Marissa Tandon ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Three Youtube personalities are often referred to as the “Holy Trinity of YouTube”: Grace Helbig, a Vlogger under the name It’s Grace and co-star of the Fine Bros’ web-series MyMusic; Hannah Hart, of the web-series My Drunk Kitchen and Hello! Harto; and Mamrie Hart, (no relation to Hannah) of the YouTube channel You Deserve a Drink. All three came together to create their first feature length film, Camp Takota, written by Mamrie Hart.
The film, unlike many similar YouTube ventures, was not funded through Kickstarter or their fan base in any way. The marketing campaign was nothing short of genius; as individuals they each have a huge fan base online, and combining the three led to a surefire success in terms of sales. They promoted the film through social media, utilizing platforms on which they already had a large following of people who enjoy their work. Leading up to the release of the film the trio posted many behind the scenes vlogs from set. Camp Takota was released through DRM free digital downloads on February 14th in a fashion that Grace Helbig referred to as a “sort of reverse Kickstarter,” offering perks at different levels of payment, such as a Google hang out with Youtube’s “holy trinity.” A few days later the film was also released on iTunes.
While the marketing, according to Michael Goldfine, president of RockStream studios, made the film profitable from very early on, the film itself fell somewhat flat. The film centers around Elise (Grace Helbig), who loses her job in the publishing industry and comes home early to find her fiancé in bed with another woman. After a drunken night of self wallowing, Elise finds herself heading back to her childhood camp for the summer as a counselor, where she reconnects with her two camp best friends, Maxine (Mamrie Hart) and Allison (Hannah Hart). While the set up held great potential for a charming, witty ride, the film moved quite slowly in the beginning. The big point of conflict–the camp director’s son, Jared Meister (John Milhiser) intends to change the camp into a new wave Internet hub–isn’t introduced until nearly half way through the film. Camp Takota is filled with elongated montage sequences that function as transitions, cliche romantic subplots, and somewhat unrealistic ending.
Ultimately, what saves Camp Takota is the undeniable chemistry between Grace, Mamrie, and Hannah. Their interactions are filled with charm and genuine chemistry, and the “holy trinity” is definitely what carries the film as a whole. This same chemistry can be seen in their frequent collaborations in each other’s YouTube videos, which spread across all of their channels. Both in the movie and in their videos the three riff off of each other very well.
The film itself is a great accomplishment for the trio, for it marks a move from a short form Internet based format to a full feature length film. The fact that these three were able to connect with a studio and produce a full length film on location is an impressive feat and shows that the YouTube community does have the ability to transcend that boundary to a larger screen, as well as a longer, scripted format. For a long time it has been difficult for stars in new media to find work in “traditional media” such as film and television. Recently, however, this seems to be less and less applicable. For example, John Green has published multiple books including his best seller The Fault in Our Stars, which will release in June as a feature film, and Shane Dawson recently sold a pilot to NBC, among multiple other stories of new to traditional media ventures.
While it may take a few more projects to adjust to the new format that presents a different set of challenges than YouTube does, Camp Takota proves that the “holy trinity”, as well as the rest of their community, can make the move. The sales and online sensation surrounding the film also shows that as Internet creators make the foray into other mediums, they will bring their fan base with them and that supportive community will make all the difference to their success.
Overall Grade: B-