Late last night I was walking home from a gig in the February cold when I logged into Facebook. I saw that I was tagged on to a post by an old friend to a video and was thrown for a loop. This is what I saw.
For those who don’t know Monty Oum, the best way to describe him was a visionary in fan based web animation, pulling off his legendary “Haloid” and “Dead Fantasy” series without backing from major studios, putting him on the map.
Shortly after, Monty was hired by Midway Games as a combat designer, then later at Namco Bandai Games, also as combat designer and animator. Monty would later be brought into Rooster Teeth as a choreographer and character animator to help develop their series Red vs. Blue and later became lead animator and character developer for their series RWBY.
His brand of animation, bringing to life beloved video game characters on to the animated film space was starling and impressive, with an occasional touch of humor and a dose of fan service with his productions.
His work was fan-centric, since the majority of his pieces paid homage to the games he loved, Monty approached his projects with the care of the original creators in mind, understanding that fans would accept no less. Authenticity was his goal. And later, while developing RWBY, knowing the culture of his audience, he consciously designed his characters to be emulated, in every fashion.
I met Monty back in 2000 prior to all of his internet glory when he was just a kid out of Rhode Island who traveled to New York City for the first major Dance Dance Revolution tournament in the east coast. I was one of the judges and the announcer at the Broadway City tournament. I remember him asking us if he could throw out candy to the crowd during his routine. Of course none of us knew back then what he would end up creating seven years later, but from my recollection, he was a nice kid and a good DDR player. Who would have thought fifteen years later, while still at his prime at age 33, he would be taken from us.
At the very least, I can say Monty certainly changed the landscape of video game animation, being perhaps one of the biggest luminaries in the space, influencing several generations of designers with his style, porting over fight choreography only seen in film with human actors to the animated space with finesse.
On Friday, Monty’s comrades at Rooster Teeth put together the following tribute video:
If Monty left us with any life lesson, it’s to never stop creating, and as his slogan says on his Deviant Art account, “Just Keep Moving”.
Thank you Monty for changing the landscape of fan based animation and feeding our geek spirit. We love you, rest in peace.
If you would like to help out Monty’s family in respect to his medical costs and arrangements, please head over to the GoFundMe page Rooster Teeth launched. To donate, head here: http://www.gofundme.com/MontyandSheena
For more information about Monty’s passing and who he left behind, here’s a link to Matt Hullum’s journal entry on Rooster Teeth’s website: http://roosterteeth.com/members/journal/entry.php?id=3302319
Monty Oum passed away on February 1st, 2015. He was only 33 years old. He is survived by his wife, Sheena Duquette, his father Mony, brothers Woody, Sey, Chivy and Neat, and sisters Thea and Theary.