As of May 31, 2020, Slasher will be celebrating its one year anniversary of being released on the Apple App Store and Google Play!
If you’re not familiar with Slasher, it’s a social network app that I designed from scratch for the horror community, as a way to bring the horror community closer together. It’s a very welcoming environment with far less censorship than any of the mainstream social networks. It is “R rated” (17+). Not only is this for fans, but it’s also a platform for the indie creators and professionals to network with one another, and to connect with the horror community better than ever before. There are a lot of features now and so many more to come, as the app is constantly in development.
With the one year anniversary of the release, I thought it might be fitting to share my reflections on the things that lead to Slasher’s existence, as well as some of my experiences along the way. It’s been an exciting and interesting journey, to say the least. Here we go…
Everything Starts Somewhere
Back in 2016, I started getting more into the horror convention scene in the northeast region of the U.S. Sure, I had been to some in prior years, but that was the year I really dug in, which set the tone for things to come. They were an absolute blast! I can’t say enough about how much fun the experience of a convention can be. Between making new friends, enjoying the overall vibe of the shows, and seeing all kinds of cool stuff (we all love stuff!), it was a dark, blood-soaked paradise. During this season, I met some incredible people. Phil Anselmo, Sid Haig, and Basil Gogos were the most memorable for me that year. To have been in the presence of individuals who are that accomplished and were so gracious – it’s something I will always remember and be thankful for. What I didn’t count on was that the conventions would also have an amazing side-effect. They helped me break out of my shell and learn to talk to people more easily than ever. That was always a struggle for me, because I often kept to myself and had a relatively small circle of close friends. It wasn’t until I was taken in by the horror community that I felt compelled to be more social. I absolutely loved to hear the stories and experiences of others, to share mine with them, and to just connect with people I had a kinship with – it finally felt right. In my decades of existence, being around those people made me happiest. I miss the conventions and seeing all of the friends I’ve made along the way.
Pieces of the Puzzle
While my hunger to go to more conventions grew, there was one recurring problem; I couldn’t always find out about the conventions in time, and when I did, it often took a decent amount of time searching around online. That’s when the seed was planted. One week, I decided to make a calendar of all the horror conventions in the U.S. and shared it with any of my friends who were interested, in order to solve that problem. That wasn’t the only issue though. As I went to more conventions, similar stories echoed over and over in the words of the vendors, filmmakers, authors, and artists. Everyone shared such similar sentiments. I started to observe the entire community from a different perspective at that point. Some of the things I witnessed were pretty benign, while others were incredible. For example, the fact that mainstream social networks appeared to have collectively marginalized the entire horror community, as evidenced in their actions, particularly flagging #horror as a “concern” on one of them. Not only did that open my eyes to how the general public may possibly view us, but it ignited a fire inside me unlike anything I had ever felt before. There was no longer any question that we deserved better.
The Beginning – Part 2
The horror community had made such a positive impact on me and I needed to offer something in return. After over a year of collecting information, talking with people, and understanding the bigger picture, I realized that the concept itself was relatively simple. Making that concept into a real thing was another story though. Fortunately, this was something I had experience with and could do something about. With time, an unhealthy stack of notes, a ridiculous number of detailed technical outlines, and a notepad of shitty drawings later, it was finally ready. While the dust was starting to settle, the name came to me completely at random and stuck ever since. The first person who showed any direct support for me and this project was my friend Adam Leota (Brutaliteas). He was kind enough to make the Slasher logo. If I remember, it was really late one night and he sent over all of these different styles for me to check out. There were something like 15 or 20 different styles. I spent a while reviewing them, then decided to ask other people what they thought. He came up with some cool stuff! After a couple of days, it was apparent what everyone liked, which is the logo Slasher has today. It actually wasn’t my first choice, but I spent time thinking about it and I realized why everyone else was right. That one experience changed my way of looking at certain things from that point on. The next few weeks were spent interviewing for a development team. I finally decided on one in March of 2019 and development of Slasher officially began.
The Kindness of Others
During the first days of development, I had been at Monster Mania, where I met Joshua and Joe from the Fright School podcast. We were talking for a bit, swapping stories, doing what you do at cons. I told them about what I was doing, but I didn’t have anything to show them, other than the logo and maybe some business cards. As it turned out, they’re the first people to ever talk about Slasher to the public on their podcast. Hearing that was such an exciting moment, because it felt like people really cared about the possibilities, and believed in me as an individual, even though the app was still a couple of months away from release. Not long after, my buddy Todd Staruch (The Horror Nerd) invited me to be on his podcast, The Imaginarium, with his co-host Scott. They were the first to interview me. I’d been interviewed before for a previous business I had when I was 23, as well as on college radio for a band I was in, but never on a podcast. It still had me a bit nervous, but it turned out to be a fun time! On a related note, the word “um” has now been removed from my vocabulary, due to my excessive use of it on their podcast.
Adam, Joshua, Joe, Todd, and Scott – they’re people I will not forget, because they were there from the beginning, showing support when I literally had nothing to share but a description of what was on the way; just a bunch of ideas. They didn’t know my ability to deliver from a hole in the wall, but they gave me a chance to prove myself and believed in me. That’s something special and I’m so grateful that they cared enough to show me the kindness that they did. That’s also one of the core values I’ve built into Slasher – to help support people who just need a chance to show what they can do. It matters.
When the app launched in May 2019, it was a bit of an experiment to see how people would use it. Frankly, a lot of people hated it. That didn’t surprise me though. To be totally fair, it wasn’t what modern social networks look or act like, even if it did have a lot of unique features. I was looking to break some conventions, but the experiment ultimately paid off, reinforcing what was truly necessary. As a result, version 2.0 was launched in August 2019, adding many new features and overhauling some of the original concepts.
There were plenty of hiccups along the way. The servers kept getting overloaded, due to demand (a good thing), which led to the app being unable to work properly (not a good thing). There were absolutely issues to iron out. Unfortunately, in order to do that,I had to let the entire development team go, because they were incapable of producing a level of quality that was necessary for an audience of this size and a project of this scope.
There are now multiple teams working simultaneously, building many new features that I’m beyond excited to be able to share with everyone!
I’ll Shut Up Now (Almost)
I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who is a part of Slasher: everyone who has been enjoying the app, who has offered any feedback, and who has been supportive of others in the community we’re creating. This is for all of us: the fans, creators, vendors, misfits, and all who enjoy dwelling in our passion that is horror. Be you and be happy. I appreciate all of you and am extremely thankful for all who have been a part of this!
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I hope you enjoyed it.