While it is true that movie and TV critics as well as journalists have been around critiquing the good and bad of all things media, it's only gotten much bigger through the advent on the Internet with websites such as BuzzFeed, Pop Sugar, Destructoid, MoviePilot, etc. and people like James Rolfe and Doug Walker back when social media sites like YouTube were just starting. Now, they are able to make a living discussing about the good and mostly bad movies, TV shows, and video games. For the past decade, people have been wanting to see if they could make their name out there just mostly for the sake of getting the same amount of attention and notoriety just like them. Most of them came and went just as quickly. Others who had the same passion for movies, TV shows, and video games would continue on with various success. Those people would influence other people to go out there and try posting online content whether it be via videos, blog articles, or podcasts. My major influences for content creation came from websites such as GameTrailers, ScrewAttack, PBC Production, and Retroware TV.
As a very young kid, I would tell you that, before meeting Kevin, my best friends were the TV, books, and video games. It was a massive struggle to make friends in school and in my neighborhood and I would even be teased or completely ignored by my peers. In my spare time, I would be watching my favorite shows or movie ad nauseum or read my favorite books over and over again. As time went on, I knew so much about them that I would tell them to everyone around me. Most of them didn't really care and teased me for being a know-it-all nerd. I mostly kept to myself and wrote stories a lot. When meeting up with Kevin at school, we had the same interests and would hang out together after lunch or on field trips talking about our favorite shows Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Fox Kids, Kids WB, or the latest Goosebumps books. Then eventually in 2011, Old School Lane was founded and we talked about our interests in articles, then eventually we did podcasts in 2012, and posted videos around 2014 to expand our content. We had our major accomplishments and downfalls over the past 4 1/2 years, so let's start with our pros.
1. Discussing about topics that made us happy to make other people feel happy. I cannot tell you that over the past few years, it makes us excited when we get an occasional comment on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or here on this blog saying that they loved our content talking about their favorite shows or movies. A prime example that I've been seeing over the past few months have been the videos posted for As Told by Ginger Month. Years ago, I thought that I was the only person who had a deep love and appreciation for the show. But then, back in October of 2015 when I first posted the debut episode of From Pilot to Final Product on the Nicktoon, I've received comments and messages from fans of the show saying "Thank you" for talking about the show. It's been such an amazing experience seeing people sharing their memories of their favorite moments of the show or seeing the warm responses saying that they appreciate me taking the time on how much of an overlooked gem it was. Whether we talk about Nickelodeon shows or not, it's always wonderful seeing people from all over taking the time on talking about their favorite things about the topics we discuss about. What's even better is showcasing shows or movies that people have never heard of and people looking at our content and thanking us for introducing them on something new. That is incredibly satisfying to know that we've helped them discover a hidden treasure.
2. The friends we've made over the years because our online content. Old School Lane has been associated with a handful of sites ever since its inception, but our longest one so far has been the website Manic Expression. Since February 2012, Manic Expression has helped us post our content to their site for the members to see. Over time, we've befriended many of the members there such as the founder James, Decker Shado, That Long Haired Creepy Guy, Jim Bevan, Jashykins, AlextheD, Kyle, TheOtherDude, Brekclub85, Some Jerk from Boston, Jockerlee, Gurning Chimp, BigBlackHatMan, The Fanfic Critic, and more. Then there are some who are new to the site and I've befriended them such as Jaimetud, Norty, RowdyC, The Cartoon Hero, T Kun, and more. Some have moved on with their own lives and don't post online anymore. Others are still around. In a time where I was unemployed and depressed, the people over at the site have supported my work and have even guest starred on Casual Chats with me as well as collaborated with me on our content. Eventually, they became my friends and then my 2nd family. Sometimes I don't know what I would do without them. They mean that much to me.
3. The fun of creating content. Yes, doing articles, podcasts, and videos take a lot of time writing and editing, but it's well worth it when seeing the end result. But it's an exhilarating rush when you think about what you want to post about, spend days or weeks researching and writing, and hours editing the video. The weeks that I took a break, I felt calm and relieved at first. But as time went on, I felt the need to post stuff again. My life became dull and boring without creating something that meant a lot to me. Jessi "Nowaking" Nowack posted a few days ago on Twitter about getting back to Dark Swamp: The Abridged Series for the first time in years and saying this very quote.
That's exactly how I felt for the past week. My days played out the same way: I wake up, go to work, come home, and prepare for the next day. Rinse and repeat until I beg for Friday to approach quickly. I had a massive itch to return posting content creation NOT because it would make me money or popularity. But because I needed to. Posting content online has been a fun time for me. Even though that millions of people don't view, listen, or watch it, I still had fun with it. Posting online content has now become a part of me and I don't feel right without doing it.
4. All the amazing connections I've made posting content. Years ago, if you would have told me that I would have interviewed people that I grew up with as a kid such as Marc Summers from Double Dare or Marc Weiner from Weinerville, I thought you were the craziest person in the world that these amazing people would take the time to talk to some nerdy loser like me. But it was true. Not only have Kevin and I have had amazing guests over the years that we've looked up to, but we've even became friendly with some of them. Occasionally, one of them would say hi to us online or have them for a second time on our podcast. Or even in very rare moments, like in Should We Say Goodbye in Halcyon Days?, they would guest appear in a video. It's not easy to get a hold of a person to have a special guests. In fact, 9 times out of 10, we either never hear from them or we're politely declined because of their busy schedules. But the times that someone does say "yes", it's a wonderful feeling. Our intent of having special guests on our podcasts was NEVER to make our names more popular or get our content in a more mainstream audience. It was because we were fans of their work and would love the opportunity to get to know about their work for everyone else to see and gain insight on both the good and bad of their careers and the shows they worked at.
As great as all of this sounds, there are thorns on this rose. Obstacles to overcome in this trail. Here are some of the cons I personally have faced.
1. Your opinions can affect a person, especially in a negative way. There are times in which when you state something that you feel strong about, there are people out there that will not agree with what you have to say. Let's be honest, not everyone will agree with another person's opinion or statements and that's completely fair. As long as they can calmly state that they don't agree with what I say in my podcasts, articles, and videos and point on why in a mature way, then that's perfectly fine. But then there are the people who are so into their own opinions that when another person says the complete opposite to what they believe in, they get incredibly angry and post very furious responses on how much you suck or even worse, threaten your life if you ever state it again. Those are the trolls. People who feel happiness stating disgusting statements to make you sad or frightened. So much so, you never want to post content again to save your life from misery. But that's exactly what they want to do: make you miserable. My opinions have gotten me a few enemies whether it be from my negative reviews on Roundhouse or some of the Klasky Csupo cartoons. There were times where I do regret my statements on how I felt about these shows, but that's because of how I said it, not that I said it. I still don't like Roundhouse and I'm not too crazy with some of the Klasky Csupo Nicktoons or its style of animation unless it's in the right context. I've made my share of stupid decisions and I've apologized for them. But I will not apologize for how I feel just because you aren't happy with it. Not everyone will feel the same way about a show and you should accept it in a mature way. While it is true that it you should ignore the trolls, you must understand that not everything you say will make them happy. Continue to post your content and ignore the trashy comments from nasty trolls. It's like what Derek Alexander always says "Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has them". That couldn't be farther from the truth, especially in our Internet filled days.
2. You can learn that the people who worked on the shows you grew up with didn't always have great experiences. When you're a kid, you run home to catch up on the newest episode on a TV show and later on talk about it with your friends the next day at school. It sticks to you even after adulthood whether it helped you in a hard time in your life or inspired you to create your own show. But sometimes, not everything was sunshine and rainbows behind the scenes. Sometimes, it was a miserable experience with disagreements, low budgets, or unexpected cancellations that the people who've worked on it still have grudges to. Over the years, some of the show creators and writers had years worth of bitterness of things that were not in their control and you get to hear them blurt it out in front of you. At times, it was very distraught and uncomfortable to hear. I felt guilty bringing up some of these questions because I felt that I was reopening old wounds that they didn't want to talk about again. Even worse, I didn't want any stupid and ignorant trolls paint these people into a corner saying bad things about him. A few months ago, I listened to a podcast where there were discussing about John K's recent discussion on how he felt that today's cartoons looked the same to him saying that he's just a crazy old man who's out of touch with today's world of animation and bitter because his other works besides The Ren & Stimpy Show were failures. It's so easy to make fun of a writer, creator, or voice actor because they did something really stupid that would end up ruining their reputation. But at the end, they're human. Our little bubble of something precious from our childhoods can pop in unexpected and shocking ways. You have to be careful on how much of their stories you post online, but you have to remember that there are small crumbs that have to be showcased. Their stories deserved to be shared and their opinions deserve to be told. But there's a fine line on how much should be shown to the world. You must be careful. Bottom line, just expect to hear some things you weren't expected to hear.
To conclude my article, I must let everyone know something very important that will surely make a lot of people angry. There are much more important things to get angry or concerned. I get angry whenever I see a group of racists in the news talking about how they hate a race group that isn't theirs saying on how inferior they are and that they should go home to their country of origins. I get concerned whenever I hear that a crazy person goes to an elementary school and kills kids and teachers for no reason. I worry about global warming, the fact that locations such as Flint, Michigan doesn't have clean water to drink or shower, California going through a drought and forest fires, the country of Venezuela are starving because they're low on food due to their economy crashing, people getting sick from illnesses that has no cure, the election with the fears of us getting a president that'll doom the U.S.A., and that North Korea declared war on us. I'm not worrying about seeing the criticisms of Teen Titans Go, the Powerpuff Girls reboot, the Ghostbusters reboot, and the Ben 10 reboot. Yes, it's true that I do critique about the negative shows and movies occasionally, but I don't let it control my life. I understand that these are just cartoons and movies and that there's a lot more than that in this world. If those things make you very angry, just focus on the good stuff and don't lean towards the bad. The positives always overthrows the negatives. Be around good things even when things look bleak. It's not easy, but it's doable.
That's all for now. Tomorrow is the first day of August and we'll be doing a new themed month of content. It'll be about the 3 original Nicktoons in honor of its 25th anniversary.
Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.