Second in our series of interviews with YouTube Sketchies2 finalists is the Brooklyn-based sketch group POYKPAC. Already well-known online for their previous sketches, Mario: Game Over and Hipster Olympics, Ryan Hunter, Taige Jensen, and producer Tyler Jackson spoke to us about the differences between the first and second Sketchies contests, whether being a voice-over artist is genetic, and their “feud” with co-finalists Waverly Films. Below is an edited version of our conversation.
NewTeeVee: So, was the Sketchies2 contest the first contest you entered as a team?
Taige: Unfortunately, no.
NewTeeVee: Why is it unfortunate?
Taige: Well, we’ve entered two other contests, and never made the first round.
NewTeeVee: Did you enter the first Sketchies competition [in June 2007]?
Ryan: Yes, we did. We had a piece called Human Resources, and I really liked it. But they had thousands of entries, because there were no constraints to the contest. It was just “submit a comedy sketch.” So everyone was submitting whatever they had lying around, and the number of submissions was really astronomical. With Sketchies2 it was lower, because of the instrument-road trip thing. [Entries in the first round were required to use those elements as part of the sketch.] So I think the selection process was a little less unwieldy this time around.
POYKPAC Goes to England
NewTeeVee: Is POYKPAC Goes to England the first sketch you’ve done where you appear as “yourselves”?
Taige: Yes, yes it is. It was fun. I think it made us all want to parody ourselves a bit.
Tyler: Also, Ryan hates holding his breath when passing cemeteries. I think people could tell that moment was genuine.
NewTeeVee: What about POYKPAC goes to England do you think attracted the attention of the UTA agents judging the first round?
Ryan: Half of the entries were like, “Guys! ROOOOOAD TRIP!!!! Hey, who left all these musical instruments in the car?” They kind of used the two constraints in a very similar fashion. We tried to use them in a way that we thought no one else would, and I don’t know. Maybe people picked up on that.
NewTeeVee: How quickly did you come up with the idea for your second short, Voice Talkers?
Taige: Ryan had the idea on the second day.
Ryan: As soon as we knew we got in, we found out the theme, and started thinking about it.
Taige: We had talked about doing something with voice-over in it before, but nothing ever seemed right.
Ryan: The thing I hadn’t seen before was this family take on it.
Taige: Because Ryan and I do voice-over work, as well as my Dad.
Ryan: I always thought it was so funny that something like that could be genetic. Or that it would be an inherited craft, like running a deli or something.
NewTeeVee: Do you feel like it is?
Taige: I hope it is.
Ryan: Taige and his dad both have the voice, so it must be.
NewTeeVee: Taige, does your father play your father in the sketch?
Taige: Yeah, he was pretty excited to do it. He’s been watching our sketches and was an actor in college, So I think he was happy to help.
NewTeeVee: What have you thought of the other videos in the competition?
Taige: Overall, I was impressed. Better than the finalists of the first Sketchies. And most groups really upped their game for round two, which was fun to see.
Ryan: I think that had a lot to do with the fact that they ran the contest differently from the beginning. I mean there was no one that made me think, “They’ve won it.” It certainly wasn’t us either, so it made things very interesting.
NewTeeVee: And a few days ago you released the first in a series of anti-Waverly Films ads. What spurred you to do this?
Ryan: WELL. We have a couple of mutual friends. And early in the contest, they contacted us, because they didn’t want to make a “Vote for us” video. They’ve done that a few times in the past, as have we, and they felt like they might be reaching their threshold with their fans, I think.
So they approached us with this treaty, which basically set forth the idea that neither of us would post a “Get Out the Vote” video to our subscribers. They didn’t want to do it, but since we’re the only other finalist with subscribers anywhere near their range, they knew they’d have to do it if we did.
And since they do have more subscribers, it behooved us to take the deal. It was a benefit to us to not have them post that video. And everyone, really.
Taige: No one likes those videos.
Ryan: But I guess this past weekend we found ourselves hanging out at Central Park with some friends, and Ford from Waverly was there. We’d met him before, because those guys live in our neighborhood, and basically came up with the idea to start the feud.
Tyler: Also, we played frisbee.
Ryan: We did do that. Ford is a nimble athlete. Let that be known.
Tyler: And he was playing in loafers!
Ryan: Anyway, we parted ways, basically saying, “OK, we’re going to post an attack ad against you guys, then you’ll do one, then we’ll do a rebuttal.”
Who is Waverly Films?
NewTeeVee: How has finaling in the competition affected you so far?
Taige: Lots of anxiety.
Ryan: I’m not that anxious. I haven’t really ever thought we were going to win. Which is a means of protecting myself more than anything. While you guys have been stressing out about the contest, I’ve been slowly constructing an emotional wall around myself.
Taige: MTV wants us to enter into their latest contest, but we’re actually really busy gearing up for our web series right now.
NewTeeVee: What web series is this?
Taige: We’re in preproduction for a web series for IFC.
Ryan: We’re going to do 15 3-5 minute episodes and see where it goes from there.
Taige: We actually found out last night that IFC is painting our faces in a mural in Williamsburg.
NewTeeVee: So, what will you do if you win?
Taige: Tyler has claimed that he will sh** on our floor, which I think will be the silver lining if we lose.
Ryan: Yeah, I’m really conflicted about winning because of that. I don’t know if that’s just one of those things you say. But he keeps saying it.
Tyler: It’s true. Print it.
Taige: After that…pay the rent, I guess.
Tyler: We’ve been borrowing a camera from a friend for months. So we’d love to be able to give him some money. And his camera back…
NewTeeVee: What will you do if you lose?
Ryan: You’ll probably see us hanging out in front of our mural a lot.
Taige: Eating lunch, protecting it from taggers.
Ryan: It’ll be all we have left. Truthfully, if we win, we’ll be able to make videos with a budget higher than $0. So that’ll be nice. If we lose, we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing. For free.