From Viral YouTube To Full Length DVD Release | ‘305’ – ‘300’ Movie Spoof Goes Big

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From Viral YouTube To Full Length DVD ReleaseAnyone left in any doubts as to the value of Web video can argue no longer, as we now have a full length movie being released on DVD, all based on what started as a five minute viral YouTube hit.

Last year saw 300 released, a movie detailing the brave souls of the legendary Spartan army who fought against the Persian army until death or glory became their saviour.

Inspiration For Spoofs

When 300 came out, a huge amount of spoofs were made and put on YouTube, Yahoo Video, Metacafe and the like. Most of these were mash-ups mixing 300 with other films, and pop culture references such as Monty Python.

However, there was one which stood out against all the others, being a well made, brilliantly produced original piece detailing the Spartans who didn’t quite make the movie. Named 305, it was viewed by almost 4 million people, and became a true viral hit.

The 305 Five Minute Short

But that’s not the end of the story, as Rivet Productions saw the mass appeal and potential for the concept, and approached the aspiring filmmakers behind the five minute short.

Full Length Feature

David and Daniel Holechek, the men behind the original viral were asked to turn the short in to a full length feature, and were given 4 months and a budget to make a film which would be released straight to DVD.

Tim Ellis, executive producer with Rivet told The Hollywood Reporter:

“After YouTube and MySpace catapulted the short into 4 million views, we thought, ‘Hey, let’s see what our team can do if we give them three or four months and a little bit of cash to work with,”

“The result is hilarious and has blown our minds. We’re already well into our next three projects.”

“It speaks to the power of the online community. People responded immediately to the characters and the comedy, and they wanted more. The ‘305’ feature is a direct fulfillment of quantifiable audience demand.”

The 5 Who Didn’t Make The Cut

In the end, the full length film was completed in just a month, and tells the story of five members of the Spartan army charged with guarding a seemingly ordinary goat path, and who through a twist of fate are forced to become real warriors.

It has now been screened at various independent film festivals, and has had a good reception from movie-goers. Allumination FilmWorks are now releasing the mockumentary on DVD on July 8th.

A New Trend?

So is this the start of a trend? Attempts to convert Web exclusives to network television have so far faltered, but maybe viral videos will be more successful as a cheap way for independent movie producers to find content suitable for release.

Certainly this deal has enabled David and Daniel Holechek to go from being mere YouTube hits to film producers. If shorts such as these can gain 4 million viewers in such a short space of time, they have already proved there is an audience there.

Should we now expect to see movies starring other YouTube luminaries such as Chris Crocker, Star Wars Kid, and Dramatic Chipmunk some time in the future?