Digital production studio continues growth
Local digital production company Rooster Teeth is continuing to take a bite out of the new media apple, as the company recently found a new location to set up shop.
“The industry has caught up with us, and, thankfully, we’ve been at the vanguard this whole time,” Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum said. “I think staying true to our core beliefs and production values and being at the right moment in history has really let us capitalize [with our company].”
Rooster Teeth is a creative production studio that creates a variety of shows, videos and podcasts before directly distributing them to an audience. The company started in 2003.
In March, Rooster Teeth announced that it will move from its South Austin location to Austin Studios at 1901 E. 51st St. When the company moved into the south location, Hullum said Rooster Teeth had 15 employees. Three years later the company has expanded to include 70 employees.
“We wanted a place where we could be assured that if our growth continued to be as rapid as it has been that we wouldn’t need to move again in a year or two,” Hullum said.
Austin Studios has plenty of room for the production company, and the space is flexible enough to expand as the company continues to grow, Hullum said. He added that Rooster Teeth complements the mission of the Austin Film Society, which owns Austin Studios, to support local creative endeavors while creating a media nexus to complement what Rooster Teeth produces.
“We feel like what we bring to [Austin Studios] is the new wave of media with digital production and digital distribution,” Hullum said. “We’re excited to be a part of all the creativity going on there.”
Austin Studios is the media production complex for AFS, a nonprofit focusing on supporting the film and creative media community in Austin.
As a digital production company, Rooster Teeth has a part in many different projects, including videos, animated series, podcasts, news and gaming-oriented content such as tips and tricks videos through the company’s Achievement Hunter brand. One of the company’s most recognizable products is “Red vs. Blue,” a sci-fi comedy series based in the world of the video game “Halo.” “RvB” is entering its 12th season.
Hullum said the company produces content that melds video game culture and Internet culture.
“Those are really the two big components of Rooster Teeth culture,” Hullum said. “We’re really about gaming, and we’re really about Internet culture. We see an interesting place where those two elements meet.”
Looking ahead, Rooster Teeth leaders are hoping the new space will allow them to produce more podcasts, live-streaming and animated shows.
“We work really hard, and we enjoy what we do a lot,” Hullum said. “We’ve always been up front about saying we’re just going to make the kind of content that we like, and we hope that other people like it and enjoy it with us. But we’re not going to go and make something that’s not us because it seems like the thing of the moment.”
“RWBY” is an American-style anime show produced by Rooster Teeth. The program follows the main character, Ruby, as she trains to hunt monsters. The series has many traditional anime characteristics, but many of the themes of the show are taken from Western history and folklore, such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum said.
“The anime audience and the gaming audience are kind of overlapping,” Hullum said. “A lot of guys who are into gaming have girlfriends that are into anime. Even though it seems like an out-of-left-field kind of thing, [“RWBY”] fits in the nerd culture space.”
Another unique aspect of the show is that it is produced with 3D models in a 3D environment to make the series more dynamic and helps create elaborate action scenes, Hullum said.
The first episode of the show premiered in July and has finished its first season. The first episode of season two will premier at RTX, Rooster Teeth’s own convention.
Rooster Teeth also hosts its own conference, RTX. Hullum said the company started the event about four years ago as a community event instead of traveling to numerous other conventions throughout the nation.
“We thought we should have our own event in Austin because we keep traveling to all these different cities all around the world,” Hullum said. “That’s great, but it’s also kind of exhausting. Let’s flip this and get everyone to come to us.”
In the first year of the event, organizers expected to have a couple hundred people register to attend. Hullum said they sold 600 tickets in almost a minute after tickets became available. This year’s event, which is July 4–6, is expected to attract 30,000 participants.
The RTX event includes panels with industry experts including those from the Rooster Teeth team, various exhibitors and demonstrations of new video games.
Rooster Teeth, 1901 E. 51st St., www.roosterteeth.com