After premiering their new film on the big screen Tuesday at Theatre N, two local filmmakers will debut the flick on the small screen — perhaps on hundreds of thousands of them — when it's launched on YouTube this Saturday at noon.
At least, that's the goal for filmmakers/actors Jonah Green, of Hockessin, and Sam Katz, of Pike Creek. The seniors at Cab Calloway School of the Arts have come up with a plan that could make "Insight" their first viral video.
"Something that has not been explored, until recently, is viral campaigns," said Green, 17. "We've talked to a variety of very big-name personalities on Twitter and YouTube who are going to help us promote ['Insight']."
The most prominent personalities on board with the campaign includes their YouTube pal Jennxpenn (a comedian who boasts more than 170,000 subscribers and 14 million hits on her channel, as well as 40,000-plus followers on Twitter) and their Twitter buddy Alex Brittingham (the founder of urban clothing company Dose of Dope Clothing, as well as a student at Delaware Military Academy, who boasts more than 20,000 followers on Twitter), Green said.
Since Brittingham and Jennxpenn (whose real name is Jenn, but last name is unknown) have already seen an early screening of "Insight," Katz and Green say the personalities will tweet to their followers links to "Insight" on Saturday, which, ideally, will generate waves of traffic to their Mutantboyfriend Productions channel on YouTube.
"Not all of their followers are going to click [our] link, but a small percentage of them will," Green said. "When you have all these different people posting at the same time, [your film] has a very good chance of it trending on Twitter. So not only is the link trending on Twitter, but then you also have all these people sending it around. In theory, with a viral campaign, you get this really large word-of-mouth conversation going in a very short period of time."
The plot and the production
"Insight," filmed in Greater Wilmington and Landenberg, Pa., is a feature-length sci-fi/thriller centered around 17-year-old Eli (played by Green) and his ability to hypnotize people, as well as see into the future a little. A mysterious neighbor named Mr. Walker (Duncan Lynn) teaches Eli how to develop his unique gift, but the teen constantly tussles with using it for good.
Page 2 of 2 - "A big theme in this movie is the corruption of innocence. And it discusses when someone is thrust with power, it's human nature to go crazy with it," Green said. "This story kind of shows how an innocent, kind of nerdy, kid can become this giant jerk that's controlling everybody and not feeling any remorse about it."
But Eli isn't necessarily a monster.
"I think Eli is basically a good person, but he strays a little," said Katz, 18. "We want the audience to sympathize with him, even when he's struggling."
"Insight" was produced by Katz and Green via their film company, also named Mutantboyfriend Productions, on a shoestring budget of roughly $1,000. Since the filmmakers didn't have much money to shoot the flick, they relied heavily on their technical director and good friend, Ryan Stofa, a junior at Cab Calloway.
Stofa's resumé on "Insight" includes a makeshift boom microphone stand he created with random items like a painter's pole, screws, a PVC head and a girl's hair tie.
Katz and Green are convinced he's Batman.
"There was one time when I was setting up inside in one location and Ryan and Jonah were getting stuff out their cars," Katz recalled. "Jonah came in and said 'The lights are in your car, but the door is locked. Can you go help Ryan with the lights?' I'm on my way outside and Ryan walks in with the lights. I said, 'Wasn't my car locked?' He said, 'Don't worry — there was no damage.' Then I realized Ryan Stofa can do anything."
In addition to "Insight," Green and Katz have collaborated on making several sketch comedy videos since 2008, and they have a YouTube cult following of 47,000-plus subscribers. Their channel has more than 180,000 views, of which their most popular film is "Come at me, Bro" from 2010, and it has 86,000-plus hits.
Green and Katz are definitely interested in pursuing a career in filmmaking. Green was recently accepted into Florida State University, but he's attracted to the film program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and a few other schools. Katz on the other hand is eying film school at Columbia University. In the meantime, the duo says they're in the early stages of developing a comedic web series, starring the both of them. A date hasn't been set for the first episode, but it's slated for sometime this year.