It all started with a question, some 15 years ago, “You ever wonder why we’re here?” That was the opening line of Red vs. Blue Season 1, Episode 1. My friend, Daniel had showed it to me the week it came out and I have been watching Rooster Teeth content ever since. For 15 years, I have been a member of a community that is unique, passionate, and the most incredible thing I have ever seen — a community that gives.
I have been in chats, been stopped on the street, talked with friends, and even attend RTX, the Rooster Teeth convention held annually in Austin, TX. I have met people from all walks of life that I don’t think I would of had any way of meeting previously. I have talked to military personal, police officers, married, single, straight, gay, working, not working, with kids, without kids, kids, and everything in between. There was one thing that we had in common — love for Rooster Teeth content. Red vs Blue, RWBY, Achievement Hunter, Funhaus, and the other myriad of shows, personalities, and talent that this company has produced. Then something amazing happened, a company that played video games and made YouTube content asked for donations for a charity.
Extra Life is a charity that gives money that is raised to children’s hospitals around the country for local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Gamer’s across the country play games and collect donations for the charity. Then a few years ago, Rooster Teeth started doing a live-stream online collecting donations. Each year, they ask their community to give to the kids. They plan fun things, crazy games, cool prizes, and even a Wheel of Vengeance that gets spun each time a person donates $1,337 or more. For 24 hours Rooster Teeth, led by Jack Pattillo, his wife Caiti, and Chad James), put it all out there and asked its community to be part of something bigger, for something better.
Starting at 8:00 am on Saturday, November 10th and ending Sunday 8:00 am on Sunday, November 11th, they streamed. They ran things over with a steam roller,
they ate hot and spicy nuts, took punches with something called Taze Fist (think brass knuckles with a tazer on the end),
, played Harry Potter trivia,
sat on the Pummel Horse (a painful invention that is hilarious, but looks horrible), got pelted with paint balls and Moon Balls,
were completely inappropriate at times, painted from a Bob Ross episode,
did Whose Line Is It Anyways games, played video games,
laughed, and went above and beyond for one goal: raise money for children’s hospitals. I watched from 8:00 am to about 1 am (with considerable breaks) to wake up this morning to get ready for church. Checking the total and watching the last few minutes, where Jack gives a speech to close it out and Matt Hullum, CEO of Rooster Teeth, sings a final song, I was astonished. In 24 hours, a community of people all over the world, from all different walks of life, in different parts of their path of life, every race, religion, sexuality, and status came together and raised $1.4 million dollars.
How incredible when you look beyond yourself and the parts of your life and the things that sometime keep you focused on just what is around you to see the bigger picture. How amazing when you find yourself part of a group that is bigger in size, bigger in generosity, and bigger in fun than what is physically around you. How crazy to know that every dollar given, by every person goes into a sum of $1.4 million that will benefit children who are struggling during difficult times of physical and mental illness.
In the end, it is pride that I am left with today. I watch the videos and movies. I buy the merch. I go to the conventions. And that is all well and good. But what truly makes this special, what truly makes it where I keep watching, buying, and attending is the fact that this company gives back and does so buy bringing in a community of people to participate to give as well.
So thank you Rooster Teeth for all of the content, the laughs, but giving me the chance to be part of something bigger than myself. Thank you community for stepping up and being supportive and doing something astounding, raising $1.4 million dollars for Extra Life and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and always #RTExtraLife.
Every Friday after work, a group of us from the Zstore would go out to do something fun. We would either go to the movies, grab some food, or just hang out. There was something that got started after a while that for the life of me, I cannot remember why we did it. We always would talk in different accents as a joke, but our little group took it up a notch, by creating the Wheel of Accents.
Made out of cardboard, the Wheel of Accents was just what it sounded like. It was a wheel that you would spin and if you landed on the accent then you had to pick. It had your basic accents: French, Scottish, Canadian, and a few other countries. We mixed it in with a few accents from internet shows we watched at the time. The best spots though were three unique spaces on the Wheel. One was Free Pick. This was the best one, because you were able to pick any accent you wanted even if it was not on the wheel. The second was Random Pick. This was the second hardest, because the group decided what accent was you were stuck with. Just fyi, the group decisions were never kind. The last unique space was Double Accent. This was you had to spin until you landed on two different accents. Then you had to do incorporate both of them as you talked. For example, you could have Scottish and Jamaican (think Sean Connery being cast for Cool Runnings).
That is how the board worked. Here is how the game was played. Before the group entered the restaurant, everyone would spin. Once everyone was assigned an accent, then you would go inside and from the moment you walked through the doors, you had to speak with your accent. The first person who broke (started laughing too much to continue or spoke in their regular voice), would then have to pay for the appetizers or desserts for the table.
I know what you are thinking, “What if no one broke?” Someone always ends up breaking.
To this day, the Wheel of Accents is still around and sitting on my shelf in all of its glory.
Does your group have any fun games like this? Tell us about it in the comments below!
For about six months, I lived with James out in a small township called Wizard Wells. Total population for Wizard Wells at the time was a whopping 15 people (16 if you count me). People didn’t really go to Wizard Wells for no reason. People barely passed through it. It was secluded and in the middle of nowhere. It was home though, for about six months and James was a good roommate for five of those months. That was because for the entire month of October he decided that he would pull scary prank after scary prank.
The first one started off while I was at work. I walked into my room and found that all of my stuff had been rearranged. When I questioned him, he stated that he didn’t know what I was talking about.
Then I was in my room reading at I heard something out of my window and he was just standing outside with a wolf mask on. Wasn’t really a jump scare, but good effort, I guess?
Then I came home after work one day and he had been waiting in my closet. I was sitting on my bed taking off my shoes when he jumped out from my closet. That one WAS a good jump scare. Though I don’t remember it completely, but I am sure that I did not scream in a high pitched voice.
By the end of October, I was now leaving shoes in specific spots to make sure that no one had come in my room while I was gone. I would set them up every morning as fail safe protections. However it didn’t help on Halloween night that year.
I had come home and the house was empty, which I was quite happy about. I walked to my room and turned on the light and the light had been replaced by a black-light. Everything in my room was in the same spot. The only thing that was different in my room was on my bed. The bed had been rearranged. The pillows were moved around to make it look like someone was in the bed. There was a dress laid out with a long, black wig that resembled the girl from The Ring. The problem was it was too hard to see anything in the room because of the black-light.
I laughed out loud, because I knew that it wouldn’t be James in a wig. I walked closer to the bed to remove the dress and wig and that was when the Alissa (a neighbor in Wizard Wells who had been riding with us to church each week) jumped up out of the bed and grabbed hold of my wrists. I don’t know how hard I screamed or how high I jumped, but we can just say it was a lot. I finally calmed down enough from the initial scare when James reached out from underneath the bed and grabbed my ankles. Once again, heart racing and screaming in the room. I juked back away from both of them quickly and placed my back up against the wall. I was trying to catch my breath when the closet doors burst open and another person jumped out at me. That was when I ran out of the room.
It took a while before I came back in the house. I made it another month before I found my own place…
Time for some new artwork for I Want A Pet Turkey. Our illustrator, J Zamora, is working hard to bring the story to life. In doing so, a range of emotions have to be created to make our main character jump off of the page. Part of J’s process is running through some character models to showcase the character with different emotions. This week’s is Sadness!
I am pretty sure that he is sad because he really needs a new pet / best friend.
Time for some new artwork for I Want A Pet Turkey. Our illustrator, J Zamora, is working hard to bring the story to life. In doing so, a range of emotions have to be created to make our main character jump off of the page. Part of J’s process is running through some character models to showcase the character with different emotions. This week’s is Happy!
Is it just me or is this little guy ready to be made into a puppet! Hmmm!
Today we are talking with someone who has an amazing job! I personally met David Manley at a puppet workshop a few years back called Beyond the Sock (http://www.beyondthesock.com). Each year, puppeteers (amateur and professional) come from all over the world to learn how to make and preform puppets and the workshop has connected so many people all with the same passion–puppets. I got to talk with David about his puppet work in New York.
Good morning, David! Let’s start off with you telling us about yourself and what do you do?
Good morning! I’m a puppeteer who travels to schools, theaters and libraries in New York and New Jersey mostly, but nationally as well. When I was young, I knew I wanted to be a puppeteer but peer pressure caused me to put it aside. I rediscovered it my adulthood and began my puppet company, Up In Arms, in 2012. I produce Broadway-style puppet musicals – the kind I wanted to see as a kid. Our shows include messages about learning, bullying (kindness and respect), health and wellness and our latest family musical “Pirate Song” about a young pirate princess searching the world for her song.
That is so cool that you get to teach children with puppets! What is your favorite part of being a puppeteer for school-age children?
I love the sense of wonder they have. We can hear them calling out from behind stage and their questions during our Q&A makes me feel like we’re imparting that same sense of magic I felt about puppetry when I was their age. As adults, it helps to remind us that magic still exists and to be producing it is amazing.
Out of all of your different programs you have done over the years, which one is your favorite?
Hands down, “Helping Drew”, our anti-bullying musical. As a kid who encountered some bullying, it was important for my own personal journey to experience being part of the solution instead of feeling like a victim. I’ve had so many comments from adults thanking me for the program having their own experiences being bullied.
What upcoming shows you do you have coming up? How can people come see the shows (say if they don’t go to one of the schools that your group preforms at)?
“Pirate Song” premiered October 13 in Newburgh, NY at a local library. One of our earlier shows, “Welcome Park” plays The Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, NY in November 2018. We perform for libraries mostly in the summer in Northern New Jersey and the Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York. Folks who are interested can follow us on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/upinarmspuppets) to find our public shows. We’ve played as far away as Las Vegas, NV and down the east coast to Maryland and Virginia as well so, you never know where we might be performing.
Alright, time for one last question! What Muppet / Sesame Street character best describes you and why?
I’m kind of a cheerful, organized Scooter type with a strong Cookie Monster sweet tooth and a Grover who just wants to share love.
Perfect answer! Thank you so much David for taking the time to talk to us today. It is so awesome to see someone following their dream and providing inspiration to children all over the country. If you want to keep up with Up In Arms please go to http://www.upinarms.biz or check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/upinarmspuppets. If you have seen an Up In Arms production, please leave a comment on how you liked it and if you are in the area check out Pirate Song David’s next big production!
I always feel like somebody’s watching me! Awesome new artwork for I Want A Pet Turkey.
We have a new feature debuting this week called Questions To Inspire. One of my favorite things is talking to others. I love stories and I love to hear the stories and inspirations behind other people’s lives. And one thing I want to do is inspire people.
I want to showcase some really amazing people and how / why they do what they do. Our first interview is this Thursday, so look out for it as we talk to New York Times bestselling children’s author – Pat Zietlow Miller!