Boo Ya Pictures Article
Below is the original version, sans-editing, of “Young Filmmakers Achieve Online Fame”. (Pages 34 & 37 of the May 20th, 2009 edition of The Suburban.)
It all started a decade ago when they were just kids, filming movies without stopping because they couldn’t edit them. In High School they began to take it more seriously, making movies for the St. George’s Film Festival. Then the internet came and allowed the group collectively known as Boo Ya Pictures to truly blow up.
“[When we realized the full potential of the internet], we discovered this is not just a dream, but something we can actually do. So we put together our website and began to make smaller, sketch-like movies,” said Ryan Coopersmith, editor/writer/actor/producer for Boo Ya.
The group features eight close friends, most of whom have known each other for the better part of their young lives. While all of them work together on writing, directing, and producing their popular sketches, each member has their own roles as well.
Among them, Charles Muzard is the director of photography, Andrew Cohen helps out with graphic design, Michael Sinai and Harris Ellison do most of the pre-production, Brandon Steinmetz takes care of the website, and Zach Frenkiel is the secretary. Daniel Handleman writes the music and Ryan Prizant handles most of the finances. Ryan Coopersmith and Adam Sand, along with the rest of the group, do most of the writing and acting.
Thanks to their collective genius, Boo Ya was able to win the Doritos Guru contest. Doritos had released a then-unnamed flavor, calling on Canada to choose both a flavor name and record a commercial for that flavor.
After sifting through over 2000 nation-wide submissions, they settled on Boo Ya’s “Scream Cheese.” The video features a series of people yelling in non-conventional yelling spots (library, movie theater, etc,) causing much hilarity to ensue.
“We did it pretty intellectually, less from a filming background and more from a marketing background. We just put it in our hours. 3-4 weeks working non stop on these commercials, really put our effort into it,” said Coopersmith. Well, the work paid off. Not only will the “Scream Cheese” bag now be stocked in stores nationwide, Boo Ya won $25,000 plus 1% of future sales for their efforts.
The group is not merely filled with marketing experts however. Their website on the popular video-sharing site YouTube has over 6000 subscribers, making them one of the most popular Canadian sites.
“It Ain’t Easy,” a music video about an extremely well-endowed man, and “Hangin Out”, a video featuring Coopersmith, Sand, Handleman, and Prizant as four awkward guys that annoy babysitter (and real-life friend) Becca Raich are their two most recent videos. Hanging Out has garnered almost 300,000 views thanks to it being featured on YouTube at one point.
With each new video, Boo Ya aspires to improve it both artistically and comedically. That explains why “It Ain’t Easy,” despite its crude subject matter, is by far their most artistically well-done film.
“We get more proud with each additional video, so when we have kids our youngest kid will be the one who gets most of our affection” jokes Coopersmith. “We’re going to refine [our children] and they’ll all have the same name, just version 2.0, 3.0, etc.” added Prizant.
But YouTube stardom is not as far as Boo Ya hopes to go. “We’re going to make feature films in Hollywood. There’s no doubt about it,” says Coopersmith, and the rest of the group agrees. Their ultimate goal would be to make movies in any way, from writing and directing to acting and editing.
Boo Ya jokes that their ultimate goal would be to reject an invitation to the Academy Awards, instead hoping to win a golden popcorn, the trophy representing the MTV Movie Awards. “MTV has more credibility because the awards are voted on by the fans” explains Coopersmith.
Boo Ya Pictures now has their Doritos contest winnings to help them achieve their dream. Most of the $25,000 will be re-invested back into the company, so they can keep making shorts and eventually their own feature film to satisfy their viewing audience.
The unselfish team is even throwing a party for everyone who voted for them in the contest, with details to follow through their Facebook group.
“Through Boo Ya we learn more than we do in school,” says Coopersmith, explaining that working with friends in “the perfect integration of friendship and business” (a Handleman quote) allows the members to thrive educationally, learning more each day about how to run a business.
Watching their videos, it is clear the group has come along way since their inception.
(For more on Boo Ya Pictures, check out their website: http://BooYaPictures.com.)