Inside Mike Rotman's Streamin' Garage
Mike Rotman has worked in television for years, but always for other people. As CEO/founder of Streamin'' Garage, he gets to be the boss of what he hopes is a budding TV empire … that he runs out of his garage. This space, attached to his Van Nuys house, is home to his TV studio and company and one of the first live Web networks to stream 24/7 in full HD. “This is a five-camera HD studio where we produce live TV shows,” he says. “It just so happens that our shows are ‘broadcast'' on the Internet.”
Rotman started his career as an intern on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1993 and went on to work on a number of other late-night shows, such as Later with Greg Kinnear and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, then transitioned to producing reality programming. “TV became a lot less creative,” he says of this period, adding that he saw more exciting potential in the burgeoning world of Web streaming. “I wanted to expand the creativity, take my production know-how and apply it to this whole new world.”
This led him to a stint offering his time and expertise to Kevin Pollack''s Chat Show, a program streamed and distributed on the Web. Soon he became co-executive producer and director there, and ideas for this new type of broadcasting were sprouting in his mind. “I decided to build my own studio,” he says.
Streamin'' Garage shows are shot using Canon VIXIA HV20 camcorders, which are wired into the TriCaster TCXD300 for TV-style on-the-fly live switching and effects. Viewers can tune in to such fare as Stupid for Movies, a talk show hosted by Mark Keizer and Wade Major of the L.A. Film Critics Association, and Super Scary Horror Theater. “It''s a scripted comedy show where we run bad B-movie horror films and come back and do comedy in between for five segments,” says Rotman.
Other programming includes Stripped Down Live with Curt Smith (Tears for Fears), Stupid for Dexter and Stupid for Fantasy Football. All shows record and air live from the Streamin'' Garage studio and can be streamed from their hub, streamingarage.com, as well as an array of Web streaming destinations including iTunes, YouTube and Roku.
For Rotman, this kind of production is the best place for audiences today to find some of the excitement and creativity that made him go into television nearly two decades ago. Referencing the classic variety show style of TV''s heyday, Rotman explains that he wants his shows to have the same kind of feel as The Carol Burnett Show, where audiences could enjoy the mistakes and surprises as much as they did the rest of the show. “I like the aspect of ‘it''s dangerous, it''s live.''”
As for the Web as the entertainment delivery system of the future, Rotman declares, “We are leading the charge to be the new network model. You can do this yourself, literally from your garage.”