Internet sensations make 'Jump' to Hulu
LOS ANGELES — The Internet has become a major source of new talent. It's a way to see performers and those creating online products before taking a chance on them with a TV production. Those who make television shows also know that an Internet sensation will bring a loyal audience with them.
All of that makes even more sense when it is a streaming service like Hulu that is producing the TV show.
Hulu is banking on the popularity of YouTube sensations Freddie Wong and Ben Waller with the creation of "RocketJump: The Show." The co-creators of "Video Game High School" have 7 million YouTube subscribers and 1 billion channel streams.
The pair have created for Hulu a comedy that will be the focus of the documentary. They will document the making of a RocketJump Studios short in each of the eight episodes. The short film — which can run 8-15 minutes — that is shown being made will air at the end of each episode.
The online team has been courted over the years by other companies. They agreed to be part of Hulu because they felt like the streaming service had a better idea of what they have been doing over the past five years than did other companies.
Wong promises the series will be more of what they have been doing online because Hulu has given them the freedom to make the series their way.
"When we started doing YouTube, the goal was, 'Hey, let's make stuff that we want to see, that entertains us, but from the perspective of we want to make long-form shows.' We want to tell these types of stories and not just be stuck doing short stuff on YouTube, sort of viral content, even though that's a lot of what we started out with," Wong says.
Wong got his film training at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His Los Angeles-based media production company specializes in feature film and online video content. Waller is an actor and producer who appeared in "Video Game High School" and is the writer and executive producer of "RocketJump: The Show."
Because the company has become such a presence online over the past five years, the short films shown during the Hulu series also will be made available to the Internet audience.
They have to keep feeding their audience because there is so much available online that can pull them away. Wong's not worried because he believes they have found a formula that is working.
"I look back to the entire history of the human race in a weird way, and I think that stories told well and stories that engage, that's a fundamental human thing. That's how we learn," Wong says. "That's how the empathy generated from hearing stories all the way back to cave paintings and sitting around a campfire, that, I think, is a fundamental part of the human experience.
"That is changed and shaped by the technology as time has gone on, but that doesn't go away at any point. That need, I don't think, goes away. That importance of it doesn't go away."