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We talked to the creator of ‘The Parallax Theory’ about the end of the world

YouTuber Sawyer Hartman took a dream and turned it into a six-part miniseries.


Rae Votta


Posted on Sep 21, 2015   Updated on May 27, 2021, 10:52 pm CDT

When one man alone knows of the world’s impending doom, what happens when that man must decide between a possibly fruitless attempt to save humanity and the ultimate sacrifice?

The Parallax Theory, from YouTuber Sawyer Hartman, explores that very question in a a six-part series. For Hartman, who boasts 1.8 million YouTube subscribers, the idea for the story started in his subconscious.

“It started as a very rudimental recurring dream I had,” explained Hartman, recounting the vision of him driving down a road and seeing a dot of light in the horizon. “At the end of that three and a half minutes, a meteor broke through the sky right in front of me. It would hit, and the car would flip, and I would wake up.”

That inspired him to write the story by building backwards, both to make the short film and now for the full-length series.

“You either have the opportunity to get the audience in love with the characters, or get them to love the story,” Hartman said of his first attempt. “That was hard in the short film, because it’s a story about the characters. It is awesome that we now have an hour and a half to do that. I could have used 10 hours to do that!”

The new trailer shows the tension between the main character, Jonathan, and those around him who doubt his knowledge of a world-ending meteor.

The full-length miniseries was created in partnership with New Form Digital after a short-film incubator process. The New Form Digital series’ approach to pay-to-own content is a new facet of the VOD revolution for film and television. For young filmmakers like Hartman who grew up in the age of blockbusters and with hopes of his name in lights, it’s been an adjustment in expectations to the digital world. 

“My goal is still to get [to theatrical releases],” said Hartman. “With online media, the only thing I struggle with is the stigma of what people try to put there. If I can create what I want to create, I don’t really care where it goes or where it lives.”

The full-length version of The Parallax Theory premieres Sept. 22 on Vimeo.

Screengrab via New Form Digital/Vimeo

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*First Published: Sep 21, 2015, 1:59 pm CDT