Looking for a series that not only pokes fun at YouTube’s prank culture, but also dives down a dark rabbit hole of no return? Then PrankMe is the show for you.
Hazel Hayes‘s PrankMe is the latest original series from online video platform Fullscreen, and it documents the story of Jasper Perkins, a YouTube prankster who will go to whatever lengths necessary to increase his viewership – and when we say he’ll do whatever it takes, we mean it.
The series premiered on Fullscreen on 28 September and was screened in full at Toronto’s Buffer Festival, where we here at TenEighty were able to watch all eight episodes in succession – and let us tell you, it’s a thrilling series if we ever saw one. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of ten things you absolutely NEED to know about the series, from behind-the-scenes deets to a few titbits about the cast.
Prepare for what is easily one of the best online series of the year.
1. The series comes from the mind of Paul Neafcy
So I wrote a series called #PrankMe for @Fullscreen and @WildseedStudios and @TheHazelHayes is directing it. SO NOW YOU KNOW
— NEAFCY (@PNeafcy) June 1, 2017
The idea for the series was first pitched to Paul by Jesse Cleverly of Wildseed Studios, who brought up the idea of doing a series “about a vlogger who becomes a serial killer and keeps vlogging”. After the pitch, the two developed the idea further and eventually pitched it to Fullscreen, who picked it up for an eight-episode run.
Speaking at the Buffer Festival screening, Paul said: “As we were writing it and as we were developing it, and even when it was in production, things just kept happening in the real world that seemed to just emphasise that it was something worth talking about and was going to be kind of pertinent.”
2. PrankMe is a Fullscreen original
Once they’d developed the idea enough, Paul and Jesse took the idea for PrankMe to Fullscreen’s Gil Kruger, who helped green-light the project, even going as far to say that it would be “Nightcrawler for YouTubers”. Pretty big, if you ask us.
The first three episodes are free via Fullscreen, so be sure to check them out! And if you like them, why not subscribe and watch the final five? They’re definitely worth it!
3. Hazel Hayes directed the entire series
100 slates in 11 days and we couldn't manage to take a decent selfie! #PrankMehttps://t.co/nLMbsfgnjB pic.twitter.com/J63nkO4Yg7
— Hazel Hayes (@TheHazelHayes) June 6, 2017
Hazel was brought on to direct the series, and we have to say that it’s definitely her best work to date. To make sure the show was as realistic as possible, she would make star Corey Fogelmanis send her vlogs to make him more comfortable with the camera, and had to practice directing without actually being able to see the camera while a scene was being shot.
Major props to her!
4. Corey Fogelmanis stars as Jasper Perkins
Those of you watching PrankMe might be wondering why Corey Fogelmanis, the actor playing Jasper Perkins, looks so familiar. Well, that might be because from 2014 until earlier this year, he played Farkle Minkus on Girl Meets World. However, don’t let his past roles fool you. He definitely isn’t playing a fun and dorky character in this series…
5. The entire series was shot from Jasper’s point of view
The cool thing about PrankMe is how it makes you feel as if you’re actually watching someone’s vlog. The entire series was shot from Jasper’s point of view, which gives it a much more authentic feel. Having the show shot in this way was very important to Hazel, which she explained during the Buffer Festival screening:
“From the first time I read Neafcy’s scripts, it was very important to me that we stayed completely within Jasper’s world, that we never broke that illusion, that we never suddenly cut to a sort of cinematic view of his life or that we saw him vlogging from behind and saw the camera. It was important to me that the audience was the camera.”
6. Bertie Gilbert stars as Jasper’s sister’s fiancé
As is shown in the series trailer, Bertie Gilbert makes an appearance in PrankMe as Sienna Perkins’s fiancé, Edward. We’ve seen Bertie play a variety of characters, and just as he always does, he managed to put on a stellar performance, this time as a meek and quiet guy who doesn’t necessarily understand online pranking culture.
7. There are a fair few YouTuber cameos
There are quite a few YouTuber cameos in PrankMe, so take a deep breath as we list them out for you: Nathan Zed, Akilah Hughes, Tom Ridgewell, Daniel J. Layton, Connie Glynn, Jake Roper, Dodie Clark, Jack Howard, and even Hazel herself!
8. The series was shot within a couple of weeks
That's a wrap on #PrankMe!!
Thanks team 💛https://t.co/UeYSCBNtqp pic.twitter.com/o8tEhRhQpH
— Hazel Hayes (@TheHazelHayes) June 11, 2017
Hazel and the cast only had a short amount of time to film the entire series, which meant they had to be at their best at all times in order to get all the necessary shots before their deadline. Time ended up being one of the biggest hurdles, as Hazel explained:
“Logistically, [the biggest challenge] was just time. Pre-production was quite quick and we had 14-15 days total to shoot all this, which sounds like a lot, but it’s not. This is almost the length of a feature film, so we were shooting anywhere from eight to 18 pages a day.”
9. The series shows how the fan-creator dynamic can get out of hand
We’re all aware that some YouTubers use their fame to exploit fans, and PrankMe shows that dynamic, albeit taken to an extreme. Whilst what happens in the show is unlikely in real life, it does raise an important message both viewers and creators should take note of.
10. Things get dark fast
And when we say dark, we mean dark. We don’t want to give anything away, but this isn’t a show that’ll leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. You’ve been warned.
Have we got you excited for PrankMe? We sure hope so! You can see all the hard work Hazel, Paul, and the rest of the cast and crew put into the series, and it definitely paid off. We were left feeling a whirlwind of emotions whilst watching, and we know you will too!
Interested in reading more? It’s a good thing we never stop writing about YouTubers:
- Hazel Hayes: Kill Your Darlings
- UK YouTubers Win At Buffer Festival 2017
- Our Ten Favourite Moments From Jack & Dean Of All Trades
- Ten Things You Need to Know About Oscar’s Hotel
- Ten Things You Need to Know About Cold by Emily Diana Ruth
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