Rooster Teeth

  (Redirected from ScrewAttack)

Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC is an American production company headquartered in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2003 by Burnie Burns, Matt Hullum, Geoff Ramsey, Jason Saldaña, Gus Sorola, and Joel Heyman,[4] Rooster Teeth is a subsidiary of Otter Media, which is itself a subsidiary of WarnerMedia Commercial, a division of AT&T's WarnerMedia.

Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC
Subsidiary
IndustryEntertainment
FoundedApril 1, 2003; 17 years ago (2003-04-01)
Founders
HeadquartersStage 2, Stage 4, Stage 5, Bungalow A; Austin Studios, ,
U.S.
Number of locations
8[1] (2018)
Key people
Number of employees
419 (July 2019)[2]
ParentOtter Media (WarnerMedia Commercial) (AT&T)
DivisionsRooster Teeth Animation
Rooster Teeth Games
Rooster Teeth Studios[3]
The Roost Podcast Network
WebsiteRooster Teeth
Roost Podcast Network

Rooster Teeth began with the production of Red vs. Blue, which premiered in April 2003 and is still in production, making it the longest-running web series of all time after Homestar Runner. Due to server and web hosting costs, the founders created "Sponsorships" which is now known as "FIRST", a subscription to exclusive and earlier access to content and discounts on their merchandise store, among other benefits. The company later branched out into live-action shorts, series, comedy, Let's Play videos, and full animated productions. Other projects include reality shows, video game development, entertainment news programs, and podcasts. In 2015, Rooster Teeth released its feature-film debut Lazer Team, a science-fiction action comedy. The company hosts an annual convention, RTX, in several cities around the world.

The company's videos are regularly released on its own website and app while podcasts and Let's Plays are still released on their YouTube channel as well. As of March 2019, Rooster Teeth's primary YouTube channel has 9.6 million subscribers and has over 5.8 billion video views.[5] Including all of their other channels, they maintain over 45 million subscribers.

Company historyEdit

 
Rooster Teeth's office on Congress Street in Austin in 2008

While attending the University of Texas at Austin, Burnie Burns and Matt Hullum collaborated with actor Joel Heyman on a 1997 independent film called The Schedule.[6] The film helped Hullum and Heyman to find work in Los Angeles, but otherwise had limited success.[7] Working for a local company named Telenetwork, Burns later met Geoff Ramsey (then named Geoff Fink), Gustavo Sorola, Dan Godwin, and Jason Saldaña, and the five formed drunkgamers.com, a website where the five reviewed various video games while drunk.[8] According to Ramsey, the group tried to receive free games to review, but "incurred the wrath" of several game developers in doing so.[9]

One of the non-gameplay videos that the drunkgamers crew created during this time was a live-action parody of the Apple Switch ad campaign. This video featured Sorola as the main actor, used Peter Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" as background music, and focused on the lack of games available for the Apple Macintosh computer.[10] Sorola and Burns said that the name change from 'Drunk Tank Podcast' to 'Rooster Teeth Podcast' was for the same reason that 'Drunk Gamers' was changed to 'Rooster Teeth': Nobody would give games or sponsor something with 'drunk' in the title "because it was so unprofessional."[11] On settling on Rooster Teeth, Burns stated, "We named it something else to give people the idea that we were going to be doing more than that".[12] The name "Rooster Teeth" is a euphemism for "cockbite", an insult from the original Red vs. Blue trailer that Burns described as a "touchstone for the audience".[13][14]

Among the company's core philosophies, Burns stated, "we only make content that we would want to see ... it comes from a very genuine space. I think that our audience appreciates that voice".[12] As of 2017, production costs for an episode vary from $15,000 to $100,000.[4]

Rooster Teeth's business strategy is a hybrid model composed of subscriptions, preroll ads, YouTube preroll ads, licensed studio productions, branded merchandise, and annual live events.[15]

Rooster Teeth has attributed their success to maintaining their community site and was reluctant to join YouTube initially, stating they viewed them as a "competitor".[16] In 2014, having signed a two-year lease, the entire company (now consisting of over 90 employees) moved into Stage 5 at Austin Studios.[17] In November 2014, Rooster Teeth was acquired by Fullscreen for an undisclosed amount.[18] Rooster Teeth agreed to be bought to give itself "the resources and tools" needed to compete against other producers. Burns elaborated by saying they consider Netflix, HBO, and Amazon their current competition.[16] On February 3, 2015, Burns confirmed that Rooster Teeth would be establishing an office in Los Angeles.[19] These offices were used by a whole new division, Funhaus.[20] The company released their feature film debut in 2015 with Lazer Team, a science fiction comedy.

In 2016, Rooster Teeth hired three content executives to help with audience expansion: Luis Medina as Senior VP of Partnerships, Evan Bregman as Director of Programming and Ryan P. Hall as Head of Development.[21] Medina will co-manage the Let's Play family with Ramsey, including Achievement Hunter, Funhaus, and ScrewAttack, and manage partnerships with third-party brands such as Cow Chop and Kinda Funny. Bregman will be responsible for programming strategy and boosting growth across all platforms such as apps, the community site, YouTube, and Facebook.[22] Hall will oversee Rooster Teeth's development slate and lead efforts to identify up-and-coming projects and talent.

Each year, the company participates in Extra Life, a gaming-themed fundraiser with Rooster Teeth's proceeds going to Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. During their 2017 Extra Life stream, they raised a total of US$1,209,970.73.[23] The 2018 Extra Life stream raised $1,417,288 for Extra Life and Dell Children's Medical Center.[24] The 2019 Extra Life stream raised US$1,222,371.[25]

On January 26, 2018, Fullscreen President and former COO Ezra Cooperstein was appointed as President of Rooster Teeth.[26]

In May 2018, Rooster Teeth piloted five shows named Branded, Gorq's Quest, Achievement Haunter, Million Dollars, But ... Animated, and Rooster Teeth's Murder Room, and also announced Spikeface, a new 2D/dark comedy show to be coproduced with Rob McElhenney and his RCG Productions.[27]

In December 2018, Otter Media restructured Fullscreen, consolidating Rooster Teeth, along with Crunchyroll and VRV, under Ellation.[28] The companies will align sales efforts to attract advertising and partnerships. During the transition, Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves highlighted the foundation of increased programming quality at Rooster Teeth, pledging changes to the company would be minimal in order to preserve the brand.[29] Machinima would be subsumed into Fullscreen.[30]

On December 18, 2018, Rooster Teeth added to their overall content library by partnering with animation channels CypherDen and Flashgitz, premiering their future content on Rooster Teeth First.[31] On January 31, 2019, Yvonne Secretan, COO of Rooster Teeth, announced her retirement.[32] Ezra Cooperstein stepped down as President of Rooster Teeth on April 26, 2019.[33] In June 2019, following accusations of poor working conditions, Hullum made a statement apologizing "all who have been affected".[34] On September 12, 2019, Hullum announced Rooster Teeth had laid off 13% of its workforce, approximately 50 employees.[35][36] Two weeks after announcing the layoffs, Jordan Levin was named General Manager with most of Rooster Teeth's founders stepping down into creative roles: Matt Hullum stepped down as CEO and became Chief Content Officer, Burnie Burns stepped down as Chief Creative Officer to Executive Producer and Geoff Ramsey became Executive Creative Director.[37]

In November 2019, it was announced that the company's Vice President of Product and Engineering was terminated from his position after domestic abuse and assault charges were filed against him.[38] The following month, Rooster Teeth promoted Doreen Copeland to VP, Head of Production, and Joe Clary and Sean Hinz to Co-Heads of Animation, leading day-to-day operations across all of Rooster Teeth's animated productions; Clary and Hinz will report to Copeland, who will oversee all physical production.[39] In June 2020, Heyman claimed that he was "laid off" from Rooster Teeth and would no longer perform in Red vs. Blue.[40] Burns resigned in June 2020, maintaining a first-look deal with Rooster Teeth.[41]

In August 2020 Rooster Teeth announced it was reviewing its online content library as part of a diversity initiative. [42]

Animated productionEdit

Rooster Teeth Animation is a division of Rooster Teeth that was founded in 2014, with Gray Haddock as the former head of the department.[43] On December 13, 2019, it was announced that Joe Clary and Sean Hinz were promoted to co-heads of the department to replace Haddock.[44]

Red vs. BlueEdit

 
A scene from Red vs. Blue season 4, made using the Halo 2 engine

In a parody of science-fiction films and games[45] and of military life,[46] Red vs. Blue tells the story of two groups of soldiers fighting a civil war in a desolate and isolated box canyon. Initially, Rooster Teeth expected the series to consist of only six to eight episodes.[47] However, the series quickly became very popular, receiving 20,000 downloads in a single day, which contributed to bringing Rooster Teeth to fame.[48] Accordingly, Burns conceived an extension of the plot.[49] It is currently on a mid-season hiatus, as its 17th full season, directed by Josh Ornelas and Austin Clark and written by Jason Weight, had wrapped up. Season 18 has been confirmed and its season's official name is "Red vs. Blue: Zero". In 2018, the short PSA episodes were officially spun off into their own show, simply titled Red vs. Blue PSA.

RWBYEdit

RWBY (pronounced "Ruby") is an anime-styled CG-animated web series that was created and directed by animator Monty Oum, and written by Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross. The first episode of RWBY premiered on July 5, 2013, at RTX 2013 and was released on the Rooster Teeth site on July 18, 2013.[50][51][52] The story takes place in the world of Remnant, which is filled with supernatural forces and shadowy creatures known as the "Creatures of Grimm". Prior to the events of the series, mankind waged a battle of survival against the Grimm before discovering the power of a mysterious element called Dust, which allowed them to fight back against the monsters. On February 1, 2015, Oum died due to a severe allergic reaction during a medical procedure, but the series he created continues.[53] The success of RWBY also resulted in a secondary series by Rooster Teeth, RWBY Chibi, which features the show's main characters in chibi form, with much more comedic elements and humor.

Rooster Teeth Animated AdventuresEdit

 
RTAA title card

In July 2010, Jordan Cwierz released the first Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures (RTAA) episode (then known as Drunk Tank Animated Adventures), featuring animations depicting stories told on the Rooster Teeth Podcast. In October 2011, Cwierz was officially hired to produce the animated shorts full-time as a feature of the podcast.[54]

On October 8, 2014, Rooster Teeth debuted Let's Play Minimations. It features highlights from Achievement Hunter's Let's Plays, initially using 3D animation that resembles the sandbox game, Minecraft and later machinimated using Grand Theft Auto V.[55]

Camp CampEdit

 
Lindsay Jones, the star of RWBY, with Jordan Cwierz, co-creator of Camp Camp

On April 1, 2016, Rooster Teeth announced Camp Camp with a trailer that aired on their website and YouTube. The series premiered on June 10, 2016, as part of Rooster Teeth's Summer of Animation promotion.[56] It focuses on a young boy named Max, voiced by Michael Jones, who is forced to go to summer camp but makes two friends there who help him constantly torment their camp counselor, David, voiced by Miles Luna. It airs on Fridays for Rooster Teeth FIRST members and Saturdays for site members. The show was created by Jordan Cwierz and Miles Luna. The first season was extended by two episodes due to positive reception, for a total of 12 episodes in its first season. Camp Camp's composer is Benjamin Zecker, with Miles Luna writing the outlines for "The Camp Camp Theme Song Song" and "Better Than You."[57] The DVD/Blu-ray combo pack of the first two seasons was released on May 22, 2018, with its third season premiering on May 25.[58]

gen:LOCKEdit

At RTX Austin 2017, Rooster Teeth Animation announced that they would be making a new series called gen:LOCK that is a mecha action drama series by RWBY producer, Gray G. Haddock.[59] It was teased at New York Comic Con and RTX London.[59][60][61] It was originally set for a late 2018 release, but was pushed back to January 2019. On May 21, 2018, it was revealed that the main character, Julian Chase, is voiced by Michael B. Jordan. Jordan is also set to co-produce the series through his production company, Outlier Society Productions.[62][63] The series premiered on January 26, 2019. The first season concluded on March 9, 2019. On October 24, 2019 the series has been renewed for a second season.

OthersEdit

In May 2004, at the E3 gaming convention, Rooster Teeth was introduced to The Sims 2 and realized that the game would be suitable for a series that parodied reality television. The game's publisher Electronic Arts allowed them to continue with the project.[64] The result was The Strangerhood, a comedy series that centers on eight strangers who awake one day unaware of where they are or how they arrived there.[65] Its first season of 17 episodes completed on April 27, 2006.[66] In 2005, the group collaborated with Paul Marino[67] on Strangerhood Studios, a spin-off commissioned by the Independent Film Channel.[68] This spin-off was the first machinima series to be commissioned for broadcast[68] and won an award for Best Editing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival.[69] The second season premiered on September 29, 2015, after the stretch goal was reached for Lazer Team's Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

In 2006, Rooster Teeth partnered with Maybeck Productions to create PANICS, a short series filmed on F.E.A.R. that chronicles the misadventures of Bravo Team, a group of soldiers sent to investigate a paranormal disturbance.[68] The four publicly released episodes were released between September 27, 2005 and October 18, 2005,[70] and a prequel was released with F.E.A.R. – Director's Edition.[71] The mini-series won an award for Best Writing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival.[69] Rooster Teeth's other machinima productions are 1-800-Magic, a four-episode mini-series created in 2006 using the game Shadowrun, and Supreme Surrender, a 2008 mini-series made using Supreme Commander. On February 13, 2017, Rooster Teeth premiered the teaser trailer for their upcoming animated series titled Sex Swing featuring members of their Funhaus division based on a recurring joke in their videos where they portray a fictional band of the same name.[72]

At RTX 2014, a new animated show called X-Ray and Vav was announced, starring Ray Narvaez, Jr. as X-Ray and Gavin Free as Vav. The show is directed by Lindsay Jones (who also voices Hilda) and Jordan Cwierz, with art direction by Patrick Rodriguez. The first episode was released on November 27, 2014.[73] The second season premiered on July 19, 2015. Narvaez and Free reprised their roles as the show's titular heroes, with the addition of Michael Jones as the anti-hero Mogar, Jessica DiCicco as news reporter Ash Samaya, and Ryan Haywood as The Mad King.[74] There are currently no plans for a third season, and the show has not been referenced since its conclusion by Rooster Teeth. When asked by a fan if he would return for a third season if asked, Narvaez stated he would not and that he was happy with how it ended.[citation needed]

A new 2D animation show was released on Rooster Teeth First on March 16, 2018. Created by Georden Whitman, Nomad of Nowhere is a western-fantasy hybrid focused on a mute wanderer hunted for being capable of using magic to give life to inanimate objects.[75]

On February 15, 2019, it was announced Rooster Teeth would partner with Hasbro for a 2020 animated Netflix series based on the Transformers War for Cybertron toyline.[76]

Live-action productionEdit

Rooster Teeth ShortsEdit

Rooster Teeth first ventured into live action in 2009 with Captain Dynamic, a mini-series to promote the online game City of Heroes.[77] It was based around a team of writers hired to use the new in-game content creation tools to promote the title character, Captain Dynamic, the 'worst superhero in the world'. Directed by Matt Hullum and written by Burnie Burns, the series starred Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, who is a long time friend and fan of Rooster Teeth. A number of Rooster Teeth employees were present throughout the series, notably Joel Heyman as Captain Dynamic's primary writer. Actor Shannon McCormick appears as the series' antagonist, Great Face.[78] The series also led to the release of an iPhone app called the Awesome Button.[79]

Following the positive reception of Captain Dynamic, Rooster Teeth began producing another live-action series, Rooster Teeth Shorts, a sketch comedy which parodies life at their offices in a similar fashion to the webcomic. The series features the staff of Rooster Teeth, who all play caricatures of themselves, as well as occasional appearances from voice actors from some of their machinima series. The first season ran for twenty episodes, which along with Captain Dynamic has been released on DVD.

The second season of RT Shorts debuted on April 23, 2010, with new episodes released weekly via the Rooster Teeth website[80] until a hiatus during late July 2010, during which the team focused all their efforts towards Red vs. Blue episodes. With production on Red vs. Blue complete, weekly RT Shorts episodes began again on August 28, 2010, until the second season's conclusion with its twenty-fourth episode and DVD release in early December. Shortly before season two's conclusion, Rooster Teeth collaborated with the team behind Mega64, a video game-centered comedy series. Together they produced four Rooster Teeth Shorts episodes, which were released on the Rooster Teeth website as the beginning of season three.

Halfway through season four, Burns announced the cancellation of Rooster Teeth Shorts for several new series. However, on April 1, 2013, Rooster Teeth announced Rooster Teeth Shorts would return with a fifth season, on the same day, the season premiere episode Reunion was released and marked the tenth anniversary of the company.

On August 22, 2013, Rooster Teeth released six 6-second mini-episodes exclusively through the video sharing service Vine. Six more were published on September 13, 2013. The third set was released on October 11, 2013, followed by a fourth set on November 8, 2013.

ImmersionEdit

Immersion is a series in which Burnie Burns and Gus Sorola (Griffon Ramsey in the first season) test the concepts of video games in real life, such as whether the heckling that sometimes occurs in multiplayer video games would negatively affect the performance of real soldiers. Burns joked in the Rooster Teeth podcast that the series started as an "elaborate way for [them] to do fun stuff and get paid for it."[81] Geoff Ramsey and Gus Sorola were the test subjects throughout the first season. Gavin Free and Michael Jones served as the test subjects for the second season. Various other Rooster Teeth employees have served as test subjects in certain episodes including Miles Luna, Kerry Shawcross, Blaine Gibson and Chris Demaris.

During PAX East in late March 2010, Rooster Teeth released a teaser trailer for a series with a pilot episode that tested how easy it would be to drive a car from a third-person perspective. Nothing was mentioned of Immersion until October 2010, when Burnie Burns stated during the company's podcast, The Rooster Teeth Podcast, that production had begun on further episodes.

Soon after, on November 23, 2010, the company released pictures on Reddit of a door in their office turned into a safe-room door from the video game Left 4 Dead to build hype for the series' debut the following day. The post became the most popular post of the day on Reddit.[82][83] Rooster Teeth re-released a tweaked pilot episode the following day to begin the weekly series, which concluded with its seventh episode on January 5, 2011.

A new episode of Immersion premiered on June 17, 2011, after five months on hiatus. The episode's filming took place on May 29, 2011, during Rooster Teeth's convention, RTX, as well as 400 participants dressed as zombies. The episode shows Geoff Ramsey and Gus Sorola defending themselves from a horde of zombies.[84]

On June 17 Burns stated during a panel at Supanova Sydney, that they would be producing a second season, and they were developing concepts. They also confirmed that Gavin Free and Michael Jones of Achievement Hunter would be joining the cast in the second season, replacing Sorola and Ramsey as the test subjects. In the Rooster Teeth Podcast, it was confirmed that the second season began production in 2013. Burns stated in an episode of the Rooster Teeth Podcast[episode needed] that several television stations were interested in picking up the series for its second season.

During RTX 2015, Burns announced that there would be a third season of Immersion. The third season premiered in November 2015.[citation needed]

Day 5Edit

 
Shooting of a scene in Day 5 in downtown Austin during RTX 2012

At RTX 2012, 1,800 fans were used as extras for a scene in post-apocalypse short series called Day 5, which initially followed a man fighting to stay awake after a virus spreads that causes anyone who falls asleep to die.[85] The trailer premiered at RTX 2014.[86] While the premise was kept the same, the overall story and characters were later changed drastically. In March 2016, the cast was announced, with filming starting that same month.[87] The first episode premiered on June 19, 2016 on both Rooster Teeth's website and YouTube, though the rest of the series was released exclusively on Rooster Teeth's website for FIRST members, making it the company's first premium exclusive show.[88] Its first season concluded on July 31, 2016. Showrunner Josh Flanagan held a Reddit AMA the following day, answering many fan questions about the show. On February 2017, a second season of the show was announced, along with a second season of Camp Camp.[89]

Million Dollars, But ... Edit

Million Dollars, But ... is an ongoing series in which three Rooster Teeth employees or a special guest each come up with a typically difficult scenario—which the cast comically re-enact—as a condition for which they will be given a million dollars; for example, the person has to date Adolf Hitler for a year. The early episodes usually featured Burnie Burns, Gavin Free, and Barbara Dunkelman, but as time went on, the cast became more varied. The pilot episode premiered on May 21, 2015, with the series continuing on July 9, 2015. The series now features special episodes centered around certain themes, such as animation, with all the scenarios revolving around animation. Million Dollars, But ... has developed a card game that had a very successful Kickstarter, reaching their goal of US$10,000 within 2 minutes. The card game was released in mid-June 2016. The gang plays this game at every RTX, and in RTX London it's called "A Million Pounds, Although ..."

On the SpotEdit

 
On the Spot logo

On the Spot is the name of the Rooster Teeth game show that involves members of the Rooster Teeth cast and crew, split into two teams of two people, playing various improvisational games to gain points awarded by the host Jon Risinger. The winning team is awarded a golden trophy that resembles Gustavo Sorola, affectionately called "The Golden Gus". Although promised to the winner, after being broken several times, the trophy now does not leave Risinger's desk. A frequent theme of the show is the chaotic humor; contestants will frequently attempt to annoy and antagonize Risinger, and to mock his show. The points are assigned arbitrarily and inconsistently based on the random whim of the host, as well as being assigned by the broadcast team that is running the show.[90] In an effort to bring variety to the show, the next few seasons have been themed, with the first themed season being "On the Spot goes to Hell!", where Jon, his show, and his contestants go to hell because his show was too bad. The second themed season is "On the Spot: Lost in Time" with each episode being set in a different time period due to a break in the space-time continuum caused by Chris Demaris. The third themed season involves a "family friendly" version of the show titled "On the Spot: The Happy Room", where each episode has a learning subject such as weather or family which the game prompts are based on. The latest themed season, "On the Spot and Chill", has a TV show theme.

OthersEdit

In 2014 a bi-weekly series premiered called Happy Hour. The series chronicles the drunken adventures of Geoff Ramsey, Gavin Free, and Griffon Ramsey. This series ended on September 24, 2017.

Created to test elaborate social experiments, Social Disorder follows Chris Demarais and Aaron Marquis as they compete for points as a game show. The first episode, The Body Bag Experiment, debuted on September 15, 2014, in which Demarais and Marquis had to drag each other around in a body bag trying to get bystanders to help them out. Points were awarded for making up reasons as to what was in the bag or why they were dragging the bag in the first place.[91]

Crunch Time is a web series that initially aired in September 2016. The original trailer was featured on The Nerdist's announcement article, and depicted university students creating a machine to allow them to enter other people's dreams. The show stars Samm Levine of Freaks and Geeks and Inglourious Basterds fame, as well as Good Neighbor's Nick Rutherford; also starring Jessy Hodges and Kirk C. Johnson, who starred in Rooster Teeth's first feature film, Lazer Team. Supporting the main cast is comedian Brent Morin and True Detective's Michael Hyatt as agents Hobbs and Mullins, respectively.

On Halloween 2012, a partnership between Rooster Teeth and Blip was announced, with the premiere of their new 10-episode, reality game competition series sponsored by GEICO.[92] The Gauntlet followed gamers from around the United States competing in contests of skills, concentration, agility and stamina, inspired by reality competitions Wipeout and The Voice. The first season was hosted by Ali Baker and Burnie Burns. Season two was hosted by Burns and Joel Heyman and began on September 7, 2013.

Starting in 2014, Rooster Teeth employees Miles Luna and Kyle Taylor started playing video games and recording the gameplay and facial camera footage to create a show originally called Sponsor Play and it was featured as part of the Sponsor Cut portion of the RT website, an incentive to become a sponsor for their production. This series was renamed to Backwardz Compatible in November 2016 along with the change of sponsorship format. The whole series features gameplay of Fatal Frame, Resident Evil 7, Sonic Adventure 2, Alien: Isolation, Dark Souls III, and a few other titles.

 
Colton Dunn, host of RT-ES

On September 27, 2015, a sketch comedy show RT-ES, or Rooster Teeth Entertainment System, premiered for Rooster Teeth First members on roosterteeth.com.[93] The show is produced in Los Angeles, California and is hosted and created by Colton Dunn. The show consists of Dunn giving interviews, talking about relevant topics, and showing many sketches throughout: it centers around comedy, music, and games.

In a Sponsor-Only video, Burnie Burns stated that RT-ES would be put on hiatus. Burns began by saying "occasionally we make some missteps," referring to RT-ES. He elaborated by saying Rooster Teeth would be looking at all the audience feedback and apply it to the show in the future.

Commercial workEdit

 
A screenshot from Apology, an advertisement that Electronic Arts commissioned from Rooster Teeth

In mid-2006, Electronic Arts commissioned Rooster Teeth to direct[94] commercials for their EA Sports brand of games, including Madden NFL 07 and NCAA Football 07, for broadcast on television.[95] Rooster Teeth released some of this work on their website.[96] In late November 2006, controversy arose over a Madden NFL 07 commercial, when Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark complained about his depiction in the commercial.[97] Hit and tackled multiple times in the advertisement by Philadelphia Eagles players, Clark stated, "I haven't seen the commercial, but I'm upset about it. It makes me look like a punk."[97] In response, Rooster Teeth posted a director's cut, in which Clark plays and dominates every position.[98]

They have also made a trailer for a free to play PC game called Loadout, developed by Austin-based Edge of Reality.

Film projectsEdit

In February 2014, Burns confirmed that the company was going to launch a crowdfunding campaign for a feature film, as a way to offer more support options while gaining publicity.[99] In June 2014, an Indiegogo campaign for Lazer Team was launched. The fundraiser hit its $650,000 target within 11 hours and reached over $1.6 million two days later. The film was due for release in 2015. As of July 24, 2015, Lazer Team is the second-most-funded film project on Indiegogo, raising just under $2.5 million.[100][101]

Production for Lazer Team began on October 9, 2014.[102] On February 21, 2015 the first official teaser trailer was released, and on March 16, 2015 the full trailer was released.[103] The film premiered at Fantastic Fest on September 24, 2015, where it received a generally positive reception.[104][105][106] It was released in theaters on January 27, 2016.[107]

On August 5, 2016, because of the success of the first movie Burnie Burns and Gavin Free announced that a sequel to Lazer Team was green-lit by Rooster Teeth in partnership with YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium), who is financing the Lazer Team 2, and that they had officially began pre-production on the film.[108] In December 2016, Matt Hullum confirmed Rooster Teeth is aiming to shoot Lazer Team 2 in late Spring in Texas followed by release in 2017.[109] Daniel Fabelo will be co-directing the sequel with Hullum. Nichole Bloom and Victoria Pratt are also joining the cast.[110] Filming for the sequel concluded in April 2017.[111]

At RTX Austin 2017, Rooster Teeth announced Blood Fest, a horror-comedy film directed by Owen Egerton and starring Seychelle Gabriel, Robbie Kay, and Jacob Batalon. Other cast members include Zachary Levi, Barbara Dunkelman, Nick Rutherford, and Tate Donovan.[112]

ChannelsEdit

Achievement HunterEdit

Achievement Hunter is a video gaming channel and division of Rooster Teeth created in 2008 by Geoff Ramsey and Jack Pattillo. The channel is largely based on the achievement mechanic found in seventh-generation video game consoles after being made popular with Microsoft's release of the Xbox 360. Achievement Hunter has since gone on to become a core component of Rooster Teeth Productions and hosts additional content on the Achievement Hunter and Let's Play channels and formerly on GameFails which is currently an archive of past GameFails content.

Inside GamingEdit

Inside Gaming is the gaming news division of Rooster Teeth. Originally founded as The Know, an entertainment news division that discusses current events in movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, and media. It was mainly hosted by Ashley Jenkins and Brian Gaar, with a selection of other Rooster Teeth staff from each division within the company. It was initially a single news show hosted on Rooster Teeth's main YouTube channel before moving over to its own channel, where it has since expanded into several different categories of entertainment and tech news as well as several different shows,[113] with the latest being Glitch Please, a successor to their earlier podcast The Patch, that was greenlit for a full series after six pilot episodes.[114][115] Previously The Know had hosted Leaderboard, where Meg Turney had discussed esports news, The Patch Game Club, where the hosts of The Patch would discuss a new video game they've played each week, and Screen Play, a film and TV podcast. In June 2016, Turney announced on her vlog she was leaving Rooster Teeth to focus more on cosplay.[116]

In October 2017, Variety announced Eric Vespe would join The Know as senior writer responsible for original reporting, interviews and developing new shows around entertainment.[117] Vespe had previously worked at Ain't It Cool News for 20 years.[118]

On February 14, 2019, Rooster Teeth revived Machinima's Inside Gaming brand, renaming The Know to Inside Gaming. The Know and Machinima's social team will be combined with Inside Gaming. Lawrence Sonntag, Adam Kovic, Bruce Greene and Alanah Pearce from Funhaus will host Inside Gaming and will include gaming news, features and reviews.[119]

In late 2019, Lawrence Sonntag announced his departure from the channel, with Autumn Farrell taking over in his absence.

FunhausEdit

 
The cast of Funhaus at PAX Prime 2015

Funhaus (pronounced "funhouse") is a division of Rooster Teeth Productions, based in Los Angeles, California. The channel launched on February 16, 2015, by the former cast of Inside Gaming: Adam Kovic, James Willems, Bruce Greene, Lawrence Sonntag, Matt Peake, Sean "Spoole" Poole and Joel Rubin, later joined by former GameTrailers talent Elyse Willems in November 2015 and former IGN host Alanah Pearce in August 2018. Funhaus produces gameplay videos in a similar manner to Achievement Hunter. In addition to gameplay, Funhaus also produced segments for The Know up until November 2016. It produces many shows such as Open Haus (Q&A), Google Trends, podcasts called Dude Soup and "Film Haus", gameplay series such as Demo Disk and Wheelhaus,[120] a current live stream called FunhausTV on YouTube, and the now-defunct Sex Swing: The Animated Series. Shows produced by Funhaus for Rooster Teeth TV include “No Idea”, “Arizona Circles”, and “Last Laugh”.

In 2016, Poole and Rubin left Funhaus.[121][122][123][124] Greene and Sonntag left in 2019.[125][126]

Death BattleEdit

ScrewAttack was a video gaming website started in 2006 by Craig Skistimas (known as 'Stuttering Craig' on the site) and Thomas Hanley (known as 'Handsome Tom').[citation needed] On November 4, 2015, it was announced that ScrewAttack would become a division of Rooster Teeth and Let's Play.[127] Its website was updated to be consistent with Rooster Teeth's branding, along with all its previously existing users becoming Rooster Teeth users and its forums being absorbed into Rooster Teeth's forums.

The website is primarily known for the web series Death Battle, in which they pit pop culture icons against each other in a fight to the death and determine who would win based on extensive research of the characters. The show is hosted by Wizard, a scientist with a robotic arm, and Boomstick, a fatherless country man with a shotgun for a leg. Other content includes animated fight shows without research called DBX and “One-Minute Melee”, a behind-the-scenes podcast called Death Battle Cast, an informative show called Desk of Death Battle, and a limited show based on fictional vehicles racing called Death Race. On February 4, 2019 the ScrewAttack YouTube channel was re-branded to Death Battle to better match the channel's main content.[128] The ScrewAttack section of the Rooster Teeth website was turned into an incomplete archive for the channel's old content.

Game KidsEdit

Game Kids was a division of Rooster Teeth Productions aimed at creating kid and family friendly content. The channel launched on December 1, 2014 and featured the series "Sim Sisters" featuring Millie Ramsey, the daughter of Geoff Ramsey, and her nanny Chelsea playing Sims together, "Kids Play" featuring Matt Hullum and his children Webb and Mills or Burnie Burns and his children JD and Teddy, appearing on alternating weeks playing various games, and "Bro Gaming" featuring Rooster Teeth employee Caleb Denecour and his younger brother Jordan playing various cooperative games including an ongoing series in Minecraft and Disney Infinity 2.0. Burns announced on a podcast that the channel was quietly put on hiatus to figure out where the company wants to take it, with the channel not having been active since March 28, 2016.[citation needed]

NetworksEdit

Let's PlayEdit

Rooster Teeth's "Let's Play" network has partnerships with several other channels, in addition to its own internal divisions such as Achievement Hunter and Funhaus. This meant that the branch would provide merchandise, promotion, and other benefits for its partners. On March 28, 2016, a partnership with Kinda Funny was announced. It was founded by Rooster Teeth co-founder Geoff Ramsey and is run by Luis Medina with Ramsey. Members of the group appear in Rooster Teeth content, and Kinda Funny merchandise is available on the Rooster Teeth Store. Kinda Funny LIVE! was presented by Let's Play and hosted by Burns.[129] A partnership with The Creatures was announced on April 4, 2016.[130] Immediately after its formation, Cow Chop was also confirmed to be part of Let's Play.[131] Cow Chop, unlike most of its fellow Let's Play partners, has its own Rooster Teeth website, with exclusive video content.[132] Game Attack, which was initially spun off from ScrewAttack before becoming its own independent entity, is also part of Let's Play. Like Cow Chop, Game Attack also has its own Rooster Teeth website.[133] On May 11 Achievement Hunter announced a partnership between the Let's Play Network and video game publisher Ubisoft. Streams and gameplay videos done by any of the Let's Play family members featuring games published by Ubisoft will be released exclusively on the Ubisoft US YouTube channel.[134] On May 31, 2017, it was announced that YouTubers JT Machinima, NoahJ456, LazarBeam, and Sugar Pine 7 had joined Let's Play, with JT Machinima being the first of which to have merchandise sold through the RT Store.[135][136] On July 12, 2017, it was announced that The Creatures would be disbanding, effectively ending their partnership with Let's Play.[137] In May 2019, Sugar Pine 7 also announced their departure from the Rooster Teeth family.[138] On May 1, 2019, Craig announced Game Attack was now independent, had no further business relationship with Rooster Teeth and was no longer a part of the Let's Play family of networks.

The RoostEdit

In June 2017 Rooster Teeth launched its own podcast network, called The Roost, representing creators such as h3h3Productions, Game Grumps, Shane Dawson, Getting Doug With High by Doug Benson, Tiny Meat Gang by Cody Ko and The Valleyfolk by Joseph Bereta, Elliott Morgan, Lee Newton and Steve Zaragoza, among others.[139] In July 2018, The Roost added The Last Podcast on the Left, hosted by Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski.[140] On September 5, 2018 it was revealed that The Roost would also support both current and upcoming podcasts from The Beam, another podcast network, as part of a partnership between Rooster Teeth and Hello Sunshine.[141]

Video game developmentEdit

Rooster Teeth vs. ZombiensEdit

Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens is a game made by Team Chaos that features some of the main Rooster Teeth personnel in their fight against zombies in the Rooster Teeth office and parking lot. It was made for iOS, Android and Steam platforms.[142] It has since been taken down from IOS and Android platforms.

RWBY: Grimm EclipseEdit

At RTX 2014, Rooster Teeth announced during the RWBY panel on July 4 that a RWBY video game was in development, under the working title RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, making this the first video game ever created by the company. An early demo of the game was available for consumers to play at the event. Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum stated, "RWBY is a natural choice for us to focus on for our first in-house produced video game. Fans can expect that we will bring the same level of originality in action, comedy and design to the video game that has made the RWBY animated series such a hit."[143][144]

RWBY: Grimm Eclipse was initially developed as a fangame by Jordan Scott over the course of five months. A demo version was released on April 1, 2014, to celebrate Rooster Teeth's 11th anniversary, but the demo is no longer available for download. Scott stated at the time that it was not an ongoing project, and he had no plans for any future updates. He described it as a "survival-based action RPG" set in the world of RWBY.[145]

On December 1, 2015, the game was released as an Early Access title on Steam after rapidly being approved through Steam's Greenlight feature.[146]

Vicious CircleEdit

Vicious Circle was first announced on episode 526 of the Rooster Teeth Podcast by Burnie Burns and Gus Sorola.[147] It is an uncooperative multiplayer shooter and Rooster Teeth's first original IP game. It was released on August 13, 2019 on Steam.[148]

EventsEdit

RTXEdit

In May 2011, Rooster Teeth held their first official community event in Austin, Texas. Initially planned as a small gathering for 200 people,[149] demand was so high that over 500 tickets were accidentally sold within minutes of being made available online.[150] Since RTX 2012, each event has been held in the Austin Convention Center, with the attendance growing from 5,000 in 2012 to 45,000 in 2015.[citation needed] In June 2015, Rooster Teeth announced RTX Australia, later rebranded as RTX Sydney, a collaboration with Hanabee and Supanova Pop Culture Expo.[151] In February 2017, RTX London was announced, taking place October 14–15 of that year.[152] Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, RTX 2020, dubbed "RTX at Home", will be held virtually from 15–25 September.[153]


Let's Play LiveEdit

Let's Play Live is an on-stage event produced by Rooster Teeth in which Achievement Hunter and members of the Let's Play family play video games and perform comedy sketches in front of a live audience. Their first event was held on February 20, 2015, at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.[154] On September 14, a documentary was released about the event for sponsors on their website.

Starting in 2016, LPL toured through multiple cities across North America.[155][156]

LPL returned to Austin the night before RTX 2018 began.[157] In August 2018, Rooster Teeth announced they would replace RTX Sydney 2019 with three Let's Play Live events in different cities.[158]

PodcastsEdit

Rooster Teeth PodcastEdit

On December 9, 2008, Rooster Teeth launched the Drunk Tank podcast. It was renamed the Rooster Teeth Podcast in 2011, due to the previous name not being attractive to advertisers. The podcast is released weekly, and has won several honors, including being the most downloaded podcast on iTunes and winning the Best Gaming Podcast award at the Podcast Awards in 2013 and 2014.[159]

Other podcastsEdit

  • On May 18, 2013, Sorola announced that Rooster Teeth would begin a second weekly podcast focusing on gaming because their main podcast – which started as a gaming podcast – had become more of a comedy podcast.[160] Sorola stated "starting next week we will be kicking off a new gaming focused podcast. We realize that the Rooster Teeth Podcast doesn't talk about gaming too much so we're launching a brand new weekly podcast that focuses solely on games." The first episode of The Patch was released on May 21, 2013. On June 21, 2013 they also began producing special episodes of The Rooster Teeth Podcast titled The Rooster Teeth Spoilercast in which they discuss television shows, movies, and video games in full detail after they have been released. As a stretch goal for Lazer Team, Rooster Teeth also began producing Screen Play, a podcast that focuses on television and film.[citation needed] On December 29, 2016, the last episode of The Patch was released. On April 15, 2017, they released the first episode of a new gaming podcast, Glitch Please.
  • The Know released the first episode of The Patch on May 21, 2013. As a stretch goal for Lazer Team, Rooster Teeth also began producing Screen Play, a podcast that focuses on television and film.[citation needed] The Know also released the first The Patch Game Club episode on March 18, 2015, with the last episode released on September 7, 2016. On December 29, 2016, the last episode of The Patch was released to be replaced on April 15, 2017 by the newly released gaming podcast, Glitch Please.
  • On February 9, 2015, Rooster Teeth launched the Funhaus podcast, Dude Soup. The podcast stars four rotating members of Funhaus, with occasional guest appearances from other Rooster Teeth employees. Dude Soup focuses on comedy, gaming news and game culture in general. Funhaus also hosts a FAQ Podcast.[161]
  • On October 30, 2015, the Achievement Hunter-specific weekly podcast Off Topic premiered for Rooster Teeth First members. The first four episodes, regarded as "test episodes," are only available to Rooster Teeth First members. All following episodes are available to the general public on YouTube and iTunes. The podcast does not focus on any one topic, but bounces around from television to video games to stories from the life of the Achievement Hunter members, which includes the entire AH team, and not just the "core 6" members. The podcast is hosted and produced by Michael Jones.[162]
  • On February 19, 2016, a podcast titled "Fan Service" premiered. Fan Service features the Rooster Teeth Animation department to talk about anime and animation. The first four episodes were "test episodes" Rooster Teeth First members. Eventually it was confirmed through the Rooster Teeth Twitter to premiere on YouTube October 21, 2016.
  • On September 1, 2016, a podcast titled "Always Open" premiered for Rooster Teeth First members. Always Open stars Barbara Dunkelman and guests to talk about life, love, sex, etc. The first four episodes additionally being "test episodes," only being available to Rooster Teeth First members.[163]
  • On March 21, 2017, Relationship Goals premiered, starring Geoff Ramsey and Griffon Ramsey discussing modern relationships with other couples.

Community and websiteEdit

"I think the biggest place we've had to adapt is, we've always believed we have to have our own corner on the web, that we don't try to build our own company on Facebook or on MySpace back in the day, or even on Twitter or Snapchat. We try to have RoosterTeeth.com be our destination." ― Burnie Burns, July 8, 2016 [12]

OverviewEdit

On October 4, 2004, after closing their phpBB forums, Rooster Teeth publicly launched an online community and social networking website as a way to stay in touch with fans while maintaining their own platform for distribution.[164][165] This site included features such as community statistics, journals, an image gallery and a "mod point system" or "emodomy" that was meant to help members moderate the site with options to like or dislike posts.[166] Currently, it receives 5 million unique monthly visitors and is home to over 2 million registered users of which 135,000 pay $5 per month as FIRST members.[167][168][169]

Rooster Teeth FIRSTEdit

To host their own videos, Rooster Teeth paid a co-location facility $13,000.[4] The cost from server fees prompted Rooster Teeth to implement a site wide program called "Sponsorships" in 2003, (later rebranded as Rooster Teeth FIRST members,) which gave paying members access to content before being offered to the public, in addition to extra site features, exclusive videos and merchandise. Sponsorships have been credited with "keeping the lights on" in the company's early years and a "major reason" for Rooster Teeth's growth and the first way that they monetized content.[170][171][172]

On July 1, 2016 the ad-free "Sponsorship" program was rebranded as "FIRST" and offered a new option to upgrade to an even higher-level tier called Double Gold that included such perks as: a 10% discount on all Rooster Teeth items, first access to live event VIP passes and a box of merchandise carrying a value more than $60.[173]

CommunityEdit

Rooster Teeth's founders often emphasize the importance of the community and how it has helped them to remain relevant in web culture.[170] In 2010, Burnie Burns stated he, "could not imagine RedVsBlue or Rooster Teeth without the community site."[164] In 2014 Gus Sorola stated, "From the beginning we have always maintained and promoted our own community site, since before YouTube even existed". Building community is key to having an engaged, active audience who really enjoy your content."[174] Burns expanded on this in September 2014, attributing how they've managed to build a global audience to constantly engaging in a two-way conversation with the company's "hyper engaged core".[175] In 2016, Burns reiterated their growth again to listening and taking the community's feedback to heart.[172] Burns repeated in 2016 that he considers the secret to the company's successes is their community and their conversation with the community. "Our model revolves around being the home for a core community, and growing it year-after-year ... the loyalty of a community to spread the gospel of your brand is absolutely critical"[176] Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos, after acquiring Rooster Teeth, cited the "insanely powerful community" as a reason they felt the company was a perfect match to buy and later attributed Lazer Team's success to the power of the community.[177][178] In 2015, during the production of Rooster Teeth's first feature, co-founder and Director Matt Hullum stated, "We would not have been able to make Lazer Team without the community and really I don't think we would've wanted to."[179] In 2017, Burns re-emphasized that "community is the cornerstone of Rooster Teeth" and one of their core values they impress upon new employees.[180]

Distinguished community membersEdit

Community members have distinguished themselves on and beyond the website. Notable people to come from the community include Gavin Free, Barbara Dunkelman, and Kent Nichols.[181] In October 2008, community member "Jeffson" became the first person to post that Barack Obama's presidential campaign had taken out billboards within the Xbox 360 version of Burnout Paradise. After being posted to his journal, the story was picked up by major news outlets, including GamePolitics, MTV and Wired.[182][183][184] In 2010, Achievement Hunter community members "AxialMatt" and "Hightower" garnered attention with their Japan World Cup 3 video.[185][186] For Red vs. Blue: Revelation, Rooster Teeth used 10 community members to help unlock Halo 3 armor suits for machinima production purposes.[187] In February 2011, Burns tweeted that community member "madmanmoe" discovered the Rooster Teeth website was not blocked by the Libyan government and was blogging events on the website from Tripoli during the Libyan Civil War.[188] The longest-running external resource site, RoosterTooths, has existed since 2005 and contains transcripts, biographies, and a history of the Red vs. Blue title screen.[189]

Community members have been utilized for RT productions at every single RTX. In 2011, some 400 community members were used as zombie extras for a Horde Mode episode of Immersion. In 2012, 1,800 attendees were used as extras for a scene in the RT production, Day 5, which involved shutting down the main road in downtown Austin.[190] In 2013, hundreds of fans were used as extras for a water-bomb attack in an episode of The Slow Mo Guys.[191] In 2014, casting calls and auditions for minor speaking roles in Lazer Team were held for RTX attendees.[192] In 2015, attendees were invited to participate in an interactive, "narrative-driven experience" called Murder at The RTX which involved hunting clues at prepared "crime scenes".[193] On June 20, 2016 Rooster Teeth confirmed they would be filming audience members at an RTX panel for use in their latest production, Crunch Time.[194]

Many employees have come from the community. In 2014, Burns estimated "at least a third" of the company of 85 started in the fan community, adding it "keeps us grounded" and "makes a whole lot of sense from a business standpoint ... I don't have to explain to them what this company is trying to do."[195] Ben McSweeney, illustrator of Rooster Teeth's logo, was hired by Burns after being found on the site's community forums in April 2003.[166] Others include community manager Barbara Dunkelman, composers Nico Audy-Rowland and Jeff Williams of Trocadero, cartoonist Luke McKay, Achievement Hunters Caleb Denecour and Ray Narvaez, Jr., Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures creator Jordan Cwierz, and RWBY writer and director Kerry Shawcross.[196][197][198] In August 2014, former intern and current content producer Blaine Gibson garnered media attention when he posted photos proposing to Disney Princesses at Walt Disney World.[199][200][201] In July 2014 it was announced at RTX that fan Jordan Scott would be making the RWBY video game after posting footage of a demo he had made to his YouTube page.[202] It was also announced during the RTX 2014 Achievement Hunter panel that Community Hunters Matthew "AxialMatt" Bragg and Jeremy "Jerem6401" Dooley would be joining AH as its newest employees.[203]

EventsEdit

Community-run events have occurred regularly since 2005.[204][205] These included RvBTO in Toronto[206] (the first event, now retired and replaced with Toronto:Unconventional),[207] RvBCanWest in Vancouver,[208][209] RT Philly in Philadelphia,[210] RooTeeth in Melbourne,[211] and SideQuest in Austin.[212] In February 2011, Sorola announced the date for the first RTX, the company's first official fan event.[213] Burns credited RTX "starting" with the early fan events in Canada.[214]

See alsoEdit

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BibliographyEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit