In Lieu of Flowers…
In 2007, the internet was in the process of changing. A few years before Youtube had exploded on to the scene, Wikipedia had reached far enough into popular culture that my college professors were warning not to use it as a source on papers; The user-created internet was finally arriving in a big way.
There were a few great videos to come out early, but nothing had such a lasting impact on me as Haloid.
(The youtube video loads in low quality, so watch in fullscreen on 720p for full effect.)
This video was made by one man, a then unknown Monty Oum. I know that videos like these are not uncommon now, but to give you an idea of how standout this was: Here’s a video put out by Coke for the Superbowl that year, and the trailer for Assassin’s Creed, which also came out late 2007. Both are fully CGI and perhaps it’s unfair to compare a commercial to a 10 minute video, but I want to show some context of one man’s work versus an entire company.
Both ads are good, but in my book Haloid felt monumental. It would have been amazing if Nintendo or Bungie had released it – but this was a single person. I had trouble wrapping my head around how it was even created.
Monty Oum would go on to work for Midway and Namco Bandai Games, as well putting in time on the video game Afro Samurai. In 2010 he joined Rooster Teeth to help them bring combat into their long running Red vs Blue series.
I can remember a friend sending me this video telling me I needed to start watching Red Vs. Blue again. Through his work on RVB, he was promised the chance to work on his own original show.
Enter RWBY in 2013; a colorful, quirky, animated show. The following video is from the Red Trailer. The subsequent White, Black, and Yellow trailers are also worth checking out. Also here’s a quick trailer that explains the plot if you’re interested.
A few months after Rooster Teeth wrapped up Season 2 of RWBY. Monty Oum was hospitalized “following a severe allergic reaction during a routine medical procedure.” He passed away on February 1st, 2015.
Often when a celebrity dies, it’s someone who was older. As with January’s celebrity deaths they were all older people who had an impressive body of work. Does Monty’s death seem worse to me because he was my age, reminding me of my own mortality? Not really. I think it has more to do with the loss of creativity and a unique voice. A friend of mine said after the death of David Bowie “The world is now a shittier place.” That might be true to an extent and I hate the loss of our creative types, but I think the notion that they leave a hole that cannot be filled is insulting to the creativity and ingenuity of the human race.
We will remember them by their work and the love we carry for it, but by learning, experimenting, and creating we continue the legacy of the artists who have left us. Keep moving forward.