big news -- Day 5 is coming to TV! Plus I’ve got updates on the upcoming Blu-ray release and season 3, so dig into the details below.


    DAY 5 & CRUNCH TIME ARE OFFICIALLY TELEVISION SHOWS!
    Season 1 of Day 5 will debut in the UK (courtesy of Sky UK) on Pick TV starting August 28th, and both seasons will air in the US on the El Rey Network beginning October 31st! We’re beyond excited for our broadcast and cable debuts, and are thrilled to work with such great partners. And as a bonus, Rooster Teeth's Crunch Time will also air on El Rey in the same window.

    rCqXV29.pngIn addition to helping us reach a wider audience, these deals are necessary for us to move forward with season 3. However, it does mean Day 5 episodes will be coming off Rooster Teeth for a six-month window starting at the end of October, and we wanted to make sure you had plenty of advance notice to check out the unwaking nightmare. If you’re not a Rooster Teeth FIRST member already, you can sign up for a free trial here.


    DAY 5 BLU-RAY DROPS AT RTX!
    The Season 1 & 2 Combo Blu-ray will debut at RTX 2018 (Aug. 3-5) and be available in the Rooster Teeth store later next month. All 14 episodes of the show, with all behind-the-scenes materials and Day 5 Stories spinoffs, plus new exclusive commentaries from the cast and crew. Speaking of cast and crew, we’ll be running amok at RTX with an official Day 5 Panel and Cast Signing Session, if you’re looking for someone to sign those beautiful, newborn baby Blu-rays.


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    SO WHERE THE HELL IS SEASON 3?!

    You’ve probably already figured it out, but Season 3 has been delayed into next year. We have a very specific vision for the series -- and the level of scope we want to achieve moving forward -- but we want to make sure it’s done right, and that the show can reach as broad an audience as possible. We’re currently in negotiations to co-produce season 3 with a partner, and I promise to update you on concrete details as soon as humanly possible.


    We have some really, really cool stuff in store and I can’t wait to share more. Thanks so much for your passion for the series, and your patience as we work to give you the best damn show we can.


    Josh

  • gen:LOCK gen... talk...?

    3 weeks ago

    Gray

    Hi you - figured we oughtta catch up on all things gL before RTX Austin hits!


    So where'd we leave off... Last time around, we announced Dakota Fanning joining the cast as Miranda, and Koichi Yamadera voicing Kazu. We even had the pleasure of Monica Rial crashing our Anime Expo panel, to help us announce her voicing Colonel Marin!


    We announced the addition of io9 journalist and Marvel's "Rise of the Black Panther" scribe Evan Narcisse to the list of folks consulting with me on the scripts. And we put out some more art! You got a couple more peeks at the world, as well some new character turns for the cosplayers out there. (see below)


    Are you going to RTX Austin? Then be sure to hit the main RT Animation mega panel happening Friday 8/3 at 7pm!  We'll definitely be talking about gen:LOCK as part of that.


    More character turns, concept art, and other peeks at the show are coming... as well as more casting announcements.  Soon.  As in... perhaps... later today??
    (ahem) You're not going to believe who we announce next.


    See ya at RTX Austin!!


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  • Henlo RTGames Community from your new Community Manager!

    3 weeks ago

    Cricket RT Games Community Mngr

    Hello Rooster Teeth Community! My name is Cricket, and I’m the new RTGames Community Manager.  I’m so thrilled to be joining the amazing community management team and, most importantly, getting a chance to serve you.


    I remember seven years ago sitting at home in Alaska at -52 degrees Fahrenheit listening to the RT Podcast and deciding on the fly to move to Austin. Never could I imagine that a year and a half later I would find myself in Austin- working toward my dream of working at Rooster Teeth. And today here I am.


    First, I’d like to let you know a little bit about myself. Growing up as an Army Brat, I spent a lot of time traveling growing up and living in the European Union and United States. Eventually, my parents settled in Alaska, which is where I spent most of my teenage and young adult years. Like many people who grew up in northern climates, I love playing winter sports and winter activities: ice hockey, skiing, snowmachining, snowshoeing, and geocaching. I love live music, film, and most importantly- I love gaming.


    Gaming communities really have been my home for as long as I can remember. No matter how many times I have had to pick up and start a new life in a new city or country, the memories I have created and friendships forged in online communities has been the single most important constant in my life. Gaming has helped me transcend language barriers and make friends in unlikely situations, like the time I spent playing Final Fantasy VIII with Italian-only speaking kids at a dinner party- and the time I met one of my best friends on Reddit while looking for a roommates to live with here in town. Gaming has also spared me from spending many cold winter days and nights alone. No matter where I go, my love of games has given me a sense of belonging and community.


    Before coming on board here with Rooster Teeth, I spent several years working in games and social media community spaces with over 35 independent contracts on the books, managing everything from communities to events and digital marketing for indie, VR/AR, and AAA games. I’ve worked with special interest groups to promote diversity and workforce development in games and participated in dozens of online gaming communities ranging from flourishing MMOs to obscure indie puzzle games. I’ve built and managed social platforms for hundreds of small businesses across the Americas. Now I have a chance to work with some of the best community leaders in online and gaming spaces, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a privilege that is.

    My commitment to you is to champion the community voice and help lift up your ideas, perspectives, and aspirations. I’ll do my part to promote a space that is inclusive, welcoming, respectful, and fun. I’m so excited to get to know all of you more, and I hope you’ll join me for community game nights (in person and online), to learn about our future gaming projects as they grow, and most importantly: to share our mutual love of gaming in all of its wonderful forms!

    Hit me with your personal pronouns, meme dreams, and headshots. Hit me with your shared love of Rooster Teeth and gaming. Hit me up when your questions, ideas, and personal stories about how gaming has impacted your life. RTGames has a lot of work ahead of us, and I’m excited to bring you with us on the ride.



    Let’s do cool shit together,

    Cricket


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  • #16: One-Sided Stomp - Death Battle's Road to 100

    3 weeks ago

    Ben B. Singer Ben B. Singer

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    Episode - 21: Thor VS Raiden


    You know, one of the most common criticisms we get with Death Battle is that some matchups are “too one-sided.” But sometimes this seems to be based on the research presented in the episode itself, so doesn’t that mean we did our job well? Convincing you of a winner’s legitimacy is one of Death Battle’s main goals, after all! If a Death Battle convinces you of its winner so thoroughly that you come out of the show thinking the matchup is a one-sided stomp, I’d say that’s a very successful episode!


    Perhaps this opinion is actually meant to be interpreted as another, totally reasonable one; that a particular episode’s outcome was too obvious from the get-go. For the most part, I think our matchups have been compelling enough to stave off this potential issue. But whenever I’m asked if there was ever a Death Battle that was such a complete and horrendous stomp that the episode never needed to exist, only one comes to mind.


    Thor VS Raiden! (Woo!)


    Back then, this was a surprisingly frequent request. That might sound like a surprise, but I think it had a lot to do with how ScrewAttack was still predominantly a video gaming website first and foremost at the time. Today, our most popular Death Battles usually involve superheroes or shonen anime characters, and episodes with video game characters rarely get the same sort of recognition. But back in 2012, the opposite was actually the case.


    Outside of it being a strangely high requested fight, I’m not entirely sure why I went with this match in particular. I believe I chose this one to give myself a bit of leeway going forward. See, the next few episodes had already been planned, and several of them would be humongous undertakings, so it made sense to do something that could be researched and written in a shorter time-frame and then dedicate that newly acquired time to, say, Cloud VS Link or Batman VS Spider-Man.


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    Fortunately, I don’t think many people minded how obvious the victor was, because our new animator Lange really pulled out all the stops for this battle animation! It’s still really fun to watch today! I legitimately don't want to talk about it all that much here, because I'd rather you just go watch it and have a good time. Though I think as far as the character rundowns go, our Thor VS Wonder Woman episode covers Thor's powers waaaaaaaaay better than this one.


    There’s honestly not much else to discuss concerning this episode. Sorry if this blog seemed a little short, though I’m quickly coming up on some matchups which I’ll have a LOT to talk about, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading!


    -Ben B. Singer


    P.S. What’s an obviously one-sided match-up you’d still like to see a Death Battle of?

  • Programming Patch Notes 07.18 - Video Ads are back for non-FIRST Members, and more

    3 weeks ago

    ebregman Programming

    Hey, everyone. As some of you may have noticed - and if you’re a FIRST member you probably haven’t - after a very long hiatus, pre-roll ads are back on the site and mobile apps for those viewers who have not yet signed up for FIRST. For those of you interested in these boring business-ey things, how we got to this point isn’t that complicated: on the old site the ads were a bad experience that often broke our player, so we got rid of them. When we launched the new apps our focus was a good viewing experience, and we prioritized that over rushing ads into the system. I think we’ve checked the ‘good viewing experience’ box (and the engineering team is always working to improve it), so it’s time to move onto reintroducing ads.


    We’re still focused on making the experience good. Or as good as watching an advertisement can be. From a tech perspective we want to make sure ads don’t break our player, and over time we’re going to experiment with where ads are placed within a video, to make sure it’s still a great viewing experience. We’re going to work to make sure that the ads served are as relevant as possible to your interests, including ads for Rooster Teeth stuff. Ultimately, ads on the site help our business so we can keep making cool shows for you to watch. I mean you won’t believe how much Geoff wants to make more episodes of Achievement Haunter.


    For you FIRST members, this probably doesn’t matter much to you. But if you’re not a FIRST member and you want to skip those ads, you know what to do.


    More updates!

    • Thanks for making the launch of Sportsball a success! Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube channel, or else Tyler will get mad at me.

    • We now have the ability to turn off the S#:E# in video titles for those series where it’s less relevant. Expect those to disappear in certain instances in the near future.

    • Captioning is moving along nicely. We’ve identified a vendor to make the captions and are now scoping out the engineering work to get this up and running. Once we know what work we need to do, we’ll have a timeline to start serving them to you.

    • Our project to reorganize series within the app is starting to bear some fruit, just much slower than we anticipated. If you want to see the type of thing we’re doing, check out the changes to RT Docs (all docs now in 1 season!) and Day 5 (all bonus features now properly categorized!). There are a lot of cases we’re trying to solve for with this project where it’s not as cut-and-dry as to what’s an episode and what’s a “bonus feature,” not the least of which are things like RWBY World of Remnant videos. We’re working with the creatives to get it right.

    • I’m sure you have questions about our move to post Red vs. Blue and Camp Camp on RT only. What I can say now is we are very encouraged by the performance of both of those series and we intend to continue experimenting with release models, some but not all of which will include YouTube. We’re really proud of our new apps and by the looks of it you guys love using them!

    As always, let me know your questions and I’ll answer throughout the day. See you at RTX!!!

  • #15: Peach VS Zelda? - Death Battle's Road to 100

    3 weeks ago

    Ben B. Singer Ben B. Singer

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    Episode - 20: Zelda VS Peach


    For the life of me I can’t remember why this episode wasn’t called “Peach VS Zelda,” even though that title rolls off the tongue waaaay easier.


    Zelda VS Peach marked a turning point in Death Battle’s history in two different ways. I’ll cover the least exciting one first. If you’ve been watching these episodes I’m covering on this Road to 100, you may have noticed by now that they don’t tend to follow the same sort of analytical rules as modern Death Battles. Throughout Season 1 and much of Season 2, the victor was usually determined by our own interpretations, not by objective analytics like calculated strength, speed, and durability.


    I feel like it’s necessary to point out that in Death Battle’s early days, the show received far more praise from viewers than criticism. I am forever thankful to all those wonderful viewers, as the show probably wouldn’t have grown so large without some very dedicated fans. However, it did come with a side effect of seeing much less critique than I would’ve liked. I distinctly remember how for the longest time I’d look at comments complaining about us getting the wrong victor and wonder “Why? What could have been better? Just saying we’re wrong doesn’t help anything. Give me something to work with, damn it!"


    The reason why this is important is because Death Battle’s original philosophy, and thesis behind the show, was much different back then. When Death Battle started, the show’s elevator pitch was “Wiz and Boomstick do all the boring and annoying research to find out who would win so you don’t have to.” The idea being that this sort of analysis was too ridiculous to take seriously, and so the show wouldn’t be too concerned with that.


    Boy, how that has changed since then!


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    I bring it up because this was the episode where I began questioning that thesis. Specifically, I recall watching through the episode just before it was posted, getting to the analysis at the end, and thinking to myself “What the hell is this calculation I just did?” You know what I’m talking about. Peach’s Mega Strike.


    The calc done for pounds-per-square inch across one soccer ball split into three makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It was just meant to be a dumb joke. There were many other subjects that could easily support a Peach victory, but for some reason this stupid soccer feat was what we focused on. Upon releasing this episode, I was already re-evaluating how best to explain each victor.


    The other big moment with this episode was how this was the first Death Battle I didn’t have to animate myself! Huzzah! I’m sure I’ll talk more about our work with animator Lange across future blogs. Funny enough, the Zelda VS Peach animation Lange made for the episode was also his audition for the position.


    Next up, I’ll chat about how the new hire changed Death Battle’s production, along with the biggest stomp in Death Battle history!


    -Ben B. Singer


    P.S. If we did a rematch of any of our previous episode matchups, which one would you want to see?

  • Funhaus at RTX 2018!

    4 weeks ago

    ElyseWillems

    RTX is a almost a week away! 


    Here’s a brief rundown of the major Funhaus-related events, but you can expect to see us at other booths around the show floor, and you can find the whole team and community members hanging around at the Let’s Play Booth! 


    For more information, you can head to RTX.com, and our subreddit.


     elyse heartbeat


    Thursday, August 2nd


    FIRST NIGHT

    5:30 PM - ?

    Paramount Theater

    First come, first serve.

    Funhaus will be premiering our sketch comedy pilot Arizona Circle. Expect a full screening followed by a Q & A.


    LET’S PLAY LIVE

    8:00 - 11:00 PM

    Austin Convention Center - Hall 5

    Tickets are SOLD OUT.

    Come help us kick-off the best RTX weekend ever with games, laughs, and special guests galore! We've got Achievement Hunter, Kinda Funny, Funhaus, Cow Chop, Sugar Pine 7, Game Attack, Sideshow, JT Music and more! Only available to RTX Austin 2018 attendees.


    Friday, August 3rd


    FUNHAUS 30st Andiversary Spooktacular<™>

    1:30 - 2:30 PM

    Austin Grand Ballroom - Hilton Level 6

    Celebrating 25 years of tears and beers. Compaq Computers Inc and the Yugoslavia recorder Recital Committee proudly present a court-ordered panel all dedicated to Joel Roobin. **QUESTION: Is spelling of Roobin on purpose?***


    PUBG VS AH

    5:00 - 6:00 PM

    Center Stage

    Uh oh.


    ANIMATION FESTIVAL PRESENTS: WEREWOLVES

    7:00 - 8:00 PM

    Grand Ballroom ½ - JW Marriott Level 4

    Adam, James and Elyse hunt their prey… and play Werewolves!


    Saturday, August 4th


    ALWAYS OPEN LIVE

    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Ballroom D - ACC Level 4

    Elyse joins Barbara Dunkelman, Mariel Salcedo and Jessica Nigri. Send your questions to alwaysopen@roosterteeth.com with RTX in the subject line.


    FUNHAUS VS HOUSTON OUTLAWS

    2:30 - 3:30 PM

    Center Stage

    Double Uh Oh.


    DUDE SOUP

    5:00 - 6:00 PM

    Ballroom D - ACC Level 4

    You know the drill.


    ON THE SPOT LIVE

    7:00 - 8:00 PM

    Hall 1 - ACC Level 1

    Adam and Bruce are once again duped into appearing on a non-comedy show, under the pretense that James and Elyse would be there (they will not).  


    A KINDA FUNNY COMEDY NIGHT

    8:00 - 10:00 PM

    The North Door 18+

    Hosted by Nick Scarpino, the first ever Kinda Funny Comedy Night will feature stand up sets from some of your favorite talent from Rooster Teeth, Achievement Hunter, Funhaus, Kinda Funny, and more!


    Sunday, August 5th


    ROOSTER TEETH’S EMBARRASSING FIRST FILMS

    10:30 - 11:30 AM

    Congressional - Fairmont Level 3

    James, Bruce and Dan  join other Rooster Teeth auteurs for a never-before-seen screening of their 2002 porno, I mean art film, I mean porno.


    WOMEN OF LET’S PLAY

    12:30 - 1:30 PM

    Ballroom D - ACC Level 4

    Witness a moment in RTX history, as the queens of Achievement Hunter, Funhaus, Cow Chop, Kinda Funny, and Sugar Pine 7 gather for the inaugural Women of Let's Play Panel. Listen, as they regale you with stories of their careers and personal lives. Laugh, as they make the dankest jokes you've ever heard. Watch, as all other and lesser panelists cower in fear at the sight of these strong women. Prepare, to not have your parking validated! We aren't Wonder Woman.

  • #14: Doctor! Doctor! - Death Battle's Road to 100

    4 weeks ago

    Ben B. Singer Ben B. Singer

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    Episode - 19: Dr. Eggman VS Dr. Wily


    At this point, Death Battle had been running for over a year. With each episode reaching at least one million views, the show could finally be considered a success! Yet for some reason, I was forced to continue Death Battle's production as if nothing had changed. Normally, when a show starts bringing in more money, it uses some of said money to bolster the show's own budget to improve quality. Unfortunately, and frustratingly, that's not how ScrewAttack did things back then. Any time I requested additional funding/manpower to improve the Death Battle, I was denied. I realized that the only thing I could do was make the show better by myself, and showcase how improvements to our production could actually help even more.


    So I decided to do Dr. Eggman VS Dr. Wily.


    I knew it would be damn near impossible for me to pull this off all by myself, but that was the whole point. My only option was to literally show why extra manpower could benefit us. Fortunately, my college semester had come to a close, so I had all the time in the world to push myself to the brink for my most ambitious episode yet.


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    Doctor Eggman versus Doctor Wily is an army battle, pitting the mechanized minions of both mad scientists against one another. Given how both characters have a massive amount of different robotic soldiers to pull from, it was a hefty challenge narrowing it down to those I would be able to show in what little screen time I would have. 


    This is an excellent example of something regarding Death Battle that some viewers understandably have a difficult time processing; we only have a limited amount of time in each video to discuss and showcase different elements of each character, but that doesn’t mean that anything we don’t explicitly mention is never considered at all. In reality, we look at everything, and have to decide what’s worth spending time on and what isn’t. It’s a difficult balancing act that we’ve definitely improved on since the early years. The reason why I say this episode is a good example is because while I could only showcase about a dozen of so named robots for each evil doctor, I still took every single one that ever existed at the time into account. While selecting the robot representatives, my goal was to create a small force that would properly represent the doctors’ armies as a whole.


    As I expected, the animation was extraordinarily time-consuming. It was by far my longest fight to date, and there were so many different characters I had to prepare and animate all at once. It was a monster! One day, Chad walked into the office to find me asleep at my deck, slumped over my keyboard, having spent all night there animating this damn thing.


    It was rough… but it worked out in the end. I was really proud of how the episode turned out. Plus, my gambit worked! Thanks to how well-received this episode was, I was finally able to hired an animator for the next Death Battle episode! Things seemed like smooth-sailing from here, but ooooooh boy, we’re just getting started!


    -Ben B. Singer


    P.S. If we ever do another army vs army Death Battle, what matchup would you like to see?


  • Official Events at RTX Austin 2018!

    4 weeks ago

    Chelsea

    HOLY SMOKES! There is a lot that is going on this year at RTX Austin. Starting Thursday night and rolling all the way through Sunday we've got events, meet-ups, misers, and more surrounding that one time of year where all of us bumbling community members (read: idiots) get a chance to hang out, enjoy shared interested and fangirl a bit. 


    If you're looking for more events to do, organized by members of our own fantastic community, head over to @kriss's journal HERE to check out what else is happening during RTX Austin!


    Without any more of my ramblings, here is the current schedule for RTX Austin (subject to change) -


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    *** FIRST Night Screening: Free to all RTX badge holders. NOT open to the public.

    *** Let's Play Live: Tickets only available for RTX badge holders.  tadaSOLD OUT!tada

    *** Blood Fest Screening: FREE for Platinum RTX badge holders, varying price tiers for all other badges.  tadaSOLD OUT! tada

    *** Theater Mode Live: Tickets only available for RTX badge holders.  tadaSOLD OUT!tada

    *** Always Open Mixer: Tickets only available for RTX badge holders.  tadaSOLD OUT! tada

    *** Jeff Williams Concert: Tickets only available for RTX badge holders. Get them here now!

    *** A Kinda Funny Comedy Night: Tickets only available for RTX badge holders.  tadaSOLD OUT! tada

    *** The Rave at RTX: FREE to all RTX badge holders. NOT open to the public. RSVP your ticket now!


    Let us know if you have any other questions or concerns!


    <3

    Chelsea


    *Update at 12:52 p.m. CDT - Always Open Mixer and Blood Fest are now marked as SOLD OUT.

  • #13: Space Marines - Death Battle's Road to 100

    4 weeks ago

    Ben B. Singer Ben B. Singer

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    Episode - 18: Master Chief VS Doomguy


    After an episode as goofy as Starscream VS Rainbow Dash, I figured the next one should look at the opposite end of the spectrum with two of the most hardcore, badass space marines in gaming history!


    Do you recall how I was annoyed at my previous script for Kratos’ rundown? How it read like a list, or like Wiz and Boomstick were just reading a Wikipedia article? That was very much in my head when I sat down to write the rundowns for Master Chief and Doomguy. Similar to Kratos, they both had a lot of different weapons to cover. It would be difficult to go through the entirety of their arsenals in less than 10 minutes.


    Oh right, I don’t think I’ve mentioned that before. You may have noticed all the early Death Battle episodes are under 10 minutes. That’s because back then we were mandated to make any ScrewAttack videos as quick as possible in an attempt to supposedly keep people’s attention. Yeah, it sounds fishy, but it actually wasn’t a totally stupid idea. Nowadays, YouTube statistics are heavily dependent on something called “Watch Time,” which is basically the accumulated amount of time a viewer spends in total watching your videos. However, this didn’t come into effect until late 2012. Back when Death Battle first started, view count numbers were all that mattered! Clickbait was king, baby! Getting people through one video and onto the next was the top priority to becoming successful on YouTube. I went along with this concept for awhile, but every Death Battle always felt so fast-paced and rushed just by listening to Wiz and Boomstick. There wasn’t a lot of time for jokes to stick, or for information to sink in, and when we had to cover someone like Kratos, things got boring fast.


    So I decided to not give a shit about time limits and just make the script as good as I could.


    Another new strategy I implemented was compartmentalizing the information. Instead of listing all of, say, Master Chief’s weapons one by one, we’d describe them by categories. This flowed so much better, and allowed a lot more room for fun and jokes. We still use this writing strategy today!


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    My only real issue with this one was the animation. I ran into a lot of hurdles putting it together. A lot of people criticized how Doomguy moved so slowly, which I did because my available sprites for him were extremely limited. There were no ‘running’ sprites, and I thought it looked really weird when I made him shuffle along the floor at running speeds. I had actually been lobbying for us to start hiring a professional animator to help me out for some time, now. Death Battle was becoming a consistently successful show, so I figured we should up its budget and manpower up a bit to take it to the next level. Unfortunately, after several months of pitching and debating, I was no closer to getting the money and approval I needed to hire an animator. No matter how much I wanted to push Death Battle to become something bigger and better with every episode, I was always hit by a roadblock.


    That’s why I decided the next episode would be something so challenging, so grueling, that it just might kill me.


    -Ben B. Singer


    P.S. If Master Chief or Doomguy were to return to Death Battle, who would you have them fight?

  • RTX Community Events!

    4 weeks ago

    kriss Community Manager

    Hello, my lovely RTX attendees!


    There is a ton going on during RTX weekend, so I wanted to put together a consolidated events list for everything community created/focused, so you can join in on the shenanigans with me! 


    PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL TIMES ARE IN CENTRAL TIME. 


    WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1ST 


    2:00pm - 8:00pm  

    RTX Cookout! 


    Our lovely community leaders from The BUS, RT Austin, and RT World are hosting a Pre RTX Cookout at Zilker park! This even is open to everyone, so please feel free to stop by and hang out with your fellow community members! 


    THURSDAY, AUGUST 2ND

    5pm - 7pm

    Kinda Funny Pre-LPL Dinner @ Coopers BBQ


    7pm - 12am

    Charity Gala hosted by Sidequest


    This is your chance to get fancy af while helping out some of the best charities out there! 

    Bring your bidding face, because you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, and introducing this year – a live auction, full of one-of-a-kind artwork, rare memorabilia, and other great items donated from throughout the Rooster Teeth community. All proceeds go towards helping SideQuest’s partner charities. Take home something amazing while supporting some fantastic children’s causes!



    FRIDAY, AUGUST 3RD MEET UPS

    7am

    Unofficial 5 mile run (as in jogging) with Josh Flanagan and Tyler Coe! 

    Meet outside the ACC at the corner of Trinity & Caesar Chavez.


    8:30am - ???

    Breakfast with Rooster Buckeyes @ Jo's Coffee Downtown! 


    9am - ???

    Breakfast meet up hosted by RTNY @ Voodoo Donut on 212 E. 6th St! 


    2pm - 4pm
    Kinda Funny Community Lunch @ Frank Hot Dogs


    7pm - ???

    Dinner with The Oxford Comma Cafe @ Frank! 


    SATURDAY, AUGUST 4TH MEET UPS


    3pm-4pm

    RWBY Cookie Party @ Lobby of JW Marriott!


    5pm - 7pm

    Pre-Kinda Funny Standup Dinner @ Easy Tiger Beer Garden


    6pm - 6:30pm

    Villain Cosplay Gathering @ Residence Inn


    8pm - 10pm

    Art Jam hosted by Lambency & Mirzers @ Residence Inn!


    8pm - 11pm: 

    RT LGBT+ community group meet up @ the Hilton!


    10pm - 2am 

    Barlympics hosted by Sidequest


    Sidequest is taking over the upper floor of Buffalo Billiards into a tournament of drinking and gaming!


    SUNDAY, AUGUST 5th MEET UPS

    2pm - 4pm

    Kinda Funny Post Panel Brunch @ Gus's Fried Chicken


    7pm - 11pm

    Rooster Speak Meet Up Party @ Star Bar!

    Come relax and hang out with fellow RT community members in a chill setting. 


    8pm - 12am

    Sidequest RTX Wrap-Up Party

     

    Sidequest is hosting their annual RTX Wrap-Up Party. ANY RTX badge gets you into the bar’s lower level, but this ticket grants admission to the SideQuest Lounge upstairs.


    GOING ALL WEEKEND LONG

    Community Corner can be found at Booth 731 in the ACC! Here you will find some awesome stuff from our creatively talented community members. Please stop by and chat with them! IF YOU ARE USING THE RTX APP WHICH YOU TOTALLY SHOULD BE, you can find details of the Community Corner guests under the CENTER STAGE tab. 


    Community Panels are part of RTX Austin's programming this year, so please download the RTX Austin app (available for iOS and Android), and pencil in these awesome panels into your schedule. You will see a nice "sea foam" colored COMMUNITY label next to the panels that are created and run by your fellow community members. 


    SPECIAL NOTES

    1) This will be a "living document". As I am informed of more community events that are ticketed or open to the public, I will be posting them here, so keep this journal handy and bookmarked! 


    2) If you plan on attending the Sidequest events, community members have been given a discount code! Please use rtsidequest10 to get 10% off ticket prices! While you can purchase tickets to individual events, there is a PREMIUM PASS that serves as an all access ticket to every event! 


    3) We just announced that Mixer is our official streaming partner this year! If you cannot make it to the community panels, they will be streamed AND archived! 


    4) If you want to keep track of all the official RTX Events happening during the weekend, @Chelsea has a list (that will be updated accordingly as well) CLICK HERE!


    See you soon! <3 your faces! 

    Jackie 

  • Panel Prep for RTX 2018 - Broadcast Topics

    4 weeks ago

    RTcastMichael RT Broadcast guy

    RTX! RTX! RTX!


    We are less than two weeks from RTX and we are getting some ideas for the broadcast panels. What would you like to know or hear from Broadcast? We will also be bringing some specials clips never seen before and BTS angles (maybe some with comms so you can hear what is going on during the production).


    Here are the two panels to submit your questions for

    •  - RT Broadcast: What the Tech just happened (August 3rd @ 12:30pm - ACC Meeting Room 6)
      • General Broadcast Topics
      • Tech and Configurations
      • Daily Routines
      • Crew
      • Storytime of when things went wrong
    • - RT Broadcast: Making Extra Life Extra Special (August 4th @ 10:00am - ACC Meeting Room 6)
      • Planning for Extra Life
      • Stages
      • Moments
      • How to pull off 24 hours of streaming
      • What ever else Nick comes up with

    Let us know what you want to hear from the broadcast team and get excited for RTX! Both panel's are first thing in the morning so great way to start off your days!


    See you all soon!

  • 3 Years!

    4 weeks ago

    Zac_Fox eCommerce Buyer/Planner

    I was so busy yesterday, that I totally forgot to celebrate my 3 year anniversary with RT!


    It's been a damn awesome 3 years at that!  I've gotten to work with so many amazing people here on a crap ton of cool merch projects that it's a little overwhelming to look back on.  I've been lucky enough to see our department go from just 2 people handling it all, now to a full-on team of 8 people handling it all and 10 times that.  (With a ton of support from our partner teams all around the company)  We've gone from just making jokey, reference and quote laden t-shirts, to full on fashion lines and exclusive brand drops.


    Where have I personally gone through all of this?  I started as an assistant to our one and only merch person at the time, handling a hundred different little pieces that would get lost in the shuffle otherwise.  LOTS of paperwork handling, all the boring stuff that happens in the background when making/selling merchandise.  Took on some small new merch development projects: ScrewAttack's first RT produced items, several other new Let's Play items around that time, Lazer Team 1's shirts and accessories, then the majority of the first wave of Camp Camp merch was put on my plate.  Partnered with Chelsea on the MDB backer fulfillment, rad.  Most of 2016 was a big blur of randomly assembled projects, since at the time we only had a couple of us running them there weren't enough hands on deck to section out certain categories or brands.  Late 2016 we added a couple new people to the team, and I started taking a bigger role in our convention merch.


    In early 2017 I got to work with Barb on her spring line, (the flowers & bones set) which was cool as hell.  Then shortly thereafter I was asked to take on merch development for all of our RT Animation properties.  Getting to partner with everyone on the teams over there was a super cool experience.  (Having been a fan of RvB since nearly the beginning, it was REALLY cool.)  Spring 2017 saw a lot of improvements happen in the department, with new buyers joining our team.  We all worked together to pull together the RTX 2017 booth from scratch, which was massive.  Late 2017 saw a lot of my favorite projects so far come to fruition: Platypus and Caboose talking plush, Camp Camp figure set, the Beacon and Haven Academy lines (which sowed the seeds for a lot of upcoming Animation merch that you've yet to see), and the handful of screenprint posters we've done.


    Now we're up to 2018, and man it's already been a whirlwind.  Got to handle more rad RvB merch (That Arcade tee is one of my all time faves.), Nomad launch merch, the RT15 Anniversary items, a little RWBY Vinyl Record.  In the spring we made more shifts internally, with me handing the RT Animation merch reigns over to another buyer so that I could focus more on our convention offerings, board game items, and some yet-to-be announced special projects.  (HEIST, HEIST, HEIST)  I've managed every convention/live event merch booth so far this year, including Funhaus Live, the Geoff Pop-Up, MegaCon, KF Prom, and Anime Expo.  I'll be seeing you all at Fan Expo Canada, RTX London, and NYCC later this year, but first....


    Next up is RTX Austin and the Coop Pop-Up store, which are two of my biggest lead projects yet.  We've gone way above and beyond for these, pulling out all the stops.  You've surely seen the cool stuff that Robert has been putting together for the Coop, and some of the stuff I've been putting together for RTX, but you're straight up going to lose your minds over what Monica and all of us have been prepping that you haven't been teased with yet.  Honestly, now that I'm thinking about it, just talking about Coop and RTX Austin may need to be it's own journal post.


    Anyway, I've been rambling.  Thanks for an awesome 3 years, and here's hoping that I get to keep doing this for a long time.  :-)

  • Podcast

    1 month ago

    burnie

    We have a special event this week (not sure if that has been announced) so we will have some remote reporting for the RT Podcast this week. Going to try to incorporate some of your ideas.

  • Great feedback

    1 month ago

    burnie

    Thanks everyone for the great ideas about the RT Podcast. Tons of feedback on that post.


    Heading into a super hot weekend here in Texas.  Looks like 108 on Monday. Yikes.

  • #12: My Little What? - Death Battle's Road to 100

    1 month ago

    Ben B. Singer Ben B. Singer

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    Episode - 17: Starscream VS Rainbow Dash


    Many people believe Goku VS Superman is the most polarizing episode we’ve ever done. 


    Those people probably weren’t around when we announced Starscream would be taking on Rainbow Dash.


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    Quick aside, I always knew we would eventually get to a point where some viewers would “lose respect” for Death Battle over petty reasons. The exact same thing happened to Deadliest Warrior, and I frankly didn’t see any good way of avoiding it without severely limiting Death Battle itself.


    Anyway, I’m sure there are plenty of you who weren’t watching back then, and maybe even a few too young to have been very active on the internet six to eight years ago, so let me give you some context. In 2010, a new My Little Pony reboot premiered and garnered an audience of adult fans. Not just via nostalgia of older women, but a male audience, as well. A very, very large one. As far as I know, there’s still no conclusive explanation for why this happened, but we do know that the “brony” audience was extremely controversial simply for existing.


    Let me set the stage; it’s an average day at ScrewAttack, and I’m finishing up the Chun-Li VS Mai Shiranui episode. I take a break from editing to have lunch with some of my co-workers, including Chad and Jared aka ProJared. At some point the topic of bronies comes up. The new MLP show had been out for about a year now, and we had all noticed how massive the fanbase had become. We joked about ways we could tap into this huge audience by putting a pony in a Death Battle. None of us were really serious about it. We couldn’t even come up with a good matchup for something as un-Death-Battle-like as a My Little Pony character. Then Jared, making the Hasbro connection in his head, said aloud...


    “What if they fought a Transformer?”


    Now, I’d like to pause for a minute and address something. When Starscream VS Rainbow Dash was announced, a lot of viewers began theorizing who at ScrewAttack could be a brony. Because naturally, we wouldn’t have done this episode unless someone in the office was a brony who fought for it, right? Well… no. As far as I’m aware, none of us had watched the show before that point. However, I remembered how powerful cartoony characters like Yoshi had been in Death Battle,  so when we got back to the office I suggested we pull up the My Little Pony wiki and see what some of these tiny horse girl toys could do.


    And suddenly, the idea didn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.


    The first possibility we looked into was Megatron VS Twilight Sparkle, but I quickly realized there wasn’t much of a connection there we could play off of. As random as this matchup would seem to the casual viewer, I wanted there to be something holding it together. I eventually reached the page for a flying blue one and learned that her “special trait” was loyalty. Pitting her against the most unloyal Transformer, who conveniently also flies, seemed perfect.


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    By DotWork-Studio


    Even after all that, this episode was pretty intimidating! Transformers was a vast franchise I was only sort of familiar with and I knew basically nothing about My Little Pony. Also, Craig was heavily against the idea, but like my Team Four Star audition for Vegeta VS Shadow, I just did it anyway. In addition, my experience with the Ninja Turtles Battle Royale got me thinking about the presentation. What if the pony lost? Could we get away with a brutal death for a pony? What if the YouTube algorithm put this in front of a child because it had “My Little Pony” all over it, only for them to witness a bloody murder of their favorite pegasus?


    That last thought really stuck with me, and I made some decisions. There would be no swearing in this episode, nor would there be any blood or gore. Also, for the first and only time in Death Battle history, I decided that if a certain character was going to lose, we could not do the episode. If Rainbow Dash died the bronies we’d attract would think we baited them, the non-bronies would question why the episode exists at all, and it might scar some very young children when their parent uses YouTube as a “babysitting tool.” (There actually was a recent scandal about this very thing happening, so I’m happy to say our video wasn’t part of the problem!)


    Basically, if the pony lost, everyone lost in one way or another. Still, I had just recently changed Harry VS Aang because I realized that would be a blow-out, so I figured I could do the same kind of thing here if necessary. Luckily, it was easier than expected to develop a solid argument for the pony victory, and production kept on schedule!


    This quickly became one of our most dynamic productions we had done up to that point. I learned about an upcoming fan game called “Fighting Is Magic,” and I contacted the team behind it, Mane6, to ask if we could borrow their Rainbow Dash sprites. They were really on board with the idea, but unfortunately Rainbow Dash was one of the few characters they hadn’t finished sprites for. Future pony episodes would utilize Mane6’s sprites, but for this one I happened to stumble upon another good set on some pony related forum. I couldn’t find their origin point, but after the episode aired their game artist got in touch with me and provided higher quality versions of the sprites. I found some time to make a remastered variant with the better sprites and some other small improvements I previously didn’t have time for, which is currently only on Rooster Teeth! But I’m getting ahead of myself…


    This episode has voice actors! We held our first ever open casting call for Starscream, announcing him right after Chun-Li VS Mai had aired. However, I specifically kept his opponent a secret until less than a week before the episode’s release. For the voice of Starscream, we got a bunch of awesome auditions in, and amateur actor Zak Wilson got the part. Interestingly enough, Jim Sterling also auditioned for Starscream, and wound up voicing Starscream’s spark.


    Getting an actress for Rainbow was just as interesting. I didn’t want to have an open audition since that would mean we’d have to announce it early. Mane6 didn’t have an actress yet, but they recommended I talk to the guys behind Dream Valley Game (Yes, that’s 3 different MLP fan game teams helping me out now) who recommended voice actress Erica Mendez. She became our Rainbow Dash. Now, if you recognize that name, that probably means you watch dubbed anime. If not, you may still recognize some of her characters, because Erica went on to book some pretty incredible roles!


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    Starscream VS Rainbow Dash aired on September 23, 2011 and somehow… it worked. Yeah, there was some dumb hate flying around the comments, but for the most part it seemed everyone enjoyed it to some extent. Today, it has an 83% positive rating and is getting closer to 10 million views on YouTube. ProJared even did a follow-up later at BotCon, where he proved our episode was “100% correct and factual!” 


    Funny enough, this episode aired right as MLP Season 2 was starting. (We didn't know until after production started, so strange coincidence there.) I was worried some people wouldn't believe Rainbow could destroy anything as big as Starscream, but right after our release an episode aired where she rams into a house at mach speeds creating a mega-sized explosion, mushroom cloud and all, and effortlessly obliterates the whole thing! So yeah, thanks for helping our argument, Hasbro!  wink


    Anyway, I felt really good about its reception. I think this was one of the biggest risks we ever took, and we pulled it off!


    And one last thing. Some time after this episode came out, I started noticing a trend with Transformers and My Little Pony...


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    Now, this isn’t necessarily anything special. Transformers and My Little Pony have shared a lot of crossovers and easter eggs. There’s even a Pinkie Pie doll in the first Michael Bay Transformers, not just the one pictured above. What I think is interesting is that Hasbro itself continues to pair up Rainbow Dash with Starscream. I’m not suggesting that our video somehow influenced someone over at Hasbro, more likely they simply had the same idea of comparing them as I did… but you know, anything’s possible…


    -Ben B. Singer


    P.S. This is easily one of my favorite episodes we ever did. What’s your favorite Death Battle episode?

  • This Week At ScrewAttack - 7/20/18

    1 month ago

    JoshuaKazemi @joshuakazemi


    Juri VS Mileena | DBX  - Editor Notes 

     

    • Last night I saw Bo Burnham's EIGHTH GRADE. 
    • It was great. 
    • I love Bo, who doesn't? He's so great and creative and I especially loved his last special, MAKE HAPPY. It was just as poignant as it was hilarious. 
    • So I was very interested to see his feature film debut. 
    • And it was great. Really moving, really raw and visceral. 
    • I will say that visually, it feels like a first time director. He utilizes a lot of similar shots and techniques multiple times throughout the movie with very similar executions. All effective but repetitious. 
    • That being said, the performances were amazing and the story was refreshingly real and powerful. 
    • I thoroughly enjoyed it and you should check it out if you can. 
    • Also check out Bo's show ZACH STONE IS GONNA BE FAMOUS. It's pretty funny but EIGHTH GRADE is much better.

    Trailer


    Oh, and check out this week's DBX and look out for something special coming tomorrow....


    P.S. I wrote a succinct review of Eighth Grade on Letterboxd - where I write a review for every movie I see.

  • #11: Thighs VS Boobs - Death Battle's Road to 100

    1 month ago

    Ben B. Singer Ben B. Singer

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    Episodes - 15: Luke Skywalker VS Harry Potter, 16: Chun-Li VS Mai Shiranui


    If you’ve been to a Death Battle convention panel, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about the original plan for episode 15… 


    Harry Potter VS Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender.


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    Art by Viria


    That was the idea put down for the Original 26, and I thought it might be a pretty unique type of match-up. Spells versus bending, wand versus staff, broomstick versus Appa… I was all set for this! I had really enjoyed watching Avatar back in the mid-2000s. The only problem was that I hadn’t actually watched season 3. I figured this episode would be a great excuse to finish a series I remembered fondly, and create a special episode out of it.


    I watched season 3. I realized I liked this show a lot more than I thought I did. Then I got to Aang’s final battle with Fire Lord Ozai... and I realized this match-up with a wizard boy was a terrible idea. There was no way Harry would be able to keep up with the crazy antics Aang could pull off by the end of the series. So I went back to the drawing board.


    Fortunately, I knew exactly what match-up to replace it with, because it had been one I remember hearing about back in high school. Who would win in in fight between Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker? Bam, instant classic.


    Then there’s Chun-Li VS Mai Shiranui, the ‘thighs versus boobs’ battle. There are two main things I remember about this episode’s production. The first, and dumbest, thing is that when typing out Mai’s ‘Background’ slate I accidentally labelled her measurements as inches when the numbers pertained to centimeters, so it says her chest is over 7 feet around! Whoops! Though considering the character, I can understand why I and nobody else caught that before release.


    The second thing was that due to time constraints, I had to make this entire fight animation in less than 2 days. Less than 48 hours! It’s pretty short, but after watching it again, I actually think I did a surprisingly good job, all things considered!


    Oh wait, there’s a third thing. I remember how I was really weirded out by how many of Mai’s sprites were so exceedingly sexuallized. So just for the laughs, I made sure to shove in as many of them as I possibly could, even if they didn’t make any sense!


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    Just look at that. SNK knew exactly what they were doing.  laughing


    -Ben B. Singer


    P.S. Is there a female character you’d like to see in a future Death Battle?

  • Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal and Carlos Lopez Estrada Reveal How Friendship Made BLINDSPOTTING Possible!

    1 month ago

    ericvespe

    Summer movie season is in full swing right now. You can still find at least three superhero movies in theaters as well as a big, dumb action movie staring The Rock and the latest Mission: Impossible film hits screens in a little over a week. But that doesn't mean there aren't smaller, more meaningful movies out there.


    One is coming out this weekend called Blindspotting. I saw this film at Sundance and raved about it back then. Now you have a chance to see what I was talking about. Starring Hamilton's Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar and Jasmine Cephas Jones, this is one of those everything movies. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, it'll make your butthole clench in pure tension. You know, everything.


    Blindspotting is about a man in the final days of his parole who witnesses a policeman shooting an unarmed man. He's traumatized by the incident, but can't speak out for fear of revealing that violated his parole. At the same time his crazy best friend isn't helping matters by constantly acting as the well-intentioned, but bad influence in his life. 


    It's a great film and I was super excited to sit down with the two leads, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, alongside their director Carlos Lopez Estrada to talk about how this film about friendship was actually born out of friendship as well as just how great their supporting cast is and how they struck an authentic balance between real world issues and escapism entertainment.


    It's a good chat. Enjoy!



    2018-Sundance-Film-Festival-Blindspottin



    Eric Vespe: Hey, guys. So, I saw the movie at Sundance and flipped for it. It spoke to me in a way I wasn't quite expecting and I think it's because of the way the humor of the film pushes the narrative. It's a movie with deadly serious content, but first and foremost it's almost a buddy comedy. I cared about the stakes of the movie because I cared about the friendship between you guys. Was that your way into the story?


    Carlos Lopez Estrada: The movie is based on friendship. It sounds like a corny thing to say, but it's true. The movie's a result of the friendship between Rafa and Daveed for... how many years?


    Daveed Diggs: Hella years.


    Rafael Casal: (laughs) Hella years. We're coming up on two decades.


    Carlos Lopez Estrada: Then there was a friendship between Daveed and myself. It started professionally and then...


    Daveed Diggs: It became romantic.


    Carlos Lopez Estrada: It wasn't romantic, it was just physical. (laughs) Then through Daveed I met Rafa. It's oversimplifying the process a little, but a lot of people came to (the movie) because of friendship. (Producers) Keith Calder and Jess Wu have been working with these guys for 9 years as well. A lot of the actors are either friends or friends of friends of people who these guys have worked with. It is a family endeavor and I'm glad to hear that energy translates when you watch the movie. Calling this movie a passion project is a serious understatement. They could probably tell you a little more about the real genesis.


    Daveed Diggs: (to Rafa) You said something great a little while ago about humor and male relationships... about how men interact with each other.


    Rafael Casal: Just say it's my quote, but Daveed will say it.


    Daveed Diggs: Rafa says that one of the ways that men stay friends with each other is by making jokes. That's what we do. We're always sort of covering up...


    Rafael Casal: It's the barrel roll out of tension. We have two main emotions that men are socially accepted to express. It's anger and humor. Those are the two conditioned ways to fluctuate. 


    Really the movie runs the way heterosexual male friendship tends to toggle. It's devoid of too much talk about feelings and it's very much humor-humor-humor until it boils up and because of that I think the characteristic of the film I love the most is just how much they try to keep bringing humor into it until it's completely impossible. Even in the end it's Miles' final barrel roll that gets us to a place of hope between the two of them, by trying to get them to laugh. That's the survival nature of friendship.


    Daveed Diggs: It sets up this thing where you can't trust humor any more. It's not enough. But then the final statement is pretty much if we acknowledge that we both changed we can still make jokes.



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    Eric Vespe: I relate to that a lot. It's also important for audiences to know, too. You can tell people Blindspotting has great messages about gentrification and police brutality and the unfairness of the parole system and their eyes might glaze over. It might sound like homework. But if you can tell them it's a funny movie and you're going to connect with the characters that changes the conversation that gets people to give it a shot.


    Daveed Diggs: The buddy comedy in a world that won't let it be one... the reason that we say that sentence so much is because that sentence, and when you see the movie you'll get this, is to me the definition of what “Blindspotting” is. You say “a buddy comedy in a world that won't let it be one” and all people hear is the “buddy comedy” part and the second half is lost. You don't entirely know what it means, so your eyes float to “buddy comedy.”


    The first press we ever got was “Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs are doing a buddy comedy set in Oakland.” Yeah, we gave you the full sentence, but that's where your eye went.


    The in is that it's a buddy comedy, but it doesn't ignore the world that it exists in and it's that world that won't let it be one. The inherent seriousness of the time we're in gives you the buddy comedy, but puts it in the world that we're in.


    The world just unfolds as it is, which is why I never throw out the gun control and violence themes or even really police shootings. We're just now starting to add that because we're being told to. (laughs) We're being told it's helpful.


    Eric Vespe: Speaking of, your character witnesses a police shooting and the guy playing the officer is Ethan Embry. He's so damn good in this thing. He's a deeply flawed character, but not a one-dimensional bad guy. I felt I was empathizing with him and I never in a million years would have thought I'd do that with a person in his position.


    Rafael Casal: The amazing thing about empathy is all you actually have to do is make them human. You'll forgive so many flaws in a character's personality or political position as long as they feel full and human.


    Daveed Diggs: And I don't think we're even asking for forgiveness. It's just that you can sort of understand it. What we don't see is him over there and laughing and high-fiving two weeks after he shot a kid. His life probably sucks. You don't have to let him off the hook for being poorly trained and for shooting somebody because he was scared of a person running away from him. You don't get off the hook for that. You don't get brownie points for that, but also your life is probably pretty shitty.


    From our perspective (Ethan's character) couldn't reconcile with his wife after that. There's no turning back from that. The great thing about Ethan as an actor is that he made that whole movie in his head. He had the whole story of that officer in his head.


    Rafael Casal: The other side of this film.


    Daveed Diggs: And he asked us a ton of questions about it. We didn't write that into the script, so he came to us and asked us questions. Where is this guy from? Does he have other infractions?


    Rafael Casal: Do you think he came from the military? He gave it that much thought. I don't think at any point Ethan was trying to create a character that he thought was morally right. He just wanted a three-dimensional human being who is also a product of his surroundings and biases.


    Daveed Diggs: I don't think Ethan likes him very much!


    Rafael Casal: But I think he got him, which is nearly impossible when you read this script and invest in the main characters. To be able to find a sincere way into that officer...


    Daveed Diggs: It's a thing we asked of everybody involved in this film. So much of the focus is necessarily on us, but it was really important to have all these characters who were fully realized and felt like they had their own lives. So everybody had to do that work, without necessarily the lines to support it. Jasmine (Cephas Jones) came to the Bay a little bit early and just hung out. She's soooo New York.


    Rafael Casal: She's so Brooklyn! She was there for two days. She came to the Warriors parade...

    Daveed Diggs: It happened to be when the Warriors won the title.


    Rafael Casal: She hung out with two of the women who here character is based on and within two hours had the speech pattern down and was just walking around with it. They did her hair and I just kept forgetting that was Jasmine. It was magic.


    Eric Vespe: Janina (Gavankar) is great, too. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when she's doing your hair. It's the most romantic not-romantic scene ever. It's romantic in that these are two people who get each other and care for each other, but they're not at a place where they can become an item again.


    Daveed Diggs: We auditioned here by seeing if she could braid hair. She can't, so that's an incredible acting job. You'll see she focuses on the back of the head. (laughs)



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    Carlos Lopez Estrada: I think Janina is one of those casting stories that I'll always remember because she came in to read towards the later end of the process. We had seen a lot of actors, some very, very talented people came in to read, and we were having a hard time making a decision. It was an important role. Then she walked into the room and did a handful of things that no one had done and I think understood the depth of the character in ways that we hadn't even fully grasped.


    We had a conversation with her about the script and about how she related to it being an Indian woman and understanding how minorities feel. It's just one of those things I'll never forget. She walked out of the room and we all just looked at each other and said, “Wow. How could we not work with this woman?”


    Daveed Diggs: She taught us things about Val in the audition.


    Rafael Casal: She totally changed the character.


    Daveed Diggs: There's that moment at the end of that scene after their hug she just said “Okay, bye” and walked out. No one else had played it that way. There was always this longing pathos thing, but she did it that way and I was like “... okay.” I was reading with her.


    Rafael Casal: She just cut the scene off!


    Daveed Diggs: All of us were like “That's how that scene was supposed to go! Shit.” It gave her so much more agency than I think even we were giving to that character. The best of our abilities we were still two dudes trying to write women and she came in and was like “This is how I would do it in this moment.”


    Carlos Lopez Estrada: She's not like Val, but in many ways she is. She'd come up to all three of us and we would give her direction and she'd say “Actually, I'm not sure if I agree with that” and we'd have these really interesting conversations.


    Rafael Casal: She really took Val from us.


    Daveed Diggs: Thank goodness.


    Rafael Casal: She'd be like “Val's this person. I know her better than you, so we're going to do it this way.” We were like “Okay!”


    Eric Vespe: It's a tough character because that archetype could come across as naggy.


    Daveed Diggs: It could come across as naggy, I know! It's tricky. There was an edit where we failed her, really. There was an early edit where she came off that way and it wasn't because of her performance, it was because we were choosing the wrong shots. For time we cut a bunch of things out, so we had to go back put more of her in. She gives this wonderfully nuanced performance with so much empathy in it, but for time we cut a lot of those moments and we were watching it going “We have to put that back.”


    Rafael Casal: There's the balance of sweet and stern and she gave us so many different takes of each one in each scene. Compiling that, you have to have just the right amount of Val's sweetness and kindness that you understand why her and Collin were together, but also just enough coldness that you get that this isn't a happily ever after thing.


    Eric Vespe: Absolutely. I love the movie and I think a lot of people are going to love the movie as well. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.



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    The movie's out in select theaters this weekend and goes wide on July 27th. If you like good things, go watch it!  

  • French with Benefits

    1 month ago

    Barbara

    Bonjour, my friends!

    In case you happened to miss the news yesterday, we just launched my new collection in the RT Store: French with Benefits! (huehue)


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    I've been very inspired by a lot of "french" style lately, and wanted to make a collection that uses that inspiration, as well as unique, custom-made pieces. For this, we have 2 shirts, a suede cap, a tote bag, and... our first ever DRESS! (photos below). I am so happy with the way everything turned out, and am a big fan of pieces you can dress up or down.


    rEvgRiz.jpg


    Huge shoutout to the design/photography/store teams for making this possible. I am so excited to see these adorable pieces on your bodies. Go grab 'em!


    BISOUS! 

  • #10: WTF Was This? - Death Battle's Road to 100

    1 month ago

    Ben B. Singer Ben B. Singer

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    Episode - 14: Justin Bieber VS Rebecca Black


    What a strange, strange episode. Especially when you consider this is what was meant to follow up Mario VS Sonic. I believe this is also the only Death Battle with a disclaimer at the front.


    I’m sure you may be wondering why this episode exists. Well, I can only say the first season was Death Battle’s “experimental phase” so many times, but let me break this down for you. It’s 2011, and Justin Bieber is a polarizing phenomenon. Then this random girl who you've forgotten about until right now makes one of the most popular videos of all time with the worst song ever made, becoming a viral hit much the same way Bieber did. I believe the intention of this episode was to try taking advantage of a recent trend, and see if Death Battle could be used as a sort of “response” to current events. Obviously, it’s difficult, because it takes time to make an episode, so that didn't really work out.


    I do think the Rebecca Black rundown is pretty good, though. Analyzing exactly what was happening in “Friday” was exactly the kind of thing Death Battle is for, and I loved taking the lyrics and visuals way more seriously than anyone was obviously meant to. Though I have to admit I remember feeling a little uncomfortable trash talking and showing the (comically animated) death of a 14 year old girl.


    Anyway, I don’t really have anything else to say, so let’s look at some of the top comments!


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    I am so sorry.


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    Well. At least someone’s found a use for this episode.


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    This guy put more thought into his comment than we did for the entire video.


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    We did it. We saved the world.


    Actually, there is something worth talking about here. Every so often, early Death Battle would be caught having a few spelling errors, particularly on the “slates” that slide in to show additional information about the combatants. We didn’t have any standard review process back then, so lots of little things like that slipped through the cracks, but one of the worst happens in this episode. While poking fun at Black’s issues with grammar... we misspelled grammar as grammer. Whoops.


    Also, I also am mildly disappointed I wasn’t able to time out my Road to 100 blog series so this would land on a Friday.


    -Ben B. Singer


    P.S. If we were to do another Death Battle with real world people, who should we match up?

  • Wait, how long?

    1 month ago

    Kerry

    Hey hey!


    So, today actually marks a pretty cool milestone for RWBY. Five years ago today we uploaded the first Chapter of RWBY to RoosterTeeth.com.


    That’s… a long time. Wow. Give me a second.

    *takes deep breath*


    We’ve got some cool news and things to show at RTX (you can still buy tickets!) but that’s for then. For now, I’d like to say:


    Thank you.


    Over the past five years I think it would be an understatement to say we’ve had our “ups and downs”... but the constant through it all has been just how incredible each and every one of you are. It’s pretty obvious that none of us knew what we were doing (insert joke about still not knowing) but that didn’t matter to you all. You saw the heart. You saw the potential. You saw a project that was made by friends that just wanted to work together to make something new and cool.


    RWBY would not exist if it wasn’t for you. Because you shared it with a friend. Or drew fanart. Or cosplayed. Or created your own original character. Or wrote fanfiction. Or filmed a reaction video. Or even just watched it.


    So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping us make this show. My promise back to you is that we will keep doing what we’ve done every day since Monty walked in with an image of four girls and four colors in his head: Giving this show our everything.


    Thank you, every single fan out there.

    Thank you, Rooster Teeth, for giving us a shot.

    Thank you, Monty, for being you.


    <3,

    Kerry

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    Pictured: CRWBY for Volume 6!

    Not Pictured: Some of CRWBY who had meetings during this picture + some more people that are still joining the team!