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Jared Lee Knabenbauer (born August 28, 1985)[1] is an American comedic actor and YouTuber (under the pseudonyms ''DMJared'' or ProJared ), known for his reviews and discussions of video games and tabletop role playing games (RPGs), especially video games that are also RPGs or retro games that most people have probably never heard of.[2] His character in DCA is Diath Woodrow, a human rogue he's played in several previous campaigns.[3]

Personal Life and Career

Born in Green Bay Wisconsin[1] as the elder fraternal twin of Derek Knabenbauer (known on YouTube as DKlarations)[4], Jared grew up playing early editions of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with his brothers and their friends.[3] He began posting videos on YouTube as "DMJared" in 2006, then later changed it to ProJared to apply to other game platforms.[5] He posted his first game review in 2010 to make fun of "Two Worlds", which he felt was lacking honest reviews.[1, 3] His comedic facial expressions and sarcastic style won him a large internet following even before YouTube had become a part of popular culture.[5] He later began several series of online game reviews either on his own or as a member of ScrewAttack, including Nametags, Hard News, SideScrollers, and NewsRoom, and wrote episodes for ScrewAttack's Video Game Vault and Top Ten.  While working for ScrewAttack, he lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, then split from them in 2012 to focus on his own series of videos, including ProReview, One Minute Review, and the Nuzlocke Pokemon challenge.  He joined Normal Boots after their relaunch in 2014, along with other well known YouTubers who he had worked with in the past.[5]  He moved to Los Angeles California in 2016,[3] where he was able to hang out with fellow Waffle Crew member Holly Conrad and her then husband Ross O'Donovan, who was part of the video game review group Game Grumps. Unfortunately, due to a neighbor's plumbing accident that damaged his home, he and his now ex-wife, cosplay artist Heidi O'Ferrall, were forced to relocate to Seattle, Washington in 2017.

In 2017, Jared invited Holly, Ross, and several other members of Game Grumps (who had never played a tabletop RPG before) to take part in a 5E D&D campaign that he DM'ed, which they recorded for podcast and titled "Dragons in Places".[6]

Jared made a cameo appearance in Nickelodeon's "Game Shakers" series.[1] He has also appeared in commercials for Final Fantasy[7] and Magic: The Gathering[8] .

Scandal accusations (**warning - spoilers for DCA follow**)

Jared and Heidi had been in a troubled marriage despite counseling and a mutual agreement to allow outside physical relationships.[14,15,16] At the same time, Holly and her then husband Ross were amicably separating.[15] In February 2018, with full permission from both Ross and Heidi, Jared and Holly were encouraged to explore a relationship, yet Heidi eventually withdrew consent and in October 2018 refused to allow Jared to break off their own marriage, threatening self-harm and to expose his and Holly's relationship in order to destroy DCA (in contrast, Ross continued to be supportive of Holly and Jared and moved out in August 2018).[14,15,16] Meanwhile, two teenagers who had lied about their age to log onto an adult website where Jared had been exchanging nude pictures with other consenting adults, claimed to have fooled him into sending them a picture.[14,15] They then accused Jared of not having checked their age, and sent messages of warning to both Game Grumps and Normal Boots in March and April 2019.[14,15,16] Heidi had been aware of and supported the porn website in the past,[14] but in May 2019 she used the rumors surrounding it and her own accusations of adulterous behavior between Jared and Holly to create an atmosphere of distrust around him, forcing WotC to put DCA on hiatus.[16] Jared intentionally left Normal Boots and asked that his fellow Youtubers dissociate themselves from him to protect their reputations until he was able to fight back.[15] He did this in a video he posted in August 2019, proving that the teenagers had lied about him ever sending them a picture, and that they had similarly manipulated others in the past.[14,15] While there was initially a strong online backlash against Jared, he has gradually recovered much of his original fan-base.[17] However, there are still some who are disappointed in him for having participated in the exchange of nude pictures even if it was with consenting adults, as a power imbalance inherently exists between fans and their idol, even without any overtly offered incentive.[15,18] Holly herself has openly Tweeted that this was wrong of Jared[19], and he has also apologized.[15] Jared and Holly's current relationship status is unknown, although they are at the very least still friends, as are the rest of the cast.[20-22] Nevertheless, some fans have noted that their real-life romance has made it awkward to watch Diath and Strix also slowly develop a relationship--a relationship that had been tied to major plot points in DCA. Despite Jared coming up with several work-arounds that he suggested to WotC,[23] and the fact that he and Holly both feel that their characters' stories are not over,[21,22] WotC cancelled DCA and moved on to a new livestream show without Jared and Holly. Holly has mentioned exploring non-stream formats in which to continue their story without WotC.[24] In the meantime, both still play in other D&D groups, and Jared has continued to promote the product in his 'D&December' videos.[25]

Role in Dice, Camera, Action!

Given his YouTube fame and penchant for D&D discussions such as his D&December segments,[3] Jared came to the attention of WotC digital marketing manager Greg Bilsland, who asked him to put together a group of fellow internet personalities who would be willing to experience an online campaign of fifth edition D&D run by Dungeon Master Chris Perkins.[9] Jared chose to play his longtime rogue favorite, Diath Woodrow, although he admits that the character had never been as fleshed out as he became over the course of the DCA series.[3] Jared still insisted that Diath be played as an adventurer and not the stereotypical thief, as pick pocketing was something that the character would be morally against, and he preferred using his sleight of hand for dungeon delving and disabling traps.[9] Regarding rogues, he enjoys "all of the not-combat stuff ...the utility of finding traps, picking locks, scouting ahead. I don't really care about the sneak attack damage." [10] Jared admits that he enjoys playing Diath because "a lot of his personality traits are bits of me, but enhanced ten-fold" and reflect the way Jared sees himself as reacting or handling situations.[9] With the exception that, "He's more serious than I actually am." [10]

Jared initially debated whether he would play Diath in ProJared's typical over-the-top style, but decided to let him be quieter and serious, to act as a foil[9] to Holly's frantic antics as Strix, or Anna's eccentric overly-optimistic portrayal of Evelyn. He has commented that it's easier to create comedic situations when they are all together doing live shows, because they can "play off each other" and exchange directed looks.[11] He acknowledges that roleplaying Diath can be hard at times: "The more serious and emotional bits can get tough. It takes a certain trust around the table for someone to display raw emotions like that. I'm not great at it, but I'm getting better!" [10]

Jared has admitted to having certain character pairings ("ships") that he's a fan of, but has only confirmed that "PaultinXEscher was the best ship that never happened." [10] If there were one NPC Diath could have saved, however, Jared would have picked Falkon, saying "I really felt like they were about to become total bros." [10] He and Nate have also commented that they would like to play each others' characters.[12] Jared admits that Diath still has hostility towards Paultin, and that there is a reason. However, what he is really looking forward to is exploring his hatred towards Omin Dran.[12]

Although the DCA crew are all notorious for bad luck with dice rolls, Jared is particularly cursed.[11]  When any of the players roll a 1, his usual response is, "Welcome to the Waffle Crew!" If he were forced to let Diath die and start a new character, he has shown openness to playing a "Battlemaster Fighter or a Barbarian".[10] If he could multiclass Diath, he thought he might add another martial class such as Fighter or Ranger (although Chris suggested a Monk),[12] and "maybe eventually get enough Fighter levels to get the Battlemaster maneuvers, because I think those are rad and would fit with him taking lead on the battlefield".[10] He has also expressed interest in Sorcerers, saying, "I think the metamagic options are tight and I like the innate spellcasting", with another possible option for Diath's multiclass being a Wizard due to him "being surrounded by all these magical people ...that he would somehow pick up some magic himself".[10] However, Jared has also said that a part of him actually enjoys Diath standing out from the others by having no magic[12] or being "mundane".[13] "I actually find it fascinating that he is...capable [just by being] who he is.... But Chris keeps kind of demonstrating to Diath that there's much more to him than he realizes. And as aspect of Diath that I really work on is a struggle with self identity. He sees himself as...this guy who's [just] trying to survive...and right now the universe is telling him...you're more important than you realize, and Diath is basically like, 'I don't know if I want that. I just want to be me'.[13]

References

[1] http://projared.wikia.com/wiki/Jared_Knabenbauer. ProJared Wiki.

[2] Dice, Camera, Action. D&D website.

[3] Dragon Talk, 7/10/17 - Jared Knabenbauer. Dragon Talk.

[4] https://www.famousbirthdays.com/people/jared-knabenbauer.html. Famous Birthdays.com

[5] http://normal-boots.wikia.com/wiki/Jared_Knabenbauer. Normal Boots Wiki.

[6] Dragons in Places: Game Grumps Reddit.

[7] https://twitter.com/ProJared/status/996473471164076034

[8] https://twitter.com/ProJared/status/1070927340681670657

[9] "Jared Knabenbauer on Dice, Camera, Action and Characters". D&D Beyond.

[10] "I'm Jared. I play Diath Woodrow. AMA!" DCA Reddit.

[11] SoA - Dice, Camera, Action interview. Dungeons and Dragons.

[12] DCA AMA Session.

[13] PAX Unplugged 2018 'Ask the Waffle Crew Anything' Panel.

[14] The Jared/Holly/Heidi Truth blog

[15] YOU'VE BEEN LIED TO. YouTube.

[16] Info/Updates Megathread. Projared2 Reddit.

[17] He dit it! Projared2 Reddit.

[18] We Have the Receipts Megathread. Projared2 Reddit.

[19] Holly's Response Twitter thread.

[20] https://twitter.com/ChrisPerkinsDnD/status/1202035746325946369

[21] Observations of the status of the DCA fandom and the show's chance of returning. DCA Reddit.

[22] Dice, Camera Action has officially been cancelled. DCA Reddit.

[23] https://twitter.com/ProJared/status/1202031989999595521

[24] https://twitter.com/HollyConrad/status/1198353635559653376

[25] ProJared D&December playlist. YouTube

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