I had to pass, unlike Tommy, I'm not rich; nor am I a multimillionaire, like Frank
This Robotech Academy Kickstarter has become quite a debacle, hasn't it?
I've been gone from HG for over seven years now, so I don't have any first-hand knowledge of what is happening right now, but given my experience working with the people involved, I think I can offer a unique perspective.
I usually attend the Robotech panel at Anime Expo as an interested, albeit disillusioned fan. I'm usually not surprised by whatever news (or non-news) comes out of the panels. I find it all amusing, the same old message year after year.
However, this year, there were rumblings before the panel that something was going to go down, with that weird logo they put out the day before. I had heard rumors about a Kickstarter happening before, but I never thought they'd actually do it.
So, they now have a Kickstarter... well, that confirmed to me that Frank Agrama has chosen to not open his wallet to fund any future Robotech productions. Certainly not by himself. He hasn't done that since Shadow Chronicles, I don't really count Robotech: Love, Live, Alive because that was about as low cost a project that you can get; pocket change, really. Had RT:LLA been the blockbuster success that Kevin McKeever adamantly claims it was, wouldn't Frank simply bankroll this new project? Frank didn't make his millions by being stupid. You don't invest your money unless you expect a good return, and in this case, he clearly doesn't see it as a worthwhile investment.
I think a hard thing for Tommy, Steve, and Kevin to do is to convince fans to fund this new Robotech project when even their multimillionaire owner will not. I think that's a very hard sell.
One other thing that I noticed at the panel and through the subsequent videos is the promotion of this idea of Robotech Academy being Carl Macek's vision or dream project. I believe this is false, Carl Macek's dream was "The Sentinels", Carl was never satisfied with the video that came out, nor was he content with the novels and comics. He always felt that the story should have been properly told in an animated way. It was his grand magnum opus, he wanted to do something on the scale of DUNE. THAT was his dream, not doing some "side story" with kids. I have a hard time believing that this Robotech Academy was the project he most wanted to do.
My belief is that Robotech Academy is actually Tommy Yune's idea, first and foremost. I think Carl, who really wasn't in a position to dictate what story should be done, acquiesced to Tommy's suggestion to do things like last years RT:LLA and perhaps Robotech Academy. Both of these projects happened long after Carl's death in 2010, so how much input or involvement he had, if any, we will never know. It is now four years later, and Carl is not here to tell us, so we are left with Tommy Yune's version of events.
Of course, I was not part of whatever meetings Carl had with Harmony Gold, but my experience working with Tommy Yune makes me confident in my belief that he would NEVER surrender creative control of Robotech to anyone, certainly not Carl, who I feel he did not respect creatively. I also base this belief on having known Carl for nearly 25 years and in particular the last dinner he and I had together less than two months before he died where we had a long, lively, sometimes heated discussion about what he thought should be done with Robotech.
I know a lot of people here give Robotech fans a hard time, but they really just want a good Robotech, something that rekindles the magic that they felt when they first saw the show. I think they are foolish to pin their hopes and dreams for one on Tommy Yune, but their intentions are altruistic, and I think you should give them a break, even if they are being naive. Kevin, Steve, and Tommy have done a lot to alienate fans for over a decade now. Silencing dissent and not listening to what the fans want and then trolling them with things like an "Enemy Spy" level on their Kickstarter page. I think that alone is highly unprofessional, rude, and just plain bad business.
There are people who are working on this project who I highly respect. Ford Riley has solid credentials and a successful track record in children's programming. He was saddled, as was I, with Tommy Yune's refusal to let either of us completely do a needed "page one rewrite" of RTSC. I've known Greg Snegoff and Tony Oliver for nearly 20 years and they are both real pros and even better people.I have a lot of mixed emotions about this project. I don't think it's a very strong idea to pitch to networks. I don't think fans were clamoring for this kind of story. There are already plenty of Robotech stories that have been left untold. Now, Shadow Rising is another one tossed aside with little explanation.
Fans are being promised nothing beyond a 24-minute "pilot" episode. Kickstarter rewards aside, that doesn't sound like much to look forward to. What if Robotech Academy doesn't get picked up as a series? Will they do another Kickstarter for another 24-minute episode? It's a very uncertain future.It will be very interesting to see what happens...
Well, that's what I think. If you have any questions, please let me know.