South African teenagers and teenyboppers went into a wild frenzy on Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg at the meet and greet for the premier of Spud3: Learning to Fly – starring Troye Sivan, John Cleese and new boy Caspar Lee, as the newcomer to crazy eight in the latest installment of the Spud film trilogy.

Troye Sivan, a South African-born Australian actor, singer/songwriter and YouTube mega star, with close to three million subscribers on his channel and YouTuber, Caspar Lee with a similar following caused their screaming fans to go ballistic in a manner reminiscent of Beatle Mania during the 60s.

Behind the secure barriers, security held back fans that had been waiting in line all while tweeting and instagram-ing for hours. Finally, their patience paid off – with fans able to get an autograph and selfie on their phones with their YouTuber idols and the Spud cast. This produced a double-whammy for the movie, giving producers Ross Garland, Brad Logan and the new director, John Barker, a kick-start for a box office hit.

I loved Spud3. If you’ve seen 1 and 2 and read the books by John Van der Ruit by now you will be familiar with the on-screen characters that have become known and loved as household names. Spud3 has a different edge to it – the crazy eight have evolved and grown through the trials, tribulations and shenanigans of life at a boys’ private boarding school. Being the third installment, the boys have now reached their second last year in their school career and John “Spud” Milton is on his way to becoming a young man.

To cap it all, the timing of Spud3’s release goes hand in hand with the rising YouTube star power of its young cast – landing the film’s bum in the butter. South Africa got a taste for the first time as to just how powerful a draw for fans YouTubers can be. Nowhere is this more evident than the YouTube Conventions that occur on a regular basis around the world and the “meet and greet” opportunities that they bring for fans to connect with their idols. The concept started in LA and came to fruit with a live meet and greet for fans. Then it hit major cities around the world. Social media is powerful because in seconds it reaches the masses with the when and the where. As a result, thousands of fans will come for a quick fix and personal connection with their much-loved idols. Unbeknownst to the Spud3 organisers, this power of social media would cause mass hysteria at the premiere.

I would like to leave you with my own experience at the premiere of Spud3. Listen to this…

QueenB!……..Abuzzing off

Photos by Tyde Levi

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