|Founded||April 1, 2003|
|Key people||Matt Hullum (CEO)
Yvonne Secretan (VP, Operations)
Burnie Burns (Creative Director; Former CEO)
Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC. is a production studio located in Austin, Texas, United States that specializes in the creation of live action shorts, animated pieces and machinima, or films created using real-time, interactive engines from computer and video games. Founder, Burnie Burns 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, an award-winning comedic science-fiction series that premiered on April 1, 2003 and is still in production; its twelfth season premiered on April 28, 2014. The production team also focuses on projects such as live-action shorts, comedy game play with the branch Achievement Hunter, video game development, and full animated productions such as RWBY. The company also runs a multi-podcast network, and one of YouTube's largest multi-channel networks. Rooster Teeth hosts its convention, RTX, annually in Austin, Texas.
- 1 Early company history
- 2 Machinima
- 3 Live-action production
- 4 Animated production
- 5 Achievement Hunter
- 6 Other media
- 7 Community and website
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Early company 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. The film helped Hullum and Heyman to find work in Los Angeles, California, but otherwise had limited success. Working for a local company named Telenetwork, Burns later met Geoff Ramsey (then named "Geoff Fink"), Gustavo Sorola, Dan Godwin, and Jason Saldaña, and the five formed drunkgamers.com, a website where the five reviewed various video games while drunk. According to Ramsey, the group tried to receive free games to review, but "incurred the wrath" of several game developers in doing so.
100 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 Peter Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" as background music, and focused on the lack of games available for the Apple Macintosh computer. Gus Sorola and Burnie Burns said that the name change from 'Drunk Tank Podcast' to 'Rooster Teeth Podcast' was for the same reason that 'Drunk Gamers' was changed to 'Rooster Teeth'. They explained that they realized nobody would give games or sponsor something with 'drunk' in the title "because it was so unprofessional."  The name Rooster Teeth is a euphemism for Cockbite.
In 2014, having signed a two year lease, the entire company (now consisting of over 90 employees) has moved into Stage 5 at Austin Studios. The company will release their feature film debut in 2015 with Lazer Team.
Red vs. Blue
In a parody of science fiction films and games and of military life, 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. However, the series became popular quickly, receiving 20,000 downloads in a single day. Accordingly, Burns conceived an extension of the plot. The series' fifth and supposedly final season officially ended with episode 100, released on June 28, 2007. However, the group has continued to release new material, including six additional complete seasons (seasons 6-11) and numerous PSAs . These PSAs included a five-part mini-series to promote Halo 3. Season 12 premiered on April 28, 2014.
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. 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. Its first season of 17 episodes completed on April 27, 2006. In 2005, the group collaborated with Paul Marino on Strangerhood Studios, a spin-off commissioned by the Independent Film Channel. This spin-off was the first machinima series to be commissioned for broadcast and won an award for Best Editing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival. A second season is currently in production.
In 2006, Rooster Teeth partnered with Maybeck Productions to create PANICS, a short series that chronicles the misadventures of Bravo Team a group of soldiers sent to investigate a paranormal disturbance . The four publicly released episodes were released between September 27, 2005 and October 18, 2005, and a prequel was released with F.E.A.R. - Director's Edition. The mini-series won an award for Best Writing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival. 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.
In mid-2006, Electronic Arts commissioned Rooster Teeth to direct commercials for their EA Sports brand of games, including Madden NFL 2007 and NCAA Football 2007, for broadcast on television. Rooster Teeth released some of this work on their website. 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. 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." In response, Rooster Teeth posted a director's cut, in which Clark plays and dominates every position. They also make a trailer for a PC game known as Loadout.
Rooster Teeth Shorts
Rooster Teeth first ventured into live-action in 2009 with Captain Dynamic, a mini-series to promote the online game City of Heroes. It was based around a team of writers hired to use the new in-game content creation tools to promote the title character, Captain Dynamic, the 'worst superhero in the world'. Directed by Matt Hullum and written by Burnie Burns, the series starred Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, who is a long time friend and fan of Rooster Teeth. A number of Rooster Teeth employees were present throughout the series, notably Joel Heyman as Captain Dynamic's primary writer. Actor Shannon McCormick appears as the series' antagonist, Great Face. The series also led 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 Captain Dynamic has been released on DVD.
The second season of RT Shorts debuted on April 23, 2010, with new episodes released weekly via the Rooster Teeth website until a hiatus during late July 2010, during which the team focused all their efforts towards Red vs. Blue episodes. With production on Red vs. Blue complete, weekly RT Shorts episodes began again on August 28, 2010 until the second season's conclusion with its twenty-fourth episode and DVD release in early December. Season 3's DVD can be purchased at a discount when bundled with Season 9 of Red vs. Blue. Shortly before season two's conclusion, Rooster Teeth collaborated with the team behind Mega64, a video game centered comedy series. Together they produced four Rooster Teeth Shorts episodes, which were released on the Rooster Teeth website as the beginning of season three.
Half-way through season four, Burns announced the cancellation of Rooster Teeth Shorts in favor of several new series. However, on April 1, 2013 Rooster Teeth announced Rooster Teeth Shorts would return with a fifth season, on the same day, the season premiere episode "Reunion" was released and marked the tenth anniversary of the company.
On August 22, 2013, Rooster Teeth released six, six-second mini episodes exclusively through the video sharing service Vine. Six more were released on September 13, 2013. The third set was released on October 11, 2013 followed by a fourth set on November 8, 2013.
The Slow Mo Guys
The Slow Mo Guys is a live action series created by Rooster Teeth employee Gavin Free. The series premiered on November 3, 2010, and features Free and costar Daniel Gruchy filming different things in extreme slow motion using a Phantom Flex digital high-speed camera. Free confirmed that the series had been picked up by Rooster Teeth on February 20, 2013, and that further episodes of the series would be released on Rooster Teeth's website as well as the series' existing YouTube channel. In the beginning, the series helped Free gain his visa to live in America and work with Rooster Teeth, as he did not at first have the right qualifications to do so. After Free and Gruchy released an episode of themselves popping a giant water balloon, the video went viral. Free then appeared in national television and papers, which fulfilled his requirements to get a visa.
Immersion is a series in which Burnie Burns and Gus Sorola (Griffon Ramsey in the first season) test the concepts of video games in real life, such as whether the heckling that sometimes occurs in multiplayer video games would negatively affect the performance of real soldiers. Burns joked in the Rooster Teeth podcast that the series started as an "elaborate way for [them] to do fun stuff and get paid for it". Geoff Ramsey and Gus Sorola were the test subjects throughout the first season. Gavin Free and Michael Jones (of Achievement Hunter) served as the test subjects for the second and third seasons.
During PAX East in late March 2010, Rooster Teeth teased the series with a pilot episode that tested how easy it would be to drive a car from a third-person perspective. Nothing was mentioned of Immersion until October 2010, when Burnie Burns stated during the company's podcast, The Rooster Teeth Podcast, that production had begun on further episodes.
Soon after, on November 23, 2010, the company released pictures on Reddit of a door in their office turned into a safe-room door from the video game Left 4 Dead in an effort to build hype for the series' debut the following day. The post became the most popular post of the day on Reddit. Rooster Teeth re-released a tweaked pilot episode the following day to begin the weekly series, which concluded with its seventh episode on January 5, 2011.
A new episode of Immersion premiered on June 17, 2011, after five months on hiatus. The episode's filming took place on May 29, 2011, during Rooster Teeth's convention, RTX, as well as 400 participants dressed as zombies. The episode shows Geoff Ramsey and Gus Sorola defending themselves from a horde of zombies.
On June 17 Burns stated, in a panel at Supanova Sydney, that they will be producing a second season, and they just need to come up with concepts. They have also confirmed that Gavin Free and Michael Jones of Achievement Hunter will be joining the cast in the second season, replacing Sorola and Ramsey as the test subjects. In the Rooster Teeth Podcast, it was confirmed that the second season began production in 2013. Burns stated on an episode of the Rooster Teeth Podcast that several television stations are interested in picking up the series for its second season. On the RT Recap: Immersion Set, it seen that Rooster Teeth was recording an episode of the series. In a Vine video by Barbara Dunkelman, it showed Gavin at the set with Barbara (off screen), as she hits Gavin's crotch, even though he was wearing a cup.
In June 2014, an Indiegogo campaign for Lazer Team was launched. The fundraiser hit its $650,000 target within 11 hours and reached over $1.6 million two days later. The film is due for release in March 2015. As of July 5, 2014[update], Lazer Team is the highest successful funded film project on Indiegogo, raising just under $2.5 million.
Production for Lazer Team began on October 9, 2014.
On Halloween 2012, a partnership between Rooster Teeth and Blip was announced, with the premiere of their new 10-episode, reality game competition series sponsored by GEICO. The Gauntlet follows gamers from around the United States competing in contests of skills, concentration, agility and stamina, inspired by reality competitions Wipeout and The Voice. The first season was hosted by Ali Baker and Burnie Burns. Season two is hosted by Burns and Joel Heyman and began on September 7, 2013.
A Simple Walk into Mordor was created to celebrate the release of The Hobbit in December 2012, Rooster Teeth employees Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais walked from the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand to the filming location of Mount Doom, at Mount Ngauruhoe. In the Lord of the Rings movie and book series, Frodo and Sam made the trip in six months. Chris and Kerry, with New Zealand guide Nick, were able to replicate the journey in six days. The participants "wanted to do something that no one had ever done before"; in homage to the movie, they had hoped to drop a replica of the One Ring into the mountain. The adventure was ended after more than 120 miles, and the ring buried about 1/3 of the way up the mountain; Fans were challenged to go and find the ring.
A Simple Walk into Mordor was solely broadcast on the internet and premiered on December 8, 2012. The series consists of 5 episodes running from 6 to 12 minutes long and can be found on YouTube and Blip. The complete series was released on DVD and Blu-ray in September 2013.
In 2014 a bi-weekly series premiered called Happy Hour. The series chronicles the drunken adventures of Geoff Ramsey, Gavin Free, and Griffon Ramsey.
Created to test elaborate social experiments, Social Disorder follows Chris Demarais and Aaron Marquis as they compete for points like a game show. The first episode, The Body Bag Experiment, debuted on September 13, 2014 in which Demaris and Marquis had to drag each other around in a body bag trying to get bystanders to help them out. Points were awarded for making up reasons as to what was in the bag or why they were dragging the bag in the first place. 
RWBY (pronounced "Ruby") is an anime-styled CG-animated web-series created and directed by animator Monty Oum, and written by Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross.The first episode of RWBY premiered on July 5, 2013 at RTX 2013 and was released on the Rooster Teeth site on July 18, 2013.
The story takes place in the world of Remnant, which is filled with supernatural forces and shadowy creatures known as the "Creatures of Grimm". Prior to the events of the series, mankind waged a battle of survival against the Grimm before discovering the power of a mysterious element called Dust, which allowed them to fight back against the monsters. In the present day, Dust is used to power magical abilities and weapons. Those who use these abilities to battle the Grimm are known as Huntsmen or Huntresses. The series focuses on four girls, each with her own unique weapon and powers. Together, they form a team at Beacon Academy in the city of Vale, where they are trained to become Huntresses alongside other similar teams.
Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures
In July 2010, Jordan Cwierz released the first Drunk Tank Animated Adventure (renamed Rooster Teeth Animated Adventure). In October 2011 Cwierz was officially hired to produce the animated shorts full-time as a feature of the podcast.
On October 08, 2014, Rooster Teeth deputed "Let's Play Minimations". It features highlights from Achievement Hunter's Let's plays, using 3D animation.
X-Ray and Vav
At RTX 2014, it was announced that a new animated show, X-Ray and Vav, will premiere this year. It will be directed by Lindsay Jones and Jordan Cwierz, with art direction by Patrick Rodriguez and will have a "new art/animation style". Following the season finale of Red VS Blue Season 12, there was a teaser for the show, which is set to debut in November 2014
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2014)|
Achievement Hunter is a video gaming website and a division of Rooster Teeth Productions created by Geoff Ramsey and Jack Pattillo. The website is largely based on the achievement mechanic found in seventh generation video game consoles after being made popular with Microsoft's release of the Xbox 360. The website was launched in 2008 along with Rooster Teeth's YouTube channel. Achievement Hunter has since gone on to become a core component of Rooster Teeth's YouTube channel and hosts additional YouTube videos on the channels GameFails, Let's Play, and Achievement Hunter Community.
On May 27–29, 2011 Rooster Teeth held their first official community event in Austin, Texas. Initially planned as a small gathering for 200 people, demand was so high that over 500 tickets were accidentally sold within minutes of being made available online.
On December 9, 2008, after temporarily reviving a feature on their website from their previous website, drunkgamers.com, where the staff talked about different topics of the week while inebriated with accompanying responses in text with pictures, Rooster Teeth released their first audio podcast, The Drunk Tank, available for download through iTunes, Zune Marketplace and their website. It has since become one of the more popular features of the site, at one point becoming the #1 most downloaded podcast on iTunes, as well as a featured podcast in the iTunes Store. New episodes have been released regularly every Wednesday since April 10, 2009, with occasional special episodes or multiple releases in one week. In 2009 they began uploading podcast themed "let's play" style videos on Rooster Teeth's YouTube channel. They later moved these videos to their own Let's Play channel in 2013. On June 23, 2010, the podcast changed to a .m4a "enhanced" format which allows listeners to use an interactive "link dump" to be able to view more information on the topics of the week's podcast.
On September 28, 2011 Sorola announced The Drunk Tank was to be re-christened The Rooster Teeth Podcast to create a more unified public image for the company. On August 18, 2010, the podcast was officially implemented into the Rooster Teeth website. To celebrate their 100th episode on February 9, 2011 they released their first ever video podcast which featured Gus Sorola, Geoff Ramsey, Burnie Burns, and Griffon Ramsey. On January 18, 2012, the podcast gained its first sponsor, Audible.com.
Since its inception, the podcast has usually featured three or four of the Rooster Teeth staff members as well as the occasional guest such as their musical composer Nico Audy-Rowland or friends or family of the staff members. The main staff members of the podcast include Sorola, Burns, and Ramsey (until his departure from the podcast), with heavy recurring roles from Joel Heyman, Gavin Free, Jack Pattillo, Barbara Dunkelman, Michael Jones, and Griffon Ramsey (until her departure from the company). The podcast is thus largely comedic commentary on the popular culture of the week, including video games, recent news, website features, sports and upcoming projects as well as highlighting fan-made projects. The podcast also goes onto tangents on subjects not related to what the podcast says it is about in the description. On the Rooster Teeth website the subjects discussed in the podcast can be found under the podcast tab. The podcast regularly pokes fun at the Rooster Teeth members, such as Jack's sudden aggression over small things and Gavin's British accent. Often when Gavin is featured on the podcast, the discussion quickly spirals into one focused on genitalia. On October 11, 2011, Griffon Ramsey announced she had quit Rooster Teeth Productions to pursue other careers. On January 7, the podcast won "Best Gaming Podcast" at the 8th Annual Podcast Awards. The Rooster Teeth Podcast has recently adapted a new style of doing podcasts in which they live stream to sponsors on their website, in video, the night before the release of the audio podcast on iTunes and their site. The sponsor live stream is then later available seven days after, for all users.
On May 18, 2013, Sorola announced that Rooster Teeth would begin a second weekly podcast focusing on gaming due to their main podcast - which started as a gaming podcast - had become more of a comedy podcast. Sorola stated "starting next week we will be kicking off a new gaming focused podcast. We realize that the Rooster Teeth Podcast doesn't talk about gaming too much so we're launching a brand new weekly podcast that focuses solely on games." The first episode of The Patch was released on May 21, 2013. On June 21, 2013 they also began producing special episodes of The Rooster Teeth Podcast titled The Rooster Teeth Spoilercast in which they discuss television shows, movies, and video games in full detail after they have been released.
In late 2007, Rooster Teeth created a Halo 3 multiplayer game-type called Grifball, played on the map Foundry. 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 realized 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. 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. In reference to the joke, 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, and adding Grifball courts with identical specifications to the original into other maps. In February 2011, Bungie added Grifball to the matchmaking community playlist in Halo: Reach, as a permanently available gametype. Grifball is now also a built-in gametype in Halo 4. Rooster Teeth has organized their own official Grifball leagues, covering the United States, the European Union and Oceania. McFarlane Toys also released a Grifball action figure. Rooster Teeth created a machinima series based on Grifball, and a spin-off of Red vs. Blue, titled Grifball. The first season, titled Grifball: Expansion follows an untalented Grifball team, and was distributed via Halo Waypoint and ran for three episodes. There were three follow-up seasons titled Grifball: Zero Tolerance, Grifball: Franchise Player, and Grifball: Double Agent, each of which also ran for three episodes.
A news website by Rooster Teeth. It discusses current events in movies, TV shows, gaming, and media. Hosted by Ashley Jenkins, Meg Turney, and Joey Aranda. On September 22, 2014, Aranda announced his departure from the company.
RWBY: Grim Eclipse
At RTX 2014, Rooster Teeth announced during the RWBY panel on July 4 that a RWBY video game was in development, under the working title RWBY: Grim Eclipse, making this the first video game ever created by the company. An early demo of the game was available for consumers to play at the event. Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum stated, "RWBY is a natural choice for us to focus on for our first in-house produced video game. Fans can expect that we will bring the same level of originality in action, comedy and design to the video game that has made the RWBY animated series such a hit."
RWBY: Grim Eclipse was initially developed as a fangame by Jordan Scott over the course of five months. A demo version was released on April 1, 2014, to celebrate Rooster Teeth's 11th anniversary, but the demo is no longer available for download. Scott stated at the time that it was not an ongoing project, and he had no plans for any future updates. He described it as a "survival-based action RPG" set in the world of RWBY.
Community and website
On October 4, 2004, after closing their phpBB forums, Rooster Teeth publicly launched an online community and social networking website as a way to stay in touch with fans while maintaining their own platform for distribution. This site included features such as community statistics, journals, an image gallery, sponsorships (additional content for $10) and a "mod point system" or "emodomy" that was meant to help members moderate the site with options to like or dislike posts. Currently, it is home to over 1.6 million registered users. Rooster Teeth's founders often emphasize the importance of the community. In 2010, Burnie Burns stated he, "could not imagine RedVsBlue or Rooster Teeth without the community site." In 2014 Gus Sorola stated, "From the beginning we have always maintained and promoted our own community site, since before YouTube even existed. Building community is key to having an engaged, active audience who really enjoy your content." Burns expanded on this in September 2014, attributing how they've managed to build a global audience to constantly engaging in a two-way conversation with the company's "hyper engaged core".
Community members have distinguished themselves on and beyond the website. Notable people to come from the community include Gavin Free and Kent Nichols. In October 2008, community member "Jeffson" became the first person to post that Barack Obama's presidential campaign had taken out billboards within the Xbox 360 version of Burnout Paradise. After being posted to his journal, the story was picked up by major news outlets, including GamePolitics, MTV and Wired. In 2010, Achievement Hunter community members "AxialMatt" and "Hightower" garnered attention with their Japan World Cup 3 video. For Red vs. Blue: Revelation, Rooster Teeth used 10 community members to help unlock Halo 3 armor suits for machinima production purposes. In February 2011, Burns tweeted that community member "madmanmoe" discovered the Rooster Teeth website was not blocked by the Libyan government and was blogging events on the website from Tripoli during the Libyan Civil War. The longest-running external resource site, RoosterTooths, has existed since 2005 and contains transcripts, biographies, and a history of the Red vs. Blue title screen.
Community members have been utilized for RT productions at every single RTX. In 2011, some 400 community members were used as zombie extras for a Horde Mode episode of Immersion. In 2012, 1,800 attendees were used as extras for a scene in the upcoming RT production, Day 5, which involved shutting down the main road in downtown Austin. In 2013, hundreds of fans were used as extras for a water-bomb attack in an episode of The Slow Mo Guys. In 2014, casting calls and auditions for minor speaking roles in Lazer Team were held for attendees.
Many employees have been culled through the community. In 2014, Burns estimated, "at least a third" of the company of 85 started in the fan community, adding it, "keeps us grounded" and "makes a whole lot of sense from a business standpoint... I don’t have to explain to them what this company is trying to do." Ben McSweeney, illustrator of Rooster Teeth's logo, was hired by Burns after being found on the site's community forums in April 2003. Others include community manager Barbara Dunkelman, composers Nico Audy-Rowland and Jeff Williams of Trocadero, cartoonist Luke McKay, Achievement Hunters Caleb Denecour and Ray Narvaez, Jr., Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures creator Jordan Cwierz, and RWBY writer and director Kerry Shawcross. In August 2014, former intern and current content Producer Blaine Gibson garnered media attention when he posted photos proposing to Disney Princesses at Walt Disney World. In July 2014 it was announced at RTX that fan Jordan Scott would be making the RWBY video game after posting footage of a demo he had made to his YouTube page. It was also announced during the RTX 2014 Achievement Hunter panel that Community Hunters Matthew "AxialMatt" Bragg and Jeremy "Jerem6401" Dooley would be joining AH as its newest employees.
Community-run events have occurred regularly since 2005. These included RvBTO in Toronto (the first event, now retired and replaced with Toronto:Unconventional), RvBCanWest in Vancouver, RT Philly in Philadelphia, RooTeeth in Melbourne, and RTSideQuest in Austin. In February 2011, Sorola announced the date for the first RTX, the company's first official fan event.
The Halo gametype Grifball, developed by Burns and Free in 2007, was refined by the community (the first tournament was primarily composed of community members and included crew members Audy-Rowland, Burns, Free, McKay, Ramsey and Sorola on separate teams) and became popular enough to be added to the Social Matchmaking hopper by Bungie in 2008. It would eventually develop community-run leagues and teams worldwide on an external site, GrifballHub.
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