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Troubled Production / Channel Awesome

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Channel Awesome, formerly That Guy With The Glasses (TGWTG), has faced loads of problems spanning over many different reviewers and events, especially with the anniversary Massive Multiplayer Crossovers:

  • While the TGWTG Year One Brawl wasn't as bad, it still had problems. In a blog post, Lindsay Ellis said that the reviewers had yet to form the sense of camaraderie that there was in later crossovers, plus, among other things, an unnamed reviewer (implied to be ThatAussieGuy) spread lies about Lindsay's sex life.
  • Kickassia:
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    • Almost everyone involved was injured somehow. LordKaT twisted both his ankles, which forced his role to be severely reduced. The worst was cameraman Rob Walker getting a nasty leg injury on the first day (yet he kept cramming himself into tight places and waited until filming was over before seeking medical attention).
    • The contributors were forced to cover their own costs traveling to the remote shooting location in the Nevada desert, and Doug Walker had to be told by both Lindsay and Noah Antwiler to provide food and water for his cast — because they were shooting in the Nevada desert — which is something even student projects would have done. Doug's failure to cover for hotels and catering, and Doug repeatedly ignoring any attempts to give him production advice, would become a consistent problem with the anniversary specials going forward.
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    • The extremely tight four day filming schedule meant that the climax had to be significantly trimmed down, with scenes like Spoony revealing himself to still be Insano never being filmed.
  • Suburban Knights:
    • The weather caused so many problems that Doug was fully prepared to scrap the whole thing, until everyone banded together and convinced him they were willing to get the film done whatever it took.
    • Since it was a larger production than Kickassia, Doug and Rob had to be talked into using more than one camera. Doug's inexperience as a director became apparent when he tried to recruit passersby in the park they were shooting at as extras and tried to give them direction, embarrassing the rest of the cast.
    • On-set injuries continued to be an issue. During filming, Elisa Hansen was duct-taped to a wall and began to feel light headed, requiring them to take her down and just wrap her in a blanket secured with tape for the scene. (Elisa later debunked rumors she passed out on set.) Bennett the Sage, Iron Liz, and Orlando all suffered stunt-related injuries which Allison Pregler later blamed on a lack of safety precautions. After Liz's knee was stomped in by Orlando, she alleged that Rob withheld ice from her unless she signed a contract absolving TGWTG of liability for the injury.
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    • This wasn't the only problem Liz was forced to deal with. She was recruited as a production assistant, but as she was considered Lewis Lovhaug's guest and not "talent", she was: roped into providing transportation for the cast when the Walkers came up short on vehicles; was kept from having coffee or lunch, leading to her getting constantly hungry; forbidden from having off days or participating in group photos and the wrap party; and did not receive compensation or even thanks for her work on the movie.
  • To Boldly Flee was later viewed as a point-of-no-return by Channel Awesome contributors who later left the company. A good chunk of the issues raised in the now-notorious "Not So Awesome" document have to do with incidents taking place leading up to and during production:
    • The contributors appearing in the movie were expected to construct their own costumes before coming to Chicago. Two weeks before the shoot, MarzGurl was asked by Doug to make a costume of Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which required her to make expensive and fast purchases and build the fairly complicated outfit within a short span of time. After being told that she would have to hand over her costume to TGWTG to get compensation for making it, MarzGurl kept the costume and took a financial loss.
    • According to Allison, the camaraderie that was present during the earlier anniversary specials was gone by Boldly, and Doug's humor had become derivative, self-indulgent, sexist, and mean-spirited. Lindsay and Lewis confronted Doug over a scene in the script (of Mechakara assimilating the Nostalgia Chick) that, as originally written, was a prolonged rape joke. Lindsay claimed that Doug couldn't understand how the humor was offensive and only marginally improved the scene before it was filmed.
    • Speaking of the script, it wasn't given to most of the cast until right before filming began, barely giving them enough time to read it (its length, due to Boldly being a four-hour movie, didn't help matters). The contributors didn't know that Doug was planning to kill off The Nostalgia Critic until then, which threw them for a loop because the Critic's absence from TGWTG would negatively affect viewership for their own videos. Doug and Rob constantly bickered throughout the writing process...
    • ...which spilled over into filming as they repeatedly stopped the shoot to scream at each other over how they wanted to block their scenes. They also fought with Ed Glaser (a more experienced professional filmmaker than either of them) when he brought up the 180-degree rule, causing Ed to vow to never work with them again. Ed was later credited as Boldly's Director of Photography despite his protests.
    • Inevitably, such incompetent camera work led to several continuity errors that are seen in the finished movie. When cast and crew members pointed out these errors to Rob, he would dismiss them by stating, "Oh well, plot hole!"
    • The cast and crew were given a week for filming, with Doug — assuming that simply having the equipment and crew would make things go faster — overworking everyone by scheduling two days' worth of work for each day of shooting. Because of the arguments between Doug and Rob, the shoot quickly fell behind schedule. The contributors became exhausted, with Jillian Zurawski unable to shoot a lightsaber duel that was subsequently struck from the script. After a particularly grueling eighteen-hour shoot, the cast were only given three hours of sleep before being asked to shoot the closing party scene.
    • On one occasion, Doug failed to inform the cast that his camera crew were leaving early for the day for personal reasons, meaning there were not enough cars to drive them back to their hotel. Allison, Phelous, and Sad Panda were left behind at the shooting location while the rest of the cast went to Applebee's.
    • TGWTG pressured its contributors to shoot crossover reviews to recoup costs for the special effects, but they were so overscheduled that the contributors refused to do them. They eventually reached a compromise where they shot two crossover videos and kept one.
    • Phelous, who handled some of the special effects, was asked to do a green screen scene, but pointed out that he could simply shoot the scene himself at home and save the production time. Despite the Walkers seemingly agreeing to this arrangement, Phelous was told immediately upon reaching his hotel room to come back and shoot the green screen scene. Phelous and Allison had to convince Rob to turn around and drive them back to the hotel. The scene was then cut from the film.
    • The unplanned and unofficial wrap party left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths, as the script's implication that the rest of the TGWTG contributors were ending their shows along with Doug's — seemingly reinforced by Doug's personalized farewell letters to everyone present — made them feel that Doug didn't care about what they would have to do to get by in his absence.
    • During post-production, after Noah left TGWTG, Phelous was forced to take his workload in handling the special effects. The Walkers gave Phelous the job of handling the movie's 3D animation, unaware that he wasn't a 3D animator. At one point, Phelous finished an effect and received enthusiastic feedback from Doug ("LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT"), only to later hear from Welshy that the Walkers were gossiping that Phelous had been "half-assing it" because there wasn't enough debris in the shot.
    • The Boldly DVDs were put on TGWTG's online store with a release date before Ed even got started making them. Allison contacted CEO Mike Michaud, who told her that it would take two weeks to make them and meet the date. When Allison pointed out that it was possible to make them sooner, Michaud shouted "TWO WEEKS" at her nonsensically over the phone. Allison and many TGWTG fans never received their DVDs due to an order mix-up that was never fixed.
    • In the end, it was this hellish production which caused the Walkers to make the next anniversary crossover an anthology, and to swear off anniversary specials entirely until the tenth anniversary in 2018 (which was cancelled after the "Not So Awesome" document sparked a contributor exodus from Channel Awesome and all but destroyed the site). After Boldly's release, Channel Awesome put out a newsletter pointing to weather as the deciding factor to stop the troubled anniversary productions, while not owning up to their own gross mismanagement.
    • On all three DVD commentaries, Doug talks about being a mess, going from guilt over Kickassia, to wanting to quit Knights, and acknowledging that he was a Stepford Smiler by not eating/sleeping during Boldly, assuming that was normal when you needed to work. That said, he has never directly apologized to the cast members for how they were treated during the anniversary productions.
  • The Uncanny Valley's problems were toned down a lot compared to the earlier anniversary specials, on account that it was an anthology where Michaud and the Walkers had more limited control. But some issues did pop up:
    • Michaud pressured the Walkers to rush out something to commemorate Channel Awesome's five year anniversary. However, most of the site's contributors — by now understandably not keen making the specials — declined to participate in the anthology.
    • MikeJ revealed in 2018 that he'd only been offered the chance to make his short film for the special, Internet Dating and Me, because of these refusals. Mike wasn't reimbursed for his efforts, and he made precisely zero money from his short's inclusion on the DVD.
    • Doug faced some backlash when the blooper reel for his short, Dragonbored, showed him shaking a child actress by her head to make her drunken waving look more convincing.
  • Doug has also dealt with loads of problems during his time as The Nostalgia Critic.
    • His big crossover review between him, Spoony and Linkara for Alone in the Dark (2005). To begin with, Doug lost his voice the day before Spoony and Linkara arrived in Chicago (hence the use of text-to-speech). Secondly, construction work was being done outside Doug's house, so they had to film the review in his basement. In addition, they didn't decide which Uwe Boll movie to review until the day they started writing. Spoony gives the scoop here.
    • Similarly, not as bad as the other examples, the MAGfest review of The Last Airbender turned out to be incredibly difficult and rushed. A detailed explanation of all the problems and issues is in the commentary, but, for starters, that shot of the DVD case with The Last Airbender in it hitting the ground which lasts less than one second? It took them something like fifty takes to get that one shot.
    • Doug and Lewis have both referred to their crossover review of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace as a cursed review. Several introductions were filmed and scrapped (in one instance, the footage filmed around the same time as the Alone in the Dark review was lost), and it kept getting pushed back after Doug did a Top 11 countdown of the stupidest moments of the Superman film series.
  • Demo Reel suffered from this:
    • There were a lot of problems with the studio they worked in, ranging from the humidity of the studio warping their sets to their difficulty in audio echo control to the props they had to work with.
    • There were a lot of computer issues while writing the script of the pilot and quite a few scenes were lost, which would explain why said episode was more comedic while the rest were far darker.
    • Continuing from all his anniversary breakdowns, Doug essentially doomed himself before Demo Reel had even started, saying in the Boldly commentary that he was going to work himself sick because he had really wanted this new show to go the way he had always dreamed. Even two years after it had ended, he and others who had worked on it admitted that he was fretting a lot because he wanted certain scenes to be perfectly emotional.
    • The Walkers did learn their lesson in one respect though. Both Lindsay and Allison have gone on record to say they hated their characters in the specials (Allison even said they only know the “swoony girly” type or the “tough bitch”) and that the Walkers had ignored their complaints. In Demo Reel, it was said that both Rachel and Malcolm had a hand in the scripts and could improvise anything emotional, which was why Rachel continually expressed delight with Rebecca's character.
    • Doug also tried to improve on his scheduling, saying this is where he started doubling the hours he told people they would be working, so they could either have the time if things went wrong, or be done early and be happy with their work.
  • Pop Quiz Hotshot, Channel Awesome's infamous game show, was the result of this.
    • After raising $90,000 in viewer contributions through Indiegogo, Channel Awesome promised forty episodes (along with Awesome Comics and the still-unproduced The Gaming Gauntlet); only seventeen were produced because their studio was not sound-dampened. Many episodes recycled contestants and questions.
    • The games were rigged for the contestants, but at one point the cue cards were accidentally switched causing Doug to win and split a $100 gift card.
    • Channel Awesome failed to release Pop Quiz Hotshot after a year and a half, but was forced to release the first episode when Indiegogo threatened to investigate them for fraud. The show was panned by everybody — including the Walker brothers — and it was cancelled after twelve episodes (the legal minimum required of them by Indiegogo).
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: The Movie's production went mostly smooth, but the one bump that the "Not So Awesome" document reported on was the required studio space was expected to be the Channel Awesome studio in Chicago (the same one Nostalgia Critic was being filmed at). While Rob and presumably Doug were fully on board with letting Lewis and his crew film there, Michaud demanded that filming be done under supervision. Discouraged by the lack of trust, Lewis instead shot the movie at another studio in Minnesota for which production had to pay more for than if they had filmed at Channel Awesome. Interestingly, the other studio didn't bother with supervising the filming.
  • That Dude in the Suede's review of the 4th Pokemon movie had to be this for sure. Jesuotaku and Suede were already quite busy beforehand, making scheduling recording quite hard. Not all the details have been made clear, but the suicide of former Channel Awesome contributor JewWario had to have made production awkward. The final cut of the review featured JewWario's voice for about the first 3 minutes. It is unknown if it is all of the audio he had recorded or the episode, and he had to be written out using some clever dialogue. His voice is clearly someone else trying to do an impression of him during the last few seconds in order to get him out of the review.
  • Brad Jones' film Shot on Shitteo, a No Budget tribute to 80's exploitation films made on VHS tapes, has suffered quite a bit of this.
    • Announced in June 2013 with the goal of a 2014 release, the production began in September, and suffered a number of delays due to the polar vortex and aberrant weather patterns, causing the release to be pushed back a year.
    • With production ready to resume in March 2015, Jones discovered that the film's lead actor, Jake Norvell, was having an affair with Jones's girlfriend, and when Norvell pompously bragged about it, Jones promptly fired him from the site and the film. The film was then believed to be unreleaseable, both due to Norvell's contract and the fact that about 5% of his scenes were not completed.
    • After initially hinting that he would leak the film in its workprint format, Jones began work on his next film, Jesus, Bro!. However, after funding was secured for Jesus, Bro!, Jones revealed he had been mistaken and the film could indeed be released, and subsequently decided to complete Shot on Shitteo during pre-production for the other film, with the goal of releasing Shitteo in early 2017. Thus, a full three years after it began, production resumed, filming new scenes featuring Matthew Buck and a retooled script.
    • The first trailer was finally released on October 21, 2016, three years and four months after the announcement video. The film was expected to be released in the first half of 2017, following the release of Jesus, Bro!. However, just after the release of Jesus, Bro!, Jones walked back this claim, stating that the film was no longer in active development and he had no plans one way or the other regarding its release.
    • With Jones re-focusing his directorial ambitions on a new film, Disco (which has had a much smoother production and was released in December 2017), it's unclear if Shitteo, finished or not, will ever see the light of day; Jones has subsequently referred to Shitteo as his personal The Day the Clown Cried, suggesting he's settled on never releasing it.
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