Freddie Wong, the namesake of his FreddieW YouTube channel and co-founder of Rocket Jump Studios, directs or collaborates on some of the coolest original content on YouTube. The FreddieW team also contributes to YT's Node channel, featuring work from their brethren-in-arms Corridor Digital, who also produce a volume of great original stuff on the 'Tube. Rocket Jump's cumulatively feature-length web series Video Game High School was a substantial undertaking, the first for FreddieW and co at such a scale, and produced for over $600,000 (just the first season) -- subsequently, Freddie and Rocket Jump have done something virtually unheard of by posting a full budgetary breakdown.
Here's the first episode of the web series, featuring action, humor, a lot of production value, and a cameo by someone you may recognize from elsewhere on YouTube:
And the next in the series, for good measure:
Here's a brief (if you think this is lengthy, see Freddie's full post) excerpt of Rocket Jump's infographic, breaking down the 9-episode first season of Video Game High School. And my is it an infographic -- designed with help from Danger Brain:
Two thirds of a million dollars may seem pretty steep a budget for a web series -- but when you consider that this project equates to a full feature film in scale and length, it's actually quite a shoestring arrangement. Below is the full breakdown, but again the infographic is much easier on the eyes for this info.
We set our Kickstarter goal at $75,000 and blew our goal out of the water by raising $273,725. Of that $273,725, $222,498.92 went into the production of VGHS (While Kickstarter and Amazon take 5-10%, we found that an additional 10% was not accounted for due to declined credit cards). In the next couple of weeks we plan on breaking down all the challenges and lessons we learned from running and successfully fulfilling a large-scale Kickstarter project.
With the final costs reaching that $636,010.71, spanning 277 days back to front, 167 cast and crew members, and sport over 36 million views not counting BTS material, here's where the money went on Video Game High School:
- $21,000 -- Story Development and Pre-Production
- $43,612 -- Art Department and Design
- $26,080.89 -- The cast
- $123,507.01 -- The Crew (note that the directors accepted no salary to maximize budget reach -- a gesture of true dedication)
- $22,979.32 -- Meals and Craft Services
- $47,917.04 -- LA Location Fees
- $18,463.13 -- Stunts
- $9,790.64 -- Camera (Rentals, Related Gear)
- $16,728.48 -- Production Equipment (including many practical effects material)
- $25,987.39 -- Transportation
- $116,874.95 -- Post Production (VGHS has almost half the VFX shots of Skyfall
- $4,151.38 -- Production Office
- $100,000 -- Additional From Partners (sponsorships, friend-companies)
- $59,918.48 -- Kickstarter Fulfillment (shirts, DVDs/Blu-rays, posters, and so on, with a total postage/shipping cost of $25,000)
Here's a very impressive graph scaling costs to running time:
These guys made it happen, and the material is nothing short of great. It's entertaining, funny, and exciting as anything coming out of Hollywood. VGHS is another deep notch on the belt of the independent creative, and what dedicated, hard-working visionaries can accomplish in our modern media ecosystem. You gotta love it -- and you also have to love the openness displayed here. To our knowledge no such costs breakdown has been produced by web series creators for a project of this size -- so a lot of credit to Freddie and the whole creative team behind Rocket Jump and co. for bringing this forward as well.
Be sure to head on over to the Rocket Jump Studios website to check out the rest of the breakdown.