Feb 19th 2014 by freddiew • 29 Questions • 1904 Points
First of all - we're in pre-production for the FINAL SEASON of Video Game High School and there’s less than a week left on our crowd funding campaign for Season 3!
Anyway - Freddie Wong here. You may know me as the face of the http://youtube.com/freddiew channel (now http://youtube.com/rocketjump) I've been making short visual effects-y action videos for exactly four years now.
We’ve gotten back to making a new short every week - here are some of them!
In 2012, I teamed up with my friends Matt and Dez to create RocketJump with the goal of going beyond making YouTube shorts. We’ve created two seasons of Video Game High School, a TV-length web series about an alternate reality where gaming is so huge, high schools exist to train kids. Both those seasons are available on YouTube, RocketJump.com, and Netflix.
We’ve done quite a bit in this weird, new, world where traditional entertainment is starting to crack and new independent producers and movie creators are figuring out how to make things. We’ll be as open and honest about our experiences - so fire away!
Some other people who will be dropping by:
/u/matt_rocketjump - Matt Arnold, Co-Creator and Co-Writer of VGHS
/u/jimmywong - Jimmy Wong, actor and musician, "Ted Wong" from VGHS
/u/sandwichpants52 - Benji Dolly, "Games Dean" from VGHS
/u/lauren_rocketjump - Lauren Haroutunian - BTS and cinematographer for shorts!
/u/dezd - Desmond Dolly, co-founder RocketJump
/u/will_rocketjump - Will Campos, Co-Writer of VGHS, the voice of "Shot Bot”
/u/ben_rocketjump -Co-Editor and Post Production Supervisor on VGHS
/u/danny_rocketjump - Webmaster and tech guru of RocketJump
/u/pwnisher - Clinton Jones, VFX wizard and the body of "Shot Bot" from VGHS
/u/whitney_rocketjump - Whitney Moore, head of our social media and ALSO star of Birdemic 1 and 2!
Edit: Thanks again everyone! We'll be answering questions sporadically for a bit because, well, I have a Reddit account that I actually use, so feel free to keep asking things, and if you want to support VGHS Season 3, CLICK HERE!
Something else... something... radder...
Hahah probably got smeared by someone's hand. SORRY!
LAN Party was originally created as an excuse to get more video games back in our lives. I'm too busy with VGHS and other RocketJump projects at the moment though for anything other than Spelunky on my Vita.
Hey Freddie! What were some of your early inspirations to get into VFX and start releasing stuff on YouTube?
The Matrix. Straight up. The Matrix.
And Star Wars - Jimmy and I have some rad lightsaber videos lost to old hard drives.
He was on my floor freshman year at USC.
Where do you see RocketJump and its affiliates 10-15 years in the future?
Two possibilities, in my mind:
We can make this thing work and sustain it. We are making 5-8 full length series or feature films a year with a variety of directors and creators.
Hollywood throws their hands up and buys us and we're working for some arm of a gigantic global transmedia conglomerate.
I would prefer option 1.
I'm an airsofter, how big a part are airsoft replicas a part of your videos? We'd love to hear on /r/airsoft
Big part. We use boneyard and broken airsofts all the time as props because we don't need working gearboxes. Gas blowbacks are perfect for pistols - just add smoke and flash and a shell and boom - instant pyro license.
I can't wait to see the timelapse compilation of the whole thing.
Hi Guys! I'm a high schooler that's interested in film and special effects. Do you have any tips or advice?
Get a camera, get the student edition of Adobe's Creative Suite, download Premiere and After Effects and STOP PLAYING VIDEO GAMES.
Do you want to get good at film and special effects? Take the hours you play video games and make movies.
We would love to.
Freddie after seeing your last web short (not the JCVD but the previous one) my question is why have we waited so long to see your magnificent body?
I'VE BEEN LIFTING K
Any tips for someone wanting to get started in the entertainment industry?
Everyone says that breaking in is difficult.
I can tell you - if you're truly good at something (cinematography, VFX, organizing other people, etc.) it's not hard at all. Competent people who can work with others are shockingly rare.
Hey Freddie, Big fan of your work!
What happened between you guys and Brandon?
Basically, we're pursuing different projects separately. We were making shorts for 3 years straight - that's a long time! We basically wanted to do different things.
We had talked to them and the schedules worked out for me to show up randomly in their Halloween episode and for them to spend a few hours shooting the most ridiculous video we've ever come up with!
Will we get to see a series with Shot Bot as an intrepid investigative journalist?
I really enjoy ShotBot and push every day for more ShotBot. Maybe we'll do a spinoff comic?
Yes. He's now recurring. Here's his latest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYyQOj1oi3s
Have you found that your YouTube success has translated into any offers in Hollywood?
Yes, but a lot of times, those offers are really really bad, and continuing to do and own your own thing is a much smarter move in the long run (at least, I hope so)
Would you rather go back in time and meet your ancestors, or go into the future and meet your children?
Future. Much much cooler.
Hi Mr. Wong. Long time fan.
1) Do you think you'll ever attempt to produce another feature film like "Bear?"
2) Do you think the Google Plus-YouTube merger and YouTube's stricter copyright protection measures have harmed YouTube's reputation? (More specifically, if something better came along, would you leave YouTube?)
We'll do another feature, but probably not as DEATH DEFYING as Bear haha.
I think everyone agrees the Google+/YouTube comment thing wasn't rolled out smoothly at all, but I don't see things as "leaving" - just "also being on". Nowadays there's no reason not to be multiple places.
After VGHS, are you going to continue on the way of long-form projects? I remember from the podcasts it seems you are very into how the entertainment industry is evolving. Do you think it's still a journey to doing TV shows and a big budget movie? Do you see any other path/future goal and would you pursue it?
Also it seems that crowdfunding has worked very well for VGHS but do you think it's sustainable? Many people are already expressing a bit of exhaustion from an increase in crowdfunding campaigns and are not willing to spend so much at a time now. Do you see an alternative to crowdfunding besides going back to traditional studio funding?
We want to own our own content. That means TV show length projects and feature length projects. Will those projects show up in theaters? That remains to be seen. Functionally, doing VGHS as a 6 episode TV show and putting it online and having people watch it on smart TVs is really not that different than how "traditional" TV is currently consumed.
I don't think crowdfunding as it is currently misunderstood is sustainable. We look at crowdfunding as (and the most successful campaigns tend to be) a visible preorder system, similar to how Louis CK did his comedy show. We're basically doing a "pre-order" for an upcoming project.
Or maybe the more apt comparison - it's similar to pre-alphas for games like DayZ or Rust - money comes in early for a non-finished project that they use to complete it.
Also on my floor freshman year at USC!
Hey Freddie, Do you ever lament the loss of guitar hero/rock band? Did you ever wish to make a career as a pro guitar hero player, as might guess your YYZ video was what brought me too your channel (here for those who havn't seen it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua3hZXfNZOE).
On a slightly more serious note you have shown yourself to me a talented real guitarist have you ever though about doing something more music focused like start a band or maybe some more music based stuff for youtube (something like your favourite martian). You clearly have the stage presence for it, I laughed hard when watching you do this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua3hZXfNZOE
I'm really really good at a game that nobody plays anymore, but it's cool I had my really weird time in the sun. I played a video game for Sebastian Bach. I intro'd Joe Satriani with a video game version of his song on stage. I got flown around the world to play a video game. I have a work permit from the government of Canada recognizing me as a "professional guitar hero player".
Would love to get back to doing more music though. I really enjoy it.
What do you uphold as the most important virtue of storytelling?
I'll let the writers chime in, but "make people care" for me.