Dear grasshopper, is it better to have loved and lost or to have never loved at all?
In an odd way, that’s kind of what we’re talking about today…
Would you rather have your 15 minutes in the spotlight or would rather not have it at all? Because you are a member of the tribe, you may never have to make this choice.
Here’s what I mean. Success is scientific. It can be broken down into replicable steps and systems. So if there’s a formula for fame, you can duplicate that formula and achieve it for yourself.
By the way, in speaking of fame, I don’t mean the shallow can’t make a Starbucks run without paparazzi in your face kind of fame. I mean fame, as in being a successful actor that is recognized for their talent and roles they play.
More Leo or Mindy Kaling, not at all Bella (Thorne)!
While the fundamentals of achieving fame remain the same, the formula changes slightly with the times. Today, as it has always been, the name of the game is attention. Control attention, control your destiny. We are rapidly moving into an anti-studio system much like what happened over 60 years ago. This was when actors freed themselves from the shackles of the studio system and became stars with options. More on that in a bit.
Without getting too much into the details, I don’t think we’ll see such a dramatic shift as we did before. Meaning, I don’t see the modern studio system going away entirely. Primarily this is because of technology. While we’re all excited about Facebook live and Periscope, studios have had the ability to livestream for decades. Them being at the forefront of innovation won’t change as we get deeper into virtual reality, augmented reality, and whatever comes after that (holograms?).
You’ll see in a moment how this is actually good news for you.
Something that has changed with the times is the sequence of events. In the past, an actor would achieve fame and build a platform through the studio system. They would audition, “get discovered” and studios would put their marketing dollars to work for their actors.
Today, that sequence is entirely reversed. Now you must have a platform and a degree of success in order to attract the studio dollars.
Here’s a 15 second, tuition-less MBA for you.
This practice is called “growth by acquisition.” It’s what big businesses do to grow. It’s the reason that Amazon bought Whole Foods, instead of starting their own grocery store chain. It’s much safer because Whole Foods already has a revenue stream.
Never forget that Hollywood is a business. Studios have adopted this same “growth by acquisition” model to grow. Instead of starting from scratch, they are now acquiring new talent with revenue streams attached. It’s a much safer investment for them.
The audition and be discovered route is long gone. You have to do something! The power is 100% in your hands. This one is a bit backwards, but it’s a great example.
Louis C.K. is a comedian that has struggled to make the leap and go “mainstream.”
Though he has enjoyed moderate success on cable TV, he’s had a few failed attempts. He talks about doing HBO standup comedy specials in the past that were OK at best. The network was nervous to let him loose, so they boxed in his creativity.
The content ended up mediocre and so did revenues. After several failed attempts, Louis took the matter into his own hands. He filmed his own special, released it via his social media channels and sold well over 100,000 copies.
He didn’t hire a big crew or book fancy post production facilities. He hired a filmed student with a Cannon DSLR that also happened to be pretty good at Final Cut Pro.
Since then, he’s been getting offers left and right. He is being asked to do standup specials, live shows, nationwide tours, he’s being pitched feature films, and more.
This is happening all over the place. See mainstream TV shows are considered successful with 3 million + viewers.
On the other hand, YouTubers are getting 50 million views for a new episode (much more than that over time) and they are amassing billions of views on their channels.
In fact, YouTube recently announced that they now reach over 1.5 Billion viewers each month that watch over 1 hour of videos per day! Let that sink in for a moment…
Media has shifted and it has put the power in your hands, but you have to stay ahead of the curve.
The next big revolution will come when Social Media companies start buying the studios, or the studios start buying the social media companies. Whichever way it goes, the consolidation will mean one thing for you, if you’re not dominating social media you won’t stand a chance.
At the time of this writing the best way to get started with social media domination is Instagram. It’s growing the fastest and has the most upside. You can still be early enough to the party to stand out just for being there, and because it image driven, it’s the perfect place for your audience.
So here’s what you need to do to dominate Instagram.
1. Start a “fan” account and profile your favorite actors and their work
2. Research the biggest accounts related to your actors and see what’s working for them. Figure out the top 3 hashtags they use and the types of content they post
3. Post 3-5 times per day, working those hashtags into your captions
4. Comment on other accounts, related to yours, in order to increase exposure and gain new followers
5. Once you hit the scaling point (5K+ followers) introduce yourself to your followers and move them into your sphere of influence. You now have a platform
Yep, grasshopper it’s that simple. People overcomplicate this soooo much! Instead of looking for articles on how to grow an Instagram account, just do the above. You literally cannot screw it up, so just start.
The one thing you may have to do is kickstart the party.
Getting your first few hundred followers can be a bit tough, but you can hack your way to it. Here are the details on that.
Once you control the attention of the platform you just built, you can leverage it however you want to improve your career.
Remember Emily Ratajkowski? She started as the girl in that Robin Thicke video for “Blurred Lines.” Like most people in her position, she could have taken her 15 minutes of fame, and then slipped back into obscurity.
But she didn’t! She leveraged her new found fame into a huge social media following. Soon after appearing in the video, Emily was cast opposite Ben Affleck in Gone Girl. Do you think it was her previous performance that led to her being cast, or was it the following she had built?
As her following continued to grow, so did the scope of her opportunities. Super Bowl Commercials, political rallies, and a starring role in Entourage the Movie.
The critics have deemed every one of her performances as less than stellar, to put it mildly. I’ll leave it to you to decide the degree to which you enjoy her acting talents.
What’s telling, is that she continues to be cast. We know that it’s not solely because of her talent, so what it is it? She made a very smart move. Rather than basking in the limelight, she got strategic. As she was being interviewed everywhere from blogs, to tabloid shows, and print magazines she plugged her next project and her social media accounts.
Hollywood couldn’t ignore her rapidly growing influence, and the things she referenced in her interviews came true. She said she wanted to walk in Paris Fashion Week and guess who came knocking with an offer?
What stops actors from doing this is often an egotistical sense of being “too good for that.” They’ll think things like “I’m an actor not an Instagrammer.” You have to decide what’s important to you. Do you want to be an actor or a working actor?
The reason Mark Zuckerberg is worth over 64 Billion Dollars is because he built the biggest platform for “attention-getting.” That’s how much the world values attention.
Remember that the industry is a business. Being a working actor means you have to bring value to the table beyond just your talent. You are probably “better” than most actors for your role type, but that doesn’t translate into production profits.
So with that in mind, what will you choose to do next?
If you make the bold step to build an attention asset that you can control and leverage however you wish, then here’s how I can help.
If you choose to stay on the sidelines and roll the dice, more power to you. I’ll be back again soon yet another powerful release on how you can seize the moment and take your career into your own hands, instead of hoping to get lucky.
See you at the top,