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(Paul Fraughton | The Salt Lake Tribune) Eddie King and Tyler Marshall, filmmakers who produced a parody of the Gotye song, "Somebody That I Used to Know," sit in their mock-up of a Star Wars Landspeeder.
Utah County videomakers spark a viral explosion

Online video » Filmmakers from Provo and Orem are making a big splash — and making money — on YouTube.

First Published Oct 10 2012 05:13 pm • Last Updated Jan 14 2013 11:32 pm

There’s a viral outbreak erupting in Utah County. And thanks to clever filmmakers in Provo and Orem employing YouTube as a delivery system, the infection is spreading worldwide.

Making videos that turn viral isn’t just fun, it’s also a way to make money for the folks behind the YouTube channels Warialasky, Teddie Films and LAHWF.

At a glance

Lindsey Stirling in concert

Lindsey Stirling, “hip-hop violinist” and YouTube sensation, brings her U.S. concert tour home to Utah.

Where » In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City.

When » Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m.

Opening act » DeLon

Tickets » $15 in advance, $18 on the day of the show, at Smith’s Tix outlets.

Utah County Is ‘YouTube County’

Utah County has become a hotbed for makers of viral videos. Here are some of the most popular YouTube channels from Utah County:

Lindsey Stirling

Performer » Lindsey Stirling

Home » Provo

Channel name » YouTube.com/lindseystomp

What she does » Hip-hop violin, with modern dance.

Subscribers » 858,138

Most popular video this year » “Dubstep Violin,” posted Feb. 23; 29,822,988 views.

DevinSuperTramp

Performer/filmmaker » Devin Graham

Home » Provo

Channel name » YouTube.com/devinsupertramp

What he does » Extreme outdoor sports.

Subscribers » 533,934

Most popular video this year » “World’s Largest Rope Swing,” posted Feb. 15; 13,619,007 views.

Warialasky

Performers/filmmakers » Casen Sperry, Landon Sperry, Mike Brown

Home » Provo

Channel name » YouTube.com/warialasky

What they do » Geek-culture parodies.

Subscribers » 38,220

Most popular video this year » “Real Life GoldenEye 64,” posted Feb. 17; 1,464,560 views.

Teddie Films

Filmmakers » Eddie King, Tyler Marshall

Home » Orem

Channel name » YouTube.com/teddiefilms

What they do » Musical geek-culture parodies.

Subscribers » 32,184

Most popular video this year » “The Star Wars That I Used to Know,” posted June 27; 6,598,660 views.

YouTube figures as of Oct. 5, 2012

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"It’s easy money," says Andrew Hales, the 22-year-old Utah Valley University student behind the YouTube channel LAHWF.

Parodies R Us » The guys behind the Provo-based Warialasky — brothers Casen Sperry, 25, and Landon Sperry, 28, and their childhood friend Mike Brown, 25 — had been making movies since they were kids growing up in Mesa, Ariz.

The three, all college students (the Sperrys attend Brigham Young University, while Brown attends UVU) and returned LDS missionaries, shot wedding videos for a while. The job allowed them to justify the expense of buying good video equipment, Casen Sperry said.

"Every time we would finish an event, we’d get together and talk about how we’d get onto YouTube," said Landon Sperry.

Warialasky’s niche is comedy shorts that parody pop culture — particularly science-fiction movies and video games. Its most popular short, "Real Life GoldenEye 64," features actors re-creating the moves of a glitchy first-person-shooter video game.

Three more of the trio’s videos have scored more than a million views each: "Lazy Jedi," in which a Jedi knight can barely summon the Force to make his breakfast; "Tetris: The Movie," a trailer for a nonexistent movie adaptation of the block-based video game; and "Skyrim: Modern Dovahkiin," a head-banging video-game spoof.

Teddie Films covers much of the same territory as Warialasky — which doesn’t appear to be a problem with viewers, as there seems to be an inexhaustible interest in "Star Wars" parodies.


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Teddie’s filmmakers — Eddie King, 34, and Tyler Marshall, 31 — met while working for Rubberball Productions, a stock-photography company whose Orem studios King and Marshall use for their videos. (The name "Teddie" is a mash-up of their names, suggested by a "Brangelina"-fixated former co-worker.) They now work for Anderson Studios, Rubberball’s sister company.

Their specialty has been adapting current pop songs into "Star Wars"-themed videos. Their biggest hit so far was a spoof posted in June of Gotye’s "Somebody That I Used to Know" that lampooned George Lucas’ revisions to the "Star Wars" movies. More recently, they posted "Droid-Friend," which features a gold-plated android C-3PO sporting a Justin Bieber haircut.

King and Marshall have shot several commercials, including a Doritos spot that won a contest that got it aired during Super Bowl XLV in 2011. "YouTube is definitely a lot more fun than standard commercial jobs," Marshall said.

Teddie Films’ videos are quite elaborate, and usually only one a month is posted online. They often feature detailed props (for example, a full-sized "Star Wars" landspeeder in "Droid-Friend") and music scores by local composer Israel Curtis that mimic the popular songs being spoofed. For "The Star Wars That I Used to Know," the team even recruited a Utah celebrity — "Survivor" contestant Tyson Apostol — to lip-sync Curtis’ singing voice as Anakin Skywalker.

Hales takes a different approach on LAHWF, producing quick-to-make video pranks that recall the TV classic "Candid Camera."

On LAHWF (which stands for "losing all hope was freedom," a line from the movie "Fight Club"), Hales has walked up to random strangers to hug them, smell them and — in his most popular video — hold their hands.

Hales started shooting at UVU, but now goes elsewhere in Utah "because people were starting to notice me at UVU." He also has filmed pranks while on trips to New York, Hawaii and Rome. "Awkward’s kind of a universal language," Hales said.

Learning the system » For all three videomakers, there has been a sharp learning curve.

"It was little things, like where to tape the mic and how to explain it to people afterwards," said Hales, who started posting weekly videos in March.

Timeliness is a big factor in a video going viral, King and Marshall at Teddie Films learned. The Gotye spoof took off on The Huffington Post and other sites because the original song was a big hit all summer, and the Teddie video captured not only the song but the cool trompe l’oeil animation of the video.

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