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Entries in Skyy John (2)

Wednesday
Apr162014

New Media - What YouTubers Can Teach Us about Getting Noticed #atozchallenge #IndieFilm

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?

Wednesday
Apr092014

Heaven Help the Hollywood Hopefuls! #atozchallenge #IndieFilm

l-r: Skyy John with models Raychel Gregg, Keziah Okonkwo and Kristina from the YouTube show 'Tipsy Bartender.'After meeting various actors, directors, film students and producers over the years, I get the impression that some people who make movies are not so much trying to create motion pictures as much as they are reaching for a place in Hollywood -- and all its trimmings – to call their own. By this, I am not exactly referring to fame, but rather, one’s attempts at being associated with the scene.

It’s also common to find someone in the independent film community who wants those perks without him or her actually doing anything substantial that warrants such an entry pass into all that glitters. That’s unlikely to happen,” says Skyy John, an actor based in Los Angeles who hosts a widely popular webseries called TIPSY BARTENDER on YouTube.

Having appeared in films and Emmy-winning CBS shows including “COLD CASE” and “THE YOUNG and THE RESTLESS,” Skyy John’s advice for filmmakers who dream of sipping martinis by the pool with George Clooney and hobnobbing with the Olsen Twins, offers a healthy dose of reality for such a pursuit. ”That’s unlikely to happen. It’s possible but that’s not the way most filmmakers live,” he says and continues “Being good at what you do usually requires a lot of work, so stars that are talented ain’t sittin’ by the pool – they’re working!"

l-r: Rapper/Comedian Timothy DeLaGhetto and model BOBBi Dean with Skyy John on the set of 'Tipsy Bartender.'Have you ever spotted a filmmaker who constantly longs to hang out with superstars like Brad Pitt, indulge in orgies with Charlie Sheen, have personal assistants at their beck and call, and party all night with Lindsay Lohan? Although there’s nothing wrong with these interests, if they’re the main reason why someone would make a film, then there’s no point in even bothering with all the obstacles popping up during development all the way through the distribution stages of projects.

Folks who are chasing after Hollywood use films as a pawn to get an in to all of the (seemingly) cool spots and crowds, providing them with a pass to feel proud of being affiliated with the good life. I don't know about anyone else, but the mere thought of having to keep that up is exhausting!

Unfortunately for us, many producers fall into the category of Hollywood hopefuls, as do groupies, fanboys (and fangirls) who just want to be in a position where they can say "me too" to be granted an invitation to the party. Oh, and let’s not forget the money-hungry leeches who like to claim that they contributed more to a project than they actually did. Hollywood is not the problem. Making movies for the purpose of living out one's false perceptions of making it – whatever that looks like -- is a cause for concern. It also seems like a hell of a lot to go through just for a home in the hills. 

If YOU were given 24 hours to sip martinis by the pool with any Hollywood star (actor or director) of your choosing, who would it be and what would you drink with him or her?

SkyyJohn’s new book Tipsy Bartender "I'm having a girl over" is available now!

Also, be sure to read yesterday's post about the Gratification of a Few Good Men, in case you missed it!