Red vs. Blue is one of the first web series to become massively popular and, now in its 10th season, it’s still going strong. At VidCon 2012, Shira Lazar sat down Burnie Burns, one of the brains and voices behind the online hit.
Having launched Red vs. Blue in 2002, Burns, owner of the production company Rooster Teeth, was making short, animated videos for dial-up before YouTube even came onto the scene in 2006.
Without YouTube, how did he manage to build such an invested community? “It was a lot different,” Burns says. “We build our own websites. We have a social media site, which alone has 1.5 million registered users.”
Even though Burns and his team don’t completely rely on YouTube for distribution, the transition to the platform was inevitable. “The big thing for us was when YouTube started the Partner Program. It gave people the opportunity to get some revenue back for the content that they’re providing for the world’s biggest video network.”
Burns went on to chat about his transition from using machinima and making five minutes of animation a week to growing his team and working with custom animation and full-blown action sequences.
Also, building a portfolio of revenue models such as home video, DVD, itunes, and memberships has allowed the team to branch out into other shows and programming, including another big YouTube success, Achievement Hunter.
Burns also confirmed the news that Elijah Wood is on board as Red vs. Blue villain Sigma, with more exciting announcements to come.
He says that at Rooster Teeth, their philosophy is: would we watch it? “We have faith that if we like it, there’s enough people on the Internet like us that there will be an audience for it.”
It’s definitely been working so far.