In an industry that’s continued to experience extraordinary growth, significance and popularity, there are many people who’ve contributed to its success, while at the same time, leaving a profound impact on the lives and careers of those they’ve touched. One of those people was Carter Mason, the founder and CEO of JTS.tv (Just The Story), and filmmaking app provider Flixtra.
Born Alan Hartung in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 19, 1973, Mason passed away on May 9th after a long, courageous battle with colon cancer. To all those who knew him, and those he met in his life, Mason was more than just a successful businessman, and more than a pioneer in the new media world. He was a champion of web series creators, actors, festival organizers and just about anyone involved in the industry. His enthusiasm for web series as an emerging new form of visual entertainment knew no bounds.
More importantly, so was his passion for life itself. After being diagnosed with cancer, Mason fought the disease in brave fashion, while sharing his own personal journey, his advice and encouragement to many others who’ve been impacted by cancer, along with his undeniable optimism in the face of his diagnosis, through a series of videos called The Cancer Conversations.
Above all his career accomplishments, Carter Mason was a man who cared deeply about people. From his family, friends and industry colleagues, to everyone he ever met, Mason’s kindness, class and love for people, and the overwhelming impact that he made on them, may be the greatest tribute that can ever be written of him. The following remembrances encapsulate perfectly just how large a role Mason played in their personal and professional lives, and of the incredible legacy he now leaves behind.
Few deaths have hit me as hard as Carter Mason. “Why is that?”, I ask myself. The truth is, I’ve only known Carter for a few years, seen him in person a dozen times, and talked to him on Skype not much more. But that’s just it. I feel like I knew him very well. Carter had this way about him, where you immediately felt like an old college buddy. He didn’t waste any time pretending; he just opened up and let you in.
He was excited about what you were doing, (and) what you were saying. He fed off of that, and gave it right back. You might say that this is true of a lot of people, but I’m telling you – with Carter, it just wasn’t the same as everyone else. He made me feel like the most special person in the world, whether he was waving from a crowd or joining me for dinner at the MGM Buffet.
You could say that Carter was a patriarch of the web series community. Where we were, he was there supporting us, with a grin at that. His work with JTS (Just the Story) literally enabled me to keep creating, and I’m sad to say there has never been another service like that which he offered which has been as fruitful. He was ahead of his time, and then some, and now he – and we – are robbed of the rest of that time. We will miss Carter always.
Actor/Writer/Director, Out With Dad, Asset
I remember the first time I heard Carter Mason’s name. Paula had confirmed him being on a panel at VWF2014 (2014 Vancouver Web Fest), our inaugural year. I was so happy that he was who he was, and (that) he was going to be part of our inaugural year. What an honor. When I met him, he was kind, funny, gracious, and just a sweetheart. He hit it off with everyone. We knew we’d made friends with an amazing person.
One of my fondest memories is how excited he was that we had karaoke going on at VWF 2014. He put his name on the list over and over, and was up on stage entertaining the gang. He was an amazing singer and (he was) just a lot of fun! It was an honor when he asked if he could be part of VWF 2015 and VWF 2016.
I’m so happy I was able to see him, and give him one last hug when he left VWF 2016. We talked and Skyped about 10 days before his death, and he kept saying he was just fighting a bug. He kept so positive, and we had some really good laughs. He became a part of my life outside the industry, and my heart aches for him. I know he’s smiling down at all of us!
Founder/Executive Director, Vancouver Web Fest
Carter and I met when I had the pleasure of interviewing him almost two years ago. We talked about JTS, web series and his background. Then baseball came up and, bingo! Carter and I bonded over our mutual love of the game.
I enjoyed the pleasure and excitement he felt when the Royals made it to the World Series in 2014, and thought of him throughout the 2015 (World) Series, (which) they won.
Most people will remember him as a large presence in the web series world. But, for me, I’ll forever think of him when I see or read about his Kansas City Royals.
Writer, WebVee Guide
I’ve always admired Superman. What I like most about Superman is that I see him as the hero everyone else strives to be, and not because he’s the strongest or fastest, but because of who he is as a person: genuine, honest, always trying to do what’s right, and always being there for his friends. Carter was our Superman. Within our web series community, he was the one all of us strove to be. He was the best of us, and if we all try to be a little more like Carter, I think we can all make the world a little more super, because Carter certainly did every day.
Creator, Super Knocked Up, Creator/Co-Host, Super Geeked Up
Carter Mason exemplified the best of the web series community. He was approachable, enthusiastic, supportive, and passionate. At the 2015 SF Web Fest in San Francisco, mere seconds after I spotted him, he was excitedly waving me over to look at something on his phone.
I was just happy he’d remembered me from previous fests, and here he was giving me a sneak peek at his new venture, the Flixtra app. He was like a kid with a new toy, his face beaming as he explained the concept while tapping through the prototype. You could see the universe expanding through his eyes.
Earlier this year, some friends and I stopped in to visit him while we were in L.A. Though recovering from his latest setback, he had a big smile for each of us, and he seemed energized by our visit. His passion for his venture, and ours alike, still shone through. And that passion, his legacy, will be felt for years to come through those of us that he inspired.
Actor/Writer/Director/Producer, The Pantsless Detective
I met Carter Mason (Alan Hartung) on Twitter, which is totally fitting! At that time in 2009 I was meeting with a lot of people on Twitter to expand my professional network. Carter was one of the many people who I met in real life and also hung out with socially and professionally for some time.
I remember our first in-person meeting at a film industry tweet-up at Ireland’s 32. That was the day I connected with people to produce my first-ever web series. I remember celebrating a job well done with Carter and friends after receiving my first check for consulting work. I remember planning and hosting many co-networking meet-ups with Carter. I remember Carter joining a huge group of us for Thanksgiving at my place. I also remember a barbecue when Carter brought an infamous guest with him and thought nothing of it.
One thing that rings true for all of these memories: Carter was serious about business and also serious about enjoying life. Carter was always up for an adventure and for new endeavors. He was always smiling and laughing. Even when things got hard, he was positive and pushed through. He never wanted to burden anyone with his problems. Thank you, Carter, for the fun memories and for inspiring us all to keep fighting the hard fight.
Producer, SOLO: The Series, Producing Juliet, Cost of Capital, Vanity
I first talked to Carter outside the theater on the closing night of the 2014 Vancouver Web Fest beside the Salvadoran food truck. I had attended the panel he was in about distribution and knew he had a channel for web series, but I was determined not to be that guy who was only talking to him for advantage.
So, we talked about the food truck, which we both loved. He bragged about Salvadoran restaurants in L.A. and I bragged about Elsi’s in Austin. We talked about the Vancouver rain, which was just a mist at the time, and a totally different quality from the places we were from. We talked about the Karaoke tunes we had sung. Him, well. Mine, they cut the music half way, mercifully.
Then the cab he had called arrived and he had to go, but before he left he turned and said, “You’re ‘The Pantsless Detective’, right?” I nodded. He handed me a JTS.TV card and told me to call a particular afternoon when he could take the call and give me a half hour uninterrupted. It was a cool thing for him to do. But that’s the way he was. Down to earth, approachable, creative.
He also knew something about how to get an audience and wanted to share that with others. We were one of the ten projects he included in the roll out of Flixtra, his web series app for iOS and Android. It was impossible not to be excited about it, the way he described it. The confidence. The illness had come back by then, but he never brought that up. The focus was always on what was next, what he could achieve and how he was going to do it. He never lost that. He never gave that up.
He’s gone way too soon, but then, (the) length of his time here on earth was really not the point. He lived, and did. He packed it in. He touched a host of people and affected them profoundly and positively. I was so heartened to see post after post on Facebook from folks known to me, and that clearly cherished the time they shared with him, because I was one of them too.So long Carter. You did life the right way, I think.
Actor/Writer/Director/Producer, The Pantsless Detective
Carter Mason was 42 years old. His legacy lives on.