Imagine if you had a chance to hang out with J.K. Rowling before she wrote the “Harry Potter” series, but you didn’t do it. You’d be bummed out, right?
Well here’s your chance to get to know a seriously awesome YouTuber who might just be the next J.K. Rowling. Sure that’s heaping an enormous amount of pressure on Paige McKenzie,co-creator and star of “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl,” but we think it’s pretty merited — especially because she just signed a book and film deal with the Weinstein Company to tell her YouTube series’ spooky story in an expanded format.
Of course, we almost missed hanging out with her. See, Paige reached out to us about her series before, but we didn’t cover it (we get a TON of emails). Suddenly she had this amazing opportunity and we came crawling back, tail between our legs to ask if she wasn’t too cool now to speak to us.
Not only was she a total sweetheart about it all, as it turns out, her eerie series about an anonymous girl moving into a house populated with ghosts and zombies and monsters is pretty awesome (and perfect material for a YA book series – smart call, Weinstein Company).
So please, get to know Paige, get to know “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl” and if we ever blow your series off for coverage accidentally (by all means, if it’s terrible we will likely let you know), just remind us about Paige McKenzie and how we almost missed out on getting to know a talented creator — chances are, you’ll get our ear. Check out our interview after the clip.
How did the deal with the Weinstein Company go down? Were you splattered with fake zombie guts and filming and someone handed you the phone or was it email?
Paige: Ha! I wish it was that exciting. Maybe I should make up a better story like that to tell people — this is a Hollywood deal after all. No, it was a process, like I imagine most things like this are. After some back and forth with The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films we saw just how much they “got” “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl” and wanted to give the fans (old and new ones to come) a truly awesome book and movie franchise. I couldn’t say no after that! Luckily (or maybe sadly depending on how you look at it) there was no fake zombie guts involved!
It’s fascinating that the Weinstein Company wanted books from a YouTube series. Are you happy with that avenue and are you comfortable writing a book series?
Thrilled! I know my channel can be overwhelming to new visitors with over 1,000 videos but if you go to my original playlist, viewers will quickly figure out there is a very real story there and I can’t wait to tell it in book form without all the limitations doing videos naturally bring. As for being comfortable? Yes, thanks to The Weinstein Company, who have brought on an awesome, experienced, author in Alyssa Sheinmel and a fantastic editor to help me with the process!
Are you going to type it up on your awesome old typewriter?
I wish! But who can do that in this day and age? Especially when there’s due dates to be met! Maybe someday I will be able to do that.
How did the idea of “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl” come about in the first place?
Nick Hagen had the seed of the idea and approached me and my mom about doing it. We worked out the idea and kind of developed the story as we went along. We wanted something that we could keep doing on YouTube but could also be expanded into a bigger “universe” with these paranormal rules and characters we’ve set up. I’m excited to branch out beyond just what we could do with the YouTube channel and see Sunshine truly tackling the terrifying paranormal world we’ve only gotten to show a fraction of on the channel.
How closely do you relate to your character? Have you ever had a real ghost experience?
Oh gosh, she’s probably 95 percent me honestly. I knew the channel wouldn’t feel genuine if it felt like I was putting on some sort of act. Most of the things about “Sunshine” on my channel are real aspects of my personality. As for ghosts, I’ve had a few creepy things happen but nothing where I could say, “Hey look a ghost!” Probably the creepiest thing was someone started sending me Facebook messages about an evil demon being near where we were filming. But the thing was, no one knew we were filming there until much later. Seriously, we told no one and saw no one. Obviously we made it out alive. I never heard from that person again either. So weird.