CHS alumnus directs video series about college life

Back to Article
Back to Article

CHS alumnus directs video series about college life

Flickr

Flickr

Flickr

By Dana Harris and Ben Fox

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The music starts, the drinks are poured, and two attractive college students introduce over a million viewers to the world of I’m Shmacked.

The YouTube documentary web-series, which focuses on the party scene at some of America’s biggest universities, has built a huge national following over the course of its two-year existence and is increasing its presence as it showcases some of the country’s craziest college parties. Each video has been viewed over a thousands times.

CHS Class of 2010 alumna Arya Toufanian, one of the original two founders of I’m Shmacked, came up with the idea during his time as a Bulldog.

“The idea originated after I entered the publishing industry in high school by writing my first book and being rejected due to a lack of a platform,” Toufanian said.  “We started I’m Shmacked as a platform to sustain the things we wanted to build in life.”

The seeds of I’m Schmacked began to grow during Toufanian’s time at George Washington University as a 19 year-old sophomore.  It was during this time he met his future business partner Yofray Ray in a chance meeting at a New York train station.  After discussing their shared passion for film, the two decided to join together to film their experiences at various colleges and universities.

“The videos focus predominantly on the social scene while highlighting academics, Greek life and athletics,” Toufanian said.  “Not everyone drinks in college, and that is more than okay.”

For some CHS seniors, watching the craziness of I’m Shmacked gives a peek at what the next four years of college might be like.

“I think I’m Shmacked videos are funny and definitely make me excited for college,” senior Eve Jaffe said.  “But it didn’t have any influence over where I applied or wherever I’ll end up going.”

According to senior Jake Cohen, however, viewing I’m Shmacked videos helped broaden his choices of potential colleges to attend.

“It showed a lot of social life and ways of making connections with other students while also having a good time,” Cohen said.  “It gave me more attention to schools I might not have looked at normally.”

While I’m Shmacked has caused some students to become excited for college life, others believe that the videos only focus on certain parts of college, such as binge drinking, while excluding the learning aspect.

According to a disclaimer provided by each video, “No alcohol or illegal substance is used during filming, just props.”  This disclaimer is provided to protect the identities of the college students portrayed in the video, but it is easy to doubt the legitimacy of this statement.

“[I’m Shmacked] made me wary of schools where I heard there was heavy drinking,” senior Melissa Adler said.  “I feel like some students go to college just for the parties and not to actually learn.”

Those who believe that I’m Shmacked’s negative portrayal of college culture outweigh its benefits as entertainment need look no further than the events surrounding its visit to the University of Delaware.

After news of the web series’ planned visit to the campus erupted over social media, students rioted against the I’m Shmacked visit, causing mayhem and damage to the campus.

“University of Delaware was an isolated incident due to a few unruly individuals,” Toufanian said.  “[It has] nothing to do with I’m Shmacked.  We don’t advocate or encourage drinking or illegal behavior. It is stupid and makes our generation look bad.  Our generation is better than that.”

Despite incidents involving the perceived illegal activities of their subjects, the videos have maintained a strong following and increased in popularity over the past two years.

“We did expect the videos to be popular, but I don’t think we could have predicted how popular they would become in such a record time,” Toufanian said.

According to Toufanian, Fox Business News recently valued the growing company at around $5 million.

“I’m Shmacked just finished negotiating a television deal with a major Hollywood studio,” Toufanian said. “We are currently in Mexico for the entire month of March doing festivals for Spring Break.  We are touring Europe and North America in the spring and continuing our journey as a young company.”