Someday, when the concept of the YouTube celebrity makes sense to us all, footage from a documentary being shot right now about Our 2nd Life (O2L) will be shown over and over again. Think of it as A Hard Day’s Night for our time.
In a world where you need only YouTube videos to motivate thousands of tweens to jam venues, scream wildly and buy merchandise, there’s no point in being a household name. In this world, you’ve either never heard of O2L, or you really, really love O2L.
For those of us in the former category, O2L is the first “vlogger supergroup,” a band of boys from their mid- to late teens who upload videos about random parts of their daily lives, in place of perfect pop harmonies and flashy choreography.
Our 2nd Life is having such a moment that for its first North American tour, which swings from Boston to Cleveland’s House of Blues on Thursday, it has brought along Michael Goldfine to capture it all for a documentary feature film. This would be Goldfine’s second film about the world of YouTube stars, Mashable can exclusively reveal.
“I have a long history of capturing music and comedy on the road and a lot of big artists over the years, so I was interested,” Goldfine told Mashable by phone during a tour stop in Virginia. “But I wanted to make sure there was an interesting story to tell. Next thing you know … I’m on road with six guys greeting throngs of 14-year-old girls all over the country.”
Goldfine was the Hollywood half of the brains behind Camp Takota, the film released in February featuring YouTube stars Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart and Hannah Hart. Their comedy about going back to summer camp made a profit before filming was even complete, thanks mostly to merchandise and preorders sold to their YouTube subscribers. Naturally, a follow-up is in the works.
But in the past weeks Goldfine has been along for the ride on the 20-city tour staged by O2L. Everywhere they’ve gone, the six boys hear the screams of camped-out fans, force the closure of city blocks, hire police escorts to get around.
Though Goldfine has worked with Duran Duran and was an executive producer on Kevin Hart comedy tour hits Laugh at My Pain and Let Me Explain, he tells Mashable that he’s “never seen the passion that I’ve seen for these kids. I wanted to capture that.”
Filming started as the boys of O2L began conceiving of and rehearsing a stage show version of their schtick, which includes some singing and dancing — none of it very good, which is, of course, the point. The girls eat up every last goofy, honest minute of it, shrieking like it’s 1956 and they’re seeing Elvis for the first time.
“When you see it and experience it on film, it’s going to blow your mind,” Goldfine said. “They do play some music and they do some comedy onstage … They do like a whole show. But it’s about the experience and the interaction with fans.”
The traveling show, assembled by DigiTour, ends in San Francisco later this month. Fullscreen, the Culver City-based multichannel network and fast-growing full service agency for YouTubers, including O2L, is producing the film with DigiTour and will handle its release.
“We saw O2L’s potential when Sam, Kian and Jc initially appeared at Digifest NYC 2013 — they are the ideal act to take on the road because of their huge community of engaged fans,” said Meridith Valiando Rojas, co-founder and CEO of the Ryan Seacrest-backed DigiTour Media. “We’re excited O2L is headlining DigiTour 2014 this summer and look forward to working with Fullscreen on the documentary.”
The six members of O2L — Connor Franta, Jc Caylen, Kian Lawley, Ricky Dillon, Sam Pottorff and Trevor Moran — who met through their YouTube endeavors and all live in Los Angeles, kicked off the tour on May 28 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Though it was their first in-the-flesh tour, they sold out $75 VIP tickets at all venues in less than 30 minutes.
When it all started online, the boys’ clout has only begun to grow. Collectively, the members of O2L have more than 8 million subscribers. The 1,990,282 subscribers on their main account rank them 313th in the world, but consider this: They added nearly 35,000 subscribers in the past seven days. Of the 312 channels that rank higher in subscribers, only 15 added more during that time.
“O2L’s massive fan base is difficult to rival and the live production gives them the ability to captivate and engage with fans in each tour city,” said Larry Shapiro, head of talent at Fullscreen. “The collaboration with DigiTour Media has been paramount in developing O2L’s first series of live shows.”
Goldfine’s passion for his Camp Takota follow-up has as much to do with the emergence of a movement as it does with the exploding popularity of Our 2nd Life, whose recent mainstream crossovers included a partnership with Conan O’Brien to promote the MTV Movie Awards.
“This movie is not just for the fans,” Goldfine told Mashable. “It’s bigger than that. […] People who are trying to understand what’s going on with YouTubers, and all these kids connecting with this new form of entertainment, it’s for them, too.”