New Media - What YouTubers Can Teach Us about Getting Noticed #atozchallenge #IndieFilm
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 11:09PM
Nicole in 2014 A to Z Challenge, A to Z Challenge, Behind the Scenes, Blogathon, Blogfests, Blogging from A to Z, Documentaries, Estevan Oriol, Filmmaking, Media, Photography, Skyy John, YouTube, interviews

TIPSYBARTENDER host Skyy John partying with singer Jessica Tovar, Alphacat, King Bach and other YouTubers at Vidcon, an online video conference. It's so easy to produce content these days that I believe filmmakers can stand to learn a thing or two from YouTubers and other media makers (Vine stars, Netflix, etc.) who are building audiences, getting paid and gaining a high profile within the entertainment business.

In addition to fielding offers for production deals and landing representation at the top talent agencies, many of them have also expanded their brands into self-supporting business ventures, complete with merchandising and offline gigs. The fruits of their labor, however, didn’t just show up on their doorstep overnight. Online mediamakers are winning because they have something to show – today, right now. They are doing, not talking; Most importantly, they know how to use new media to their advantage – making changes and improving as they go while learning the ropes of whatever platform is working for them.

We still need not get it twisted -- the common perk of exposure that comes with utilizing online media could very well be the extent of a platform’s value in having an impact on one’s career. “More people view my art…my films and photos. That’s about it,” says Estevan Oriol, a notable photographer who also makes documentaries about subcultures in Los Angeles. When I welcomed this urban lifestyle entrepreneur to discuss some of the highlights of using new media, it became clear that YouTube is not attributed to his success as a director.

Lowrider scraping Photo by Estevan Oriol“Nobody’s ever said ‘Hey, I’ve seen your work on YouTube…would you be interested in doing this job for me?’ It depends on what kind of success you mean. Some people might think that having a million views on your YouTube channel is success. To some degree, it is, but to me success is a little bit more than that,” he says.

Oriol, who produces content for three shows on his "SANCTIONED TV" channel; including Skid Row Stories, Tattoo Stories and L.A. Woman, foresees having to find something else to do as his deal ends and YouTube, so far, hasn’t brought him any new clients. The uncertainty of cracking that online success code also hasn’t escaped Skyy John, host of the YouTube show "TIPSYBARTENDER." Having watched this Bahama-bred actor’s videos for some time, I was familiar with his channel long before even seeing him on the CBS show “COLD CASE.”

Despite having nearly 400,000 subscribers to "Tipsybartender" -- some of whom send gifts like high-end Tequila and a year’s supply of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and help him organize meet-ups in other countries, Skyy John doesn’t consider himself among the top media makers online. However, this former bartender who was once hospitalized following a machete accident while working on his show does find the medium to be beneficial for aspiring actors.

Skyy John's 'Rainbow Shots' episode with Emma is the most watched video on "TIPSYBARTENDER."A lot of people think that YouTube might hurt their acting career. I’ve been on YouTube for a while and when I began, most actors were under the assumption that YouTube is beneath them – but if you look at YouTube now, that’s where [casting directors, producers, studios, etc.] go to find talent.

For instance, King Bach is big on Vine; a lot of people do both. Vine and YouTube kinda go hand-in-hand. He created his whole thing online; the new Black chick on Saturday Night Live (Sasheer Zamata) was a YouTuber, so it's becoming that place to showcase your talent outside of the conventional methods.

Hollywood wouldn’t normally accept a dude like me [because of the way] I speak; I’m a naturalized American citizen but I wasn’t born here so I sound funny and that doesn’t always play well [in Hollywood]. Yeah, we have some dudes like Arnold Schwarzenegger [who make it big in the entertainment industry] but that’s rare.” – Skky John

Actor Robert Patrick ("TRUE BLOOD," "JUDGEMENT DAY" and "THE UNIT" | Photo by Estevan OriolEstevan Oriol agrees on the importance of artists being proactive in getting their work noticed. “Just put it out there on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and then you’ll get eyes on it, and then it’s up to the people and the work [to decide] whether anything comes out of it or not. There are people doing great art but they don’t have eyes on their work, so nothing comes out of it,” he says. Reinforcing Oriol’s advice, Skyy John lets it be known that showcasing your stuff on social media is not only vital to your chances of success but also hard work. In other words, just because you upload something doesn’t mean viewers or fans or money will come.

Showcase your stuff on social media; don’t think anything is beneath you and just keep working hard. You always gotta be on the grind 24/7 – being in entertainment is not like a nine-to-five job where you work a couple of hours and then go home; with us, you’re working around the clock,” says Skyy John.

New media has been good to many online personalities like Estevan Oriol and Skyy John because they are prolific -- always releasing new content, which is a huge factor in getting people to pay attention to one’s work. The formula is simple -- If I want to be a writer, I need to write often; If I want to be an illustrator, I need to practice drawing daily. My sketchbook should be active and if I want to make films, I need to be doing so on a consistent basis. The only way I see how to make filmmaking work for me is by following through on this very practice; using tools that can take me to the next level.

Do YOU think it's easier or harder to get Noticed, in this age of New Media?

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