Tell us more about the show.
Jacob: It’s a kids’ show that utilizes music, art, and dance to teach kids about social, behavioral, life issues. Things like how to make friends or why you need to go to bed at night, or what do to when you’re angry and you just want to scream and shout.
What were some of the challenges you faced with the puppetry aspect of the show?
Josh: We had a desire and love for puppets in general but we had no background in what it would take to actually control and make the puppets. We basically learned from scratch what we needed to do.
Jacob: In terms of challenges, we faced everything from how to put together the design to how the mechanics of the puppets should work in terms of when we’re writing the script and what they should be able to do.
Then obviously from the production, we worked with some amazing puppeteers, learning from the production how to build a set that works well with puppets and humans because we had YouTubers come on as guests. We had to create a world that was comfortable for both.
What can you tell me about the format? I hate to draw comparisons, but is it similar to Sesame Street?
Jacob: Sesame Street is actually a great comparison. Each episode is about 10 minutes, released weekly on Saturday mornings. Each episode is based on one topic. The first episode for example is about your identity, what makes me, me.
We’ve broke up the episodes into five segments. It opens with an intro/vlog with a kind of YouTube feel from the main characters first, then flashes back to the time when they dealt with that issue. The second segment is a song where we talk about the issue through a song. The third segment we bring in a YouTube guest, and we get this interaction aspect where the now the puppets who’ve learned about this topic can now help someone else out and impart some of their wisdom. The fourth part is a dance portion, that way we can get things moving instead of just listening to the screen, and then the fifth portion brings them back into that vlog/YouTube style portion.
Josh: The big thing we wanted to do was to really utilize the YouTube aspect. We chose YouTube to be the place to put the show because we’ve been on it for a while and we love the community aspect and the interactive aspect and we really wanted to take advantage of that.
You said before that you had a love of puppetry, what is it about that love that pushed you from doing music to children’s programming?
Josh: Yeah, you know a couple of years ago when the Muppets re-launched in theaters, we loved it. I mean, we grew up on the Muppets and puppetry so rewatching it was exciting to see.
We built these homemade super ghetto puppets to do a cover of Man or Muppet and we just really loved that project, and since then it had been in the back of our minds like ‘we should do something more with puppets’ but we had to make sure we did it right.
I think over time working on YouTube, for us, we always wanted to be very responsible with our voice, knowing that kids of all ages were watching. It kind of naturally formulating this idea for ‘The Fuzees’ and coming up with a kids show and going into a demographic that hasn’t really been pushed from a YouTube style.
It’s not just re-packaging TV for kids to watch over and over but to create characters that hopefully they feel a connection with they way teens feel with other YouTubers.
The characters, they are based on the two of you, correct?
Josh and Jacob: Yeah!
Josh: The characters are based on us, and then we have a cast of eight other puppets that mixed between animals and monsters.
Who are some of your upcoming guests?
Jacob: We have Jen from Head to Toe, Chris Ballinger, Epic Lloyd, and Mari from Smosh Games.
Josh: I think one thing we’re so excited about is people, when we talked about the project with them, were really supportive and got behind it because they had never really seen it done yet. We’ve been really fortunate in getting people who were excited to be on the show.
Do you think in the future there may be a live show a la Avenue Q?
Jacob: Yeah absolutely. There’s definitely a possibility for it to go in all different arenas. Right now we’re just focusing on YouTube and creating something that kids will love. If that ends up being a live show later on, I mean I know Yo Gabba Gabba did huge tours, so it’s absolutely a possibility for it. We’re just kind of excited to see where it goes.
Josh: Focusing on and making sure it’s quality. We had this idea for a while but we really want to make sure everything falls into place to make it the best we can make it, so that’s been our focus. Making sure we have good guests, scripts, and songs just on point before we get ahead of ourselves.
Music is a big proponent of your progamming, are there other avenues you want to travel down outside of that?
Jacob: We’re leaving it fairly open. In terms of the actual format of the show it’s going to follow that same format. We know music, after speaking to people who write children’s programming, know that music is a big part of what draws kids in and keeps their attention. Obviously, it’s kind of our background so it’s definitely going to be the core.
In terms of where it’s going to go, we’re really open to seeing what’s going to work with kids and we’ll definitely test stuff out. We want to be able to introduce them to what the world of YouTube will look like as they get older.
The characters will be able to do Q&As with the kids or do livestreams with the kids, connect with them in a way that as we were growing up, we saw Elmo on the screen but we couldn’t necessarily get to interact with him. Being able to do things like that, we’re really excited to try those out. Having the characters go out to other channels and collaborating and really having the YouTuber’s personality in there, doing challenges and doing travel videos and what not.
Do you hope that parents will choose your show over available programming?
Josh: The thing about YouTube is you’re able to follow so many people and definitely our goal is to make something that’s unique and that is quality. That was one of the big things, we didn’t see too many things on YouTube that were made for YouTube that were really quality made. We saw a lot of things that were taken from TV and just put on there. There’s definitely some great stuff out there that may be geared towards kids but nothing that really utilizes that YouTube aspect.
Thanks guys, it was great talking to you!
Be sure to keep an eye out for ‘The Fuzees’, new episodes every Saturday, and check out their first episode down below: