Grady Bailey – RT SideQuest
I got the chance to sit down with RT SideQuest co-founder Grady Bailey to see what’s going on with SideQuest!
Joe Dalton: What is RT Side Quest?
Grady Bailey: RT SideQuest is a community group that was founded initially to bring the Rooster Teeth community closer together. It has grown into a charitable organization–we’re a 501 (c) (3) non-profit–dedicated to connecting community and charity. We work to bring the community together and raise money for good causes, specifically those that benefit children.
JD: How did RTSQ get it’s start?
GB: SideQuest was the brainchild of Dominic Dobrzensky–Count3D on the site–for the first RTX in 2011, he saw that the original plan was that they were only going to sell 200 tickets, and he knew that there would probably be more demand than that, so he wanted to set up a way for community members to come down to Austin and hang out together, even if they didn’t have tickets, and he called this thing, “The Sidequest.” He was modeling it after another RT community group that popped up earlier that year, called Rooster Feast, where they went around to all the great restaurants that the RT crew mentioned on podcasts and journals, and did an eating-through-Austin kind of thing. So Dom created this plan to eat at all these places, like Homeslice, and Franks, and stuff, and that’s how it got it’s start. I got involved early on, because I wanted to get involved in the Rooster Teeth community, and saw the opportunity to get involved in this, because I was local to Austin and he lived in Canada, so I reached out to him to offer to help coordinate a schedule of meals and evening events, and it all sort of snowballed from there.
JD: What events do you have a presence at?
GB: Our goal is to go where the community is. That means that we want to have a presence at the major events that the RT community would be attending en masse, like PAX (all except PAX Australia), RTX, SXSW, NYC Comic Con, and San Diego Comic Con.
JD: What is your favorite event you’ve ever put on, and why?
GB: It has gotta be the RTX Afterparty that we did this year, where we rented out all of Buffalo Billiards. Upstairs was just for people who bought our All-Access badges, but downstairs was where anyone with an RTX badge could come in, free of charge, have some beers, and hang out with people. It was Sunday night after RTX , and we weren’t sure how many people were going to come in, if it was going to be cost-effective, but a ton of people showed up. When I got there, after wrapping up my Guardian duties, there was a line wrapped around the block! Tons of people showed up, everyone had a blast. There were sing-alongs that happened, the whole bar was singing Bohemian Rhapsody, and it was so surreal-like something straight out of a movie. And I was living it, watching it happen.
JD: OK. You get a million dollars, but for the rest of your life, everyone you meet at a convention farts the moment you meet them. And it’s toxic. Would you do it?
GB: I feel like I would, easy. I can just carry around clothespins, and stop my nose up with that, no problem. And clothespins are cheap–they wouldn’t take up much of my million dollars! So yeah, I think I would do it.
JD: RTSQ does a lot of great charity work. What are some of the charities you support?
GB: Currently, we have 5 partner charities, and we are currently talking about partnering with a sixth for this year. By partner, what I mean is that they are charitable causes that we have dedicated resources to, and we try to meet a certain goal. This year, it will be $5,000. Those charities are the AbleGamers Foundation, Child’s Play, Make a Wish-Central and South Texas, Operation Supply Drop, and Children’s Miracle Network (through Extra Life). The one we are looking to add is a charity called “Take This”.
JD: Of all of the charitable events and acts you’ve done, which one has meant the most to you, and why?
GB: The charity auction that we do every year at RTX, because that benefits all of our partner charities. That event is so amazing. It’s a great way to kick off the RTX weekend, it’s the first place I usually see all of my friends, everyone’s all dressed up, we have tons of community-contributed art and crafts and all sorts of cool memorabilia and collectibles and all sorts of stuff that’s been donated. It’s just a really fun night!
JD: Now, over the last several years, I’m sure you’ve had a number of interactions with RT cast and crew. What is one of your favorite stories?
GB: One of the things we did this year, is we started a series on our youtube channel called RT BiteQuest, where we take RT cast and crew members out to their favorite places to eat in Austin, and talk about them. One of the ones we did was with Caleb and Jordan [Denecour]–they do Bro Gaming on the Game Kids channel. We went to Amy’s Ice Cream, and one of the things on the Specialties menu was called the “Mystery Box,” so Caleb asked them what it is. The girl who was working the counter said, “Well, basically, you tell us on a scale of 1-10 how crazy you want us to go, and we make whatever we feel like making you.” So he said, “OK, give me a 10!” The girl proceeded to take a bowl, put some M&M’s in the bottom, then some marshmallows, a scoop of ice cream or two (I don’t remember which kind), and then she stuck a cake cone in that, put some M&M’s in that, put a scoop of ice cream in that, topped it with sprinkles, then she took a waffle cone, and stuck that inside of there, put another scoop of ice cream on that, drizzled some hot fudge on it, put a bunch of sprinkles on it….it was insane! And then, Caleb ate it…and he wanted to die. We got almost all of it on video for BiteQuest. Watching his eyes as he saw it being built, and watching him try to eat it, and watching the aftermath is a moment I will probably never forget!
JD: What’s next for RTSQ?
GB: The next thing we have planned is our 24-hour live stream for Extra Life. It’s coming up on November 7th. We have our own team, and last year we raised just over $5,000! This year, we are shooting for that goal again. We’re getting together at Gamer’s Galaxy, a really awesome locally-owned game store in Austin. The owners basically donate their space, and we take it over for 24 hours. People come and go, play whatever games they want. This time around, we’re going to feature rhythm games, like Rock Band 4. We’re going to be streaming on Twitch, and we’re going to have a bunch of cool prizes and stuff, including a super-hard-to-get purple Twitch hoodie to the person on our team that raises the most money. It’s always a good time. Because Rooster Teeth is streaming at the same time, we put up their livestream and watch it together, as a community group. Every so often, RT people stop by. Last year, some of the Achievement Hunter crew stopped by, Ray stopped by. Who knows who will show up this year? We support them, they support us. It’s really awesome, because we exist solely to build up the community.
JD: How can our readers find out more about RTSQ?
GB: The best thing to do is to visit our website at RTSideQuest.org. Also, like and follow our group on the RT website at RoosterTeeth.com/group/SideQuest. Follow us on Twitter (@RTSideQuest), Facebook (facebook.com/RTSideQuest), on Tumblr, Twitch, Youtube…pretty much if you look up RTSideQuest on anything, you’re going to find us. Also, a really good way to stay up to date is to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, The Quest Log (RTSideQuest.org/Quest-Log). We send out one email a month letting you know what we’re doing, what other community groups are doing, and it’s an easy way to stay up to date.
Thanks, Grady! Don’t forget to check out what RT SideQuest has going on on their website, and be sure to check out their events at your next con!
Joe Dalton11 Posts
I'm the COO here at BIGBITE. On paper, I handle all operational and business-related tasks. In reality, it's more like herding cats. Seriously. I also still have time every once in a while to do some writing and creative work!