FaZe Clan, Sugar23 Team to Launch New Studio (Exclusive)

Michael Sugar - Lee Trink - Publicity - Split - H 2020
Courtesy DKC

Oscar-winning producer Michael Sugar has partnered with the esports and media organization to develop films and scripted television in line with the brand's "aspirational gaming lifestyle" image.

Esports organization FaZe Clan has taken another step into broadening its media operations by partnering with Oscar-winning producer Michael Sugar and his Sugar23 production company to form a new entertainment studio, FaZe Studios.

The new studio will focus on creating feature films and scripted television series that fit the tone of FaZe's "aspirational gaming lifestyle" brand. 

The deal, initiated by FaZe Clan vp creative development, Xavier Ramos, and Sugar23’s head of interactive and gaming, Brad Foxhoven, will see the formation of FaZe Studios in Los Angeles with Sugar23 running development operations. Foxhoven will lead for Sugar23, while Ramos and Oluwafemi Okusanya, vp content, will run operations on FaZe's side. 

"The idea of graduating to more longform content feels like a natural progression," FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink tells The Hollywood Reporter. "The way we look at content is that it doesn’t matter what camera you shoot it on or the platform you put it on; the only thing that matters is how the audience feels about it."

Sugar says he's been interested in esports for a long time and credits FaZe Clan as a "zeitgeist mover." He met Trink a few years ago and sees the brand as a unique player in the esports space. "We see the chance to create content that is not specifically about gaming but about the culture," Sugar says of the partnership.

So what type of content can be expected from FaZe Studios? "Something akin to [HBO's] Euphoria or Dazed and Confused or [Netflix and Sugar23's] 13 Reasons Why or anything subversive that has a strong point of view is something we want," says Sugar.

"This will be in theaters, on Netflix — this could be everywhere," Trink says of where FaZe Studios' content will live. "We’re going everywhere you would find longform content. This is not meant to be about the world that exists now or any established rules of content. This is about disruption."

Outside of creating its own content, Trink says FaZe Studios is also open to distributing and working with outside creatives, particularly amid the current coronavirus pandemic. "We’re one of the few sports and entertainment companies that is still firing on all cylinders," he says. "We're absolutely interested in working with outside creators and releasing films through this studio if it’s something that resonates with us and our audience."

With an extensive, dedicated following of more than 215 million across its social platforms, FaZe Clan already has a considerable audience. Sugar sees FaZe Studios as a platform to reach even loftier heights. 

"I think FaZe can be tantamount to Disney or Marvel," he says. "When they do something, we want the brand to be synonymous with something that pushes culture and challenges the norm."