The guys from Runaway Box take their comedy from the web to the live stage tonight in Los Angeles in a special one night only performance at IOWest at 9pm. Man In The Box star Mike Polk brings his sketch group Last Call Cleveland to help anchor the show that will also feature Woody Tondorf, creator of the Runaway Box show Elevator, and the man behind Hooking Up, HBO’s web-celeb driven vehicle.
We recently caught up with Woody to reflect on the season finale of Hooking Up, wokring with YouTube celebrities and the future direction of HBOlab’s Runaway Box.
Tubefilter: How do you feel about the first season of Hooking Up?
Woody Tondorf: I’m very pleased with how things turned out. This was a great experiment for us and I learned from it every single day. From production, the growth of our cast as actors, the little hiccups and our big screw ups, and our triumphs and accolades, the show had a profound effect on me.
People were all up in arms about view counts and such, and I could spend a good span of time talking about it if I really wanted to, but what I found interesting through the span of the season was the numbers staying pretty consistent after episode 3. Most web series lose views over time, going on a steady decline until they peter out at the end. Sadly, this is just a cross they have to bear, even the best of the bunch like Back on Topps, Viralcom, etc.
We stayed pretty consisted around 130k, with a peak number of 50k subs at the end of season one. To me, that meant either 130k people were coming in, taking a look, and then knowing our schedule and stopping in every Wednesday, OR that our 30-50k subs were coming in and watching episodes several times over. I’m pretty sure the latter was the case. As a writer and performer, that pleases me VERY much.
To see Phil and Kevin grow from being intimidated to confident comedic performers was really fulfilling and I’m incredibly proud of those guys. As early as our fifth episode, we were getting comments from some of our loudest (and least eloquent) detractors that they were impressed with the acting and now enjoying it. Considering that change in acting came in the span of an hour or two during filming says a lot to me.
Deanna (Emily Ashby) was coming from only TV to new media, which was the opposite of the rest of our cast, and she was a great performer. She definitely elevated everyone’s game. And Jessica, in short, deserves every word of praise said about her. She’s a total pro, and it was a privilege to work with her.
I’m really happy about the way the show was received and the new fans we got from it, and I was really grateful to work with and develop a relationship with some of YouTube’s best both before, during, and after filming.
Tubefilter: What’s the word on a second season?
Woody: We have contracts with the cast for a second season but haven’t yet made a decision about the next season of the series.
We don’t plan to announce a decision until after the first of the year. That said, I’ve worked out a story but I can’t tease anything until we make any announcement. All I will say is that there won’t be any orders, cults, etc. That would just be weird.
Tubefilter: Where is Runaway Box headed in the near future?
Woody: The future is nuts. We’ve got a pilot project that we’re working on with Michael Buckley and a music project in the works. There’s a LOT of stuff that’s on the horizon.
For our other shows, like Elevator, Man In The Box, and Zilchzone, we continue to make new episodes and entertain that audience and we hope to continue to build it. My Elevator fans have been with me since the beginning, so I always have a special place in my heart for them and I don’t intend to stop making Elevator any time soon. Many surprises and cool special guests are showing up as we speak.