Kian on the Intersection of YouTube and Acting for ETOnline

Back in October, while on a fan screening release of his second movie Shovel Buddies, Kian gave ET Online an interview about how he jumped from YouTube to the big screen.

“Whether it’s singing, modeling, acting, you name it, they always label you as the YouTuber, the social media kid, the social media star. It’s something that I’ve heard — a lot — but I kind of just put it to the side.”

“If I want to act, I’m gonna act. And if I consider myself an actor, that’s all that matters to me,” he says. “I get referred to as the social media kid on set, but I don’t let it bother me.” He pauses and then adds: “I try not to.”

“Acting was for sure my main goal in life. That was my ambition. That was my, like, passion from a young age,” he explains to ET. “I grew up watching Jim Carrey and I was like, ‘I want to be like him. I want to do what exactly what he does.’ YouTube was just a platform, kind of like a trampoline to, like, bounce into it at a faster rate. You know what I mean?”

“I’m known as a person who, like, steps out of the comfort zone,” he explains. “Who kind of breaks the rules and crosses the line in the sense of making YouTube videos. I don’t really follow the rules of like — not traditional, but how everyone does YouTube. And it’s kind of made me more cautious and conscious of what I put into my videos. Like, I’m looking out for stuff that could hurt me in the future or could possibly be bad for my– You know…” He tosses his hands in the air as he tries to think of another way to phrase it, but ultimately fails. “My brand. Or my career. I’m just kind of aware of how I make my videos now. I act like a kid and I feel like I need to grow up a little bit. A little bit. Not too much.”

Read the original article here.

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Kian Lawley on the New York Times

“Acting Coaches and Rehearsals: YouTube Stars Are Getting Movie-World Lessons”

“Kian Lawley, who will be seen in “The Chosen” next month and “Shovel Buddies,” echoed that thought. “It’s hard to act in front of a lot of people,” Mr. Lawley said. “When I do videos, it’s just myself.”

His solution: “I kind of blocked it out,” he said.”

“But sometimes the advice from well-meaning acting coaches was a little too abstract. Mr. Lawley recalled one suggestion that before a scene he imagine that a vulture was perched on his shoulder, offering advice.

“It just kind of weirded me out,” he said.

The most useful lesson for Mr. Lawley came not from a coach, but from an older actor on another forthcoming movie, the supernatural thriller “The Chosen.” He suggested jumping up and down before scenes to get the juices flowing.

“It gets me focused,” Mr. Lawley said.”

Link: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/26/acting-coaches-and-rehearsals-youtube-stars-are-getting-movie-world-lessons/?_r=0

“Can 20 Million YouTube Fans Make ‘Smosh: The Movie’ a Hit?”

“Plenty of Hollywood players, dazzled by Internet stars’ D.I.Y. industriousness and intense connection with an audience of millions, agree. Two other movies featuring popular digital personalities are opening the same week. In “Bad Night,” the YouTube stars Lauren Elizabeth Luthringshausen and Jenn McAllister play high school students mistaken for art thieves after wandering off from a field trip. And the supernatural film “The Chosen” features the YouTube and Vine comedian Kian Lawley as a teenager forced to battle his demon-possessed niece.

By year’s end, at least a dozen more movies featuring Internet stars are expected to be released online and in a smattering of theaters.”

“On a rainy night in the San Fernando Valley this month, a similarly cast movie was halfway through a speedy 20-day shoot. “Shovel Buddies,” part “Stand by Me,” part “Outsiders,” follows the adventures of a group of teenagers rushing to complete the “shovel list” of a friend who just died of leukemia. Joining Mr. Lawley, 19, who has more than 2.7 million subscribers on his main YouTube channel, is Bella Thorne, 17, best known for the Disney Channel series “Shake It Up.”

Mr. Lawley’s social-media impact can be impressive. After the first day of rehearsals, Simon Atkinson, one half of a British directing duo with Adam Townley (jointly credited as Si & Ad), took a photo of himself and Mr. Townley leaning against a wall and posted it to his Instagram account.

Mr. Lawley shared the image with his own Instagram followers. Sitting in a West Hollywood bar, the directors were dumbfounded as the tally of likes climbed past 150,000; by the end of the night, that figure had topped 250,000 and there were more than 100,000 comments. “We watched firsthand the power of it,” Mr. Atkinson said.”

Link: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/movies/can-20-million-youtube-fans-make-smosh-the-movie-a-hit.html

Shovel Buddies article on Teen Vogue

“The sun’s going down as we watch the cast of Shovel Buddies prepare for a night shoot amidst huge flood lights and even bigger mountains of dirt. The flick—produced by Awesomeness Films and starring Bella Thorne, Kian Lawley, Alex Neustaedter, Philip Labes, and Anton Starkman—takes place mostly over the course of a single night. “The tone of this movie has to be in the shadows,” writer Jason Hellerman explains. “For these characters, in the darkness of their own lives, it’s weird if it’s sunny out.”

The plot, which centers around a group of friends trying to complete the dying wishes of a leukemia patient, Sammy, is bound to have its share of serious moments. Surprisingly, there’s plenty of humor here too (think the darkly funny kind). When Sammy’s friends receive a posthumous Snapchat request—to bury him in his football jersey—they wind up accidentally stealing the body. You probably don’t need us to tell you this, but things start getting a little out of control after the unintentional body snatching.

It’s the kind of story that will make you laugh and cry in equal parts, mostly because it feels so true to life. That definitely has a lot to do with Jason’s inspiration; his own friend Mike was diagnosed with stage IV leukemia, and passed away. To come to terms with his own feelings, Jason channeled his energy into rewriting the script until he felt he had fully tapped into his characters’ emotions. So if you watch this and notice that the characters are behaving and reacting like actual, non-imaginary people would to a friend’s death, you’re right. As Bella puts it, many of the characters give off certain first impressions, but there’s definitely much more complex stuff to be unraveled underneath.

“People tend to be glamorized when they pass away, so the film is about realizing who someone is, in both their positive and negative qualities,” echoes Philip, who plays Sammy. His positive qualities? “He made it about trying to enjoy your life while you’re alive.”

Click through our slideshow for the full scoop on the shovel buddies, introduced by the ones who know them best: Bella, Kian, Alex, and Anton.”

Slideshow: http://www.teenvogue.com/gallery/bella-thorne-shovel-buddies-set-visit

“Kian Lawley as Dan,(Sammy’s Best Friend)

“Dan is a badass. He gets himself into trouble a lot by saying what’s on his mind; he speak freely. He doesn’t really care about other people’s feelings. But deep down, he does care a lot about his friends. Dan’s more direct, he doesn’t beat around the bush. Overall, he’s badass though.”

How Kian relates to Dan:

“My character is very outspoken. He speaks his mind and doesn’t really care about other people’s feelings when he says it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I do that! But sometimes I say things that probably shouldn’t be said, at the wrong times. I’m one of those people that giggle at a funeral, just randomly. But he still has values and values his friendship with Sammy—he’s authentic.””

Gallery: