We try to avoid dishing dirt or making posts about current events here on Twinsanity; we generally try to keep things light and stick to the pop-culture fun, but in the wake of the plans we’ve made for the site recently, I thought this was a timely thing to discuss.
In one of life’s great ironies, shortly after Jason and myself have chosen to largely move away from text posts in favor of videos (something we’ve been wanting to do for some time), there has recently been this mass exodus of content creators jumping ship on one of the more prominent entertainment/pop culture aggregate sites on the internet right now, Channel Awesome.
Just yesterday, we read that longtime CA producer Lewis Lovhaug (a.k.a. Linkara of Atop the 4th Wall fame) has departed from Channel Awesome. (He actually left last week apparently, but we only just got the news yesterday morning.) On that same day, another producer, Mike Jeavons (Mike J) announced he was leaving, then shortly afterward yet another producer, Diamanda Hagan, announced her departure from the site, then we found out that 3 other producers: Todd Nathanson (Todd in the Shadows), Will Dufrense (Suede) and Darren Jackson (Rap Critic) have also parted ways with Channel Awesome. So that’s 6 prominent internet reviewers/personalities who have left CA in this short space of time, and this wasn’t the first case of such departures: last year, Dena Netalli (Cyborcat) announced her departure from the site, and yet another producer, Chad Rocco (CR!) was fired from CA late last year. Two other notable producers, Allison Pregler (Obscurus Lupa) and Phelan Porteous (Phelous) had a VERY noticeably ugly breakup with Channel Awesome, and having watched their live stream this past New Year’s Eve, it’s clearly still a touchy subject with them; they and their friends spent a sizable portion of the stream mocking CA and its’ top brass. Yet another producer, Lindsay Ellis (the artist formerly known as the Nostalgia Chick–a title she never relished, BTW) cut ties with Channel Awesome a while ago. Another Chez Apocalypse producer, Kyle Kallgren (Oancitizen) likewise departed from CA some time ago.
I’ve never personally worked with Channel Awesome, so I don’t possess firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of the site, but I’ve heard things about how CA is run, and not all of them have been positive. (More detailed info on the inner turmoil at CA can be found in various places throughout the internet.) The basic gist of it is that Channel Awesome (formerly ThatGuyWithTheGlasses) is owned by one Mike Michaud and fronted by Doug Walker (the Nostalgia Critic), who’s basically the face of the site. Word is that Mr. Michaud isn’t the easiest person to work with; he’s known as something of a tyrant who’s not transparent with his dealings and interactions with his contributors, he’s known for being hard to get a hold of and he, Doug Walker and Doug’s brother Rob (a behind the scenes personality at CA) have been accused on numerous occasions of purposely focusing the site on just the Nostalgia Critic at the expense of the other producers and not paying or properly compensating–or even acknowledging–the other content creators or their contributions.
All of this news cuts me to the quick; I regularly watch and enjoy the content of many of these people. Several of them are what initially inspired me to want to go into video production (Phelous and Allison in particular are personal heroes of mine whose work I aspire to emulate in my own way). For a long time I fantasized about being part of an online entertainment hub like Channel Awesome or NormalBoots; presently as of this writing the only producers I follow who are still on CA are Mathew Buck (Film Brain), Tony Goldmark (Some Jerk with a Camera), Brad Jones (The Cinema Snob), Elisa Hansen (Maven of the Eventide), Joe Vargas (Angry Joe) and Eric Rodriguez (The Blockbuster Buster). Lewis’ departure was particularly shocking to me; I NEVER thought Linkara would ever leave CA. Don’t get me wrong, I know entertainment is a business and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, I’m not delusional, but to hear about all of this ugly business at CA and so many talented people getting burned and walking away from the site is just a tad disheartening, especially for someone like me who has only just now decided to follow in the footsteps of these amazingly talented individuals.
I guess it’s not so bad; at this point these folks have substantial followings as well as Patreon accounts, it’s not like any of them need Channel Awesome to survive. I follow most of their work on YouTube anyway.
Our plans for Twinsanity haven’t changed: we’re still going forward with video production; I can no longer avoid the fact that over time I’ve really become bored with just making text posts. Going back to Linkara, one of the things that gave me the incentive to try this new venture was when Lewis mentioned that started his internet career making text reviews before deciding to switch to videos after being inspired by the Nostalgia Critic and ThatGuyWithTheGlasses/Channel Awesome. I also still don’t think that aggregate sites like CA are a bad idea in principle, and would still like to be part of such a site if we can find a group of like-minded individuals (provided things are kept small and intimate; one of the many complaints people have with CA is that it’s run like a corporation rather than a community of friends like TGWTG was), but at this point it seems clear that Channel Awesome isn’t going to be that place. They’ll probably never ask me to join, but I’ve become very wary of CA now, this number of dissatisfied producers jumping ship on the site isn’t something to be ignored, Mike Michaud clearly doesn’t seem to give a crud about anyone not named Doug Walker.
This is not to spite those who have chosen to stay at Channel Awesome; they have their reasons for remaining loyal and if they can find success and gain followings there, then more power to them, nor is this meant to be a knock against Doug or Rob Walker; I still enjoy the Nostalgia Critic and the Walkers’ other videos (ironically I enjoy their Sibling Rivalries and Real Thoughts more then the NC videos these days), though there are other producers whose work I enjoy more, but for me the prospect of joining Channel Awesome, which used to be a dream of mine, has now just left a bad taste in my mouth.