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Digital artist, podcaster and musicman (he/him/his)

Will Kommor 🌵 @Will

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Will's News

Posted by Will - May 20th, 2021


After over a year of helping run and grow @TheNewgroundsPodcast, I'm sad to say I have to be away for a while.


The reason is pretty standard life stuff: I've just finally settled into a permenent living situation and scored a regular job, but said regular job isn't working out -- the managers are disappearing, I'm getting in fights with the current supervisors, my work hours are slipping away, it turned out to be a super loud environment and is killing my voice, blah blah et cetera. Which means I've gotta put serious time into finding a new job, WHILE riding out this old one, AND doing freelance work to keep the wallet full. NGP's gotta be off my to-do list, because right now I can't contribute in any way that's fair to the guys.


I'm stepping down to our "Regular" role, which means I'll still be on the show some, but much less routinely and on a less formal basis. More importantly, it takes me out of the central group of people who keep the show running every week with recording times, segments, guests, edited episodes and special events.


Now that I'm gone, the current hosts will start working on bringing someone else into the mix. This new host will be someone who not only slays at the microphone and charms the heck out of guests, but also has the time and vision to contribute regularly to NGP's leadership and keep growing the show to its full potential. I'm kind of excited to see who's dorky and handsome enough to fill my BIG MASSIVE SHOES. Yeah, I said it.


Sidenote on that: We're not currently holding an open call on hosts, so at this point I ask that you don't message us about being the new fourth person. As I always say to anyone eager to contribute, the best way to be on the show is to let us champion YOUR amazing content or community event.


Will I be coming back? Well, I'm not completely leaving, but the true answer is "we'll see". Life is weird, it has a habit of going in different directions really really quickly, and over the last few years I've gotten used to having no mother-f-in idea where I'm gonna be next.


If you want to stay abreast of how NGP proceeds from here, make sure you're following it on NG and Twitter, and make even more sure you're part of its bustling and super-fun Discord server. And if you're curious about my own journey from here, I'd love it if you followed my own Twitter @willKMR as well.


I'm so amazingly proud of NGP. It's grown so far past what @GoodL and I originally thought it would be. I'm proud to say I can step down from my admin role and know in my heart it'll keep going, strong as ever.


As the robot announcer lady loves to say:


Goodbye.

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51

Posted by Will - January 18th, 2021


This is part 5 of a lil blog series I'm writing about my 2020. Here are the previous posts:




The present and future of NGP


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After the Block Party, I think The Newgrounds Podcast felt a little different for me. The work I’d put in with @GoodL, @PsychoGoldfish and @Xinxinix had felt really good. I felt personally way more connected to the show, the core team, the audience.


Xin joining the team was a natural next step. Earlier I mentioned that we’d talked about not wanting to discredit his own brand with GRNDSbreaking and Art Talks, and we started the conversation a bit tentatively because of that, but he was actually really excited to merge the brands together and centralize the community. Better one big crowd than two small ones.


After that, it was time to change the structure of the show a bit. We still had the large pool of hosts who were all expected to help with everything equally, but it was hard to tell who was active, who wasn’t, who was busy, who was uninterested, who was straight up unavailable. We were also slowly learning what all needed to be done to keep the show running: finding guests, scheduling recordings, announcing things, doing promos, editing episodes. So we ended up drawing a line between “hosts”, the people meeting every week and carrying the recording and release schedule on their shoulders, and “regulars”, people who were tuned in and ready to come on the show but weren’t obligated to pitch in all the time.


After Courtney and I landed in Florida, I had a lot of time to develop things for the show. I started getting bigger ideas for things, and I also started to fear that I was close to getting a real job and not having time to put said ideas into action, so I started working fast.


One thing that was always on my mind was having the ability to play audio clips during the show. That would open up a lot of possibilities, from letting musicians talk over their own music, to recording pre-made interviews and segments to drop in between the stuff we did live, to running game shows... So many things. So I started researching, and the best thing I came up with was using a second laptop and running its computer audio into a Discord call. Very cool! If you have a second laptop handy all the time. Note to self: if you want the show to be flexible and not rely solely on one person, don’t introduce things into the format that only you can do. I’m learning. Slowly.


I’ve also had a lot of fun being in shows myself lately. None of the post-Grounds Patrol anxiety from earlier. I’m happy to be on, I have a great time with the other hosts, I enjoy interviewing people, I like being able to play audio from my little setup. A personal favorite episode of mine from last year was the NG Audio Deathmatch Finale. Each of the four hosts recorded their own five-minute interview with a finalist, and during the live recording I played them all, as well as their four songs, seamlessly within the show. It felt like real radio.


Of course, when the technology works, it’s awesome, but when you rely on it and it doesn’t work, it’s a nightmare. During the recording of our Friday Night Funkin’ interview (which I was really excited for), our Discord recording bot stopped working. And it wouldn’t start back. It took hours for us to wrangle up a backup recording setup for everyone and finish the episode with what little energy we had left. Then editing that episode became a task. It took me two days just to sync all the audio together, and Xin even had to do more syncing work of his own before he was able to start editing the episode normally. Since then, I’ve never been able to run that bot without feeling wary of things just suddenly imploding. To this day, I still look into more secure ways to record. (I have another bot in the server now that seems to be more reliable -- pressure’s on, Alistair.)


Our most recent addition to the team was pretty recent - @VoicesByCorey joined as the newest host on December 9th. Corey is an experienced podcaster, a great voice(s) on the mic, and has visions for where the show could go. When he asked to be a co-host we all basically jumped over each other in saying yes.


Corey was actually a timely addition, because GoodL was coming to a point where he needed to step down. He covered the reasons why in his own post (basically, life stuff piled up and the balance got overwhelming, understandable), and it made sense, but it was still sad to see him go -- he and I were the ones who put the first building blocks together for all of this. But I’m glad he was able to leave when he needed to, because that’s still something that’s really important to me about the NGP setup -- it’s not tied to any of us, so if anyone needs to leave, the whole thing won’t come crashing down. To be honest, my own future is really unclear right now, and there might be a time where I’m too busy myself and need to do the same thing. I know that I wouldn’t be able to let myself leave unless I knew that it would carry on strong without me.


Where’s the show gonna go from here? Well, there’s a lot of room to grow. Right now, I’m working on getting NGP onto YouTube, the earliest draft of which you can see above. There’s just so many possibilities there -- it’s super convenient to listen to things on YT, there’s a chance for a cool visual component to episodes, and the videos can be linked and embedded into a lot of cool stuff. On the show format side, I think it’s just gonna grow naturally from what we feel like doing, what turns out to be cool, what the community suggests, and so on. We’re putting time into making the shows between interviews as kickass as the interviews themselves, so get ready for some quality time with the four of us and our closest buds on NG. I dunno, man. There’s a lot to try. Just be along for the ride!




That’s gonna do it for my 2020 review. It was... a year. If you read all of these, thank you so much, it really means a lot! Let me know what you liked, because I had fun writing everything, even the tough parts.


Have a great new year! 🎆🙋‍♂️🎆



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11

Posted by Will - January 17th, 2021


This is part 4 of a lil blog series I'm writing about my 2020. Here are the previous posts:




Courtney and I left LA and drove across the USA (again)


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Courtney and I never really loved Los Angeles. We’d packed everything into our cars and moved there two years ago, mostly because we like working in entertainment, we wanted to move somewhere, and we felt like there would be lots of opportunities there. (Not gonna go too deep on the reasons we were in LA, just because this is a 2020 recap, not a my-whole-life recap, lol.) Our time there was cool in some ways and lame in others. I found my cool escape room design job early on and stuck with it, but she had to bounce around a lot, and meanwhile our living situation was stuffy, the part of town we lived in was kinda sad, and we didn’t have many friends.


Would things have gotten better if we’d stayed longer? Probably. They say you have to stay in LA for five years before you’re truly settled and “at home”. We definitely would’ve made more friends, there would have been more jobs, and we would’ve been able to get a bigger apartment eventually. But in 2020, by the time COVID had us both laid off and running out of money, it didn’t take much convincing to get us to leave.


So, as I mentioned before, at the same time the Block Party was happening I was also working on getting basically everything in our apartment either packed, sold, given away or trashed. It helped that our place was super small and furnished with cheap particle-board furniture that was worth approximately $0.00 after being used. We got a uBox to ship a lot of stuff, and we put into our cars everything we’d need for the next few months as we stayed with my parents for a while.


On August 31, we said our final goodbye to our landlord, emptied out the last few bits of our apartment, and started driving!


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We got lucky that our cat wasn’t one of those cats that freaks out and throws up whenever they’re in a car. I heard so many stories leading up to the trip from people who tried to drive with their cat once and the cat either a) screamed the whole way, b) had diarrhea the whole way, or c) died. What the fuck, cats??


Gimme did just fine though. We drugged her with vet-approved kitty Dramamine at first, but it turned out she didn’t need it. She would sit in her carrier for a little bit but spent most of the ride under the front passenger seat. We leashed her to the back so she couldn’t get up front and walk between the driver’s legs. (Luckily she only did that once, and I was driving slowly on a little private road at the time, so we were able to learn the lesson the easy way.)


Hotels were tricky. We had to take her up to the room while also carrying our suitcases, sometimes pushing her carrier around on a luggage cart. Then we had to ease her out so she didn’t freak out at the new location too hard, then we had to convince her somehow to eat and drink and use her little portable litter box. I don’t think she did much of any of that, but we did our best.


We wanted to stop at the Grand Canyon on our way, since we didn’t know the next time we’d be able to drive over and see it. It was beautiful. Guess what? We couldn’t leave Gimme in the car the whole time, so Courtney wore the carrier on her back and we straight up took our cat to see the Grand Canyon.


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Overall, we did the trip in five days. From Los Angeles to Flagstaff, Phoenix, El Paso, San Antonio, New Orleans, and finally to my parents in Florida. We could’ve done it much faster, but there were a few things we wanted to see, and we also didn’t want to put too many hours between stops with Gimme in the car. It was a good ride.


Random other stuff:

  • The book American Gods by Neil Gaiman is great, but listened to as an audiobook during a road trip through America makes it double great. Which makes sense, since it’s a book about a supernatural road trip through America.
  • While having our cat in the car turned out to be fine, it doesn’t make for a super relaxing trip. The whole thing, from planning stops to driving to finding hotels to checking into the hotels, becomes focused on making sure the cat is okay. Sorry Gimme, you’re a high-maintenance road trip buddy.
  • Arby’s is the best road trip fast food, and Sonic is the worst. Fight me.
  • There’s a Southwestern gas station chain called Buc-ees that is THE HOLY GRAIL, WILLY WONKA WONDERLAND of gas stations. Each one is like 100 pumps and has a store the size of a Wal-Mart, I’m not exaggerating. They have everything from fresh food and homemade candy to furniture, local art, and an entire branded clothing line. Courtney and I walked out of there with barbecue sandwiches, saltwater taffy, a bag of Beaver Nuggets, two bathing suits and a fanny pack.


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The rest of my IRL 2020 was okay. Stayed with my parents, looked for jobs remotely, did my best to stay safe from COVID in Florida where nobody really cares. I feel like we've all had some version of that. But yeah, I’m glad we got to break up the year with a big ol road trip.




Read next: The present and future of NGP


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5

Posted by Will - January 16th, 2021


This is part 3 of a lil blog series I'm writing about my 2020. Here are the previous posts:



The 2020 Summer Block Party changes everything


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The Block Party started as me basically saying this: “Hey, we should do an event type thing. I did an event type thing last year and got some art and music made for it and it was fun. We should do something like that.”


The thing I’d done last year was called “Operation 2009”, and it was kind of a proto-NGP episode of Grounds Patrol where I roped @GoodL, @littlbox and @PsychoGoldfish into exploring a WaybackMachine archive of Newgrounds from ten years earlier. Just for fun, I put some extra time into the “fiction” of the episode, trying to sell the radio-drama aspect of the four of us meeting each other and going back in time, and I also drafted @Snackers and @dogl to do custom art and music. The experiment was a success; the extra level of production enabled us to present the episode as a Big Deal when it otherwise would’ve been just “I record myself looking at a website archive with some guests”.


So when I said we should do an event, that’s what I meant at first. Just a special episode we could do to have some fun and get some attention. When I started the conversation with the crew, though, they started talking about the “event” as an actual live thing we could do with the community. (A much better idea.)


I do know that I eventually threw out the concept of the “summer block party”, which I imagined as kind of an online representation of a little parking lot carnival. You know, a party your town or church throws where there’s a giant slide, and a DJ, and artists setting up stands to make balloon animals and draw your picture and all that. I pictured setting up a bunch of voice channels in our server at once, each one basically having a remote streaming version of one of those stands. There’s an art channel, a live DJ music channel, a Jackbox games channel, a raffle. Oh, and of course a live recording of NGP, because if we don’t get a solid episode out of the whole thing, what was it all for? People’s enjoyment? Please.


Once we decided on that idea, the next thing I wanted to do was make sure the whole thing wouldn’t fall solely on GoodL/PsychoGoldfish/myself to organize solo. So I started an effort to find someone, preferably in the NGP crew, to oversee each category. GoodL took the live recording, PsychoGoldfish took the game streaming, I took the raffle.


All fairness, others on the NGP crew didn’t really bite on this. Some couldn’t commit, some didn’t feel up to the task of organizing, some preferred to enjoy the event rather than work it, some didn’t really understand what the event was, some I just didn’t hear from. (Props, though, to @Staggernight who at one point offered to take the live recording responsibilities when GoodL had a scare with his work schedule.) I ended up pulling double-duty on raffle and music, which left only the art streams to cover, and for that we decided to reach outside our circle.


I didn’t know too much about @Xinxinix at that point, except that he ran a show of his own called @GRNDSbreaking and that he loved art. I also knew from that show that I liked his voice and personality, and I believe GoodL and I did talk at one early point about inviting him on the show as a co-host, but we felt like that would undermine the show he already had.


We reached out to Xin to help run our art streams, and suddenly it was like we’d lit a firecracker. Not only did he love the idea and agree immediately to help, he quickly put together an art streaming event on such a huge scale that the rest of our event was dwarfed hilariously in comparison. We soon had three DJs lined up, two or three game streams, and (I always forget this number exactly) like 24 artist streams. Lesson learned: Xin doesn’t do small.


Here’s a fun detail in all of this: as all of this is going on, my partner/best friend/roomie/NGP announceress Courtney and I were working on moving out of town. I’ll talk more about why later, but it matters here because our moving date was slated for two days after the Block Party, which meant I was preparing my end of the event while packing up our apartment and figuring out logistics for a whole cross-country road trip we were about to do. Fun!


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LOL, so I have to talk about the raffle. So it started with us wanting to give away one big showstopper item, something fun and big enough to draw people’s attention. We decided on a Nintendo Switch because it was the proper price, could be delivered straight from Amazon, and was something we figured mostly everybody on NG would be interested in. We threw some Steam keys in there too since you don’t have to ship those. As we organized, people started volunteering their own items to throw into the pot, and pretty soon we were listing a whole suite of cool stuff from @AntonioMabs, @wavetro, @BrandyBuizel, @Luis, @WonderSchwifty, @ninjamuffin99, @TheDyingSun


Of course, we needed to cover the cost of the Switch and all the shipping, so we needed to sell raffle tickets. PsychoGoldfish stepped up to the plate and programmed an entire Paypal-based point of sale system for us to run. It was my job to field ticket purchases, log people’s info, note any exceptional shipping details, etc. That became a lot of work! I can’t complain too much though, because GoodL was largely stuck with shipping the large amounts of items. I was a bit of an idiot in how blindsided I was by the amount of work the raffle became. On top of that, we realized late in the game that a ticket-sale raffle like this isn’t really technically legal without some kind of permit. Hey, don’t be a narc, alright?


When the day came, surprisingly enough, we were just about ready to go. We’d built the channel structure into our own server, so at the flick of a switch the generic text-and-voice-chat setup we had would transform into colorful Block Party land. I was still a little worried nobody would show up, but thanks to a big push from word-of-mouth and the NG front page banner (amazing), they did. We did the opening show. It was exciting. I flipped the switch for the channels. Nothing really worked. I scrambled to fix everything as the now-huge crowd struggled to find channels that wouldn’t appear. But it was okay -- within a few minutes everything was fine and the party started proper.


Guess what? IT WENT GREAT. Everything was so enjoyable. Huge crowd, lots to do. Xin’s art section was the showstopper event of the whole thing, as he led like five straight hours of dialogue between dozens of artists all streaming together. Real talk, though, for me the Block Party was like six straight hours of steady panic. I was fielding last-minute ticket sales all day as we painfully inched our way to covering all the costs. Between all that, I was darting between channels, making sure everything was working, and handling communication with DJs. Hey, look, the host of the party is never gonna relax. It’s alright, that’s part of the fun.


Are we gonna do a Block Party this year? Maybe. If we do, it’ll be a bit different. One thing I wasn’t happy with, which ironically is something I was really excited about in the beginning, was the concept of all these artists doing their things simultaneously. Like I said, I pictured it as the parking-lot carnival where everything happens at once and you can go do whatever strikes your fancy, but in our case that format meant the channels were always stealing each other’s audiences. I felt particularly bad for the DJs that had to compete with the art streams; nobody likes performing for an empty room. We did our best to cooperate and push people to channels in equal measure, but next time I think everything would be better as a single lane, everything happening one at a time. Also, no friggin ticket sales. Maybe we just get one thing to give away through Patreon funds(!!!) and help artists raffle their own goods on the side. We’ll see!


Lastly, and we’ve covered this extensively over the last few months, but I have to say one more time how timely and wonderful the Block Party ended up being during a very depressing COVID summer. I am so endlessly glad we were able to give people a kickass party like that when we were all feeling so disconnected. We watched The Room together that night, laughed a ton, and that was it. I ate dinner, went to sleep, woke up and packed for a day straight.




Read next: Courtney and I left LA and drove across the USA (again)


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16

Posted by Will - January 15th, 2021


This is part 2 of a lil blog series I'm writing about my 2020. Here are the previous posts:




The Newgrounds Podcast was born (and looked nothing like it does now)


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On February 20th, almost exactly two months after Grounds Patrol’s last episode, this trailer came out. (Hey, shoutout to @Snackers for leading the charge and making it amazing.)


The trailer said, “THE HEART OF GROUNDS PATROL, THE SOUL OF THE CRICKETS”. That’s mostly what it started as -- let’s take the camaraderie and live-recording aspect of ACOCk, and apply a Grounds Patrol level of editing and production value.


The first breakthrough, I think, came when @GoodL took a page from his experience producing TV news and suggested that we get a handful of people together, become a team, and divide into roles to fill for each episode. We have an “anchor” that leads the show, a “reporter” that talks about the community goings-on, another person “on the scene” to talk about the current front page, and so on. People can stick to roles they like, or they can switch around, and not everyone needs to be in every episode.


That exact news setup didn’t end up surviving, but I bring it up because the “people can switch roles, not everyone needs to be in every episode” idea has lasted to this day and is a huge reason the show has lasted this long (and IMO the reason the show will last for a long long time). It makes the recordings more flexible, the hosts more equal in status, and the show itself stronger for not being tied to the constant presence of any one person. We’re a Hydra -- cut off a head, we grow more heads. (Hail Hydra.)


In the beginning, it was GoodL, Snackers, @ninjamuffin99 (who’d helped me with GP and is always a champ), @HenryEyes (who I’d never known too well personally but who is charming and beloved/missed by all), and myself kinda behind the scenes. I wasn’t comfortable being in the mix myself yet, sort of because the embarrassment from ending Grounds Patrol made me not want to be in the spotlight, sort of because I wanted the show to feature people with NG experience talking about NG and I didn’t feel like I had anything to add. @littlbox helped out a lot with the concepts but had to duck out for real-life reasons before the show really started.


We put out an open call for a few more hosts, and @JohnnyGuy, @Staggernight and @RGPAnims joined almost immediately. @PsychoGoldfish came a little bit later -- we had stayed close after he guested on Grounds Patrol, and he’d been part of a big special I’d done with him and ACOCk the year before. He came into the loop as an occasional guest host, threw a meteoric drunken St. Patrick’s day stream-fest for us (that I’m surprised was ever recorded, much less edited into anything), and was soon pinch-hitting for NGP so often that he became one of the most central people on the show.


In that early period, I was happy that NGP was growing and that people were having fun with it, but I have to say that personally I was feeling distant. Everybody kind of knew each other and had banter and inside jokes, and I was mostly just the guy with the clipboard trying to keep everything organized. We’d have monthly crew meetings (a nightmare to coordinate with, if you’re counting, nine hosts) where I felt like a failing high school principle trying to get everyone to shut up and write a show schedule while nobody’s listening and everyone’s laughing and saying shit I don’t understand. I felt like I was producing someone else’s show, not one I had a stake in myself.


And I can’t fault anyone for this! The fact that everyone on the show knew and liked each other was great, it meant they could go on the air and have fun. It was nothing but my own feelings of disconnection from people, coupled with the responsibility I felt like I had to create and organize this big show, which probably made me come off as a boss rather than a friend or team member. Like when your office hires some uppity middle-management type from another building to come take over all your shit. (Which is something I’ve never experienced, I just imagine cubicle life to be exactly like it is on TV.)


Around the start of summer, I had no idea what I was going to do about my fading connection to the show we’d started. I kinda wanted to leave. But that felt like Grounds Patrol all over again, taking my ball and going home when I wasn’t feeling happy, leaving everyone else to figure it out.


Luckily, the show was about to take a giant turn. In a remote little channel in the show-planning section of our Discord, a random idea I’d thrown out earlier was starting to gain momentum. I’d figured it would just be a little fun thing to do; I had no idea it was going to change everything. *bum bum bummmmm*



 

Read next: The 2020 Summer Block Party changes everything


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8

Posted by Will - January 14th, 2021


Hey everyone!


It's mid-January 2021, and I've been really wanting to write up a year-in-review post for 2020. Everyone else has been doing it, and I love bandwagons. *spins fidget spinner*


But when I started writing, I couldn't really stop. There's just so much to talk about. COVID hit, my life changed completely like six times, @TheNewgroundsPodcast began (how has NGP's entire life only been in one year, it feels like it's been going forever!)


I don't feel like posting a giant epic novel of a blog post, and I also don't want to post it super late, so I've decided to break it up. I'm posting two things here today, and expect more posts every day until I'm out of stuff to talk about!


Please don't hesitate to comment if you enjoy these, share if you want, and thank you for reading!



COVID taught me that free time doesn’t equal amazing creative potential


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When 2020 started, I was in Los Angeles helping an escape room company design their next project. This was an amazing experience. This company is, I dunno, an almost "artisanal" escape room company. If other companies' escape rooms are saturday morning cartoons, this company's escape room is Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. (Not really bragging -- their awesomeness has very little to do with me, I just found them and needed a job and lucked out.) I was going into the building, running experiences for groups of people, designing graphics, working with builders and set decorators, helping write the story and design the gameplay, it goes on and on. I was kind of in heaven.


Unfortunately this meant that when COVID hit, I was:

  • in the most contagious city in the most strictly-regulated state in the USA, and
  • working in a field devoted entirely to locking friends together inside small rooms with no air flow 24/7.


We shut down the bookings immediately. But the company wasn’t ready to just furlough us and wait the year out -- the government was promising a really solid small business grant (CARES Act) and we were hopeful to use that money to continue working on our big project remotely!


So when quarantine began, I was doing 8 hours every weekday at our kitchen table. Honestly, I remember being kind of jealous of my friends who were instantly laid off and suddenly had mad amounts of free time. I love free time! Having free time in my life is why I’ve been able to do creative projects, develop skills as an artist, get involved with creative communities like Newgrounds, all of that. I’m usually the kind of person that will instantly fill any amount of free time with a project. TV shows, video games? Rarely. Free time has to be project time. Hustle time. Create-your-legacy time.


Anyway, I got my wish pretty soon. The CARES act was mostly a giant mess, money ran out, and I was furloughed pretty suddenly.


I’m not a psychologist, so take this with a grain of salt, but here’s the thing I learned about creativity: it comes when your brain is actually getting engaged with life stuff. I get great ideas when I’m showering as I get ready for work, when I’m driving, when I’m solving problems, when I’m doing physical exercise-type stuff. Cue the quarantine: I’m showering in the middle of the day or whatever, I’m not driving anywhere, there are no problems to solve, the gym is closed (not that I used it much anyway).


I had free time, but for what to make during that time? I had nothing. There were days where I was able to scratch out ideas for stories and huge dream projects, but I wasn’t making anything past the concepts, nothing I could build or publish or post. I was immediately pissed at myself for finally having the time I’d wished for, and wasting it. Worst of all was seeing my friends who had similar time and were able to achieve their dream project. Pure toxic comparison behavior. I cursed my peers for their finished screenplays, their new business ventures, their success.


So obviously I had to work on not comparing other people’s situations to my own. I’m better at it now, but it’s still a struggle sometimes. Besides that, though, I had to recontextualize my whole habit of equating free time with project-development time. It’s not just that I create things as a way to pass time. A part of me has always tied my self-worth to what I create, and what I will create. My ultimate dream is to make a living by creating my own content and being supported for it. I’ve been guilty of thinking I’ll never be successful until I’m able to make the great thing. I mentioned earlier that I fill all of my free time with creating stuff? A lot of times it’s not passion, is desperation. Creating things in my free time has always been my idea of investment in my future, the only way I’ll be able to avoid a soul-crushing career in a cubicle or whatever.


I’m still a bit guilty of this. To a small extent I might always be. But I feel like I’ve faced the toxicity of this head-on. Creating things shouldn’t be a desparate clawing attempt at being a professional creator. It should be a labor of love and self-expression. And not should it be that, but in many ways that’s all it can be, because if you spend time trying to force creativity out, it’s not gonna be there.



The beginning of my year on NG was a post-GP funk


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In December of 2019, I ended my (mostly) solo podcast project, @GroundsPatrol. In short, Grounds Patrol was the first podcast I’d ever tried to create, I’d just returned to Newgrounds after several years, I was inspired by interview podcasts like Nerdist and You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes and the mock community-news podcast Beef and Dairy Network, and I went to great efforts to make the show as polished and professional as what I was used to listening to myself. I had fun doing the interviews and ended up having nothing to offer in the way of “community news”, so it quickly became an interview-based show. I strived to keep the editing top-notch, the polish level high, the release schedule consistent and the guest list long.


To this day I’m really proud of Grounds Patrol, but it never could have lasted longer than it did. The schedule was tough, my desires for the show didn’t seem to match up with what people wanted (the most successful episodes were sometimes my least favorite, and vice versa) and I felt increasingly out of my depth reporting on a community I’d literally just rejoined. The worst part about running a project solo is that you’re the only thing standing between it and the abyss. If life stuff or mental stuff or any other stuff gets in the way of you making the thing, the thing just stops, and if it stops, there’s nobody around to pick it up and it’s pretty much done. (Just ask literally any webcomic artist, they know). I stopped Grounds Patrol because I knew that, if I didn’t, I’d eventually just end up ghosting. I’m sorry to say it, but when you’re under pressure and you work in an online community, ghosting is very easy and very tempting.


(If you’re reading this and you were a Grounds Patrol fan in the months of silence between its end and NGP’s beginning, I’m sorry. It pains me to admit I was tempted to just disappear. If it’s any consolation, and I mean this seriously, what kept me here through all that was my gratitude towards you all, and the responsibility I felt in having created a show that meant something to you.)


My original plan was to find a new host for the show and basically give them the keys. I figured that, if all I did at the end of the day was kickstart a cool Newgrounds news podcast that someone in the community could run, I was still doing a good thing. So I got to work on finding the new host. Luckily for me, another Newgrounds podcast was gearing up to end around the same time.


So I don’t remember exactly when Grounds Patrol and @ACoupleOfCrickets started being talked about in the same sentence, but it’s kind of hard to talk about one without the other. Another Newgrounds podcast, same community focus, very different style of approach. @GoodL and @littlbox started their show only a couple of months before I started my own, and their style was much looser, unpolished, the editing minimal. (They can tell you much better than I can how their show wasn’t originally NG-themed, it just came up often enough that they branded it as a NG podcast after the fact, which I think is hilarious.)


It wasn’t long before our two shows were playing to the same crowds and dipping into the same pool of guests, and a little rivalry brewed up. It was fun. I’ll say from my own end, I never thought any less of ACOCk (the k is silent!) for being “less polished” than my own show. If anything, it made me wonder how much of my focus on polish and presentation was worth it, especially if their show seemed to connect to people equally as well.


Okay, so as I was looking for a way for Grounds Patrol to continue on without me, I wondered if GoodL and littlbox would be up for taking it. My idea, which looking back seems a little shitty, was that they would happily fold their show into mine and continue their show format under the umbrella of Grounds Patrol’s style and brand.


They didn’t bite. It turns out, when you and another show have a rivalry going on, the idea of letting the rival show politely eat yours doesn’t really feel like much of a truce. Who’da thunk. Instead, we started talking about combining into something else, a new show, a new identity, something bigger than either of us...



NEXT: The Newgrounds Podcast was born (and looked nothing like it does now)


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7

Posted by Will - October 16th, 2020


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What do you do?


10

Posted by Will - July 16th, 2019


Recording music from my keyboard, trying to fool the ears into thinking this is a full band with horns and stuff. Does it pass?




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Posted by Will - June 14th, 2019


...and I'm making a video series about it! So whether you're interested in escape room design or you're a @GroundsPatrol podcast fan and want to see what I look like... here's this thing.



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Posted by Will - May 9th, 2019



Meanwhile, Grounds Patrol keep chugging! Next episode on the 15th babaaay.


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