State of Twinsanity – August 2019 and Beyond

OK, we haven’t done this in a while, but it’s high time to address the elephant in the room.

elephant-vector-clip-art-3279552

“Word!”

Lately there’s been very little going on here and a lot going on behind the scenes, and it’s time to address that, and what shape Twinsanity is going to be taking in the months to come.

As you may have noticed, neither of us have put up any blog posts in July, and this is the first one either of us have done in August. After returning from a self-imposed vacation early in the year, I thought I could resume blogging until we were ready to start video production (this past week we began comparing prices for green screens and back lights, and I we have to upgrade from the ‘starter’ camera we have to a more high-end one, just to keep you guys abreast of where we are on that), but no, I find that the longer I stay away from blogging, the harder it is to get back into it. I never want production here to lapse (Jason and I usually try to put up at least 1 post a month) but at the same time, the desire to move on to a different medium is just getting too hard to ignore. Not only do I no longer possess the desire to blog as of late, but I don’t even think in terms of blog posts anymore. I can’t force myself to do something that I really don’t want to do; when your enthusiasm isn’t there, your work reflects it, and I just have to face facts and be honest with not just you guys, but with myself: I don’t want to blog anymore. The spark just isn’t there.

This is not the end of Twinsanity, not by a long shot, but Twinsanity’s days of being a blog are indeed numbered. I can’t even pretend to want to continue making stuff in the blog format anymore. We started Twinsanity back in 2010, so we’ve been at this for nearly a decade. I still want to express myself creatively and share my ideas and opinions with others online, but I can’t do it this way anymore. After 9 years, I really feel like I’ve done all I can do on a blog; the blog format just doesn’t accommodate my visions and ideas anymore.

Jason and I have discussed this numerous times, and we agree that one of our biggest regrets this year was starting the Regular Show What the Funny and the Animal Jam Pop Dream, and it’s not because they’re bad, but we like to finish what we start and there are/were 6 entries planned for each of them. Right now I can’t imagine doing 1 more full-blown blog entry, let alone 5. We want to continue doing both of these miniseries, just not in blog form.

After our second or third year, we’ve wanted Twinsanity to be a visual experience, and now our desires have gotten too big for mere text with still pictures. I want to do stuff like this:

 

Or this:

 

Or this:

 

Or even this:

…And I just can’t do things like this on a blog. The format has become too confining and too limited.

The other reason we really want to move on from blogging is…

We want to be SEEN! From the get-go, Twinsanity has been manned by 2 people. It’s always been the 2 of us, Jason and myself. That’s why this site is called Twinsanity. From the day we first began posting stuff online, people have always suspected that we’re just one person; if they see us on-screen together, that’ll squash that notion once and for all. Going back to above videos I cited, Jason and I want to appear on screen together, we want to interact with one another, trade jokes, barbs, perform skits, etc., kind of like the Hudson Brothers (or the Lucas Brothers or the Sklar Brothers if you need a more modern reference), and again that just isn’t possible on a blog. On a blog it’s just the blogger talking to the readers. You can’t bounce lines and jokes off of another person on a blog. And as egotistical as it may sound, I want people to see me. I have a personality and a style that I’d like to share, and that just can’t be expressed with text on a page. I’m tired of being a faceless entity.

Finally, my desire to move to a more visual medium goes back to something we tried years ago. Back when we were still on Blogger, we had considered doing a fiction blog, but at the time we had nothing but the desire to do it. I have from time to time made some attempts at original fiction here, stuff like ‘Superhero City: A Visitor’s Guide’, ‘Hero: 108: Fast Forward’ and the Cyber City Nerdvanas,  and they can be seen as first attempts, but again, that’s something like, but not exactly like what I want to do on that front; I’d like to make original cartoons and artwork. In addition to writing, I also like to draw, though I’ve never posted any of my drawings online. As of right now, I don’t quite know how to post original artwork online or make digital drawings or art, but I’d like to learn. I no longer wish to just post random images on to the screen and force people to use their imaginations as to what they’re supposed to be looking at; I want to display my own artwork. At least now unlike before I have some ideas of what kind of stories and cartoons I could post. Over the past 2 years or so, Jason and I have been toying around with an idea for a cartoon show that’s been steadily growing over the past several months. I won’t go into huge detail, but the basic premise of the show is that it’s about these young twins who live with their family and their exotic talking pets on a tropical resort island in a fully automated mansion (did I mention that the family is crazy rich?), and adjacent to the mansion is this vast, savage untamed jungle land similar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, only with Beastly Kingdom in it (’cause there are creatures like dinosaurs, dragons, unicorns, pegasi and sea monsters in it as well) that the kids sometimes play, explore and frolic in. Think The Loud House meets Lilo & Stitch meets Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse meets Johnny Test meets those early ’00’s Danimals ads meets Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs, if that makes any sense (and I know it doesn’t). If we do indeed opt to actually make a fiction blog/site, it’ll be its’ own separate site, as we don’t want this one to get too cluttered.

Long story short: don’t expect another full-blown blog post with a ton of embedded images and clips from either of us anytime soon; I don’t want to neglect this site, but I can’t continue doing what I’ve been doing, at least not this way, the spark just isn’t there. I’ll try to keep you guys up to date on our progress, most likely via micro-blogs on Tumblr and site updates here (I’m not a social media person; I got tired of the endless bric-a-brac on message boards and I don’t go anywhere near Twitter or Facebook for a number of reasons, the least of which being how toxic the atmosphere is on those sites), but I can’t just go back to making blog posts, not even as we begin the process of overhauling things here. Not only do I just not want to continue the blog format, but while we have a lot of things planned, they either don’t accommodate the blogging format or we simply don’t wish to waste our best material on blog posts. As I said, we’ll keep you posted on what happens as it happens; you’ll know we’re ready to roll when you come here and notice Twinsanity sporting a new look and a new theme; we’ll be upgrading the site once the new format  and new material are presentable. The blog posts we’ve already made will be archived for those who want to revisit them.

I know how annoying this roller coaster trip has been, but I assure you, it’s going to be worth it; when Twinsanity returns in its’ new format, it will be bigger and better than it’s ever been.

Yearly Wrap-Up 2018

2019

Regular followers of Twinsanity know the drill here: this is the last blog post of the year, wherein we give a summation of what the year’s been like for us, and give you guys a brief update of what to expect from Twinsanity in the upcoming year. December 2nd is admittedly pretty early to be doing the annual wrap-up, but if you’ve been following us you know why this in all likelihood will be the final blog post we’re going to make in 2018, and possibly beyond aside from news and site updates (hey, like this one!).

First, the unpleasant stuff: some unexpected life events from late 2017 (none of which relate directly to the site so I’d prefer to not disclose them here, hope you understand) spilled over into 2018, which made putting up content challenging, to put it mildly. I’m not going to lie, 2018 was not a very good year for me overall; things got so chaotic for us that we both felt it was necessary to take a temporary break from blogging until things chilled out for us in real life. It was an emotional roller coaster nightmare.

While we were on hiatus, one of the things that got me through this rough patch…

deadmau5-blue

Aside from my newfound love of Electronic Dance Music…

..was watching videos from my favorite content creators. Big ups to Phelan Porteous, Allison Pregler, Tony Goldmark, Andre Meadows, Trent Troop & Greg Sepelak, Charlie and Hailey Callahan, Bob Chipman, Doug and Rob Walker,  Lewis Lovhaug, James Rolfe, Chris Stuckmann and DigiValentine. You guys don’t know me, but you all helped me get through a difficult period in my life. Not only that, but you also helped to re-ignite my creative spirit. Thanks for that.

When things finally calmed down, we thought we could just go back to blogging and everything would be business as usual; we posted some blog posts, even started a new segment (Brain Candy) and started new What The Funny and Pop Dream segments, only to discover that we’d been bitten by the video bug and were no longer interested in continuing the standard text format. We had been planning to upgrade this site and its’ content for some time, and our lack of enthusiasm for blogging has only served to reinforce that notion. 2019 will the year that Twinsanity makes the jump from text to video.

I’m not going to elaborate on what we’re planning to do video-wise since we’ve already covered this in the last 2 posts. I will however, give you the latest news on how all that is going: the good news is that our brother Chaz, himself a YouTuber (his channel can be found here–please check him out, like, share, subscribe and all that good stuff) has graciously offered to assist us in our venture, showing us how to edit and so forth, and in return we’ll be helping him out, as he wants to put up more content and additional editors will definitely benefit him in that regard. The bad news is that with the ebb and flow of schedules and funds being what they are, compounded by these freaking holidays on top of that, you definitely won’t be seeing any of the new stuff until next year, but it’s not like we haven’t been doing any work during this period, we most certainly have; new Twinsanity material is coming, we promise. Just be patient.

As stated elsewhere previously, when Twinsanity returns and the videos start coming out, we’ll also be changing the theme (as in appearance, not content) of the site; it turns out that the theme we’re currently using (Shaan) has been retired, so it’s fortunate that we were planning to change the theme anyway.

To sum up, once again thank you to all who have stuck with us and our craziness. We really appreciate your viewership, patience, comments and input. My hope is for 2019 to be a much better, more stable and more productive year for us and the Twinsanity, and if all goes well, we’ll realize our dream of making Twinsanity bigger and better than it’s ever been before. So since we likely won’t be posting anything new until after January, we hope you all have a happy holiday season and a safe and prosperous new year.

Marshmello

Keep on groovin’.

Coming Attractions…and Leaving Producers

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.

Channel Awesome Logo

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.

2015 Progress Report

Hey, guys. I just thought I’d let you all know how things are coming along with those plans to revise the site that we mentioned at the tail end of 2014.

We’re about to blow up!

There will be videos. As of this writing, we’re still in the germinal stages of video making; they’re baby steps, but we’re making progress. Our brother Chaz (aka CJP of the Otaku Gamer Spot) has been giving us some pointers and we’re taking tutorials and watching instructional videos on how to do it and the right programs and software to choose, etc., so yes, original videos for this site will be happening. Our first attempts at video making will undoubtedly suck and suck hard, but you have to not be afraid to suck because that’s how you learn. If all goes well, expect the original videos to increase and the actual typed blogs here to decrease; in fact, I’ve been thinking of relegating the actual blogs to their own separate category, they’ll likely just cover site news and announcements and the few newsy type articles which don’t require a full video. Generally speaking, if it features visuals and jokey-jokes, it will done as a video rather than a blog article. We’re still mulling over choices for a video host; right now it looks like we’ll go with YouTube as our main host but also have a backup host in case YouTube decides to act funny regarding images and clips (we do plan to feature cutaways and such in the videos); right now we’re considering Dailymotion as a backup host, but if anybody has any suggestions or recommendations, please share your wisdom with us. We can use all the help we can get.

Now as for the content: in an earlier article when we revived and revised the Reviews on the Run segments, Jason (Goldstar) mentioned how the reviews need not be for a series as a whole: they could be about a specific character or a specific episode or even a specific scene from a particular episode. When we launch the videos, expect them to follow this standard. Additional inspiration comes from our friend Hobbyfan’s blog Saturday Morning Archives, in that we’re only going to cover the subjects that we choose to cover, regardless of whether they’re currently on the air or not. I try not to let myself become “time warped”, one of those people who allows themselves to get locked into one particular era, but at the same time, I admit that I have eclectic, almost esoteric tastes and simply lack the desire to try to follow everything that comes down the pike. As Goldstar noted, trying to please everyone by trying to cover everything was both time consuming and physically draining and we definitely won’t be going back to that.

The best way I can describe what I have in mind for the videos is something similar to the Nostalgia Critic (Doug Walker)’s commercial videos, only done as an on ongoing series so we can cover one thing at a time instead of several all at once and they can cover other topics such as cartoons, video games, sketches and products as well. Phelous, Calluna and Mike J’s videos are also indicative of what we hope to accomplish with the vids. I’d love to do the kind of stuff that Tony Goldmark (Some Jerk with a Camera) does but with varying topics. That’s the hope anyway.

Don’t worry, folks; the cartoon subjects won’t be going away. We’ll still be talking toons here, animation is and always has been a BIG part of our lives and that’ll likely never change, but we would like to branch out into other subjects as well (the 2 Funny and Nerdvana segments were born from this desire).

There will be riffs. As previously mentioned, I’d also like for us to do riffs on this site, kind of like Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Shorts videos, but as a series. We probably will do some 1950’s instructional type videos like Chicken of Tomorrow and Design for Dreaming type stuff sometimes, but I don’t want those to be our primary target because Rifftrax and The Isle of Rangoon pretty much have that domain covered, plus there are just other things I’d like to riff on. Ideally, I’d like for us to do riffs on cartoon shorts and episodes, TV shows and specials, commercials, movie trailers, etc., anything involving cartoons, costumed mascots, puppety oddballs or anything really campy and outlandish. Think Retsuprae tackling other things besides video games and you have the basic idea of what I’d like to accomplish with the riffs.

Hopefully, there will be cartoons. This idea is even more beta than the videos, but nonetheless it’s something I’d like for us to do in the future: original cartoons, either as web comics or possibly original animations. We have 1 idea that’s been in the planning stages for some time now; it’s sort of our take on the Johnny Test premise but with more Girl Power and very pro-STEM. Another idea we’re toying with is the Wild Cartoon Kingdom/Eat or Get Ate thing that we joked about previously but have since decided to actuallly pursue as a project, so we’ll see where things go from there. If all goes well with those, we may be giving the cartoons their own site, like what we planned to do with Twinsanity Toons: original cartoons.

So yeah, it may or may not look like it, but things are happening on that end. Expect Twinsanity to get more video-oriented and visual and less text-heavy in the coming months. We’ve been doing the site more or less the same way for 5 years now, and I just feel like it’s ready for a makeover. I’d like to see this site become bigger and better than it’s ever been. Our dream is for Twinsanity to become a fun site full of entertaining videos where we celebrate the stuff we like, cartoons and other things. Just good times and big laughs all around. We’ll keep you all posted as things progress, in the meantime…