There’s a particular collection of videos that have gained notoriety within the past year, for a couple of very distinct reasons. First is, they’re all geek-centric shows dealing with all sorts of different topics pertaining to pop culture things that many have been hooked on, whether that’d be video games, movies, you name it. The second, and most important thing that ties them all together, is Stan “The Man” Lee, or the man we Marvel/general fanboys and fangirls would consider him to be our geek God. He’s responsible for creating a lot of the comic book characters that many of us have known and loved throughout the years, which have gradually stretched out onto the big screen within the past decade. A lot of us have a comic-centric fever, and our only cure for it is more projects from Stan Lee. One such project is Stan Lee’s World of Heroes, a YouTube channel that integrates all good things geek under one of the most powerful names in the comic book business.
The channel has reached it sophomore year, and with that comes a number of new additions, changes and video goodness. The first person we got the chance to speak with is a duo who, individually, are known for their intriguing shows. There’s Sonya Belousova, composer and pianist who appears in Cosplay Piano along with Bad Days co-creator Junaid Chundrigar. The two speak with us about their show and what to expect out of them during this new year.
What are you hoping to accomplish the most out of the second year of this?
Junaid Chundrigar: For Bad Days? I guess different superheroes, branch out perhaps to do maybe video games, do other stuff as well. Mostly we have to see when we’re going to do the next season and know what movies come out then to play like that. I’m guessing Thor, the big comic book movies, but we’re also looking at small things. In season 2 we did Thanos and Namor. I also like to switch it around on a smaller character and then a big one.
What are you guys both geeky over?
Junaid Chundrigar: It’s just getting excited about new films, new comics, just stuff coming out and probably how we’re both creative people, so we try to show our appreciation for what we’re excited about through our work.
Sonya Belousova: That’s a really good answer. I would say the same thing. I love what I’m doing because I’m able to do billions of projects and I’m excited about that because every time it’s something different and I love that.
Let’s talk a little bit about Cosplay Piano. For those who aren’t familiar, could you give us a little bit more insight on that and how unique it is to the channel and just in general.
Sonya: It is very unique. I’m a film composer and pianist, so I’m very busy doing both. I’m doing lot of film scores on a lot of animation. I just premiered my ballet a couple of months ago, so that’s from a composer’s side. From a performer’s side, I’m doing a lot of session work in Los Angeles. So I met with Tom [Grey], whose the director of Cosplay Piano, and Tom had the idea to create this project where a world class pianist would perform her arrangements of TV/video games themes, so that’s how we met. Then we started this project and that’s been a lot of fun for me because basically it combines both sides, so I get to create these original arrangements of the music I love. So far we’ve done four arrangements. We’ve done The Walking Dead, which was the arrangement for violin and the piano. We did Batman, Danny Elfman’s score. We did Superman and the last one was Game of Thrones. So basically so far we recorded a couple more, so we’re hoping to do the videos for them soon. So we’re going to have way more of them. We’re going to be doing more of the live performances, because that’s what I’m doing and that’s what I love to
Next was How It Should Have Ended, a video series focusing on how some of our favorite movies should have really been concluded instead of what was show on the big screen. Show creators Tina Alexander and Daniel Baxter speak up about their show and how they’re not afraid to speak their own opinions, even if a director or writer in particular is watching their show.
How does it feel to be admired by many for your unique perspectives on how everything should have ended?
Tina Alexander: I think we’re overhwlemed by it. It started as a hobby, obviously, so to have people send us requests and stuff is kind of mind blowing. It’s really cool. We don’t consider ourselves experts on movies, we’re having fun. We see the movies, we do a lot, but sometimes we actually like the movie that we’re parodying so it’s not just being mean.
Daniel Baxter: I agree. I’m very flattered and amazing. We do love that people enjoy and share it. It’s kind of a really okay, good. It’s not just me who thinks it is. I feel like we consider ourselves very average Joe’s. We work out of my house in Texas and try to give it the perspective of what a daily viewer might feel leaving a movie. It’s been great to see it grow into a full time job. We couldn’t have asked for anything better than that.
Tina Alexander: We’ve got a great response from filmmakers, even when we’re being mean, if you want to tell that story.
Daniel Baxter: One of the few times I’ve noticed somebody attached to the film reteweted was Damon Lindelof retweeted our Prometheus episode, and that was one that was one of our more harsher in poitning out things. We kind of went after it and he said “This is awesome.” I was like yes. He seems so great to be like somebody made this…
Tina Alexander: I already liked him, but for him to have a good sense of humor about it was really cool.
Have you ever been slightly afraid into tearing a new one into a director’s certain movie?
Tina Alexander: I think because we gotten a positive response, it’s all in fun so we hope that everybody knows that.
Daniel Baxter: I don’t want our channel to become a place where people think this is where they destroy Hollywood because I think we’re just really fans of film, so to make a video that makes people laugh about their experiences in a theater or the movie they remember as a kid, that’s the center of it for me.
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on those trying to start up their own YouTube channel?
Daniel Baxter: I would say just get started. When I started, our channel didn’t exist until 2007. We started in 2005. I was making cartoons with next to no gear. I had a mouse and a crummy scanner and slowly built… now I still use one computer… I was going to say all it takes is ambition and the desire because YouTube has created something that’s so easy to have people be involved and you can have your own channel, your own place on the internet. If you continue to feed it, you will start to see that there will be people… There’s a fan base for almost anything.
Tina Alexander: I would say don’t give up. We’ve been on YouTube for six years. We didn’t start with the subscribers that we have now. We’ve really doubled or tripled in the last year, so it’s grown rapidly recently. I remember that being a huge deal when we crossed a hundred thousand subscribers, so we say keep at it. Don’t expect overnight success on YouTube. Even if you get one viral video, it doesn’t mean your channel is going to explode. You have to keep producing content.
Last but not least was the charming iJustine, host of the tech-savvy show HardWired. The star spoke with us briefly about what her show is all about and what does it mean to be a gamer girl out here in this day and age.
Justine: We do this show called Hardwired. It’s all about technology and it’s a YouTube channel, Twitter, of course everybody loves their social networking. I work with HardWire, AOL and Stan Lee who was mentoring me to become a superhero, so the show is about wearable tech. So we decided to take all this wearable tech we’ve done for the show and turn it into a superhero costume. So we’ve turned it into a comic book and the costume will be debuting at the panel today. It’s going to have a Verizon hot spot. We’ve got LEDs, GPS. They wanted to put a gun and I was like no, we need an XBox controller because that’s the way of the future. And then there’s of course Stan Lee mentoring me on how to be a superhero.
Do you think geek is a trend or that it’s going to progress from here on out?
Justine: I think it will be. I think it definitely will be more accepted, and I think what’s cool for me is that a lot of my audience that watches my stuff are younger girls who may have been afraid to say ‘Hey, I want to be a computer programmer’ and think that’s not cool because it’s too geeky. Now I think it’s an accepted thing and I think that’s great because I love seeing what these women… hey, I’m going to be a professional gamer! I’m a girl, I’m proud and I’m going to be a programmer and they do it and it’s amazing.
I’m curious if you have any advice or just thoughts in general, you being a geek girl, there’s a lot of strange discrimination within the realm of geek girls in general.
Justine: It kind of sucks most of the time, because especially being in the video game industry, I always say I came out of my mom wanting to play video games. They think oh you’re just making this up. It’s not real, you’re faking it just for the sake of… why would I do that?
I think they don’t get that there are geek girls out there who are look good who are still geeks but don’t understand that it’s possible.
Justine: I feel like it’s human nature to honestly see someone and judge them. But when you actually get to know people. Honestly, my passion is video games. I won’t leave home without my Nintendo DS because I have to get my Mii’s to play my Animal Crossing. The amount of hours I have in Call of Duty… it’s more than most of my guy friends. They’re like okay, you’re right, you do have a problem! So just being able to stand up and say you know what? I love what I love. If you don’t appreciate it, fine. I’m still going to do it anyways. Go ladies!