Being an online video star might seem cool or even glamorous these days, but Burnie Burns, co-founder and chief creative officer at Rooster Teeth, can remember when that wasn’t the case.
Rooster Teeth, which is behind the popular web series Red vs. Blue, is turning 15 years old this month. (The studio was acquired by Fullscreen a few years ago.) And Burns has been looking back at its history as part of the upcoming documentary Why We’re Here: 15 Years of Rooster Teeth.
He acknowledged that nowadays, anyone in the business is competing with “an enormous noise,” but at the same time, Burns said, “There’s the misconception that because no one was doing this when we got started, that made it easier. It’s really difficult to go into a place where no one else is and no one else cares what’s going on there.”
He recalled that in the studio’s early days, he would tell people about his work and realize, “Home video was a dirty word, and online video was beneath it.”
The documentary was directed by Mat Hames, and it allows Burns and his co-founder Matt Hullum to revisit many of their old haunts, including the bedroom where Burns uploaded the first episode of Red vs. Blue, “Why Are We Here?”
For Rooster Teeth fans, Burns promised footage that has never been seen before, as well as a recounting of the history that’s as honest as they could make it without violating nondisclosure agreements.
“I think we almost have an obligation to show what things were like back then,” he said.
And even if you haven’t been following the company through the years, Burns said the film provides an overview of how online video has evolved. After all, when Red vs. Blue launched, YouTube didn’t exist, and Burns said the documentary process has helped him understand “how short the memory of the Internet is.”
Rooster Teeth published a teaser for Why We’re Here last week, and today it’s launching the official trailer. The documentary will be released exclusively on the studio’s subscription video service FIRST on April 20.