The first full-length theatrical release from Austin’s Rooster Teeth Productions, “Lazer Team” stars (left to right) Gavin Free, Michael Jones, Allie DeBerry, Colton Dunn and Burnie Burns. Credit: Rooster Teeth Productions

Grab some popcorn, Rooster Teeth is hitting the big screen! In this week’s Digital Savant column, I got a chance to visit with the filmmakers at Rooster Teeth Productions, who have built an online empire of machinima, live-action shorts, commercials and full-blown animation while building an enormous fan base.

Now, the company is debuting its first feature film, the crowdfunded “Lazer Team,” which will begin rolling out in theaters next week and will appear on YouTube Red in February as part of Google’s new premium streaming video service.

Here’s an excerpt from the column, which ran in Tuesday’s American-Statesman print edition and on

But apart from the big expectations for a record-breaking crowdfunded film and its ambitious release schedule, the movie itself is kind of a beast. It contains 1,200 special effects shots, a large cast, lots of outdoor locations and plenty of action set pieces.

Haven’t these guys ever heard of modest indie filmmaking?

“Burnie (Burns) and I talked about that pretty seriously,” director and CEO Matt Hullum said last week at Rooster Teeth’s studio headquarters in East Austin. “Going into writing the screenplay, I did have one day where I was like, ‘Are you sure? Is this the one we should bite off? This is gonna be nuts.’ “

The response from Burns: “Go big or go home.”

You can read the rest of the article on

“Lazer Team” will be screening at several Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Austin as well as at some fan-hosted screenings. You can find a complete list at the movie’s website.