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Reflecting on 2018 and Wrapping up Ultima Final Fantasy

As I write this on December 12th, 2018, the year’s end is is almost upon us, and it’s time for a bit of reflection.

As some of you may have read, I had many lofty goals for the year 2018, some of which I actually achieved. First and foremost, I wanted to make a movie, and thanks to you guys, principal photography was wrapped three months ago, and yesterday I had the pleasure of viewing the assembly cut of the picture. 

My other goals included writing 8 screenplays (I stand at 1 and a half, the movie came in and took all the writing time away), recording an album (my friend Doug and I ended up recording 3/4ths of one song before his hectic life took over and we were no longer able to meet), save up $2400 (which I did, and then spent–I’ll get to that), record 24 episodes of The Godzilla Podcast (overkill, 26 episodes!), and finish 17 Final Fantasy games (12 beaten as of today, perhaps 13 by the end of the year. Hopefully I counted right…).

Too many lofty goals for 2018? Probably. But, hey: the biggest and loftiest goal was accomplished, and I stand now as a changed man, having done what I always dreamed of doing. In fact, a few weeks before shooting, a long-term view of my life started coming into focus, and I knew what all my energy needed to be directed towards in the future, and that meant making room for one thing and one thing only to rule my life: film.

I owe a lot to podcasting. It gave me a good hobby that got me through school, it gave me friends, it gave me nerdy trips around the country, and it gave me a small loyal audience that helped make my movie financially possible. That being said, I told Kaleb Schweiss many months ago that as before the movie was “greenlit”, and before I was in  Los Angeles (kept a secret from the podcast listeners for months), I had to put Podcasts on the back-burner.

For me, the hardest thing to do was to leave Nude Clan. I knew keeping up with that many games at the same time I had to do Ultima Final Fantasy just wouldn’t work with my film life, not as long as I had to have a day job too. Nude Clan had three other hosts when UFF only had two. Plus, UFF was really more my baby than Nude Clan. So, I had to cut it out. And to be honest, if I hadn’t, I’d probably have suffered a nervous breakdown with both the pressure of the movie and the pressure of all the podcasts. One of the Nude Clan hosts couldn’t comprehend just how much time I was about to dedicate into making the movie and another scoffed when my boss at FedEx offered me $500 extra to work just 4 more days, and I turned him down. I’ll probably never be able to make them understand, and although I put so much work into making Nude Clan a well-oiled machine earlier in the year (I did what I could do to leave it in capable hands for the audience), in the end, I had to leave.

So, here we are. After the movie wrapped, I had some free time to rededicate myself to Ultima Final Fantasy, and currently, we’re flying through the games, even a bit ahead of our May, 2019 goal. Frankly, Kaleb Schweiss is expecting a child in March, and I’m doing all I can to beat those games before that happens. Like Nude Clan was a burden to me when I was trying to make a movie, so too will UFF be when Schweiss has a child, I’m sure, and we’re attempting to remedy that without ruining the show.

To wrap up my thoughts on 2018 real quick before telling you about UFF’s future, I want to say that it was one hell of a year. The money I was saving up was always for the move to Los Angeles, and as a secret goal (I didn’t want it to turn into a Bonneville Trail Fiasco), I succeeded in leaving my home state and moving to a place where I literally knew no one and had no connections. I also made a movie, and although I didn’t write as much as I would’ve wanted, or beat as many games for UFF as I had hoped, I’m marking 2018 as a gigantic success. Probably the biggest and most important year of my life so far. I even fell in love and had my heart broken, which only the poor folks listening to the Godzilla Podcast’s Godzilla Island Episodes knew about. In any case, 2018 was a much much bigger (and mostly better) year than 2017. For me.

Alright, let’s talk about UFF’s future. First of all, we’ve definitely been slacking when it comes to our Patreon Donors. We owe probably a half-dozen invite episodes, have numerous things to mail out, and two of our goal rewards (Real Emotion and the Radio Drama), have yet to be finished.

In order to keep our promises, I regret to say that the higher-end patreon tiers, ones involving invites, will be deleted. We have to catch up with what we have, and we just can’t handle adding any more. So, we’ll allow that tier for a period of time that will be announced next week, but after that, it’s gotta go. Since the show will be going on past May of 2019, in a certain form, costing roughly 15 dollars per month in expenses, it will require that some money is coming in in order to keep the feed alive. So, soon enough all of the tiers will be adjusted down to something manageable for Schweiss and I to handle, which was still a bit too much for us to handle well, even in the heyday of the Podcast.

I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here. We’re simplifying, and we’re making the show easier for us to do without the hassle. UFF has had some dips in quality, with a few rough months usually caused by myself with the movie, my moving out-of-state, and some dips on Schweiss’s end for his own personal reasons. In fact, three exit surveys of our Patreon donors said as much, that “our hearts aren’t in it anymore”, or that “the show’s not as good as it used to be”. In many aspects, I admit that they’re right. I will adamantly argue that our reviews have been up to the highest quality and that we’re currently in a serious winning streak with the games, but these listeners are maybe sensing an overall malaise, and not necessarily criticizing the last two months of nearly back to back reviews. As far as UFF is concerned, we’re done with the weekly show, and we’re happy to give it our all up until our 5th anniversary, and then UFF will turn into what The Godzilla Podcast has always been, done whenever the fuck we want.

So for the next month, I’m going to finish up all the Patreon goals, and it will be smooth sailing from March until May (Podcast-wise, anyway, Schweiss ain’t getting any sleep with that baby), and then we’ll be in a happy maintenance mode, where it’ll be something fun we get to return to when we want. For me, video games will return to being a hobby to enjoy when I have free time, as opposed to an obligation taking up time that should be dedicated to film.

I love you all. UFF is gonna end strong. Don’t worry. Even after the weekly show is over, we’ll still be in touch.

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