VidCon: Grace Helbig Announces Summer Road Trip Series '#HeyUSA'
The YouTube star will travel the country with friend and fellow actress Mamrie Hart in the digital series.
YouTube star Grace Helbig is teaming up with friend Mamrie Hart for road trip digital series #HeyUSA — and they've asked their fans to help plan their adventure.
Helbig announced the project during her keynote presentation at VidCon in Anaheim, Calif. The series, which premieres July 1, will air three short episodes each week during its eight-week run. At the end of the season, the show will be repackaged with new content and released in September as a series of 12- to 22-minute episodes.
Helbig, the star of YouTube channel it'sGrace, and Hart, the comedian behind the show You Deserve a Drink, will use social media to connect with their fans while they are on the road. That could mean uploading videos to their individual YouTube pages and posting to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the trip. They also will solicit fans for advice on what to do and whom to visit at each of their destinations.
"It feels very innovative," Helbig tells THR. "It's taking a traditional idea like a travel show and infusing it with something that Mamrie and I already do in our regular lives, which is consult with the audience."
The multiplatform project comes from Billy Parks and Nick Shore at Astronauts Wanted, a transmedia content brand helmed by former MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath. Parks and Shore are executive producing the series with Bleecker Street Entertainment's Ken Treusch.
Parks says that there is a dedicated social team for #HeyUSA that will monitor fan conversation and adjust the show as it goes. The production staff also will integrate Helbig's and Hart's vlogs from the trip into the episodes to create a series that feels like a cross between an Anthony Bourdain travel show and a road trip video diary.
"We don't want everything to feel very contrived," he adds. "They're very good at finding great moments and communicating how they're feeling and bringing the audience along. We want them to feel like they can shoot things without a crew."
Production on #HeyUSA has begun, with Helbig and Hart traveling to Alaska for their first stop. Helbig says they've already experienced some travel woes, including lost luggage and food poisoning, but she notes that fans will experience both the highs and the lows.
"We really want our audience to feel like they're with us," she says. "We're capturing everything that we can."
Helbig, who was named to THR's inaugural Silicon Beach Power 25 list, is repped by WME, Bleecker Street and YouTube multichannel network Fullscreen. Hart is repped by CAA and Bleecker Street.