Thanks everyone for the great ideas about the RT Podcast. Tons of feedback on that post.
Heading into a super hot weekend here in Texas. Looks like 108 on Monday. Yikes.
1 day agoBen B. Singer Ben B. Singer
Episode - 17: Starscream VS Rainbow Dash
Many people believe Goku VS Superman is the most polarizing episode we’ve ever done.
Those people probably weren’t around when we announced Starscream would be taking on Rainbow Dash.
Quick aside, I always knew we would eventually get to a point where some viewers would “lose respect” for Death Battle over petty reasons. The exact same thing happened to Deadliest Warrior, and I frankly didn’t see any good way of avoiding it without severely limiting Death Battle itself.
Anyway, I’m sure there are plenty of you who weren’t watching back then, and maybe even a few too young to have been very active on the internet six to eight years ago, so let me give you some context. In 2010, a new My Little Pony reboot premiered and garnered an audience of adult fans. Not just via nostalgia of older women, but a male audience, as well. A very, very large one. As far as I know, there’s still no conclusive explanation for why this happened, but we do know that the “brony” audience was extremely controversial simply for existing.
Let me set the stage; it’s an average day at ScrewAttack, and I’m finishing up the Chun-Li VS Mai Shiranui episode. I take a break from editing to have lunch with some of my co-workers, including Chad and Jared aka ProJared. At some point the topic of bronies comes up. The new MLP show had been out for about a year now, and we had all noticed how massive the fanbase had become. We joked about ways we could tap into this huge audience by putting a pony in a Death Battle. None of us were really serious about it. We couldn’t even come up with a good matchup for something as un-Death-Battle-like as a My Little Pony character. Then Jared, making the Hasbro connection in his head, said aloud...
“What if they fought a Transformer?”
Now, I’d like to pause for a minute and address something. When Starscream VS Rainbow Dash was announced, a lot of viewers began theorizing who at ScrewAttack could be a brony. Because naturally, we wouldn’t have done this episode unless someone in the office was a brony who fought for it, right? Well… no. As far as I’m aware, none of us had watched the show before that point. However, I remembered how powerful cartoony characters like Yoshi had been in Death Battle, so when we got back to the office I suggested we pull up the My Little Pony wiki and see what some of these tiny horse girl toys could do.
And suddenly, the idea didn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.
The first possibility we looked into was Megatron VS Twilight Sparkle, but I quickly realized there wasn’t much of a connection there we could play off of. As random as this matchup would seem to the casual viewer, I wanted there to be something holding it together. I eventually reached the page for a flying blue one and learned that her “special trait” was loyalty. Pitting her against the most unloyal Transformer, who conveniently also flies, seemed perfect.
Even after all that, this episode was pretty intimidating! Transformers was a vast franchise I was only sort of familiar with and I knew basically nothing about My Little Pony. Also, Craig was heavily against the idea, but like my Team Four Star audition for Vegeta VS Shadow, I just did it anyway. In addition, my experience with the Ninja Turtles Battle Royale got me thinking about the presentation. What if the pony lost? Could we get away with a brutal death for a pony? What if the YouTube algorithm put this in front of a child because it had “My Little Pony” all over it, only for them to witness a bloody murder of their favorite pegasus?
That last thought really stuck with me, and I made some decisions. There would be no swearing in this episode, nor would there be any blood or gore. Also, for the first and only time in Death Battle history, I decided that if a certain character was going to lose, we could not do the episode. If Rainbow Dash died the bronies we’d attract would think we baited them, the non-bronies would question why the episode exists at all, and it might scar some very young children when their parent uses YouTube as a “babysitting tool.” (There actually was a recent scandal about this very thing happening, so I’m happy to say our video wasn’t part of the problem!)
Basically, if the pony lost, everyone lost in one way or another. Still, I had just recently changed Harry VS Aang because I realized that would be a blow-out, so I figured I could do the same kind of thing here if necessary. Luckily, it was easier than expected to develop a solid argument for the pony victory, and production kept on schedule!
This quickly became one of our most dynamic productions we had done up to that point. I learned about an upcoming fan game called “Fighting Is Magic,” and I contacted the team behind it, Mane6, to ask if we could borrow their Rainbow Dash sprites. They were really on board with the idea, but unfortunately Rainbow Dash was one of the few characters they hadn’t finished sprites for. Future pony episodes would utilize Mane6’s sprites, but for this one I happened to stumble upon another good set on some pony related forum. I couldn’t find their origin point, but after the episode aired their game artist got in touch with me and provided higher quality versions of the sprites. I found some time to make a remastered variant with the better sprites and some other small improvements I previously didn’t have time for, which is currently only on Rooster Teeth! But I’m getting ahead of myself…
This episode has voice actors! We held our first ever open casting call for Starscream, announcing him right after Chun-Li VS Mai had aired. However, I specifically kept his opponent a secret until less than a week before the episode’s release. For the voice of Starscream, we got a bunch of awesome auditions in, and amateur actor Zak Wilson got the part. Interestingly enough, Jim Sterling also auditioned for Starscream, and wound up voicing Starscream’s spark.
Getting an actress for Rainbow was just as interesting. I didn’t want to have an open audition since that would mean we’d have to announce it early. Mane6 didn’t have an actress yet, but they recommended I talk to the guys behind Dream Valley Game (Yes, that’s 3 different MLP fan game teams helping me out now) who recommended voice actress Erica Mendez. She became our Rainbow Dash. Now, if you recognize that name, that probably means you watch dubbed anime. If not, you may still recognize some of her characters, because Erica went on to book some pretty incredible roles!
Starscream VS Rainbow Dash aired on September 23, 2011 and somehow… it worked. Yeah, there was some dumb hate flying around the comments, but for the most part it seemed everyone enjoyed it to some extent. Today, it has an 83% positive rating and is getting closer to 10 million views on YouTube. ProJared even did a follow-up later at BotCon, where he proved our episode was “100% correct and factual!”
Funny enough, this episode aired right as MLP Season 2 was starting. (We didn't know until after production started, so strange coincidence there.) I was worried some people wouldn't believe Rainbow could destroy anything as big as Starscream, but right after our release an episode aired where she rams into a house at mach speeds creating a mega-sized explosion, mushroom cloud and all, and effortlessly obliterates the whole thing! So yeah, thanks for helping our argument, Hasbro!
Anyway, I felt really good about its reception. I think this was one of the biggest risks we ever took, and we pulled it off!
And one last thing. Some time after this episode came out, I started noticing a trend with Transformers and My Little Pony...
Now, this isn’t necessarily anything special. Transformers and My Little Pony have shared a lot of crossovers and easter eggs. There’s even a Pinkie Pie doll in the first Michael Bay Transformers, not just the one pictured above. What I think is interesting is that Hasbro itself continues to pair up Rainbow Dash with Starscream. I’m not suggesting that our video somehow influenced someone over at Hasbro, more likely they simply had the same idea of comparing them as I did… but you know, anything’s possible…
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. This is easily one of my favorite episodes we ever did. What’s your favorite Death Battle episode?
15 hours agoIronBridge Keeper of Knowledge
For $70,000 a night you could rent the tiny country of Liechtenstein.
Liechtenstein is bordered byto the west and south and to the east and north. It has an area of just over 160 square kilometres (62 square miles) and has only around 35,000 inhabitants.
According to the country’s profile on Airbnb, Liechtenstein can accommodate between 450 and 900 people, has 500+ bedrooms and 500+ bathrooms.
So do you guys want to all pitch in and rent a country for a couple of days?
Further Info: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/liechtenstein-airbnb
1 day agoMyshu chupariffic
This week's gif is going to need more cones.
I animated the first pass of this on my Twitch channel, which has been an interesting experience for me! Normally I just stream stupid doodles or getting smashed while failing at Final Fantasy games. Even though I spend a few hours in Blender literally-every-gatdamn-day, I hadn't done so on stream before. It'll take a while before I'm comfortable with it, but I do like hangin' out while I animate, after all.
1 day agoeegnid
so life has gotten real fuckin strange.... not entirely in a bad way though. I'm really glad i joined this site though and became a sponsor. being able to become friends with amazing people who i would have never known existed if i wasn't here has been awesome and it makes me really happy. I hate how people don't think you can have friends over the internet because i can say with 100% certainty that meeting in person and talking on Skype doesn't feel any different, only on Skype you don't end up lost on manhattan or sliding around on the roof of a hostel in the middle of winter with no jacket with someone you met on the this site. i don't remember the purpose of this tbh. whatever. college hasn't been going great but it'll be okay.. i hope.
1 day agoeegnid
this is actually going to happen. I'm actually going to the college and its the one I've always wanted to go to. they didn't deny my application because of my low GPA or my average SAT score. to be honest i shouldn't have gotten into this school. i messed up my application, i failed to show up to an event where i would have shown them my art portfolio and they would have told me if i got in 5 days later because i got the date wrong, and i sent the final part of my application, the portfolio, 15 minutes before the deadline. i literally got into this school because of my portfolio and the fact that my brother basically wrote my college essay. those are the only reasons i can possibly think of. i can't believe I'm going to college and i am so scared that i won't be able to do it and have to drop out. well at least my dorm isn't a converted triple like i thought it would be.
8 hours agoZac_Fox eCommerce Buyer/Planner
I was so busy yesterday, that I totally forgot to celebrate my 3 year anniversary with RT!
It's been a damn awesome 3 years at that! I've gotten to work with so many amazing people here on a crap ton of cool merch projects that it's a little overwhelming to look back on. I've been lucky enough to see our department go from just 2 people handling it all, now to a full-on team of 8 people handling it all and 10 times that. (With a ton of support from our partner teams all around the company) We've gone from just making jokey, reference and quote laden t-shirts, to full on fashion lines and exclusive brand drops.
Where have I personally gone through all of this? I started as an assistant to our one and only merch person at the time, handling a hundred different little pieces that would get lost in the shuffle otherwise. LOTS of paperwork handling, all the boring stuff that happens in the background when making/selling merchandise. Took on some small new merch development projects: ScrewAttack's first RT produced items, several other new Let's Play items around that time, Lazer Team 1's shirts and accessories, then the majority of the first wave of Camp Camp merch was put on my plate. Partnered with Chelsea on the MDB backer fulfillment, rad. Most of 2016 was a big blur of randomly assembled projects, since at the time we only had a couple of us running them there weren't enough hands on deck to section out certain categories or brands. Late 2016 we added a couple new people to the team, and I started taking a bigger role in our convention merch.
In early 2017 I got to work with Barb on her spring line, (the flowers & bones set) which was cool as hell. Then shortly thereafter I was asked to take on merch development for all of our RT Animation properties. Getting to partner with everyone on the teams over there was a super cool experience. (Having been a fan of RvB since nearly the beginning, it was REALLY cool.) Spring 2017 saw a lot of improvements happen in the department, with new buyers joining our team. We all worked together to pull together the RTX 2017 booth from scratch, which was massive. Late 2017 saw a lot of my favorite projects so far come to fruition: Platypus and Caboose talking plush, Camp Camp figure set, the Beacon and Haven Academy lines (which sowed the seeds for a lot of upcoming Animation merch that you've yet to see), and the handful of screenprint posters we've done.
Now we're up to 2018, and man it's already been a whirlwind. Got to handle more rad RvB merch (That Arcade tee is one of my all time faves.), Nomad launch merch, the RT15 Anniversary items, a little RWBY Vinyl Record. In the spring we made more shifts internally, with me handing the RT Animation merch reigns over to another buyer so that I could focus more on our convention offerings, board game items, and some yet-to-be announced special projects. (HEIST, HEIST, HEIST) I've managed every convention/live event merch booth so far this year, including Funhaus Live, the Geoff Pop-Up, MegaCon, KF Prom, and Anime Expo. I'll be seeing you all at Fan Expo Canada, RTX London, and NYCC later this year, but first....
Next up is RTX Austin and the Coop Pop-Up store, which are two of my biggest lead projects yet. We've gone way above and beyond for these, pulling out all the stops. You've surely seen the cool stuff that Robert has been putting together for the Coop, and some of the stuff I've been putting together for RTX, but you're straight up going to lose your minds over what Monica and all of us have been prepping that you haven't been teased with yet. Honestly, now that I'm thinking about it, just talking about Coop and RTX Austin may need to be it's own journal post.
Anyway, I've been rambling. Thanks for an awesome 3 years, and here's hoping that I get to keep doing this for a long time. :-)
1 day agoeegnid
had a realization today that since I've started using this username more I should probably make all the embarrassing journals on here private just in case. its been years since I've used this account, honestly the website redesign years ago killed it for me and it still hasn't gotten better. Even making my old journals private was more difficult than just deleting them but they were a record of my incredibly shitty first year of college.
1 day agoeegnid
So I finally left my photography job at and aquarium and began my new job as a barista at a local coffee shop. It was honestly really great. I can't tell you how much better is is to provide a service that people actually want and that i actually enjoy instead of trying to sell people overpriced shitty green screen photos. Now i realize that I'm probably going to learn to hate my current job as much as my last place of employment, probably because its gonna be stressful if it eventually gets busy but for now I'm very happy I made the decision to take this job
even if i have to get up at 5am sometimes