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Rooster Teeth Productions
Type Private
Founded 2003
Headquarters Austin, Texas
Key people Burnie Burns
Gavin Free
Joel Heyman
Matt Hullum
Ben King
Geoff Ramsey
Jason Saldaña
Gustavo Sorola
Nathan Zellner
Industry Machinima
Products Red vs. Blue
The Strangerhood
Other machinima
Rooster Teeth Shorts
Rooster Teeth Comics
Website http://www.roosterteeth.com/

Rooster Teeth Productions is a production group from Austin, Texas that specializes in the creation of live action shorts and machinima, or films created using real-time, interactive engines from computer and video games. The name Rooster Teeth is a euphemism for Cockbite, an insult used in one of the group's trailers.[1] Originally, the group ran an unsuccessful website called drunkgamers.com, a reviewing site in which Burnie Burns, Gustavo (Gus) Sorola, and Geoff Ramsey reviewed video games while drunk in order to try and get games from video game developers. Burnie Burns also created voice-over-enhanced gameplay videos of Bungie Studios' popular first-person shooter video game Halo: Combat Evolved. Eventually, these videos led to the creation of Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, an award-winning comic science fiction series that premiered on April 1, 2003 and ended on June 28, 2007, with the release of episode 100. Red vs. Blue gained a huge fan base and continues to be the main focus of Rooster Teeth's work.

Contents

Early history

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.[2] The film helped Hullum and Heyman to find work in Los Angeles, California, but otherwise had limited success.[3] Working for a local company named Telenetwork, Burns later met Geoff Ramsey and Gustavo Sorola, and the three formed drunkgamers, a website where the three reviewed various video games while drunk.[4] According to Ramsey, the group tried to receive free games to review, but "incurred the wrath" of several game developers in doing so.[5]

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 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" as background music, and focused on the lack of games available for the Apple Macintosh computer.[6]

Machinima

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Red vs. Blue

A scene from Red vs. Blue season 4, made using Halo 2, the sequel to Halo: Combat Evolved

Responsible for reviewing games on the Microsoft Xbox, Burns regularly posted gameplay videos of Halo: Combat Evolved and eventually began to add humor to them with voice-overs.[5] The idea for a serial came next,[5] and a trailer for Red vs. Blue was posted in 2002.[7] Six months later, the drunkgamers website closed. However, the following week, the magazine Computer Gaming World asked permission to include the Switch parody in a CD to be included with an issue. To take advantage of the resultant publicity, Rooster Teeth re-encoded the video to point to redvsblue.com, and revived the Red vs. Blue project.[1] Burns also contacted his old friends Matt Hullum and Joel Heyman and convinced them work on the series.[8]

In a parody of science fiction films and games[9] and of military life,[10] Red vs. Blue tells the story of two groups of soldiers fighting a civil war in a desolate box canyon. Initially, Rooster Teeth expected the series to consist of only six to eight episodes.[11] However, the series became popular quickly, receiving 20,000 downloads in a single day.[12] Accordingly, Burns conceived an extension of the plot.[13] The series' fifth and supposedly final season officially ended with episode 100, released on June 28, 2007.[14] However, the group has continued to released new material, including two additional complete seasons and numerous PSA announcements. These PSAs included a five-part mini-series to promote Halo 3.[15]

Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles won several awards, including four from the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences.[16] Writing for the New York Times, Clive Thompson credited the series as the first machinima production "to break out of the underground".[17] Red vs. Blue videos have been shown in Xbox demo kiosks,[18] and content that is included with the premium "Legendary" edition of Halo 3.[19] Members of the cast were also featured in an Easter egg in the campaign mode of Halo 3.

Besides The Blood Gulch Chronicles, Rooster Teeth Productions' other Red vs. Blue productions consist of three mini-series—Out of Mind, Recovery One, and Relocated—and three full-length series, Reconstruction, Red vs. Blue: Recreation and Red vs. Blue: Resolution. In August 2009, RT productions began releasing videos based on Halo 3: ODST in partnership with Bungie, as part of marketing for the game. Resolution will be released April 1, 2010, the anniversary of the first episode of Red vs. Blue, and will mark the end of the current storyline, though not necessarily the series as a whole.

Other machinima

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

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; Electronic Arts agreed.[20] 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.[21] Its first season of 17 episodes completed on April 27, 2006.[22] In 2005, the group collaborated with Paul Marino[23] on Strangerhood Studios, a spin-off commissioned by the Independent Film Channel.[24] This spin-off was the first machinima series to be commissioned for broadcast[24] and won an award for Best Editing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival.[25]

Also in 2006, Rooster Teeth partnered with Maybeck Productions to create PANICS, a short series that chronicles the adventures of Alpha Team and their "awesome rides".[24] The four publicly released episodes were released between September 27, 2005 and October 18, 2005,[26] and a prequel was released with F.E.A.R. - Director's Edition.[27] The mini-series won an award for Best Writing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival.[25]

In mid-2006, Electronic Arts commissioned Rooster Teeth to direct[28] commercials for their EA Sports brand of games, including Madden NFL 2007 and NCAA Football 2007, for broadcast on television.[29] Rooster Teeth released some of this work on their website.[30] 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.[31] 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."[31] In response, Rooster Teeth posted a director's cut, in which Clark plays and dominates every position.[32]

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.

Not only have they created Red Vs Blue series using the Halo 3 game they have also created a mini series called Grifball: Expansion. The series is based upon the game they created called Grifball. It only has three parts and was released February-March during 2010.[33]

Other products

Webcomic

In 2006, Rooster Teeth Productions formed its own webcomic series, Rooster Teeth Comics. The strip satires the staff members in their regular daily lives, although often pushing each member's personality to the extreme for comedic effect. The humorous situations often relate to real life events in the lives of the staff, or other widely recognized current events. It is drawn by Luke McKay, a member of the Rooster Teeth community, and written by Griffon Ramsey, the wife of Geoff Ramsey. The comics are released three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The first three years of the comic have been released in separate collected edition books.

Live action

In early 2009, Rooster Teeth first ventured into live-action with a mini-series to promote the online game "City of Heroes", entitled Captain Dynamic. It was based around a team of writers who are hired to use the new content creation tools in the game to promote the worst superhero in the world, Captain Dynamic. Directed by Matt Hullum and written by Burnie Burns, the series starred Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, Rooster Teeth employee and actor Joel Heyman, and actor Shannon McCormick.[34] Rooster Teeth staff and guest actors were used in minor and extra roles. The series also lead to the release of an iPhone app called the Awesome Button.

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 the Captain Dynamic mini-series has been released on DVD. A second season will depend on reception to the first season.[35]

Rooster Teeth is now hoping to produce a live-action full-length film.[36]

Red vs. Blue: Animated

Scene from Red vs Blue Animated, showing (from left to right) Grif, Simmons and Church

Red vs. Blue: Animated is an upcoming joint-production between Rooster Teeth and animation studio Humoring the Fates. Since the sneak preview at PAX 2008, little information has risen about the project, except that Animated will air on Comedy Central and G4 in 2010 between April and July. The series was picked up for a total of 13 episodes and if the series does well, more seasons will likely be produced.[37]
The little plot that has been revealed sees Church, Simmons and Grif attempting to battle through a Covenant base to free Sarge and Tex from imprisonment.

Achievement Hunter

During 2008, a website dedicated to finding gaming achievements was created, called AchievementHunter.com. The site is run by Geoff Ramsey and a select handful of members from the Rooster Teeth community, who also make regular contributions in the form of video guides. Unlike many other achievement-dedicated websites, Achievement Hunter is highly dependent on public contributions. Because of this, it is able to have highly indepth guides across many games, even expanding its focus from Xbox 360 games to those on PC, PS3, and even the iPhone.

Grifball

In late 2007, Rooster Teeth created a Halo 3 multiplayer game-type called Grifball, played on the maps Foundry and Sandbox. The idea for the game came from a joke that was cut from an episode promoting the Heroic Map Pack, in which Grif creates the "laziest gametype in the world"; a round of capture the flag where the flag spawns right next to the capture point. Burnie realised that the frantic nature of only having seconds to stop the flag reaching its destination was fun, and changed it to the "Assault" gametype so that each team had a point to defend, as well as spawning the players with weapons.[38] The name "Grifball" comes from a gag in season four of Red vs. Blue when Sarge exclaims, "This is the best game since Grifball", while trying to shoot Grif down from a ledge. Because of this, Burnie changed the game settings so that players who pick up the ball turn orange, Grif's armor color. Players who pick up the ball will either explode when they plant the bomb or will be killed by an enemy, referencing Sarge's hatred of Grif. The gametype became so popular that Bungie began to regularly include the gametype in the Double EXP Weekends playlist of Halo 3 matchmaking, making it a ranked playlist for a limited time in December, 2009.[39] Rooster Teeth has organized their own official Grifball leagues, covering the United States, the United Kingdom and Oceania.

The Drunk Tank Podcast

In late 2008 Rooster Teeth released their first audio podcast available for download through the iTunes Store and Zune Marketplace. It has since became a very popular feature on the site, becoming the #1 most downloaded podcast, as well as a featured podcast, in the iTunes Store. The podcast usually features three of the Rooster Teeth staff members as well as the occasional guest, usually friends or family of staff. The podcast is largely comedic commentary on recent news, video games, movies, etc. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

Filmography

Title Year
Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles Season One 2003
Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles Season Two 2004
Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles Season Three 2004 - 2005
The Strangerhood 2004 - 2006
Strangerhood Studios 2005
PANICS 2005
Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles Season Four 2005 - 2006
Red vs. Blue: Out of Mind 2006
Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles Season Five 2006 - 2007
1-800-Magic 2007
Red vs. Blue: Recovery One 2007
Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction 2008
Supreme Surrender 2008
Red vs. Blue: Relocated 2009
Captain Dynamic 2009
Rooster Teeth Shorts 2009
Red vs. Blue: Recreation 2009
Grifball: Expansion 2010
Red vs. Blue: Resolution 2010
Red vs. Blue: Animated 2010

Notes

  1. ^ a b Oliver.
  2. ^ Moltenbrey, Gross.
  3. ^ Moltenbrey
  4. ^ Gross; Konow, 1.
  5. ^ a b c Konow, 1.
  6. ^ Mac Gamer Switch Parody.
  7. ^ Konow, 2.
  8. ^ The History of Red vs. Blue.
  9. ^ Leggat
  10. ^ Burns, et al., 2003, Audio Commentary, episode 2.
  11. ^ Burns, et al., 2003, Audio Commentary, episode 4.
  12. ^ Thompson, 1.
  13. ^ Waters.
  14. ^ Sorola.
  15. ^ All New Red vs. Blue Series.
  16. ^ Machinima Awards 2003 Results; Mackie Winners Announced!.
  17. ^ Thompson, 2.
  18. ^ Red vs. Blue: The Interview Strikes Back.
  19. ^ Falo 3 Details Explosion.
  20. ^ Kosak, 1–2; Thompson, 5.
  21. ^ Williams.
  22. ^ Saldaña.
  23. ^ Burns, et al., 2006, Audio Commentary, Strangerhood Studios episode 6.
  24. ^ a b c Machinima Theater.
  25. ^ a b Mackie Winners Announced!.
  26. ^ FearFans.com.
  27. ^ Gersh.
  28. ^ "Red Vs. Blue: The Cash Is Always Greener".
  29. ^ Hullum, "Working Vacation".
  30. ^ Hullum, "Ahh... Memories".
  31. ^ a b Chappell.
  32. ^ Robinson.
  33. ^ http://roosterteeth.com/viewEntry.php?id=1888
  34. ^ http://captaindynamic.com/members/journal/entry.php?id=2330749
  35. ^ http://redvsblue.com/blog/viewEntry.php?id=2471352
  36. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE6Ge8Af9yk
  37. ^ http://carnage.bungie.org/haloforum/halo.forum.pl?read=961297
  38. ^ http://www.grifball.com/history.php
  39. ^ Bungie Weekly Update, November 20, 2009

References

Further reading

External links


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