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Karmen & Andrews to Carry On Their Rubydog Ways at Columbia College

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Ian Phillips ’10
A&E Editor

When their high school careers began, Jon Karmen ’08 and Jake Andrews ’08 never expected they’d hit it this big. At that time, they were just two best friends making movies for the fun of it. “We were just making short comedies with our friends,” says Andrews. “We didn’t think anyone else would think it was funny,” replied Karmen.

But 2,001 subscribers and over 107,000 views later, things have changed from the duo’s humble beginnings.

Karmen and Andrews began making movies together in the 8th grade. It wasn’t until their sophomore year when the duo made Showdown that Rubydog Movies would soon be born. Since then, the audience went from a few close friends to nearly the entire student body, and even countries as far away as Argentina and Japan.

The name of Rubydog came from Jake’s dog, Ruby, “a unique dog” that never failed to make him laugh. The name suits perfectly for their body of work: each film is totally unique and no matter what, could never fail to make one laugh.

Inspired by South Park and Saturday Night Live digital shorts, Karmen and Andrews continued to make movies throughout the rest of their high school careers. They began with projects as short as Mentos and progressed into projects as long as Showdown II’s feature length running time of 1 ½ hours.

The set of a Rubydog movie may be disorganized, but the pair’s style and way of filmmaking is anything but that. “Jake will have the idea, and a lot of times we’ll write it together, I’ll do all the producing, directing and editng,” says Karmen of their collaborative work. Karmen and Andrews have broken away from the typical style of an organized script and tend to lean more towards improvisation and ideas they may think of on the spot.

Karmen and Andrews unique (and even daring) brand of filmmaking not only earned the respect of their fellow peers but also a large fan base from the administration.

English teacher Jesse Bauks had both of them in his classes at different times. He began to watch their movies on Youtube and grew a strong admiration for their filming techniques and sense of humor. Bauks was a supporting role in both Showdown II and Guidance Ninja.

“They’re both talented-[filmmaking] is their niche,” believes Bauks. “They’re two madmen trying to figure things out. They both know what they’re doing. [Jon] is always able to put it all together,” he added.

Ever since Andrews mentioned Akira Kurosawa as one of his favorite directors during his first film class, film/TV production teacher Mike Zito knew there was something special about them. He believes they not only popularized a new form of entertainment at Staples but have also changed the way his classes work. He learned a lot from about film making from them.

“[Jon] is a true director in this sense-he knows exactly what he wants from a scene,” says Zito. “They’re both talented in all facets of movies.”

There is no doubt that the success of their films on Youtube has led to the creation of many more filmmaking groups amongst the Staples community. Both look upon this as a great achievement. “It’s cool seeing other kids doing movies,” says Andrews on the subject.

Most importantly though, Rubydog Movies have helped shape Karmen and Andrews life and their high school experience. While many suffer through these four years, Karmen believes filmmaking “made [school] easier to get through” and that “Staples wouldn’t have been as fun without movies.”

The two have certainly found their niche in films. It is something they’ve found that they’re good at and will continue to improve in. “Just keep doing it,” says Karmen, “practice makes perfect.”

Just because high school has ended, the bond behind Rubydog Movies has not ended. Karmen and Andrews will attend Columbia College in Chicago in the fall where they will major in film.

“Rubydog lives on- for the next four years,” states Karmen.

Their partnership and friendship have worked so well that they may just go on even after college ends. “I’m anxious to see what they come up with in the future- I can’t wait to put down money to see their first Hollywood film,” says Zito. When this day comes, I will be first in line.

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