Way back in January, when the first-ever trailer for the movie adaptation of John Green's heart-wrenching YA novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was released, we worked with 20th Century Fox to bring Teen readers the ultimate contest: a chance to win a trip to the NYC premiere of the film, starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff and more. The only thing you had to do — apart from the usual provision of your name, age, phone number, etc. — was submit your reaction to the tear-jerking footage.
Fast forward to today, months after the contest began, our winner, Cara Engh, claimed her (awesome!) prize, and attended the red-carpet premiere of TFiOS! This is her story:
The day the trailer for The Fault in Our Stars released was a day that was long anticipated by me and MANY other Nerdfighters. I had been following the whole process of the movie being made and before that, the book coming out! I was in school when the trailer was released so right when I got home I hopped on to my laptop and went on YouTube. Before the trailer started and before the feels began, I saw an annotation pop up on the screen. It said something along the lines of, "record your reaction for a chance to win tickets to the premiere of TFiOS!" So I paused the trailer, got up and grabbed my handy dandy Canon, set it up on my dresser and pressed record. I then thought to myself, "Am I really about to do this?" Before I could psyche myself out, I pressed play. As you can see in my reaction video, the feels were quiet intense — so much so, I had to cut out parts at the end where I had started sobbing. The trailer was really surreal to me because it looked exactly how the book depicted the images in my head. After I posted the video I went about my normal ways: school, homework, Tumblr, etc.
A couple days later, I decided to check up on how many views my video had received. I remember that moment very clearly, I was on the phone with my best friend and I was looking at my notifications when I realized I had a lot of comments on my video. As I scrolled down to see who had commented, I saw it. I saw the name VLOGBROTHERS! Before I could even read what had been said I started hyperventilating and crying scaring my friend and my family, the hysteria only worsened when I saw exactly what John Green, the author of TFiOS, had commented. "Oh man, I hadn't cried at all in the last two days until I saw THIS video. Thanks for making this!" That comment made my life. I could die happy! John Green, my (and many others) favorite author/YouTuber commented on MY video. It was honestly unreal and showed me how much of a community the Internet really is. That comment was honestly enough for me (as it would have been for any fan of the novel).
But then a couple of weeks later I was sitting in my room again when I got a tweet from @teen saying that I had won the reaction video contest. I was going to New York to see The Fault in Our Stars in the same theater as Ansel, Shailene, Nat, and John! My reaction was pretty much like seeing someone win the lottery. Nothing much to really stare at, just a teenage girl crying tears of pure joy on her kitchen floor while trying to explain what had exactly happened to her confused parents!
Over the weeks leading up to the premiere, the tiniest of updates about the trip would make me giddy. I had the opportunity to connect with a lot of other people on the Internet via Twitter and YouTube. We would geek out over news of the movie and nerdfighteria together. Next thing I knew, it was June 1 and the next morning I would be leaving to go to the city that never sleeps to see the movie adaptation of a book that morphed my life. So at 5am on June 2, I woke up and my best friend Kaci, my dad and I headed to the airport. You could feel the excitement throughout the plane! As we landed in New York, my best friend's first time in the city, I turned to her and said, "Today is going to be the best day of our lives. Okay?" And she so appropriately replied, "Okay."
In the airport, we were greeted by a driver and a really expensive car that was taking us to stay at the Ritz Carlton right across from Central Park. (As if going to the premiere wasn't enough.) We had a few hours to do some sightseeing throughout the city and what not! We got back to the hotel had a delicious lunch and if that meal was a person, I would take it to Vegas and marry it 😉 We then went up to our room and got ready for the premiere. Once we looked TFiOS appropriate, we walked down to the Ziegfeld Theater where there was a TFiOS blue carpet and fans galore! We met our 20th Century Fox host, Noah, who introduced us to many social media correspondents, all who were extremely friendly and eager to talk about the book and movie. My friend and I were off to the side when John and Hank Green arrived and even though we weren't right next to them, we started shaking and crying. You could definitely call us fangirls!
Then Noah invited us on the carpet to stand with 20th Century Fox's social correspondent, Joel. Stars started coming by one by one to get interviewed. Next thing we knew Sam Trammell, Hazel's father in the movie, was standing next to us quoting lines from the movie! The screenwriters, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, asked to hold my copy of the book for pictures! I was telling Hank Green how I loved his new album, Incongruent, and talking to Sarah Green about The Art Assignment! Then it happened. My favorite author was walking up to me and my best friend asking if he could sign our books and take selfies with us! I had so much to tell him about how he was my favorite author, and how I am a Nerdfighter. I couldn't get everything out, but I did get to say DFTBA to him and that made me happier than ever before. I was elated! To add to my pure bliss I got to meet all of the cast and watch them get interviewed. Nat, Shaliene, and Ansel were the most genuinely kind people. Even with all of the chaos they were calm and witty. We were then ushered in to the beautiful theater, tickets in hand we got to sit with fellow fans and the stars. The trip was overall the best experience of my life and I wouldn't replace it for anything in the world!