• November 26, 2014

Creative group produces video series for the Internet

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Posted: Sunday, March 2, 2014 4:30 am

Billy Bob’s Cowboy Burger and Fat Daddy starred in the pilot episode of the first potential season of Best Grubberies, a Web series hoping to make its mark on the Internet.

“Once we filmed it, we looked at the quality and we thought it would be a great thing to make 5-minute videos as an extended commercial and show,” said Isa Nieves, one of the creative forces behind the show, which can be seen on YouTube.

Several local artists and businesses came together to produce the video to showcase their talents and promote their businesses.

“With new technology, the budget for productions has come down quite a bit, and I want people to realize that so they can be made more aware of my business,” said William Jones, a photographer and videographer who is directing the Best Grubberies show.

These days, a good video camera can be purchased for $600 or less compared to $6,000 a few years ago, Jones said.

The Internet also made it possible for videos to be seen on more than TV. They can be posted on Facebook, individual websites, YouTube and other online platforms.

“(YouTube) gives us more options as filmmakers. We are not restricted as we are by traditional programing,” Jones said. “It allows us to be successful compared to before as being lucky.”

Nieves operates The Undefined Surrealist — a live entertainment promotion company specializing in planning, coordinating and marketing events focused on hip-hop — with her husband, James Banks.

The couple serves as producers, and Banks also provides background music for the show. The couple also mixes the sound at Goode Sound Studio, which they help manage on Rancier Avenue. The stars of the show are local hip-hop artists who take the eateries’ food challenges.

Success stories

The Internet platform can lead to successful business ventures while allowing creators to have freedom.

Rocket Jump is a California-based production studio that gained a huge YouTube fandom with several digital shorts. The studio’s latest Web series, Video Game High School, can be seen on Netflix.

The first two seasons were widely successful and originally funded through Kickstarter, an online crowd-funding source. The Best Grubberies also aims to use Kickstarter to fund projects.

Freddie Wong, one of the creators of Rocket Jump, said Web series are great places for artists to own what they create.

“We want to own our own content — that means TV show-length projects and feature-length projects,” Wong stated on Reddit.com.

“Will those projects show up in theaters? That remains to be seen. Functionally, doing Video Game High School as a six-episode TV show and putting it online and having people watch it on smart TVs is really not that different than how ‘traditional’ TV is currently consumed.”

Another online success story is Austin-based Rooster Teeth. The firm is responsible for Red vs. Blue, an animated Web series based on the X-Box video game series “Halo.”

The Rooster Teeth YouTube channel became the eighth most-viewed non-music YouTube channel in the world in 2012, according to www.roosterteeth.com. It now has more than 5 million YouTube subscribers and 2.2 billion views. The company’s website has 5 million unique monthly visitors with 1.4 million registered community members.

The Austin studio, which still creates digital shorts and now makes podcasts, has won multiple awards and been featured by hundreds of publications and networks, including MTV, G4, The New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine.

Where to go from here

While Best Grubberies has yet to hit 1,000 views on its first episode, creators hope to continue showcasing their skills in Central Texas.

On Thursday, they shot the second episode at the Waffle Cone in Copperas Cove. Nieves said the episode aims to capture a fun, retro feel through an eating contest.

The creative group is already at work on a second video project, a national music video competition.

“We have a passion for just creating,” Nieves said. “I love that the project does stuff from outside the hip-hop world. I think if we get paid to do what we love, we are happy people.”

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