With the triumph of finalists Waverly Films (a.k.a. WaverlyFlams on YouTube), this year’s YouTube Sketchies contest has finally come to a close. We spoke with Waverly’s Christopher Ford about being latecomers to YouTube, the vicious lies spread by POYKPAC, and the benefits of participating in these competitions (even when you don’t win). Below is an edited version of our conversation.
NewTeeVee: So tell me a little about Waverly Films — where you guys come from, how you guys met.
Christopher Ford: We all met at NYU Film School, and we were friends mostly because we wanted more constructive criticism than we were getting in class. So we started a little group to go over our scripts and storyboards. Then, when we graduated, we kind of stayed together like a herd.
NewTeeVee: Did you guys enter the first Sketchies contest?
Ford: No. Actually I saw the ads for it when I was uploading all of our stuff to YouTube. I think it was around then.
NewTeeVee: June ’07?
Ford: Yeah, we didn’t use to have our stuff [on YouTube], and finally we were like, “Why the hell not?” So I spent three days uploading.
NewTeeVee: Was there a reason you hadn’t uploaded to YouTube originally?
Ford: Well, we had our own web page, and we wanted to be in charge of it. And at first we got pretty good hits from our Fatboy Slim music videos. This was before YouTube existed, so when it came into being we were already doing video on the Internet and we thought, “Well we don’t need THESE dot-com geniuses!” I think we all regret that now.
NewTeeVee: You guys have a pretty good YouTube following now, yes?
Ford: Yeah, it’s fantastic. That’s why we wish we started earlier.
NewTeeVee: So the reason you didn’t do the first Sketchies contest was because you were only just getting onto YouTube?
Ford: Yeah, pretty much. Also I think we were still “contest shy.” We recently won a Buffalo Wild Wings video contest and I think it emboldened us to enter Sketchies2. I now think they are really good opportunities. Not just for a chance to win the prize — I mean for everyone. The sponsor gets an ad, the contestants get exposure, viewers get more content. And the content is a little more focused. I think the trend of having the little “obstructions” is good creatively.
NewTeeVee: You mean the required elements, like “instrument road trip”?
Ford: Yeah. I mean, people can always just stick something in there to meet the requirements. But I think it helps you be creative when you don’t have to start from a blank page.
Instrument Road Trip
NewTeeVee: What do you think helped you move to the final 20?
Ford: I think our #1 selling point was that our entry was really short. I think the fact that we have a pretty good subscriber base probably also helped. Oh and the fact that it was SO FUNNY, of course.
Sherlockbot & The Case of the Purloined Piggybank
NewTeeVee: What have you thought of the other finalists’ shorts?
Ford: No names, but there’s some I like and some I don’t. I think they all appeal to someone, though. I did notice that most people stuck their “indubitably in there!
NewTeeVee: What do you mean?
Ford: Oh, that most teams went off “living the dream” and then made someone say “indubitably.” So we were right that doing it the other way around would be different. Oh, and of course we love POYKPAC’s. They are our neighbors.
NewTeeVee: I heard POYKPAC’s side of the feud war yesterday, but I’d love to hear your take on it as well.
Ford: Uh-oh. What did they say?
NewTeeVee: They talked about running into you at frisbee, and complimented your athleticism.
Ford: Well, that’s a bunch of lies. They cornered me in a dark Bushwick alley and told me they’d kill my whole family if I didn’t cooperate with them.
NewTeeVee: And what did you say?
Ford: I said I’d think about it.
A Phone Is Ringing in Brooklyn…
NewTeeVee: Do you think the points made in their first attack video bear any merit?
Ford: Actually the most spot-on thing, that really blew me away, was how they used a picture of Christopher Reeves for Duncan [Skiles].
NewTeeVee: The resemblance is strong?
Ford: He looks like a cross between Reeves and Conan O’Brien. But the best part is that he hates it. So I had a big laugh at that.
NewTeeVee: Christopher Reeves was a very handsome man!
Ford: I know, what’s to complain about?
NewTeeVee: Let me ask you about what will happen now that you have won.
Ford: We’re going to Disneyland! Well, not really. But emotionally we are.
NewTeeVee: Are you looking forward to meeting with the UTA guys?
Ford: I really am. UTA is where it’s at. I’m represented by UTA for TV writing, so I’ve heard about their new online division. Apparently it’s very plugged in.
NewTeeVee: Do you hope that this victory will lead you towards more online opportunities, or more offline opportunities?
Ford: Well, both. It would be great to have this open some doors for our feature pursuits…just open them a tiny extra crack. But we also love producing stuff for the Internet, whether it’s our clip of the week or a web show.
NewTeeVee: Anything else you want to say, in these moments of triumph?
Ford: Probably just to continue thanking everyone who voted, and apologize to the other finalists. But I know that POYKPAC is going to be JUST FINE.
NewTeeVee: So you don’t apologize to them?
Ford: Well, they turned their campaign negative first. I think everyone on YouTube understands what cruel villains they truly are.
NewTeeVee: So this is a case of good triumphing over evil, then?
Ford: It’s like Nixon and Kissenger triumphing over the Kremlin. So, yes.