[UPDATED] Ray William Johnson Launches His Own Production Studio [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

[UPDATED 11/27/12 4:37 p.m. PST] We initially reported that Ray was launching his new production studio with Julian Smith. It has been brought to our attention that this is NOT the case and they are merely working together on a few select projects. See Ray’s latest Facebook post for more details: 

For those that have been following Ray William Johnson’s Twitter account the last three days, you’ll know that he recently partnered up with Julian Smith of Papertown and started his own production studio. Ray and his girlfriend Anna Akana (a YouTube creator herself) have been tweeting out pictures of the progress they’ve made in building and moving into the new studio. From the looks of it, Ray and his team have found a great home for =3 and the future projects they’ll be working on since leaving Maker Studios.

NMR had the pleasure of doing a quick impromptu interview with Ray last night. In our exclusive talk, Ray publicly reveals his new production studio’s name for the first time ever, covers details regarding his venture with Julian Smith, what it’s been like for him since becoming independent again, and whether he has plans to create a YouTube network himself one day.

Congrats on starting your own studio! How do you like it so far?

Ray William Johnson: It’s difficult to say how I like having my own studio so far. Anna and I just recently started the process. Hell, we just settled on a name for it last week (Runaway Planet). Up until this point, it’s all been paperwork, hiring employees, and property rental. Of course, the boring stuff always comes first.

I see from your tweets that you are working with Julian Smith’s Papertown. I know that you both have worked together in the past, but tell me more about your new partnership and what you both aim to achieve.

Indeed we are collaborating with Julian Smith and Papertown on select projects (=3 being one of them). Working with Julian has been a wonderful experience thus far. I can’t say enough nice things about that guy. He’s always super professional and incredibly hard-working. You don’t see enough of that these days.

In the short term, we all aim to create a few high-quality scripted and unscripted projects. For example, along with =3, we’re working on narrative project called Riley Rewind that is set to release in 2013. The project is web-based, but if all goes well, the look and feel will have cinematic properties comparable to traditional television coupled with a unique style of storytelling. I think the question then becomes not “what can we create”, but rather “how can we create something that adds to the digital medium”.

Since becoming independent again and starting this new company, have any big hindrances arisen from not having a super-advanced studio and full-on production team like you used to have? What have been the positives?

I’m not sure what “super-advanced studio” or “full-on production team” you’re referring to; for all of my web-based projects, I’ve only worked with smaller, less-equipped studios and small production teams of 5-7 at most. To answer the question, I have yet to experience any major hindrances in production in any of the television, theater, or web projects I’ve worked on in the last 5 years. Lucky for me, things always seem to run pretty smoothly. When deciding who to work with or which projects to spend time on, I tend to seek out individuals who are known to be/act professional. Fewer problems arise that way.

What cool things can we expect from RWJ from here on out with this new studio? Are there any secret projects in the works you can release to us at this time?

There’s plenty of television and film projects coming down the pipeline. As much as I want to stand on top of cars and shout my future projects out to the world, it’s a little premature to be talking about that stuff. Trust me. When the timing is appropriate, you’ll hear about it – over and over again. 🙂

A lot of people have wondered if you were ever going to start your own YouTube network. Is this something you’re looking to possibly do in the near future now that you have your own studio?

No. That route certainly isn’t for me. I don’t know everything there is to know about Youtube-based networks, but as far as I do know, there’s no good reason to ever sign your Youtube Adsense account over to a 3rd party. Ever. Period. Anything a Youtube-based network wants to do for you, they can accomplish without seizing control of your Adsense account. If you want production or managerial assistance, then partner with a production entity or manager and pay them a percentage of your expected revenue, but don’t sign your Adsense over to them. Furthermore, from a business perspective, there’s no long-term business plan in owning a collection of thousands of Youtube Adsense accounts. Again, I say this having somewhat limited knowledge of every single Youtube-based network out there. I know there are dozens of them (networks) at this point, and who knows, maybe some of them are doing great things.

Regardless, my mission is incredibly simple. I hope to create projects/properties that I’m passionate about and that my audience enjoys. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Runaway Planet is a way for Anna and I to accomplish that goal. Thus, awesome things are in store. 🙂

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