Infinity Train Creator calls the moves from Warner Bros. HBO Max non-professionals

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Since last Wednesday, all eyes have been on the removal of over 30 anime titles, including OKKO, summer camp islandand The mushrooms from HBO Max as the streaming service makes strides to merge with Discovery+, which has drawn appropriate outrage from fans and creators alike. Among the series withdrawn from the catalog was infinite trainthe critically acclaimed animated series which debuted on YouTube as a pilot in 2016 before having its first season on Cartoon Network in 2019. Series creator, Owen Denistook to his “Owen Dennis’s Infinite Train of Thought” blog on Saturday and took a deep dive into everything he knows about the situation so far, including the explanation given as to why his series was removed, the fate of the show and its future existence, what we as the audience can do, and how the whole “slime” situation affects it.

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The post opens by mentioning that the removal of these titles from HBO Max was a “direct order from Discovery, and it’s all about saving money one way or another” and that the cancellation was not communicated to the creators of the shows, this whole ordeal being as much a shock for the creators and artists of these projects as for the fans. He then listed all the platforms that infinite train and all associated content has been removed, which includes not only the streaming service, but all mentions of it have been removed from HBO Max’s Twitter and YouTube page, Cartoon Network and its Twitter page and from YouTube as well as all music streaming services. As for the removal of the series from all social media, Dennis has “no idea” why this decision was made and could not comment on why it happened. Dennis says that, at least at the time of writing, he was “assured by Warner that he would not be removed from any pay-per-season/episode service.”


A big reveal from Dennis’ editorial staff about the situation was that this removal was supposed to happen next week so the creators weren’t caught off guard like they were. “That’s obviously not what happened, and now that’s where this disorganization has gotten us.” He also mentions that Cartoon Network even warned Discovery that the move would greatly harm the relationships the company had with the creators and talent of these projects, even though it seemed like they “just don’t care about what to do.” what it all looks like publicly, much less about how we feel about it.” Dennis also mentions that at least at the time of writing, these deletions were unrelated to the tax loophole that has been associated with sudden cancellations of bat girl and Scoob! : The holiday haunt. Instead, Dennis says “the general consensus is that it has something to do with paying animators and artists their owed residuals for their work.” He also gives insight into how these residues work, saying:


“Our compensation is not complete without the ongoing residuals. These residuals are not paid directly to the artists, they actually go to our union to pay for our health care. So not paying artists residuals on their work means they are indirectly funding our health care. It also means that the music and acting residuals will stop. For reference, the first quarter of this year, I made $388.45 from the residuals of the voice of One-One. We’re not talking a lot of money here, it’s the equivalent of the studio accidentally buying an extra desk chair.”

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He cites the CNBC report saying these title cuts would save Discovery tens of millions of dollars, calling it “a very small drop in the bucket of the $3 billion that David Zaslov said he wants to save by 2023.” . CNBC’s report also claims that whatever was removed was “rarely watched”. It’s a sentiment he disputes as many industry players have tried to get in touch with someone “familiar with the matter” since the announcement was made to no avail. Dennis points out that Discovery didn’t provide stats on what they were watching when they meant something was “rarely watched.” He goes on to say, “Based on all publicly available measurements, infinite train was in the 91st percentile of children’s media,” and that the series broke into the top five on iTunes for Kids & Family and top 20 overall just yesterday.


Dennis says he thinks the way Discovery went about it was “incredibly unprofessional, rude and just plain slimy”, a sentiment he says is shared not just by those affected, but by all. Of the industry.

“I think most everyone who does anything feels that way. In the industry as a whole, the talent is crazy, the agents are crazy, the lawyers and managers are crazy, even the leaders of these companies are crazy. I can’t think of a single person who works in animation and entertainment who, when you bring it all up, doesn’t say, “What the hell are they doing? How do they anticipate anyone wanting to work with them again?”

Because why would we? What’s the point of doing something, spending years working on it, spending nights and weekends doing their terrible grades, losing sleep and not seeing our families, if that’s right to be picked up and shot in the backyard? It’s incredibly disheartening and they certainly won’t get their best job from whoever decides to stay. We work at the intersection of art and commerce, but officials have clearly forgotten that there will be no commerce without art.”

Dennis gives some hope by saying he doesn’t think the show is gone forever, and that with the previously mentioned alternative sites to watch it, he’s working with his management team on next steps involving the existence of the series. He also says that the ethical dilemma of pirating the series will depend on the individual. “Right now…the most well-known art is, essentially, owned by about five gigantic multinational corporations. That means they also own our culture. If you own our culture, then you also own our history and our access.” Should it be owned by a handful of companies, let alone have the monopoly they currently have? I do not think so. “While hacking because you just don’t want to pay for something is ‘labour theft’, when something is restricted to create ‘artificial scarcity’, that’s another conversation.


Dennis ends by thanking all the fans and his team behind infinite train for all the love that has been shown for the show, saying he will “keep trying to make more of it somehow”. For more updates as the situation at HBO Max and Warner Bros. Discovery continues to unfold, stay tuned to Collider.

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