Saturday, May 24, 2014
What's Going On With GURILLATV?
After 6 years of the initial plan in late 2008, the GurillaTV story comes out in my first public offering via this blog post. This is an honest evaluation of GurillaTV and what has happened up to this point. It also reflects the nature of trying to start a visionary idea. Ideas are great, but making them happen is a different story. Although the video website part of the GurillaTV is no longer viable, i still feel the web series has a lot of potential and the two 'Lost" episodes can be viewed as pilots moving forward. If any production company, or platform, or whatever has interest in GurillaTV the web series, I am willing to listen as the sole owner in propriety. So what was GurillaTV supposed to be? GurillaTV was supposed to be a online media platform where video creators could use a integrated forum to discuss film making topics, a place to watch webisodes from GurillaTV where video producers could learn more about the online video making paradigm, and it also would have been a place to distribute videos via the Tubemogul.com distribution tools which were to be integrated right out of GurillaTV.com. We were going to build the number of producers on the site slowly partnering with 3 new producers every two weeks. We were only going to bring producers with a successful track record and a history of making original content to fight the large amount of video piracy that was rampant at the time. Our producer affiliates were to be called "Gurilla producers" and part of their participation required making a short video segment which would be integrated into the GurillaTV web series that would be released every two weeks along with their debut on the GurillaTV site. I had originally raised funding for the progressive idea and found a partner to move forward with as I could not produce enough seed money for the idea all on my own. I hired a marketing company who reviewed my proposal for the visionary idea. The marketing agency was also a website design company who specialized in SEO technology. The CEO of the marketing company accepted the proposal and we signed a contract to implement the idea in 3-6 months from the time we agreed on the contingencies of the contract. The idea was very unique and sparked the interest of some financial backing which would be put into effect in stages once milestones began to occur. The idea also had a backlog of producers who were ready and willing to join on as partners. The marketing company who was to build the site knew up front what the web portal was supposed to be and gave no indication that they would not be able to perform the task. They expressed that It could be a great learning experience. We filmed two pilots in early to mid 2009 for GurillaTV. We cast a few dozen people for the series and had developed "Roy" as the mascot who was a guy in a gorilla suit. The webisodes came out well and I was really excited for the future. After we finished the first two episodes we held off on the third episode as the website became our focus of concern. After almost six months the website had hardly anything to show for it, my partner and I had only received screen capture images of the site. Concerned with what was going on, we tried to make a effort to help speed things up by paying the marketing company more of the money owed even though our contract didn't require it. We hoped this may help. More months went by and we still had nothing to show for it. In the summer of 2009 I went to visit the company CEO in person to see what was the hold up. This individual was blaming drupal technology and saying that they had decided to scrap all the original design so they could implement word press instead for the back end of the website. Not being a web designer myself, I had no move but to trust this man and hope that he would have better luck with this new plan. Well the new word press site was not complete until nearly a year after our initial contract was signed. This was now 12 months instead of 3-6 months as promised. In early 2010 we finally were able to see the beta GurillaTV website. My initial reaction was that of total dismay. The site was very amateur looking, and had more technical problems with its functionality then anything I had ever seen. How on earth can I put this website out there as constructed? My reputation would be ruined. The website looked as if it had been designed by a 10 year old child who was just learning how to design websites. By this time my partner was ready to sue the marketing company for breach of contract. I was really hesitant to do such a thing, because that would seemingly make it so we would never get this GurillaTV project done, and I would have to scrap it. I had poured hours and hours into planning, had my reputation on the line, and just didn't want to go that route which would mean I would have to accept my vision was not going to happen. My partner and I had a falling out over my decision to not sue, and I eventually bought him out around mid 2010 to relieve him of the headache which was more mine than his. It was my brainchild after all. Now a year and half had passed since the original inception of the LLC. The webisodes we had shot had not been released for over a year, and no solution seemed to be in sight. At the beginning of 20111 I had tried everything I could to politically put my feelings aside and resolve this issue of incompetence with the GurillaTV beta website. The marketing agency at this point stopped giving me hope and trying to fix the beta site cause it was like trying to fix a disaster I suppose. They stopped answering my emails, phone calls, and attempts to communicate. Maybe I had made a mistake and should have just sued these guys when my partner wanted to, cause they seemingly were to incompetent to fix the problems and probably knew it in my estimation. In mid 2011 i took the marketing company to court. The defendant was unwilling to dialogue out of court and settle the problem. Although they had failed me, I would have been willing to pay them for the GurillTV logo which was awesome and the only thing they did well. I am a reasonable guy, but wanted the rest of my investment back. After litigation in small claims court the case was heard in front of a judge in Alameda County. A few weeks later I got the results in the mail to find I had won. Although it felt good to win, it really was anything but happiness. My idea never came to pass. A few months later when I thought this thing was finally all over, the marketing company appealed the decision and I was to have to go to appeals court. Now I was allowed to have a lawyer, but so was the defendant. So I hired a layer, we built up our case which was even stronger than the first hearing. In late 2011 we ha arrived at the appellate court with our lawyer, and prepared to battle the appeal. Our evidence in the case was very impressive. We had documented evidence of all the lies, incompetency, and bad business practices done by the defendant. After sitting in the court room for 10 minutes, It became apparent that the defendant had not even showed up at his own appeal. Wow, this was really frustrating. It was the perfect example for the judge as to why I was there in the first place. I had won yet again, but nearly all the compensation I got back went to the lawyer I had hired for the appeal hearing. What a difficult "win" to swallow. So that is the story in a nutshell. It is the truth and facts about GurillaTV's past. Now years later, after much thought I finally have released the two pilot episodes of GurillaTV. My co-founder who I have no ill will against, requested to remain anonymous which I respectfully have done by blotching out his face and changing his name in the webisodes. I won't rule out the GurillaTV series moving forward, but currently have no plans for it. I wanted to make sure It was distributed in honor of all those involved who gave their time and energy. Thank you, Matt Chapman Founder of GurillaTV