Twin filmmakers: ‘Skyrim 2012’

The latest explosion in the gaming world is undoubtedly the RPG Skyrim, and if you’re a fan, chances are you’ve seen the “Skyrim 2012” videos circling the Internet. Would you believe that those satirical short films started right here at Oakland University?

Communication and graphic design senior John Grosjean and his twin brother Justin, a senior at Michigan State University, posted the first video about three weeks ago on their Youtube channel, GroBroPros (short for Grosjean Brothers Productions), with low expectations.

The two debated uploading the video, but when they awoke the first morning after posting it, they were shocked. The video hit 300,000 views in just one day.

Gaining attention

Media has steadily highlighted John and Justin’s work. Their videos have been featured on popular sites such as Kotaku, Game Informer, Digg, Reddit and more.

“It’s really humbling and encouraging that people enjoy it so much,” John said.

The first video in their Skyrim series hit one million views, including a 98 percent like ratio, in just two short weeks. This alone offered encouragement and assured the Grosjean’s that their work was enjoyable, rather just another viral video.

The brothers have been contacted by the Phoenix Comicon, one of the largest conventions in the U.S., which draws people from all over the country, about featuring their short films.

It’s a real honor, they both said.

“Typically films need to be submitted for such an opportunity,” John said.

The convention sought out the brothers instead of the other way around.

The two are currently trying to find the money to get to the event.

John and Justin have also been contacted by CBS concerning their involvement in an up and coming TV show, though nothing has been set in stone yet.

Although the two do receive minor compensation due to their high views on YouTube, they say it’s nothing they can live off of just yet. Instead, they’re focusing on the exposure and the opportunity to build a dependable relationship with their fans.

“We’d still be doing it if we weren’t getting paid,” John said. “If you don’t have viewers, what’s the point?”


Twin talk

Any artistic expression within the confines of a group requires excellent communication, especially when it comes to the creative process. This is where John and Justin have a biological advantage.

“Being twins, we’re always on the same wavelength,” John said.

Geographical distance due to school has forced them to film without each other on occasion, but the two prefer working with one another versus other students. Otherwise, it becomes too much of a battle, they said.

“Everyone is trying to make a name for themselves and get out of school,” Justin said. “They become ‘me-monsters.’”

The two credit their exceptional communication skills to the unwavering trust they experience as siblings, and as identical twins on top of that.

Justin focused on the brothers’ ability to understand each other despite verbal cues.

“I can meet him at the other end of the idea,” Justin said, explaining their unique creative process.

Their celebrated social skills don’t end with themselves. The brothers have received great feedback and praise for their socializing online.

John and Justin are persistent about communicating with their fan base and they try their best to include them in production decisions.

It’s always beneficial to roll your ideas off of someone else first, they said.


Family production

What started as a childhood fascination has flourished into cinematic passion.

And it really is a family production. Aside from the two brothers, John’s wife, Alaina is also part of the production team. She does all their cinematography.

The two said they had to give her a quick run-through with the basics, but that she swiftly acquired the talent.

“It’s like (Alaina) has some kind of tri-pop arms — she’s like a machine,” Justin said.

As for the films, a lot of the work is improvised.

There are certain set arches and plot lines to hit, they both said, but never anything that can limit their work.

“We never sit down and write out line by line what we want to say,” John said. “That’s too confining.”

From start to finish one of their films takes about two weeks to complete.


What’s next

The future is limitless for the ambitious Grosjean brothers.

The two have recently filed Grosjean Brothers Productions as an official company. Working as an LLC they can separate and manage their finances easier while building their repertoire.

They hope to do about six to eight episodes of their Skyrim series, the next of which they are currently working on.

They are also planning a series based off one of their other short films, “I’m Alive.”

Right now the two get their music off a website for free, but they hope to use their own in the near future. John, who plays guitar, is ecstatic about the idea.

They’re also working on establishing their own website, aside from social media sites.

The two have been recruited to shoot a music video for former American Idol contestant Drew Machak of Royal Oak.

Although they are incredibly grateful for the success and recognition they have received, the two aspire to convert to full-length features in the future.

With their college careers soon coming to a close, the brothers hope to make that a reality soon. As their schedules open up this summer they plan on producing films extending roughly 20 minutes.

The brothers have big plans in store for Grosjean Brother Prouctions and say they are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.


Grosjean Brothers Productions





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—–Contact life editor Clare La Torre via email at [email protected]