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Keeping busy on and off camera

Alum Barbara Dunkelman juggles several roles for gaming and comedy studio Rooster Teeth
January 26, 2016
By Simona Rabinovitch

Barbara Dunkelman Barbara Dunkelman, BComm 11, is community manager and on-camera personality for Rooster Teeth.

As community manager for production studio Rooster Teeth, Barbara Dunkelman, BComm (mktg.) 11, wouldn’t seem a likely candidate to have almost 330,000 Twitter followers. Yet she does — thanks at least in part to being one of Rooster Teeth’s on-camera personalities.

The Austin, Tex.-based company creates gaming and comedy web content. Dunkelman joined Rooster Teeth full time in late 2011, shortly after graduating from Concordia’s John Molson School of Business.

“I am crazy passionate about Rooster Teeth and have been for 12 years,” says Dunkelman, a native of Ottawa. “Getting to interact with all those people — who are the nicest, most genuine people on the internet — is really rewarding. I actually started out as a fan before I joined the company.”

With 1.8 million registered users on its community website, 8.5 million subscribers to its main YouTube channel (and 20 million overall) and 700,000 Twitter followers, Rooster Teeth certainly has its share of devoted fans.

In fact, those fans helped raise $2.6 million through IndieGogo crowdfunding to finance its first feature, Lazer Team. The film will be released theatrically on January 27 and on YouTube Red at a later date.

“Rooster Teeth is cool because they use a lot of internal talent for everything they do on camera,” Dunkelman says. “If they’re starting a new show, they audition people within the company first.”

“That’s how the company started,” she explains. “There were four or five guys running it and they were also the voices behind the characters, and it kind of evolved that way. Out of everyone who works at Rooster Teeth, there are 20 or 30 people who also appear in some of our shows and do voice work, so those are the people who are known to our audience.”

Dunkelman’s community manager duties include being the main point of contact for Rooster Teeth’s fans and co-directing the company’s annual RTX gaming and internet convention, which attracted 40,000 visitors last year.

She also lends her voice for several Rooster Teeth shows, including the anime series RWBY, the brand’s flagship Red vs. Blue and the series Immersion, “where we take videogame concepts and test them in real life.”

Dunkelman also acts in the company’s live action shorts and is a regular on Rooster Teeth’s podcast.

So how does it feel to have 330,000 Twitter followers? “It’s a little weird!” Dunkelman admits. “I just think of myself as some kid from Canada, but all these people enjoy me on camera and want my autograph and my picture.”

While this celebrity does come with a certain loss of privacy, Dunkelman tries to keep some of her private life to herself. Yet sharing, she points out, creates authentic community.

“There’s definitely an obligation to maintain this openness with the people who take the time to follow you, and to share your life with them,” she says.

“The reason our fans are so dedicated and passionate is because we’re so open with them and they feel a personal connection with us. And that really makes a long-lasting community.”


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