With the launch of its paid streaming service YouTube Red last November, and the number of YouTube Space studios increasing across the globe, YouTube continues to make good on its mission to remove the resource barriers that inhibit creativity. Further proof of this growth was offered this Friday, when YouTube participated for the very first time in the annual Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles. A presentation was held at its YouTube Space LA, and info on several upcoming genre projects on YouTube Red was revealed: including Lazer Team 2, Legendary Digital’s The Thinning, and Fight of the Living Dead: Experiment 88.
YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl kicked things off by explaining the role YouTube Space plays in the network’s approach to fostering new talent, by granting thousands of creators access, free of charge to its facilities, as well as state-of-the-art studio equipment, editing tools, and industry experts. “But above all, they have access to each other,” said Kyncl, “to brainstorm, collaborate and make fantastic content together.”
He explained, “The YouTube Space was one of the very first efforts we made to help YouTubers create more ambitious content. We wanted to give them an incubator—to provide them the tools and guidance they needed to experiment and innovate… After years of seeing our creators use these Spaces to produce content that rivals the audiences of most cable TV shows, we decided to take the next big step. Today, YouTube is all in on original programming.”
Joining Robert Kyncl was YouTube’s Global Head of Original Content, Susanne Daniels, who, in the seven months, since she joined the company, has launched 10 new series and movies. Daniels explained how YouTube is pairing new creators with veteran directors, writers, and producers in order to help them realize their projects.
“For example,” said Daniels, “earlier this year we partnered the biggest creator on YouTube, PewDiePie, with the creators behind The Walking Dead at Skybound Entertainment, as well as Maker Studios, for his series Scare PewdiePie. And Judy McGrath’s Astronauts Wanted, partnered with comedic superstar Lilly Singh for a hugely successful tour doc called A Trip to Unicorn Island. Just a few weeks ago, in late June, we announced our partnership with Lionsgate to produce the first-ever Step Up series, executive produced by Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum.”
Daniels then shared details on YouTube Red’s upcoming original films and series…
Lazer Team 2 is on its way! Yes, the crowd-funded comedy that emerged as YouTube Red’s first original movie (which premiered in February) has spawned a sequel. This time around, the titular team is sent on a deep-space mission to confront Earth’s alien invaders head-on. The film will debut in late 2017. It’s produced by Fullscreen Films and Rooster Teeth, and will again star Rooster Teeth’s co-founder and CCO Burnie Burns, Gavin Free, and Michael Jones.
Burns and Free broke the news in a video released on their Rooster Teeth channel…
Before Lazer Team 2 arrives, however, YouTube Red has two other genre productions, both of them arriving this year. In the fall, the network will debut its first collaboration with Legendary Digital Studios. (Note: Legendary Digital is Nerdist’s parent company.) In the tradition of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent comes the YA dystopian original 90-minute movie The Thinning, starring “digital influencer” Logan Paul and Disney Channel star Peyton List, as well as “a host of additional digital stars who collectively have over 45 million social followers.” The film is set in a bleak future where the population is controlled by means of a standard aptitude test administered in high school. (Needless to say, this is not your father’s SAT test.) When the horrible secret behind this system leaks out, two young heroes (pictured below) set out to bring it down…
Finally, YouTube Red’s newest project bows on August 17. A follow-up to last year’s competition reality web series Fight of the Living Dead (which debuted on CON TV), Fight of the Living Dead: Experiment 88 will put 10 YouTube stars in an abandoned, zombie-infested hospital. “No phones, no internet, no escape,” says the press release. “Who will survive?”
“Think Survivor meets The Walking Dead meets some of the biggest stars on YouTube,” said Daniels. Here’s Experiment 88‘s trailer and poster…
After the presentation, we took a very brief tour around YouTube Space’s various sound stages. On one, the set of a foreboding hotel—not unlike The Shining‘s Overlook—was in the early stages of construction. YouTube Space will allow different productions to use this set for various Halloween-related projects… On another sound stage, My Cupcake Addiction, a hugely popular series of baking and sweets-related videos, was being recorded on a small kitchen counter set.
YouTube Space doesn’t charge creators for the use of its facilities, it merely requires they have a minimum of 10,000 subscribers to their videos. The number of days creators are then granted to produce a video at YouTube Space is directly proportional to the number of subscribers they have. If creators meets the minimum requirement, they can learn more about YouTube Space here. All in all, it’s just about the most democratic professional system of film and series production in Los Angeles.
Are you a YouTube Red subscriber? If so, what’s your favorite program? Let us know below!