Since starting his YouTube channel a little more than four years ago, Sawyer Hartman has racked up 1.8 million subscribers (and counting) thanks to his short films, vlogs, and video challenges with other YouTube heavyweights like Tyler Oakley and Shane Dawson. Now, Hartman is stepping behind the camera, and The Parallax Theory — his first foray into writing and directing feature films — premieres Tuesday via Vimeo On Demand.
Even though The Parallax Theory is a full-length film, clocking in at 90 minutes, the story is split into six chapters, with a new one premiering each week. “We kind of wanted to take a traditional film format and not take anything away from the story but make it a little more acceptable and exciting for the web,” Hartman says.
Adapted from Hartman’s short film Parallax, which debuted on YouTube last year, The Parallax Theory follows Jonathan, a young astronomer and physicist who believes a catastrophic meteor will soon strike the earth. As he struggles to convince the world of its impending doom, he’s forced to choose between saving humanity or his own family.
“It was actually very, very similar,” Hartman says of the short and the film. “In terms of the actual storytelling, it was a lot easier to tell this story in an hour and a half rather than 10 minutes. Most of the time, 10 minutes is just not enough.:
Hartman is currently writing a feature film adaptation of his short film Welcome to Tokyo, and he’s got his eye on a few other projects — although that doesn’t mean he’s leaving YouTube behind just yet.
“I want to utilize my YouTube channel as a way to connect with my audience and keep that personal relationship,” Hartman says. “In terms of narrative content, I’ll probably do short films on my YouTube channel when time and money allow, but for the most part, I’m making a full swing into features.”