Grasshopper, I was absolutely tickled to write today’s special report for you. I have been following these guys since what seems like the beginning, though their story starts long before that.
They are “Four lifelong friends who compete to embarrass each other.”
Season 8 of their mega hit TV show Impractical Jokers premiered a few days ago. They have a feature film set to debut in 2019, and when they are not filming you can catch them at live shows all over the country (and soon even overseas).
The career moves that they have made so far have been incredibly calculated. There have been many missteps along the way.
In fact, they almost quit the entertainment business right before they made it.
Their story is inspiring and also serves as a perfect case study for anyone trying to make it in the industry.
They had 0 connections, 0 resources, and no idea of what they were doing when they started out. They began as an improv and comedy troupe. They did what most people do: open mic night, community theatre, independent productions, etc.
This got them nowhere for years.
By their own admission, it was really tough to keep going sometimes as they felt that they were not making any headway in their careers.
One night, the four of them got together in their mom’s basement (yes really!) and they collectively decided to call it quits.
They couldn’t bare to go on.
Every actor goes through this too. Sometimes it happens after 5, 10 or even 20 auditions without even so much as a callback. This is when our resolve is put to the test though.
See, even though in a moment of weakness they decided to quit the desire was still alive. Being best friends, they continued to hang out and see each other. After a few weeks they came to the conclusion that they were still quitting for good…unless something big came up that would change their career trajectory.
This is where things start to get really interesting.
Out of the 4 guys, 3 of them were creatives and 1 of them was business minded. He [the business minded one] knew that he had to convince the guys to reinvent themselves if they wanted to have a shot at meaningful careers.
Stand up and improv wouldn’t cut it because there was no place for it in the market.
We’ll go over exactly what this means to you in a moment…
He looked at what was in demand and came to the conclusion that this shiny new thing called YouTube was the answer.
It was a form of distribution for which there was no barrier to entry. People were flocking to it because it had original and off the wall content. This meant their skillset could be put to good use and they didn’t require a big, scripted production to attract an audience. He convinced the other guys to throw a Hail Mary and give it one last, go big or go home, Hollywood or bust, last ditch effort to make it in the industry.
This was probably the most important thing: they stopped trying to attract the networks. Instead, they built an audience and a platform and forced them to pay attention.
Here’s how they did it and how you can do it too.
They tried many things before finding what worked. They tried to record their stand up routines and put it online. This attracted a few viewers but nothing meaningful like what they were looking for.
They doing skits and put them online…crickets.
As a prank, 3 of the guys decided to pull a prank on the other one. They filmed it, thought it was hilarious and put it online only as a way to embarrass the other “victim” of the prank.
It went viral!
They had finally struck a chord with the audience.
So, they did it again and got even better results. More viewers. More followers. Lather, rinse, repeat.
They built one of the original super channels on YouTube by simply pulling pranks and putting each other in compromising situations.
The business minded one in the group, then took that success to the networks with an idea for turning their antics into a TV show. It was a small start up network that offered the guys the best deal with tons of creative latitude.
After 8 seasons (and a 9th season guaranteed), the rest as they say is history.
They have touched millions of lives with their work. On a personal note, I have a close friend that pulled herself out of a multiyear depression partially by watching their show. Every episode is laugh out loud funny from beginning to end, so she would get up, go to the gym, go to work and watch the show from the minute she got home, until she closed her eyes and went to bed.
That’s the power that we have in the entertainment industry. We touch and change people’s lives in ways we often forget. So, if you truly want to make it in this industry you have to recognize this and don’t let your talent remain inside you.
Share it with the world. It is our duty and our moral obligation to succeed. You never know how things might be different otherwise.
We can look at their story and find it inspiring of course, but more importantly we can dissect it and replicate their road to success.
Before they found their place in the industry, they were struggling to stand out in a crowded field.
Instead of trying to stand out as a small fish in a crowded ocean, they “changed oceans.” You can do the same. Are you trying to stand out in the crowded audition circuit? Maybe it’s time to change your strategy.
They built an audience, which in the entertainment business is an immensely valuable asset. This forced the networks to notice them. As much as I wish things were different, a less talented actor with a bigger audience and better industry reputation will almost always be cast over a fantastic but unknown actor.
It’s a easy to look at someone’s success and think “that’s great but I could never do that.”
It’s important to keep things in perspective. These guys filmed their pilot episode using a couple iPhones. No crew, no fancy parabolic mics, nothing.
What they did have, and what all successful actors have, was an ability to suspended reality. More simply stated, they were crazy enough to think it would work…and it did.
Sometimes, simply going for it and making somewhat calculated moves is all takes. It does help if you have someone in your corner that is paying attention to the business side of the entertainment business.
Here’s what I have found to be the most important part of the entertainment business: reputation and a platform.
The measure of your industry reputation can be bolstered quite easily. Here’s how I can help with that.
That’s a key thing for you to do if you want to get in front of the right people that can open the right doors that lead to the right opportunities.
So what moves will you make next? Will you alter how you approach the industry? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email. I read every one that comes in and help however I can because my goal is to…
See you at the top,