Jon M. Chu Dances With Innovation
Every story on TheInsider.com is categorized into one of eight "verticals" -- TV, Movies, Gossip, Music, Fashion, Photos, Video or LOL -- but an interview with multi-hyphenate Jon M. Chu makes categorization near-impossible since he not only spans multiple platforms, but is currently creating a brand new portal through which fans can enjoy his content.
Starting June 18, Jon will launch DS2DIO -- a new YouTube dance lifestyle channel that will reunite you with some favorite LXD-ers (the storytelling/dance troupe Chu co-created) as well as present all-new programs that are designed to dance their way just as deeply into your heart. I caught up with Jon to talk about this exciting new endeavor, and find out what fans can expect as the format continues to expand.
Insider.com: What is your goal with DS2DIO?
Jon M Chu: We're trying to do some really fun different things with this channel. When YouTube came to us and said, "We want to present dance in a totally different way" -- we jumped at the chance. We always wanted to do this. With The LXD, it was always a brand with a group of characters, and now we are a network where we can help other artists with their vision. We have an amazing film crew and hope to make some innovative works and include an audience in a way we haven't before.
Insider: But given a whole channel to round out with content, obviously it can't all be straight dance, right?
Jon: Right. We call it the Dance Lifestyle Channel. For us, every show has to have some sort of dance or music but isn't necessarily the pure focus of it. We try to experiment with dance as a prank show or a scripted drama. We have the audience interactive with the characters or stories. We have classes online too. Someone in Ohio can take classes every Thursday night with the best choreographers and then they can record their own stuff. Then, the teachers review your video and give you feedback. Technology and the internet have given us the next step; the ability to take down the walls of a dance studio and go global.
Insider: One of the shows, S2Dio City, sounds LXD-esque. Is it like a sibling program?
Jon: I think we discovered with The LXD that building mythology with dance is really fun. And we wanted to expand on that and say in S2Dio City, it's a growing map and in every part of the city you see the characters appear for two minutes of their lives, and something happens -- They interact. Maybe there is a murderer. Not only the characters we build into it, but we expand on the things that we learned from The LXD and trust new narrative ideas with that.
Insider: Do you envision The LXD continuing their story on DS2DIO?
Jon: Oh, we'll definitely see more on DS2DIO. We're in talks to make it happen right now, we have to work out some things. I got a little distracted by my movie but I'm back and we have full, huge stories that we have not even jumped into yet. We cannot wait to get into it and start shooting them as well.
Insider: Right now, there are three shows -- Remixed, S2dio City, Master Class -- on the launch pad. When you look towards building out DS2DIO, what other shows are you looking to bring in?
Jon: We have a ton of other shows that we are writing and shooting right now. We have this great idea for a fashion show but for dancers. It's like the Victoria's Secret fashion show but every person is a dancer and you get to see them showing off beautiful clothes and their style. We have a show called The Floor, which is like our Step Up series. Everything will be in the studio and whenever they go out, we tell their story through text messages, web cams and other technologies which could be sent to viewers directly. People at home can interact with the story right back. We have some fun secret prank stuff coming out soon with some people you already know. We have a sports thing, just in time for the Olympics, called The Arena that's like WWE but for B-Boy battling. You learn their back stories, their rivalries and see those battles take place. See who beats who and it takes on an emotional, not just sports, perspective.
Insider: Your movies have given people a look behind the dance curtain, but there are still all these other platforms that the dance world has -- like Choreographer Carnivals. Are you interested in continuing to pull back that curtain further with DS2DIO?
Jon: Definitely, I would love to have a Carnival Show and show people what happens. Those are the fun things right now; this is just the very beginning. We don't launch until mid-June and the things are just starting to spark ideas. What we think makes being on YouTube different is that every show has an interactive component. The global internet community is very different than any other platform out there and I can't wait to hear what our users experience and begin to give us ideas because that's where the power of DS2DIO plays. We didn't call the channel The Stage because on a stage, the audience just sits there watching. We called it a "studio" because you actually get to participate and help us build the thing and we think that's really exciting.