Interview: Dude Perfect’s Tyler Toney

Posted on May 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Dude Perfect is the second largest sports channel on YouTube, with over 4.5 million subscribers and more than 556 million views.  (2021 update: over 56 million subscribers!)

They are a group of five best friends (plus a panda) from Texas who love sports, comedy and living a positive and faith-based life. Their channel is best known for their trick shots, “stereotypes” parodies, and athletes + Dude Perfect videos.  They are committed to living and sharing their faith, and their charitable work includes Nothing but Nets, Compassion International, and Herobox.

“We basically started six years ago kind of on accident,” Dude Tyler Toney told me in a phone interview.  They were all living together and enjoyed hanging out and playing games. “We weren’t really planning on making a viral video or even making a business model out of our first video. We were in the backyard in college and we just started shooting these basketball shots. It was an all grass backyard so we didn’t couldn’t really play actual games or anything. So we decided to get the video camera out and everybody wanted to top each others shots. Pretty soon we had a video and Good morning America called two days later and wanted to air it on TV.”

They have performed some wild trick shots and stunts. “I would say the hardest was one probably the first sling shot that we did. We basically went out in my families’ ranch and we had cut down this tree and basically made like a duct tape pouch and this thing would launch the basketball like 100 yards. So with the wind in the way that the ball was released out of the pouch it was pretty hard shot. So when that one finally went in we were pretty excited about that.  We started filming about 2 o’clock and filmed till dark and then got up the next morning and probably made it around lunch time so that’s was probably the longest it had taken us to make a shot.”

The Dudes are very excited about all of the athlete and performing artist guest stars who have appeared in their videos. “I continue to keep being blown away at how awesome so many of these athletes and celebrities are and how great the personalities they have are.  I mean Russell Wilson and Tim McGraw those guys were both actually incredible. Coach Carroll was awesome to work with. We got to do that thing with Odell Beckham Jr. for the Superbowl this year which was absolutely incredible. You’re just constantly reminded of how talented and how incredible these guys are when you get to see them in person. I always think the most recent one was actually the most impressive.”

“We’re really looking forward to filming with Steph Curry.  We are are supposed to film with him by the end of this year. We’ve been interacting with Lebron several times.  We’d love to film a full video with him at some point.  What’s crazy is we have gotten to the point where a lot of these athletes are reaching out to us wanting to film a video because it’s just fun for them and lets their fans and their sports audience see a different side of them that you never get to see.  We did the one with the Dallas Stars.  A lot of people they had never seen Jamie and Tyler with the helmets off so nobody really knew what their personalities were like. So it’s cool to be in a position where these athletes can reach out to us to film a video.”

The Dude Perfect crew works with the guests to come up with ideas.   “They will basically reach out and say, ‘Hey we’re interested in filming the video; what do you guys think?’ And then we kind of put the main idea of the video together and then when we’re out there they always try a couple of things — ‘I think I could probably do this shot.’  It is kind of collaborative but it works out really well.”

They have developed an even greater appreciation for the skill, professionalism, and work ethic of the athletes they have met.  “I remember specifically when we were filming with Ryan Tannehill, the quarterback with the Dolphins, we went down there to Dick’s Sporting Goods in Florida and we basically were there all that night filming.  We were supposed to be there for a few hours and we ended up staying there longer than that but he was so accurate in making these shots that it didn’t take him long at all. I think he ended up making over 10 shots in the video just because it was so easy for him to make all these different shots that we were throwing at him, so it was really cool to film that version.”

I especially enjoyed the humor of the “Stereotypes” series of parodies of obnoxious behavior.  It was clear that the Dudes are strategic as well as fun-loving.

“It was really big for us because we knew we wanted to diversify our content.  First we were the basketball trick shot guys. And then it was guys that do the trick shots in general whether it’s football, basketball, hockey or whatever. Then it was a guys who worked with athletes, celebrities and friends to film these videos.  Stereotypes was the first video series, it was kind of branching out. It was totally different than the trick shots and is actually more popular than trick shot videos I think for a couple reasons.  It reaches an audience that is so much.  The basketball stereotypes produced around 20 million views. We knew that we had to continue to do more of those videos and so that has been a theme for us moving forward.  We’ll probably be adding two new video series to our line-up throughout the rest of this year.  The stereotypes has been a huge part of our success and really kind of paved the way for how we are going to make content going forward.”

At the core of what they do is their faith.  “We are all very fortunate to grow up in Christian homes and some really good families that while we were young made sure we were in church every Sunday and then once we got a little bit older encouraged us to really make that relationship with Jesus ours.  We just feel like God has given us this platform not just to make money, not just to be famous and take a lot of pictures with people but to really influence a lot of people. And so it’s been really cool the conversations that we get to have with people who want to talk about our faith. It’s been pretty neat because for the most part it’s been really accepting I think the way we go about it helps too. I know Christians for the most part kind of get a bad rap but our main goal is just to love people in the way that God loves us and treat people the way that we want to be treated.  It’s been really cool to see the response that we have gotten from that.”

You can follow Dude Perfect on Instagram,  Twitter, and Facebook.

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