Monday, December 3, 2018

I'm Embarassed, and I'm Sorry... And I'm kinda pissed off

Long post here…  
I  decided to leave an incubating project today.  Not because I couldn’t see it becoming a success, or because of timing.  But because of lies, and mis-representation from the producers and creators of the show about the agenda.  I just cannot be a part of religious brainwashing and intolerance. 
This is NOT and Elmwood Productions project.

Earlier this year I was approached by a puppeteer/producer who was interested in having me perform on his upcoming show “Doc Gomper’s World Of Amazing Wonders”.  This was pitched to me as an educational science show for elementary school age children that was to be shopped to networks and the like. 
Because of a non-disclosure agreement, I will not be naming names, and I will not be giving specifics about the story line of the show or characters.  These were items covered in the NDA.  But I can name the show by name, and bring up things not covered in the NDA, such as puppet making, and the public posts made by the company on their Facebook account.  Naming people was not in the agreement.  But I feel it’s better not to do so.
Quickly I realized those involved, specifically one person, was very new at taking on larger projects, and upon digging into his work in the past it was clear he was very green at puppet film making.   Further research showed some past mis-steps in paying people, and in not returning property, leading to at least one lawsuit.  I asked him to explain the situations, which were years ago.  He stated some bad things that happened in his past he has been cleaning up his life and trying to get back on track.  I even had a couple people reach out to me and ask me to watch my back.  Which from that point forward I did.  People make mistakes, every one of us.  Accepting the mistakes and working to be better is a good thing.
With this in mind I was still OK with coming on the project as a puppeteer.  But still watching my back…
After agreeing to puppeteer my contact with the show then went on to ask me for advice, and for and possible contacts for additional puppeteers.  Which I was happy to help with, as I would love to bring some of my friends and fellow performers on, for what looked like would be a fun and educational project.  During this time my contact/producer also kept attempting to pressure me into using existing Elmwood characters in his project.  I am no fool.  I declined to share Elmwood’s characters for his show for a few reasons. Mainly the integrity of our shows and continuity, and I was fully aware of his attempt to ride our coattails and use our existing characters to push his show.   And was also aware of his timing on this.  He was very eager to announce my involvement as HEAD was hitting the streaming services over the summer.  I asked him to wait a few weeks and let HEAD be released and haves it’s moment, but he did not.  He announced my involvement quickly, during all our promotion for HEAD.  I was nice and let it slide.  I can understand and relate to excitement for a project! 
I was also approached to be a puppet designer and puppet maker for the project, and after a couple sketches was asked to do it, then not.  I think it went back and forth a few times.  I finally stopped bringing it up, since it was clear I probably wouldn’t get paid what I’m worth.   
The contact also attempted to pressure me into finding funding for his project.  Which I could not be a apart of, as I myself am a producer looking for funding for my own projects.   Also he continually changed dates/time/locations for possible shoots for a pilot, crowdfunding videos, and promos.  All while hiding behind a mysterious “investor”.  This unseen and unnamed “investor” was my first huge red flag.  Sure, all the other back and forth moments and lack of info and so on were red flags.  But I was being optimistic as this crew seemed very new and they were trying hard.
Remember, I agreed to be part of a kid’s science show.  
Over the past few weeks the Facebook page for the company has posted anti-gay propaganda, from a “Christian” angle…  That stuff that says kids questioning their gender can be fixed. 
Any good Christian would let people be who they are.  Regardless of gender, or gender identification, or sexuality.  Not really “kids show” stuff.  Not even science.   My contact/producer states one of his partners in the project was making those posts.   And did remove one that I am aware of.  
But he still stands by working with someone who is intolerant and ignorant and hiding behind God.  Using God as an excuse to be hateful.  Which is unacceptable.  I’m no angel.  But I also understand that if you believe in God, then God is the one creating people to be the people they are.  So who are you to try and change them?  Let us be.  Let us be men, women, gay, straight, bi-sexual, whatever…  Be whatever you are and want to be.  Please.  I will and do support you.
From here I must apologize.  I know I did not do anything wrong.  I do not agree with the sentiments that this production company is standing by.  But, I still am embarrassed to have had my name attached, even briefly to people spreading intolerance.
I am sorry to anyone who saw those posts and found them because my name was attached to the project. 
I am sorry to the performers and crew I introduced to the project and recommended to the producers of the show.
I am sorry to anyone I suggested the Doc Gomper’s Facebook, website, and social media accounts to.  
And I’m sorry to myself, for not seeing and accepting the red flags and signs sooner.  

I wish everyone who does end up working on the project the best of luck.  At this time, I will be discontinuing my connection with the show and its production team.  I have asked that they remove my name, image, and any connection to me from their web presence, and promotional materials

This is the last I’ll speak of this, it’s best left in the past.
I’ll just be over here, with my weird friends of all genders, and religions, and diets, and colors, and political affiliations, and musical tastes, and whatever and ever…  And we’ll keep making our weird movies and shows.  And hopefully you’ll keep watching them!  
Thanks for your support!
“Whatever and ever, Amen.”

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