Four of the Wayside Creators Thrown to the Wayside

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Wayside Creations is a Film Production Company formed in 2009 by Vince Talenti and Zack Finfrock. Some of their more recent productions centered around video game series. The first one was a Legend of Grimrock project that launched a Kickstarter back in 2013, while the other was a Fallout related Kickstarter to continue one of their already established video series “Nuka Break” with a new installment, that launched in June 2014. The upcoming installment was intended to give more backstory to The Ranger character, and push the series forward.

Despite the success for both of these campaigns, it wouldn’t be smooth sailing. Many months have passed and people began to ask questions as to the state of these projects.

This led to a video uploaded recently, on one of the staff’s accounts. It’s unlisted, but once the news started to spread the link to it became more widely available nonetheless. People speaking in this video: Zack Finfrock created the Nuka Break series and co-founded the company. Tybee Diskin was involved in the company since the beginning and played Scarlett in the Nuka Break series. Cameron Diskin joined in 2011, was the Ranger on Nuka Break, and he helped develop the creative aspects of the project. Becca Hardy joined in early 2014, handling company wide communications in addition to having a creative development role.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BvQZjOzGfM

A statement given by them to me intends to clear up any confusion about the problems revealed in this video.

We’ve seen a full spectrum of interpretations and ideas from the interwebz since the video dropped, which is to be expected. A lot of people are blaming Geek & Sundry, which was not our intention at all. From what we can tell, Wayside airing Nuka Break on G&S is a very recent partnership, and happened long after all the events we mention in the video transpired.

The individual investors who agreed to put money into the Legend of Grimrock Kickstarter (with the promise of money back plus interest) are also not to be blamed. They aren’t greedy vultures twirling their mustaches — looking at the contracts, most of them appear to be good friends and/or people who have worked on Wayside in the past. Who wouldn’t jump at an opportunity to make ~$1,000 for letting their savings sit in a Kickstarter for a few weeks? This decision to approach these people was not made by us, nor were we consulted about it. We don’t even know if it’s illegal/against Kickstarter’s rules; we just think it’s misleading and unethical and that our backers have a right to know.

The core of what their opening statements say is that the name Wayside Creations may still exist, but the intentions of what the team wanted to do with the company has been lost. The focus in direction moved to getting more creators and financial investment into the business itself, rather than the content that’s put out. The four people speaking in this video were basically ousted from Wayside Creations because they asked questions like where the Kickstarter money went. As shareholders, three of the four people at the time this video was uploaded were adamant at the fact that it was their company.

They begin to go over what exactly happened to the Legend of Grimrock campaign. It came to their attention that investors put money into the campaign with the promise of their money back plus interest after it was finished. This leads $121,649 of funds raised turns to only $49,724 to actually make the product itself (after subtracting the $65750 plus $6625 paid out in interest). According to the people in the video, that number drops even further to somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 after Amazon fees and other miscellaneous transaction costs are factored in.

Remember the fact that the group in this video were shareholders? Despite that, they weren’t allowed to access the accounting records for the company. The reason this group needed to make a video in the first place is because the latest Legend of Grimrock Kickstarter update implies that there was fraudulent behavior on their end.

Since that update hasn’t been made available to the public, I had to acquire a copy of it from a backer of the project. Below is what was said in “Following Up” on July 27th.

We’ve taken time to thoroughly evaluate the health of our project since our last update. And, we’ve come to the conclusion that filming in Minnesota is no longer a viable option. This is truly unfortunate as we’ve exhausted an incredible amount of time and resources. We built many bridges, worked with skilled individuals, and believed this was the correct path. The gorgeous locations, newly renovated sound stage, trusted connections, and tax incentives were just a few reasons why this made sense.However, we believe that the current state of the Chisholm, Minnesota film industry will prevent us from completing our project. Although we won’t comment on the events transpiring in the Iron Range, information is available online.This realization is undoubtedly heavy for us. We’ve certainly experienced delays and fought in the trenches before, but we have never encountered anything like this. We’ve been proudly producing crowd-funded content since 2011, and our inability to complete the project by this date was unforeseen.With all of this being said, we believe two options exist. Our immediate action is to forge a new path that allows us to complete the project in a reasonable amount of time from this point. We will work quickly to determine how to accomplish this as we want to see Grimrock finished. We also recognize that time has passed and many of the components of this project will inevitably change. Given this, if we can produce a quality product — the product you signed up for — we’ll proceed. If not, we’ll inform you and return the donations to our backers.We have a tremendous amount of respect for this property and our backers. As always, your patience has been appreciated more than we can express and we’re hoping to reward it.

According to the speakers in the video, the initial Kickstarter money was pretty much “already gone” before the discussions with Minnesota folks even began. The producers they got in touch with were actually willing to put their own money forward to help make it happen. Becca wrote a film script for Chris Avellone’s treatment of Legend of Grimrock, but payment was withheld “until a budget came in” and that all the Kickstarter money was gone by that point.

They don’t know what the Kickstarter money was spent on.

When it comes to Fallout: Nuka Break – Tales from the Wasteland’s Kickstarter, the people in the video said production moved forward without them. With the Kickstarter money gone since “over a year ago,” according to them – it’s assumed that Geek & Sundry picked up the slack when they entered a partnership with Wayside Creations.

According to an update published on that page as of today, there is some counterclaims being made. Again I needed to obtain a copy of this from a backer of the project. From “Regarding Wayside Creators” on September 4th, 2016:

We’re writing to address the recent video created by a few former creatives of Wayside. Their decision to spread false information and paint an incomplete picture is an attempt to disrupt our progress and to hurt Wayside’s reputation. Each person has a unique history with the production company and it’s unfortunate that this is their course of action. Here’s information we feel is important to share:

Zack has not been involved with Wayside since late 2014 and relinquished the majority of his shares he had in the company following the release of the second season of Nuka Break. He was also not a creative on Red Star, the film that inspired this Kickstarter project. He has been working full-time as a creative producer for Loot Crate, a subscription box service. Last September, Zack stated that he was interested in signing his remaining Wayside shares away as he was a part of another company’s production team and had not been a part of Wayside since around the time he started working at Loot Crate. Cameron has only briefly been a part of Wayside’s projects since late 2014, and his role in Nuka Break was recast after he was unresponsive to several messages sent regarding his involvement. Becca was recently attached as a creative on an unannounced Wayside project until her agreement was ended in June for creative differences. Tybee left Wayside on cordial terms in May of 2015.

It’s clear, and unfortunate, that these individuals are upset over irreconcilable differences and recent Nuka Break announcements prompted the creation of their video. Regardless of the internal changes, the show must go on. Wayside has managed multiple crowd-funding campaigns in the past and released work that we hoped exceeded the expectations of backers. We believe the resolution is to continue doing the work we’ve always done. Wayside’s brand was not founded solely on four people. The look, feel, and quality of our work has been crafted by several talents — various actors, writers, cinematographers, producers, production designers, directors, costumers — and the support of our backers, partners, and other companies. Simply put, we ask that you judge us based on our product.

Despite these claims, there’s evidence indicating that the individuals named in the Kickstarter update had active involvement in the company on some level. They outlined that [majority shareholder] was the majority shareholder and person responsible for handling these funds. Despite requests for documentation and transparency on the matter, the three other shareholders were denied access to these things. Regardless of this refusal to cooperate, the people in the video were still obligated to provide the product described within the Kickstarter. In response to this, the [majority shareholder] made a “Wayside Creations, LLC Operating Agreement Amendment” that gave that person the sole authority to do what they wanted with the company’s finances. This amendment also took away the ability for shareholders to have a meeting without them.

Since this agreement was made without the consent of the other shareholders, they declined the motion.

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Tybee and Becca wrote a script for Tales of the Wasteland and intend to send that to backers regardless of the future form it takes. Cameron Diskin was intended to play as the Ranger, and even had a custom costume made for his specific measurements. Despite that fact he was never contacted about shooting.

The four of them are aware of their capacity to sue, but refuse to do so because that went against what the company was about. The three people who had shares at the time of this video relinquished them at the very end of it.

If any new developments on this story occur, you’ll be the first to know.