UVU student Mike Brown and BYU students Casen and Landon Sperry gain Internet fame with weekly YouTube shorts.
Freshman Mike Brown, a 24-year-old Digital Media major, has been collaborating with business partners Casen and Landon Sperry since he was 12 years old.
“One of the very first things we talked about was that we wanted to make movies,” Brown said.
Casen and Landon, BYU Film and Anthropology majors, respectively, have worked together for over a decade. Sacrificing school money to pursue their passion, the friends first filmed weddings, then constructed commercials for local businesses including The Shops at Riverwoods in Provo.
[youtube width=”475″ height=”344″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NIlWCj–Vg[/youtube]
Despite their commercial success, the group is most dedicated to creating weekly two-minute short films on their YouTube channel, “alasky,” which, Brown said, expresses the group’s “strange, kinda niche sense of humor.”
One of the group’s most recent projects was their “Lazy Jedi” short. Originally uploaded to YouTube Jan. 11, the short has since been reposted on cbs.com, chicagotribune.com and huffingtonpost.com, garnering almost one million views and 6,000 YouTube subscribers.
Following the video’s online explosion, a Hollywood producer and Polish Cinema 5D studio have contacted Brown and the Sperry brothers. The group declined, however, resolute in their determination for all three members to complete school and perfect the popular weekly shorts.
Although the trio enjoyed a steady cult following of their self-proclaimed “action movies and video games” channel, the idea for their golden egg materialized via the mind of the Sperrys’ little brother, Parker, one night while the group was brainstorming video ideas.
“Parker had an idea about a Jedi who was so used to his powers that he used them to do everything,” Brown said.
Already fans of Provo-based comedian Dave Ackerman’s celebrated YouTube channel, “scratchmybackerman,” Casen Sperry contacted the comedian, who immediately agreed to play the part of the Jedi. “Lazy Jedi” was filmed locally in only four hours, yet between Brown, Casen and Landon, the editing process lasted over 80 hours.
In a mere five days, “Lazy Jedi” flew through the interwebs from the relatively-unknown “alasky” YouTube channel to national newspaper websites via facebook.com, reddit.com, ign.com, io9.com and smosh.com.
“It’s crazy how things fall in to place,” Brown said of the group’s propulsion into the cyberspace spotlight.
It seems that “alasky’s” good fortune will endure: The trio’s upcoming tribute to the popular video game, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” is set to feature the vocal talents of all 180 members of BYU’s Men’s Chorus, the largest collegiate male choir in the U.S.
Recent success notwithstanding, the friends plan to perfect their shorts with hopes to turn a profit by monetizing their channel with advertisements. Brown also harbors future aspirations to create feature-length movies.
Like any team, the men’s visions for future projects diverge from time to time, yet a shared devotion to their craft binds them together.
“We really just want to make the videos the best they can be,” Brown said.
Watch the Lazy Jedi here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NIlWCj–Vg
By Deven Leigh Ellis
Asst. Life Editor