I am one of the many many people who have worked on the Cartoon Network show, The Amazing World of Gumball. It's one of the lesser known shows on the network nowadays but I still feel very honored to have had worked on it. For those who don't know, Gumball is a show that follows the adventures of an anthropomorphic cat named Gumball and his adopted brother Darwin who happens to be a fish with legs.
I am fucking honored to be animating with these guys. Even after the events I am about to describe I am still grateful for my job, which is why I am going to be very vague about exactly what I work on. All you need to know is that I'm an animator.
The show is done in a mixed media format and due to that there is a lot of people working on it. We have people working on 3D animation, 2D animation, character design, photography, It's crazy. The reason I am writing this in the first place is because it would be hard to find out who I am. But even now it is hard for me to talk about this. This... incident happened all the way back in 2012... All I remember was that it was the middle of Season 2 and we were working on the episode "The Game". I remember it quite vividly. We were laughing and animating a scene where a pizza grows legs and crawls out a window- it makes more sense in context I swear.
Anyways, me and many other colleagues were huddled around the computer and working on little details in the animation when I heard my phone's notification sound effect go off. Then the guy behind me's phone went off. Then one by one everyone's phone began to go off. One after the other the sounds of "dings" and "pops" were filling the air.
Everyone looked around at each other noticeably startled. But then we laughed it off thinking it must just be a mass e-mail from a higher up with some announcement. We all brought it up on our phones to find that it wasn't from any of our work e-mails. The e-mail contained a video attachment along with some garbled text. Hell if I remember what it said, I deleted that e-mail years ago. I do remember the video attachment's name though. Probably because it was actually in fucking English... "The.Amazing.World.of.Gumball.S02E00.The.mp4".
The video title lead us to believe it was an episode of Gumball. There was no episode name after "The" however.
Someone quickly logged into their e-mail so that we wouldn't all have to watch it separately since that would be kinda stupid with us all in the same room watching the video on separate phones- you get it. Anyways, the screen was black for a couple of seconds. Before the typical Gumball intro appeared. Nothing out of the ordinary. After the flashy title sequence ended the episode card appeared and as expected there was nothing but the word "The" which is what would usually appear when we would start animating a new episode and we choose the Gumball intro template. So it was almost like what was sent to us was an unfinished episode of Gumball, and the video played out like that too.
The episode began with Gumball and Darwin walking down the sidewalk to their house. The animation looked very unfinished. Gumball and Darwin's movements were choppy. The assets in the video were clearly all flash assets from our animation studios though. So it had to be an animator who was working on this show who created this. There was no vocal audio though, only subtitles where there was supposed to be voice acting.
Me and the people watching were in a daze just on how ridiculous the situation was. We didn't really question why someone from the animation team did this and sent it to us. It made no sense. But we just kept watching.
The video was very poorly made but it played out like a typical episode of Gumball. There was a lack of humor though. Maybe this had something to do with the subtitles.
I barely remember the plot but I remember the video cut out around 5 minutes in as Gumball and Darwin were walking to their front door.
After a couple seconds a voice from one of the staff broke the silence "What the hell was that?". Everyone in the room chuckled and shrugged it off as someone fucking around with our copies of flash and accidentally sent it out. It's ridiculous I know but I mean if it was on accident that would explain the e-mail's text being all fucked up.
At the end of the day we all clocked out and went home. The video we had received was still on my mind and I decided to analyze the video on my laptop when I got home. I downloaded the file and played it. Trying to make sense of it.
I noticed something about how the video cut off when the video ended. Right before it cuts to black there's a bright flash on the screen. I thought it may just be the way the video was rendered or something but... I decided to go back and slow it down anyways.
God, I love my job. I love my job so much. There are people who like me there. I have friends who like to draw like me. I always have fun. It's a great distraction. But I always go home in the evening and feel like shit. Because I no longer have a distraction. I am BLESSED to have such a good job. I am BLESSED to have such a nice place to work. I mean I almost forget about
I'm sorry. I guess I should explain. My daughter went missing 10 years ago. Along with her cats. A mother and a son. She was never found but... I always hoped... I always hoped she was still alive. But sometimes I just got so depressed. So this job has been a great place for me to get rid of that depression. It's a nice distraction...
But that fucking frame ruined it. Now I can't even enjoy my work anymore. Yet I constantly come back because I know I'm never gonna find a better or friendlier place to work. I will never find a better distraction... But there is no distraction anymore. Even work is a constant FUCKING reminder.
The last frame of the video... I can't even bring myself to fucking say it. It was a photo of my daughter chained up to a wall... her... eyes... her eyes were so full of fear. She was so young yet her face... fuck. FUCK.
She was chained up looking directly at the camera alongside the corpses of our two cats... they were painted blue.. god damn it. Fucking asshole who took her has a sense of humor I guess.
It took a lot of balls to write this. I still try to forget. I still try to make the event more little then it was in my mind but honestly... writing this like it's just some "strange" or "crazy" event isn't the way to go. That's how I was trying to write before. Make it seem more calm and composed. But now I don't even know what I'm saying. I'm just typing whatever comes into my head... Haha. This was a shit idea.
I don't know who sent that to me. I told one of my closest co-workers-- let's call him Rob --about this but when he watched it he said there was no extra frame after Gumball and Darwin reached their house. He came over and we went frame by frame together and sure enough my video file had the frame.
The only reasonable explanation for this is he sent two separate e-mails. I remember my phone was the first one to receive the e-mail. At the time I thought I just had faster internet connection but it'd make sense. It took a while before every one else's phone went off.
For a long time the thing I was wondering the most is "Why did he send it to everyone else?". But I didn't have to wonder for long. Rob texted me in the middle of the night after he left when we were going through the footage. He said he went through his video again and noticed something. Right before Gumball and Darwin reached their house the top right corner of his video flashed something in the corner.
He told me he was scared to look at it so he asked if mine had the same flash so I could look at it for him... I didn't see anything. He asked me to stay on the other lane as he went frame by frame. I did as he asked. His voice sounded so much more shaky and afraid then I had ever heard it before.
I was terrified too, I thought about what I had seen when I went through my video. But I had to keep my composure for him. I could hear his breathing fasten as he neared the frame he was looking for. Suddenly there was silence.
After around half a minute I heard his voice return, it sounded completely dazed "I... I...". Suddenly he hung up and I received a new message. It was from Rob. It was the video file from the e-mail. I assumed it was his file. I tried to keep myself calm as I made my way to the part of the video he was talking about.
Suddenly, a photo appeared on the top right corner, just like he said. It took me a minute to understand what the photo was.
I remember one of the first things Rob told me when we first started hanging out was that his wife had died in a car crash a couple years back. He didn't want to go into details, obviously. But he mentioned something about the front of the car looking absolutely shredded. He did a very weak laugh at how absurd it was as he was talking about it.
The photo that flashed was a black and white photo of an early 2000s looking car with the front part absolutely destroyed. It almost looked like it was a photo took for a newspaper or something. I realized it was a photo of the car Rob's wife died in.
Like a fucking idiot, I sent out a mass e-mail telling everyone not to watch the video they recieved. But of course, curiosity killed the cat and I just released the killer from prison by sending that e-mail. They'd be fine one day at work and the next day their faces would be completely drained of cover.
I began to ask for other people's version of the video and they complied easier then I thought. I watched everyone's video and sure enough each one had a photo sneaked in there one way or another. I can't even feel bad for myself after what I saw. Each video was tailor made to remind us of something terrible that has happened in our past.
All I know is that it has to be someone we all know, someone who knows something that's happened to each of us working on this show. We were all fairly chummy before this so we don't really know for sure. I have told people about my missing daughter before. Dammit, it was just nice to be listened to. It was so crudely made, it had to be one person.
I mean, I have to give credit where credit is due, someone went through all that trouble to find a photo of my daughter. Maybe it is the person who took her. Maybe he's been following me. Never letting me forget. Maybe he just decided to make a couple more copies of the video to fuck with my co-workers. Because I was the only one who had never seen anything remotely similar to my image.
I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. Anyways, this was an eerie event that took place behind the scenes of the Amazing World of Gumball. I seriously don't get how no one has quit yet. But I mean, nothing else has happened since then. We definitely aren't as friendly as we used to be though. Because one of us here seems to love our misery. It could be one of us, but we probably will never know.
Written by Acmckibben87