My older brother Tim and I have always been a fan of Japanese Batsu games, where comedians find funny and innovative ways to torture each other. When we started Scare to Care in 2011, Tim had been looking for a way to keep benefiting Camp Kesem, a charity he had been deeply involved with throughout college. After kicking around a couple ideas, we landed on the concept of a horror game livestream where one of us played through Amnesia: the Dark Descent while the other person tried to scare the player. This was Japanese Batsu Game as hell. It was dumb and hilarious and helpful at the same time, and we were proud of every dollar of the admittedly small $1,054 we raised over two days.
Since the first year, the event has evolved into more of a videogame marathon where we play horror videogames for 48 hours straight. This gave us the ability to bring on special guests and game studios to help spread the word about the charity. In our third year we worked with Polaris and some of their gaming talent, increasing our donations substantially.
This year we were able to pull in some amazing gamers and game companies thanks to the contacts we’ve made while working on Hot Pepper Gaming and our friendship with Polaris. We were joined by Markiplier, Game Grumps, Dodger, Geek and Sundry, Zombie Studios, Extra Credits, Max Schaefer and Dave Brevik (creators of the original Diablo) among many others as we journeyed deep into the abyss of horror games and sleep deprivation. After 48 hours of jump scares, sugar crashes, and more inside jokes than I can remember, we raised over $33,000 for Camp Kesem!
So, how has Scare to Care grown over the four years that we’ve been running it?
Year 1: $1,054
Year 2: $2,510
Year 3: $21,121
Year 4: $33,290
I’m extremely proud of this project and how much it’s grown every year. This is one of the things in my life that makes me feel like I’m making a difference, and I hope to do this until I’m old and gray and can barely hold a game controller.
I think at this point in my career I’ve clearly dedicated myself to doing as many dumb things as possible before I die. Hot Pepper Gaming started off as a joke tweet that quickly spiraled up into a now-sustainable YouTube channel where people try to review videogames and hot peppers at the same time.
We (myself, Erin Schmalfeld, and Jared Rosen) made the first three episodes with a borrowed camera and about $20 worth of butcher paper, peppers and milk. The initial idea was that we would bank a couple weeks’ worth of videos, hoping that one would would eventually get featured on a content aggregation site like Reddit and kickstart the channel through library viewership.
HPG was featured on Kotaku after the first episode, and we’ve been working hard to keep up with the growth since.
I’m really proud of all the work we did to make the Hot Pepper Gaming brand clear and recognizeable, along with how we were able to create a brand integration-friendly format to run alongside our main show. Moving forward, I’m excited to expand this channel further with sweet merchandise and possibly even its own brand of hot sauce.
While I will take stake claim for yelling out “HEY WHAT IF WE DID A COSMOS ON WEED PARODY” in the Nacho Punch writer’s room, the real credit goes to editors Ed Vilderman and Dan Flesher, for doing such an amazing job with the special effects for this video.
Strangely enough, this video was featured in such reputable news establishments as Time, A.V. Club, and the Huffington Post among a bunch of other comedy blogs. HuffPo reached out to Neil deGrasse Tyson for comment, who had this to say:
“When science serves as a muse for artists and comedians,” Tyson told The Huffington Post in an email, “you know it’s trending in our culture.”
This is probably filed under “Things I Find Funny But Not Many Other People Do”. I submitted to Nacho Punch based off of a running gag my older brother had with his roommate. It unfortunately didn’t get featured anywhere prominent, but I’m proud of how it turned out.
I’m currently working full time in writing/comedy development for Maker Studios’ comedy brand, Nacho Punch. This concept was brought to me by my buddy Shamoozal and I worked with him to develop the script and and animation along with help from the rest of the NP team. This video was featured on BoingBoing, Mashable, io9, and Collider among many others.
As a channel development manager with Maker Studios, my job is to guide YouTubers to create shareable content with an eye toward’s channel growth. Being tasked with overseeing Maker’s animation vertical, a huge challenge was being able to keep up with viral events (you proably already know this, but animating is a slow process). Jaxamoto are a lovely husband and wife animation duo I’ve been working with, and when the Amy’s Baking Company fiasco broke on Reddit, Jaxxy and I sprang into action to work on something that would react to it.
This vid hit a million views over a matter of days, proving a couple of cool things:
Quality of animation can suffer a bit as long as there’s still a strong comedic punch
Animated videos will rank higher in searches than most other reactionary videos
A large part of my job revolves around identifying emergent internet trends and examining what precisely makes them viral successes. I had seen the originalHarlem Shake videos popping up on Reddit, but this one made me realize that there was the potential to escalate the joke. I was able to convince a couple people at work (who happened to be top youtubers with large fanbases) that this was a good idea and they helped me put together an office-wide version of it:
While the videos preceding this set the rubric for the joke, I believe that our escalation of the joke sent the internet comedy community over the tipping point. We’ve since been parodied by CollegeHumor and the Chive and have been featured on CBS News, the Atlantic Wire, and the Huffington Post.
I watched Aliens for the first time since I was a kid and one line really stuck out to me. Cut to me up at two in the morning after three beers looking up documentation on how to get Premiere Pro to accept DivX files.
And hey, let’s be honest. Aliens is a little ridiculous for a few reasons:
If there’s one thing that survives into the future, it’s racist Mexican stereotypes from the 1980s.
The entire movie takes place inside of a Laser Tag arena.
Why are synthetics made of milk?
P.S. the answer is that you’re supposed to install a free DivX codec but that didn’t work so I ended up Handbraking the file into h.264 format.
My new job has me overseeing a large network of popular YouTube animators. For the past six months I’ve been helping to build Animonster, our company’s owned and operated channel, into a network hub for all of these network channels as a way to help pool resources and share fanbases. These guys are not only super talented, but extraordinarily deserving of all of the attention that they’ve been getting. We recently relaunched the channel with a sizzle reel for all of the talent involved, and it’s since gone really well (a solid 120k views as of this writing).
I graduated with a bachelor of arts in Film and Television Production and studied screeenwriting independently since then, having worked for about two years in the film industry in and around story development. I currently work at Maker Studios as a Channel Development Coordinator. All of this put together means that story structure and new media are things that keep me up at night. I’m here today to examine the evolving landscape of narrative structure within short-form internet media, or, why it’s so hard for a webseries to become a hit. Continue reading »