And so you guys were talking previously about how you made very early on the monster video. Does that still exist?
Niko: “Dark Island”? Yeah. Those “Infected” posters on the wall are the monster movie that we’re working on. It goes by the name “Dark Island” now or like if you’re in Japan it’s like–
Sam: “Secret Battle of Lost Mega Island Turbo” or something [laughs].
Niko: It has distribution in Europe and Japan but not in America.
Sam: It did have it in America, but then the deal got messed up.
Niko: And then they never realized that we had a YouTube channel that might maybe put audience members towards watching the film that these companies have but eh, whatever. They are welcome to not release it if they don’t want to.
Sam: Once it gets over, anything I make that is over a year old I kind of just forget about at this point, and that was four years ago, so yeah.
Your recent “The Glitch” video was a huge hit — what are the elements in that that made it super successful?
Sam: Well I like to imagine that there is a formula. I like to image there is a secret formula that only we know, but it’s actually really obvious but it’s all under the umbrella of making sure you have a good execution on the idea but regardless it is we have a variety of video game characters featured in this video and that means even if you’re not a fan of “Minecraft” you’re a fan of “Mario,” and if you’re not a fan of “Mario,” you’re a fan of Master Chief. You’re going to like something in this, and it has that common experience.
Niko: Every video gamer knows about glitches in video games.
Sam: So basically we’re taking a variety of video game characters, taking a basic common experience that affects all these video games essentially and then–
Niko: Throw in a bunch of VFX.
Sam: Throw in a bunch of VFX, make it really epic and cool. It’s always got to be this is the most epic this that has ever happened.
Niko: And make it funny.
Sam: A little bit of comedy in there too. So like the “Instakill” video meets all those requirements too: variety of video game characters, tons of VFX, it’s super epic because it is two people constantly switching characters and trying to instakill each other, and it’s a little bit funny too I think.
Niko: It is.
Sam: Is it funny? It’s more stylish than funny but you know it’s naturally–
Niko: That guy gets smushed by the blue shell thing.
Sam: Is that funny? Well if you think gore is funny then it’s really funny [laughs].
Niko: We made the chunks this big.
Sam: Yeah it’s like big globs of goo. Whatever.
Niko: Even our other very successful videos still fall into that kind of formula, just our “Minecraft” video for example. We don’t have a whole range of characters, but it is still a set of characters that are beloved by many, and once again it is common experience, characters that people like and know, epic, cinematic, VFX, cool new experience. Same thing can be said of “Dubstep Guns” but swap out characters that people know with music that people know. I guess “Kittens on the Beat,” swap out Mario with a cat but epic, VFX and you know–
Sam: Got cool music and everyone likes dubstep right? Do people still like it?
Niko: Everybody missing one sock.
Sam: Common experience.
Niko: You got to find something that — if you want a video to really be popular — you give someone something new, something with a ton of craftsmanship, it needs to be worth their time to watch and then something where after I’ve watched it, I go, “Ha, my friend would like this because we both have this shared interest and this applies to that interest!” It could be as simple as, “Remember when we played ‘Mario Kart’ a whole bunch back in college, and check out this sweet ‘Mario Kart’ video” or it’s “Hey I really like dubstep, check out this sweet dubstep video” or “This video just has some sweet action,” you know? You can go for as broad as you want but the more broad you go, the better your video has to be. If you’re going to make an action video that catches people’s eye these days, you’re going to have to do some crazy stuff, but if you can do it, you can go for that broad category, you can make those big films that get lots of views.