3 Rules For Creative Quality Control From Seth Green, Creator Of “Stoopid Monkey”
Seth Green, the voice behind Family Guy’s Chris Griffin, Robot Chicken, and more, speaks geek. Here’s his free advice for Hollywood types (and you, of course) on handling tech tools.
Seth Green has always been on the cutting edge of geek culture, whether as the voice of Chris Griffin on Family Guy; the writer-producer of Robot Chicken on Adult Swim; or the co-creator of the comic book series Freshmen. So it’s no surprise that he was an early adapter of YouTube, starting up his own original channel, Stoopid Monkey, in 2011. Stoopid Monkey, which has over 1.5 million views, produces a steady stream of videos that center on the ne’er-do-well adventures of Stoopid Monkey, Biggie, and GT—all stop-motion animation characters who interact with real people.
Green attributes his success with Stoopid Monkey to having a fundamental understanding of online culture: “I’ve spent the last several years learning how this stuff actually interfaces,” he says—and to resisting the superficial approach to digital that he frequently runs up against in the industry. He also applies rules from the Hollywood playbook (see #2,below) to his online business, proving how certain truths about entertainment content transcend platforms. Herewith are some lessons from Green’s digital education.
Everyone on YouTube is ferociously competing for eyeballs, yet, unlike in TV and movies, there’s no $50 million marketing campaign to help get the word out. This makes 800-pound gorillas like Machinima, the video gamer’s delight network that has over 4 billion views and 6-million plus subscribers, envy-inducing menaces. But Green says don’t worry about them—just try to make your own stuff good.
“The more you try to cater to your audience, the more you become Arsenio Hall in his fourth season,” he says.
“When Arsenio Hall came on, he was the only opposition to Johnny Carson—there was no competition. He represented mainstream entertainment. And then over the course of each season, he had so much criticism from black and white people—white’s were saying he was too black; blacks said he was too white—so he tried really hard in the second season to give audiences what they wanted.”
Asked if he ever felt strong-armed into posting that campaign-y tweet to maintain good relationships with his employers, Green says, Hell no.
“I tell them exactly what I think. I say, ‘You have a fundamental misunderstanding of why social media works and why Twitter can be powerful … You can’t make me sign a contract that says I have to tweet with these words and this hash-tag because then it’s not an organic process, and the audience can tell the difference.”
[Base Image: Flickr user Gage Skidmore]