Rooster Teeth, Our 2nd Life, Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas are among the most prominent success stories of YouTube’s world of short-form video. Now they’re setting their sights on long-form success: films.
They’re all making movies for Fullscreen Films, a new division of multi-channel network (MCN) Fullscreen that is planning to launch a series of films starring popular creators from YouTube and Vine.
Rooster Teeth’s film plans are not a surprise: the studio raised nearly $2.5m (£1.7m) on crowdfunding site Indiegogo in 2014 to make Lazer Team, with its plot in which “four small-town losers stumble across an alien crash site”. The film is currently at the post-production stage.
Our 2nd Life was a hugely-popular group of American video bloggers (vloggers) who split up in 2014. Fullscreen is producing a documentary called #O2LForever about their final North American tour.
Grier and Dallas, who both have large audiences on Vine and YouTube, will co-star in a baseball movie called The Outfield, which will be directed by Fullscreen’s own chief content officer Michael Goldfine.
Can popularity in short-form YouTube clips (or even shorter-form Vine skits) that are watched for free translate to success in feature-length films that are paid for? Actually, yes: it can, and not necessarily on cinema screens. Goldfine should know more than most.
He produced Camp Takota, a film released in 2014 starring YouTubers Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart. According to Fullscreen, the film sold “hundreds of thousands” of copies on iTunes and other digital stores.
Another YouTube star, Shane Dawson, saw his Not Cool film become a top-five hit on iTunes in September 2014 too, while Cameron Dallas topped the same chart in December with his film Expelled.
Fullscreen will be hoping that his online popularity, together with that of the other stars working with its new division, will fuel similar success in 2015.
Rooster Teeth’s main YouTube channel has more than 8 million subscribers, while Our 2nd Life’s has 2.9 million while individual members Connor Franta, Sam Potorff, Trevor Moran, Ricky Dillon, Jc Caylen and Kian Lawley have millions more on their own channels.
Meanwhile, Dallas has 3.1m YouTube subscribers and 6.8m Vine followers, while Grier has 4.1m and 10.9m respectively on those services. These online audiences are an ideal base to drive purchases on iTunes – and perhaps increasingly bums on seats at cinemas too.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Monday 26th January 2015 10.51 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010