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Michael Justin "Burnie" Burns (born January 18, 1973) is an American writer, actor, producer, comedian, host, and director living in Austin, Texas. In his final year of university, Burns was intent on making a movie.
He is a co-founder, former chief executive officer, and current chief creative officer of Rooster Teeth. Joel Heyman and Matt Hullum, who were roommates at the time, agreed to help, with the former agreeing to star and the latter helping write, produce and direct.
He is noted for his contributions in machinima, a form of film-making that uses video game technology in its production, Burns is also known for his work in the hosting and podcasting field. Blue was acclaimed for its humor and originality, making Burns an Internet celebrity. Blue, Burns attracted the attention of video game company Electronic Arts, who asked him to create a promotional series using their upcoming game, The Sims 2. They shot The Schedule (1997) over a three-month period on 16mm film for $9,000. In June 2002, Burns teamed up with his colleagues to create their first viral video, a Mac Gamer Switch parody.
In April 2003, Burns, along with several friends and co-workers, created the machinima series Red vs. Burns became frustrated with the difficult distribution process and the film only screened in a few festivals. Heyman and Hullum went to Los Angeles, while Burns accepted a position at a local tech support company. "That moment is probably the single most important moment in the history of this company.
During his time with TSTV, he founded Sneak Peek, the longest-running student television program in the world, and eventually broke out to form his independent company Rooster Teeth.
While there, Burns got his start in video production by volunteering at K29HW-D, Texas Student Television. Half of his senior year consisted of clinical rotations at Southwest Memorial Hospital. Burns' determination to pursue a medical career led him to become a member of HOSA. The nickname "Burnie" was given to him by an Alief Elsik High School senior to separate him from the many Michaels in his class. For his work on Immersion (2010), a live action series that tests video game tropes in the real world, and The Gauntlet (2013), Rooster Teeth's reality game show, he has been nominated for two IAWTV awards in the "Best Host of a Web Series (Pre-Recorded)" category. As one of the innovators in the field of machinima, he has made guest appearances at the Penny Arcade Expo, San Diego Comic-Con International, Sundance and The Sydney Film Festival.