It’s not easy to make a YouTube video go viral…especially if it doesn’t feature an adorable puking baby or a kitty cat playing piano.
But Table 8 struck gold when the group of improv actors and local stand-up comedians released Marvel’s The Avengers (on a budget) last year. Now they’re in YouTube’s million-dollar-view club, and they’re hoping history repeats itself with the release of their latest video Iron Man 3 (on a budget).
Table 8 Productions got started when members of ComedyCity in De Pere decided to begin producing their own comedy videos for the web.
Peter Blavat – a Table 8 co-founder – credits Scott Roemaat (see Captain America above) for coming up with the initial idea. That was around three years ago.
The group has released dozens of videos since then, some of which have been featured on popular sites like Funny or Die, The Huffington Post and College Humor.
Blavat says the members of Table 8 started out with a lot of ambition, and quickly realized that all the work involved with producing videos was extremely time-consuming.
“When we first started, we were trying to release like one video a week to push some content out there,” he recalls.
“It’s hard to keep up with that. With coming up with ideas, to shooting them, to editing them – it’s a lot to do, and we started to realize that what was being released wasn’t always the best we could do.”
However, they also found a way to use their low-budget filmmaking to their advantage. The “On a Budget” series of videos pokes fun at big blockbuster movies by recreating trailers without all the Hollywood special effects. Instead, you’ll find the cast using Halloween costumes, kids toys for props and Lego models.
The first “On a Budget” video was a parody of Captain America. A Green Lantern spoof followed. But it was all the buzz about The Avengers movie that really got things going for Table 8. Suddenly, the views started piling up. Popular blogs and websites were posting the video and writing about it. That included Mashable, G4 Attack of the Show, Kotaku.com as well as the three major sites mentioned earlier.
It was the recognition Table 8 had been waiting for.
Watch Marvel’s The Avengers (on a budget)
One of the biggest highlights for the group was when Damon Lindelof, a co-creator of the ABC show Lost, retweeted the video on Twitter.
“We all love LOST, so that was kind of a big win for us,” Blavat says. “It’s just cool to see something you’ve created with a bunch of your friends get so much positive attention like that. ”
What Table 8 did quite effectively was find a massive audience of comic book lovers and video game fanatics who are eager to share unique content about their favorite things. Some of the other web video series from Table 8 Productions include The Game Underthinker starring Scott Roemaat as a video game reviewer who oversimplifies everything – even Pac-Man. There’s also Rockumentary, a mockumentary about a group of friends who are quite serious about playing the video game Rock Band.
Their latest video, Iron Man 3 (on a Budget), may also have the potential for going viral.
While the third edition of a movie trilogy can often fall flat, there’s a lot of positive buzz around Iron Man 3. It’s the first in the Marvel superhero movie series since The Avengers. Shane Black – known for the Lethal Weapon movies – is directing a script he also helped write. According to CinemaBlend.com, Avengers director Joss Whedon was reportedly so impressed by the film that he asked “What am I supposed to do now? What am I going to do in Avengers 2?”
In addition to returning stars like Robert Downey Jr., as Tony Stark and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, the latest Iron Man will also feature Ben Kingsley as the superhero’s greatest enemy – Mandarin. It premieres in the U.S. on May 3rd. But the Table 8 budget version is out now!
Long-time ComedyCity performer Ken Goltz plays Robert Downey Jr’s role with a cardboard box serving has the famous Iron Man suit. Goltz did study Downey Jr.’s performance, but he didn’t want the impression to be too good.
“I wanted to play him like a ‘budget’ version of him,” Goltz says. “That’s why my goatee is painted on. It’s like we tried to get the real thing, but had to go much much cheaper!”
Watch Iron Man 3 (on a budget)
Hollywood hasn’t come calling for Table 8…at least not quite yet. For now the focus is on having a creative hobby and having a good time with friends. Besides the little bit of fame the group has enjoyed, it’s hard to resist the chance to become a superhero – even if it is a low-budget version. Peter Blavat got to play his all-time favorite superhero when Table 8 parodied The Amazing Spider-Man.
“I love it. I can actually say “I’m Spider-Man” now and it’s true,” he says. “It brings back a lot of memories from being a kid, and it’s still just a lot fun – you know – being full grown adults, dressing up as superheroes and playing with Nerf guns.”
In addition to their own productions, Table 8 has produced web videos and television commercials for several local businesses and events including Gnome Games, Powers Comics and the Nearwater Concert Series. Blavat says hiring Table 8 is a great alternative for creating unique online videos.
“We’re open to doing videos for any local business, and we charge a lot less than others would,” he says.
The next on a budget video will parody the new Star Trek movie, and will be released in May. Connect with Table 8 below so you’ll be sure to catch all their latest videos.