Student behind $2 mil Kickstarter campaign
By Dan O'Brien
June 03, 2014
A recent Emerson graduate looking for work in the entertainment industry already has a big success on his resume.
Tim Taylor ’14, a native of Hampstead, New Hampshire, launched a highly successful online fundraising campaign to create the Blue Mountain State film. After netting nearly $2 million in May, Kickstarter declared the campaign the third most successful in the Film & Video category on its site in recent weeks.
“I am amped for this film to be made,” said Taylor, who majored in Writing for Film and Television. “It feels really awesome to be a part of a small screen-to-big screen resurrection.”
Spike TV canceled the Emerson alumni-created show Blue Mountain State in 2012 after three seasons. The cult comedy is about a fictional university and its football team, poking fun at stereotypical aspects of American university life, including sports, hazing, sex, and partying.
Taylor, who just completed his final semester at Emerson College Los Angeles, got connected through the College to Blue Mountain State creators Eric Falconer ’01 and Chris “Romanski” Romano ’00, who visited the Los Angeles center in March and expressed interest in having a recent graduate help with the fundraising campaign.
Blue Mountain State creators Chris "Romanski" Romano '00 (left) and Eric Falconer '01 (second from right) at Emerson College Los Angeles in March with Michael Mara '81, an Emerson Overseer and Falconer's uncle, and Amy Grill, director at Emerson LA. (Photo by Dan O'Brien)
“I met with Chris, Eric, and almost the entire cast the night they finished filming the Kickstarter video,” Taylor said. “We had a long dinner and they wanted to bring me on.”
Denise Richards is greeted by fellow Blue Mountain State cast member Alan Ritchson in the movie's Kickstarter video.
Because of legal issues, Romanski and Falconer did not own the rights to the social media accounts used to promote Blue Mountain State when it was a TV show.
“We were left to start from scratch,” said Taylor, who created Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine accounts specifically for the campaign to make Blue Mountain State a movie.
The movie’s Facebook page now has more than 84,000 likes; the Twitter account has more than 52,000 followers; and Instagram has about 10,000 followers; and 9,000 subscribers to the Vine account, which is for exclusive donors.
Blue Mountain State cast members Frankie Shaw and Alan Ritchson in the movie's Kickstarter video.
Taylor called the start of the campaign “an uphill battle… in terms of outreach.”
“I’d never worked on a Kickstarter prior to this,” he said. “After the first week, there was a dangerous lull, so being able to crawl out of that hole was a tremendous feat and did leave me a little surprised.”
Taylor said he and his team infiltrated networks of loyal followers of the show from Netflix and Hulu, used Reddit, and worked with the website TotalFratMovie.com, which promoted the campaign for an entire week and included interviews with cast members, Falconer, and Romanski.
Romanski and Falconer in the Kickstarter video.
“It was a matter of getting the word out and teaching people about Kickstarter, and how to be a part of it,” Taylor said. “The following from Netflix and Hulu [was] there, but it was our job to tap into it.”
During the Spring 2014 semester at Emerson Los Angeles, Taylor was an intern for Comedy Central’s Development Department. He is working temporary behind-the-scenes jobs and will begin auditioning for commercials in the coming months.