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A proper sendoff to CE-Rap

Posted by R1665 - November 2nd, 2015


Time for some real talk, people.

Among my strongest character flaws is a tendency towards wrath.  I'm the guy who will happily burn down an entire village just to get back at one douche living in it.  Looking back on these last four years, I wish I were enlightened enough to walk away.  I wish I were zen enough to view it as a learning experience and move on.  That's definitely something I need to work on.

For now, however, I'll just have to settle for smashing CE-Rap in the nuts with a sledgehammer.  Here we go.

- - - - -

Way back in the olden days on 2011, I was stuck in a very troublesome predicament.  I had just parted ways (amicably) with 3XStudios, the man behind the artwork of VG Exiles 1 and 2.  We had both agreed that the professional separation was for the best, but I still had no artist.  I still had no way to bring a non-sprite detailed story into a sprite movie.  I couldn't draw worth a crap and was left with an unfinished VG Exiles 3.

Then, CE-Rap came along.  We hammered out VGE3 and formed a strong professional relationship.  Well, as professional as it gets for hobby work.

...and looking back on it, it didn't take long for things to start sliding downhill.  Because artwork was such a time-consuming and difficult thing to do for free (the series made absolutely no money and I'm poor), I was very receptive to any ideas he would bring to the table.  If he wanted to put something in, he pretty much got it every time.  My reasoning was that it's entirely too much work to heap on somebody without giving them some creative control.

Unfortunately, he started abusing that control.

It started as minor changes - stuff that hadn't been scripted and finished already on VGE3.  A change in attitude here, a planned character use there.  When he discovered that I never actually had a plan for the series but rather made it all up as I went along, he wasted no time writing out an entire series plotline.  It was this giant, convoluted "lore-heavy" saga that extended from ten years before the current team to however the fuck long it would end up being in the end.  He kept established canon in mind as much as he could, but he wrote a hundred times what could ever be displayed in the video format.

Eventually, the plot changed so much that it became necessary to scrap the entire series and start over.  I resisted at first, but once again cowed to the dozens of seemingly rational arguments he had in favor of that action.

You see, Rap was a manipulator.  He was a silver-tongued bullshitter who knew how to talk his way in and out of any situation with lawyerly precision.  He saw (and even described) himself as a super quick-witted guy who was always forty steps ahead of whoever he was working with.  He was above.  He was advanced.  He always felt that other people were too slow for him and he eventually realized the problem was that he was so fucking brilliant that "normal" people couldn't keep up.  He was always the smartest motherfucker in the room and could make no mistakes.  He could work out all the possible future consequences of an action, and therefore always knew the best route.  Not just "knew", KNEW.  Uppercase.  He was the professional.  He was the head-down-eyes-forward-self-driven-uber-rhino-badass and he KNEW WHAT THE FUCK WAS UP.  He was FOR REAL.  He was UP FRONT.  He DOES NOT BULLSHIT.  (...and his real name is "Carl", not "Carlito" as he claims.  Because obviously the first personal detail you're going to learn about him is complete and utter bullshit.)

Now, you take a guy like that who lives up his own asshole and partner him with somebody like me.

I've been told that I write with an air of "authority".  It creates the impression that I'm more knowledgeable, assertive, and confident than I really am.  People who know me IRL know that's not the case at all.  I'm insecure as fuck.  I constantly second-guess myself.  I look for flaws in my own reasoning and I am acccommodating to a well-reasoned counter-position.  I value being wrong.  I value being mistaken.  This makes me vulnerable to bullshitters and manipulators.  I've been taken advantage of a few times because of it.

...and THAT'S where I've been for the last few years - in CE-Rap's World of Bullshit.

The original Exiles canon was the first to go.  It had to be rebooted to meet Rap's new story.  We worked through a good 75% of the fight scene for a brand-new VG Exiles Episode 0. (or rather "1" this time.)  We swapped Ken out for a souped-up version of Vice from KOF.  We changed the setting.  We changed the setup and the story.  We did custom spriting.  Everything was looking good.

Then Hurricane Sandy happened and Rap disappeared.  While he was gone, I created FAILtality 2 and stuck his name on it.  I organized the Random Select Collab with other fine animators.  I started up new solo projects knowing that everything would have to go on the back burner when he returned.

...and go on the back burner they did.

It wasn't long after Rap's return that we got back to work.  He was a big Captain America fan and had to make himself part of the Random Select Collab after learning that I had drawn Cap and the Hulk.  We spent a few months putting that together before stopping at around 75%.  (Never to be completed...)

You see, Rap now had a slick new plan - making money.  Advertising.  Sponsorships.  Partnerships.  YouTube revenue.  Making a living off this, son!  Doing this for money!  (Some of you might be seeing the flaws in this already and you are 100% fucking right.  More on that later.)

Nooooowwwwww, The VG Exiles reboot was no longer good enough.  The Exiles is copyrighted by Marvel.  The sprites, sounds, and music we use are also third-party owned.  If we were going to monitize this, we had to eliminate all of the copyrighted material.  It had to be "our" series.  So we could sell the fuck out of it.

XEUS WAS BORN.

Xeus was a once-again rewritten version of the VG Exiles with all-new content.  It was still based on video game characters, but those featured were amalgamations of already existing ones.  Take Jon Talbain, mix him up with some Ifrit from Final Fantasy, some whatever the fuck from Skyrim, give him fire powers, and call him SOVENSBANE.  Take Stryker, mix him up with some Solid Snake, some Stargate, make him a couple of decades older, and call him JACKSON.

That kind of shit.

Needless to say, this turned a relatively simple flash series into a nightmarish clusterfuck requiring custom EVERYTHING and the next two decades to produce.  That would take money.  Lots of money.

Fortunately, we had a mutual contact in California.  This guy had gotten into the toy business and was doing pretty well for himself.  You know, the kind of business that Rap could latch onto like a leech and suck dry for support money while we went around selling our Xeus humunculus to any internet group who would show it and pay us.

He wanted us to move out there and get started CREATING THE FUTURE.  By this time, he had me hook, line, and sinker.  Full assortment of stars in my eyes.  I was ready to commit to the great California Quest!

...buuuuuuuuut he wasn't.  He was still neck-deep in shit from Hurricane Sandy.  I was eight hundred miles away in Kentucky.  What could I possibly do?

Well, I could rent a large SUV, drive all the way to New York, pick up him and his stuff, drive everything back to Kentucky, and let him move in with me.  ...and that's exactly what I fucking did.  Because I'm an idiot.

August - December 2014.

Rent free.  Utility free.  I'm buying his groceries.  I'm buying his metric ton of cleaning supplies.  I've given him a cell phone and now I'm paying to put minutes on the thing.  I upgrade my cable internet to the best possible speed so he can stream hi-def videos while he does whatever the fuck he does all day instead of watching DVD's like a more considerate person might.  I'm paying extra for his subsequent data overages.  I'm working in a warehouse.  So... needless to say...  I'm going broke.  He's not paying for shit.  He deeply regrets not paying for shit.  Wait, scratch that.  He deeply regrets that I CAN'T HAVE A PAYMENT AT THE MOMENT.  Not that he can't pay.  There's a difference.  The former is a "gift" he can't give, but shouldn't be expected to.  The latter is his failing and fuck knows he's not gonna word it like that.  Because lawyer.

By that time, Xeus had been put on the back burner as well.  Mortal Kombat X was due to drop in April, so we had to drop everything and do FAILtality 3.  With FAILtality being easily the most successful thing I had ever done, Rap felt that releasing one on the heels of MKX would propel us forward and get the ball rolling for the California move.  That's right.  His plan was literally

FAILTALITY 3

??????

PROFIT.

I mean, how the fuck else were we going to get out to the west coast?  Rap certainly hadn't shown any ability or desire to carry his own weight, so where was this miraculous windfall of money coming from?  We didn't know, but Rap ASSURED me that it would all work out.  All we had to do was take this extremely complicated set of FAIL scripts we had written and cram eight months of work into an impossible five.  ...and when I say "impossible", I mean literally fucking impossible.  I did the math.  He gave no fucks.  We just had to make the attempt - even if it meant working for five solid months with no real breaks and 1.5 hours of sleep a night.  Unpaid.

So there I am - slowly losing my bank account.  Working a production schedule in which he gets to tell me when to work on flash and when to go to bed between my normal work shifts (which are paying all the fucking bills).  I have a manipulative, egocentric, (and I suspect sociopathic) prick setting the rules in MY FUCKING HOME.  All in the name of "brotherhood".  Rap was the BOSS.  He had made himself so.  (Hell, no sooner had we decided on the name Rhino Rex Studios that he appointed himself as the CEO of the "company".)

By this time, I had lost complete control of absolutely everything.  In my desire to make him feel welcome both in my flash projects and in my home, I had surrendered the captain's chair.  My desire to give him creative control for his hard work was not reciprocated.  If I didn't like an idea, I was "not seeing the bigger picture" or "not imaginative enough" or "not really committed".  If I wanted "my" idea done, I had to argue against his counter-idea that he had already built a giant tapestry of support for and could argue with his usual manipulative lawyer bullshit.

By the time Christmas rolled around, I was done.  I was out.  I officially walked away.

...and he stayed.

For the NEXT SEVEN MONTHS he continued living rent-free in my home.  I didn't have the heart to kick him out.  By his own statements, doing so would result in him going back to a Hurricane Sandy relief shelter and living in squalor.

...and still he remained controlling and manipulative.  He ruled the roost.  I continued going broke.  I eventually had to stop buying his food because I couldn't afford it.  I couldn't afford decent food for myself, either (the positive upshot of this was that I turned it into a weight loss game and dropped fifty pounds).

I went through multiple mental and emotional breakdowns.  I would have these moments of lucidity and fire off an angry email, but I was always willing to be walked back into the fog by his silver-tongued lawyer bullshit.  Our personal relationship rapidly deteriorated.  We eventually reached a point where we couldn't even interact (except for that one time where he blew up his own fucking computer and spent three hours dressing me down for it).

The end finally came one night when he knocked on my bedroom door and asked me to clean the kitchen.  I flatly refused.  An argument began.  It escalated.  I went to shut the door between us and he shoved his way in.  At this point I'm just repeatedly telling him to get the fuck out of my room.  Then he puts his hands on me.  That kind of "arm touching yeah-whatever-dude" male dominance bullshit.  I shove him.  He comes back and now we're nose-to-nose UFC style about to come to blows.  I tell him to take his swing.  All the reason I need to throw his ass out of my home.  After many more angry words he finally walks out, determined to use whatever legal recourse he can get to remain in my home, including paying part of my rent so he becomes a "tenant" and must be formally evicted.

Thankfully for me, my landlord and her husband live one floor beneath me and heard everything.

The next morning, I'm looking into eviction possibilities and Rap comes at me with the whole "we BOTH went too far" line of bullshit.  If ever there was a time for him to stand up and admit he was wrong about something important, that was it.  And he failed.

As it turns out, you don't have to actually strike somebody to be charged with assault.  Him pushing his way into my room was assault.  Him putting his hands on me was assault.  His nose-to-nose escalation was assault.  He did it and I had witnesses.

Interesting tidbit - when you give somebody the option of GTFO or go to jail, people tend to GTFO.

Now, he's gone.  His shit is gone.  My home is mine.  My future is mine.  ...and if there's anything in this universe resembling cosmic justice, CE-Rap will spend the next twenty years chewing a tunnel through the base of Shit Mountain.

- - - - -

That grand finale happened back in July and I've been struggling to get back on my feet ever since.  I'm fighting like hell to come back to flash, as it was pretty much the only thing I ever did that amounted to anything.  I've decided that I'm not going to let this mooching fuckhole ruin the only good thing I ever did.  That said, I am un-cancelling the VG Exiles.  It will return.  Just not in the same form it would have taken with Rap and most definitely not soon.  I need to perfect the art of sprite-based storytelling and be able to do the entire thing on my own if need be.

To that end, I am going to finish some older back-burnered projects while getting started on my brand new series.  It will be hugely story-driven and will help me build the skills I need to bring back the VG Exiles on my own.

I'm a brand new man, now.  I'm the Captain.  Time to take back my ship.

R1665

(This is, of course, the abridged version.  There is a LOT more.  Some of it WAY worse. I will answer any questions that I feel I am able.  I will also post a link to this journal in every future journal I do until I get tired of trashing CE-Rap's already beshitted reputation.  Why?  because fuck you, Carl.  That's why.)


Comments (15)

Fuck dude. Talk about a truly ungrateful bastard. The guy should of realized that sprite animations aren't all that popular. Super Mario Bros Z is the exception, but it wasn't like the dude behind that was making any money off of it. Right now, the only way to get paid off of it is to join Screwattack for their Death Battles and One-Minute Melee junk. Basically, It was pretty much doomed from the start.

But that's besides the point. Looking at all that mess and comparing it to my situation makes me glad that I provide and show my appreciation to my best bud for letting me live it up at his home while I finish college. I can't even imagine a freeloader having his head that far up his ass that he truly believe he can do no wrong.

Go to say it though, glad you've finally stood your ground, but that shit took way too long to happen, especially with the obvious signs that this dude is nothing but a cunt. I mean, money is very important to me too, so the I noticed my money was constantly going down because of this asshole, I would of cut him off a hell of a lot sooner. I'm not trying to sound like some fictitious asshole who can see bullshit coming a mile a head. I've been burnt out by someone before as well. Whatever doesn't kill you I suppose.

Glad you're free now and ready to jump back into flash animation. All I really wanted was more badass fight scenes with some awesome background music (grateful for the scar symmetry addition in my music folder). Your sprite fights is still one of the best I've ever seen. Easy to say, really looking forward to whatever you have next.

Even the ScrewAttack stuff can't even be called "part-time". You definitely can't live off of it.

Alvin-Earthworm is back doing SMBZ and started a Patreon for it. He's getting just over $3,000 per episode right now. That seems like a lot, but you have to consider the time it takes to do an episode like that.

...and he's ten times more popular than I'll ever be.

Sooooooooo... probably not gonna be a paying career for me.

R1665

Wow man, you have been through hell, I hope you achieve stability again, I always liked your work, and wondered why there was no apperantly updates, knowing your story just gives another perspective, hope you get better, and take your time, you really need to rest from that hell you went through

wow.... just wow... I'd say the classic "give an inch, take a mile" case doesn't begin to cover that whole situation. I'm glad to hear you are recovering from that large amount of drama and am looking forward to your future work. welcome back, Cap'n *salutes*

Holy shit man, was this the first time you mentioned any of this or did I miss something?

Had no clue all that was going on... I did think it was a little strange that you two were moving in together years ago, but hey, I don't know you or anything.

In terms of my previous comments about monetizing your series (via advertisements), I can see now why you were totally opposed to it (though based on the timing of the comments maybe you were knee deep in potentially moving to CA at the time?).
All I was really thinking was a light-hearted attempt at monetizing via ads; you start a website, plop your videos on there, see what comes in. Add new videos as you are able to make them, but not jeopardize your existence in the process. In this way, you don't have to bring much/any risk to your life. Yea, I don't know about the legality of having ads on a website that has your flash animations (that use copyrighted sprites) on them. Maybe it just doesn't work. But I was optimistic because there are people out there that make a living based on ads on their blogs, and most of these blogs are very very stupid. I thought maybe an aspiring talented artist could generate some ad revenue.

I wish you the best of luck on getting back on your feet; I still think you have the raw talent to make great videos; I personally think the story was more important than the artwork. Hopefully you're planning to get yourself stabilized before investing too much in sprites again?

I probably wont ever be in E-town, but my company does have a plant there and if I'm ever there I'll buy you a beer.

This is the first time I've gone public with this. Up until recently, I wasn't even sure that I COULD come back. This last year took a lot of motivation out of me and I kind of had to rediscover my enjoyment of the craft.

I'm still opposed to monetizing. For now.

When last we spoke, I was on the tail end of this Rap business and couldn't even drag myself to the animating board, much less entertain the notion of revenue. My activity was pretty much limited to going to work, feeling depressed, and wondering how the hell I was going to get this guy out.

(On further reflection, that's not entirely true. I had been dragging myself to the animating board to do my part for Sentinel Destruction 2. Still, I did so with much difficulty.)

I see the people with blogs the same way I see successful YouTubers. They have millions of subscribers and can churn out movies every other day. It takes way less time and effort to point a camera at yourself and make stupid faces while playing video games than it does to make animations. You have to have the subs and you have to have the quick-turnaround product. I have neither.

R1665

Holy shit. I can't even think of words to type on my keyboard that fucked up is this your story.
But basically, I'm glad that you could get rid of that leech.
Welcome back to freedom, man.

How's your current state? Any updates?

Right now I'm finishing up the Random Select Collab (that thing I started two friggin' years ago and could never finish).

After that, I've got multiple possible projects. I just have to figure out which one I should work on first. I just have to keep my momentum going right now.

R1665

Didn't know Alvin was doing the patreon thing; looks like he lost his job and now has the time to devote to the series again. Other way to view it is that he lost his job and now needs some money. (e.g. motivated by desperation vs desire).

A blog with occasional flash series and a fair amount of daily/weekly updates on your progress may fit the bill; it doesn't have to be all flash animation (which is too time intensive). But anyways, if your heart isn't into that then it's not the right way, and either way now is clearly not the time.

Do you have plans to make the VG exiles bigger, more epic, and more fleshed out? Or is it intended to be more fight scene heavy? You will do the art work now?

The VG Exiles will become what I can make of it, and that depends on what skills I can develop with my new series. The new series will be immensely story-driven and feature only a minimum of hand-drawn art, if any at all. If I can make THAT work, I can make anything work.

It might be that the newer incarnation of the VG Exiles won't have hand-drawn art at all. Maybe I'll be in a position to commission some art by then. I dunno. I'll just have to see where this wind blows.

R1665

So what has become of CE-Rap? Is he internet active? Did he go back to NYC or is he in Kentucky?

I guess you probably don't intend to pursue criminal or civil charges with him; would not be a productive use of time. At the least, you probably learned a valuable lesson in how to not get taken advantage of people.

Last I heard, he was still in my hometown somewhere. Most likely having found somebody else to mooch off of. I wasn't there when he came back for his bigger stuff, but I was told he arrived with a group of 16-18 year old kids who he described as his "friends".

So... I guess that flea is hopping between multiple dogs now.

I'm not interested in seeing or hearing from him again. So, no, I won't be pursuing additional legal action. I'm just making sure that people in my circle know what he really is should he ever think he can come back to any real kind of internet life. If that zombie rises, I'll be there with a shotgun and a shovel.

R1665

Glad to see your back on your feet man. I know we don't talk much, but even so, its not the same without ya.

btw have you ever considered using 3d for the art? if you feel your drawing isn't doing a scene justice then maybe you could pose the character to your liking and render up an image. and you can even use cel shading to keep the anime feel you've had goin on.

of course weather thats more time consuming or less depends on your computers strenght. as well as if you choose to download models or make them.

I have considered it, but it seems much too problematic to be practical. I would have to have the 3D resources to match the 2D ones. I would have to learn how to animate in 3D to the same quality I do 2D. I would have to have the extra time to do the 3D. I would have to be able to build my own 3D models from scratch to make up for what I'm missing and I have zero experience with that.

I just don't see it in the cards.

R1665

Wow Unexpected...You and i talked a few years back i wanted be the next artist for the series but you all ready had an artist you told me but i back again and with a new account you may remember me as koblivian. i've gotten way better at flash and i owe it to the tutorial you gave me. and i got better at drawing and animation too.even now with my drawing hand injured i have the same skill. so i was wandering if I can be the next artist for the Exiles series i can even send a porfolio. and sorry about rap hes giving NY artist like my self a bad name. also you can do a patreon too..dont worry about being popular after all you got aznpikachu215 posting any flash that comes his way..hell put the link in the next episode...just remember you dont have to be insecure just remember what you created i sure hell see a pioneer when i see one.⚛

I definitely appreciate the offer. However, I cannot allow myself to become dependent on someone else for my projects. It hasn't proven to be a healthy formula thus far.

What I might do in the future is feature different artists for shorter bits if I can gather enough interest. For my own sake, though, I have to learn how to get it done on my own.

R1665

I understand a better r1665 makes a better series in my book. Just remember one of the healthiest formulas to getting more views is faster content so if you ever wanna send me a plot , ill have a comic strip and concept art drawn in a day just let me know. Until then keep creating

R1665, I haven't been the most active newgrounds user, and shit...I haven't even been on the site for the last 10 years. Occasionally I check back in once in awhile because authors like you are honestly the only thing that brings life to this site. I don't mean to sound overly dramatic but your choreographed are among the best I have ever seen and they never fail to get me hyped. Hell I always watch your past animations at least once every couple of months. I honestly wish you would've reached out to your fans earlier because I hearing your story, I wish there was something I could've done to help alleviate your hardship. I remember seeing CE-RAP on your stuff and I didn't think they were anything special since the hook for me was always your fighting sequences. You never needed him in my opinion. You conveyed your story well enough in sprite form that the subpar art he provided wasn't worth the hassle.

I'm incredibly vengeful myself so I can DEFINITELY understand the feeling of shitting on someone for the sake of doing so. Honestly, fuck CE-RAP. I don't mean to cast judgment on him from just hearing one side of the story, but it really sounds like he was a piece of shit.

Try getting a gig at screw attack man or rooster teeth. A man with your talents and vision can definitely go far on their own. I wish you the very best and I hope everything comes together for you. I'm forever looking forward to your next work. No pressure though! You never disappoint! =)

-Your Fan
MastaDrewX ^_^

That...to say it is a situation that I don't envy is an understatement. I have BRIEFLY dealt with something like that (a couple friends wanted to make a table top RPG, brought me on as a writer, and when I had to scream to get my voice heard I bounced and told them to not use my ideas), and it drove me and for just that short time period. I can't imagine dealing with your experience. That said, I am glad you are out of that toxic situation and can get back to your old passions. I don't blame you for keeping your work close to your chest after that amazing display of "teamwork". I have always loved your work, and look forward to seeing what you have in store now that you are free of tyranny, that and the return of Exiles. I know you have featured voice work in the past, so if you ever need a free voice-over monkey, I'm available. Unlikely, but might as well give it a shot.

Your work brings a smile to my face and I am glad it is being purged of that toxic environment.

Sincerely,

Rota Abyssian

ugh... Why do you write so long? keep it nice and short.

Well, if I had a way to beam a long story directly into your head, I would.

However, since we have not yet developed that technology, a long post is the best I got.

R1665

Not sure if this will help, but i do have a few projects i could use your help with. In return for your completely voluntary assistance, i could help you with your story writing in any way shape or form.
Message back if you so desire.

now i've been around watching your shit before my voice broke(probably around 13-14). So to have someone be such a pain in the ass to you for THAT long must have really been a shitty time. I read through the whole post and i can say, although i was pretty impatient in the long run(waiting for 2 years really can do that to a guy) i still have the utmost respect for you.

Now with CRap literally out of your life, I can see you doing more things. but reading the post says a lot of scrapped work was a thing because of the events. Do you think those scrapped projects could ever be shown to people in like a highlight reel or something or is there no looking back from now on?
Either way i'm with you

If a project featured his work, it's gone. The original Random Select match-up I had (Captain America vs Hulk) and the remade Exiles Zero will never see the light of day. Most of the finished FAILtality stuff can be salvaged, though. I just have to cut "CRap"s bits out like the unfunny tumors they were.

I'm going to move forward. I will NOT, however, forget this whole ordeal.

R1665