Her last short film drew more attention than all but about a half dozen major studio films released this year. She’s an actress, a comedian, a writer and producer, and basically an all around bad ass chick.
One of her films was partially produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, through their production company.
Anna Akana is the superstar in the making that you’ve probably never heard of.
Here’s what will sting for some of you…you have probably been acting much, much longer than she has. She first started in comedy at the age of 19 (she’s 28 as of the time of this writing) and later decided to go the acting route.
That’s one of the twisted things about this industry…
In most other industries, the longer you’re in, the more likely you are to succeed. Middle managers in corporate roles become executives in 12-15 years, C-Level executives in about another 7-10 years, and board members in an additional 10 or so years.
This is not the case in our business. Being an actor is like being a gladiator. The longer you are in the game, the more likely it is that you die. The more likely you are to be stomped into obscurity by a stronger and more youthful competitor.
Of course, you naturally move up in the range that you can play, but the principle still holds true. This is why it’s so important that you never leave for tomorrow what you can do today.
Anna Akana didn’t wait for her turn, she just started practicing her craft using a focused strategy and made things happen. She did what so many of us, myself included for many years, are unable or unwilling to do: she put her ego aside, put “conventional wisdom” aside and chased her dream.
When actors go out on the audition circuit, they usually have a one track mind. Impress the hell out of the CD and nail the audition. This isn’t a bad plan, it’s just not the greatest one either. What most actors ignore is that you have to be larger than life.
Your persona needs to have an element of grandeur. I don’t mean pompous and arrogant, quite the opposite actually. You should be humble, confidant, and charismatic.
Just think “What would Leo do?”
Do you think that he ever went into a room, sweating a role?
When you have a few credentials to back up your swagger, this gets a bit easier. It’s like your brain all of sudden has permission to act that way.
I highly recommend checking our Anna’s YouTube channel. Spend some time going through her content. Not only is it entertaining, you should also study the strategy and the process she used to become a YouTube Rockstar.
Coincidentally, it’s pretty similar to the way that musical acts are launched. When a label is looking to promote a new act, they don’t set out to conquer the entire country at once. They take it one city at a time.
They build the platform in secondary markets, these are smaller cities with less competition, and create a buzz around the act before launching them in primary markets.
For example, they will first launch an act in San Diego, then move to Austin, Tampa Bay, Charlotte, and Phoenix, etc. Once they have built a solid foundation in these secondary markets, they use that momentum to launch the act in larger cities.
They take on LA, Chicago, New York, Houston, Atlanta, and Miami. This works because by the time they get to the large and highly competitive primary markets, the acts already have momentum and have proven to be viable elsewhere. So, they’re not seen as a risk for promoters, radio stations, and booking agents. They merely see it as taking an act to the next level. It’s called scaling up.
That’s how Rock stars become Rock stars: one market at a time.
Here’s how this ties into your career. What we just went over begs the question…
Are you attempting to conquer the entire country at once? If you are, then you have quite an uphill battle ahead. What if instead you set out to conquer a secondary market like Anna Akana? She conquered YouTube and is now moving into the mainstream.
Just like in the example we just talked about, she is using the momentum from her secondary market campaign, and proof of viability to generate demand in the mainstream.
She is far from being the only one doing this. We have discussed several other actors that are making that leap into the mainstream, here at Boost My Star, because more and more CDs, Producers, and industry decision makers are looking for this.
It’s weird how the tides have shifted. Just a few short years ago, the industry would probably look down on you for being a YouTuber. Today, you can propel yourself into the mainstream using your internet fame.
So where do you go from here grasshopper? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email. I want to be clear on one thing though. This is kind of an advanced strategy that requires more time than we have here to fully go through, so I’ll probably go deeper another time.
Just because the primary strategy is to conquer a list of secondary markets, that doesn’t mean that the acts ignore the primary markets and shun the air time. They go hand in hand and pursue both markets simultaneously, just in different ways. The secondary market is the active strategy and the primary market is more of an ancillary “hail mary” play.
So this doesn’t mean that you have to shift all of your attention to a different medium. You just have to add it into the mix. Nothing will help you more in your pursuit of this than a stellar industry reputation. Here’s the fix for that.
No matter what road you decide to take, go all in with relentless focus and shoot for the stars.
See you at the top,