Nova Scotia

Web developer hopes Emmy win will boost N.S. industry

A web developer from Halifax his hoping his surprising win at the Daytime Emmy Awards will help the industry at home.
Take this Lollipop won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding New Approaches. (CBC)

A web developer from Halifax is hoping his surprising win at the Daytime Emmy Awards will help the industry at home.

Jason Nickel partnered with film director Jason Zada to create a Facebook app last Halloween called Take this Lollipop. The goal was to scare users out of their seats.

People can grant the app access to their Facebook profile, and the information is then used to create a short film. In the video, a creepy man in an abandoned hospital stalks the users.

"I get these emails from people who say, 'You guys are sick, you guys should take this down. It's too creepy. It's scary,'" Nickel said. "It can be frightening for those who don't understand it. They think the guy is coming to their house."

The app became one of the most popular spots on the internet, scoring 100,000 hits in the first week of its release.

"The server kept on going down, every few days we'd have to upgrade the server. Then the server host would call us up and apologize and they put us up on the top level, double-bonded server, to handle the traffic."

Now, more than 100 million people have visited the site.

"People really wanted to get scared on this, and they really wanted to share that feeling with their friends," said Nickel.

Surprising recognition

Nickel said he was shocked to find out the project was nominated for a Daytime Emmy award. It landed a spot in the category for Outstanding New Approaches.

Jason Nickel hopes his win will help inspire local web developers. (CBC)

"There our name was – next to Ellen, The Today Show, and The Bold and the Beautiful. You just sit there and stare at it and say someone's playing a joke on us."

Nickel travelled to Los Angeles, California last week to attend the star studded event. The cast of The Doctors announced Take this Lollipop was taking home an Emmy.

"Walking past all the celebrities, it was very surreal... It was overwhelming," said Nickel.

Nickel said his win shows a change in the direction of television. He said web development is now a serious contender in generating original content.

Local Industry

Now that he's back home, the Emmy winner is hoping to team up with other local developers and expand his business.

"I'm hoping to raise awareness that there's good development companies in Halifax," said Nickel. "I do a lot of work with Los Angeles, but they're fine with me actually working from up here no problem, so it's something I'd like to build a base of, out of Halifax."

He said his Emmy proves people don't have to move away to do top notch work.

"I've made it work, you don't have to be in those hubs. You can work wherever you are."

For those who want another taste, Nickel said Take this Lollipop 2 is already in the works.