Monday, October 24, 2011

Communication Careers at Tech Companies:Gowalla, HomeAway and Google

A panel of three tech professionals from Gowalla, HomeAway and Google spoke to Texas State students on Wednesday about the important role technology and networking play in creating startup companies. Start up is you on the line. There is no money to back you up like in companies like Google or other established companies. You can certainly take a risk but certain risks are harder because you can't fail. You must also be flexible when starting up a company and be willing to pull 15 hour days while working on 5 projects at the same time. In other words, it is hard work.

The panels' general advice to Texas State students preparing for a career in a start up company is to make connections because it is all about who you know. You can network by getting involved in Austin communities and online communities. You should start social accounts for the company on a business level rather than personal facebooks and twitter accounts. Students were told to also attend networking events, join the social media club and go to things like Austin Tech Happy Hour. The representative from google told us that it is extremely important to express our personality in our interviews and resumes so we can spice it up.

I learned that the best way to network as a public relations major is to know what your talking about when networking with professionals and say something smart. The panel emphasized to know who your talking to, do your research and ask good questions. This will show professionals that you are prepared, well informed and familiar with them. Professionals really appreciate it when you say something thoughtful or ask a thoughtful question. The representative from HomeAway strongly advised not to put that you are a "social media guru" on your resume because you are not an expert. She said that is one of the fastest ways to get your resume thrown out. The panel also emphasized posting interesting things on twitter and cleaning up your facebook. All companies hiring you will see your twitter account and facebook and form an impression on you. For example, you don't want to have pictures doing a keg stand. They advised starting a facebook page on a hobby so you will know the back ends of pages.

In addition to giving students advise the panel talk about their companies. I learned that the Gowalla social application allows people to share their stories at places and sites for free. The google representative talked about Google Places. She said 1 and 5 searches on google are location placed searches. For example, many people search things like "pizza in San Marcos, Texas. Google Places gives you recommendations based on what you search in the past as well as your best friends recommendations.

Crisis management was also a topic of discussion on Wednesday. The panel advised mass communication students to manage situations as close to immediately as they can, address the problem and be aware of the conversations on your social accounts. The best thing to do is acknowledge and apologize. Don't think you don't have a problem because as long as you have one unhappy customer you have a problem.

In closing, the Google representative said that a mass communications' career in technology is 24/7. She experiences community manger burnout. She is constantly checking her social media like e-mail and twitter but it is the life you have to live. Competition from other companies is good because it allows you to expand your ideas in order to make them better and keeps you passionate about your work.

Burnie Burns talks Red vs. Blue

Burnie Burns is a Texas State graduate who studied computer science. When he graduated, filmmakers such as Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino were gaining popularity and he himself became interested in the world of filmmaking. Burns began as a review writer for a website called and always had a fascination with the video games. He decided to combine his two loves of gaming and filmmaking before youtube was even in existence. His creation, Red vs. Blue, gained popularity before the makers of the video game Halo had seen what he had done. Burns mentioned that he was a little nervous when Microsoft contacted him, but was gladly surprised when they were pleased with what he had done and wanted to partner with him. Burns got in the door with his popular "webisode" at the right time. At Texas State Mass Comm Week he discussed what all goes into creating his show as well as the direction of YouTube and other webisodes. It was certainly a success story of a Texas State grad.

Communication Careers at Tech Companies Lecture

I enjoyed this panel thoroughly. I found it very informational because they showed steps on how they were able to secure jobs in a competitive market. It was also comforting that the panel discussed things like networking and other tools I have been learning while in school that will help me to hopefully succeed in the future. It was cool that coming from Texas State, they were able to relate with the students in the audience and give us sound advice that will definitely help us in our future in the real world. They also recommended to join school clubs that will help your resume and will help you network. This will undoubtedly translate into job situations and ultimately help you to get a jump start on your career. I really enjoyed this session and found it very beneficial to me. This was a cool website I had never seen before: gowalla.

Mass Comm Week: How to Get Your Foot in the Door at a Tech Company After Graduation

Three professionals from the tech industry spoke at Mass Comm Week at Texas State University on Thursday, October 19th, concerning the importance of networking and staying up-to-date on current technology in order to insure a job after graduation. Adrew Waldrup, a culture evangelist from Gowalla, Jennifer Stattford from HomeAway and Whitney Francis, a community manager at Google, sat on a panel and engaged the audience in an informative and very relevant discussion about of success in the tech industry.

Networking was a key skill that the panelists stressed. Waldrup, a graduate of Texas State, explained that perseverance is key when it comes to landing a job. He told the story of how he "stalked" a person at Gowalla in order to get his job. He obviously wasn't saying to be a creeper and look through the window of your prospective employer, but rather to maintain contact with the people who would be hiring you.

The panelists also said, and to some degree, reassured the audience of young people, that they don't need to know how to program a computer in order to be successful in the tech industry - basic HTML will do. The technology that is a key necessity is knowing how to use a wide range of social media; from Facebook to Twitter, and all the other similar programs out there.

Overall, the presentation gave a great deal of information that may students, especially those who have little to no professional experience, will be able to use after graduation to land them their dream job (or at least a job that will pay the bills).

On a side note; a good resource for getting "linked in" to a professional network is to try out If you're unaware of this site, it is like Facebook, but for professionals. Check it out and see if you can find people who are in the organizations that you are interested in working for and start a relationship with them - but don't forget to make a real-life relationship as well.

Communication Careers at Tech Companies Session

The panel session for communication careers at tech companies was highly informative and helpful for individuals looking to go into the communications field. The panelists were happy to share information about the industry, give advice to students looking to go into the same field, and talk about their personal experiences.
First off, the session put my mind at ease about several things in the communications and tech industry. The panelists made it very clear that an extensive knowledge of technology was not required to work for technology companies in the communications department. Being a technologically-challenged individual, this news certainly made me feel better about job prospects. They also mentioned that not everyone in the communications department had to work with social media, and that often the company had a few individuals dedicated to this task. I am terrible with social media, and while I do recognize a working knowledge is helpful, this lifted quite a burden off of my shoulders.
The panelists were filled with great advice about getting jobs and working. From the discussion I found that networking is very important, but researching companies (but not to the point of being creepy) is even more imperative.
All of the advice and information from this session should be helpful in the future as I am searching for a job and developing my skills.

Burnie Burns Session

Of all of the sessions that I have attended during Mass Comm week, this was my favorite. I must confess to being quite a geek, and loving video games, so this session was right up my alley. I am not a devoted fan of Red vs Blue, but I am a familiar with many of the other online entertainment sources that Burnie mentioned throughout the interview. It was exciting to hear him talk about Penny Arcade, and my personal favorite, Smosh.
Past the geek appeal, the interview was fabulous. Burnie is very personable and witty, and his ability to connect with the crowd made the interview interesting. I learned quite a bit about Burnie and Rooster Teeth throughout the session and I have come to greatly respect him and the company for all that they have accomplished. He is truly a pioneer of online entertainment and he has given me a lot to think about as far as how adaptable and relevant the internet is in the business world.
While Rooster Teeth is not a typical company, and the business practices are often unconventional, I took a lot from the interview about being successful. Rooster Teeth exhibits the importance of innovative thinking and resourcefulness. The company uses video game software that is already developed and ready to make their Red vs Blue videos. This concept was created and perfected by the company, and it is very popular despite them not developing their own methods of animating.
Burnie also reinforced the idea that work should not be a chore but rather a passion. He stressed that he enjoys what he does and his success is a side effect of this rather than a focus. He surrounds himself with others that enjoy the same line of work, that he often finds on the internet. This way of working inspires hope that we might all end up doing something that we love, while still succeeding in all that we do.

Communication Careers at Tech Companies

Andrew Waldrup, Culture Evangelist at Gowalla; Whitney Francis, Community Manager at Google and Jennifer Stafford of HomeAway spoke at a panel about communication careers at technology companies this past Wednesday, Oct. 19.

All three panelists were from different backgrounds and provided excellent insight into the communication industry. This insight consisted of what we should know as students, what to expect from a start-up company's schedule and the importance of location-based services.

I think the most interesting part of the panel was the aspects that related to how students can make themselves more marketable. They said that students do not have to know everything about coding and that a basic knowledge of HTML would suffice. The panelists also said to join clubs like PRSSA and Social Media Club.

According to the panel, knowledge of Search Engine Optimization and social media is an imperative skill for this industry. The panel encouraged students to attend SEO meetups around the area.

Two other pieces of advice the panel gave to students were to always apologize during crisis management and to learn how to use Radian6.

Jennifer Stafford said that you should expect to "wear many hats" when you work at a start-up company. She said that hours are difficult and having a flexible schedule is a must.

The future of location-based services is extremely important to the industry. According to Whitney Francis, one-in-five searches in Google are location-based. Andrew Waldrup said Gowalla is against gamification because the company wants long-term sustainability. It seems like social location services will continue to exist because the companies are always seeking and capitalizing on innovation.

Burnie Burns Interview

Burnie Burns was a computer science student at the University of Texas and had an interest in movie making. He previously worked for a company called Drunkgamers where they reviewed video games and the goal was to "get drunk and play video games". His company Rooster Teeth formed and the Red vs. Blue series emerged which uses the Halo videogame engine. The first Red vs. Blue video received 3,000 hits and by the end of the week, it had received 250,000 hits. It progressed to about one million hits and today, they release one video per game on Mondays which includes interactiom, using characters from the actual video games, writing the script and recording the dialogue. Burnie said young filmmakers can do what he does at home with all the accessible, available software out there. His videos are a hybrid model for animation and he found most the artists who work for him online. He is an actor in many of the episodes and writes the majority of the scripts. He commends YouTube for being such a great platform for videos and says he would not be as successful as he is today without it. The Angry Birds video Rooster Teeth created is hilarious and has received global attention from countries such as London, Australia and Canada. He has had to re-edit many videos for Flash and says web video for the future will more than likely have a mobile platform due to smart phones. He is currently hiring mainly artists and animators and his Red vs. Blue dvds are available at Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Communication Careers At Tech Companies

This particular lecture was also held in Alkek 250 this past Wednesday at 3:30. The following three key speakers were there:  Andrew Waldrup, Culture Evangelist from Gowalla; Whitney Francis, Community Manager from Google; and Jennifer Stafford from HomeAway. I enjoyed this panel discussion.
One of the fascinating things I found out was that Andrew Waldrup graduated from Texas State University. It was nice to learn how he had acquired his job at Gowalla after he graduated. Basically, through perseverance and what he called a little “stalking” (not actual stalking), he was able to get an interview and then was hired on.
When the three panelists spoke on the topic of technological knowledge, it was comforting to know that you do not have to be a technological guru to work in the Mass Communication/Social Media field.  They did say it was important to know the basics such as html coding. I have learned this in Web Design & Publishing Class!
I also learned the difference between a start-up company and an already established company. Essentially, a start-up company does not have any money and an established company, such as Google, has plenty of money. However, joining a start-up company was not discouraged by the panelists
One of the best pieces of advice I received was concerning networking. I learned it is imperative to make sure you are up to date on what other people’s/companies product’s are before you do networking with them.
Overall, this discussion was beneficial, and I’m glad I attended.

Burnie Burns Interview

I can vividly remember my friends and I watching the entire first season of Red vs. Blue in one night in high school (we were incredibly popular). I remember thinking, "Who makes this? How are these people so naturally funny? What is the creative process behind this like? How much more Mountain Dew can I drink tonight before it becomes a problem?"

With the exception of the last one, all of my questions were answered last Monday, Oct. 17. The interview with Burnie Burns, Rooster Teeth's creator, was an incredibly interesting insight into what a creative, intelligent and funny person can accomplish if they are passionate about what they do.

Setting out to become an independent filmmaker of sorts, Burns cited Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi as one of his main inspirations. This is important to note because it demonstrates just how passionate Burns is about his work. Fellow Texan Robert Rodriguez used insane methods to ensure his movie was on budget. In fact, Rodriguez even sold his own body for medical experiments to fund his movie.

Another interesting thing about Burns is that he knows his medium extremely well. During his interview, he kept mentioning how the Internet has brought down "mountains" for filmmakers like himself. He said 250 people seeing your work in a room used to be awesome. Now, however, if only 250 watch your video online, something has gone terribly wrong.

Burns demonstrated how businesses can work in the Information Age if the leaders are knowledgeable about their platform and who they need to collaborate with. Rooster Teeth has had several offers to move to television, but Burns knows his product is best fit online.

Burns also surrounds himself with witty and Internet-savvy people who are passionate about what they do to ensure the best product possible. These people create music, design scene backgrounds and provide voice talent for his company.

In summary, it is refreshing to know that intelligent, humorous and creative people still have the opportunity to create their own business model and see their ideas all the way through with people that inspire them.

Burnie Burns: Great Lecture

Before entering the doors of Alkek 250, I did not know what to expect. Honestly, I have never heard of Burnie Burns. However, through the course of this particular Mass Comm lecture, I gained new insight and knowledge of such topics as Rooster Teeth Productions and Burn’s contributions that encouraged the creation of Youtube.
While Burns was speaking, he had such a passion in his voice for his career choice. He candidly spoke of the highs and lows within his career field. Despite the obstacles he faced from time to time, he never relinquished his drive to achieve his goals.
From the lecture and my own research, I have learned that Rooster Teeth is basically a production company that hires people who write scripts and then uses videogame animation, also known as machinima, to act out the parts.
As a child, I hardly played video games. In fact, I have never owned a video game system. However, I found this type of animation fascinating. I could tell that many laborious efforts go into creating animation such as this.
Burns mainly spoke on one his series that he is particularly proud of called Red vs. Blue. He showed two different clips in the lecture. In the first clip, the characters were mainly standing around and speaking to one another. However, when Burns showed the second clip of one of the newer series in season 6, there was a noticeable increase of action. Burns said the reason the tone of the episodes changed is because it is important to always present the public with new concepts to keep them interested.
Some comical movie commercials that Burns had created were shown that made the entire audience laugh. My favorite was “Angry Birds”. I enjoyed how they took characters from an animated video game and transformed them into real actors.
For those who would like a career with Burns, I learned his company hires artists and animators.
Burns gave several pieces of valuable advice. My two favorite pieces are the following:
#1 In reference to episodes, Burns said “We don’t put the first episode of anything out until we have 6 in the bag.” He said this is important because you have to be able to tell people on the internet when to expect the next episode—you can’t leave them waiting.
#2 He said that if there is something you really like, a lot of people might really like it too. Basically he meant to explore certain topics i.e. Youtube videos you find fascinating and share them with the public. You just might make money off of it.
In essence, I enjoyed the lecture and left Alkek 250 with more knowledge than I had entered with.

Design and Journalism

The panel on design and journalism was very informative and gave me a sense of hope. Most of the people on the panel were former students of Cindy's who had not had any more formal education on web design than this class! It gave me hope that with practice and more time I might actually be a decent web designer.

They offered tips on how to be successful like know your medium and make contracts! Making contracts was a very good one because being new grads, we might not think about the contract and end up having so many different edits and responsibilities because we did not clearly state from the beginning what exactly our "job" would entail. They posted a few websites that could be helpful such as Mashable which has social media and web design tips.

I left this panel with a sense of hope and feeling less discouraged about my current "banana yellow" website.

Burnie Burns Interview

I found the interview with Burnie Burns to be very informational and at a lot of times humorous when he was describing the thought process behind his various web publications. It's cool to know that such a successful online producer lives right up there in Austin and hearing his story as to how he got to where he is now is very inspirational. I had vaguely heard of Red vs. Blue or any of his stuff, but I thought it was all very good content and I enjoyed the humor he was able to bring to Halo. I think the part I enjoyed most was when the first guy asked a question, which was more of a story about how awesome Burnie was, and Burnie said that he must be a PR student for obvious reasons. Overall, it was a great time listening to his information and one of my favorite events of Mass Comm week that I attended. I read up more on Burnie on Wikipedia and found a lot of good information on there. I guess if he's on Wikipedia, then he has to be kind of a big deal.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Burnie Burns

Burnie Burns came to Texas State to talk to students about his success at his production company Rooster Teeth and his online web series Red vs. Blue. Burns was pretty interesting. I had only heard of Red vs. Blue through word of mouth, but never had checked it out. The first footage I saw was at Mass Comm week and thought it was pretty funny. Burns himself was a funny guy. He kept the crowd interested with video clips and jokes. The clip he showed of one of his employees playing and not succeeding at a video game was hilarious. This was my second time experiencing Mass Comm week, but this interview turned out to be my favorite.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Comm careers at Tech Companies

Whitney Francis, Andrew Waldrup and Jennifer Stafford had a panel discussion about how to land a communications career in the technology industry. They gave tips on how and where to network (big ass social happy hour, anyone?) and important qualities to have as an applicant at a company. They discussed the importance of being familiar with forms of social media and how one can use it to promote a company. Waldrup, from Gowalla, addressed the issue of the app's two-star rating. He talked about how the changes to the app are useful and they probably won't be changing the app to the old one. This led the panel to discuss crisis management and the best ways to go about approaching the issue (acknowledge and apologize...very important, PR people!). At the end Waldrup tossed out some Gowalla goodies, and I'm the proud owner of a new t-shirt.

This panel benefitted me greatly because they gave out some great advice to future graduates like me. I know to continue to keep my Facebook and twitter looking good, and I know what skills I need to acquire and maintain in the next seven weeks.

Burnie Burns Interview

I'd never heard of Burnie Burns until Monday, and now I'm a fan of his work. He created a web series called Red vs. Blue using Halo characters and original dialogue. Later, he was able to start his own machinima companies, Rooster Teeth Productions. He talked about how he landed a partnership with Microsoft and the future of web video. He showed some hilarious clips: Angry Birds: The Movie and a clip of his friend playing Crackdown 2 Orbs...seriously, the funniest video I've seen since honey badger.

I enjoyed hearing about how Burns was able to build his own company and how successful it's become throughout the years. He has some great visions about technology and has big dreams for himself and Rooster Teeth Productions.

Communication Careers In Tech

Communication Careers at tech companies in Austin was a panel for Mass Communication week and was held in the Alkek teaching theatre Wednesday October 20, 2011. It featured several speakers from tech companies such as Andrew Waldrup, Culture Evangelist from Gowalla; Whitney Francis, Community Manager from Google; and Jennifer Stafford from HomeAway.

I was disappointed with the content of this lecture. I felt like the only thing they talked about was social media. I understand the benefits of using social media a little better now, but I wish the efforts to obtain the jobs the panel had and their accomplishments were highlighted more effectively.

I felt the grad student that interviewed the panel seemed really bored and under prepared, and it was a lot of information about social media-which had already been covered in other sessions. His questions didn’t really cover any areas other than that of social media and how the panel uses it in their jobs. Also, the set up with him standing behind the panel was awkward, because the speakers would answer his questions and then turn around and look at him like-“what’s next?” There was nothing compelling about this “loose interview” style and I found myself getting bored with what they were talking about.

Also, I will take this time to put in my two cents about requiring students to attend Mass Comm Week events. My question is- why are we doing this? Even bigger question- why are we offering incentives like extra credit for students to attend Mass Comm Week Events? I know we want to have packed rooms for these panels, I get that, and speakers should be talking to a packed room, because their work is important- and we can learn a lot from them. That alone should make people want to attend the events. My problem is with those that are required to come to the event showing up just because they have to be there and being disrespectful audience members. I had to tell several people in front of me to SHUT UP so that I could hear what was going on, and one girl even was so rude as to answer a phone call during the lecture! I was disgusted. Maybe it wasn’t the most interesting material in the world that was being discussed; however, if you want to talk to your stupid friends you should do it on your own time and not be disrespecting the speakers. Mass Comm Week has now incorporated live video feed for most Mass Comm Week events, so I guess I am just not understanding why we are requesting the presence of people who don’t want or care to be there.

So this is my one wish for Mass Comm Week next year, for the sake of other students who want to get through a lecture without having to shush people, professors please consider making Mass Comm Week event attendance optional for your classes.

That is really all I have to say about the panel. It was my least favorite of all the events I attended, and I feel that it had to do with the venue, the disrespectful audience and lack of preparedness by the host and less with the speakers. Cindy might be spread a little thin, but I hope that next year she interviews all the speakers.

Burnie Burns:The Viral Video Legend

Burnie Burns, one of the founders of Rooster Teeth Productions, was invited to come speak during Mass Communication Week this year.

Burns is most notably famous for his Red vs. Blue series and his contributions to machinima, both of which I had never heard of before this week. I did some research on Burns and his production company, Rooster Teeth Productions before the interview, but I did wonder what I would get out of this lecture, considering I have never played a Halo or heard of this guy. Let me just tell you-I severely underestimated the value of this lecture.

Before we get started- a brief overview of Burns line of work.

Red vs. Blue is a web series based around the video game Halo and was created by Burns and his crew. Although the Internet was in its early stages during the creation of Red vs. Blue, once the series was on the web, it gained popularity quickly. The machinima production Red vs. Blue now has over 1 billion views worldwide since its conception in 2003. The series was the first of its kind to use video game characters to tell a narrative story, and machinima technology to give the story visual components. Since then Burns has gone on to produce, write and create many other projects.

The Red vs. Blue series has become successful in the web world, but Burns and his crew did experience obstacles along the way first and largest of which became how to get the videos out where people could see them.

This, for me, was one of the most interesting parts of the interview. When Burns began talking about the inability to find a web host to get the episodes of Red vs. Blue onto the web, I began to call my whole Internet existence into question (kind of an exaggeration, but partially true). Whenever I make a video I want my friends to see, I just hop on YouTube, upload it and wait to see how many hits it gets. But when was the last time anyone thought about a world without YouTube? However, this was Burns reality.

Then a student came to the mic and said something that put everything into perspective regarding host sites in general.

The student thanked Burns for his contributions to the viral world and told him how much he enjoyed Red vs. Blue, and then he said, ‘ thank you also Mr. Burns for creating material that ultimately created YouTube.’ My first thought was, this guy did not create YouTube, what is this kid talking about? However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that the student was right.

He wasn’t saying that Burns had created YouTube in the literal sense, but more so saying that because of series like Red vs. Blue there came a need for hosting sites like YouTube- because of what Burns was creating there was a need for sites like this- sites that are not connecting billions of people to billions of other people’s music, blogs and lives really. Who knows, without the creation of these sites, Burns career may have turned out a lot differently.

One of my other favorite parts of the interview was when Burns began talking about how he hires people, and then show the audience a video of a guy he hired playing a video game and cursing at the screen because he was terrible at it. It was hilarious, and I think he won the award for most “F bombs” dropped in a single interview.

I was thankful that I got to hear the Burnie Burns interview, because I didn’t realize this at the time, but he’s kind of a big deal. During the interview, Cindy Royal mentioned that there were 900 people watching the live stream and I saw that the interview got up to 8900 hits on the web after the fact. Crazy!

Burns was charming and intelligent and I found his words applicable and insightful. His use of media and persistence of excellence in his projects definitely made me a fan.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Burnie Burns

Burnie Burns is the founder of Rooster Teeth Productions. He spoke to Texas State students about machinima and his web video series Red Vs. Blue. Machinima is created by taking animation from video games and putting a voice track over it. In other words, Burnie Burns makes shows for video games. Burns takes concepts from video games and creates stories that are as real life as possible. He makes shows that he would want to watch and use.

Red Vs. Blue is a hybrid model machinima animation. The artists that worked on Red Vs. Blue were people that they found online doing things for fun or as their hobby. Burnie Burns plays as an actor in most of his michinima productions by doing the voices for some of his game characters. Other actors also contribute to the voices, making the productions a team effort. Burns writes the scripts for all his games and takes suggestions from the rest of his team as well.

The Red Vs. Blue script is very serial because you know all the characters and what is going on. The stories are told over a period of time and has seasons just like shows such as Gossip Girl. Burns interacts with the audience to see what they are liking and not liking. He plans to make 10 seasons of these animated shows and has had 1 billion hits so far. He is now a licensed partner with microsoft.

He also told us that there are 728 million views on youtube and that there are 36 hours of video uploaded to youtube every hour. My favorite part of his interview was when he showed us the youtube video of "crackdown 2 orbs." He found a polish man on youtube who recorded his voice while playing this video game. The youtube video consisted of the man cursing while playing the video game. It was hilarious so he hired him and paid him to keep making these videos.

Burns said he hires people that are good artists, animators, and people with experience in web video production. When asked where he sees web video going he said mobile. The advise he gave to students was to put your work out there on the Internet because you never know what people are going to like and how many hits your going to get. You have to make something great and at the same time get attention for it by marketing through facebook, twitter and other social media.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Burnie Burns, Creator of Red Vs. Blue, Speaking at Texas State Mass Comm Week

On Monday, October 17th, 2011 Burnie Burns, founder of Rooster Teeth Productions and the creator of the web video series, Red Vs. Blue, spoke at Texas State during Mass Comm Week to a packed room of students. He talked about how he contributed to what is called machinima, a relatively knew type of animation that is based on capturing, or recording, the visuals from a video game and putting a voice track over the footage, how he started Red Vs Blue, and gave advice on how to become successful.

Red Vs Blue has been viewed over one billion times and the company has over 1.37 million subscribers, according to Burns. The show is going into it's tenth season and Burns has been offered several opportunities to have it aired on T.V., but he has declined all offers so far.

Red Vs Blue uses captured video from the Halo video games series owned by Microsoft, and when Burns' show started to attract larger online audiences, Microsoft took notice and contacted Burns.

After two hours Microsoft called up and decided to just see were this will go, and now we're partners,” Burns said about the phone call he got shortly after his shows began to go viral on the internet. He was very surprised and pleased with the Mircosoft's decision to not try to stop future makings of Red Vs. Blue.

Burns said that when it comes to pitching new ideas and deciding which ones to go with, “someone will champion [an idea], they'll take it and run with it.” He said that sometimes it's a “gut-feeling” when deciding on an idea.

“We don't put the first episode of anything out until we have 6 in the bag,” Burns explained when asked about starting up a web video show. “You need to have something to follow up with,” he continued and explained that you don't want to have fans but no material to keep their attention.

“It really is a competitive environment...the overall competition is from the overall amount of video out there – 36hrs of video uploaded to YouTube every hour,” Burns explained when asked who or what is his biggest competition.

He also said that web video is going in the direction of “all mobile” and that “people have these [smart phones and web devices] wherever they go.”

For students and others looking for employment at Rooster Teeth Production they look for “artists mainly, but right now we're looking for primarily animators and those with experience with web.”

He told the story of a person who was hired after making a video that went viral on YouTube. He showed the video that was a recording of the person playing a video game while speaking in the background about how "hard" and "stupid" the video game is using very vulgar language – the auditorium was full of laughter during this part of the interview.

During the question and answer period of the interview students were given a chance to ask Burns questions. A P.R. student expressed his deep gratitude and respect he has for Burns, and afterward was the first to talk with Burns - The student must have either been a huge fan or trying to get a job, or maybe both.

And finally Burns' expressed his concern over net neutrality, especially when coming to bandwidth restrictions, as this would be hardship for small companies and individuals, but give corporations an unfair advantage.

For more information on Rooster Teeth Productions and Red Vs. Blue visit

Monday, October 10, 2011

Project 3: Food Trailer Site

I really love food and going to food trailers around town. They are a great alternative to opening an actual stone and mortar restaraunt. My friends and I are thinking about opening one of our own and calling it VBQ (instead of BBQ, silly, I know). It would be a place with meatless, BBQ-inspired items that would satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. On the website I will provide a little background information on VBQ as well as a menu and contact info.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Project III: Movies, books, and a little bit of both.

For project three I want to create a website where I review books, movies, and book adaptations.

My two loves are movies and books. Sometimes I love movies that were books first, but sometimes I hate them.

I've always wanted to be a book/movie/adaptation critic so why not use this opportunity to get started?

PROJECT III: Vote for Peace, Vote for Liberty, Vote for Ron Paul 2012!

Yo, my new website will be a website devoted to the actions of the Austin Ron Paul Activists. We are the ones who were out on the street protesting before Occupy made it cool.

We understand that it's the free market that births prosperity and freedom, and that it is corporatism, not capitalism, that is what makes the 99% poor and the 1% rich (although it's really more like the elite .00001%).

We also understand that the Federal Reserve (which is not Federal and has no reserves) is the heart of the demon that oppresses the people, and as a central bank, is what Thomas Jefferson warned us about when he said, and I paraphrase, "...that if the people ever give the power to issue its currency to a central bank their children will make up homeless on the continent that their fathers conquered...," and that is exactly what is happening. Ben Frank also notes that the reason for the Revolution was not just taxes but the central bank of England was forcing the Colonists to use its money.

Anyways Ron Paul 2012 is the answer to 1984, and if not that then the answer is 1776.

Check out our current website and join the fight for Liberty!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Project 3

The site that I want to create would be about musicians that have impacted Rock and Roll. I'm going to use the concept of "the shoulders of giants" to convey a commonality with the influence of musicians on one another. There of course will be a section for the most influential musicians that died at an early age and use the idea of "the mighty have fallen" or something close. I will also have a links page that will access the musician's music and info through Youtube, Facebook and possibly Wikipedia.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Project 3 Website Idea: Jewelry Crafting

The hobby I would like to design my website around is jewelry crafting. I have been making jewelry since I was 15-years-old and thoroughly enjoy this hobby. I experience such as sense of freedom by being able to create my own pieces to wear to events instead of having to solely rely on stores for my jewelry needs. The picture I have shown is not my design, but I feel it illustrates the uniqueness of hand-made jewelry. A great website to purchase jewelry from is Etsy. I also like to look at the jewelry pieces on this site to get new ideas.

Project 3: Hank Cunningham's Band Website

For my third project, I'd like to make an artist website for one of my best friends, Hank Cunningham. Hank is a Texas country artist in San Marcos, but more importantly, Hank is one of the best people I know.

This weekend, I took over 60 pictures of Hank for the site (the above picture is definitely not one of them). I want to create pages for "Home," "Bio," "Upcoming Shows," "Music," "Photos" and "Contact."

I'll be choosing and combining my favorite aspects from country artist sites like Turnpike Troubadours, Josh Abbott, Cory Morrow, Randy Rogers and more.

Hopefully, Hank will like the site and want to use it when he releases his first LP later this year.

Project #3

For this project I will do my project on Standard Poodles. I own a two-year-old female Standard Poodle named Benson or "Bumblebee." A little known fact about Standards is that they do not shed and are the second smartest breed of dog.

Project 3-- Hobby Page

For my page I plan on doing it over my main hobby, music. I've played the drums for awhile and a few buddies and I are close to getting things going to where we can finally play full shows with original music. I've had experience playing live shows with other bands and there is no better feeling than performing in front of a crowd. Also, I will include some influences like Sublime and Motley Crue

Project 3

I've decided to focus my next project on one of my favorite shows Modern Family. This show has won so many Emmys for a reason-it's hysterical. The characters and family situations are very relatable as well. I plan on posting information about the show as well as personal stories from my own crazy family and how they relate to the show. I love Modern Family

Project 3: DIY website

I love do-it-yourself projects and I spend a lot of my time working on crafts. As a result, I plan to make a website about my DIY projects for the next project in class. On the website I plan to include photos (like the one above) of things that I have made, website recommendations and descriptions of my current projects that might include instructions

Project 3: Better than the rest!

For project 3 I would love to build my website around my love of concerts. This website would be dedicated to shows I attend, artists I love and creating personal branding. Some of the bands/artists that will most likely be featured on the website are Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Turnpike Troubadours to name a few!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Project 3

I've been told my baked good are awesome and I should consider opening a bakery. With that said, I'm going to do my next website on things I bake and new recipes I try out. I'd like to include stories of recipes I've ruined and writing about how I've progressed with some recipes. I plan to post pictures and recipes of things I've actually made and have people contact me for advice. Who knows it may land me a job!


Project 3

For Project 3, I would like to do a page over the show LOST. The show uses many different resources that apply to each episode. Of the specific topics within the show I plan to cover, I have decided on the philosophy/literature/religion aspect they draw themes and characters from. It's a huge part of why I was so attracted to the show in the first place.