Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Digital Entertainment Network 3

By October of 1999, things were in full swing, and we had more work than we knew what to do with. All 15 to 20 of the shows on the network had full staffs, and they ended up renting a separate building to house production. That was about the same time the staff got news that the founders of the company were in a bit of trouble.

According to sources, the principal founder behind the company was being investigated for lewd behavior with a minor. He'd since notified the company he was in fact gay, and had an affair with a 16 year old, whom he'd bought plane tickets for, crossing state lines.

Aside form being a bit of bizarre news, it was a blip to all of us being so entrenched with the workload and momentum we had. Trouble was, the news had an effect on the major sponsors cash influx. They started to pull their money and branding from the network. While all of this was deliberating, we started to get word that our show in particular needed to increase it's size and workload.

We spent 3 or 4 weeks reworking what we'd been doing, and ramp it up to be more of a community. I'd hated this idea, being that it just watered down what we'd already built. Little did I know, all of the shows were getting this treatment as a way to keep us busy while some major restructuring plans were under way.

By January 2000, it was announced that the company would lay off 1/2 of the total staff. The news was a bit daunting to say the least, but most of us kept busy. They basically set it up that, you got called into a meeting first thing, and were told the bad news. I was spared, but a lot of friends were cut, and you started to think they were the lucky ones. They sold 2 of the buildings by now and consolidated the staff back into the original warehouse, where they planned to restructure. Everyone by now knew that it was a lost cause.

The original 3 founders were now international fugitives on the run somewhere in Spain. The whole thing had become a bit of a perverse joke. I left in April 2000, and DEN officialy closed it's doors in May giving those last hold out employees the chance to work for free. I always look back fondly to that year and a half at DEN. We learned so much, and I made a bunch of friends who I still work with to this day.

PS: Someone put a channel on YouTube of some of the shows. Proceed with caution:

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