Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
On Bat in the Sun, schoolyard arguments are brought to life. The action-packed YouTube channel run by Aaron Schoene and his father Sean is best known for Super Power Beat Down, a series that pits iconic pop culture characters against one another in ferocious battles. Episodes of SPBD take on a cinematic quality and delight the one million fans who have subscribed to Bat in the Sun so far. We spoke to Aaron Schoenke about his online video efforts:
TF: How does it feel to have one million subscribers? What do you want to say to your fans?
BITS: It’s feels great, we here at BITS are super proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished, and of course we want to tell all our fans, thank you!
TF: Where does the name “Bat in the Sun” come from?
BITS: My father, Sean Schoenke, who is also co-owner of Bat in the Sun, came up with the name. Bats are night creatures, but there are few brave bats that come out at dusk, these are the leader bats, the daring bats, setting the driving force for the rest of the bats. They are bats in the sun!
TF: Your Super Power Beat Down series has garnered you millions of views. What does the creative process behind one of these episodes look like?
BITS: We first have to find the two characters that will fit together nicely, that will ensure an awesome battle. It also depends on what kind of battle we want to do; an epic space adventure like Batman vs Darth Vader or a 90’s ninja throw back like Green Ranger vs Ryu.
Next comes casting, which is one of the most important steps. The fans want their characters represented perfectly and for us, our actors/stuntmen not only have to resemble the characters, but also represent their fighting style. We have two amazing fight coordinators, Shaun Piccininio and Alvin Hsing, who are tasked with the job of bring these characters’ fighting styles to life.
When designing the costumes, we have to make sure they not only look perfectly like the characters, but are also damn durable, because we beat the crap out of these suits! We work with a ton of really talented costume creators like ReevzFX, Snakepit Studios, Aniki, Alien FX, to name just a few!
Then after a some pretty long days of shooting, we are off into post production, where we spend the next 2-3 months working on the completing the episode. We have an amazingly talented visual effects artist, Nikolay Zamkovoy, who creates anything from Wolverine’s claws to Batman’s jet. My father, Sean Schoenke, does the sound design and composes the original music to fit each character’s specific feel and sound in the episodes, which leaves me to do all the video editing. So really us three are tasked to creatively finished off the episode and make it be all we hoped it can be!
TF: Which SPBD episode is your personal favorite and why?
BITS: It would have to be Batman vs Darth Vader, the things we were able to accomplish were incredible, and while we love all our episodes, this one holds a special place in our hearts. Batman is my favorite character, and Kevin Porter, who plays Batman, just knocks it out of the park! At 6’5” and 235 pounds he is the living embodiment of the Dark Knight! Personally, though, I like the alternate ending featuring Superman the best!
TF: TIME magazine said Hollywood could learn from what you do. If you could speak to a room full of Hollywood executives, what would you tell them?
BITS: Just to really get in tune with these characters, while I understand its very important to bring something new to the screen with these characters, make sure not to lose the essence of what has made them great and allowed them endure 50 to 70 years of fandom love.
TF: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
BITS: Personally, I’d love to direct a movie starring my childhood hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger! That would be a blast!
TF: What video or series would be your ultimate dream to create (or have you already created it)?
BITS: A superhero with message, something using these characters in a profound way, to inspire us all, make us think. These characters are like Greek Gods, who made people think, taught them lessons, and showed them how power corrupts.
TF: What’s next for your channel? Any fun plans?
BITS: We have a bunch more Beat Downs coming out, with a bunch of new characters which we are really excited for, as well as an original series starring Jason David Frank, so definitely stayed tuned!