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

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