Interview: Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, & Mamrie Hart Talk About Their New Movie, Camp Takota

With a combined 3.5 million YouTube subscribers and almost a million Twitter followers, it’s no surprise why RockStream Studios teamed up with three of YouTube’s biggest stars to lead their innovative approach to movie making, combining the traditional film production process with social media and its digital influencers for the new film, Camp Takota.

Camp Takota stars Forbes’ 30 Under 30 honoree, Grace Helbig who recently moved from My Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace” to her own channel, “It’s Grace,” creator of the “My Drunk Kitchen” series, Hannah Hart, and host of the popular series, “You Deserve a Drink” as well as Camp Takota screenwriter, Mamrie Hart. Camp Takota was written specifically for these three best friends who were on board for this project before a script was even on the table. Talk about passion and dedication.

To date, Camp Takota has tallied thousands of pre-orders and merchandise sales, many of which were made prior to the release of the trailer! What a grand testament to these YouTube personalities and their viewers! In the waves of Netflix original programming and top notch Kickstarter incentives for independent films that big studios are starting to take more serious notice of, the industry is changing greatly and these young ladies are leading the wave of another big change.

The best part? While I adore all three YouTubers (thanks to my sister, Taylor introducing me to Grace’s channel which quickly led to me discovering so many other YouTubers, including Hannah and Mamrie), this is a movie I can get behind. But don’t just take my word for it, check out the trailer:

“Camp Takota” is the story of Elise (Grace Helbig), a twenty-something aspiring media professional who retreats to a job as a counselor at her old sleep-away camp when her personal and professional lives simultaneously fall to pieces. At camp, Elise rekindles her old ties to two long-lost pals (Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart). When the future of their beloved camp is threatened, the trio bands together to save the camp, and themselves.

Impressed with the trailer and of course so proud of this trio of good friends and amazing YouTubers, I was thrilled when the opportunity came along to interview Grace, Hannah, and Mamrie. So I won’t make you wait any longer. Check out what the three had to say below as well as my favorite recent videos from each of their channels below!

What was going through your mind when the first fan reactions came in after the trailer released?
Mamrie: We had a really amazing reaction video from a girl, I don’t remember her name but she was wearing a hoodie and she was adorable with her red hair, reacting to the trailer. That was the first moment where I thought, “Oh snap,” and I was really excited not just because someone was hearing about it from a convention center but she was sitting in front of a computer watching the trailer!

During filming, what would you say was your greatest challenge or what’s one surprising thing you came away learning about filming?
Grace: The biggest challenge for me, personally was filming a movie while maintaining my YouTube channel. I married the two by (temporarily) turning my YouTube channel into Behind the Scenes of creating the film. The thing that surprised me about making the movie was how fun it was. Everyone in the cast and crew was so positive. It was such a great work environment and I think it was spoiling in a way because everyone was so great. That was one of my most surprising, favorite outcomes from creating the film.

Mamrie: Yeah, I agree.

Hannah: I feel like I’m on Family Feud because I just want to shout, “Good answer! Good answer! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

Laughs all around.

Mamrie, having written the screenplay I am wondering how much collaboration there was between you, Grace, and Hannah in regards to shaping the characters.
Mamrie: A lot of writing it was knowing them so well and…we’re definitely not playing ourselves, we’re definitely acting in roles and our personalities are reflected in it but at the end of the day, when writing, the goal is to write something that makes your friends laugh… Really, where the collaboration came in was when we were on set and they’re both so funny on their feet at changing lines or wanting to try scenes a different way. Those were always the funniest outcomes when they were in character, in the moment, improvising.

Hannah, I’m so excited about the release of your upcoming book, My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut this August. What has been the most challenging or surprising thing you’ve learned so far about writing, revising, or the publishing process as a whole?
Hannah: Well, what was really kind of great about writing was that we were filming Camp Takota simultaneously so I got to have immediate feedback. Publishing a book is a really intense, overwhelming, and awesome, awesome, awesome learning experience, a lot like filming a movie for the very first time.

Grace: Yeah, Hannah was literally back in the trailer, working on her book in between every take. It was pretty crazy.

Mamrie: And we all shared a small trailer together so we really got a (singing) behind the scenes look of the book!

Are there any Nerdfighter or pop culture references that we can expect in Camp Takota and if so, what is your favorite reference?
Hannah: I don’t think there are any Nerdfighter references in particular but John and Hank (Green) have been incredible supporters of the Camp Takota project so that in and of itself is a huge Nerdfighter reference but in terms of internet, pop culture –

Grace: We steered more towards traditional pop culture references, in the pop music world specifically than internet references as much. I don’t think there are actually any internet references other than the word, “gif.”

Mamrie: Yeah. We definitely talk about the internet in it but the great thing about this movie is the opportunity for us to expand our audience for people who aren’t as familiar with us online, for people who are seeking a movie about friendship or see a movie that resonates with them because they like to camp and they love those kinds of movies. So in trying to broaden our audience, we didn’t want to pigeon hole it or induate it with internet references.

Do you have plans to work with RockStream Studios again or create another film together?
Grace: We don’t have any solid plans right now but we all loved the experience of creating a film together and if there’s an opportunity to do something similar in the future, I think we’re all open to it.

Mamrie: Yeah. Michael Goldfine, our producer, has become a really good friend to all of us. We’d love to work with him again. I mean, you can’t go wrong when you’re making a movie with your best friends.

What are the pros and cons of having a career based online as opposed to elsewhere?

Grace: Pro to having a career based on YouTube, you have your own creative control of your own original content. (Pause.) Con, not as much social interaction. Here’s another con…VidCon! That’s a pro! I made a –

Laughs all around.

Grace: That’s a pro!

Hannah: From Nerdfighter references to VidCon. (Laughs.)

Grace: I know, I know! But…having a career online has been so amazing. Mamrie and I both started out in more traditional spaces and have gravitated towards the online space because it gives us the freedom that we want creatively and because we can reach a broader audience. The community that has developed within our content is just that, it’s a community of people that support each other and have similar interests and that is something that I don’t think you can get in traditional media. It’s so intimate and that’s what we’re trying to create with this film, an intimate experience of creating something like what we have done with all of our online content already.

Camp Takota releases via on February 14, 2014.