Always Open, produced by Rooster Teeth’s Barbara Dunkleman, Just Resonates With Me

Lightning facts:

I’ve been part of the RT community for close to 11 years now

Barbara has been part of that community for longer than that, has now worked for RT for several years, and this is the first show she has ever produced.

The pilot episode for Always Open aired 9/1/16 for FIRST members of RoosterTeeth.com

I phuqing love this show.

And that is not putting down the other shows that RT has produced over the years. I love them as well, and I will do whatever I can to support them. But Always Open speaks to me on many levels. It doesn’t even feel like a show or a podcast. It feels like a genuine conversation that friends are having. Even the camerawork feels more organic. It’s fluid, it keeps your attention, and it catches the more unnoticeable mannerisms you would only normally see if you were part of the actual conversation. I really don’t know how else to explain the technical aspects of Always Open, but there you go. Some of the reasons why this show speaks to me:

1) I like that the feel of the show isn’t “MEN SUCK” or “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR”. It’s just friends who happen to be women who are talking about whatever the hell they want to talk about. Sure there is some structure as far as answering questions and such, but you don’t feel the stress of needing to address as many questions as possible. The atmosphere is super laid back and fun. Nothing seems forced at all. This show very much reminds me of hanging out with my friends and not having a care in the world.

2) Because the first episode featured an all-female cast, it resonated with me more. That’s just a very natural reaction to have. Ladies, especially women who are good friends, really do talk about this kind of stuff with each other. The stigma that women have to be proper and appropriate all the time goes out the window. These conversations are real conversations. You want to talk about relationships? Bring it. You want to talk about farts? Let’s do it.

3) The diversity. This is so important, especially for today’s audience. Yes, the cast in the first episode is all-female, but my god, the diversity was astounding. You have four women, who are very different from each other in every way. You have a difference of ethnicity, backgrounds, sexual orientation, and walks of life. And they blend beautifully. I cannot praise this aspect of the show enough. IT IS SO GOOD TO SEE ALL OF THIS IN ONE SPOT.

4) Impact on the community and viewers. I think this is a really healthy show in general. There are so many in the community who look up to these lovely ladies, so having their own show is quite empowering. It’s no secret that many see them as role models. Seeing them all in one setting will definitely make a bigger impact and stronger influence for the better. Again, this is not a knock against men or the men of RT, but I think it’s important for young women to see these conversations and understand that they are perfectly normal. It’s okay to joke around with your friends and that it’s possible to find and establish that kind of relationship with another person where you can be yourself and you won’t be judged for it.

Just talking with community members throughout the years at RTX and through the forums, I know there are many people who shrink away from their full potential because they feel they may just not fit “the norm”. I always encourage people to embrace who they are, work to become better people than who they are in present day, and change the world for the better. I want to see people bring their best, and I want to see them grow, and I want them to never forget who they are in the process.

These ladies have done this and continue to do so. I think that’s worth supporting and backing. Cheers, ladies.

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Day 5. Four + Years in the Making

Haven’t seen Day 5 yet? I encourage you to do so. The series is such a huge milestone for RT as a whole because of its larger scope and the core nature of Day 5 is something RT has never produced in the past. If you’ve been a part of the community for the last few years, you know the ups and downs of the news that surrounded Day 5. If you attended RTX 2012, you may have been part of the what is now dubbed the “Joel episode” aka Episode 4 as an extra.

Back then, I didn’t know much about Day 5 at all. I was a regular weekend attendee for RTX and RT was asking for hundreds of extras to walk a street they had blocked off for a scene. Direction was simple. Walk and talk like normal, and when the signal was given, fall to the ground and don’t move until instructed. I think we did that about 5-6 times. We had to be “on set” around 6AM, I think. Probably earlier. Ben (y’all remember Ben!?) was directing our portion of the street. I couldn’t even hear what he was saying despite the fact he was using a megaphone to coordinate people, but all we needed to know was when he shouted, we were to hit the ground. It was amazing. Everyone was ON POINT. It was a simple task, but seeing and hearing hundreds of people “faint” at the same exact time was something I will never forget.

I even got to faint next to this cutie!

And I got so dirty. This was after the second fall, I believe.

We were asked to wear non-branded clothing, and I remember wearing a light blue, sleeveless, shirt. There was a baby chick on the front and it was wearing glasses. Caption read “Nerdy Chicks Rule”. Silly, I know.

But after that, I enjoyed RTX just like everyone else. I lost touch with Day 5 happenings after that. I think we all did. It seemed like it would never happen, so it was shelved for the time being. It was a little upsetting because I knew RT wanted to do something with it, but it was just not in the cards at the time.

Now, years later, we find out that Day 5 has life again! So exciting. Of course, we still didn’t know much about it, but who cared! Day 5 was coming and we were excited to see what could be done with it. Then Lazer team hit the big screen. I remember sitting in the audience, watching all the RT previews of new content. And then we saw DAY 5 flash across the screen. We cheered. And then we saw that it was meant to be a series. And people lost their damn minds. That was so cool to hear.

The finale of Day 5 will make its debut this weekend. If you’ve been meaning to check out the 6 episode series, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a bold move by RT and it is a welcome and refreshing one. Yes, we are used to seeing and hearing adult jokes, humor and “cartoon” violence, but Day 5’s platform brings realism to a whole new level. Everything about it is solid: the acting, the writing, the direction. Just give episode 1 a look and you will know exactly what I mean. I’m so happy I got to see this come to fruition.

Josh Flanagan and Chris Demarais have done a magnificent job with this series, and I cannot wait to see the finale. Special shoutout to Aaron Marquis for making it rain recently. Matt and Burnie should give you all raises 😉

But seriously, Josh, Chris… incredibly happy and proud of you both. Now give me season 2. Kthxbai. ❤

RT Vegas Community Plays: Pokemon Go!

For those who are unfamiliar with other shenanigans I participate in, I also host community events within the Rooster Teeth community. The 15th of every month has been dubbed #RTCommunityDay. Since Pokemon Go is fairly new and Saturday the 16th was when most people were available this month, we decided to head over to a local park and try our hand at Pokemon Go.

It was a lot of fun! I mean a LOT of fun. There aren’t many instances where we can go out and meet other people with such a strong and immediate common ground tying us together, but it happened. Towards the end of the night, all of us were trying to take down a gym, and we found new comrades and friends who helped us. (YEAH, VALOR, but for real, Instinct kicked our asses…)

If you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to give Pokemon Go a shot. However, please be careful when playing it. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of other people around you, and use common sense on when and when not to play it.

I am pleasantly surprised by the number of people who were open to friendly conversation. This game is really changing how people interact with one another. At least for the time being. Really looking forward to another Pokemon Go outing.  Enjoy the vid, and I will see you guys in the next livestream!

Less than three you all!

 

Extra Life continues on until the end of the year!

Rooster Teeth had a big day for their Extra Life livestream. It is always phenomenal to watch them do their thing, and it’s even better to see the community come together and absolutely destroy the donation goals set by Jack and Caiti.

As you know, many community members, including myself, are raising donations as well. This year, my personal goal is $1500, and I am leading a small team with a team goal of $2000.

I will be doing my own livestream this weekend, mostly likely starting out with the Alien Isolation DLC because you know… I am entertaining as hell when I’m scared out of my mind. I will also be livestreaming Fallout 4 as well. Fair warning, I will probably take two hours just on character creation.

I have currently raised $680 of my $1500 goal and I am still going strong! Just remember, if you donate $15 or more, you will get entered into a raffle for the following prizes:

And very recently, I came into this gem.

It doesn’t have all RT signatures, but it has a crapton of them.

So if you are still able to donate, please help me make it to my personal goal. You can donate here If you cannot donate because you kicked so much ass by helping other Extra Lifers, I humbly ask if you can share my page.

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far. You truly made my birthday memorable and wonderful, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time, donating your money, and spreading the word about my Extra Life page to help make my birthday wish come true.

I have few memories of Monty Oum, but they are all good and treasured

All of the staff members at Rooster Teeth are so giving of their time to their fans and community that it makes you wonder how they possibly had the energy to add a unique 40+ hour job to their weeks. That can really be said of Monty Oum more than anyone else. I saw Dead Fantasy 2 first before I saw any of his other work. Even now, that video is still mesmerizing and my mind is blown every time I try to process how much creativity and effort it took to make just one of his videos.

Social media has always been a sanctuary for my mind (which is a watered down way of saying I’m addicted to it), so I naturally followed as many RT staff members on Twitter as I could. It wasn’t just their work work that was fascinating but each of them were their own person and had vastly different personalities. When you step back and see them as separate people from their camera embodiments, you see them in a whole different light. Monty in particular, however, was quite the same although it was apparent that he would have hundreds and probably thousands of 140 characters conversations if he could. It was there that I started interacting with him, and I was always surprised when he would respond back. He has admitted on more than one occasion that he wished he had more time to connect with his followers, but he hoped that pouring himself into his work for everyone’s enjoyment helped make up for that.

My first impressions of Monty (prior to personally meeting him) was that he was stoic and robotic. I thought work was all he cared about because it was all he did. But as I observed his work over time, I realized other things about him. He loved to dance, he loved macarons and Cambodian Chicken Stir Fried Curry, he affectionately trolled other RT staff, and holy shit was he fashionable. I went through my Twitter archive trying to find little interactions here and there I had with Monty. And while they were very short and fleeting moments in the grand picture of life, I cherish them. I will not hide the fact that I fangirled a tiny bit at the beginning of our friendship.

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I attended RTX 2012 as a regular attendee. I wasn’t able to see everyone I wanted or get their autographs/pictures, and I missed Monty completely. That was going to change at RTX 2013.  Of course, like every RTX attendee, I was excited to head over to Austin and enjoy the festivities. So when the time came again to prepare for RT related shenanigans:

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I met Monty for the first time at the RT Sidequest charity auction, and I made good on my promise to hug him. I literally ran across the room, shouted his name and promptly glomped him. Part of me was afraid I would trip over something and fall flat on my face, but I was going to see someone I admired and adored, so I didn’t care. During this time, I was becoming more involved with the RT community and even hosted my first RT Vegas event. This community became my family. I saw the staff members as actual friends, fun people I could talk to and have a good time with. I don’t remember what I said to Monty, but he laughed and it was an awesome, genuine laugh. It was then that I realized how down to earth he was. Brilliant mind that he had, he was very easy to talk to. Fellow RT community member BaghdadBean caught the moment and I am beyond grateful.

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RT Sidequest Charity Auction 2013

First impression after meeting Monty was HOLY F*** this guy dresses so much better than me. Everything he had on was utilized to perfection. I don’t even know how he came up with that collaboration, but he was classy and he wasn’t afraid to show it. It was my first time being a Guardian at RTX that year and I was honored to be chosen as part of the PA team. The ongoing joke was that Monty probably had an elaborate outfit for each day of the con. That totally was not a joke when RTX rolled around. I grabbed one final picture with him when RTX officially ended. The staff stayed behind to spend time and talk to all the Guardians when the con closed. It was their way of showing appreciation for all the work that was done over the weekend. My interaction with Monty was short, but unforgettable.

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Fast forward to PAX East 2014, I ran into Monty again through mutual friends and that was the first time I met Sheena. Pictures of them together cannot possibly convey how adorable they are in person. Monty was always private about his romantic life, and it was at that time I saw an affectionate side to him, so it was pretty obvious that Sheena was very special to him. He introduced us, and I remember thinking “wow… Monty Oum knows my name.” It sounds silly, but when someone you highly respect acknowledges you, there is a feeling of elation. I was helping out a friend with a Mass Effect panel and photoshoot, and Monty and Sheena mentioned they would try to stop by the shoot to say hi. They did. RT had a booth at PAX East, so they were busy, but they took the time to chat for a bit. Few words were exchanged due to time, but the gesture remained. In the back of my mind, I thought, “geez, you guys don’t have to take out of your day for someone like me. I’m a nobody” but their actions proved they never saw people in their community that way.

Then came RWBY. The team was always working late, working around the clock to meet their deadlines. There was so much love poured into RWBY, and I think I enjoyed it more than a lot of anime/animated shows out there because I essentially saw it born. I knew the talented minds behind the show and they shared quite a bit of the creative process with us. Later that year, I attended DragonCon, and I was so happy to see RWBY cosplay. RT didn’t have a presence since PAX Prime was happening at the exact same time, but I tried to remind Monty, Miles and Kerry any time I could that their work was appreciated.

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Vine can be found here. The cosplayers were so happy that there was a chance for Monty to see their cosplay even if only via video. I wish Monty was there to see them in person. It was quite adorable. When I think about it, that must be a creator’s ultimate joy, no? To make something and to see people gravitate toward it, embrace it, and display their love for it in various ways.

On to RTX 2014. I was chosen as a freelancer PA, so I helped out staff wherever and whenever they needed assistance. Monty was the only one to cause me a slight heart attack. Basic summary, he had an animation panel to speak at, and he was nowhere to be found. Frantic, I was running around the convention center trying to find him while his PA stayed at the panel room in case he popped up. Head Guardian, SailorTweek caught up with me and asked me if I was okay. Frustrated, all I could yell was F***ing ASIANS! and ran off again. At least that got a good laugh. Finally, Monty text that he was going to panel room. I informed his PA to wait in the back hallways to stand by and minutes pass… she responds she still hasn’t seen him. I poke my head into the panel room, and I see someone in a blond wig sitting in the center of the stage. Apparently, Monty went through the front door. That dude loved to make an entrance.

RTX 2014 was the last time I saw him. It’s taken me a bit of time to write all this. I scroll up, reading the rough draft, and I am grateful to have these memories of him. They are so few compared to the close friends he had, so I cannot even imagine what gems they have to talk about. There will never be another Monty Oum. What he achieved in his short life, many could not achieve in three lifetimes. Not only that, but he encouraged that same type of passion, even demanded it of those he worked with. He was kind and he was also a hard ass depending on what was needed of him. He brought hope to those who were down on themselves, he motivated others when they needed that extra push. Like a sneaky ninja, he would swoop in and bring a smile to your face, then smoke bomb away for a few weeks.

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He had a good sense of humor. Troll that he was…

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He was appreciative when kindness was bestowed upon him even though you kinda wonder what the hell happened to his grammar (I sent macarons to the RWBY team).

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Most of all, he left us all with such an awe-inspiring legacy. His passion is unmatched and his influence on others is impossible to overlook. He brought out the best in everyone around him. He wanted to inspire, to create, to raise the bar each time because he wanted more than the sky’s limit. And in his short life, he achieved that. If you love him, that’s fantastic, if you don’t care for him, most likely, you at the very least respect his work. He is probably one of the most successful people I will have ever known. And he is probably one of the wealthiest. Based on the reports from RT, he was surrounded by those who loved him very much. To me, that is greater than any monetary value one can possess. To be surrounded in love, to do what you love, to be loved for what you do, and to express love to those closest to you… that is a successful life. And beyond that, he may be gone, but thousands of memories of him are being written and they are creating paths for other creative minds. That’s the Oum legacy.

And when he wasn’t tweeting about work, he showed great wisdom.

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One of these days, Monty, we will meet again. And I cannot wait to see what you’ve been cooking up while you were away.

Let’s Play Live – February 20 in Austin, TX. Prepare your bodies

It’s all right if you have to ask “what is Let’s Play Live?”

Take the concept of Let’s Plays (videos that showcase playthroughs/walkthroughs of video games) and combine that with a powerhouse entertainment team who are highly lively and fun. Achievement Hunter, in conjunction to Rooster Teeth, is well known for their online content featuring Let’s Plays, How Tos, team tournaments and a bunch of various series all focusing on video games. They will be hosting a live event on February 20, 2015 at 8:00PM CST and tickets are still on sale! You can purchase them here. Not only will they be taking the stage, but the show itself will be three hours long (whoo hoo!) and there will be opportunities to meet them after the show. Who knows, you may even find yourself being invited on stage to join in on the shenanigans.There is also going to be exclusive merch available at the show, so make sure that you get your hands on some so you can show off that you were there.

See the official trailer here.

As of now, the AH members who will be rocking our socks are:

Gavin Free

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Geoff Ramsey

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Jack Patillo

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Michael Jones

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Ray Narvaez Jr.

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Ryan Haywood

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Prepare for an awesome night filled with video games, fun, laughter, and community love. If you are in the area or looking for ideas for on-the-fly weekend vacations, come on out and meet everyone!  I guarantee you will have a fantastic time and you will be meeting a ton of amazing people. For those who are on the fence about attending, take this as an opportunity to prepare for RTX. Meet community members, make new friends, and become part of the RT family.

For more info or to watch their videos, head on over to their official site and/or their YouTube channel.