Putting your face in front of the camera is not the only way to get noticed on YouTube. When Benny and Rafi Fine (known widely as the Fine Brothers) started making content for the video site, they did a lot of behind-the-scenes work for major YouTubers. They eventually built up their own channel, which has grown to over 7 million subscribers — a journey of success they describe to Rhett & Link on episode 16 of “Ear Biscuits.”
After working the film festival circuit with little to show for it, the Fine Brothers decided to try their hand at online entertainment. YouTube seemed to be the place to go for “two orthodox Jews who didn’t know anybody” in the film/entertainment industry.
Home Star Runner and Channel 101 both served as inspirations for the brotherly duo to try the online platform. Very quickly, The Fine Brothers were able to accumulate a few hundred thousand subscribers on their YouTube channel. And soon after that, Maker Studios came calling, with talent and other people at the company inviting the brothers to join the company and oversee content.
At this time, Maker Studios was known as The Station, a comedy channel and group comprised of top YouTubers like Philip DeFranco and Dawson. “Within two months we were the head of creative and production for Maker Studios, had hired the entire first staff, and were producing or writing for all of those channels from November 2009 to July 2010,” said the Fine Brothers.
They wrote for Shay Carl’s shows, like “Man vs. Wife” and all of “The Perfect Life” episodes. They were also active in recruiting new talent, looking to comedy clubs to find entertainers like Nice Peter (one-half of the Epic Rap Battles duo). Talent was big at Maker Studios then, with many of the writers there now writing for top television shows like “Community.”
Then Maker Studios started to head in the direction of a giant media company, which didn’t sit well with the brotherly duo. “Vocal” about multi-network accounts, the brothers’ were more interested in being part of a “bunch of united artists growing and promoting people together” rather than part of a “content business.” A falling out between Philip DeFranco and Shane Dawson did not help keep the brothers at Maker, either. At this time, offers to run other studios came in, but the brothers realized it was time to focus on their own YouTube channel, which was originally launched in 2007.
Today, the Fine Brothers can boast a deal with Fullscreen, who will provide funding towards the brothers’ future productions with a look towards supplying content to other potential platforms.
* An earlier version of this article included an error that said The Fine Brothers were offered to join Maker Studios by Shane Dawson. It’s been amended to reflect a more accurate version of events.