Interview: Brandon Rogers discusses Magic Funhouse Season 2, digital TV, and more


Photo Credit: Magic Funhouse/Fullscreen Image via Fullscreen PR

TV isn’t just about the big five networks anymore. More people are turning to online subscriptions and streaming, which is where you’ll find Brandon Rogers’ Magic Funhouse and more.

Brandon Rogers is well-known for his YouTube videos, but he’s been one of the lucky ones to move into TV production and directing. His latest show Magic Funhouse is more than just a crazy look at the life of kids’ TV presenters. It’s helping to change the way people watch TV.

While some would still consider this a web series, the digital TV platform is growing. More people subscribe to individual channels now than ever before. Hidden Remote has been fortunate to get an exclusive interview with the mastermind behind Magic Funhouse.

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Hidden Remote: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this inversion.

Brandon Rogers: It’s a pleasure.

Hidden Remote: So, we’ll get straight in as I know time is short. How did you get started with YouTube and moving into digital TV?

Rogers: Well, I started with YouTube videos about 10 years before anyone started watching me. I did a variety of sketches and had a decade worth of content for people to get into. It was much easier to gain subscribers that way, and felt like I hadn’t wasted 10 years of doing the content.

After being discovered there, I was offered to produce my own show and Fullscreen offered a home for that. This is home that pays respect to the creator and I was given full creative control. I had the chance to develop a program that isn’t really possible on networks right now. Digital TV offers the chance to push the boundaries and create something much bigger; I don’t like the term web series, because Magic Funhouse is something much bigger than that.

I’ve found it so weird moving into this. I went from trespassing in places, like IKEA bathrooms, to get shots to now having a studio to film in.

Photo Credit: Magic Funhouse/Fullscreen Image via Fullscreen PR

Hidden Remote:  You’ve mentioned you can push the boundaries. What do you mean by that?

Rogers: Well, TV has always had rules to follow. It’s not been until recently that TV has been able to step up and be more flexible. We’re now a big competitor against the film industry. It’s so cool to be pioneers in the age of digital media. We’re like the current day I Love Lucy, which was the pioneer of its age.

Hidden Remote: Magic Funhouse is such a blend of comedy, craziness, and horror. Just where did the idea for that start?

Rogers: I was a college dropout. I actually dropped out long before I stopped going to lessons. I managed to get a lot of free lessons, including in broadcast, music, and acting. I managed to gain experience through the network TV30 in the Bay 30 thanks to my course. This was a full studio that broadcasted live shows.

I love the live kids show, where there was a host talking to the camera. I found it interesting to see the TV host off camera. The host was supposed to be this blueprint for the behavior to follow, but it was interesting to see that they were so much more than this.

Magic Funhouse was based on that, but I put seven of the most unlikely people together into the world of kids TV. It was fun to develop a show that saw how they could maintain that front. There were characters who were around each other only because they had to be.

Improv classes tell you to always say yes, but I’ve found conflict is much better. I’d say no and see where that would lead, often in new places.

Hidden Remote: What can you tell us about Season 2 of Magic Funhouse?

Rogers: It’s sort of like a part two of the first season. I decided early on that all seasons would have links to something within the industry. The first season was all about these seven underdogs. There were seven episodes to develop each of the characters.

This second season is about what these characters have to do to be successful. The final scene of Season 1 took us to six months into the future. The second season will show us between that final scene and the one before it; taking us through the six months to see all the terrible things they had to do to get there.

They’re not necessarily going to be proud of the things they did. These are villains that we find ourselves rooting for. They have no morals, but you still (at least, I hope you do) want them to succeed.

Photo Credit: Magic Funhouse/Fullscreen Image via Fullscreen PR

Hidden Remote: Is there a scene you’re most looking forward to people seeing this season?

Rogers: There’s a lot of gore and I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to that. One of the things I regret about Season 1 is the lack of gore and death. I think one person passed away and that was in their sleep. I get to play with the characters a lot more in Season 2.

There’s been a chance to put them in mortal danger and really raise the stakes. Anticipate a lot more gorier scenes, with a slight Tarantino-esque style. There are more bloodier scenes that come out of no-where.

I’m really looking forward to the Fullscreen watch parties. If you’ve got no-one else to watch with, you can watch online with others dotted around the world. I’ll be watching with some of them.

Hidden Remote: Will you let the viewers know you’re there?

Rogers: Maybe sometimes, but I like to be a ghost. I love to hear the honest feedback at the time. It’s a huge risk, but it’s worth it. I get to hear the real criticism. People have a tendency to tell you fake positives, but they don’t tell you the fake negatives. It’s more valuable to grow and I look forward to hearing the criticism during the actual episode.

Hidden Remote: So, what would you advise others who wanted to follow your path?

Rogers: It’s so hard to give advice. YouTube and digital media doesn’t have the same step-by-steps that being a doctor or lawyer have. There’s no set structure, and the successful people have all gone through different roots. Some of it is luck with experience mixed in.

It’s about who you know. You’ve got to be humble and accept criticism. Be nice and not cocky. I see a lot of YouTubers with these big egos. You’ve got to turn that off and not turn away from the negative opinions. Be humble to everyone. Some of the biggest YouTubers and others that I meet in the digital media industry are still really humble. It’s so effective to be nice.

Photo Credit: Magic Funhouse/Fullscreen Image via Fullscreen PR

Hidden Remote: So, final question; what’s next for you?

Rogers: I actually have a few projects in the works, but I can’t talk about them. I’m so excited about them, and again I have full creative control.

I’m still working on Magic Funhouse and hope people take it as a serious TV show. I’m also continuing with my YouTube videos. I’m taking advantage of anything coming my way and have a lot of plans for the next six months.

Hidden Remote: You sound like a very busy man.

Rogers: Yes, I am, and busy with people I trust and love to work with. I’ve recently been on Shane Dawson’s podcast. I’ve been so lucky to meet other creative people and they’ve become a favorite perk of this industry and meeting new people. It’s exciting. People who I looked up to I get to meet. Digital media is definitely a fun world to be a part of.

Hidden Remote: Thank you for taking this time out of your busy schedule.

Rogers: It was my pleasure. Thanks for the great questions.

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Magic Funhouse‘s tagline is “An adult show about a kid’s show” and the trailers certainly point towards that. It’s definitely not going to be for everyone, but it shows the boundaries digital media allows to push.

Magic Funhouse Season 2 will be available to stream on Fullscreen from August 24. Season 1 is currently available.