A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

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A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  Avatar: DoD on Sat Jul 17 2010, 09:52

Part 1/2: Introduction

To All Fans of Avatar: DoD,

This is the most important and most difficult announcement we have made since beginning this project. For many of you, this announcement may be hard to read, hard to believe, and hard to accept, but we humbly request that each of you give this news reasonable time and patience to read and consider.

First, let us dispel your fears of the worst: We are NOT announcing the end of DoD! However, a very big change is coming to the project, and DoD will undoubtedly taking a new direction.

As many of you know, our project has struggled over the last few months to recover the momentum we lost when our animator(s) suddenly left the team. Because of that, we missed the promised deadline for episode 1, and the development team was left in disarray and uncertainty. For that, we owe our fans an apology. Unfortunately, one of our best project managers became busy in real life for several months due to unavoidable responsibilities.

Upon his return, he discovered that we had apparently begun to produce a comic version of the DoD story. We will let him tell you in his own words:

NuWatts wrote:
While I was not necessarily against the comic, I was surprised for a few reasons:

  1. SerialKiffer always stressed in the past that DoD is an animated project that features great art, motion, sound effects, and original voice acting.

  2. By necessity, the comic could not be released through YouTube, where most of our fans are, so this would result in the story being revealed prematurely.

  3. Changes had apparently been made to the script that had taken months to edit and finalize, diminishing the work done by our Writing, Editing, and Acting groups.

Despite these points, I decided that I was OK with the comic as long as that was the direction we agreed to take as a Team while I was absent. However, once I began browsing the forums, I discovered a few more things:

  1. The production and publication of the comic had NOT been decided on as a group; in fact, it appeared that SerialKiffer decided to create it despite protests by other Developers.

  2. Despite previously stating that he didn’t want DoD to be anything except an animated show, SerialKiffer suddenly decided to create a comic by recruiting someone who was outside of the Team and providing him with detailed character descriptions and complete scripts, all without the approval of the Team and without requiring him to join the Team first.

  3. All evidence indicated that this major change to how DoD would be released to the public was decided on entirely by SerialKiffer either without the consent or knowledge of the other leaders of this project.

Again, I am not implying that the comic was necessarily a bad idea. In fact, I believe it has done much good for the project by regaining the attention of our fans and by introducing two new amazing artists to the team! However, I DO believe the way it was handled by SerialKiffer was incredibly irresponsible as the overall leader of what is supposed to be a group project.

While I was mulling over this situation, I was contacted by many of the other DoD leaders who shared with me similar concerns, and many new concerns of which I was previously unaware. After carefully deliberating over the course of many weeks, and after finding that more and more DoD Developers shared similar worries, we finally decided that drastic action had to be taken in order to salvage and revive the entire project.

-NuWatts

So, as of July 15, 2010, a major change has come to DoD.

This decision was tremendously difficult to come to, difficult to execute, and will certainly be difficult to accept. However, we strongly believe that our actions are justified, and that most - if not all - of you will agree with this action once you read our reasons behind it.


Please, continue to read the next sections, which clearly explain what we decided to do and why we decided to do it.




Part 2/2: A Change, and a New Direction

The following is a collection of ideas and revelations about DoD’s state (most importantly its leader and current storyline) that took a while to break down and make presentable to the public. It is not a pleasant or short read. We ask that you give this post due time and consideration to read over and reflect on carefully.

SerialKiffer, the founder of this project, has in retrospect has gotten along with a fair number of the members of the development team. However, his actions as a leader have left much to be desired, especially as of late. His decision to create a comic out of episode 1, for instance, was done after most Developers who responded to the suggestion voiced their disapproval of the idea. This was done with no acknowledgment given to the rest of the team, but was arranged between SerialKiffer and an artist who was, at the time, not officially a part of the team (but, thankfully, has now joined and is exciting about following DoD's new direction).

Concerning said comic, the official script was also altered with no warning to at least leaders, admins, and those who put significant effort into the script which had been officially finalized and given to the voice actors for recording.

SerialKiffer has also shown a lack of maturity when faced with criticism of DoD, lashing out rudely to opposition. While this is a natural response, it reflects horribly on DoD as a whole when the group leader lets out a tirade of cussing in response to immature trolls who should frankly be ignored. This lack of tact did not win DoD any support, it only furthered tension between another Avatar fan group. While SerialKiffer may have started this project, which in itself is a remarkable achievement and we thank him for it, it is no secret that others have put just as much time and effort (and even more) into DoD.

Aside from all this, certain unpleasantries have been revealed that will be discussed below.


SerialKiffer had mentioned being a fan of ICP, a music group. This is all fine and dandy. There is no problem with him personally being a fan. However, you may want to look at the site below. A warning: turn your speakers OFF.
The site is also not suitable for minors. A look through this site will help you understand what is being dealt with.

http://theothersideofjay.tripod.com/id6.html

That page has a list of "definitions." The two definitions of interest are:

    Dark Carnival - The whole meaning behind ICP.

    Dark Lotus - Group of 6 Psychopathic artists; Violent J, Shaggy 2 Dope, Jamie Madrox, Monoxide Child, Blaze Ya Dead Homie and Anybody Killa

Much to the surprise of many within our project, it turns out that Kiffer twisted the story of DoD to act as a tribute to this group. It’s apparently pretty well-known; saying the words “DARK LOTUS” has immediate connotations of this acid-rap band. Look up those two words on Urban Dictionary or Google for a real sink-to-the-bottom-of-your-stomach feeling. It is connected with an entire religion and culture. (Yes. Some people treat it as a religion.)

We wish this fact had been brought to light sooner, but since few - if any - of the other DoD Developers were fans of ICP, we were unknowingly ignorant for far too long.

Again, there is nothing wrong with SerialKiffer having his personal tastes. But to weave it into DoD, and to do it without our knowledge? That crosses the line. Notable examples of this connection follow.

    --------------------

  • SK’s proposed tagline for DoD was “The brighter the light, the darker the shadow”. “The Brighter The Light, The Darker The Shadow” is a song title from Bloodthorn, an ICP opener -- both Bloodthorn and ICP are in Moonlight Corp and they share fans (source)

    Here are some select part from the lyrics of this song:

    Trapped by the evil he set out to conquer, his soul now cried out in vain
    His mind was twisted and lost in the kingdom where madness and suffering reign...
    Condemned to be killed but never to die

    (source)

    This positively screams of SerialKiffer's ideas for our character "Shen."

    --------------------

  • Speaking of which, the character of Shen was taken from the ICP album “The Wraith”, which is about a man/demon who waited in darkness to judge evildoers and cut them down.
    From “Everyday I Die” lyrics:

    It was dark as f*ck I couldn't see...
    crow eyes, glow like cats...
    my eyes keep bleedin', from the rays of the darkness...
    I felt a rip my head went spinnin'
    Flippin and rollin, and finally landed in position
    I could see my body...
    I can't move... why even try...
    I wanna die...
    I got too much time on my hands

    (source)

    A fallen body, spinning around, can’t move, glowing eyes, eons of time going by.... ring a bell? Rewatch the DoD Trailer on YouTube, starting 12 seconds in:


    --------------------

  • Here is the cover of ICP's album "Wraith: Shangri-La", depicting of the "Wraith" with a crow on his shoulder.

    (source)

    For the Developers of DoD, this should sound familiar. At SerialKiffer's suggestion, Shen was supposed to have a pet crow/raven.

    --------------------

  • SerialKiffer badly wanted to have in an episode, with the rides that represented hell. Well, here's the source of that: Link

    --------------------

  • SerialKiffer also asked for a pair of twin firebending jugglers to be featured. Come to find out ICP SerialKiffer created them as an obvious tribute to The Amazing Jeckel Brothers.


    Quote: "The Amazing Jeckel Brothers are twins, born of flame, who juggle your fate. They dance around, tossing flaming, bloody balls which represent a person's various sins. Jack Jeckel is the Wicked, trying to make Jake (the Just) fumble and thus drop a ball."
    (Source)

    There's no hiding this one. If you clicked the source link above, note that that article features the same picture that SerialKiffer posted as a reference for the firebending jugglers' appearance.

    --------------------

  • Take a look at this comparison:

    The top two faces are a cartoonized picture of the two members of ICP/Dark Lotus; the “frontmen”, if you will. It’s a pretty common logo for ICP and Dark Lotus.
    Minus the facepaint, those seem terribly similar to Sleek and Shen, shown at the bottom of the image. Possibly a coincidence, but remember that SerialKiffer had the primary influence of these characters' appearance when they were first created.

    --------------------
We have no doubt there very well may be more buried in our plans for DoD that have concepts drawn from this Juggalo culture.

This is information we should have been notified of before we were officially named Black Lotus Productions. In fact, this idea of a dark lotus in the show has gone on so long, it is oddly suspicious that this link hadn’t been mentioned once by SerialKiffer or other members who may happen to be ICP fans.

Take a look at this YouTube video by SerialKiffer:
http://www.youtube.com/v/GXTJ4GrYuPs

Just the title alone..... Knowing what we do now, there is no way you can watch this and not know that SerialKiffer was all along planning for DoD to be a giant ICP fan tribute.

Most importantly, there's clear evidence that SerialKiffer knew all along that he was purposely planting these references to ICP throughout the show. When it was suggested that the Dark Lotus organization in the story of DoD be renamed to something else, SerialKiffer responded:

SerialKiffer wrote:Na, I like Dark Lotus better... The name its self is an Easter egg... The show will be full of them..."

There is consensus amongst the DoD team that we did NOT sign on to create a tribute to Insane Clown Posse and their split-off band Dark Lotus. We feel tricked, and violated, and very, very used and saddened. All members worked hard on DoD, and from the very beginning we were being lied to about not only the origin of the ideas, but the purpose of the project itself. When the “Dark Lotus” is mentioned, and the “Wraith” that it worships -- when the Dark Carnival episode airs -- when the Twin Firebending Jugglers are introduced as characters -- does anyone think for even a moment that ICP will not be mentioned? That it won’t look like we simply meshed ICP and Avatar together? We had to ask ourselves if this is what we wanted our artwork, music, and acting, and other efforts to be a tribute to. The answer is "No."

And we've also thought about the personality of who we've been working under:

SerialKiffer wrote:And the "fans" are not getting impatient, its those c*m gargling, limp d*ck, sh*t snorting, Gayng Jr pieces of sh*t, and I say f*ck them, f*ck them up their stupid a**es... And I f*cking swear to GOD everyone better stay the f*ck of that God d*mn thread...
-- Internal DoD forum post, 10/13/2009.

Frankly, we are tired. We're tired of doing volunteer work only to have everything changed at the last minute on SerialKiffer's whims. We're tired of having our protests and opinions ignored. We are well aware of the fact that the majority of the DoD work that has been done is not SerialKiffer's. We believe something has to change.

We can't stop SerialKiffer from taking his plans, the work we've done, and continuing to make DoD as he wants it. He has as much right to that as we did with the original Avatar: TLA. What we CAN do is stop working for him and take our own path.
Additionally, we do not feel it is acceptable to allow SerialKiffer further access to what is already available in our discussions. If he wants to use and abuse our work, he will have to do so from memory and with whatever files he saved on his computer.

So, on July 15, 2010, we took action to remove SerialKiffer from this project. Accounts were locked and passwords changed, effectively cutting off SerialKiffer's ability to access most DoD-related sites.

This may seem like an unpleasant action on our part, but we deemed it necessary for the safety of the work so many of us put into DoD. This decision was made collectively amongst the many leaders of our project, it was not made lightly. Most importantly, SerialKiffer was given the chance to resolve this situation peacefully. However, when he was confronted about these concerns, and asked if he would be willing to step down as the project leader in order to keep our current Team, he quickly responded "No" (Online chat conversation, 7/12/10).

As for the remaining members of DoD, we plan on continuing DoD with a more open leadership inside of DoD. We've managed to keep almost our entire talent pool, and we are currently discussing the future of DoD. We ask our fans for patience and assure them that we intend to create a quality series worthy of your attention. We've had some roadbumps along the way, but we think we are now on the right track.


Sincerely,

Collective Opinion of Avatar: DoD Leaders

Avatar: DoD

Posts: 1033
Join date: 2009-05-13

http://thedawningofdarkness.tk

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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  JiraiyaW on Sat Jul 17 2010, 14:19

After reading this entire thing three times over to make sure there wasn't single spot where I missed anything, I have got to say that I am in complete agreement with your actions and even applaud you for doing so. Personally, I'd never even heard of ICP or Dark Lotus before now, so I never caught the references, but some of my friends (not avid listeners) did catch some quite a while ago and it came up in conversation but since, at the time, I hadn't known what it was, we detoured the conversation.
Anywho, I would like you all to know that I am in complete agreement with your decisions and wish you luck getting off the path that he has set you all on. I wish you luck in your animations, drawing, revising the plot, etc and wish for you to know that your choices were wise and well thought out and right now, I can't wait to see your new stuff. I asure you, it will be worth the wait if you went so far as to take this whole deal with SerialKiffer to heart. Smile Smile

JiraiyaW
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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  Liqui on Sat Jul 17 2010, 17:09

I must say I agree with the decision made and I can't wait to see the further progress made now!

Liqui
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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  Anonymou on Sat Jul 17 2010, 22:00

All i have to say is... wow. There always had been something different about Serialkiffer. Although you're right, we have to respect his tastes in things, but really, it wasn't right to not tell you guys of his..."plan". I'm glad you all thought this through, because i still would love to see something of your hard work! (Attempting to speak for everyone) All your fans are still waiting patiently, we're not going to let go of this fanmade Avatar project. It's been far too long, and it wouldn't be right to give up just yet! Keep rockin' you guys, keep rockin'. cheers

Anonymou
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Agreed

Post  Maki on Sun Jul 18 2010, 01:57

It is upsetting to hear that your group had to go through such an ordeal. Being in a leadership position myself, I understand your situation and feel cheated knowing that one person tainted a lot of your hard effort. I support your decisions and eagerly look forward to seeing a fresh look on DoD. :] Congrats for getting it fixed before a lot of damage was caused. (If you had already produced a few episodes and then realized it, I can't even begin to think of the trouble it would bring.)

Maki
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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  Murph on Sun Jul 18 2010, 13:22

mother of god.....

Mother.
Of.
God.


I...I can't even begin to think how betrayed you guys must be feeling. Good on ya for giving Kiffer the boot and good luck removing the clown-fail he covertly inserted into the project. I hope you turn it into something awesome that all fans can appreciate, not just *blech* juggalos. The nerve of that guy...

I lol'd at his anti-Gaang Jr. curse laden tirade, he certainly wasn't good PR for the project to begin with.

Murph
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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  Aquarius on Mon Jul 19 2010, 01:56

I leave for a few months and all THIS happens!? Wow...so is DoD going in the comic direction from now on or are we still gonna be animating it once we get some..animators? And now that SK is gone, will we be re-doing the story or anything?

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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  VeniceGirl on Mon Jul 19 2010, 11:50

Aquarius, more information on that can be found in the Announcements forum.
Not all details are set. A lot of this will be talked over during the next couple of weeks.

VeniceGirl

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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  Announcements on Mon Jul 19 2010, 14:42

SerialKiffer's response has been moved to http://serialkiffer.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/3045643-serialkiffer-s-response-to-us-dispute-thread -- If you wish to reply to him, please go there. We would like this forum to be used for fan replies only, and don't wish for it to turn into a debate thread. Also, we're asking anybody who does reply to him or publicly speak of SerialKiffer to avoid name calling. It's begun to pop up here and there and we'd like to make clear that we do not approve. Thank you.

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New Direction: Need Experienced Help?

Post  Silent R on Wed Jul 21 2010, 00:50

Hey Production Team and Fans,

Alright, so let me first begin by saying that I completely agree with your decision to remove Kiffer from the production team. I have had my problems with him in the past (when I was using the name Avatar Canon Expert on the comics page), and I agree that he overstepped his boundaries by adding things without revealing sources. I also agree that he had no tact when dealing with discussions in a civil manner with his extensive use of cussing and cyber bullying. For these reasons I agree 1000% with your decision.

I have to say one thing in his defense, though. (And trust me I don't really want to defend him...) I am not a fan of ICP, nor have I ever paid much attention to them. However, after reading this post I spent the last couple days researching ICP, Dark Carnival, and anything remotely associated with ICP. You suggest quite blatantly that ICP is a demonizing band, that follows a satanic religion. I mmust protest that if you actually look up what ICP was all about, you will see that their message is a very positive one (quite well in line with Christianity, in fact). I just had to say this one thing to clear some of the contentions.

Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly agree with you in your decision to relieve him of his position.

With that said, I wanted to know if you needed any help in the new direction that you are taking. From your note, it seems that you may be changing a very large portion of what you had already, which is why I am offering my services. I had attempted to join the team in the past, but I never received a reply and gave up on the idea then. Now, I am assuming an opportunity opening up to join once again, so I am sharing my wishes to join at this moment.

I am sure you want talented and/or experienced members of the team, so let me share some of my relevant credentials: I have worked on actual Hollywood films, entered (and won) numerous film festivals (lost a bunch too, though, hah...), and written both short and feature length scripts. I know how to edit in a variety of software. I can work with the entire Adobe Creative Suite proficiently. I am an avid and knowledgeable fan of the Avatar world with creativity flowing out of my brain. I am a professional that wants to give a (hopefully substantial) hand to this project, so let me know if there is any room for me.

Obviously, I gave a very short overview of myself, but if you need more information, let me know, and I'll get in contact with you.

--Silent Rogue

Silent R
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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  Deciheximal on Wed Jul 21 2010, 01:03

Silent R wrote:I have to say one thing in his defense, though. (And trust me I don't really want to defend him...) I am not a fan of ICP, nor have I ever paid much attention to them. However, after reading this post I spent the last couple days researching ICP, Dark Carnival, and anything remotely associated with ICP. You suggest quite blatantly that ICP is a demonizing band, that follows a satanic religion.
As a member of DoD, I can tell you that this is absolutely not the case. We do not feel that ICP or any similar band is Satanic. Everybody who was involved in creating our statement also feels the same. While we cannot definitely speak for everybody within the project, any such opinion is certainly a minority view.

Regardless, it is not something that we want associated with our project.

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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  NuWatts on Wed Jul 21 2010, 01:19

Besides seconding Deciheximal's response above, I'd like to respond to the other comment made by Silent R:

Silent R wrote:I wanted to know if you needed any help in the new direction that you are taking. From your note, it seems that you may be changing a very large portion of what you had already, which is why I am offering my services. I had attempted to join the team in the past, but I never received a reply and gave up on the idea then. Now, I am assuming an opportunity opening up to join once again, so I am sharing my wishes to join at this moment.
Thanks for your offer! You are correct in assuming that we will be looking for new talent very soon! At the moment, we're restructuring our team's Production Groups, but once that's done, we'll be able to see clearly what kind of help we'll be in need of.

In the meantime, the best way to contact us about joining the Team is to send an e-mail to TheDawningOfDarkness@gmail.com
Please note that it may take awhile for us to respond based on what's happening with the project at that moment. However, we promise to take a look at your message and respond appropriately. Thanks ahead of time! Very Happy

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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  JAF on Sat Jul 24 2010, 18:38

Thank God you found out about Kiffer!

I do not wish to neglect any creative ability he has, but the whole thing seems slightly twisted. One is not suppose to trick their co-workers into something they would never allow. If you are the head of a project it is your abiligation to join everyone's thoughts and visions together to create a beautiful symphony of Animation where kids (and adults) can let their imagination take flight. I, being a amature animator, understand the importance of this! I also understand that a show being (I'm assuming) featured on Nickelodeon, where millions of America's children glue their eyes to, should be free from any connections with satanic worship. Now I personally looked at some of the songs and music videos from ICP and realize, true they do not seem to support any satanic worship (from what I have seen) they do cuss too much. They also give a disturbing aroma of acceptence to violence. I'm not saying this is true, but the problem is they [i]SEEM like it. What people need to understand is this: What ever you put out on the internet or TV is available to EVERYONE! Well, a child cannot help but be distracted by TV and internet, exspecially cartoons! Therefore, it is any animators' job for a kid supported network to create a cartoon that encourages good behaviors, clean fun and a chance for kids to still be kids. So with that note I congradulate the DoD animators, producers, script writers, and so on for seeing the fault in Kiffers vision for a KID SUPPORTED show and put an end to it at once! I love Avatar and I really hate to see it be a show that started 'Excellent' and ended as a show many parents question to let their children see. I give you all my best wishes that the reconstruction of DoD is a complete sucess!

JAF
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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  Gan on Sun Jul 25 2010, 01:27

You have my sympathies for being suckered guys. It's truly a shame to see so many dedicated people who just want to make a tribute to a show they love have this happen.

In light of this and the recent M. Night Shyamalan disaster, I'll be contacting you soon to offer my services. Before I do, though, I'd like to know: are you starting entirely from scratch? Seeing as how cancerous this Keiffer infection was, you may want to.

Cheers,
Gan Xingba

Gan
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Re: A New Direction for DoD (Open to the Public)

Post  SY14 on Sun Jul 25 2010, 22:39

Wow, I find your project in the middle of this happening, I'm sorry to hear about that. Still, I'm a huge fan of Avatar, and I'd like to offer my services. I have been voicing in other internet projects (Mostly Smash Bros. Machinima) for 2 years now, and I also like throwing ideas around with my friends.

I have seen the animation from over a year ago, and it looks awesome, but it seems you've been having troubles keeping a solid animator. Have you considered instead turning Dawning of Darkness into an audio comic instead? If done right, even one picture can convey a myriad of emotions.

My 2 cents... err... copper pieces.

SY14
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