Viral Blunders

April 29, 2013

Rebecca Martinson, a Maryland University sorority girl had a big problem with her sorority sisters: Rebecca felt like her sisters weren’t showing the proper school allegiance and were definitely not representing Delta Gamma spirit during fraternity Greek Week. What followed was an expletive-filled, highly offensive, and inappropriate email to her sisters that would make Marilyn Manson’s corpse-white visage turn crimson. ‘Becca accused the majority of her chapter of being awkward, and boring, and weird–and that’s just for starters. The demure gentlewoman (not!) went on to physically threaten her sisters, saying she “will assault” anyone she deems “mentally slow” or anyone crazy enough to display good sportsmanship. “You cheer for our team and not the other one!” she ranted. The email quickly went viral spawning scores of parodies and a good deal of hate mail. Rebecca recently resigned from Delta Gamma amidst furious media attention and negative university PR.

You, as an actor, must be bold; you must push your career forward at breakneck speeds, and you will make mistakes–it’s just part of the process. But be forewarned: any project you participate in can go viral at any time. Be it an independent film, a music video, an industrial commercial, or just you and your friends out having a few too many drinks. I’m sure Rebecca had no idea her diatribe would get beyond the confines of her social club or her university; but the fact is her denunciation went uber viral in a matter of moments. So, take risks with your career, and allow yourself to be vulnerable–but be smart! Have a clear understanding of the project you’re undertaking and the possible ramifications. Art, by its very nature, is polemical so there’s a good bit of latitude here. But knowledge is power, and the more you know about any given project, the better.

Get Exposure Without Casting Calls: How to Go Viral on YouTube

March 1, 2012

Can you imagine being paid to professionally watch YouTube videos? That’s what Kevin Allocca does for a living. Managing YouTube Trends, he tracks and analyzes the latest viral videos as well as the parodies, tributes, and reply videos to any given viral hit.

According to Allocca, one particular trendsetter or tastemaker merely tweeting to watch a specific video will immediately cause a huge spike of hits on a YouTube video. So when like Jimmy Kimmel posted a tweet suggesting to watch this video,  it was akin to Oprah Winfrey suggesting a book for her book club. But sometimes instead of a specific person, a number of unrelated viewers for their own reasons, share the same particular link with their friends on social networking sites, causing its popularity to spike–which is how Rebecca Black’s Friday video went viral. Black’s Friday was the most-watched clip of 2011 with nearly 200 million viewers. In case you’re wondering what came in second, it was Ultimate Dog Tease with almost 98,000,000 views.

When you consider Black won a 2011 Teen Choice Award, and has been nominated for awards at MTV O Music Awards and J-14 Teen Icon Awards, in addition to being featured in a Katie Perry music video, and will soon be releasing her official debut album, does it matter that her song has received hundreds of thousands of dislikes on YouTube? And when you consider the fact that Ultimate Dog Tease’s popularity has lead to it currently being developed into a feature film by Paramount Studios, any aspiring actor might want to give this YouTube thing a serious go.

Being able to simply break into the business presents the greatest challenge for most aspiring actors, comedians, voice over artists, and musicians. But keep in mind, those interested in getting noticed on YouTube are going to need to do something completely unexpected. Alloca says, “In a world where over two days of video get uploaded every minute, only that which is truly unique and unexpected can stand out in the way that [viral videos] have.” So, whatever you do, bring your sense of adventure, fun, high-spiritedness, commitment, and unique vision and insights—that’s what will catch others’ attention first off. Then share it with as many people as you can. Hoping to see you go viral in 2012 in this exciting new media culture!

To hear Kevin Allocca speak about  more of his insights, click here.