Barstool Outdoors SEASON 2 is officially underway... what a sentence! I've been waiting a long time and taken a lot of shit to type those words and it feels incredible right now. Before we go any further, go grab a ice cold 6 pack of Labatt Blue Light and clean yourself up with a few Dude Wipes, because they made this all possible and I love them an extreme amount for it. Jupiter, Florida has some real life sea monsters swimming off its coast and we found one over 500 lbs. That's 1/4 of a TON. Its almost indescribable how strong and badass that fish is.
In this exact moment, June 25th 2020, I have been in sitting in a bedroom editing this entire episode by myself for the past 11 days. My phone's step counter says "412" for yesterday, which is equal to about 3 bathroom trips and 2 refrigerators runs. I don't even remember what the sun looks like, so I can't tell you how happy I am for you to be reading this. There is a shitload of content on the internet these days, but I can promise you that you won't find a show or series with more passion or heart than Barstool Outdoors. When you watch even a minute of these episodes it means more to me than you could ever know.
Its been an incredible last few months for Barstool Outdoors all while filming these episodes. We've gained about 377,000 followers since quarantine started through a ton of original social content, streamed 3 live fishing shows per week on Labatt Casts, and traveled around filming and editing a season of content during a pandemic. It has been by far the most challenging and stressful few months I can remember, but it feels so pure and I absolutely love it. There is nothing like being "in the shit" and when you figure out how to exist amongst it, its almost addicting. Literal blood, sweat, and tears went into these episodes and I think they are so goddamn cool so check them out.
That is most of the information you need to know. We are back with the goods and don't plan on going away. Transitioning from homemade episodes to a real sponsored show took a minute to figure out, but I appreciate people's patience and Barstool Outdoors is going to be a constant presence from here on out and I couldn't be more excited. If you are interested in some of the "behind the scenes" of the time between seasons feel free to read below, but its not exactly terse.
Oh and also, we put out another whole episode right now in this very minute, so go watch Episode 2 from Milwaukee, Wisconsin right now!!!
LOVE YOU GUYS and see you soon.
The Barstool world really is the most unpredictable place on Earth. The only thing that you know is going to be true is that when things seem like they are going too good, some type of shitstorm is going to pop up when you least expect it. Last summer, it felt like I was "On Fire" in NBA JAM. The Blues won the Stanley Cup in the most dramatic fashion possible and I found myself on the TD Garden ice celebrating with the Cup, only to fly back to St. Louis and get to bring my pet Rat in my hometown's championship parade. It was past even my most imaginative dream I could have had when the year started. THEN just a few weeks later, the goal I had been working for my entire life comes to fruition with the release of Barstool Outdoors Season 1. The whole season was so cool, but that first episode means more to me than anything I have ever done or put out in my whole life because it was the most honest, genuine content I had been wanting to put out into the world for my entire time on Earth. When I was in Parkway Central middle school in Missouri I was trying to make that episode and get people to watch it, so when it actually happened my brain didn't even know what to do. I really was getting paid to make my own Outdoors show now? I was so beyond happy that we that had a goddamn release party at Bounce in Manhattan to which I wore my all white Team Portnoy Jumpsuit with white shoes and - yeah I know what you're thinking... what a douche! It wasn't evil intentions though, I was just so honestly excited and shocked that a pie in the sky idea I had in my head in my parent's basement in Chesterfield, Missouri had come true after 3 years of really slow progress.
Not only did it finally come out, but the reaction to the episode was beyond even my most ambitious daydreams. It felt like I was on Punk'd and Ashton was about to come out with the cameras and tell me it was a joke, but he never did. The high of finishing something that has taken decades to achieve really was crazy. Where do I even go from here? From the second I walked in the door at Barstool HQ I was terrified of my own shadow while filming Stool Scenes, then out of nowhere I found myself in a world where I brought value by creating a product I was extremely passionate about at the company I had dreamed of working at for a decade. To say that I had an easy time processing how to deal with that would be incorrect. The day-to-day Stool Scenes world was a constant stress, documenting every single thing that every person that a company full of "many thing-doing people" did was definitely hard. On the flip side, the beauty of Stool Scenes is that it was very quantifiable. I put out 2 episodes a week of 15-30 minutes, and never had to worry about my production level, it was all right there. I found myself in this new world where I was happier than I could have ever imagined, and making money for the company through my own original content rather than just documenting my co-workers. It was such an enormous weight off my shoulders mentally and in my brain I felt like I had solved a giant problem in my life for good. Its amazing how quickly your brain can let your guard down even when it has had 100 instances of that being a foolish emotion.
I talked to Erika on today's TokenCEO podcast about this very topic and you can hear it better explained there, but the bottom line is that whenever you think you've hit a new benchmark or that you are "set" in a good place, that's when you are most likely to hit adversity. The highs don't last as long as you think they will and the lows don't last as long as you think they will even if both of them seem like it in the moment.
Anyways, on September 5th, 2019 the last episode of Season 1 came out and I legitimately didn't even know what to want anymore. Weirdly, having the same goal for such a long time, it was almost somewhat empty after it actually happened because I didn't know what to wish for anymore. Your whole value system has to get re-wired. Not only that, but the amount of "hoopla" that came along with everything last summer was hard to sift through. I had random people hitting me up to tell me they wanted to produce shows to put me on Discovery Channel, everyone I had ever known reached out that they wanted to be apart of the next season, and people were telling me every company under the sun was going to sponsor us now. It was very overwhelming! History Channel contacted us and I got to fly out to LA to film with Kings of Pain on a real TV set and got chauffeured to and from the airport in a big black escalade with waters and mints in the back. What the hell was going on? It was beyond absurd. I was in such a new maelstrom of things to figure out and it was extremely weird.
When the conversation started about filming Season 2, I was told that we couldn't film anything until the sponsorships were finalized. The idea is that sponsorships that are naturally integrated into the content, rather than plunked in after something has already been filmed seem to be worth way more. If I was to go and film stuff right away while we didn't know who was going to be the sponsor or what the terms of the partnership were going to be, I was told it would have been unusable for the season. Additionally, going to shoot outdoors episodes to put unsponsored seemed to water down the value of the next season for interested buyers. A brand might want the exclusive ownership of the long-form Outdoors content rather than just randomly being tagged onto some episodes and not others.
In 20/20 hindsight, would I have gone and filmed some lower production level stuff on my own to put out during the down time between season releases and erase the "you don't do anything" noise that accumulates while traveling, shooting, and filming an entire season of content? Absolutely, and that's what I'll be doing from now on. Barstool is a rapidly moving "what have you done for me lately" environment. Making longform high production quality content is not naturally conducive to the Barstool World. We are a livestreaming, live tweeting, nonstop creating company. I thought that since I was bringing in way more money than I was costing the company, running the Barstool Outdoors social media accounts all on my own every single day while accumulating 548,000 new followers in between seasons and making a cool original product for Barstool that I was contributing the right way.
In my head, I worked nights and weekends and spent all of my own money busting my ass to create a product that was now going to make Barstool a lot of money, All while doing my "dayjob" of filming and putting out Stool Scenes, which was also sponsored, twice a week! A world where I "didn't contribute" seemed impossible in my head, but I realize how perception works and not having concrete evidence of things coming out during the time to produce a season left a lot of people an opening to ask questions.
The "underdog story" of the weird guy who used to sleep in Erika's office and do Stool Scenes putting out cool nature footage was now the opposite storyline. In a matter of months, all while planning, filming, and editing the second season, I went from someone who could do no wrong to being called lazy! Even when you know the truth and are working your dick off every day while getting good feedback from Erika and the people you work with, there is no way to not hear constant chirps when you work on the internet and social media every day. Its crazy how easily your mental health and perception of your job can be so effected by the opinions of strangers. Maybe not all the time, and maybe not after a few minutes of "don't worry about its", but in certain frustrated moments it can really make you feel shitty about yourself. I haven't looked at the comment section or reddit since August of 2017 and try to create content without getting dragged down into the negative facets of social media, but no one is being truthful if they say they enjoy people talking shit about them, its human nature.
So when the day comes that you actually get to release the product you've been working your dick off on for months and months on end, it is hard not to feel a cathartic outpouring of relief. There's been 50 failed shoots, python bites, lost fish, computer crashes, and failed uploads, but right now all of that adds up to a concrete entity that we get to be proud of. No matter what you think of it, it exists and I am really proud of that.
At the end of the day its not that serious. 1900 words to describe the time between episodes of a guy going "DUDE THATS A CRAZY FISH" over and over again is very overdramatic and I am aware of that. The reason I got so into Barstool in the first place in 2009 was because of the way that "El Presidente" and "KFC" were so open and honest about their lives and their ability to be so raw about everything, so I wanted to try and continue in that tradition and chronicle the beginning of this season with a little life update. Who knows where the world will be when Season 3 drops in a couple years (that's a joke come on) but all I can hope is that we're all still here and that I can improve on the lessons I've learned in between these two seasons.
There are a ton of people that I am super grateful for that help every day to put out Barstool Outdoors. I want to give an unbelievably huge thank you to my girlfriend Sam for making this season possible. She literally edited some of the footage, filmed second camera for these episodes, took social media clips, filmed my every livestream, and put up with me freaking out about stuff for approximately 100 combined hours. If I wrote this much dramatic shit for a Episode 1 post, can you imagine how much she has to hear on a day to day basis? Thank you to the Score family for housing me (AND a cameraman/editor for a period of time) so we could film enough episodes in Florida during a Pandemic to put out a season. Jack Parker Elliot, Mikey Finiguerra, Tom Leigh, Jeff Panella, Porter, Logan Spence, and Adam Porter for filming, editing, graphic'ing, and helping bring things in my brain to life. Thank you a TON to Josh and Davis from BlacktipH for battling with me every day trying to make these episodes happen. We've gone out and filmed to no avail countless times over quarantine and these guys spent their own money making it happen. Thank you to Frankie, Tommy, and Rudy for keeping me sane and helping advise me on a million different predicaments. Thank you a TON to Jen Simons and Loud Sean for making everything possible on the video side to make sure everything came out the exact right way. Thank you to Kelsey Shaver, Spider (the young king), and Daniela for helping book all travel, cars, and troubleshooting the nonstop random shit in between. Thank you to Brian Fitzsimmons, Devlin and Tyler O'Day for helping with all the promotion and release. Thank you to MB and everyone in Sales at Barstool for creating an insanely cool partnership between Outdoors and Labatt/Dude Wipes. Thank you to Dude Wipes and Labatt for believing in our show - I actually love you more than you know and it means a TON to me. And lastly, thank you to Erika and Dave Portnoy for making it all possible.
If you read all the way down to here, first of all thank you for birthing me and raising me, and second of all - WE ARE DROPPING TWO MORE EPISODES MONDAY! See you then!!!