So AWE ME is on the cusp of being an amazingly cool channel — they’re too new (only two vids posted so far) to get the full “NMR Seal of Approval” (we’re still working on one of those, so ironically our “NMR Seal of Approval” is too new to get our Seal of Approval), but they’ve cultivated a pretty wicked base concept so far.
AWE ME, which stands for Amaze, Wow, Educate ME is a destination channel for the Never-Never Land crowd — arrested development types (like myself) who want to learn how to do cool shit (or just watch cool shit get done). Put out by the guy-savvy empire that is Break Media (they of Holy Taco, et al fame), let’s just say they’ve got a pretty firm grasp on the medium, and we can expect some eye-poppingly (both literally and figuratively) AWE-some stuff.
Currently, they’ve released two episodes of their ribbon-cutting series, a tasty little show called “Man at Arms” in which a tough-ass biker-looking mofo makes the weapons we all dream of wielding (ThunderCats ThunderCats ThunderCats Ho!). It’s damn engrossing thus far, so I fully expect the madcappery to continue on into episode 3 (and so on…)
Wanting a few more answers, I dialed up Mitch Rotter, Executive Vice President of Programming at Break to find out just what the hell is going on. Turns out he’s a pretty cool guy. And I’m not just saying that because I hope he sends NMR some sweet Break Media swag.
Your new YouTube channel is called “AWE ME” — what’s that about?
Mitch: “AWE ME” is a play on words — it’s an acronym for Amaze Wow Educate ME. I wouldn’t specifically call it the “Discovery” of the cord-cutter generation, but we really wanted to capture interesting, amazing, science-y oriented stuff that would appeal to a young male audience which is kind of our core demographic at Break Media.
You guys are specifically going after the male demographic?
Yeah, our entire business as a company — whether it’s the web properties we run like Break.com or MadeMan.com or our YouTube channels, our core is males 18-34.
Did you guys come up with the whole AWE ME idea because of the acronym? Did the play on words kind of create the business? Or did it just work out that way?
I think it’s a little bit of both, ‘cause we say we want something that’s awesome, that’s awe-inspiring. I think Keith, our C.E.O., was like, “Amaze me, Wow me, Educate me” — that’s A.W.E., and in that sense, we kind of worked backwards to what we wanted anyway.
You currently have one show on the channel — your first show — and it’s called “Man at Arms.” Can you tell me a little more about that?
Yeah, so “Man at Arms” is a show about a master blacksmith and prop master named Tony Swatton — he operates a shop out of Burbank [CA] called “Sword and the Stone.” He’s done, in addition to being a blacksmith, he’s done a lot of weaponry — he’s done something like 200 movies, like “Blade,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean;” [he’s] just all over the board. We separately had the idea to do the show, and we basically went to find who the right person could be, and we found Tony, and, basically, he had a lot of great concepts, and he had done this kind of thing as a professional before. The goal was to really create something that didn’t have all the non-narrative reality show conventions like having the conventional talking at the camera-type exposition and create something that was stylized that was maybe a little more music-driven that had interesting factoids, but that was nothing more than kind of watching an awesome fanboy weapon being created in a short amount of time.
Are we watching him create originals? Or are these things he’s made before?
A little bit of both; as an example: in the “Game of Thrones” episode — the first one — he had not created that before. He was familiar with “Game of Thrones” and basically looked at it [the sword], did it. We have subsequent episodes like where we do He-Man’s sword and the “Adventure Time” sword and Raphael’s sais from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — those he hadn’t created, but he also said, “Hey, you know something that would be cool would be Batman’s Bat-a-rang, and I’ve created those before, so I know how to do that.” They’re like some kind of oxidized metal — and so, some of the things he brought to the table. But the guy’s really incredibly creative — you can just throw like anything at him, and he’ll like figure out how to make it. As the show progresses, a lot of what we will be doing is taking our cues from the comments — asking the audience what we should create next — they’re far more creative than we’re ever going to be. They’ve had, so far, amazing ideas so we are going to be taking our cues from them.
Do you have any of his swords hanging in your office?
I don’t — I wish, but they’re fairly expensive, so maybe after we have some more success then after, like, one episode then he’ll give me one as a present.
Now that’s your first show on the channel, what else are we going to be seeing?
The other show that we’re working on, that will hopefully launch in a couple weeks — it doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s basically like a “Science is Awesome” show, and so the goal of that show is like “What are really cool science experiments that you can do in a small space, like essentially on a table?” So it’ll be some chemistry, forced perspective camera tricks — the first two episodes we shot, to give you an example, one is like a Ruben’s Tube which is — I’m actually going to look it up to give you an easy way to describe it — science isn’t my forte. The Ruben’s Tube is — wait for the big reveal — the Ruben’s Tube is a standing wave tube, and it’s a physics apparatus for demonstrating acoustic waves. You put fire through it, and the fire basically changes based on the soundwaves. It’s about a 9-foot-long tube, and so we play a sound through the tube, and the noise makes this really cool colored flame that has this really neat look to it.
How often are you going to be putting out shows on the channel?
Weekly. “Man at Arms” is a show every Monday, and the “Science is Cool” show — or whatever we wind up calling it — will likely be on a Thursday, and that will also be weekly. And all of our channels, like “Screen Junkies” and “Made Man,” those are all weekly episodes. We definitely know that that is the best way to keep your audience invested and engaged, for them to know that there is a schedule and then to pull that true programming and scheduling.
Break Media has a lot of tentacles — is “AWE ME” going to feature a lot of tie-ins, or is it going to stand alone as its own show?
Well we have a network of other sites, and though they don’t necessarily overlap in terms of content, we leverage audience from one place to another through YouTube, through social, through mobile, or through our web properties. We literally reach millions of people every day and so at the end of “Man at Arms” we took the end 30 seconds of it and posted that as a stand-alone as “the birth of a sword” on the Break YouTube channel, which has almost 900 thousand subscribers and annotated it back to “AWE ME” and let people know that we launched a new channel. And then of course we have distribution through our web properties, and they’re very large. Break.com by itself is the number one humor site — well, we call it a humor site, but it also serves as a “best of web” viral content as well, so when we embed a show like “Man at Arms” on Break.com it exposes that audience to the new channel and the show, and that kind of drives a lot of the initial views that we get for the show to help it get that springboard into the market.