First of all I want to reassure you. You read that title correctly. I said last month that we were on a home stretch so before I say anything else I should explain what the dry cut is.
Sometimes when an animator is involved I'll make a super basic edit that allows them to get an idea of the timing, and minutia of the job. It's a sort of visual guide that they can refer to. A first draft if you will that they recreate in greater detail.
I thought it only approriate that I share the dry cut for the Book of Sorrows Part 3 with you guys who've stuck with the page at a certain level of patronage. Scholars will also be recieving more art sneak peaks as the project reaches completion.
I also need to use this space to explain some rather important things. Principally about the nature of the project, why it took so long and some more personal matters pertaining to Patreon.
So lets start at the very beginning. I started the Patreon about 8-9 months ago. If you follow me very closely then you might have an inkling of an idea of what had just happened to me. I was still severely depressed, I had just finished an unbelievably tough struggle trying to work on YouTube and University at the same time. I felt pretty broken to be honest. At the end of nearly 2 days of consciousness I submitted my final piece of work and before I could even do anything close to brushing my teeth, taking a shower or changing into pyjamas I fell straight to sleep. At the time it felt like my body had all but given up. 18 hours later I woke up and realised that I had a promise to keep. Namely, launching this page.
We started strong. Really strong. And things have gotten a little slower since, but the incredible support is something that always baffles me. Not just because we've helped to make the lore more tangible and accessible or because we've helped pay artists a fair commission or because we've given so much to charity. It also astounds me because it shows that you guys care. What you do is in a certain way allowing me to make a dream a reality. I feel personally attached to the page for bvious reasons, but as time has gone on, it has also given me some amazing friends through the Patron Discord server. People I know I would be worse off if I hadn't found.
But as I write all of this I can't help feel a pang of guilt. Books of Sorrow Part 3 was meant to be a flagship project. It still is. it's one of the most common questions I'm asked. It hasn't gone overbudget or been something less special. The reality is that it took so long to get done because I was burnt out. Not because of a lack of passion, but because I was so tired. If anyone knows me personally they know that that was the number 1 response I would make when they asked how I was. Tired.
I had worked non-stop, full throttle for 3 years of my life, often working 7 days a week with 4 hours of sleep a night on a good night. I left my university social life and even a relationship in tatters because of the stress that followed. At the time, the lore projects were something of an escape. A mechanism to allow me to persist. A distraction from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts (and other things that to this day I'm still not sure I should talk about as publicly as I do). By the time I finished though, there was nothing but fumes.
I felt like I was a pilot in a plane that had just started to stall. I had to hit the throttle hard or I'd simply collapse entirely. Unfortunately for me that was completely the wrong mentality. I only crashed harder.
Videos became worse at a certain point honestly. Sloppy, lazy and in some cases filled with editing mistakes. On top of all of that I still felt the stress of University on my shoulders. But Rise of Iron was releasing and I had little choice but to keep going. Lore content was being made, I had to cover the news and the competition wasn't going to stop and think because yours truly wasn't feeling 100%.
And so, slowly but surely, Books of Sorrow Part 3 got pushed back. At first it was a few weeks, then a few months, then Rise of Iron happened. Then I just had to stop entirely. I missed GuardianCon, which honestly could've been enough to tip me back into depression. Regardless, I moved on, kept grinding. And before I knew it, I felt lost again. The worst part is I never felt like I could be honest because my patrons trusted me with their money and I hadn't been able to deliver as efficiently as I could.
It was about 4 months ago that I reached a second breaking point. I spoke with Charionna (who if you haven't seen on Twitch you really should) about my state of mind. I had just broken up with someone because I knew I couldn't maintain the relationship in a way that was fair to them in terms of time commitments, Rise of Iron was in its near dead phase between Festival of the Lost and The Dawning, I'd nearly turned to drinking, which is immensly out of character for me. I'd left an empty bottle of vodka in a hotel room in Seattle. Charionna heard me talk a little about just some of this. His near immediate assessment: "Byf. You need to take a break." This was the hardest thing to hear because I'd heard it a million times before. From friends, family, girlfriends, colleagues. I thought I knew better than all of them, but I suppose this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I hadn't learned to slow down. I hadn't learned to let go. Frankly. It was killing me.
Char also said we should immediately plan to go to Disney World and a few other places in Florida. The (hilarious) pictures are still on Twitter to this day. It's a trip I won't soon forget because it reminded me that I was loved. I had a place in this community, with real friends wherever I looked. And so. I took a break over the rest of December and early January and came back stronger.
I've had great support since then from all sorts of places. My family, my best friend Stephen (Canable423. For those that follow my facebook, he's the one who manages it), Guardian Radio, The Peasant Guard, The Destiny Twitch Community, WTFGameNation, My Band chat, The odd follower on Twitter, The guys at Bungie and of course, my patrons that gathered in our Mare Cognitum Discord server. As of now, things are really starting to look up in a way that they haven't in a long time. For the first time in almost 2 and a half years I feel like I could say without hesitation that I'm happy. I'm back at the gym, I work to a schedule and I have my weekends back as a result, I don't force myself to laugh anymore.
The point of all this is not simply some sob story to excuse the lack of lore content. I'm well aware that I failed pretty hard to deliver concisely on certain lore projects and I wish to own that mistake. But I want you all to know this for 2 reasons.
1) This is a cautionery tale. Do not bite off more than you can chew and do not try to keep working when your energy is spent. It doesn't help. It can in fact be disastrous. Not just for you, but for all of the people you care about.
2) I want to tell you all this so that I can recommit to the lore projects without shame or guilt. I don't want to make any promises again. I've broken too many on the front of release dates to be afforded such a privilege like that. Instead I'd rather just show you through actions that will speak louder than all of these words.
This patreon will continue to do what it does. It'll help make the lore accessible, help to create a passionate community around Destiny, help to pay artists a fair wage and will always be a place for charitable giving to top it all off.
I've spoken to a lot of friends recently who've been feeling pretty down. I sometimes speak about the nature of my experience. One of these friends told me a story that struck a chord with me. They were afraid that they would fail. That fear of failure motivated them, but made them miserable. It's not something that we can always control. But if their story has reminded me of anything it's that I can trust the people around me to understand. So I trust all of you with this story.
I hope you all understand. Thank you for being the supportive community you are, even if I often refused to listen.
I look forward to the Heroes we'll herald, the ballads we'll sing and the tales we'll tell. Together.
Per Audacia Ad Astra.