The following is not only a cautionary tale but one of making lemonade out of lemons (or whatever the internet equivalent of that would be…making jpegs out of pixels?). Our story begins with a pair of teens, Josh and Brian, in small town in Texas by the name of Nacogdoches who are visited in class by independent ARG producer Jeromy Barber (Maddison Atkins). According to Josh: “he opened my eyes to where entertainment is heading. I remember him talking about the possibility of the audience, the people watching, having a real influence over a movie or a TV show … I thought, that would be amazing. So, I got my roommate Brian to help me, and we are going to make our own (ARG). We ARE making our own.”
So Josh and Brian came up with a production company name: Big and Awesome Productions and were overjoyed to find that BigAndAwesome.com was available online. “Brian and I thought we bought BigAndAwesome.com last Tuesday, but didn’t,” explained Josh. “We bought the hosting, but forgot to click the box to register the domain.”
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Thinking their site was secure, Josh and Brian hit Twitter, setting up the account bigandawesome and began to promote their site to the first 1,000 ARG-related Twitter accounts they could find. “Apparently, that’s a party foul, following 1,000 people in a day, but we didn’t know,” said Josh. “Rowan72 did. We got her attention, and when she noticed that the site was not registered, she registered it and decorated it a bit with a bunny, a pancake and some sharp words of wisdom.
Thus was the birth of the Doghouse Challenges. Josh and Brian have to complete 3 challenges posited by Rowen72 in order to earn their domain back. Challenge #1: Create and show us an interpretive dance to “Think of Laura” by Christopher Cross. Costumes may be worn to hide identities if needed. The result is at the top of the article. So yes, they choose the costume option but courageously choose NOT to hide their identities, thus establishing that not only are the guys in this for the long haul, they are going to completely put themselves out there while doing it.
The duo is now preparing for Challenge #2: Re-enact a scene or create a movie trailer based on Escape Crispy From the Room. “It’s going to probably be done this weekend,” says Josh. “It’s kind of complicated, and I don’t know if it will work. First off, I had to figure out what that chat Rowan72 sent us was … Then I had to figure out what Brian and I were going to do with it. Now we have this amazing insane idea. It’s hard though. It will take a lot of time to put it together.”
On top of fighting to get their domain back, Josh and Brian are working every day on their first ARG, which they hope to be able to start sometime in July. “You should see our 4th wall, the wall behind my camera in the vlog (that they posted after Challenge #1, above),” says Josh. “It’s starting to be covered in sticky notes. I think our game will blow people out of the water. I’m biased, but it’s pretty good.” They both also start Stephen F Austin State University in the fall. Until they regain control of BigandAwesome.com, they have setup a backup site at http://BigAndAwesomeProductions.com: “but that’s ridiculously long. Right? We gotta get BigAndAwesome.com back,” concluded Josh.
So lessons learned: don’t spam Twitter and make sure you always get hosting AND your domain. But if you DO get your domain jacked, be ready to invest in some skin tight leotards from Goodwill and earn it back in style.