We are RocketJump, an independent video production... studio? YouTube channel? Whatever - we've been making and putting vids on the nets since 2010 on our YouTube channel!

You may have seen some of our stuff, such as this video or perhaps even this video. We also made three seasons of a show called Video Game High School, available on our YouTube channel as well as Netflix, iTunes, Vimeo, etc.

We've just finished a new show on Hulu, entitled RocketJump: The Show ("cynical SEO grab" or "we have no ability to come up with titles" YOU DECIDE) Those of you with Hulu accounts can watch Episode 4 right now and watch how we accidentally became super racist!

Those sans-Hulu can get a free week-long trial through our convenient affiliate link by clicking here

RocketJump: The Show is a documentary series where each episode chronicles the trials and tribulations that go into creating a ridiculous, large-scale short film and culminates in the premiere of that short. Think "Making the Video" but with less attractive people.

We just released the short from Episode 3, entitled Truck Flipper v Bus Puncher which is about people punching large vehicles. Click here to watch it!

Hit us up with your burning questions about filmmaking, sick prank videos, YouTube "culture," or "the internet" - we'll be answering them throughout the day as an excuse to goof off!

Here's the alleged felons involved in this AMA:

/u/freddiew - This is me. I directed some of the shorts!

/u/BMWallaTheReturn - Ben Waller - Showrunner, and our first hire off of Craigslist

/u/matt_rocketjump - Matt Arnold, director/co-founder and LEGO enthusiast

/u/ashimahuja - Ashim Ahuja, producer of the show

/u/ellaryp - Ellary Porterfield, actor in a number of the shorts (and Ki from VGHS)

/u/catherinefgarcia - Director of Operations at RocketJump, and also really good actor

/u/thepwnisher - Clinton Jones, director of fine shorts such as this

/u/lauren_rocketjump - Lauren Haroutunian, cinematographer and dean of the RocketJump Film School

Proof! https://twitter.com/fwong/status/677229970331013120

EDIT: We're done! Thanks again everyone, and hope you enjoy our show!

Comments: 480 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

McSpoish229 karma

Freddie, are you still the best guitar hero player there ever was?

freddiew393 karma

I retired on the top and nobody can take that away from me

ramsz16117 karma

Do you miss working with Brandon & Corridor Digital?

freddiew128 karma

Sure! When we started out, it was ridiculous. Sam, Niko, and Brandon can attest to all of us sleeping in different corners in an empty warehouse room, and heating the place by standing next to an open oven (or going full shirtless in the summers I mean look climate control in this place was not a factor). There was a lot of experimentation, especially in an environment where the idea of big Hollywood companies and YouTube celebrities these days being more influential than traditional celebrities was an inconceivable notion.

But honestly, I look forward to working with the people here at RocketJump - some of whom were working on those old FreddieW videos with us. The fact is everyone eventually focuses on what they want to do, and from a creative standpoint, it's not very beneficial to constantly be looking to your past.

Keep an eye out early next year - we have a little Corridor collab that'll be coming out on our channel too.

McSpoish50 karma

Should do some Rocketjump vs Node videos

freddiew98 karma

We will challenge anybody to Rocket League.

JWL109284 karma

You guys have any plans for a feature film?

matt_rocketjump122 karma


Arjahn25 karma

Do you think you'll be able to make an interesting film out of a Youtube channel? Just curious since now we've seen a few movies made from popular youtubers, and they've pretty much all been horribly written cash grabs.

freddiew78 karma

I think the one thing that defines the entire slate of films made off the backs of Vine/Instagram/Snapchat stars all define themselves as asking the question: "What percentage of this person's existing audience can we get to watch this movie?"

I think the goal for anything you do should ask the question "Who are you reaching outside your existing audience?"


Well, it wouldn't be a "YouTube movie". These guys are already filmmakers.

I mean, Sam and Niko of Corridor Digital are out in Michigan shooting a feature film right now.

SDJ672 karma

Hadn't heard much about Corridor in a while. Are there many deets about the film's plot, etc. yet?

freddiew4 karma

Follow their Instagram/Twitter for more! http://twitter.com/corridordigital

freddiew29 karma

Yes - after all we grew up in a world where Blockbuster video was A Thing People Actually Used.

All manner of stories work in different contexts, and feature films is definitely one where we have some thoughts - looking at getting deeper into that next year.

Im1ToThe33780 karma

Back in pre RocketJump days, like FreddieW days, what video or milestone made you think "Damn, this is gonna be pretty big?"

I remember your random rock giveaway for 50,000 subs, and that was pretty massive for the time. (I'm the kid who likes to remind you every year or so that you are the one who taught me that blowjob was one word over the phone, thanks for that, btw) so yeah. You hitting 50,000 is what made me think "Damn, freddiew is gonna be big."

Thanks for following me on twitter btw.

freddiew77 karma

I think early on we had a short successive release of Chrono Trigger and Flower Warfare - and the response to that really opened up people to what we were up to which was, at the time, a relatively weird and rare thing on YouTube.

petemitchell8731 karma

You mention in the first episode that if all 8 shorts aren't a viral hit then you will consider it a fail.

The first 2 haven't received the best reception, are you considering them a success and if not has it caused you to make changes to future shorts or are you sticking to your original plan?

Love what you are doing, keep it up. VGHS was really entertaining and different.

freddiew89 karma

To be fair - we never said they needed to be "viral hits." If we did, we'd draw upon our hilarious bank of instantaneous sell-outy viral ideas that would guarantee loads of views.

Here's a free one (courtesy Ben, showrunner of the show) -

Halloween, have a guy dressed as Batman go around in the batmobile on Uber. Picks up people, tons of reaction shots of people being surprised by the vehicle. He talks in a Batman rasp asking like where the criminals are and stuff.

To be frank, that kind of thing despite probably getting a bajazillion Facebook shares isn't that interesting for us to make. But please - I'd love to see this video next year so BuzzFeed or whatever, go for it I guess.

elefunk31 karma

Are you happy with the reception and audience size of VGHS? I really loved it and happily contributed to seasons 2 and 3, but the various circles on the Internet where I spend time browsing didn't really seem to know about it at all. Whether gaming forums, various Reddits, etc. Yet at the same time, it seems to have been successful for you, so maybe it's just me? Either way, wondering if you've all been happy with its reception and whether you'd have done anything different in retrospect.

freddiew59 karma

VGHS is a weird beast, I think. Because it definitely hits in certain circles (and a lot in Canada, weirdly enough), and from the limited info we have, it does appear to be numerically more popular than some cable shows (despite those shows having a bigger perceived profile).

In the end I think we're rushing headlong into a world where many things will be appreciated in "niches" but those niches will be very large and self-sustaining.

synth3tk9 karma

In the end I think we're rushing headlong into a world where many things will be appreciated in "niches" but those niches will be very large and self-sustaining.

So is that what RocketJump is looking to fulfill? The "larger-but-still-niche" niches? Or will there be some projects where you try to do the generic broad audience deal?

freddiew12 karma

That's up to the story and not us :) We definitely have some mainstream commercial ideas that probably fit better as feature films (as well as some really niche feature film ideas too).

iflanzy21 karma

It's currently 20 degrees outside and snowing where I live. If /u/freddiew were here, would you still be wearing flip flops?

freddiew58 karma

I visit Toronto because Playfight, our awesome VFX bros, are up there and I have galoshed through the snow in full flip flops.

Dalulzz14 karma

So how does one get hired by Rocketjump? What sort of credentials are required? I'm sure there are quite a few aspiring film makers/editors who would like to join the Rocketjump team.

freddiew19 karma

It boils down, for me at least, to some basic questions: Can you tell a story with images? Can you edit a dramatic scene? Can you figure stuff out on your own and do it?

Also, I think somebody's internal "Is this shitty or not?" meter is incredibly important because that's the first set of feedback you get on anything, and it's important to be able to set your own standards for quality in your own work rather than let others do that for you.

Zach_WithAnH11 karma

Do you think that ya'll will release a movie to the theaters in the near future? Also, do you think that you all will go on a tour around the U.S again?

freddiew7 karma

I want to ask you a question first - what's the last movie you saw in theaters, and where do you live? Honestly curious!

And specifically - when's the last non-blockbuster movie you saw in theaters?

Decani87 karma

What's the most challenging visual effect you've had to do?

freddiew15 karma

It's not on YouTube, but I did a bunch of paintouts for the first feature film I produced, Bear (it's about a Bear). I learned a lot about mocha, noise reduction, and paint techniques on a single shot of a van being tipped over that required the entire rigging to be removed.

uffda1wes6 karma

Hey Everyone, thanks for doing the AMA. I have a question about your opinion the relationship between film analysis and the creative process. I am currently in a few college film classes that focus on analyzing film style. To me, it sometimes seem like analysis goes too in depth to find meaning. Sometimes I find myself asking "Was the creative team really trying to do that?". So I was wondering what your opinion is on the value of film analysis? As creators do you purposely put in patterns that you hope people will discover? Do you mind if people interpret your work in ways you didn't intend?

freddiew11 karma

Film criticism (as with all art criticism) has a very important place in the evolution and development of the art form. Analysis is important in that what we're dealing with is a communicative medium using the language of imagery. It's important, even if your intent is not part of it, to understand and be mindful of what you're saying in this medium.

AndyKSul2 karma

With that response what do you think of the over saturation of film 'reviewers' growing more than actual film 'critics'?

Whenever you hear short tv spots for films released in theaters they always say "Critics are calling (insert movie title here)...." but when you actually read the 'critique' it's more of a review than an actual analysis and critique.

freddiew2 karma

Certainly an inevitable part where the internet has given everyone essentially equal footing when it comes to their voice

Erdl_6 karma

Freddie, do you still take part in making the videos going up on Rocket Jump (This week at Rocket Jump), besides acting in some?

freddiew10 karma

I was wearing an adult diaper on Thanksgiving away from my family because Jon Karmen needed the ending of the Chickyboo video and doing visual effects and editing all day Friday so...

The answer is "Yes."

Overwing543 karma

Hey guys! It was so much fun to meet some of you at the NYCC Panel back in October. Any word of wisdom/tricks/tips you can offer to a fellow young filmmaker who's looking to start out and ultimately succeed in the online video production world?

PS - Loving RocketJump The Show. You guys are fantastic.

freddiew21 karma

You should be in the middle of making something RIGHT NOW. It infuriates me to see that the freaking iPhone camera is a better camera than anything I ever had access to in school or right after graduation, and computers are fast enough to slice and dice any footage, and there's a platform anybody can use to get their work out there, and there's still people who complain they can't start until they get a better camera, or computer, or they're waiting on distribution.

Musicians play music, painters paint, and filmmakers should be making films. To me, just doing it is 95% of the entire battle because 95% of "filmmakers" out there are really "people who like to talk about the potential of them filmmaking", and by doing, you beat them by default.

lowlandet3 karma

Hi guys, thanks for doing this AMA!

What do you think of Rooster Teeths first movie: 'Lazer Team'? and what do you think of the idea of it being crowdfunded?

freddiew6 karma

I can't wait to see it! I also JUST realized they asked me to send in a video for a cameo and I... CRAP I FORGOT TO DO IT.

We love crowdfunding, although after our Lionsgate deal, I feel like we really can't use that avenue anymore to finance projects, and are looking at doing the standup comedian route of "pre-sales" of a product as a possibility.

Pr3tz3l3 karma

Do you guys plan to make more videos in the future?

freddiew5 karma

Yes! The next month is going to be a new video every Wednesday, and we're going to using that momentum and launching right into a new short every two weeks on the YouTube channel.

ethaneol1983 karma

I have 2 questions going to whoever would like to answer. I am a filmmaker who is trying to get a team together to produce his own shorts and eventually a web series. And I really enjoy the fact that RocketJump is doing more narrative stuff since Video Game High School. I have watched the majority of the videos on RocketJump film school too.

I was wondering, what is the best way to find people for a project? And also, have you ever considered doing projects involving smaller filmmakers?

freddiew2 karma

Where do you live and how old are you?

SDJ672 karma

Do you think there's a place in the future for live TV channels airing scripted programming, or do you foresee a future entirely made up of the on-demand streaming model?

freddiew2 karma

Maybe not scripted? But live TV will always have a place as long as sports are around.

PrestonRay2 karma

Do you guys still think making shorts for festivals is a viable route to larger projects or is the internet the best bet? Basically what are the pros and cons of the something more traditional compared to working through youtube?

freddiew7 karma

I don't think festivals are a good option for getting your work seen at this point, especially since you're paying somebody money for the chance at the privilege. While it might feel like YouTube is saturated, what isn't prevalent is old school narrative filmmaking, and anything that's good there really does standout (with High Maintenance on Vimeo being my favorite example of this)

TrickedFaith2 karma

What's the best way to start building money for projects when starting out on Youtube?

freddiew5 karma

Make sure your projects cost no money to begin with. Cheeky, yes, but that's the honest truth - you'll get nowhere if you're aiming at making ducats from the get go.

DeRedPanda2 karma

I've always wondered, how are you making enough money off of these skits? They are so well made but they seem expensive too. You can't possibly run a company off of YouTube ad revenue?

freddiew4 karma

You can run... certain companies of a certain size off of YouTube ad revenue and brand deals. Granted - we were making it work a few years ago just off ad revenue and brand deals, but we were a much smaller operation and it was a much different environment.

You certainly cannot, as we've found, run a company our size off of that alone. We make our money from a variety of places - a lot of it comes from our longer-form, larger scale shows. That's why we are focussing on doing that, over just shorts for YouTube.

Nexcyus2 karma

you mentioned earlier an "idea from your bowl that will get you tons of views", what other ideas do you have like this? they seem interesting and it's always fun to learn what kinds of things go on in producers heads

freddiew7 karma

Here's a free viral idea for the holiday season (but requires a lot of work and execution)

Completely 100% deck out a house for a holiday light show. It should be like a dubstep remix of a Christmas song - start out normal, regular light show stuff (Video is vertical video handheld at night outside). About 30 seconds in hit the dubstep drop and ridiculous shit should happen. Santa playing electric guitar rises from underground to a smoke show just rocking out. Lasers. Flames, pyrotechnics. Live action Santa does a stunt fall. Fireworks, etc.

Title is "THE WORLD'S MOST EPIC XMAS LIGHT SHOW" and sit back and wait for Good Morning America to call you.

phrasmotica1 karma

Who in RocketJump has the worst taste in music?

freddiew4 karma

Matt Arnold has great taste, but literally zero music knowledge. It's staggering. He got into hip hop and was walking around talking about how much he liked "The Arr Zee Eh." When we told him how one usually pronounces RZA, he paused, and said "Oh! So THAT'S who they're referring to in all their songs!"

PseudoSwag1 karma

Regarding the discussion around creating GIFs of videos and the concerns around Facebook's video uploading policy, do you think we will be seeing more high-quality Youtube channels like your own lean toward releasing their content on paid platforms?

freddiew3 karma

It's already happening, to various degrees. Internet Video OGs Rooster Teeth have had a subscription platform for a while.

It'll really come down to what platforms can financially support creators to a reasonable scale. YouTube still works for that, despite the ad model pushing a very specific kind of content to make that work. Patreon and other sites like that will enable less platform specificity, but in the end it'll depend on creators being able to do this full time.

I thought this was an interesting article recently on the state of how self-financing works right now.

coffeepunk1 karma

1.) how did you end up hiring the burch siblings? love their addition to the show.

2.) martinelli's progress pic, please

freddiew2 karma

I did this video with them, they took me to a place called Chino Bandito in Arizona that is a mix of Chinese food and Mexican food and basically I was like "yo if there's any more where that came from these people are like friends for life."

They still haven't been able to match that restaurant introduction, but I still maintain hope.

Martinelli's is complete. Moving on to #2.