Dude Perfect free virtual class recap: the road to 56 million subscribers (and counting)

iD Tech in action

We sat down with Cory and Coby Cotton of Dude Perfect to learn about their journey to YouTube legend status. In this exclusive free class, we talked all things streaming and about three awesome new Dude Perfect Virtual Tech Camp courses.

Joining us on Facebook Live from their offices in Dallas, it was clear from the sound of squeaking sneakers in the background that Dude Perfect HQ is a place buzzing with the creativity, energy, and fun their videos are known for. 

“We put our heart and soul into every video,” Coby said.

This is as true today of the dynamic duo as when they started making backyard videos 12 years ago. That was key in getting started, and it’s been a critical part of the success they’ve achieved over the years. 

Their commitment to quality over quantity is particularly refreshing in the internet world! Coby and Cory emphasized that, whether you’ve got a following in the millions or you’re just starting out, to never lose that creative enthusiasm or willingness to learn more.

For Dude Perfect, that happens with every upload, even to this day. "No matter how many videos we've created, I think we still do have that anticipation. Because as much as we feel like we've become experts in the space, you still don't really know!"

That learner’s mindset is what we’re all about here at iD Tech, and just one of the reasons we’re thrilled to team up with Dude Perfect. Here are some of the highlights from this week’s free class!

Where did the name Dude Perfect come from? 

Did you know that “Dude Perfect” very nearly wasn’t the name of this epic channel? Coby and Cory gave us the inside scoop.

The year was 2009, and they were making their first ever video as college students at Texas A&M. To get the perfect angle, they balanced the camera on a rail in their backyard, and one of their friends looked at the shot and exclaimed “Dude, perfect!” It was exactly what they were looking for, and from there it just stuck. 

It may seem like Dude Perfect’s big time fame simply comes with their territory, but it was a long road to 56+million followers! After all, “YouTuber” success stories were much fewer and farther between back when cat videos ruled the internet. It took a lot of hard work, the guts to quit full time jobs, hustle, and vision to build their channel from the ground up. 

Go with your gut, work hard, and build a great team

In a nutshell, this is what it took to go from a few buddies making backyard videos to national tours and building the amazing sets Dude Perfect is known for today.

According to Coby and Cory, making content you are passionate about, rather than what an influencer or marketing expert says is trendy, is crucial. The authenticity of something original, rather than an imitation of what’s already out there is well worth the time and effort it takes to develop the content. 

That’s why to this day, Dude Perfect only puts their name on content they’re proud of and meets the high standards of their brand. And they urge anyone following their example to do the same. 

After all, if kids are passionate about sports, or books, or DIY’s, they’re not alone! By creating the best content that personally resonates, the more likely there are other people out there who will love it too. 

So, what’s next after you create something people love to watch? Hard work, building an awesome team and…more hard work! 

Cory and Coby love working on a team of complementary strengths. In fact, they’ve found that embracing sharing successful ideas with others is essential to taking things to the next level. 

Taking that plunge can be scary, but 100% necessary, according to the Cotton twins.

Today, a typical Dude Perfect video receives tens of millions of views, spends at least a week in editing, and is honed to include just 5% of what was filmed. It truly takes a village to make a viral video. 

Their team includes experts in finance, social media, planning behind the scenes, video editing and production, storytelling—the list goes on. Teamwork really does make the dream work. 

A sneak peek at Virtual Tech Camp with Dude Perfect  

Cory and Coby’s love of what they do is matched only perhaps by their dedication to continuing to learn and grow. From adapting their format to expand to TikTok and SnapChat short form to reaching out to potential partners, for them, learning is half the fun.

And they’re so excited to share what they’ve learned with iD Tech students!

"We want you guys to learn from what we've learned, because we've learned from doing well and from struggling," Coby said. "We had a BLAST filming these, and we really think you're going to like them!" 

In Trick Shot Video Editing, Trick Shot Roblox Games with Lua, and Trick Shot Editing and Effects, virtual summer camp participants get the benefit of their expertise.

"We worked with iD Tech to put together our version of a masterclass of what we've learned over 12 years...What we wanted to do is take all of that time, effort, and experience that we've had over the last 12 years and break it down into individual courses that you guys can learn from."

In the YouTube Dude Perfect courses, that means a deep dive into the ins and outs of great video content. 

"We did stuff on editing, we did stuff on sound, we did stuff on how to film, we did stuff on special effects. And we basically walk you through some of the high points of what we've learned over those years in the hopes that it would help you guys get off on the right foot as you start either your own channel or even just making videos for your family and friends," Cory said. 

In the Dude Perfect Roblox course, kids will have access to exclusive trick shot footage they can use to rocket-launch an awesome game. In their words, Roblox is the perfect vehicle for ultimate outside-the-box design, "This is the way for you to let your mind get really creative.” 

Needless to say, we’re as excited as Coby and Cory to see what kids create in these awesome new courses!

Dude Perfect’s parting advice for young YouTubers

To wrap up the class, Cody and Cory had some excellent advice for youngsters exploring YouTube for the first time. 

During a Q&A session (with over 1200 questions submitted), one participant asked how their teenager could grow their channel to the next level. According to Cody and Cory, the best next step is to try and shake things up! There’s so much to learn from trying out different types of videos, and that’s half the fun of YouTube and really any entrepreneurial endeavor.

They recalled the time they started a lawn mowing company as kids, Twin Services, and while it didn’t take off, the proceeds purchased their first computer. That computer became their first video-editing tool, and look where they are today!

Their final advice: anyone can follow in their footsteps and have a blast learning along the way! 

Ready to jump in? Virtual Tech Camps are LIVE, and the best summer ever is in session now. 

A photo of Virginia

Virginia started with iD Tech at the University of Denver in 2015 and has loved every minute since then! A former teacher by trade, she has a master's in education and loves working to embolden the next generation through STEM. Outside the office, you can usually find her reading a good book, struggling on a yoga mat, or exploring the Rocky Mountains.