Monyreak "Monty" Oum, was the creator, director, co-writer, animator, and a voice actor of RWBY. He worked for Rooster Teeth Productions, where he originally started animating the popular Machinima series Red vs. Blue in its eighth season.
He had also worked on several individual fan projects, such as Dead Fantasy and Haloid, although he had stated that his main goal was to create an original series, which came to pass with RWBY. He voiced Lie Ren.
Monty was born in Providence, Rhode Island to a family of mixed Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese heritage. He has four brothers and two sisters. His older brother, Neath Oum, would later succeed his role as Lie Ren after his passing in 2015. Monty married Sheena Duquette on May 10th, 2014.
The Beginning of RWBY
The idea for the RWBY series was in Monty's head since Season 9 of Red vs. Blue. One night, while at IHOP with Shane Newville, Monty decided he was going to design the world for RWBY right there.
He decided to start on his world because, according to him, "geography determines your culture and culture determines your people" (Monty's Journal 11/7/12), so his world was created with a napkin and some ketchup.
According to Monty, Burnie Burns had told him that as long as he finished Red vs. Blue Season 10, he could do whatever he wanted. Thus, after he pitched the premise of the show, he received permission to go through with RWBY.
On January 22nd, 2015, Monty was hospitalized following a severe allergic reaction during a routine medical procedure, rendering him comatose. This was publicly announced by Burnie on the 30th, stating that Monty was "in critical care and it [was] not known if he [would] recover."
A donation page was set up to help Monty's family afford the medical expenses. The fund raised $50,000 within 3 hours, $100,000 within 5 hours, and $150,000 within 24 hours.
Monty was unable to awaken from the coma, and he passed away on February 1st, 2015, at the age of 33.
At RTX 2015, a memorial was set up where fans were able to leave messages and pay their respects to Monty.
Volume 3 was written with Monty's help before he died and was released two months later than originally planned. The end credits for the final episode of the Volume and the song "Cold" were dedicated in his honor.
On February 1st, 2020, the five year anniversary of his death, the final episode of Volume 7 aired. A similar message to the one at the end of Volume 3 was shown at the end credits of The Enemy of Trust to honor him.
- Monty had a personal signature that was recreated in the episode "Round One".
- Monty was a very time efficient person, and he did things such as ripping out certain keyboard keys that did not contribute to his work. Most notorious was his penchant to ignore sleep in order to work, with fans often asking him to stop so he could rest. He sometimes made jokes about this, like with the creation of RWBY Rex.
- Monty was named after his father Mony. His name Monyreak means "Crumbs".
- Monty was a high school drop out.
- Monty was originally going to voice Professor Ozpin, but he instead chose to give Shannon McCormick the role.
- Monty often included a crow in his works, which is possibly referenced by the character of Qrow Branwen.
- Monty was allergic to cats and juniper.
- In honor of Monty's passing, Gaia Online, an online community, granted users an avatar item called "Red Crescent", which allows users to equip their avatar with a detailed replica of Crescent Rose. The item's description is "Keep moving forward".
- Monty has a monument named the "The Monty Oum Performance Capture Stage" at Rooster Teeth's animation studio, which includes his mo-cap suit and a certificate of a star which is named after him.
- The song Indomitable mentions creating the map of Remnant with a ketchup stain as part of the lyrics.
- Monty Oum was inspired to get into animation by the animated sprite series "Super Mario Bros Z" made by Mark Haynes. Following Oum's passing, the first episode of the series reboot was dedicated in honor of him and Satoru Iwata.