Thursday, April 3, 2014

Full Measures

A lot of comments and speculation have been floating around the last year or so regarding our untimely disappearance, none of which didn't affect me. I've read all of them. Yes, ALL of them, and I understand where many of you were coming from when those were posted. I know you have questions, so I'll break this down succinctly in order of personal importance.

1.) What happened to you guys?

It was a mix of several factors at once. At the time, I was still working nights at my old job. It was less than ideal, but I was making do with what I had at the time. Around late June, Kaiga12 (formerly Sheldon Delano Killer) and I had finished scripting and recording most of MSGA 22. Yes, that's right: we were working on the episode's core for some time. Episode 22 was a strange animal, since it involved Mirai taking command of White Base after Bright collapses form exhaustion on the bridge. It meant flushing out a lot about Mirai's character as well and where her strange mannerisms may be coming from. It wasn't perfect, so the process was one of constant revision up until early July.

The culprits: Intermittently worked (left), spun up very slow (centers), and
ceased working all together (right).

And that's when it happened.

As many of you know, I haven't had the best luck with hard drives. In fact, I think I've gone through more HDDs than I do pairs of socks. That just seems to be the nature of heavy video editing. But what caught me off guard this time was all FOUR of my HDDs began failing. That's 4.75 TB of data seemingly inaccessible almost instantly. In a panic, I overnighted a Samsung 500GB SDD, just to try and save my OS partition.

It worked, mostly. I was able to keep my computer alive, but it meant my editing and archive drives couldn't be used. I was disheartened and demoralized to the point where I didn't even want to look at the Channel for the rest of that month. I'd been actively pushing Kaiga, Ravage, and Revy forward with breathing life back into MSGA that to have it all taken away from me so suddenly was... Those that've been following me on Twitter know of the details, but sufficed to say I wanted nothing to do with MSGA for a very long time. So, I put the HDDs in storage until I could figure out what to do with them.

Fast forward to three weeks ago. Since last October, I'd left my job at Rural/Metro Medical Services for a position at Geek Squad. In that time, I'd learned enough about servicing problematic hardware and software to begin diagnosing my own situation. Theoretically, I had a chance to get back most of what I had stored away, but it was going to be a dice roll.

For the most part, it was a success. The first HDD's heads weren't making contact with the disk anymore, meaning it would cost me $900 to get anything off of it. The second and third drives were slow to spin up, but I was able to get everything off of them. The last HDD was intermittently dropping connectivity. I managed to pull off what I could before it finally shut down for good. In total, I was able to retrieve 1.2 TB from the 4.75 TB I originally had. A small victory, but a victory none the less. That is, until this happened.

This is the error I keep getting when I open an older project.
For whatever reason, none of my old projects would open, which meant the twenty or so hours I had invested in MSGA 22 were out of my reach, again. In fact, all of my old MSGA projects wouldn't open, meaning I couldn't work on anything, despite my improved situation. So once again, I shoved it aside and put my mind on something else. What I didn't expect was where it would end up.

It was a Wednesday. Revy, Ravage, and I had come back from our second viewing of the Lego Movie. Jokingly, I mentioned to them that April Fool's day was a few weeks away and maybe we should do something for it. MSGA had left a bad taste in our mouths for the last year, so I reiterated that whatever we were going to do would NOT be Gundam related. We threw ideas around for twenty or so minutes, but every time, we kept coming back to one particular series that we'd always wanted to revisit: Patlabor. There was still one major problem though, one of a goatly nature.

2.) What happened to Unwardil?

We honestly don't know. The last time any of us had contact with him was two years ago, just after Episode 19 was released. That's part of the reason it was delayed for so long. We didn't want to recast him, just in case he did come back. It took almost a whole year before we finally moved on, and thanks to Takahata101, we were able to release Episode 20 and 21. Whatever happened to him though, I do hope he's alright and that someday he resurfaces.

Revy consuming Doritos while doing a sound check.
The sound check was subsequently ruined.
His continued absence presented a second problem, one that meant we couldn't go through with Patlabor until it was addressed. Captain Goto, formerly played by Unwardil, needed to be recast. The problem we faced was finding someone that could match not only his range, but his tone. It's one thing to act like you don't give a damn, but it's entirely another to make it convincing. We had three or four people in mind, but it was Revy once again that came through.

"Why not GanXingba? He is and asshole."

And then Gan became our new Goto.

3.) I really enjoyed your April Fool's Day video! Are you going to continue Patlabor?

Yes. Very yes. 

The new GWS Editing Suite, complete with Arnold Palmer.
This is the brainchild of Revy and I, where she handles 90% of the writing and I handle 90% of the editing. She's also the project lead this time around, meaning I can focus on directing and editing while she handles the characters and flow. It's a lot less stressful this time around, let me tell you. This also gives me the change to get my hands on the Blu-Ray transfers of the TV Series, which look fantastic I might add. Special thanks go out to Anime eXtreme in Toronto for being the only store to have volumes 1 & 2 on hand.
 The two of us love Patlabor and we've wanted to tackle it again with our current arsenal of knowledge and resources. Needless to say, I think we did alright.

4.) Will you be continuing MSGA?

That's... a tough question to answer. There's a lot of really hostile emotions associated with MSGA and its current situation. If I was to start work on Episode 22 once again, I would not be having fun. Truthfully, I haven't had fun writing or working on MSGA since Episode 18. It became a chore that I subjected the rest of GWS to ever month or so. The reason to continue stopped being "Come on, let's go write something fun" and became "Come on, let's just get through this so we can start having fun again."

Ravage (left) and Revy (center) waiting to begin recording.
But it didn't, and I had to push every step of the way to get something released. Our writing team of me, Kaiga, Ravage, Revy, and Itachi was reduced solely to me, along with all the organization. I admit that a lot of MSGA's disappearance was due to burn out, but its primary factor was because it simply was not fun anymore. Almost five years ago, I made a statement to the rest of GWS, saying:
 "If at any point we're not having fun, we're stopping. I don't want us to feel like we're obligated to do this, especially since this is a hobby." It was unanimous feeling, and it's one that I've been acting on the last month.

Will we be continuing MSGA? Someday. Not today, though.

5.) Our Messiah has returned! The Resurrection is at hand!

I've seen this pop up several times, so I feel the need to address it as well. I'm flattered. We're flattered, but that metaphor's pushing it a bit too much. I haven't been following the Abridged Community for a very long time, as you are all well aware. It's drama that frankly none of us wanted to be sucked into or associated with. We're cool doing collaborative work with others, don't get me wrong, but not when it gets blown out of proportion. I understand Abridging is on life-support, if not waiting to be pronounced dead. In fact, I could probably count on one hand how many people still actively update from when GWS first started off.

Is this a bad thing? Not really.
Ravage is NOT a Brony. He's just weird.

Put this in perspective: Patlabor was a fresh start for us. It's wiping the slate clean and starting new with something we want to do. There will be a second episode, a third, and even possibly a forth. The point is, we've found enjoyment with writing, voicing, and producing a parody series again. We all have jobs, and Kaiga and I have gone back to school for Computer Science. We are not without responsibilities in our lives, but we've found the time to do in two weeks what used to take us a YEAR to accomplish.

There are as many different types of humor out there as there are people in this world, so what's stopping you from sharing that with others? What's stopping you from taking the plunge? Think about that.

Itachi (Left), Kaiga (Next Left), Shaz (Center), Revy (Next Right), and Ravage (Right)
I hope this article has answered most of your questions. If there's anything I missed, feel free to comment or respond.  Feel free to follow any of us on Twitter in the meantime.

Shaz (@ShazMyBot)
Kaiga (@Kaiga12)
Ravage (@AlphaRavage)
Revy (@RevyMoonshine)
Itachi (@itachi1989)

Talk at ya later,
- The Townsfolk


  1. I'm happy you rekindled your passion for abridging Shaz by making Patlabor Abridged. Personally I don't think abridging is dead (TFS and several others are still active), I think it needs a rekindling and some new material. What you need is some time away from MSGA to think, reflect, and rewrite. I hope that one day you can rekindle the fun you once lost in making MSGA. Here's a video that might help

  2. As a huge Mobile Suit Gundam fan, it's hard to hear that MSGA is being be put aside. However your reasons are completely valid and it's wonderful that you guys have found new inspiration. Thank you for pushing through despite the challenges and finishing with the monopoly Rambal-Ral arc (it came to a nice end). I look forward to viewing whatever your team chooses to release in the future (I quite enjoyed the April Fools episode!).

    - Joe A.

  3. Eh, too bad about the hard drives. If you needed to pay for recovery services, I would have gladly chipped in, though that may have made it feel more like an obligation, which in turn would have made it even less fun to do.
    Regardless, I have gotten hours of enjoyment from your series in the past, and I look forward to anything you continue to do. Thanks again for all you do!

  4. I'm just happy that y'all are still around and haven't gone completely.

    I am also a huge Gundam fan, and although I'm saddened that MSGA won't continue for awhile, I fully understand. That's simply how it is when you're a creator; if you lose passion, it'll be very obvious from your product, and that's no way to live.

    I look forward to your new work. Good luck with your endeavors.