Thursday, August 16, 2007

Leaving Adult Swim

(Largely copied from the Adult Swim Message Board)

It makes me very sad to say this, but as of August 22, I will no longer be working at Adult Swim. It was a very difficult decision for me to make, but starting next month I will be the new Creative Director of Games for

This is likely to be insanely long, as I’m a writer and can never get enough of hearing myself type, but please bear with me.

I remember four years ago, waiting in the lobby at Williams Street for the interview that would determine whether or not I got an internship with Adult Swim. There was a set of nice glass double doors with the logo for Cartoon Network printed on them. I sat there in awe, not quite believing where I was. I had been a fan of Cartoon Network for years and had watched Adult Swim from the very first night it aired, so to me just being in the building was an overwhelming experience, whether I got the internship or not.

The doors opened and I was greeted by Karen and Matt. (Karen is now a producer at CourtTV and Matt is the Narrative Director of FusionFall.) They led me past the double doors and into the Rosie Room. (Now demolished; the new tape library sits in its place.) There were some comfortable couches, a plasma TV, glass display cases with Cartoon Network toys in them, and a life-sized wooden replica of Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons with a computer monitor in her chest. It was totally awesome. Kind of a Willie Wonka feeling, you know?

Well, obviously the interview went well and even before I got back home I had an email offering me the internship. Before I knew it I had a cubicle, two computers and a job to do. I think I did it well; they seemed most surprised to learn that I did indeed have some writing chops and my internship abruptly changed. During that time I was really just a junior junior writer. I never had to do any of the crap intern work many interns are forced to do, which is a great thing about how Cartoon handles its interns. After my internship was over I got a call from Chip (Who now works for the kids side of Cartoon), the creative director of, and he offered me a contract job as a writer. That eventually turned into a full-time position.

It was crazy. But in the years that followed I never really lost that feeling of waking up and thinking “Oh my God. I work for Adult Swim.” I’ll miss that.

The people here have been wonderful. Many of the people who were here when I first started have moved on to other things (Hockey Chicken is the only remaining staff member from that era) but they were all just wonderful while they were here. As I leave, I feel confident that the site is in capable hands. Jeff is a fantastic creative director who isn’t afraid to dive headfirst into new things. Casper has a great creative sense and his contributions to the games have been and will be invaluable. Liz is a consummate producer and has whipped us all into shape far better than I could have hoped. Merrill is Merrill, take him or leave him. (I’m kidding, he’s a great creative mind who’s done a lot for show support on the site.) Vanessa seems to have boundless energy. Brandon is just inherently a funny person, I think. Terry is a fantastic animator. Win is exactly what the site needed in a head technical person and in general just a really cool guy. Drew is a great developer who brings with him an amazing sense of fannish enthusiasm. I’ve worked with Dave C. the longest now, and he’s always blown me away with his great design sense and outspoken approach to sitebuilding. Jordan has a unique appreciation for the weird and the strange and manages to design things that are both while still making everything useable (at times, he also sports a huge mountain-man beard which you can’t help but have respect for.) Dave B. has been a great editor and is always fair game for a nice, random nonsensical conversation. I’ve hardly had a chance to get to know Justin or Ken, but they both struck me as both skilled and invaluable. And of course, Mike L., who I have actually found in many ways to be inspiring. I used to think he was this terrifying, rampaging madman (and he still sort of is) but once I got a chance to work with him I quickly realized that he was a brilliant anti-executive. I learned a lot about pushing boundaries from him and I can honestly say I enjoyed the last year of working under him immensely.

Kongregate's really cool. It’s a kind of “YouTube for games” where anyone can upload a Flash game and wrap it in community functionality like chat, high scores, badges and gamer points while taking in a share of the ad revenue. I’m very excited to be directing their premium/sponsored game effort. I think Kongregate has the right idea by creating a community-driven and community-centric site that will hopefully be a showcase for the best in Flash games on the net.

So here goes. Off to San Francisco!

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