The Internet sensations boast more than 5.5 million followers on YouTube, 4 million followers on Instagram, and 2.5 million followers on Twitter. Unlike celebrities who take on a wide range of roles, Helbig, Hart and Hart (no relation) have made a living being themselves and inviting viewers into their wacky worlds.
The trio returns to the big screen with their latest film, “Dirty 30,” a comedy about an epic thirtieth birthday gone wrong. The story follows three friends who are all stuck in a rut: Kate (Mamrie) is turning 30, lacks a dating life and spends her days at a middling job, Charlie (Hannah) has the girl of her dreams but can’t get her act together, and Evie (Grace) is married to an intolerable guy with in-laws from hell. As Kate’s thirtieth birthday comes around, she takes a look at her life and doesn’t like what she sees. The solution: a killer birthday bash!
Aside from collaborating on each other’s YouTube pages and projects, Hart, Hart and Helbig previously starred together in the 2014 film “Camp Takota.” Grace and Hannah also collaborated in the action-superhero comedy “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl,” an updated version of Sid & Marty Krofft’s classic ’70s TV series. With “Dirty 30,” the three best friends continue their legacy, and this time, they’ve brought along some of their closest friends.
What experiences from the first film helped you prepare for your second film together?
Grace Helbig: I think we were more mentally prepared for how exhausting the days would be. For “Camp Takota” we were running on pure adrenaline of how exciting it was to make our first film. But the days are long, it was just the three of us, for the most part, and this time around it’s an ensemble cast. So it was nice to have other people with us on set. But for myself, I understood mentally that this was going to be 3-4 weeks of very intense days and I wasn’t as surprised at how tired I was or how loopy you get at 5am after a night shoot.
Mamrie Hart: We’ve learned even more how to work with each other. When one person is having a low energy day, the other can step it up. There’s a collective amount of energy, and we’re each on different levels each day.
Hannah Hart: I learned as much as I could possibly learn, because “Camp Takota” was my first time acting. [This time around] I was really happy to work with a bigger cast.
Grace: We also got more perspective on how to be able to help each other with scenes because everything is shot out of order and you’re trying to think of so many things. It’s helpful to have each other there on set, even if we’re not in the scene to tell us: “Hey dude, you just did 20 pushups before this scene, remember you should be out of breath.” Small things that maybe we wouldn’t notice in the moment.
Mamrie, what inspired you to write “Dirty 30?”
Mamrie: I was a camp counselor and did go back to camp after a breakup. Not in my late 20s, but senior year of college. So [“Dirty 30”] happened from me turning 30 and feeling really comfortable with it, but seeing my friends who weren’t handling it as well. I also wanted our next movie to just be pure fun and one way to do that was add an ensemble cast, kind of like “Can’t Hardly Wait,” with multiple storylines in one night. In “Camp Takota” every scene rode on our shoulders, and it was really nice to bounce off other energies.
Was the character Raven (Adam Lustick) based on someone in real life?
Mamrie: I will say that my first few months in New York I made out with a guy. I was very drunk and the next morning we were like, “let’s ride into Manhattan together.” So I get on the subway and I was like, “I don’t know this person’s name.” So I coyly prompted it and he was like “Scorpion.” [laughs] I was like, “oh, no!” It was Scorpion. I don’t know if Raven sprung from that or just something else.
Grace: How do you spring that up?
Mamrie: So I said, “Mamrie is a family name, where did you get your name from?” And he’s like, “Scorpion I just gave myself.” We didn’t follow up.
Do you think male YouTubers have more cross-over opportunities than women YouTubers?
Hannah: I think all women in all industries have more obstacles than men.
Mamrie: I don’t. The features we’re doing on YouTube are based on our own production companies. So I feel like there might be more obstacles if we were trying to be in other people’s work. But since we’re doing all self-created work it’s talent-based, not gender-based.
Grace: I think hard-working people have more opportunities no matter what on YouTube, regardless of gender. I can say for myself that I feel like I’ve gotten a ton of opportunities in the digital space and not a lot in the traditional space when I was first starting out. If anything, being a female has afforded me opportunities on YouTube that I necessarily didn’t have in doing traditional comedy and auditioning in TV and film, and that whole world.
Is it harder for people to create a brand on YouTube now than before?
Mamrie: I think it’s very oversaturated.
Grace: To think about starting right now is terrifying, but it’s also kind of what Mamrie and I did when we started in entertainment in general. We were trying traditional, [there were] so many people doing it and I think that’s why digital was so exciting because it felt like there weren’t that many people. There are no gatekeepers. So all the things we want people to cast us in, we can just make ourselves.
Mamrie: But I do think that if you are going to start doing it to make a name for yourself in entertainment, don’t be a copycat. Just do exactly what you think is unique, fun and specific to your personality, that others aren’t doing. I feel like a big trend is just to model your success off someone else and I don’t think that ever works in the long run.
Hannah: I think that you should just create if you have the urge to create. There’s a lot of other careers you can pursue to seek attention. If people want validation, there are other ways to get that. But if you just want to make stuff and put it out there so people can see that, great. Do that. Nothing is ever going to stop you. We have so much access to video and audio recording equipment that it’s kind of the new pen and paper.
What would be one of the most rewarding things to come from “Dirty 30?”
Mamrie: I think the biggest rewarding thing would be to see one of our friends and people in it get more work based on this.
Grace: We were able to fill the cast with our friends who are digital creators, friends that Mamrie and I have had from the New York comedy scene and people who auditioned that ended up being amazing. We all had opportunities where someone paid it forward to us at some point so it’s nice to follow that.
What’s next? Do you want to continue playing yourselves, or portraying other characters on screen?
Mamrie: I want to pull a straight up Robin Williams in like five years and go for some serious roles. Hannah also has a book coming out!
Hannah: Yeah, “Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded,” available in stores and everywhere on October 18. I have a TV show on Food Network that’s coming out. I also hope that as my career continues I get to create and work on more LGBT projects and bring LGBT storytelling into more mainstream media!
Grace: I want to do whatever people allow me to do with great people and have a great time doing it. I feel like I have no real solid plans like, “this is what I’m going to do and I will do it by 2017″ or whatever. It’s just been this wonderful, happy accident. Something like, “You want me to make a movie with you? Yes, let’s do that!”
Mamrie: Continuing work that doesn’t feel like work!
“Dirty 30” will be released in limited theaters and digital services including Apple’s iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, FandangoNow, CinemaNow and Vudu on September 23.