'Five Stories Up' Student Created Web Series Highlights Campus Talent

Student web series wins two LA Web Fest awards

May. 23, 2012 By Mark Nesbitt

Good music has the ability to get people dancing, mend broken hearts, bring people together and cause quite the stir on YouTube. Two Biola students experienced this first hand when they created a web show that highlights talent on and off campus. “Five Stories Up” is a weekly series that takes place on the fifth floor of Biola’s new parking structure and features different styles of music from various student artists.

The shows creator, junior Samuel Smith, says he came up with the show from the “idea of having performances in the parking structure.”

“I asked a bunch of people and they thought it was an interesting idea… no one really jumped on it,” says Smith, but that didn’t stop him. He enlisted the help of his friend, now producer, junior Chris Yim for the pilot episode. Since Yim is a musician, Smith had him perform on the first episode.

Smith, a film major, crafted the show with a simple idea in mind.

“I wanted this to be like you’re hanging out with your friends and one of them happens to have their guitars with them,” says Smith. “What we do isn’t new ... I was kind of inspired by John Mark McMillan … you don’t need to do a ton of editing. If I see something that’s one shot, I am more likely to believe it is live.”

Smith and Yim complement each other perfectly because they both bring something different to the show.

“Sam is great with cinematography, and I am great with connections,” said Yim. “We use both those strengths to create ‘Five Stories Up.’”

The first big episode of the show was episode three in season one when junior Lauren Bailey crooned the John Legend ballad, “Slow Dance.” Bailey’s episode is still the most viewed performance.

“We started getting emails. That’s when I saw it as being more than a side thing. People were actually interested in doing it,” remembers Smith.

“Five Stories Up” was also able to book independent artist Listener for the season two finale. The band played three songs on what is already the second most viewed episode of the two seasons.

Now that two seasons are complete, Smith says the most surprising episode for him was season one, episode six. The sun was setting as they filmed senior Madison McGinness singing “Merry Christmas.”

“The look of it, we had the sun setting in the background… it just looked really good. It is currently my favorite episode. I didn’t know that Madison was a phenomenal singer. It looked really good and she sounded really good,” says Smith.

Smith and Yim sum up the popular web show perfectly each in just one word. Yim’s being “organic” and Smith’s being “special.”

Smith’s favorite performance is season one, episode eight, the King’s Men performance of “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

“[The] King’s Men was interesting because it was the first time we weren’t at the top of the parking structure,” says Smith.

Yim’s favorite performances so far are senior Gabriella Cacanindin’s original spoken word from season one and junior Carson Leith’s original song, “My heart is the snow,” from season two.

The show will be returning for a third season and the guys behind “Five Stories Up” say that season three will be a testing phase followed by a season four that will be more focused.

Even with two awards from LAweb Fest, Smith says, “We’re young enough that if one episode doesn’t do well… it’s not going to hurt.”

Make sure to check out “Five Stories Up” on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Watch their most viewed episode below:

Written by Mark Nesbitt, Media Relations Intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at 562.777.4061 or at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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