Kaiju Beach Party: Godzilla Invades YouTube Space LA

Greetings and salutations, fellow Fridge Nukers! Bradfield here, reporting from an aircraft carrier somewhere off the coast of Catalina Island…

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“Hey guys! It’s Flulazilla!”

Three days and counting until Godzilla returns to theaters worldwide, on May 16th. It is one of the most highly anticipated films of Summer, 2014 – and with good reason. After the attempt at an American version misfired so badly with fans in 1998, it looked as if we might never get the wide scale Kaiju movie many felt the Toho Titan had in him all along. However, as the saying goes, time heals all wounds, and when fans got their first look at the upcoming Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ “reboot of the reboot” at San Diego Comic-Con International last year — including an immersive Godzilla Experience for SDCC badge-holders — they were once again excited about the possibility of a Hollywood version of the King of Monsters. Sure, the 2014 version is another big budget extravaganza by a major studio, but for starters, the monster in this movie at least looks closer to the classic version.

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Three sets courtesy of Legendary Pictures, and the back of “Tokyo”

However, despite a return to the classic look of the monster and feel of the old Toho films, Godzilla is very much a “21st Century Digital Boy,” and not just in the computers of the Special Effects department. The King of Monsters has gone viral. For two weeks (late April through last Thursday), Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures teamed up with YouTube Space LA to present an unprecedented opportunity for some of YouTube’s most popular channels to use not only the studios at the YouTube Space in Playa del Rey, but sets, props and costumes from the upcoming film for their own Godzilla-themed videos.

The Godzilla Invades YouTube Space promotion was unique, but perhaps even more unique are the opportunies YouTube offers to video makers year round. Through its Partner Program, established and emerging YouTube channels have access to not only a state of the art digital production facility, but opportunities to learn from industry professionals and collaborate with other creators, to name a few benefits. Basically, to become a “YouTube Partner,” a channel needs 10,000 or more subscribers. For more information on the Partner Program, please visit YouTube’s Creator Hub.

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When this set piece was in San Diego, it was actually “Open for Business”

To create their videos, YouTube partners had the run of a soundstage containing three sets from the film: a ramen bar, an overturned police car on a city street, and an underground bunker with a computer array. Props and costumes were also available including, of course, a Godzilla suit (plush, not rubber), in case anyone felt compelled to go on a rampage and topple miniature Tokyo. Most of the time, those taking advantage of the opportunity had only four hours of studio time. Despite the limited time, most groups produced more than one video – something practically unheard of in a more traditional production environment. Also, participants were encouraged, but not required, to make Godzilla influenced videos. So while most of the creators “stuck to the script,” some used what was on hand to create completely original work.

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“Godzilla stomped here.”

Highlights include:

  • Our friends over at Nerdist Industries. As part of their “Godzilla Week,” Nerdist NewsJessica Chobot and Dan Casey did their reports from the set. Rumor has it that a “Godzilla Lawyer” sketch is coming soon.
  • Host of It Is Flula, DJ Flula Borg‘s “lost” Godzilla audition.
  • CineFX‘s Godzilla: The Musical.
  • From the “not Godzilla related” category: Anna Akana ‘s T Minus Two; The Fu‘s RED ALERT!!! ; and Arika Sato‘s Project J (Godzilla). The first two are comedy sketches while the third is a sort of unofficial prequel to Pacific Rim.
  • Jason Horton‘s Godzilla vs. Selfie

Though mostly known for his comedy short films, Horton also managed to score an interview with Godzilla screenwriter, Max Borestein. ISAtv even used the set as a unique background for commentary on their panel show, Angry Asian America.

At present, there are fifteen videos on Legendary’s YouTube channel. However, be sure to check the page often, as new videos are being added daily until May 16th. Additional Godzilla content, including behind the scenes videos, games, and even a poster creator, is available at the Godzilla homepage.